Latest Reports and News as of December 30, 2015

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Lake Michigan Perch

Recent high winds and rain put a damper on the Lake Michigan perching for a while.  Lake needs to settle down.

Local Pond Report by Ken HUSKER O'Malley

Hey Don, Crappie remain the best bite on area lakes. A fat head minnow under a slip float was the best presentation. Keeping the bail open and letting the bait drift with the wind to cover as much water as possible was key. Fish are scattered. TTYL

Ken "Husker" O'Malley
Waterworks fishing team

State Closures due to flooding from Chris Young, IL DNR

Below is a quick digest of closures due to recent flash flooding, ice, or other inclement weather. I will forward additional information as it comes in. Chris Young

Kankakee River State Park (Kankakee and Will Counties) is closed due to ice.

Johnson Sauk Trail State Park (Henry County)  The park is being closed due to deteriorating road conditions.  Freezing rain is falling at this time and these conditions are anticipated to continue throughout the afternoon and evening.  The icy roadways and falling limbs are creating hazardous conditions.

Kaskaskia River State Fish and Wildlife Area (Randolph County)  All boat ramps are closed on the due to record high water except Wood Duck Marina which likely will close Dec. 30.  The Dry Lake area will close Dec. 30 (or earlier) due to the parking lot being under water.

Pere Marquette State Park (Jersey County) The following facilities at Pere Marquette are closed:    The Sam Vadalabene Bike Trail, equestrian day use trails, hiking trails, shower house, Lower Harbor Boat Launch, Lower Harbor pavilions, Lower Harbor vault toilets. Site staff also reports Illinois 100 is closed through Grafton.

Moraine Hills State Park (McHenry County) and Volo Bog State Natural Area (Lake County) are closed due to icy road conditions.

Hennepin Canal (Bureau County) has lost power due to ice on transmission lines.

William W Powers State Park in Chicago (Cook County) is closed due to ice on roadways and high winds causing waves to break over the shoreline.

Kickapoo State Recreation Area (Vermilion County) Access to the spillway from Riverview Road is closed due to flash flooding. Sportsman’s Lake Road and Riverview Road from the Interstate 74 overpass to Cemetery Road are closed due to flash flooding.

Eagle Creek State Park (Shelby County) The high water boat ramp is now in use due to high water levels on Lake Shelbyville. Boaters are urged to use caution and watch for debris in the lake.

Horseshoe Lake (Alexander County) The public hunting area is open, but the controlled hunting area is closed. Other portions of the site likely will be underwater soon.

 As of Thursday, December 31st the main parking lot at the Starved Rock Visitor Center, lower picnic area, and boat ramp are closed due to flooding.

Hiking trails are open. Parking is available at the Starved Rock Lodge. The Starved Rock Lodge will operate with normal business hours. The Starved Rock Visitor Center will operate with normal business hours of 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. daily. The Visitor Center can be accessed via the staircase behind the Lodge.

First Day Hikes scheduled for Friday, January 1st will leave from the Visitor Center as planned at 11:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m.

Hiking trails at Matthiessen State Park are open.

Mercer WI Snow/Ice Report from John YAGO Jagodzienski

Hey Don, We have some snow, not a lot, about 5 to 7 inches.  The flowage isn't marked yet and it's not safe.  But we do have some crazy ice fishermen out there.  The swamps are very wet and not rideable. It's kinda a mess until we get more snow and cold conditions.
On a good note they can ride on the road to town using Popko circle east or west to get to town and ride the trails that are open.
Angler's Paradise at Yago's Retreat

Boulder Junction Wisconsin Lakes Ice Report from Janie Harpster

Hello from the Northwoods!  I wish I could say we have perfect conditions... but that is not the case. However, there are a fair number of fishermen out fishing using caution and catching fish.  The ice conditions vary from lake to lake with reports of 4-6" of fishable ice along the shorelines. There were still reports of open water in the middle of many lakes. For those anglers finding safe ice the catching of northerns during the day and walleye at night have been good.  This week's forecast looks good for making ice, temps in the single digits at night and highs during the day in the 20's.  Hopefully I will have more updates soon.  Good luck fishing!!

Janie Harpster
Janies Flies

Niagara NY Fishing Report by Bill Hilts Jr.

Fishing Bad Weather Can Prove Rewarding; Lake Trout Season Opens

1.       Lake Ontario and tributaries – Happy New Year! Some nasty winter weather finally arrived on the scene along with some rain, snow and sleet. Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek saw another slightly increase in flow which brought in a few more trout – fresh browns and steelhead finally arrived according to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker. Water flow was at 257 cfs at the dam but water should have crested with a good green color. The piers in Wilson and Olcott are still good spots to cast hardware like spoons and spinners to take a brown or steelie, if the winds aren’t too bad and it’s not too slippery. With temperatures as high at the 40s this week, there should be some activity going on around the tributaries and harbors, including some of the smaller ones like Keg Creek. As long as the mouths are open, they should be attracting some trout. Some perch are hanging around in Wilson and Olcott harbors, too. The New York State Winter Classic Fishing Derby will be kicking off on Jan. 1 and The Slippery Sinker in Olcott is now the only weigh station in Niagara County for the statewide event. The derby runs through Feb. 28. For more info check out The Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo is just around the corner, set for Jan. 22-24 at the Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls. Check out the website for all of the details in place so far … with more to come! Don’t forget the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association’s Salmon School slated for Jan. 23 at the Expo, too. Log on at for details and registration. Seating is limited and they are going quick. Lake trout season is now open for any trollers and drifters working the Niagara Bar area off the mouth of the river.

2.       Lower Niagara River – Despite some uncomfortable weather conditions, boat and shore fishermen are both doing well on trout. Starting on Jan. 1, lake trout season will be open full bore. From boats, the drifting has been good for trout with baits like Kwikfish and MagLips, but the spoons and live bait will also work from boats. Minnows were hot this past week, fished off three-way rigs. From shore it has been spoons, spinners and eggs or egg imitations. Pink, green or chartreuse and blue colored spinners have been producing a mixed bag of fish along the Artpark area according to Chuck Booker of Amherst who has been supplying some of his “custom crafted” spinners for casters. January 1 is also the start of a new walleye regulation in the lower river. You may only keep one fish as part of your daily limit, a regulation change designed to protect large females getting ready to spawn. Remember that Jan. 1 is the start of a new license year in the Province of Ontario waters.

3.       Upper Niagara River –Nothing new to report since the waters cleared – trout around the head of the river from shore; other fish like bass and walleye being caught by casters in places like Broderick Park. For trout and walleye, one effective rig has been a bottom bouncer with minnow attached.

Bill Hilts, Jr. - Director, Outdoor Promotions
Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation

Lake of the Woods MN Fishing Report by Joe Henry

It's GAME ON! Ice fishing is in full swing, most fish houses are out and reports are coming back positive. Ice trails marked for ATV/snowmobiles and other resorts are shuttling people to fish houses with light ice rigs. On the south shore, most fishing in 16-23'. As usual, gold and glow colors are hot colors starting out. A mix of walleyes, sauger and jumbo perch. Numerous limits. Some reports of trophy walleyes over 28" in the mix. Ice depths vary, thus, stay on the marked resort trails. Do not venture out on your own unless you have checked the ice. Despite the date, this is still "early ice". Safety first. Work through resorts / resort marked trails for safety.

The Rainy River is iced over in most areas and open in others. Most areas not yet fishable with thin ice. For safety, work through resorts.

Up at the NW Angle, most fish houses are out and good fishing reported thus far. There is a staked trail from Young's Bay to Flag Island and to Oak Island. Stay on staked trail as other areas can be inconsistent ice. Snowmobile/ATV travel only so far. Stay posted to Lake of the Woods Tourism or your favorite resort's Facebook/Twitter pages for updates. For last minute lodging, try our lodging availability finder at

Joe Henry | Executive Director | Lake of the Woods Tourism |


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