LATEST PHOTOS, REPORTS AND NEWS - February 4, 2016

If you have any reports, news or photos to share, send them to iloutdoors@comcast.net.

Don’t miss any of Don’s blogs, outdoor news , stories, or reports from Illinois Outdoors. Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

LATEST PHOTOS, REPORTS AND NEWS - February 4, 2016

 Shabbona Lake Report by Ken HUSKER O'Malley

Hey Don, Went out to Shabbona yesterday as ice conditions south on area lakes are not good. Ice at Shab is holding at 7 inches. Hopefully tomorrow's storm doesn't deteriorate it too much. Fishing was decent. The bite had windows throughout the day much like the rain. Crappie were better in deep brush plies on wedgies. Bluegill were in cribs on spikes. Perch was the most consistent bite on both structures using spikes. Tungsten jigs was a must fishing deeper water.   TTYL

Ken "Husker" O'Malley
Huskeroutdoors
Waterworks fishing team

IL DNR News by Chris Young

 Eagle Day Festival Feb. 6: The annual Eagle Day Festival in Havana and Lewistown is Sat., Feb. 6 from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. The event includes activities at the Lewistown Visitor Center, Havana’s New Central Gym, Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge, and TNC’s Emiquon Preserve. Activities include raptor programs and bird watching. For more information: http://experienceemiquon.com/content/2016-eagle-day-celebration-havana-and-lewistown

Kaskaskia Eagle Fest on March 5: The 2016 Eagle Fest event will be held on Sat., Mar. 5 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Jerry F. Costello Lock and Dam in Modoc, IL (4800 Lock and Dam Road). Enjoy eagle watching with spotting scopes, programs from the World Bird Sanctuary at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., and 1 p.m., and much more. Tours of the lock and dam will be available. Sponsors include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, IDNR, Randolph County Economic Development, Lower Kaskaskia Stakeholders, Inc., Randolph County, Chester Tourism, North County Savings Bank, Evansville Booster Club, Horse Prairie Mutual/FarMutual, CLIFFTOP, Kaskaskia Valley Audubon Society, and Kaskaskia River Port District. For more information and directions contact the Kaskaskia River Project office at 618-284-7160 or e-mail KaskyL&D@usace.army.mil.

Buy 2016 Illinois Licenses/Stamps: Illinois fishing, hunting and sportsman’s combination licenses and stamps for 2016 are available from DNR Direct license and permit vendors, online through the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov or by calling 1-888-6PERMIT (1-888-673-7648). The 2016 licenses and stamps will be valid through Mar. 31, 2017, unless otherwise noted.

Spring Turkey Applications: Hunters may apply for the third lottery for 2016 Illinois Spring Wild Turkey Season permits online through Feb. 9. Go to the IDNR website for more information at this link: www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/turkey

Spring Youth Turkey: Spring Youth Turkey Special Hunt Area permit applications will be accepted online through Monday, Feb. 15. Spring Youth Turkey Season County Permits will be available over-the-counter from IDNR license/permit vendors beginning on March 1. For information on spring turkey hunting, check the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/turkey

IRAP Spring Turkey Hunting: The Illinois Recreational Access Program (IRAP) has added first-time adult turkey hunting to its growing list of public access activities. A first-time adult hunter also includes anyone who hasn’t hunted turkey in the past five years. In addition, the IDNR has changed the age restrictions for youth turkey hunting to 17 years and younger. This will allow IRAP to permit additional young turkey hunters on their youth turkey hunting sites. IRAP is a public access program that leases property from private landowners throughout Illinois and makes it available to registered IRAP participants for specific activities. To apply for an IRAP spring turkey hunting site, hunters must download an application and liability waiver, complete and sign them, and mail them to IDNR. Deadlines for applications are Feb. 26 for youth turkey season and Mar. 10 for turkey seasons 3 and 4. In order to apply for seasons 3 and 4, applicants must first apply for a turkey permit through IDNR lottery system. Links are available on the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov/conservation/IRAP/

Hunters Reminded to Report Harvest: Illinois hunters who received a Free Upland Hunting Permit are reminded to report their harvest by Feb. 15. Even if they did not hunt at the site, hunters must report in to remain eligible for the next year’s drawing. For all of IDNR-managed state sites that utilize the Windshield Card system, the reporting deadline is Feb. 15. For more information: https://dnr.state.il.us/windshieldcard/index.asp

Hunter and Boating Safety Education Courses: Register now for Hunter Safety Education and Boating Safety Education courses from the IDNR. Spring classes are being scheduled. Check the IDNR website for class dates and locations. The website link for all IDNR Safety Education course information is www.dnr.illinois.gov/safety

Prairie State Hike App: Visitors to Starved Rock State Park can now take a guided hike on the park’s most popular trails by using a new smartphone app. Download the Prairie State Hike App for 99 cents from iTunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/prairie-state-hike-app/id646231308?mt=8 or Google Play: https://play.google.com/store?hl=en. Features of the app include a map, points of interest, audio for each stop, photographs and video. Hikes will be continually updated and new hikes added in the coming months will be available at no additional charge. The app was developed by the Prairie State Conservation Coalition, a non-profit organization created to assist conservation land trusts, land owners and communities in their efforts to protect land and water resources in Illinois. Hikes from other conservation organizations statewide also are available through the app. To find Starved Rock, open the app and choose Illinois Department of Natural Resources from among the conservation organizations listed.

Earth Day in the Parks: Applications for 2016 Earth Day in the Parks events are being accepted by the IDNR through Feb. 28. Earth Day in the Parks events will be held in April and May, promoting natural resources stewardship by school children. Teachers can find the application form and more information at http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/education/Pages/EDITPinstruct.aspx.

Camping Reservations: Make your reservations now for campsites and shelters for many IDNR sites for 2016. Reservations can be made online through the ReserveAmerica website at www.reserveamerica.com using a Visa or MasterCard. For more information, check the IDNR website at http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/Landmgt/Programs/Camping/index.htm.

Site Permits for Archery Deer Season: Archery deer hunting applications for the 2016-17 season are available and can be submitted March 1-31 for the site drawings for Beaver Dam State Park and Goode’s Woods Nature Preserve in Macoupin Co. Drawings for the site permits will be held on Fri., April 1. Both Beaver Dam and Goode’s Woods require the harvest of an antlerless deer at the site prior to harvesting an antlered deer. Hunters can obtain an application from the park office at Beaver Dam State Park, 14548 Beaver Dam Lane, Plainview, IL 62685 (phone 217-854-8020) or on the IDNR website through the site links at http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/FactSheets/Pages/WestCentral.aspx

Lake Geneva Fishing Club news by Bob ClarNext Meeting - Wednesday, Mar. 9th, 6:30 PM | Cabela’s | 5225 Prairie Stone Pkwy.| Hoffman Estates, IL, Speaker: Walt Matan - Custom Jigs & Spins, Topic: Unique Tips & Tricks – Open Water Fishing | Ice Fishing | Outdoor Photos

Special Event
Cabela’s Fishing Expo March 12-13, 2016 | Cabela’s | 5225 Prairie Stone Pkwy.| Hoffman Estates, IL 60192 | (847) 645-0400 | Speaker: Club Member Paul Beran | Topic: SPRING STRATEGIES FOR FINICKY LAKE GENEVA BASS | Day and Time TBD – check website

Wednesday, April 13, 2016 | 6:30 PM | Cabela’s | 5225 Prairie Stone Pkwy.| Hoffman Estates, IL 60192 | (847) 645-0400 | Speaker: Steve Everetts – Finseekers Guide Service | Topic: FISHING THE BREAK ON DELAVAN LAKE: Using your Tackle Box and Bait Bucket

Regards,  Bob Clark - Lake Geneva Fishing Club - Media Relations/Speakers

Lake Geneva Fishing Club lakegenevafishingclub.com

Walleyes Unlimited News by Bob Clark

Updated speaker information will always be posted at walleyesunlimitedusa.org and click on the Speaker link.

Wednesday, February 10 | 7:00 PM | Wisconsin Meeting: American Legion Greendale Post 416 | 6351 W. Grange Ave. | Greendale, WI 53129 | Date: Wednesday, February 10, 2016 | Speaker: Andy Stuth | Topic: "Whitefish & Walleye Through the Ice on Sturgeon Bay"

Wednesday, February 24 | Illinois Meeting: Gurnee American Legion | 749 Milwaukee Ave. | Gurnee, IL 60031| Speaker: TBA | Topic: "TBA"

Wednesday, March 9 | Wisconsin Meeting: American Legion Greendale Post 416 | 6351 W. Grange Ave. | Greendale, WI 53129 | Speaker: Jason Brenic | Topic: "Spring Bass Tactics on Pewaukee Lake"

Special Event
Walleyes Unlimited 2nd Annual Swap Meet | Date: March 26, 2016 | 8 AM – 1 PM | Fox Lake Legion Hall | 703 N Rte. 12 | Fox Lake, IL 60020 | Sale Hours 8:00 am - 1:00 pm | Admission $2.00 | Free parking | EXHIBITOR FEES: $15/ 6’ Table 2 chairs w/each table reservation

Wednesday, March 30 | Illinois Meeting: Gurnee American Legion | 749 Milwaukee Ave. | Gurnee, IL 60031
|Speaker: Walleyes Unlimited Panel Discussion - Featuring Mike Orawiec, Jason Drewa, Steve Everetts and Dave King | Topic: Early Spring Fishing in Sturgeon Bay

Best Regards,  Bob Clark - Secretary and Media Director - Walleyes Unlimited USA

 

Niagara NY Area Fishing Report by Bill Hilts Jr.

1.       Lake Ontario and tributaries – Warm temperatures and melting snows created some decent tributary conditions in places like Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek. That said, it will probably change a bit when a heavy rain hits at mid-week. Melting now doesn’t usually add anything but a good flow. However rain will normally put some stain into the water in addition to adding more flow. The key will be how much rain. Too much rain may make it a little more difficult to target trout. You may have to use baits with bright coloration. Jigs tipped with a wax worm and fished under a float is the best approach, although just wax worms on a hook was good this week, too. Good news and bad news on that rain. It will make things a little more iffy for any ice fishing action that has taken place in the harbors. While some safe ice is reported at Wilson Harbor, you can’t get to it with open water along the shoreline edges. The same is being reported to the east. The piers have opened back up again and casters are reporting trout by tossing spoons and spinners. Some anglers are even talking about getting the boats out of the garage and doing some shoreline trolling for trout but no reports on success yet. Remember that there will be a free fishing weekend Feb. 13-14. While it was designed to help promote ice fishing, it’s for everyone who wants to try fishing those two days. Remember you still need to follow the regulations. Some of the harbors that have opened up like Olcott have been reporting an uptick in perch and pike action according to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker. And remember that the Lake Ontario tributaries are eligible waters in the Niagara River Anglers Association’s steelhead contest on Saturday.

2.       Lower Niagara River – Fishing was tough in the river this week even though the water didn’t appear to be that bad at mid-week. The best spot to be was the Niagara Bar, fishing three-way rigs for trout. Best baits were minnows or Kwikfish. Lake trout, browns and the occasional rainbow were all showing up at the mouth of the river. The forecast doesn’t look good for the weekend with high winds blowing in and some heavy rain predicted. That will make for an interesting Roger Tobey Memorial Steelhead Contest on Feb. 6 from sunrise to 2 pm. For more information contact 998-8910. It could be one of those years when the shore fishermen do better than the boat drifters. Spinners continue to be a hot bait for hardware casters.

3.       Upper Niagara River – Conditions have been fishable and spoons or spinners have been taking some trout around Broderick Park. Ice conditions in Buffalo harbor have deteriorated.

NYS Winter Classic Tournament – Fishing around New York State has been tough this year with the changes in the weather patterns. That said, some pretty impressive catches have come to the scales during the first month of action and there’s still nearly a month left – and it’s not too late to register. On the local front, Tyler Morrison of Barker is leading the trout division with a 16.79 lake trout from the Niagara Bar, caught on a swim bait. Leading walleye is a 14.24 pound lunker reeled in by Catrina Gumtow at Chaumont Bay. Charles Trump is tops in the pickerel division with a 6.4 pound Chaumont fish. Justin Walts has the top pike with a 16.57 pound fish from Black Lake; and Tom Allen is leading the yellow perch division with a 2.38 pound perch on a twistertail. Biggest crappie so far is a 2.74 pound fish caught on a Maki Plastice by Kevin Riley. Jake Pollack is first place in the panfish division with a 1.61 pound sunfish, caught on a spike and weighed in at Oneida Lake. Find out more information atwww.nyswinterclassic.com. The tournament ends on Feb. 28. 

Bill Hilts, Jr.- Director, Outdoor Promotions
www.Niagara-USA.com

Lake of the Woods Minnesota Fishing Report by Joe Henry

Ice fishing has remained steady throughout the weekend with the each day being different. Some days the morning bite was better and others an afternoon bite. Ice roads are letting half-ton pick-ups pulling 20’ houses on the lake. 3/4 ton pick-ups are being let out with portables. Contact your resort for more specific information. Ice averages 15-19”. Fishing in 25-35’. Some larger walleye being caught in 10 - 15’. Glow orange and pink are hot colors with a 1-2 punch of jigging and dead stick. More walleyes starting to be caught on south shore with saugers. Lots of good eaters.

The Rainy River is iced over and being fished in spots but mainly by locals who know the ice. Decent night bite in 16’ with sturgeon and eelpout mixed in with walleye. For safety, work through resorts.  Safety first.  Most anglers fishing the lake.

Up at the NW Angle, fishing is picking up each and every day. Ice is 23” where resorts like to fish on the Minnesota side and 15” on the Ontario side. Guides are finding mixed species all over. Finding walleyes on or near reefs around 26’ and saugers in the mud around 32’. Jumbo perch, monster pike, and a few eelpout in the mix. Large crappies are being caught around the 33’ mark with snowmobiles and guides on the Ontario side. Resort listings at www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com/Lodging

Joe Henry | Executive Director | Lake of the Woods Tourism | LakeoftheWoodsMN.com

Leave a comment