Outdoor Reports and News

Here are the latest reports and news from the outdoors.  If you have a report, news or photos to share, send them to iloutdoors@comcast.net.

Walleyes Unlimited news by Bob Clark

Additional information regarding the Wisconsin meeting speaker for December.
December 10th – The Walleyes Unlimited speaker at the  American Legion Greendale Post 416 | 6351 W. Grange Ave. | Greendale, WI 53129 will be Luke Roffler, Sr. Fisheries Biologist, Wisconsin DNR. Guests are welcome the Fee is only $5.

“Improved Walleye Stocking in Southeastern Wisconsin”
Luke Roffler is a Senior Fisheries Biologist for the Wisconin DNR. His territory are within 3 counties. He is in responsible for inland lakes in Kenosha & Racine counties and all of Walworth county Wisconsin.

Luke’s presentation will focus on the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative and its effects on walleye stocking this year and into the future.
With a resource like Luke this will be a great opportunity for a lot of Q & A from someone that has the pulse of the inland lakes and streams of Southeast Wisconsin. Now will be a great time to get your question answered about a specific body of water in his area.
Luke has spoken to numerous clubs like ours and has been well received with good reports about his information and presentation. Another interesting topic that should provide some quality information about our area lakes & streams.

Rend Lake Fishing Report by Randy Cordray

LARGEMOUTH BASS Good Worms, black and blue jigs, minnows, and spinner baits. Fish in shallow bays near brush cover and bushes. Fish around bridges and along the rocks. Reports of fish being caught around Jackie Branch, Sandusky Cove, and below the dam. 14” minimum length limit, 6 daily creel limit. 1 fish daily creel limit in PONDS 14” minimum length.
CRAPPIE Good Jigs are working well. Quarter-Ounce pink and white tub jigs. Small & Medium Minnows. Meal worms. Lately, many fishermen have been fishing at Big Muddy bridge and Highway 154.  Fish the main lake drop off areas.  Try the Gun Creek Area. From shore fish near structures, hot spots are Jackie Branch, Sandusky,  Sailboat Harbor, Marcum coves, and Ina Boat Ramp. 25 fish daily creel limit with no more than 10 fish 10 inches or longer
BLUEGILL Good Crickets, worms, wax worms, meal worms, small jigs. Fish in the back of necks and on flat shallow banks and on the rocks. Try fishing shallow with crickets, worms or small jigs. From shore try Sailboat Harbor. 10 fish daily creel limit in PONDS. 
CHANNELCATFISH Good Sonny’s stink bait, Hoss’s Hawg Bait, leeches, night crawlers, and large minnows. Try the Waltonville Dam, Turnip Patch, Jackie Branch, and North Sandusky Day Use Area. Set line 3-4’ from the shore over rocks. Try leeches in moving water.  Drift fish the flats. 6 fish daily creel limit in PONDS.Jugs must be attended at all times while fishing.
WHITE BASS Fair Jig and curly tail grubs, inline spinners. Fish in shallow bays near brush cover and bushes. Fish around along the rocks and dropoffs. Reports of fish being caught around  the 154 bridges. 20 fish creel limit.No more than 3 fish 17” or longer daily
Information as of:  11/17/2014LAKE LEVEL: 405.83     AVERAGE POOL FOR THIS DATE: 404.83     WATER TEMP:  44°F

Use of a minnow seine, cast net, or shad scoop for bait collecting within 1000 yards downstream of the Rend Lake dam and spillway is prohibited.

Maps of the Fish Attractor tree locations along with GPS readings are available at the Rend Lake Corps of Engineers Project Office.  Contact Randy Cordray for more information at (618) 724-2493.  In order to maintain a cleaner recreation area, anglers and bow fishermen fishing below the dam are asked to return dead rough fish to the water.


Rend Lake Waterfowl Report by Randy Cordray







CANADA GEESE 0 Nov. 8 – Jan 31 Daily Bag Limit – 2Possession Limit — 6
SNOWS/BLUES 800 Nov. 8 – Jan. 31 Daily Bag Limit – 20 Snow/Blue & Ross’ Geese 1 BrantPossession Limit – Unlimited Snow/Blue & Ross’ Geese, 3 Brant
WHITE-FRONTS 600 Nov. 19 – Jan. 31 Daily Bag Limit – 2Possession Limit – 6
Information as of:  11/17/2014LAKE LEVEL: 405.83      AVERAGE POOL FOR THIS DATE: 404.83                                                                CASEY FORK: 411.90       BIG MUDDY: 411.69





Illinois Deer Archery Update by Paul Shelton, Forest Wildlife Program

This report recevied from Chris Young, IL DNR.

Through Sunday, November 16, 2014, Illinois archery deer hunters harvested a preliminary total of 44,003 deer, compared to 43,670 for the same period in 2013.  Harvest to date has consisted of 46.5% does and 53.5% males (20,476F: 23,527M) , while harvest sex ratios during the past week  were 34% female and 66% male).  Top five counties are Pike (1730), Fulton (1279), Jefferson (1056), Adams (977), and JoDaviess (961).   A table of county results is attached.

Paul Shelton, Manager\Forest Wildlife Program

Lake Shelbyville Report by Steve Welch

The lake isn’t frozen yet but we have seen water temps fall to 39 up on the north end and 46 on the main lake. The crappie are bunched up and you can limit out very quickly. We got five limits from one down tree the other day. Wind has been the problem and will be this week as well. Between that and the cold we have just been fishing until we limit out or around noon. We are still tight lining small jigs down in brush and down trees up on the north end. Colors vary with the amount of sun we have. Bright days clear colors have been working best. like the Bass Pro Crystal Minnow then on dark days we are using Midsouth orange and chartreuse glow or plain chartreuse glow both on my 3/32oz. Deep Ledge Jig and light line. Switched over to six pound mono just because it ices up less than braid. We have fished in 18 degree temps this past week and still are just tearing them up.

Make sure anyone using their boats in this extreme temps drains all water from both the boat and the motor. I always leave it on the ramp for ten full minutes draining to ensure no water left in plumbing of boat or lower unit of motor. I have seen lower units freeze up just on the ride home so don’t take chances.

Steve Welch

Niagara NY Fishing Report by Bill Hilts

Lake Ontario and tributaries – The big news is the monster storm that has received some big media hype. Not everyone is exposed to this extreme weather, though. Niagara County was shielded from the first blast that made headlines and we’re expecting 3 to 6 inches before it’s all said and done. Not bad at all. That said, if you come in via the Thruway, make sure it’s open! There are ways to get here, though, if you really want to wet a line here locally. Over at Burt Dam, brown trout top the list of angling targets, but steelheads aren’t far behind. Greg Stanley of All in the Same Boat reports a good number of salmon still hanging around, too – some of them fresh. Egg sacs or egg imitations work best but a jig tipped with a wax worm and fished under a float is starting to come on strong. Water flow was good and it should improve more now that the Erie Canal is closed for the season. As it releases water, tributaries like 18 Mile Creek should benefit. The piers at Wilson and Olcott are still good bets if the winds aren’t too strong to get out there. Be careful if they are icy!

2.       Lower Niagara River – With the recent snow storm event hitting Lake Erie, murky water conditions have created a question as far as the boat fishing. Up until that point, the lower river has been producing a mix of steelhead, browns and lake trout from both boat and shore. Boat fishermen have been using a three-way rig set up, bouncing bottom with egg sacs or egg imitations when the conditions are right. When the wind is from the south or southwest, many anglers switch over to wobbling baits like MagLips, Kwikfish or other types of hard baits that work best when the drift is a bit quicker. From shore, beads or sacs will work and even if the water is off-color, you can still do well in tight. Just look for cleaner water. Spinners and spoons will also catch fish, too. The stairs at Artpark should be back open this weekend after some closures during the week. The New York Power Authority has been taking things day by day as far as its access. For example, the fishing platform was closed last Monday because the stairs were just too icy. It normally closes for the season on December 1, but if the ice and cold weather continues, it could close earlier than expected.

3.       Upper Niagara River – Muddy water and extreme weather conditions have been hampering the area around Buffalo. Remember that musky season closes on Nov. 30 in the Upper Niagara River and Lake Erie, but the Lower River and Lake Ontario remains open through Dec. 15. Bass are still an option when things start to clear up.

Bill Hilts, Jr.
Director, Outdoor Promotions

Lake of the Woods Minnesota Report by Joe Henry

Ice is forming up at Lake of the Woods.  With temps in the single digits, bays, the Rainy River and sections of the lake are freezing up first.  The backwater of Bostic Bay has 7 inches and local spearing outfitters have houses out.  Water clarity is 3-5′ and pike are being speared.  With the high winds, the big lake is still open in parts.  Ice is forming along shorelines and is out from Pine Island as far as the eye can see.  No ice fishing as of yet.  As always, keep posted, work through resorts and guides for safety.

The Rainy River has been frozen over in many parts since this past weekend.  Areas with current remain open.  Ice is forming but no ice anglers yet.

Up at the NW Angle, same story.  Ice if forming very nicely and everything is locked up.  There has been some local foot traffic on the ice close to shore and things are coming along nicely, but no fishing activity as of yet.  Regardless of what part of the lake you head out on, please work through the resorts and guides for safety.  When the time comes, ice trails are marked for good reason, stay on them.  Frequent ice updates on Lake of the Woods Tourism’s Facebook page.  Ice fishing reservations at www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com/lodging.

Joe Henry Lake of the Woods Tourism

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