Lakes Area Fishing Report 01/01/12-02/06/12
Our unseasonable weather has created many challenges so far this ice season, or lack of one in the first part of January.
Smaller lakes have lost ice in Walworth, Racine and Kenosha counties for the most part, but being careful anglers can still find safe, fishable ice throughout the area.
Delavan Lake has uneven ice near Lake Lawn and along the rock wall near the inlet, there is safe ice, just use caution there is still open water in the middle of the lake.
Before our recent warm-up the south end of Delavan near the Island to Willow Point had an average of 5-8” of ice with all-terrain vehicle traffic being safe, I have not seen any wheel traffic past the bays in the past week.
Use extreme caution until we get some hard cold nights to firm things back up.
Fishing has been fantastic with mild temperatures and consistent weather in the past few weeks.
The nights have been cold enough to hold the ice we have, but not enough to gain many inches on thickness.
Geneva Lake may not even freeze enough to be safe this year. Geneva Bay right now is 2-3” of ice and is very spotty.
A few anglers are venturing out by foot, but I would not advise going out on Geneva.
Hopefully February will bring sub-zero temps to lock Geneva up, as I am geared and ready to chase lake trout and those jumbo perch and slab crappies Geneva is known for.
Using the Vexilar in the past weeks has helped put fish on the ice. The mood of the fish has changed by the hour requiring constant change-ups in jig size, color and shape. The Vexilar has helped read this mood, being difficult without the technology.
Many of the fish have been hugging bottom, slowly working the bait up producing bites watching the spring bobber and the Vexilar closely seeing the ever so light bite.
It may seem like first ice, but we are certainly in "Mid-Season".
The safest area on Delavan is the bay area around the Island on the west end of the lake.
The east end near Lake Lawn and the public launch has had bad ice all season. The ice formation was very uneven with many open holes yet visible.
Take caution if fishing the east end of the lake. The middle of Delavan is very thin and has weakened after our last warm spell.
Delavan has been producing excellent bluegill and crappie action both early morning and afternoon into the evening.
Fishing shallow water holding remaining weeds has been key. I have been fishing small natural colored jigs in a size 16 such as, Rat Finkies, Fiska Jigs and Tear Drop Spoons tipped with wedge plastic tails in red and purple.
On clear high pressure days tipping the jigs with spikes has helped with finicky biters.
The northern pike action has been awesome in the past week and a half also fishing the shallow weedy bays.
I have also caught nice pike fishing the deeper weed line in 12-15 feet of water. Setting out my Frabill Classic and Beaver Dam tip-ups with large shiners and dead bait such as smelt, herring or sardines have worked great.
Many fish have been in the 28-34” range with many larger fish swimming past under the hole. A few of the fish have been scarred up already; the mild weather may have some of the pike pre-spawn already.
The walleye action has been a little hit and miss, but we have been picking up a few walleyes fishing at night starting in 12-17 feet of water finishing the night in 2-4 feet of water.
Setting my Beaver Dam tip-ups, Automatic Fisherman’s and my Arctic Warriors with XL Fathead minnows just above the weeds has been a winning plan.
The perch bite has been getting better and better every year. This year has been no exception.
The perch have been a little on the small side, but putting time in, anglers will be rewarded.
I have been fishing in 40-45 feet of water using my Fiska Tungsten Jigs or a larger Rat Finkie packed with spikes.
It is a very finesse bite; being 40 feet of water it has been tough to detect the bite.
Feeding on midge larvae versus a minnow feeder, the bite is much lighter than Geneva perch.
Little to no Ice
Geneva has yet to be safe on the ice, but the open water bite for “Graveyard” walleyes trolling at night has been productive.
Long-line trolling #12 and 14 Rapalas in Gold/Black, Silver/Black or perch patterns has worked well.
The lake trout bite has also been excellent trolling spoons in 75-90 feet of water or snap jigging over the side of the boat on calm days using spoons or tube jigs has produced fish.
The perch bite has also been good fishing Milwaukee Shiners or Emerald Shiners under floats in 8-12 feet of water out to 22-30 feet of water.
Crappie action has been slow. In my experience, fishing Trinkets Estates in the afternoon into the night produces great crappie action this time of year through the ice.
Fish the “Flats” in 8-15 foot of water, looking for the greenest weeds left standing.
The gill/pumpkinseed bite has been good out of the boat, but can be tough being such a finesse bite.
Using light line, small floats and micro presentations has been a necessity.
Hopefully our upcoming colder weather may at least put safe ice on Geneva Bay.
Trippe has been producing good gill and perch action.
A few 8-9” gills have been caught, but a lot of sorting through smaller fish has to be done.
Fishing off of the launch and to the dam has been the best action.
Smallish pike ranging 22-30” has been caught fishing large shiners on tip-ups above the weeds.
Lauderdale Lake Chain Area
The Lauderdale Chain has been tough so far this winter. Being full of springs I have not ventured to far on the chain.
Anglers have been catching numbers of small pan fish being caught in Mill Lake and Green Lake in the past week.
The large mouth bass and northern pike bite has been good fishing shallow weedy bays and area around Goose Island.
Wind Lake has been producing nice gills fishing 6-8 feet of water around Grass Island and near the public launch. Using black/glow Moon Jigs or Tear Drop Spoons tipped with plastics or spikes has produced.
Crappie action has been slow, but usually picks up this time of year.
Crappies are very nocturnal on Wind, so fishing after dark is the winning plan to catch some nice slabs in the 10-12” range. Fishing the first drop-off in 12-17 feet of water has been producing some fish.
The northern pike and large mouth bass action has been excellent fishing the shallow weedy areas using large roaches on tip-ups.
Around Grass and Wood Island has been hot for action and numbers of fish.
Lake Como has been producing excellent action on northern pike in the past few weeks. A few nice large mouth have also been caught.
Setting tip-ups in the deeper holes on Como has produced well.
Being a shallow lake 8-11 feet will find you in the deepest parts of the lake.
Tipping the rigs with large shiners or dead bait such as smelt or herring has worked great.
Jigging spoons, Salmo Chubby Darters or Jigging Rapalas has worked well icing bass and northern pike.
Be sure to tie on a Seven Strand or Fire Line leader to prevent “bite-offs”.
The pan fish action has been good, but not much for size; still fun for the kids jigging up small gills while waiting for “flags”.
Kegonsa has been producing nice perch fishing 22-35 feet of water off of Williams and Colladay Point.
Fishing small jigs tipped with spikes has worked well.
A few walleyes have also been caught fishing deeper water jigging Northland Buck-Shot spoons or Jigging Rapalas tipped with a minnow head.
Setting tip-ups with large fathead minnows set within the bottom 3 feet of water column has produced perch and walleye action.
Gill action has been slow.
Rock River System
Blackhawk Island is still locked up with ice, but anglers have been catching size and numbers of walleye, perch and northern pike at Indian ford and Jefferson dams.
Casting a jig/minnow combination or a split-shot rig tipped with a minnow has produced.
Koshkonong has been hit and miss for walleye action.
With uneven ice conditions I would not recommend venturing out on Kosh until the weather turns colder.
Lake Michigan Harbors and Rivers
The harbors in Racine and Milwaukee were on fire after we had fishable ice.
Our warm weather last week weakened the ice again making it unsafe to fish.
Milwaukee and Oak Creek at Bender Park has opened back up allowing boat fishing once again.
Brown trout, steel head and lake trout have all been biting around the Milwaukee River Inlet, Jones Island and out past the Gaps and near the We Energies Power Plant.
Vertical jigging Gulp! Jerk Shads, Pearl White 3-4” Tubes, spoons and casting cranks has produced.
Trolling has worked better some days using snap weights, dipsey divers and down riggers fishing 22-33 feet of water.
Fishing slip-floats tipped with spawn and shiners has caught finicky fish around the warm water discharges.
Curing the spawn with Pautzke’s Fire Cure has had an advantage over fresh spawn adding scent with Krill Oil.
Racine had been hot producing Steel head and Browns under the ice fishing spawn sacs fishing near Reef Point Marina tied in Chartreuse or Orange bags cured with Fire Cure or Borx O’ Fire cures.
If you do not have any fresh spawn, tying up Pautzke’s Balls O’ Fire Eggs in sacs juiced up with Pautzke’s Nectar and Krill Oil will fit the bill.
Using light line in 6 or 8# fluorocarbon with a small #8 Gamakatsu Octopus Circle hook rigged on my Automatic Fisherman’s.
In the open water areas, casting cranks, spoons or fishing floats with spawn or shiner minnows has produced trout and northern pike within the marinas and break walls.
Pictured here is Clayton with a nice Delavan Pike.
Next to the Vexilar FL-18 is a nice 8 1/2" Blue gill caught on Delavan Lake.
John Reddy a local fishing guide operates Reddy Guide Service in the Delavan area. He is a professional fishing guide and educator licensed by the Department of Natural Resources and a United States Coast Guard licensed Great Lakes Charter Captain. John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. His opinion is not necessarily that of the The Gazette staff or management.