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Old 11-06-2005, 05:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default choosing a lake to fish

I think that my problem as to why i can only get only a few decent ice fishing days is because i was fishing to many different lakes and not getting a chance to learn them.... I figured that if i picked no more than 2 lakes to icefish i would have a better chance to "learn" these lakes.. Some of my choices are:
Shabbona Lake
Chain O' Lakes
Lake Michigan Harbors

My target species are crappie, walleye and perch. Any sugestions would be appreciated or if you have any other lakes to recommend then please let me know.. if any of you guys want to hook up and fish also let me know.
Thanks for any info, Dave Walleye
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Old 11-06-2005, 07:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Chain O' Lakes - Petite lake
It's one of the smaller lakes, so it's easier to learn. It has some current to help fish location.

I give this answer because it was the only Chain lake I icefished. I also open water fished it and Spring Lake Channel, so I had a lot of chances to learn the lake.

Crappie and walleye are targets here, along with gills, white/yellowbass and occasional muskie.
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Old 11-07-2005, 01:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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LarryM is right, Petite Lake is one of my favorite lake for ice fishing! Look for group and fish but not too close to them. Drilling holes often, no fish for 10 minutes then drill other hole. Change maggots or waxworm every 5 to 10 minutes. I like Busse Lake for a few hours of fishing that's only 15 minutes from my home. Docks where boat rent and fallen trees is a good place to start.
One place I real real want to try is Pelican Lake in Nebraska where I want to catch big monster 'gills!
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Old 11-07-2005, 02:47 PM   #4 (permalink)
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My recommendation for ice perch would be Belmont or Montrose harbors. You have to sort through a lot of smaller fish to catch enough for a fish fry. Look to see where other guys are fishing and set up nearby. Move around if you don't get action within 15minutes. Don't expect to get jumbos of 12" or more, they run smaller during the winter. "Keeper" size range from 8-12inches. Fish small fatheads about 6inches off the bottom or use a tiny Swedish pimple with a tear drop 12 inches above it baited with spikes. Sometimes you hook into bonus browns or rainbows, so make sure you have decent reels on your ice rods.
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Old 11-08-2005, 12:49 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thank you guys for the replies and your input on your thoughts, I thought to myself wow 74 people viewed this thread but only 3 replies ... well thanks to you who care to share your info with me, may the fishing gods be with you. Hey westwind, when you fish with the swedish pimple and the tear drop 12" up, do you leave the pimple bare or do you usually bait it?? I love the jumbos that I catch at the harbors in may-june, they are huge, lots in the 9"-14" range. I just wish they were around in the winter, but if they were, it would be a city out on the ice. Petite sounds good too, so I hope to give them 2 a try. I heard the southwest area near shore ( the Sand Bar) on lake marie was good for night walleye, is this true?
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Old 11-08-2005, 07:56 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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When it comes to success fishing on ice, several things are done to increase the odds in our favor. Fishing the lake when the fish are going is a huge key, so a good report helps. Ask for depths fish were found, type of bottom, structure(flats, bars, humps), cover(weeds, brush) and lure type and colors that produced. The presentation can be the least important, as colors and lure preferences change day to day and hour to hour. It's the wiggle that gets them and knowing what you were doing when you caught the last one will usually catch the next one too. I often don't fish the same place twice in a season, I prefer the challenge of new water. And just because you caught some there last week doesn't matter to the fish today. If you aren't seeing them on Aqua vu or Vexilar, its time to move.

All bodies of ice will have there ups and downs throughout a season. Fishing a lake or two or 3 and learning it well will help in the long run with experience. The experience of thinking hey, I saw this scenario before, the fish moved into XYZ area when they left area ABC everytime on lake Noneofyourbusiness.

I like Petite and Channel for panfish. Lots of guys ice fish Marie for the eyes during the day. Bangs can be tricky but good multi species action to be had. River backwaters. Theres also Delevan and Geneva. There's tons of small ponds you never heard of that are loaded with fish and are some of the best waters to fish around Chicagoland.

The lakes and waters I ice fish are all different throughtout the season. The bites on some are better for early and late ice in the shallows and backwaters. Some suffer low oxygen around the middle of the season as weeds die off and the fish may move to basin areas. Dying weeds give off bad gas and the fish leave. Then they return in late ice when the shallows re-oxygenate after a warm up and can be some of the hottest action all year. Mid season may require a move to a bigger body of water to locate more active fish not effected by Oxygen depletion.

Permanent Shanty towns are good clues to a "magic hour" bite when on a new lake. If you fish in the day time, then a check near these areas is a good place to start. It will at least give you an idea of what to look for on that body of water. You will see why the locals fish there and should be able to determine a PATTERN and find more spots on the lake that offer the fish what they want. A good map is a huge help to finding patterns. Often the best fishing is just outside the edges of a shanty town.

PATTERNS beat spots anyday, spots get burned up. Finding another area that offers similiar conditions can open up a honey hole all your own.

I hope this helps.
The rewards are worth the effort when it finally comes together, and you know what comes next...FISH ON!

Later,
LIW
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Old 11-08-2005, 07:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default spots to fish

Well we all know There are some good perch in LM. Shabbona is more of a muskie lake then any other species When i went fishing to Shabbona it was slow during ice season. The crappies are small. The Chain o lakes could hold big crappie and some nice walleye. Those are my 2 choices
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Old 11-09-2005, 12:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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I know this thread is about local hard water but I just wonder who else considers local to be within 6 hours like I do.
On that note I was reading about a lake on the west side of Illinois called Pittsfield that is said to hold and give up 10 lbs. + walleye. Has anyone tried it or would like to get together this winter for a road trip. It is about 4 1/2 hours from chicago.
On the local scene, Montrose Harbor is a great harbor to fish. Every year I get some nice perch and the occasional trout or small salmon. The best bet has already been said. A small swidish pimple has out fished jigs 4 to 1 for me. The secret to the larger ones is to move around and away from the crowds. I would give you the exact location but then I would have to, well you know. LOL However if you ever want to meet up at the harbor I will show the better areas.
Just be careful at the harbors, the ice can be 6 inches in one spot and 2 in another area.

Smelt
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Old 11-09-2005, 01:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I don't feel confortable to ice fish any Lake Michigan harbors. If very good ice then I fish and stay away from near mouth of the harbor. Burnham Harbor is good and never know bonus nice pike. Chain O' Lakes is good with many resorts and several baitshops that you can find which is hot. I bring minnows, maggots and waxworms. Large shiners if I want to fish for walleye and pike on tip ups.
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10.98 lbs and 10.05 lbs Bass in Florida in March of 2008! Both released!
9 bass over 6 lbs, life member of Muskie, Inc., 48" released.
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Old 11-09-2005, 10:16 PM   #10 (permalink)
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i'm up for a possible road trip to pittsfield smelt, keep us posted. would have to be on a weekend for me. im working 2 jobs and i cant get away during the week...
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