1/29 Purgatory

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1/29 Purgatory

Postby RonG » Jan Sun 29, 2017 9:47 pm

I'm in fishing limbo, man. Let me out.

Checked out the pondies today for ice. Nothing to even whack my spud bar into.

Pond #1

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The water is so dirty, I wouldn't want to fish it if I could. The remaining ice looks to be decent quality. I just don't like doing the "walk the plank" thing to get out to it.



Pond #1 (Roach Motel)


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The ice is trying to form, but the wind every day is slowing things down.

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Mark my words. Ice fishing WILL return!







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Re: 1/19 Purgatory

Postby Skifish1 » Jan Sun 29, 2017 10:20 pm

You could find ice up to shore just need to pick your lakes. I was on 3" new formed hard ice today starting from shore.
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Re: 1/29 Purgatory

Postby RonG » Jan Sun 29, 2017 11:36 pm

I heard of some guys out on Zurich today. I might try that soon as it's been many years since I've been there. I really, really had some great times when I could find the big crappies there. Navy Pier is calling my name also.
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Re: 1/19 Purgatory

Postby Aux Pleins » Jan Mon 30, 2017 4:55 am

6inches on busse sunday afternoon. I'm sure it was closer to 3inches along shore though.
Nature and shit.
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Re: 1/19 Purgatory

Postby SmalliesNEyes » Jan Mon 30, 2017 9:34 am

RonG wrote:I heard of some guys out on Zurich today. I might try that soon as it's been many years since I've been there. I really, really had some great times when I could find the big crappies there. Navy Pier is calling my name also.


There should be safe ice on most bodies of water(ponds and small lakes) by this weekend, I think. Saturday I drove by a pond that was fully open water. Sunday evening I drove by the same pond, and it was completely frozen over. Obviously, it's not safe ice, but it wasn't skim ice, either. They're locking back up pretty quickly.

And... avoid the Pier until some better reports come out, Ron. I was out there Saturday. About 40 other guys, or more. It was the dead sea. I fished 5:15am - 9:00am. Caught 5. Two were about 9", the rest were minnow-sized. All went back into the water other than a tiny little guy I used for cut bait. Everyone else around me, same thing. They'd catch one, then wait 30 mins, catch another, wait 20 mins. They were catching some bigger fish, but very few numbers. Seems the west winds might have pushed the bait out of there, and the perch schools followed. Didn't see a single bait ball. Although, the guy next to me managed about 5 keepers. One of which was a 16 inch fish! Was a true jumbo. We thought he had on a trout or salmon of some sort until he lifted it up. He was using a double-jig perch rig tipped with waxies, right on the bottom. He and I both caught all our fish on the same thing. Jig tipped with waxies, right on the bottom, jigged aggressively. Tried everything, and they either weren't there, or weren't eating very much. Minnows, spikes, waxies, jigging raps, jigging spoons, shrimp, and cut bait were all tried with very little to show for it. I think that was the first day I've ever been to NP where I've left earlier than I needed to. Most the time I'm trying to stick it out till the very last second before I have to walk and get my ticket validated and get out of there by 10. This time... nah. Packed it in early. Just wasn't fun, and was cold with 15-20mph w/nw winds.
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Re: 1/29 Purgatory

Postby RonG » Jan Mon 30, 2017 11:54 am

SmalliesNEyes wrote:And... avoid the Pier until some better reports come out, Ron. I was out there Saturday. About 40 other guys, or more. It was the dead sea. I fished 5:15am - 9:00am. Caught 5. Two were about 9", the rest were minnow-sized. All went back into the water other than a tiny little guy I used for cut bait. Everyone else around me, same thing. They'd catch one, then wait 30 mins, catch another, wait 20 mins. They were catching some bigger fish, but very few numbers. Seems the west winds might have pushed the bait out of there, and the perch schools followed. Didn't see a single bait ball. Although, the guy next to me managed about 5 keepers. One of which was a 16 inch fish! Was a true jumbo. We thought he had on a trout or salmon of some sort until he lifted it up. He was using a double-jig perch rig tipped with waxies, right on the bottom. He and I both caught all our fish on the same thing. Jig tipped with waxies, right on the bottom, jigged aggressively. Tried everything, and they either weren't there, or weren't eating very much. Minnows, spikes, waxies, jigging raps, jigging spoons, shrimp, and cut bait were all tried with very little to show for it. I think that was the first day I've ever been to NP where I've left earlier than I needed to. Most the time I'm trying to stick it out till the very last second before I have to walk and get my ticket validated and get out of there by 10. This time... nah. Packed it in early. Just wasn't fun, and was cold with 15-20mph w/nw winds.


Thanks for the detailed update! Bad reports are just as valuable as good reports to me. I hit the pier Saturday night for the first time in six (I think) years. Pretty weird for a guy that fished it 2-3 times a week all winter, every winter to just quit for six years. I caught 2 and covered a lot of water looking for them.

Many guys think they are there but not not hitting. They couldn't be more wrong...the perch have moved out, and are really not very far away. I always hear anglers talking on how the perch instantly "turned off" and "turned on", like every 30 minutes or so. Nobody's flipping a giant perch bite light switch off and on, over and over either. They are in big schools, roaming around looking for chow. The schools are so large, that even if the bite is "off", some of those fish will hit.
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Re: 1/19 Purgatory

Postby catchafew » Jan Mon 30, 2017 12:47 pm

Ron, That pond I PMed you about last week had a couple guys Ice fishing it yesterday.
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Re: 1/29 Purgatory

Postby RonG » Jan Mon 30, 2017 12:57 pm

catchafew wrote:Ron, That pond I PMed you about last week had a couple guys Ice fishing it yesterday.


Thanks! I think for the rest of this season, I'll get out of my rut of fishing the same 2 ponds + 1 FP lake and might give that a try. Zurich might be next. LZ still scares me because it gave me my only close call ever, ice fishing. Very weird and unpredictable ice. Bangs can cram it with their stupid shanty license fees. I'm not going to sit on a bucket and freeze when I own several shanties. I fish there too few times to cough up their fishing tax.

I gotta try Shabbona too for the first time soon.
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Re: 1/19 Purgatory

Postby SmalliesNEyes » Jan Mon 30, 2017 1:00 pm

RonG wrote:
SmalliesNEyes wrote:And... avoid the Pier until some better reports come out, Ron. I was out there Saturday. About 40 other guys, or more. It was the dead sea. I fished 5:15am - 9:00am. Caught 5. Two were about 9", the rest were minnow-sized. All went back into the water other than a tiny little guy I used for cut bait. Everyone else around me, same thing. They'd catch one, then wait 30 mins, catch another, wait 20 mins. They were catching some bigger fish, but very few numbers. Seems the west winds might have pushed the bait out of there, and the perch schools followed. Didn't see a single bait ball. Although, the guy next to me managed about 5 keepers. One of which was a 16 inch fish! Was a true jumbo. We thought he had on a trout or salmon of some sort until he lifted it up. He was using a double-jig perch rig tipped with waxies, right on the bottom. He and I both caught all our fish on the same thing. Jig tipped with waxies, right on the bottom, jigged aggressively. Tried everything, and they either weren't there, or weren't eating very much. Minnows, spikes, waxies, jigging raps, jigging spoons, shrimp, and cut bait were all tried with very little to show for it. I think that was the first day I've ever been to NP where I've left earlier than I needed to. Most the time I'm trying to stick it out till the very last second before I have to walk and get my ticket validated and get out of there by 10. This time... nah. Packed it in early. Just wasn't fun, and was cold with 15-20mph w/nw winds.


Thanks for the detailed update! Bad reports are just as valuable as good reports to me. I hit the pier Saturday night for the first time in six (I think) years. Pretty weird for a guy that fished it 2-3 times a week all winter, every winter to just quit for six years. I caught 2 and covered a lot of water looking for them.

Many guys think they are there but not not hitting. They couldn't be more wrong...the perch have moved out, and are really not very far away. I always hear anglers talking on how the perch instantly "turned off" and "turned on", like every 30 minutes or so. Nobody's flipping a giant perch bite light switch off and on, over and over either. They are in big schools, roaming around looking for chow. The schools are so large, that even if the bite is "off", some of those fish will hit.


Spot on. My same thoughts when I failed miserably Saturday morning. They've moved on out. Like I said in my other post, the strong west winds have pushed the bait out of that channel, and the perch schools followed them on out. Likely need some east winds before we can get back out there and catch in there again.
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Re: 1/29 Purgatory

Postby RonG » Jan Mon 30, 2017 1:11 pm

SmalliesNEyes wrote:
Spot on. My same thoughts when I failed miserably Saturday morning. They've moved on out. Like I said in my other post, the strong west winds have pushed the bait out of that channel, and the perch schools followed them on out.


My #1 rule for perch is that if you're not catching them in 10-15 minutes, you have to move. The problem with NP, is that you don't have the freedom to do that with all the guys fishing. You're lucky to get there and find a spot to squeeze in and might not be able to move until after 10 am when everyone leaves. If you do move, your original spot is gone if you want to return.

Night fishing is tougher, but like Saturday, you might have roam of the whole pier to yourself like I did. Night is a less guaranteed thing, but you can move. My first night outing, I worked almost the entire pier without a bite. Fighting not to pack it up, it took over an hour to land one, but when I did, it was bonkers! Winter perch are much smaller on average, but I went home with a limit of big jumbos, the biggest batch of winter fish I ever caught there. I've repeated the night time big fish thing quite a few times. 2 dinks on Saturday was a let down.
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Re: 1/19 Purgatory

Postby SmalliesNEyes » Jan Mon 30, 2017 1:36 pm

RonG wrote:
SmalliesNEyes wrote:
Spot on. My same thoughts when I failed miserably Saturday morning. They've moved on out. Like I said in my other post, the strong west winds have pushed the bait out of that channel, and the perch schools followed them on out.


My #1 rule for perch is that if you're not catching them in 10-15 minutes, you have to move. The problem with NP, is that you don't have the freedom to do that with all the guys fishing. You're lucky to get there and find a spot to squeeze in and might not be able to move until after 10 am when everyone leaves. If you do move, your original spot is gone if you want to return.

Night fishing is tougher, but like Saturday, you might have roam of the whole pier to yourself like I did. Night is a less guaranteed thing, but you can move. My first night outing, I worked almost the entire pier without a bite. Fighting not to pack it up, it took over an hour to land one, but when I did, it was bonkers! Winter perch are much smaller on average, but I went home with a limit of big jumbos, the biggest batch of winter fish I ever caught there. I've repeated the night time big fish thing quite a few times. 2 dinks on Saturday was a let down.


I tend to try and go when others would be staying home. My best day out there came about 6 years ago. Me and a buddy went on a 35 degree Saturday in February that was slated for rain all morning. Rain gear over our winter gear, and we were fine. Worst it did to us was mist on us the whole morning. Never any steady rain or downpour. Caught our limit of fish, with no keepers under 10 inches, by 7:30am, and were gone. We were the only ones on the pier that day. :lol:
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Re: 1/29 Purgatory

Postby RonG » Jan Mon 30, 2017 1:51 pm

SmalliesNEyes wrote:I tend to try and go when others would be staying home.


I did that once by picking the coldest day of the entire winter to fish. Daytime and nobody but me on the pier. The ice was unbreakable, but I found one crack that opened between two ice sheets and fished that and got some.

My reward for that day was being tapped on the shoulder by Emmy award winning Anita Padilla and interviewed for the NBC5 news. Some lousy breaking story of a Chicago house of squalor where the neglected kids were found fighting over who got the rat feces and paint chips to eat got my segment bumped. But at least they showed me fishing on the opening shots of the news.

I've always liked Anita Padilla (and her dad too!)

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Re: 1/19 Purgatory

Postby DasGoby » Jan Mon 30, 2017 2:19 pm

I think the lakes in SE Michigan were in even worse shape but the refreeze has begun. This weekend is 50/50 but the following weekend is looking really good.

Ron why not try some places on the Fox Chain? I used to really like Petite Lake. The crowds were never bad, you can catch lots of yellow and white bass at times, good size crappie, gills, perch. I've heard that access has gotten harder though. Also, like most of the chain you have to be cautious in iffy conditions do to the current.
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Re: 1/19 Purgatory

Postby SmalliesNEyes » Jan Mon 30, 2017 3:11 pm

DasGoby wrote:I think the lakes in SE Michigan were in even worse shape but the refreeze has begun. This weekend is 50/50 but the following weekend is looking really good.

Ron why not try some places on the Fox Chain? I used to really like Petite Lake. The crowds were never bad, you can catch lots of yellow and white bass at times, good size crappie, gills, perch. I've heard that access has gotten harder though. Also, like most of the chain you have to be cautious in iffy conditions do to the current.


I took Monday off next week in the hopes that the ice is good enough again. Figured I might as well drink some beer on Superbowl Sunday, and then wake up and fish in the morning. Gonna have to get out Saturday or Sunday to spud my local ponds/lakes to see what's up. I'd hate to waste the day off by sitting around the house watching TV with the dogs.
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Re: 1/29 Purgatory

Postby RonG » Jan Mon 30, 2017 3:18 pm

DasGoby wrote:Ron why not try some places on the Fox Chain? I used to really like Petite Lake. The crowds were never bad, you can catch lots of yellow and white bass at times, good size crappie, gills, perch. I've heard that access has gotten harder though. Also, like most of the chain you have to be cautious in iffy conditions do to the current.


Yep, I should do that too. I used to fish Pistakee 2-3 times each winter and always got fish. Great variety too. I just hate the drive of over an hour one way. My free parking at Pistakee is gone now. If it's snowing on the way home, the drive gets to be like 90 minutes, especially going through the slowest place on the planet, Barrington. I should have a few good spots saved on my hand held GPS to tap into. :wink:

I fished Fox Lake for a small tourny once and won that. That was a funny one. It turned out to be a horrible fishing day and maybe 3 fish total were caught by the other contestants, most skunked. I checked in with a nice haul of white bass. Everyone was like, "How'd you do that?" and were even suspicious. Answer: I spotted on the ice a friendly bunch of Asian folks and instantly I could tell they were regulars and most likely would have the lake dialed in. They all had these matching ice sleds they built with storage drawers, worked as a wind break etc. I asked if I could tag along and fish near them knowing they would be free guides and put me on fish. It worked! Gotta be observant to your surroundings if you want to catch fish! :idea:
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Re: 1/19 Purgatory

Postby SmalliesNEyes » Jan Mon 30, 2017 3:22 pm

RonG wrote:
DasGoby wrote:Ron why not try some places on the Fox Chain? I used to really like Petite Lake. The crowds were never bad, you can catch lots of yellow and white bass at times, good size crappie, gills, perch. I've heard that access has gotten harder though. Also, like most of the chain you have to be cautious in iffy conditions do to the current.


Yep, I should do that too. I used to fish Pistakee 2-3 times each winter and always got fish. Great variety too. I just hate the drive of over an hour one way. My free parking at Pistakee is gone now. If it's snowing on the way home, the drive gets to be like 90 minutes, especially going through the slowest place on the planet, Barrington. I should have a few good spots saved on my hand held GPS to tap into. :wink:

I fished Fox Lake for a small tourny once and won that. That was a funny one. It turned out to be a horrible fishing day and maybe 3 fish total were caught by the other contestants, most skunked. I checked in with a nice haul of white bass. Everyone was like, "How'd you do that?" and were even suspicious. I ran into a friendly bunch of Asian folks and instantly I could tell they were regulars and would have the lake dialed in. They all had these matching ice sleds they built with storage drawers, worked as a wind break etc. I asked if I could tag along and fish near them knowing they would be free guides and put me on fish. It worked! Gotta be observant to your surroundings if you want to catch fish! :idea:


I've fished Pistakee and some other Chain lakes for the gills and white bass quite a bit on the ice. It's really the only place I fished hard water when I first got into it. Occasionally got a walleye, bass, etc. mixed in with em too. Not a bad spot to go. Like you said, the problem is the drive. Where you at that it's such a long ride for you?
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Re: 1/19 Purgatory

Postby DasGoby » Jan Mon 30, 2017 3:25 pm

Answer: I spotted on the ice a friendly bunch of Asian folks and instantly I could tell they were regulars and most likely would have the lake dialed in. They all had these matching ice sleds they built with storage drawers, worked as a wind break etc. I asked if I could tag along and fish near them knowing they would be free guides and put me on fish. It worked! Gotta be observant to your surroundings if you want to catch fish! :idea:


Great and informative story! Some of my Petite info came at the cost of a beer at the local bar across from the park that used to be an access point.
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Re: 1/29 Purgatory

Postby RonG » Feb Wed 01, 2017 11:42 pm

Well, it's been 3 days since this ice checking report, so I went out tonight to see all the beautiful newly formed ice. There was none. Same amount of open water. Hadn't changed one bit :evil:

I honestly thought that I'd be fishing the midnight bite tonight. :oops: Maybe I'll throw on a wetsuit of mine and go swim some laps instead.
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