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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since I am a teacher, I can only fish on the weekends. :( Because of this I can't wait until Christmas break. The week of New Years I plan on fishing five different lakes (or rivers) in five different days.

The problem is that I haven't fished much in NW Chicago, especially during the month of January (never been ice fishing). I would love it if as many people as possible could post their top five Chicago winter fishing spots (Preferably not ice fishing spots, because I don't own the equipment; unless someone wanted to show me the ropes . . .).

After I compile my list of places (based on your posts) I will write separate posts for each spot I intend on going for more info on location, bait and overall presentation.

I know this is early to start talking about. However, if I have a solid plan I feel that it can lead to five quality reports in the first week of January.

Thanks for all of your help,

-Islander :D
 

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1.You can probably fish for perch down on the lakefront. Navy Pier is probably your best bet if you don't want to fish through the ice.

2. You can always fish the Warm Water Discharge at Busse during the winter months.

3. The Northshore Channel of the Chicago River would be another place to try, as there is a discharge there as well between Oakton and Howard.
 

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theres the fox river warm water discharge. not exactly sure where that is. jnapodano or mrb should be able to point you in the right direction.

i haven't tried it but there are a couple warm water discharges on the big pond. i believe you can fish the comed plant by waukegan and the amoco discharge on the south side. i think the amoco discharge is in indianas waters however.

or you can head way south and go to texas or florida for some southern bass!
 

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The warm water discharge up north by the power plant is actually off-limits, but the one down south is okay to fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
mmmmm, Florida and Texas sounds nice. :wink:
 

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I heard of a discharge in Batavia not sure exactly where it is tho, thats more jnap's neck of the woods. I havent been past S Elgin yet on the fox.

The dam areas dont freeze on the fox, I have only fished the river for one winter thus far with more poor results than better. I know others have done well sometimes standing next to me.

Sorry I couldnt be more help, I'm just learning the river myself
 

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Good post, Sean. And i'm sure you'll get lots of suggestions.

Open water fishing during late December in Chicago can be challenging, but certainly can be done.

For many years I have fished the Northshore Channel of the Chicago River and the Busse warm water discharge during the winter to satisfy my fishing jones. So those two spots should be tops on your list.

For the Northshore Channel you could do a couple of spots... Howard Street and Foster Ave. Just north of Howard street is a discharge that produces many fish and there is a dam at Foster that is also productive. And these spots can produce BIG fish!

After the NSC and Busse WWD, try some of those dams and discharges on the Fox River.

Beyond that there is always Monster Lake in Mazonia. That's about 80 miles south of you, and a popular winter open-water spot.

Finally I say go with Lake Michigan. Most of the harbors will be completely open water in December. Also the discharge in Waukeegan.

Now Sean, if you wanna stick around the hood for your fishing excursions, there are several spots on the DesPlaines River that stay open, and most of the forest preserve lakes will have open water (Skokie Lagoons, Busse, Beck), which you can try, but you'll want to load up on minnows, patience, and booze in hopes of getting a nice fish and actually enjoying yourself.

I'll speak for all of us in that we'll be very interested in your outings!
 

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Agreed..

1-Navy Pier for perch before the harbor ices up.
(New Years Day is always a good start there, lots of folks fishing..)
2-Fox River WTP's will be open and probably up to 10 degrees warmer than the main river.
3-trout pond at the Boat RV show... :lol:

Mazonia did ice up last year, so I wouldn't trust it being open.
(January late)
Rivers might be the best bet.

In February, there is a icefishing benefit in N. Illinois.
If you show up I bet there will be many willing to help and/or give tips to a new icefisherman..

If you go, let us know in a report!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wow, thanks for all the great tips guys.

I used to fish the NSC in the summer under a bridge not too far from Wilmete harbor. Its a nice spot because there is a golf course on both sides of the bridge (nice and quiet all the time).

I looked at a google earth picture of the NSC around Howard and I couldn't see anywhere to park near there. I think I will have to do some exploring ( :wink: ) before I go out there with my gear.

So I have decided three out of the five; the Busse wwd, NSC around Howard and Navy Pier (my girlfriend works for Chicago Shakespeare Theatre so I can give her a ride one day.)

Thanks again for all the help.
 

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Rollcast said:
In February, there is a icefishing benefit in N. Illinois.
If you show up I bet there will be many willing to help and/or give tips to a new icefisherman..
yup, can't wait for this event! Walk On Water... www.icebenefit.com

Our very own Catman is the founder and director of this event and it promises to be the best one yet. Tons of prizes and raffles. I'm proud to be a sponsor for this event.

i know i'll be looting tips from seasoned ice anglers and walk away a well informed icefisherman. :mrgreen:
 

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Augy said:
i know i'll be looting tips from seasoned ice anglers and walk away a well informed icefisherman.
Step 1 Drill a big hole
Step 2 Bait hook on tipup
Step 3 Put the bait in the hole from step 1
Step 4 Wait for tipup to pop.
Step 5 Pull in fish.
Step 6 Keep warm.

For best results...........Repeat steps 1 - 6 through out the day.

Nothing to it :wink:
 

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:wink: lmao!

i have a few extra steps i need to take.

step A. go buy a big hole drilling machine
step B. go buy a tipup
step C. go buy icefishing tackle
step D. go buy a fishfinder made for ice
step E. go buy warmer clothing than i have now
step F. go buy a big gigantic sled or ATV to lug this stuff out to the ice
step G. survive the wife interogation, possible smackdown and the inevitable "go sleep on the sofa" and wake up with the worst backache ever episode.

then i can proceed to step 1.
 

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LOL!

Augy, start out small. I don't think that you should go right out and buy an ATV.
 

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Augy
Fish with me.

I have the auger, scoop, ice rods, depth finder, camera, tip ups, bait, radio, beverages, and sled full of gear.

Plus as a special treat, I'll let you pull my sled full of :
auger, scoop, ice rods, depth finder, camera, tip ups, bait, radio, beverages, etc..

:D
 

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lol good stuff guys

hey Islandfisher, what kind of a teacher are ya? I'm actually in my 3rd year of college studying to be a high school biology teacher... maybe I'll get a couple of my future big bass trophied and put em' up in my classroom... hah hah, that'd be nice. There was actually one teacher from my high school who had one smallmouth and one largemouth trophied and on the wall of his classroom. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
krnfishboy,

I actually just graduated last year with a bachelors of music education degree. I am certified to teach k-12 and wanted to teach middle school but had trouble finding a gig. I ended up in an elementary music teacher in the ghetto. Weekend and summers off are a great thing for us teachers being fishermen and all :!:

I don't have any mounts in the room. However I do have the full size version of my avatar next to paintings of Bach and Mozart. The kids are convinced that the pike is an alligator!
 

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There is actually tons of parking at Howard Street, Sean. You can park in the Jewel parking lot at Kedzie and Howard and there is a spot on the northeast corner of Howard and McCormick for people to park.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'm glad to hear that there is parking so close. In fact I might try the NSC this sunday since the bears don't play.

Anyone have any suggestions as far as bait? Should I try the same types of tactics used at the wwd?
 
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