Saturday, January 25, 2014

going back to early ice

early ice in lake county illinois
Cold and windy, those are the words that come to mind when I think back on this winter. I often question my sanity for choosing to continue residency here but I do admire the resiliency of our people. We have endured record low temps this winter without even missing a beat. I'm not gonna go on about a polar vortex, negative 42 wind chills, or the consistent snow but I will say we have made more ice this year then I've ever seen. The ice is super healthy and the weather shows no sign in letting up just yet. And, despite all that nasty we have found some mild days to get out on the water. We have even caught some fish. Maybe the fish have been a bit more negative over all but you would kinda have to expect that. I am a firm believer that weather makes a big impact on fish behavior, even under a foot of ice.

ice fishing redear bluegills
As I am a bit lagging in my posting, these photos were from early ice on a few different lakes in the northern section of Lake County Illinois. We did well fishing heavy weeds for crappies and bluegills. If you look hard at my hummingbird display you can make out the bottom three or four feet is almost solid weeds. In fact, if you don't know what your looking at you could mistake it for being bottom. For what its worth, we got most of our bites once we got our jigs down into the jungle. For someone who has become flasher dependent, you almost feel blind fishing in this fashion but, at least the flasher showed you when your jig was in the weeds. Get that jig down there and shake it and wait for your fish. It did feel kinda old school, fishing them without seeing them, but was refreshing at the same time. We have had some nice redear bluegills mixed in with the other panfish too.

the elusive lake county illinois walleye
Early ice didn't disappoint as Neal was able to get a hook in a nice Lake County Illinois walleye. Goes to show you that you never know whats gonna turn up on a panfish jig and waxie. That walleye was healthy and strong and is certainly a fish to make anybodies day. She looked even better swimming away. I'm going to keep hammering away to catch up on my ice fishing trips. Be warned that there wont be many pictures of piles of fish sitting on the ice as I've elected to let my my fish go this winter but you'll get the drift. Sorry if the resolution of these pics are a bit grainy as my whole ice fishing season pics for the blog are coming off my cell phone...


  1. you smoked the fish. i think you will need more Mountain Dew the way the flasher is lit up.

  2. Nothing like a Lake County Walleye. It really takes some expertise to bag them. I only had limited success in my time there. Nice job.

    1. Never been any good at pinpointing them either. I've gotten a few out of some lakes with better populations but has always been more of a bonus fish.

      I don't actively pursue them though

  3. Very nice eye, let em' go, let em' grow!