Outdoors: Ice fishing going strong around Northwest Indiana
By Dale Bowman Sun-Times Media January 2, 2014 9:56PM
Updated: February 4, 2014 10:36AM
Some surprises are bigger than others when it comes to ice fishing.
The biggest surprise may be that there is ice thick enough to fish nearly universally for the first time in several years.
Then there are the other big surprises, say the big buffalo a local fisherman caught Monday on the first day of ice fishing at LaSalle Fish and Wildlife Area. I would love to know his name. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I don’t know how he got it through the ice,’’ property manager Ken Bisacchi said. “He caught it on a jigging Rapala, didn’t snag it or anything.’’
Most who are ice fishing Black Oak are chasing largemouth bass.
And tip-ups for largemouth are the big story at Willow Slough FWA, which tends to be more noted for its panfish action. Mormon Hill reopens to ice fishermen on Monday with deer hunting ending Sunday.
Property manager Mike Schoof said the Slough has 4-6 inches of ice and he expects it to build much over the coming days.
“It is tip-up city,’’ said Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station. “If a guy wants to go down there and get 50 runs, he can.’’
He said jigging for the panfish is going the first two hours around dawn and the last two hours around sunset, best around the cattails. During the day, it’s time to try golden roaches on tip-ups for the largemouth.
Sleziak said Loomis is hit or miss, the back bay is OK for crappie, starting at bottom and bring it up. He said Three Rivers is sporadic, but it has been loaded with guys trying.
So far the pike caught at Wolf Lake have been on the smaller side, reported staff at Mik-Lurch Fishing Tackle Outlet in Hammond. Wolf has the potential to produce monsters for ice fishermen. Otherwise, most on Wolf are targeting largemouth, too.
But mainly it is the joy of ice.
“They are out,’’ Sleziak said. “They are pulling up at 5 (a.m.) in the dead of dark. They are happy there is ice and they are going. Some are doing good, others are not even catching anything, but are glad to be out.’’
Deer: Special antlerless deer season ends Sunday. Kingsbury FWA has not reached the cap of 100 hunters daily, but is averaging about 60 or so. ... Archery for deer and turkey ends Sunday. ... Remember Jan. 10 is the deadline to take tree stands off state property.
Waterfowl: The ice is good for ice fishermen, not so much for waterfowlers. For instance, there were only six ducks taken second season at LaSalle. ... Schoof said only two parties at the Slough tried duck hunting second season and goose hunters have largely watched geese congregate around the bubblers at the launch or fly toward Illinois. ... The second goose season in Indiana’s north zone ends Sunday.
Fishing notes: Some are still busting holes in the ice at the slip north of 87th to catch many perch on Chicago’s Southeast Side. Winter weather will likely end that soon. ... Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert said some are still trying, with limited success, for steelhead in the streams. Otherwise, the lakefront is locked up.
DNR input: The DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife wants to hear ideas on fish and wildlife related regulations in Indiana. Through Feb. 28, the public can use an online form to contribute ideas and provide input on issues. Go to wildlife.IN.gov, then to the “Got INput?’’ box near the middle of the page.