Sunday, December 29, 2013

Ice Fishing Catfish in Illinois

Saturday it got up to 53 degrees and was a bright sunny day... Actually not the best conditions for ice fishing with the bright sun, but we started early in the morning and got set up on a hole loaded with big channel catfish. We were fishing in 17-24' of water and using small jigs jampacked with 2 or 3 waxworms.


The bite was real good early on, with fish rising a couple feet off the bottom to bite, but then after an hour or so fizzled down to just a fish here and there. When the sun started rising, we would either place the bait directly on the bottom or just a couple inches off the bottom. The catfish would just barely nibble for quite some time before actually being able to set the hook on them.

When ice fishing for big catfish, getting them to bite is only the beginning! Getting them through the hole and onto the ice with just 4 lb test is an adventure in and of itself... Its super fun!!

By about noon the catfish were pretty much done biting altogether and we had a pile of fish to clean. Here are some group photos:

My mom stole the show with a feast of a lunch consisting of chili, nachos, smoked pork, and some other goodies! I didnt get any food pics, but here is a cool group pic of all the guys she fed:

Oh yeah, we didnt just catch catfish. Some of the guys were looking for big gills and other bonus fish as well... Also like the catfish, the bite was decent early, but then as the sun rose it slowed down to a slow crawl.

This bluegill went home to go hang on the wall:

This smallmouth was the star of the show today.. She is a sturdy young fish that I raised in a cage off my dock back in 2009 until she was big enough to release into the lake... She has 100 other friends out in the lake swimming around just like her that have state record potential in just a couple more years.

Oh yeah, last weekend after church I took my kids fishing for a bit at a couple of our specialty ponds near Hanna City to check on the fish... We had fun catching perch, trout, and smallmouth:

Also on Friday we went fishing down at Otter Creek Preserve. It was a very slow sunny bite, but we caught some very quality fish. Seriously, when its sunny the bite is very tough. We still catch some fish, but I cant wait for a 30 degree cloudy day for the fish to come in an slam the bait! Here are the fish that went home for dinner from Friday:

I will post more of the Friday pics of some very big bass hopefully in a day or two... Can't forget about them... These pics are worth the wait, we caught some real nice bass and the biggest ice fishing surprise fish of all!!!

So anyhow this Saturday January 4th we will be ice fishing at a giant property in Canton, IL. It has 40 lakes and ponds on it and we will be exploring several of them. If anyone has their own gear and would like to fish with us this day, the cost is $75 and we will start fishing at 7 am. All of my vexilars and gear are spoken for already so am just limited to guys with their own gear. There is about 300 acres of water here so plenty of room and I am chomping at the bit to get your help in exploring this private Gem.... I will be writing more about this place in the weeks to come! Email for more information. It looks like we just may end up with a nice long good ole fashion ice fishing season this year!!

Shoot! I forgot about Christmas Eve fishing trip. High School state champ Justin Schick and his cousin Bryce came out with me for a couple hours. Now there really wasnt a competition going on, but by the looks of the pics it looks like Bryce is ahead in just about every category...

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