Author Topic: New to Illinois - Crystal Lake Area  (Read 962 times)

Offline Capn Ez

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New to Illinois - Crystal Lake Area
« on: Jan 02, 2019, 04:45 PM »
Hey, Gents.  I'm new to IL and just moved to Crystal Lake.  35 years of experience ice fishing all over New York and New England, but clueless when it comes to IL.  Right now it doesn't really matter since what little ice we had is gone, but would appreciate hooking up with anyone from the area to get out when conditions allow.  I've got plenty of gear and a 4-wheeler, so no worries there.

Who wants a new ice fishing buddy??  :tipup:
My mission is goin' fishin'.

Offline John_BZ

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Re: New to Illinois - Crystal Lake Area
« Reply #1 on: Jan 02, 2019, 05:48 PM »
Welcome. Tell us a little about yourself. What do you like to fish for ? There is plenty of opportunity if you are willing to put some work in and find it. As far as ice goes this is an unusual year. Normally we have somewhere between 6-10" of ice by now.

Offline Capn Ez

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Re: New to Illinois - Crystal Lake Area
« Reply #2 on: Jan 02, 2019, 07:26 PM »
Hey, John. Thanks for replying. I met some of my best friends back East on this board. Started fishing with one guy and ended up with a big group.

Anyway, I like to fish for whatever is in peak season and try to catch big ones 😀  Generally I start early in the season for pike, salmon and trout on the jig and tipups in shallow water and move out deeper toward mid-season and go for crappies, perch, bass, pike, etc. The main difference I can see here is the average water is very shallow in comparison with the Northeast. A bunch of crossover in species and a bunch of different ones. I don't mind putting in my time to learn the water. That's the price you pay when you do new things in the outdoors. I'm good with all the work to be successful. I'm your basic reliable, patient, extremely hard-working outdoorsman. I have tons of posts on this site under the CT forum and always try to share what I learn and help people figure it out.

I have a (almost) 9 year old daughter who loves to come fishing with me so if anyone likes to take the wee ones out, I'm all for that.

That's the gist of it. I'd love to get out with some local folks who can share some of the basics about the area with me.
My mission is goin' fishin'.

Offline John_BZ

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Re: New to Illinois - Crystal Lake Area
« Reply #3 on: Jan 03, 2019, 10:18 AM »
If you like to fish for trout and salmon dont be afraid to go into Wisconsin. There is world class brown trout fishing in the milwaukee area. 20lb+ is not that uncommon. There are occasional fish in the 30lb range caught. The harbors also hold monster pike. Here in Illinois there is some decent panfish, bass and walleye fishing on the fox chain. The chain receives an enormous amount of pressure and being part of the fox river system it also has areas that never freeze even if we have 2ft of ice. Some lakes have alot of current. It can be tough to pattern the fish mid season but once you do the fishing can be pretty decent. If this weather keeps up you may have to wait another year to find out though

Offline Capn Ez

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Re: New to Illinois - Crystal Lake Area
« Reply #4 on: Jan 03, 2019, 02:33 PM »
Thanks, John.

I'm definitely interested in big trout and salmon.  When you say "Milwaukee" where do people ice fish there?  Definitely looks like some northward travel is in order.

I would like to hook up with someone to go out (don't really care where or for what) just to get my bearings.  Walleye, pike, bass, crappies, perch...whatever.
My mission is goin' fishin'.

Offline fishEH

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Re: New to Illinois - Crystal Lake Area
« Reply #5 on: Jan 03, 2019, 11:42 PM »
Looks like heading north id's going to be the only option for us Northern Illinois folks for a while here.  :(

Offline PoleJerker

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Re: New to Illinois - Crystal Lake Area
« Reply #6 on: Jan 04, 2019, 10:30 AM »
Welcome to Illinois wish you would of brought us ice.

Offline Capn Ez

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Re: New to Illinois - Crystal Lake Area
« Reply #7 on: Jan 04, 2019, 10:39 AM »
Welcome to Illinois wish you would of brought us ice.

Me, too!  My buddies are out with the wheelers now back East and soon they'll be out in the trucks.  Not looking too good here for the next week or two.

I was thinking about taking a trip up to Sturgeon Bay WI for a weekend to go for some Wallys, whitefish and whatever else is biting.  Green Bay has ice  ;D :tipup:
My mission is goin' fishin'.

Offline John_BZ

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Re: New to Illinois - Crystal Lake Area
« Reply #8 on: Jan 04, 2019, 01:46 PM »
If you decide to go be careful up there. I've heard the ice pack isnt locked in on green bay yet and the ice is moving daily. Some people have fallen through little sturgeon bay recently.

Offline Capn Ez

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Re: New to Illinois - Crystal Lake Area
« Reply #9 on: Jan 04, 2019, 06:13 PM »
If you decide to go be careful up there. I've heard the ice pack isnt locked in on green bay yet and the ice is moving daily. Some people have fallen through little sturgeon bay recently.
I wouldn't go for a couple weeks from now. I'd have to do a little planning. Thanks for the heads-up on the ice quality. I was thinking of maybe booking a guide for a day and then going it alone. Anybody else want to go??
My mission is goin' fishin'.

Offline John_BZ

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Re: New to Illinois - Crystal Lake Area
« Reply #10 on: Jan 04, 2019, 07:11 PM »
I'd recommend JJs guide service. I've rented shacks from him in the past. He is young but he works hard. Even on the unguided hardside rentals he still makes sure you are catching fish and will move the shack as needed. Also reasonably priced. If the ice pack was good enough to drive on I'd be willing to head up there and freelance. I've fished it enough to not need a guide. This year is not panning out well so far. Hope things change in the next couple weeks.

Offline esox_xtm

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Re: New to Illinois - Crystal Lake Area
« Reply #11 on: Jan 04, 2019, 07:24 PM »
Oh good. More FIBs...  :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao:

It's OK guys, just fooling around. Our ice here in Lake Country (West of MKE) is sketchy though there are usually plenty of opportunities by this time. Can't think that the Harbor is good for any ice at all. That's the browns etc. that were mentioned previously. Even Green Bay is touch n go.

That said, if you're willing to head even farther north, there's good ice north of that line that corresponds roughly to Hwy 10. Oneida/Vilas counties have a good 12-14" on most lakes right now.

You can thank Al Gore now. :P
To fish or not to fish? That's a stupid question!




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Offline John_BZ

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Re: New to Illinois - Crystal Lake Area
« Reply #12 on: Jan 04, 2019, 07:47 PM »
Oh good. More FIBs...  :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao:

It's OK guys, just fooling around. Our ice here in Lake Country (West of MKE) is sketchy though there are usually plenty of opportunities by this time. Can't think that the Harbor is good for any ice at all. That's the browns etc. that were mentioned previously. Even Green Bay is touch n go.

That said, if you're willing to head even farther north, there's good ice north of that line that corresponds roughly to Hwy 10. Oneida/Vilas counties have a good 12-14" on most lakes right now.

You can thank Al Gore now. :P
When cheddar heads quit workin in Illinois I'll quit fishing in Wisconsin! All kidding aside thanks for the info !

Offline esox_xtm

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Re: New to Illinois - Crystal Lake Area
« Reply #13 on: Jan 05, 2019, 09:18 AM »
Just foolin' around flatlanders. Congrats on the Bears, at least they're a team I can respect along with their fans. Unlike another NFC team from Minnesota that shall remain nameless.  ::) :whistle:

Actually got a cousin living in Crystal Lake and he's not been disowned. Yet. Mostly because he's still a Packer fan.
To fish or not to fish? That's a stupid question!




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Offline Capn Ez

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Re: New to Illinois - Crystal Lake Area
« Reply #14 on: Jan 11, 2019, 12:21 PM »
Just foolin' around flatlanders. Congrats on the Bears, at least they're a team I can respect along with their fans. Unlike another NFC team from Minnesota that shall remain nameless.  ::) :whistle:

Actually got a cousin living in Crystal Lake and he's not been disowned. Yet. Mostly because he's still a Packer fan.

Well, I'm a transplant and native New Yorker, so I'm a rabid Giants fan.  My best day this season was hanging an L on the Bears (there wasn't much else  ;D ).
My mission is goin' fishin'.

Offline esox_xtm

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Re: New to Illinois - Crystal Lake Area
« Reply #15 on: Jan 11, 2019, 06:43 PM »
Well Capn, I stand corrected. Thanks for handing the Bears that "L". Didn't help us but what the hey.

BTW, I think there's medication for rabies...  :roflmao:
To fish or not to fish? That's a stupid question!




"Life's too short to worry, life's too long to wait..."

Offline Capn Ez

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Re: New to Illinois - Crystal Lake Area
« Reply #16 on: Jan 22, 2019, 11:18 AM »
4" on Crystal Lake now 👍✔️🎣
My mission is goin' fishin'.

Offline Unclegillhunter

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Re: New to Illinois - Crystal Lake Area
« Reply #17 on: Jan 22, 2019, 11:34 AM »
4" on Crystal Lake now 👍✔️🎣
are ya fishing?
Keep it safe! JDL

Offline Capn Ez

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Re: New to Illinois - Crystal Lake Area
« Reply #18 on: Jan 22, 2019, 03:57 PM »
Not yet, but I got reliable info with pictures  ;D  Definitely safe ice except near the creek flowing in on the west side.  I'll be out there over the next week though. 
My mission is goin' fishin'.

Offline Arquero3d

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Re: New to Illinois - Crystal Lake Area
« Reply #19 on: Jan 22, 2019, 05:52 PM »
Welcome to Illinois!  As you have already seen, there will be plenty of good fisher-folk around here willing to show you the ropes.  If you find yourself downstate or just like to drive 3.5 hours to fish, I will be happy to take you out.  I fish primarily private waters between Galesburg and Macomb.  I get out as often as I can, but the wife gets angry if I spend more than 30 days on the ice each season! ;D
Fisher of Fishermen

Offline Capn Ez

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Re: New to Illinois - Crystal Lake Area
« Reply #20 on: Jan 23, 2019, 11:14 AM »
Welcome to Illinois!  As you have already seen, there will be plenty of good fisher-folk around here willing to show you the ropes.  If you find yourself downstate or just like to drive 3.5 hours to fish, I will be happy to take you out.  I fish primarily private waters between Galesburg and Macomb.  I get out as often as I can, but the wife gets angry if I spend more than 30 days on the ice each season! ;D
Well, thank you for the warm welcome!  I've already gotten lots of friendly responses and plan to fish with some folks from the board this weekend and next week.  Cheers!
My mission is goin' fishin'.

Offline Capn Ez

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Re: New to Illinois - Crystal Lake Area
« Reply #21 on: Jan 31, 2019, 03:38 PM »
A little late on the reporting, but I was able to catch walleye on my first try on Crystal Lake.  I saw a couple guys get a short pike and a short walleye over five hours or so...fishing was slow.  Right at dusk I started catching, but nothing to write home about - all under 14".  There were about 20 groups out, all crowded around the access point.  I got away from the crowd and got leg workout dragging the sled, but it was worth it and now I can say I've never been skunked on that lake  ;D
My mission is goin' fishin'.

Offline John_BZ

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Re: New to Illinois - Crystal Lake Area
« Reply #22 on: Jan 31, 2019, 04:30 PM »
A little late on the reporting, but I was able to catch walleye on my first try on Crystal Lake.  I saw a couple guys get a short pike and a short walleye over five hours or so...fishing was slow.  Right at dusk I started catching, but nothing to write home about - all under 14".  There were about 20 groups out, all crowded around the access point.  I got away from the crowd and got leg workout dragging the sled, but it was worth it and now I can say I've never been skunked on that lake  ;D

Thanks for the report. Good luck fishing tomorrow. I'll be on the chain this weekend.

Offline Capn Ez

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Re: New to Illinois - Crystal Lake Area
« Reply #23 on: Feb 07, 2019, 01:48 PM »
Fished a small former gravel pit close by my house Tuesday.  Unknown fishery of unknown quality, first time trying it.  Went with two other guys who jigged the entire time with little success - two small crappies and some micro bluegills.  I couldn't get a bite jigging with a bigger spoon tipped with a live minnow (my way of screening out short fish...size up the bait) so I think the panfish run really small in there.  Lots and lots of fish on the graph but few producing a return stronger than my bait.  I dropped in some tipups with 4-5" roaches to soak while I jigged with futility.  First tipup popped about an hour into it with a 16" LMB.  About every hour or hour and a half a tipup popped.  All LMB 3lb, 2 x 4lb and a nice 21"/5lb as I was picking up my gear and packing the fliphouse around 4pm.  All five bass were healthy, nice girth to them and released unharmed.  All came from 12.5 FOW to 18 FOW. Main takeaways...fairly fertile lake for being an old gravel pit, tons of tiny panfish as the forage base and a decent population of LMB making a living off the forage base.  Anyway, pretty much every time I fish it's a new, unknown lake for me now, so I go back to the patterns that have worked for the last 30 years and they're working so far.  Tight lines and good fishing, fellas.
My mission is goin' fishin'.

 



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