Boating Lake County Blog

Ice Fishing in Lake County

Bangs Lake Wauconda  Photo From Bangs Lake Bait Co Facebook

Lake County contains 935 square miles of lake water. That means, when that Midwestern cold comes into town, the ice fishermen (and women) prepare to catch their prey.

Plus, since there are so many venues for you in Lake County, you don’t have to experience an extremely cold night in the shanty, because ice fishing is right in your backyard.

Finding the right spot is vital as it is nearly impossible to boat during Lake County’s quintessential temperatures. Here are some of the perfect areas to find walleye, crappie, trout, pike and other species in Lake County.

Lake County Forest Preserves

Lake County Forest Preserves allow ice fishing at a few of their areas. At these preserves, you should practice the catch-and-release style of fishing so Lake County can maintain its strong species and populations. It is mandatory at places like Independence Grove, but not at all of the lakes.

When you step on the ice (essentially at any body of water) the ice should be at least 4.5 inches thick and the hole must be drilled at six inches in diameter.

Here some of the Lake County Forest Preserves and the fish that they house that permit ice fishing. They are a catch!

Independence Grove
16400 West Buckley Road Libertyville, IL 60048
Fish: Musky, northern pike, black crappie, largemouth bass, channel catfish, walleye, bluegill and yellow perch

27277 Forest Preserve Road Wauconda, IL 60084
Fish @ Banana Lake Only
Fish: Trout and Bass

Van Patten Woods
15838 West Route 173Wadsworth, IL 60083
Fish @ Sterling Lake
6:30 am – one hour after sunset
Fish: Bass, Catfish, northern pikes and crappie

North Point Marina
There are two piers or docks for ice fishing at North Point Marina, which is located at Winthrop Harbor. All bass in the Lake Michigan’s waters are all catch and release. Some of the fish you can catch are bass, pumpkinseed sunfish and bluegills.

Chain O’ Lakes

This 987-acre lake is a staple in Lake County boating community. With 15 lakes that connect to the Fox River, you’re sure to find your ice fishing haven. The species of fish that call these lakes home include the walleye, largemouth bass, muskellunge, yellow perch, bluegill, catfish, black crappie, bullhead, white bass, yellow bass, carp, and the northern pike.

Other area events

Lake County provides the opportunity to get in fishing duels with your peers. While the ice is thick, register for one of the area ice fishing derbies like the 11th annual LVVA Fishing Derby and the 60th annual Chain O’Lakes Fishing Derby.

Be sure to make the right angler and maybe you will have the catch of the day and do a jig.

11th Annual LVVA Fishing Derby

It’s a one on one matchup between you and flounder. Who’s going to take the gold? Actually, you are not only trying to the fish, but you’re trying to defeat the rest of the Lake County ice fishing community in the 6th annual LVVA Fishing Derby. Registration begins at 5 am on January 25, 2020, and a prize is given to the biggest fish of each category. The check-in tent will also have extra bait provided by Smitty’s Bait & Tackle.

60th Annual Chain O’ Lakes Fishing Derby and Winter Festival

Grab the catch of the hour at this 60 year old fishing derby on the Chain O’ Lakes. There will be raffles, and good eats at the Conservation Café. Besides a family-fun festival, there will also be a grand prize for the largest and the smallest catch of the day! The Derby will be held in February 2020 (exact date TBD).

EDS Video Screenshot

Newsletter Sign Up

Tile Docklines

Subscribe Now

Fees & Stickers

Tile Stickers

Learn More

Boat Ramp Maps

Tile Maps

Download Now

Featured Partner


Visit Site

Get your Lake County, Illinois Visitors Guide now!

Download Visitors Guide Request Visitor Info