No excuse for Cabin Fever with these outdoor opportunities

January offers no shortage of outdoor opportunities to fish, hunt and trap across the Midwest. Up north, ice fishing is going strong. Down south, open water still exists. Deer seasons are wrapping up and predators become a focus. Don’t even think about letting cabin fever rear its ugly head. Check out the following Midwestern fishing and hunting opportunities for some winter time outdoor enjoyment. 

Illinois – Lake Egypt Largemouth 

The Southern Illinois Power Cooperative created Lake Egypt in 1962 to provide water for a power plant. The result has been great fishing year-round for more than half a century. Located just south of Marion, what makes this 2,300 acre reservoir special in winter is a warm water discharge that keeps the water temperature up and the largemouth bass active. With a robust population of largemouth, Lake Egypt offers anglers big number days when other lakes are either froze over or too cold to be productive. Nick Shafer of Rend Lake Fishing Guides also operates on Lake Egypt. He said, “In the winter, I start on the warm water end of the lake looking for windblown banks with bait pushed up. We’ll throw a lot of Rat-L-Traps, and on a good day, catch 30-50.” 

Kentucky – Kentucky Lake Crappie 

There is no off season for crappie fishing at Kentucky Lake. The winter bite can be excellent.
“Kentucky Lake is known for offering some of the Midwest’s best crappie fishing all year, including throughout the winter. January is actually a beautiful time to visit the lake. You’ll catch crappie and should expect to see a number of bald eagles. We have plenty of resorts, guides and restaurants waiting to serve you,” said Elena Blevins, Executive Director of the Kentucky Lake CVB. Vertical fishing jigs along the edge of a drop-off is a prime tactic.

Kansas – Bobwhite Quail 

December and January offer good bobwhite quail hunting in Kansas. The season runs through January 31. With over 1,000,000-acres of Walk-In-Hunting-Access (WIHA), you can plan a last-minute trip and not have to worry about access. Jordan Martincich, the Director of Development for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever is a longtime Kansas resident.  He said, “Plan your hunt for after Kansas’ firearms deer season which typically ends in Mid-December. During this time, it is hard to gain access to private land and many folks are chasing deer on WIHA areas which increases competition for land and lodging. Bring your dog boots. Many parts of Kansas have those pesky sand burrs and goatherds that will leave your pooches pads raw if you hunt them unbooted for an extended period of time.” He also suggests that prior to planning your trip, you’ll want to review Quail Forever’s 2020 Quail Hunting Forecast and KDWPT’s 2020 Upland Bird Forecast to determine where quail populations are strongest. 

Indiana – Crow Hunting

If you spent any time watching television in Indiana during the 1990s, you’re likely familiar with the famous crow mascot singing, “There’s more than corn in Indiana, there’s In-di-ana Beach.” Well, that crow better be careful come December, because crow hunting is a great way to pass the winter months in the Hoosier State. With most agriculture fields now empty, hiding in a fence row with a few decoys laid out in front of you is a great way to experience some winter wing shooting. According to Marty Benson, Assistant Director of the DNR’s Division of Communication, electronic calls are allowed when hunting crows. However, bait is not allowed by federal law when hunting crows or other migratory birds. 

See you down trail…
Brandon Butler

Pic: Kentucky Lake crappie fishing is just one of many available outdoor adventures in January. 

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