Have you heard the stories of monster fish being pulled from local lakes where you live? Those lakes you drive by and never really see anyone on. Well, a majority of these lakes are probably private and don't allow access to the public.
Over the weekend I was privileged enough to fish one of these local lakes in the Northwest suburbs where I live. I started in the late afternoon and continued into the evening. Let's just say the Walleye, Catfish and Bass were thick and plentiful. Hitting 4 inch roaches on tip ups like tiny little freight trains. It literally felt as if the tip ups were going off every two minutes after they were set. Can you say Crappify? That's right, I was Crappified. Crappie were continuously hitting glow jigs tipped with small minnows just before they reached a foot below the ice hole. Sure, it was cold, but an amazing adventure none the less.
So my point is, if you are a fisherman and know someone who resides on one of these private hidden gems, you may want to make a point of trying to fish with them. Some of these lakes are stocked every year with thousands of fish with a wide range in species. Since you don't live on the lake and pay association dues, it might be wise to ask the resident you know if you can keep the fish you catch. Otherwise, catch and release. It is a good habit to practice and well worth it. Another thing to remember is that even though some of these lakes are private, it doesn't mean the DNR can't be called out to them or regularly patrol them. So always have your current fishing license.
Remember to practice safe ice etiquette. Check the ice thickness before you get too far out and try to bring safety spikes. Springs could be prevalent and can be dangerous. You should always practice keeping your ice fishing area clean. When you are done fishing, make sure to clean up any garbage for the sake of others and the wildlife.