Steve Sarley: Cary's Chris Taurisano ready for busy winter

Matt Madlener of T-Bone Guide Service shows off a northern pike from Long Lake of the Chain O'Lakes. Cary's Chris Taurisano owns the guide service.
Matt Madlener of T-Bone Guide Service shows off a northern pike from Long Lake of the Chain O'Lakes. Cary's Chris Taurisano owns the guide service.

I recently wrote about a couple of ice fishing guides who I know and can recommend for an exciting day on some frozen water, Tod Todd and Tony Boshold. Of course, they aren’t the only guides doing business on the ice in northern Illinois, and if you have any other recommendations, I’d love to get your input.

I know of another gentleman who guides on hard water, and I can wholeheartedly give him my seal of approval. Chris Taurisano is ready and willing to offer his extensive knowledge of ice fishing combined with his expertise of our area’s waterways to give you a tremendous ice angling experience.

I don’t know where 42-year-old Cary resident Taurisano gets the energy to do all that he does. He’s married and has a daughter, “Frankie,” who is about to turn 2. He plays guitar and sings in a popular local band. He books about 300 open-water fishing guide trips a year, which means a lot of doubleheaders on his schedule. In past years, he filled his winters booking jobs as a union electrician. That is what I call busy.

Taurisano, who has been guiding full time for the past eight seasons, always has booked some ice trips. It’s hard to balance an electrician’s schedule with that of an ice guide. This year, he has made the bold leap of exclusively guiding on the ice and not twisting wires. It’s a huge financial gamble. He told me that he had made his decision in the spring when we were out in his boat chasing walleyes on the Chain.

Taurisano had established the T-Bone Guide Service awhile back and assembled a crew of guides to help with all of the bookings that roll in during open-water season. Lincoln Buchanan, Andy Schiera and Matt Madlener are the other members of Taurisano’s T-Bone crew.

“Now I have the support to run a professional ice guiding service,” Taurisano said. “This year, I’ve got commitments from the gang, and that gives me the partners I need to make things work. We’ve got everything we need to offer totally professionally outfitted ice trips. We can handle groups of 15 to 20 without breaking a sweat, and we even are hosting a day on the ice for a group of 50 this season.”

Taurisano has been ice fishing for almost all of his life. He was 5 when his father started dragging him out on the frozen water.

“I love ice fishing,” he said. “It’s a different kind of love than what I have for open-water fishing. Both kinds of fishing have their perks. I love eating the fish we catch through the ice. I love jigging up a mess of crappies, and I love fighting a big pike on a tip-up.”

Taurisano and the T-Bone crew will be working primarily on the Fox Chain but also will be hitting a few of the area’s smaller lakes. On the Chain, Taurisano is playing to his strengths. He is the best in the business on the Chain in open water.

“Our ice fishing relates to our open-water fishing quite a bit, for the most part,” Taurisano said. “We know the structure, the location of the cribs, the points, the bottom composition and the migration patterns of the fish.”

Taurisano and his guys have all of the best equipment for your use. He also has something different and special to offer. T-Bone has constructed a number of permanent portable shelters for your ice fishing comfort. These buildings are heated and comfortable and can house up to four anglers. On your ice fishing trip, you’ll feel like you are Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in “Grumpy Old Men.”

Taurisano is running open-water guide trips for brown trout on Lake Michigan out of Milwaukee Harbor. He’ll be stopping that and switching over to the ice any day now. If you are interested in a top-quality ice fishing expedition, all you need to bring with you is appropriate clothing to wear and your camera to capture some great shots of a day’s memorable catch. You can call Taurisano and the T-Bone Guide Service at 630-330-9090 or visit


Early winter fishing: Herman’s Rest-A-While is the traditional center for first ice in our area. Herman’s is located on the backwaters of the Fox River in Fox River Valley Gardens. Call them for a report at 847-639-9644. I was out there Wednesday and found a few fishermen on the ice. They were taking some gills and crappies on jigs tipped with waxies and spikes. I hate getting on ice and being able to see open water. That just doesn’t instill confidence in me. Nevertheless, the anglers told me they were finding up to 4 inches in spots. I’ll just wait a little longer, but soon, we will be seeing good, strong ice everywhere.


Turkey season update: Here’s an update on the Illinois Fall Archery Turkey Season harvest from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife Resources: Through Nov. 30, Illinois archery turkey hunters harvested 612 turkeys, compared to 603 for the same period in 2017. The five-year average harvest total for this time period is 570. The harvest has consisted of 46 percent toms and 54 percent hens. The top counties for harvest were Cass (19), Marion (19), Jefferson (17), Macoupin (17), and Pike (17). Totals for some northern Illinois counties include: McHenry (5), Boone (6), Kendall (3) and Winnebago (11).

IDNR miscellany: Illinois Archery Deer and Illinois Archery Fall Turkey seasons are open through Jan. 2. Permits are available over the counter at DNR Direct license and permit vendors. Find a vendor near you at:

• For details on the upcoming 2018-19 Late-Winter Antlerless-Only and Special Chronic Wasting Disease deer seasons, visit

• Hunters may apply from through Jan. 11 for the second lottery for 2019 Illinois Spring Wild Turkey Season permits. Visit

• Steve Sarley writes about the outdoors for Shaw Media. Write to him at Steve does a weekly podcast about fishing called “WeFishASA.” You can find it at

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