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Chicago fishing: Waiting & wondering

The questions are when will ice fishing return and will perch be in for Christmas.

This is the sprawling raw file of the Midwest Fishing Report, which appears in a much condensed form on the Sun-Times outdoors page. At least there is some hope on perch.


The good news is that the handful of fishermen fishing at the slip north of 87th caught perch both Monday and Tuesday. Focus on the west end of the park district land at the slip, action has been better there. Of the harbors, Diversey has been the most consistent when the perch are in. There’s also been some action at 92nd.


Ken “Husker” O’Malley of Water Werks Fishing Team texted this Tuesday, which summed it up nicely:

No ice to be found. Saw night crawlers on the sidewalks this morning.

ICE FISHING REGS: Here are the regulations for public waters in and around Chicago. CHICAGO LAGOONS: No ice fishing. COOK FP: Ice fish at your own risk: Arrowhead, Axehead, Beck, Belleau, Big Bend, Bode South only, Bullfrog, Busse main and south (no north pool), Flatfoot, Green, Horsetail, Ida, Maple, Papoose, Powderhorn, Saganashkee, Sag Quarry east and west, Tampier, Turtlehead and Wampum. DuPAGE FP: Ice fish at your own risk. Spring Creek Reservoir is closed to ice fishing. Late-night fishing is allowed at Deep Quarry, must be out by 11 p.m. KANE FP: Listed sites for ice fishing, at your own risk, are Hampshire South FP, Lake Patterson and the two ponds within Paul Wolff Campground. LAKE FP: Ice fishing is permitted at Banana, Independence Grove south bay and Sterling, when area is posted as safe for fishing. MAZONIA SFWA: Monster Lake is open all year, other lakes open after hunting seasons; ice fishing at your own risk. McHENRY CCD: Sites listed for ice fishing when appropriate (4 inches of clear ice): the Hollows (Lake Atwood and West Lake), Pleasant Valley and Rush Creek pond. SILVER SPRINGS SFWA: Ice fish at your own risk. Use east entrance. WILL FP: No ice fishing.


Go to to check area water levels and projection. To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to


No report this week from Hooksetter’s Guide Service.


Greg Dickson at Triangle Sports & Marine thought ice fishing might come back by Saturday in a few spots. If not then, the forecast cold snap next week should bring it on.

EARLY CHAIN/FOX ACCESS: For T-Channel, park at Famous Freddie’s–(847) 587-9677. Best is to come in and eat, otherwise, park in back and be out by 11:30 a.m. On Channel, Chopper’s Bar–(847) 838-1230–has relatively early access. Chopper’s takes the parking off if you order food. Granny’s–(847) 395-2328–at Spring Lake Marina has parking and takes the parking off if you order food. Be careful, early ice is tricky there. For Nielsen’s Channel off the Fox River at Port Barrington, it’s Hermann’s Lowlife Bar & Grill–(847) 639-9644–with parking, wax worms, food and drink.

For more reports, see

Check Chain updates from at the Fox Waterway Agency or by calling (847) 587-8540.


No update this week.


Closed except Monster Lake remains open year round at Mazonia South.


Brian Gates from Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle said Como has fishable ice that should hold; and a largemouth approaching 9 pounds was recently caught along with some pike. There might be fishable ice at the Delavan boat launch. He thought there might be a bit more fishable ice around in different spots by the weekend.


No report this week.


POWERTON: Shore fishing reopens today.

SHELBYVILLE: Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service said crappie are biting on main lake ledges, such as channel banks in 18-30 feet, on quarter-ounce jigs in chartreuse, blue or pearl.

REND LAKE: Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing said there are good numbers of crappie in 6-30 feet, some suspended.

LAKE OF EGYPT: Johns said bass are very good on Alabama rigs, and crappie should be going on the north end.

EVERGREEN: The boat rental and bait shop are done for the season.

EMIQUON: Call (309) 547-2730. Duck season ended.


No report this week.


No update this week.


No update this week from Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay. I suspect it will be changing next week.

The Wisconsin DNR posts a report, typically updated on Tuesdays at


No update this week.


Staff at Mik-Lurch said some fresh steelhead came into Salt; and a few into Trail.

Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.


Norm Minas sent this update:

water temps mid 30’s, clearer than I like, still above normal

flow. due to the clearer water algae back on the bottom in

various stretches . air temps not bad, fished thru light rain

on one of the trips.

I fished a series of slack water areas on one trip, primary catch

was smallmouth bass with some walleye mixed in. rattlebaits

on the current seam got some , a topwater in the slack part of an

eddy got one smallmouth, a suspending rogue twitched with

long pauses got the most smallmouth and the handful of walleye .

I fished a series of inflows on another trip, mostly walleye, a couple

of smallmouth bass. A suspending rogue, drift, twitch, drift worked

best. the hits came on the twitches .

I fished some slack areas associated with bluffs , smallmouth bass

the only species caught. A jig/pig was the only lure that got bit. It took

an extremely slow, inching retrieve with frequent pauses to get fish




No update this week.


No update this week.


The Ohio DNR has general Lake Erie info and a fishing report.


For perch, see top. PIER PASSES: The $6 passes from the Chicago Park District, allowing access to select docks in Chicago harbors, are available at Henry’s Sports & Bait.


Gene Dellinger at D&S Bait said ice fishing should hold on Squaw, Monona and Turvilles bays and Mud Lake.


Mike Mladenik has updates at Mike Mladenik Guide Service.


MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:

Minocqua Area Fishing Report

A week of stable weather meant no ice loss, but little gain.

A heavy fresh snow on Sunday afternoon (12/21) will mean

you can leave the cleats at home. New snow accumulation was

about 1.5 to 2″, forecast is for sporadic snows over the next week,

but fairly mild temps in the low to mid 30’s. New moon period

this week should provide daytime anglers with good action.

Bluegills: Very Good. This species had to get top rank this week due

to the goliaths being caught. A verifies 11 and a 11 1/4″ plus several

others in the 10″+ range. Lack of snow cover has allowed anglers to

venture out on to usually unfinished waters. While the standard jig/wax

combo helped catch many of the gills caught this weekend (including

the 11″er caught by a (9yr. old girl), jigging Rattlin Raps tipped with

waxies accounted for the 11 1/4″er. Tungsten jigs tipped with a single

spike or sliver of plastic (red, white, black or purple) accounting for fish

when bite slows.

Walleyes: Very Good. The bite has shifted to earlier, just before dusk

and even some good mid-day bites (typical of new moon patterns).

Chubs, suckers and shiners all producing on tip-ups. Chubs and shiners

for weed relating fish, suckers over gravel, sand grass or mud.

Jigging Raps, Vibratos and Buck-shot spoons also producing nicer (22-28″) walleyes for anglers with the “twitch”.

Crappies: Very Good- Good: Action a bit slower, but still productive.

Seems you have to “wait’em-out”. Pockets of hot action on tip-downs

with minnows followed by having to “finesse” with rockers tipped

with waxies. Most anglers keeping 10-11″ fish a few 12″ being caught.

Largemouth Bass: Very Good. If you just want to see the flags fly set

some tip-ups with medium shiners out over weed flats or 6-10″.

Lots of action! A few larger fish of 18″+ reported, but most in

the 13-16″ range.

Northern Pike: Good. Big chubs, suckers and shiners on tip-ups along

outside of weed edges of 10-14′ for larger pike (a couple of out of season

muskies to 41″ this week- quick catch and release)

Yellow Perch: Fair-Good. Still not up to par, but reports of good catches

in some areas of shallow weeds on forage spoons tipped with waxies, deep water mud flats on Halis and #2 pimples tipped with wigglers,

red spikes and some Flowage, wood relating perch on rosie reds.

This week the nice weather continues, though by Saturday(12/27) cold

will move in to remind us its winter. Not much change on ice conditions,

averages of 10-12″ with a few lakes as little as 6″ so be careful.

New moon period should bracket most of the best action between 6am

and 6pm. this week. Late night walleye anglers have noticed a slow down

to the after dark bite already.’



Island Sportshop

Minocqua, Wi 54548

EAGLE RIVER: Updates should resume next week from the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce is based on Creative Brilliance interviews with Eagle River guides “Muskie Matt” of Wild Eagle Lodge, “Ranger Rick” Krueger of Guide¹s Choice Pro Shop, Mat Hegy; and Eagle River hunting enthusiast, Dan Anderson.


Staff at Mik-Lurch said a few spring coho were caught last week at Gary Light; there’s browns around and lakers when weather allows access. Not much on perch. Some steelhead had moved in at the turning basin in Michigan City, as well as the streams, as noted above.


No report this week.


The Wisconsin DNR Root River Report is generally posted on Tuesday.


Phil Schuman at Tackle Haven said steelhead were being caught off the pier, mainly on spawn, but the whitefish had slowed. Some steelhead are going in the river and some walleye are being caught at the dam.


Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.


Lakeside is closed until ice fishing in December, if it comes then.

For information and reports from Lakeside, go to or call (815) 824-2581.


The Wisconsin DNR report is at They are generally posted by Tuesday afternoon. Stream flow info is at


Guide Bill Stoeger said there might be open water river fishing for Christmas, but it will likely be locked up again by the weekend.