Walleye, perch, ice (really, kinda): Chicago fishing

SHARE Walleye, perch, ice (really, kinda): Chicago fishing
SHARE Walleye, perch, ice (really, kinda): Chicago fishing

There’s quality walleye being caught, but perch fishing on the Chicago lakefront remains the top item for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; while spotty ice fishing fades even in northern Wisconsin.

The MFR appears in a condensed form Wednesdays on the Sun-Times outdoors page.

LAKEFRONT PERCH

The South Side slips and spots–87th, 89th, 92nd and 95th–continue to be the epicenter of lakefront perch fishing, some days better than other days; but now Navy Pier and DuSable and other North Side spots are improving.Biggest perch are coming on minnows; Mini-Mites and spikes take better numbers.

Carl Vizzonesent this:

You probably are done with tomorrows report but gonna tell you anyway. I’ve been told that DuSable has picked up with perch. Diversey has had mixed results, lots of small fish. Have to work for a limit. I tried the west side of Burnham today on B & C docks and caught a mixed bag of perch. No monsters, lots of work to weed through the dinks, but lots of action.

Actually, I was just finishing up and was happy for the update.

Gary Bloom emailed over the weekend:

Fished diversey and montrose, bad, marked lots caught little. Maybe when water get below 35 deg.

I am not convinced Lake Michigan will get below 35 degrees this winter.

Steve PalmisanoatHenry’s said, “Fish are moving around. Either move around or wait them out. Fish are in and out.’’ He said one trick on days with light bites is to drop the rod tip and allow slack line before setting the hook. He said there are plenty of small ones all over, but there are good quality adult perch from 4-12 inches.

StaffatMik-Lurch, which is open daily while the perch are in, said boaters are taking good perch in Cal Harbor, especially around the river mouth and just outside of North Slip near 87th Street. They also reported perch near the reef at Portage.

NOTE: Both Henry’s and Mik-Lurch reported the occasional brown, steelhead and even coho mixed in for perch fishermen.

ICE FISHING

It is fading even in northern Wisconsin.

Kurt JusticeofKurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua, Wis. included these words of wisdom in his report:

Mother Nature is not being kind to us ice anglers. She’s being a big tease. Some small lakes and bays have just enough ice (3-4) to lure a few adventurous anglers out. Other lakes, due to highs in the upper 30’s to 40 degrees have become just iffy enough to keep anglers off. Several large / deep lakes are still open. Things are very tenuous. Night time temps below freezing just enough to firm up existing ice, not enough to build new ice. Day time windows of above freezing, while not thawing, just enough to undo any gain made by overnight. Extreme caution advisable! Fish with a buddy. Carry rope. Flotation in the form of life vest, throw cushion or floating suit (striker brand) a must. Creepers, safety spike also a must.

“Ranger Rick’’ KruegeratGuide’s Choice Pro Shop in Eagle River, Wis. said Tuesday afternoon, “As we speak, we are losing what little ice we had.” But he said those ice fishermen still getting out on back bays were catching walleye and pike. He wasn’t sure how long that would last.

AREA LAKES

It might be nearing mid-December, but plenty of fishing for open-water crappie or largemouth fishing on local lakes.

“Johnny Sunshine” Pajak sent this:

Couldn’t take it anymore. The fox river is to high to fish so I decided to hit a local pond. For about an hour I had non stop action. Give or take 15 crappies, 2 largemouth and a bluegill. All on a 1/64th oz jig and a 1″ piece of gulp minnow on a slip bobber about 7′ down. Johnny Sunshine

Ken “Husker” O’Malleysent this:

Hey Dale, Area lakes continue to produce good catches of bass despite being the first week of December. Lipless crankbaits (strike king red eye shad) utilizing a slow yo-yo retrieve caught smaller bass in channels and areas that still contained green weeds. Strikes occurred on the fall as the red eye shad is perfect for this retrieve as the bait flutters on the fall. Early afternoon are the best times as it’s the warmest part of the day. Just wonder how long open water fishing will last? TTYL – Ken Husker O’Malley Huskeroutdoors Waterworks fishing team

AREA WATER LEVELS

Go to http://water.weather.gov//ahps2/index.php?wfo=lot to check area water levels and projection. To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to http://waterdata.usgs.gov/il/nwis/current/?type=flow

CENTRAL WISCONSIN

Hooksetter’s Guide Service, via Creative Brilliance, sent this:

(Head): Warm weather allowing open water anglers to go for walleyes and crappies in spots normally reserved for early ice fishing; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin’s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau). Well this warm weather certainly isn’t helping the ice anglers any. With warmer than normal temperatures in the central Wisconsin area right now ice anglers are on a stand-by until things cool down and we get a good freeze-up. Ice starting forming last week with a few inches on some area lakes but definitely not enough to support anyone. And now with the recent warm-up the little ice we had is almost diminished to nothing. I actually heard reports of someone trying to get out on Lake Dubay this past week and they broke through and they went in over their head. They got out but they are lucky to be alive. If you are even thinking about ice fishing right now, don’t try it, going through the ice is not worth it. Not only are you jeopardizing your own life, but you are jeopardizing the lives of the people that will eventually have to try and save you once you go through.

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Art FrisellatTriangle Sports & Marine said the water levels remain up enough for easy navigation. With that, he said the walleye fishing has been good around bridges and current areas; crappie are good in many spots (do some looking) and suckers are still finishing on muskie. This is a unique time for boaters to be fishing well into December on the Chain.

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

For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/

CHICAGO RIVER

No update.

COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS

MAZONIA:Closed for season, except Monster Lake at Mazonia South, which is open year-round.Lakes are open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.HEIDECKE:Closed for season.BRAIDWOOD: Closed for season.LaSALLE:Closed for the season.

DELAVAN/LAKE GENEVA AREA, WISCONSIN

Brian GatesatGeneva Lake Bait & Tackle said that the few guys getting out are catching smallmouth in 35-40 feet on Geneva; night fishing shallow on Delavan is producing walleye.

DES PLAINES RIVER

No update.

DOWNSTATE NOTES

HENNEPIN-HOPPER:Closed for the season. Will reopen to fishing in 2016 with a much expanded format. Also, there should be at least one day of ice fishing this winter.EMIQUON:Because of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s shutdown, fishing and boating permits will be done at the launch. Call (309)547-2730.SHELBYVILLE:Check withKen WilsonofKen Wilson Guide Service.SOUTHERN ILLINOIS:Check withJason JohnsofBoneyard Fishing POWERTON LAKE: Closed to fishing. Shore fishing on Dec. 21. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15.McMASTER LAKE at SNAKEDEN HOLLOW:Closed to fishing until Feb. 1.

EVERGREEN:Bait shop is closed.

Larry Dozardoflarrysfishinghole.com sent this:

A SOUTHERN PART OF EVERGREEN LAKE – AROUND DEER ISLAND and ALL OF SIX-MILE CREEK BAY IS CLOSED TO GAS MOTORS from Oct. 15th through JAN. 1st to allow resting areas for migratory waterfowl. YOU ARE ALLOWED TO STILL RUN A TROLLING MOTOR IN THESE AREAS ONLY.

Larry Dozardoflarrysfishinghole.com also had these updates:

SPRING LAKE (South & North) –* THIS AREA WILL BE CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING in Hunting Area ON OCT. 17th with Last Day to Boat Fish being Oct. 16th– with BANK FISHING ALLOWED ONLY AFTER 1pm–AREAS THAT REMAIN OPEN TO BOATS ARE NORTH OF MAPLE ISLAND with ramp at north end at the Sky Ranch Road launch and IN PIKE HOLE with carry in boats – SANGCHRIS LAKE –* THE WEST and EAST ARMS OF LAKE and Small AREA NEAR DAM ARE CLOSED DURING WATERFOWL SEASON to boat traffic effective Oct. 14th (last day to boat fish will be Oct. 13th) through Jan. 31, 2016(during this time fishing boat traffic is permitted in the center hot arm only). ANDERSON LAKE –– –THIS AREA IS CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING in Main Lake from Oct. 16th through Dec. 22nd during waterfowl season with bank fishing Only allowed. BANNER MARSH –** THIS AREA WILL CLOSE TO BOAT FISHING Oct. 14th (last day to boat fish will be Oct. 13th) –AND BANK FISHING ONLY ALLOWED AFTER 1PM but NO FISHING ALLOWED in EAST POINT ACCESS AREA, which is CLOSED TO ALL FISHING to provide a GOOSE REFUGE AREA during season till Feb. 1st – – PRAIRIE LAKEin Jim Edgar/ Panther Creek State F&W Area –– Lake is CLOSED to Fishing from Nov. 1st – Jan. 15thuntil After 12:01 PM on Wednesdays and Saturday. CLINTON LAKE –REMEMBER an easterly area of Clinton Lake between the DeWitt (CH14) and the 48 bridges is CLOSED FROM OCT. 10th through MARCH 31st to protect fish and wildlife… NEWTON LAKE –As written in the fishing regs booklet : ** The cold arm of Newton Lake shall be Closed daily from one-half hour before sunrise until 1:00 pm to all fishing and boat traffic except for legal waterfowl hunters during waterfowl season commencing with regular duck season through the close of the Canada goose and regular duck season. * For here – Regular South Waterfowl Season: Nov. 14 – Jan. 31

DuPAGE RIVER

No update.

FOX RIVER

High, but receding.

GREEN BAY/STURGEON BAY

No update this week fromLance LaVineatHowie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay.

The Wisconsin DNR posts a report, typically updated on Tuesdays at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html

ILLINOIS RIVER

No update this week. Illinois Valley Outdoors is open in Spring Valley.  The phone is (815) 663-1000.

INDIANA STREAMS

StaffatMik-Lurch said at least some steelhead are being caught; there should be more soon. Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.

KANKAKEE RIVER

Norm Minassent this:

river dropping, still above normal flow, clearing. water temp up to 42 degrees from 41 degrees yesterday . completely over cast and fog all day . decided to do some creek hopping , looking for bass and walleye . the mouths of the creeks were all busto, the point bars and point pools were another matter . I fished with suspending rogues and jointed floating rapalas , figuring it was a good way to attract either species . I managed three smallmouth but exceeded expectations with 12 walleye the biggest three between 25 and 28 inches. early on at the first point bar I got two fish on the upstream side, there after all fish came off the downstream side. all fish were caught in less than 2 feet of water and left no mistake it was a hit. I figure the fog and the overcast cast skies had something to do with how shallow they were . the only downside was that after 4 fish and usually 2 fish caught they shut down. the upside was that I ran the spots in reverse order on the way back and they would hit again . on a couple earlier trips, at least the ones I actually caught fish it was a rattlebait on the current seam for smallmouth bass . unseasonably warm weather continuing and I continue to take advantage of not have ice clinging to my beard with screaming agony . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8ZZ8QnUFVM

LAKE ERIE

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

LAKE KOSHKONONG, WISCONSIN

No update.

LAKEFRONT

See perch at the top. PIER PASSES: The $6 pier passes, which allow legal access to selected piers in selected Chicago harbors, are available at Henry’s Sports and Bait.SALMON SNAGGING:Only legal spots for snagging Chinook or coho are Lincoln Park lagoon south of Fullerton, Waukegan Harbor north basin, Winnetka Power Plant discharge, and Jackson Park inner and outer harbors.

MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN

Checkreports fromGene DellingeratD&S Bait.

MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN

Check withMike MladeikatMike Mladenik Guide Service.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

I would note the more recent report on ice fishing at the top.

MINOCQUA:Kurt JusticeofKurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:

Minocqua Area Fishing Report 12/7/15 Mother Nature is not being kind to us ice anglers. She’s being a big tease. Some small lakes and bays have just enough ice (3-4) to lure a few adventurous anglers out. Other lakes, due to highs in the upper 30’s to 40 degrees have become just iffy enough to keep anglers off. Several large / deep lakes are still open. Yellow Perch: Fair – Good. Anglers finding safe ice over 4-6’ of water in some bays catching, then sorting perch on small minnows on jigs or tip downs. Crappies: Fair- Good. In some cases, anglers can’t find safe ice over deep enough water. Where safe ice available crappies being caught on small minnows or tip downs and #2 Jigging Raps. Bluegills: Fair –Good. Safe ice is key over 3-6’ water. Grubs, plastics on small jigs (#12 – #14) tungsten not necessary in this shallow water, in fact lighter jigs are better right now. Walleyes: Good – Fair. As the ice over better bites has gotten bad, fewer options. Those willing to try smaller, less known waters are finding some success on shiners and #5 jigging raps. Pike: Good- Fair. Similar situation to Walleye. Things are very tenuous. Night time temps below freezing just enough to firm up existing ice, not enough to build new ice. Day time windows of above freezing, while not thawing, just enough to undo any gain made by overnight. Extreme caution advisable! Fish with a buddy. Carry rope. Flotation in the form of life vest, throw cushion or floating suit (striker brand) a must. Creepers, safety spike also a must. Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop http://www.kurtsislandsports.com

EAGLE RIVER:This report came theEagle River Chamber of Commerce, based on Creative Brilliance interviews with Eagle River guide“Muskie Matt”and legendaryGeorge LangleyofEagle Sports Center and hunting enthusiast Dan Anderson:

(Head): Open water fishing is pretty-much done, but what little ice there is, is not safe to go out on; all in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. Open water fishing in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area is pretty-much done, and anglers are anxious to get out on the ice as early ice is usually a great time to get walleyes and northerns. But not right now! What little ice there is, is simply not safe. Our guide sources tell us, that some people are trying to get out on some very thin ice. That is never a good idea. The weather is not real cold at this moment, and we’ll just have to be patient until the ice is safe – and that will happen sooner than later. Get your ice fishing gear in good shape, and stay tuned. We’ll keep posted.

NORTHWEST INDIANA

See perch at the top.Conditions on the lake are near right for whitefish to be caught.StaffatMik-Lurch, which is open daily while the perch are in, said lakers are being caught at the reef.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

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

ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN

Staff at Tackle Haven said a weekend tournament did well in the river for steelhead; the piers have been slow.

ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA

Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.

SHABBONA LAKE

Lakeside is closed until ice fishing in late December or early January. For more information and reports from Lakeside, go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN

The Wisconsin DNR posts a report at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html. It is usually posted by Tuesday afternoon. Stream flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow.

WOLF LAKE

StaffatMik-Lurch said some walleye being caught on the Indiana side.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

Guide Bill Stoeger reports very good walleye fishing around Fremont with minnows on river rigs (best) or jig. Numbers are outstanding. With this weather, he expects it to continue.


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