Perch No. 1, but ice on way: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

SHARE Perch No. 1, but ice on way: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

Perch continue to be the top story for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; while ice fishermen will have their chances in the coming days.

Ice fishing will be going in some spots nearby, even the Chain O’Lakes maybe, by the weekend, if I am reading the weather forecast correctly.

William Petranovic, 4, shows what perch fishing means to the Chicago outdoors and fishing with a classic scene from downtown Chicago over the Thanksgiving weekend.As doesChristopher Petranovic, 6, in the photo below from Saturday.


The Midwest Fishing Report for Chicago fishing appears in a condensed form Wednesdays on the Sun-Times newspaper outdoors page.The sprawling raw-file report is posted here online on the Sun-Times outdoors page.


The historic run of perch, but takes sorting for keepers, keeps going up and down the lakefront; boaters doing well at Cal Park and in the Cal. It’s a go at Southeast Side (95th , 92nd, 89th slip, North Slip), Burnham/Northerly Island, DuSable, Navy Pier, Diversey, Belmont, Montrose.

Tom Platt at Henry’s Sports and Bait said minnows are best all-around for keepers; but a mix of jigging spoons also is doing well for keepers. If you use cut bait (belly meat), remember that the cut fish counts in the bag. Guys are starting to use the piers in the harbors. See pier passes below.

Cory Gecht at Park Bait said perch are being caught at Montrose, Belmont and Diversey and lots of people trying, nearly everyone catching something.

Capt. Rich Sleziak atSlez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind., texted that perch galore are being caught. Simply said.

Arden Katz said that Navy Pier was loaded over the weekend and the bigger fish were being caught there. “So packed, I never seen so many people,” he said. On Saturday, he counted 40 boats out of Cal Park. “Montrose, lot of fish, they were fishing the piers and the sidewalks. I never seen so many. Of course the weather has something to do with it.”

Yes, the weather has changed dramatically from Saturday.


This is probably a good time to remember that pier passes are now available at Henry’s Sports and Bait. The passes allow for legal access to select piers available. They cost $6 cash with one per valid fishing license.


Ben Dickinson, Indiana’s assistant Lake Michigan biologist, suggested with the perch crush that I include the reminder about the reciprocal waters around Cal Harbor. Key part is that having both Illinois and Indiana licenses does NOT give you the right to two limits; I repeat, does NOT give you the right to two limits.

Here is a JPEG from


Here is the wording from the Indiana DNR:

The agreement means Illinoisans holding both a resident Illinois license and a nonresident Indiana license can fish in the reciprocal area, taking the daily limit for whichever state they choose, but NOT for both states. The place from which an angler launches a boat does not impact his or her rights under the agreement. The boundaries for the reciprocal area are as follows: – The east-west portion of the breakwater system which extends lakeward from the Lake Michigan shoreline at about 85th Street in Chicago on the north (the area north of the breakwater is not included). – On the east, the reciprocal area extends from the far east end of the northern boundary, southeast to the southern boundary. – On the south, the area extends from the southern tip of the breakwater system, southwest to the east side of the pier at the south edge of the Calumet Park beach. – The western boundary is the existing Lake Michigan shoreline from Taylor Pier on the south edge of Calumet Park beach to the far western point of the northern boundary. The reciprocal waters also include the main channel of the Calumet River from Lake Michigan downstream to the Ewing Avenue bridge, anglers fishing from the Illinois shoreline of Lake Michigan in Calumet Park and from the Calumet Harbor breakwater system and from any other publically accessible areas in the reciprocal zone. The reciprocal agreement DOES NOT APPLY to the channel waters of the North Slip on the northwest corner of Calumet Harbor and the South Slip off the Calumet River northeast of the Ewing Avenue Bridge. The agreement also does not include privately-owned shorelines, including both shorelines of the Calumet River and the Ewing Avenue Bridge. Fishing access from the Lake Michigan shoreline in Calumet Park is allowed only at areas and hours allowed by the Chicago Park District. Illinois and Indiana residents who are exempt from sportfishing license requirements in their home state are also exempt from sportfishing license requirements in the reciprocal fishing area. Individuals can take only one daily limit of fish per day, so anglers from either state with both an Illinois and an Indiana license must choose which state’s regulations they intend to follow – they cannot take both an Illinois and an Indiana limit of fish. A map of the reciprocal sportfishing boundaries can be obtained by calling (219) 874-6824.


Mudpuppies, which are sometimes caught this time of the year. As Don Ayres reminded earlier this month, they are protected and they need to be released unharmed.


At least some spots will ice up this week; slight chance of sketchy ice fishing in northern areas.

As to open water last week,Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:

Hey Dale, Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing:Area Lakes- with the recent warm-up, bass have been good on lipless cranks worked along the outside weedlines.Area creeks- wading condition are perfect. Smallmouth can be caught on Gulp minnows and Erie darters. Key is to fish the baits as slow as possible with intermittent pauses and twitches.TTYL—Ken Husker O’Malley Husker Outdoors Waterworks fishing team


Click here to find river closures listed by the Illinois DNR. Go to to check area water levels and projection. To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to


Closed for the year.


No update.


Proprietor Greg Dickson at Triangle Sports and Marine said ice fishing by the weekend is a “Distant possibility. We have already had skim ice. My opinion is we MIGHT have some fishable backwater areas. That is my thought. I am ready to accept the challenge.”

LOCK/DRAWDOWN: The Stratton Lock is closed for the season; and drawdown underway. With the drawdown, use caution navigating. For more info and lake updates, go to Fox Waterway Agency or call (847) 587-8540.


Capt. Pat Harrison of Pat Harrison Outdoors sent this:

Sorry it took so long to update we got out Sunday only had 3 hours to fish. We found Perch right away by the thousands but all were dinks 5 to 7 inches we managed a few that went about a 8 that were 9 inches. So no fish went home for the frying pan but I sure see a future for Perch in the Lake. in 14 foot of water the bait would get a foot under the surface and hundreds of little Perch were knocking it around like playing Volleyball’ Nothing to brag about but a fun time with a kit of laughs and good company. Nice day to play for a few hours


No update.


No update.


POWERTON: Closed, shore fishing reopens Dec. 26.EVERGREEN:Bait shop and boat rental are closed for the season.HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season.SOUTHERN ILLINOIS:Check withJason Johnsof Boneyard Fishing.LAKE SHELBYVILLE:Check withKen WilsonofKen Wilson Guide Service.

Larry Dozardof sent this update on some closing dates Downstate:

Dale,Here arethe WinterLakeClosures I havefrom IDNRfor Central IL (& couple extra). ANDERSON LAKE –– – THIS AREAWillCLOSE TO BOAT FISHING in Main LakeonOct. 21stwith Last Day to Fishing beingOct.20th during waterfowl season with bank fishing Only allowed.BANNER MARSH –** THIS AREA WILL CLOSE TO BOAT FISHING Oct. 18th (last day to boat fish will be Oct. 17th) —AND BANK FISHING ONLY ALLOWED AFTER 1PMbut 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 – –CLINTON LAKE -REMEMBER an easterly area of Clinton Lake between the DeWitt (CH14) and the 48 bridgeswillCLOSE to protect fish and wildlife FROM OCT. 10th through– typically March 31st– but with weekend, could be March 30th, 2018..?DOUBLE TS.F.&W.A.** THIS AREA WILL CLOSE TO FISHING Oct. 1stwithLAST DAYto Fishbeing Sept. 30thand will remain CLOSED till Feb 1st..EVERGREEN LAKE –-Bait Shop Fall Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 7 Days And LAST DAY BAIT SHOP OPEN is Oct. 14th (Depending on bait supply)–Boat Rental Fall Hours:8:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.SAT. & SUN. ONLY – BOAT RENTALwillCLOSE for the seasonOct. 8th – – 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.-HENNEPIN-HOPPER LAKES– Lakes are CLOSED for the SeasonMcMASTER LAKE at SNAKEDEN HOLLOW –* THIS AREA WILL CLOSE TO FISHING for the Season on Oct. 16th(last day to fish is Oct. 15th) till Feb. 1st—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.23– Jan. 31POWERTON LAKE –WINTER HOURS (Oct. 1st – April 30th): 8am – 4pm – THIS LAKE WILL CLOSE TO BOAT FISHING ON OCT.21th(Last day for Boat fishing will be Oct.20th)and CLOSES TO SHORE FISHING and ALL FISHING ON OCT. 28th (Last day for Shore fishing is Oct. 27th) and REOPENS TO SHORE FISHING ONLY ON DEC. 26thAND NO BOAT FISHING till FEB. 15th – –PRAIRIE LAKE in Jim Edgar/ Panther Creek State F&W Area – Lakeaccessis CLOSED to Fishing from Nov. 1st – Jan. 15thuntil After 12:01 PM on Wednesdays and Saturdays.RICELAKE–* THIS AREA WILL CLOSE TO FISHINGon OCT. 21stwith Last Day of Fishing being OCT. 20thand Will Re-Open at end of Duck & Goose Season..SPRING LAKE (South & North) –* THIS AREA WILL BE CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING in Hunting Area ON OCT.21stwith Last Day to Boat Fish being Oct.20th –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 launchand IN PIKE HOLE with carry in boats –AND Shore Fishing is allowed in entire Lake after 1pm in Hunting areas or at boat ramps all day..SANGCHRIS LAKE –* THE WEST and EAST ARMS OF LAKE and Small AREA NEAR DAM ARE CLOSED DURING WATERFOWL SEASON to boat trafficeffective Oct. 18th (last day to boat fish will be Oct. 17th) through Jan. 31, 2018(during this time fishing boat traffic is permitted in the center hot arm only).Keep up the Good Work,Enjoy the Fall& GOOD FISHINGlarrysfishinghole.comLarry


No update.


No update.


Lance LaVineatHowie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay sent this:

Good afternoon fellas Here is what I have as far as the update on the fishing Well we have cold weather on its way starting this week here in Door County. Whether it will be cold enough, for a long enough period of time to get some safe ice cover on some of the shallow bays, we will just have to wait and see. Never the less, ice fishermen are starting to get geared up for the season. During the early ice season, fishermen crowd the shallow bays of Sawyer Harbor, Little Sturgeon and Riley’s Bay just to name a few spots searching for a nice meal of Perch or Pike, which both can be quite prevalent during the early ice season in that shallow water. Small jigs tipped with waxies, spikes or minnows will work well for the Perch, even suspending minnows under tip-ups works quite well. And for the Pike, suspending large Golden Shiners or sucker minnows under tip-ups and or auto fishermen. Walleye anglers are patiently waiting for some good ice cover so they can head on out to their hot spots. Some of those spots include…Henderson’s Point, Sherwood point and the Larson’s Reef area. Best baits include the good old Rapala Jig, Odd Ball Jigs and Moonshine shiver minnows tipped with whole minnows or minnow heads And of course there is the fan-favorite and quite abundant Whitefish. Hundreds of fishermen will pile out on the ice when it becomes safe enough looking to fill their buckets with limits of Whitefish and in most cases, fishermen are quite successful. A very wide variety of jigs tipped with minnow heads, wax worms, spikes and gulp with work along with slider rigs. Thanks; Lance LaVine Howie’s Tackle 1309 Green Bay Rd Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235 Ph: 920-746-9916


No update


Closed for the year.


Check fishing status at B & B Live Bait–(815) 433-0432–in Ottawa, where hours are now in the morning.


Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.Access points for Little Cal and Salt Creek, which are closer to Chicago than Trail Creek, may be found atlittlecal_saltcreek_access.

Capt. Rich Sleziak atSlez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind., texted:

Good steelhead action at salt creek around the bass pro complex voodoo jigs tipped with waxworms or butterworms drifting with Bloodrun floats spawn sakstaking fish too.


Check with Kankakee River Trading Post in Altorf.


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


Perch report is at the top and perch are the main focus, but there are some other fish going. Several faithful readers reported good lake trout also being caught around Navy Pier.Tom Platt at Henry’s Sports and Bait said guys were catching lakers and some browns, particularly at 87th (North Slip).

Cory Gecht at Park Bait said some trout were being hooked too at the North Side harbors.

SALMON SNAGGING:Snagging season on the Illinois lakefront is open in four places. The daily bag is five total of Chinook and/or coho. Here are the details from the fishing regs booklet:

Snagging for chinook and coho salmon only is permitted from the following Lake Michigan shoreline areas from October 1 through December 31; however, no snagging is allowed at any time within 200 feet of a moored watercraft or as posted: A) Lincoln Park Lagoon from the Fullerton Avenue Bridge to the southern end of the Lagoon. B) Waukegan Harbor (in North Harbor basin only). C) Winnetka Power Plant discharge area. D) Jackson Harbor (Inner and Outer Harbors).


Closed for the year.


Check the latest from D & S Bait on Facebook.


Closed for the year, except Monster Lake at Mazonia South remains open year-round.Check withJon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington.


Check withMike MladeikatMike Mladenik Guide Service sent this:


Check the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report, which generally comes out Tuesdays for updates.


REMINDER: Muskie fishing ends Thursday.

MINOCQUA: Kurt Justiceof Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua sent this:

Continued warm weather (for late Nov/early Dec) and wind has been keeping ice anglers at bay waiting for things to get safe. An example: the Bay of Minocqua, across from the shop, has now froze over…and opened up, for the 5thtime this season. The near future looks good as Monday’s (12/4) highs in the 50’s, dropped 30 degrees over night with even colder temps to come. Bays that remained ice covered during warm spell will only improve this week, and once wind lays down for even just a little while, lakes should see fishable ice by the weekend. Those that were able to find safe ice reported good fishing for Walleye and Perch so far. Look for an ice update Thursday 12/7. Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop Like us on FaceBook

EAGLE RIVER:B+L, from reports fromColin Crawfordof Colin Crawford Guide Service, for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce: sent this:

Fishing Report Panfish:Perch are found around the deeper weeds. Using slip bobber rigs tipped with minnows or a piece of red worm should catch you a bunch. Crappies are in the deeper weeds and around lay downs, so a slip bobber rig tipped with small minnow or plastic will work on these. Bluegills are up in the shallows, so a slip bobber rig tipped with a small piece of worm or wax worm will work on these fish. Bass:Largemouth will be found around structures such as, laydowns and docks. Throwing spinnerbaits and plastic will work even near top water and around pads and reeds will spark action. Smallmouth are going to be in and around the rocks, so jigs tipped with live bait, plastics, and crankbaits will work here. Northern:You will find these fish in and around the deeper weeds as the shallow weeds are starting to die. Walleye anglers will catch these while jigging. You can use smaller spinnerbaits like #3 or #4 Mepps. Safety pin style spinnerbaits are an effective choice. Walleye:These fish will be found on the deepest weed edges and on the rock piles. Minnows are working better now and crawlers will still work until water gets colder. As the month goes on, these fish will start moving towards the deeper breaks. Early mornings and later evenings will be the best times to catch a few for a fish fry.


Capt. Rich Sleziak atSlez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind. texted:

Good steelhead action at salt creek around the bass pro complex voodoo jigs tipped with waxworms or butterworms drifting with Bloodrun floats spawn sakstaking fish tooCrappie good around 249 bridge in the ditch on minnows along old concrete wall and dead woodLots of people out crappie and perch galore

WILLOW SLOUGH:Boat fishing is closed for waterfowl seasons.LAKER REMINDER:Indiana now has a daily bag of three lake trout on Lake Michigan, to match Michigan. Illinois’ daily bag remains at two.


No update.


Reports are winding down from the Wisconsin DNR.


Staffat Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said there were good steelhead in the river; wind and weather limited pier action.


Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.


Lakeside is closed until ice fishing comes. Park hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m.  For more information and reports from Lakeside, go to or call (815) 824-2581.


The Wisconsin DNR posts a report during open water at It is usually posted by Tuesday afternoon. Streadsm flow info is at


Check with River’s Edge.


No update.


No update.


No update.

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