Ice building, perch hitting: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

SHARE Ice building, perch hitting: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

As much as things change, some stay the same for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Ice rebuilds to what should be nearly universal fishable ice around the Chicago area by weekend–and was already around the Chain by Christmas–and perch fishing on the Chicago lakefront continues its historic run, though cold has held down the numbers.

Tom PalmisanoHenry’s Sports and Bait sent the photo above Saturday evening and this note about Ken Worth:

3 1/2 lbs total pick and choose biggest at 1 lb

Pick and choose indeed, those are the anomaly in the historic perch run this fall and winter.

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.


Perch remain the top story, but the weather is making it a bit tougher.

Staff at Henry’s Sports and Bait said perch fishing continues strong at 87th, 89th, the Calumet River, DuSable Harbor and Navy Pier, but weather limited effort a bit. With ice likely to build soon inside the harbors, see PIER PASSES below for information on pier passes for harbor access.

Capt. Rich Sleziak atSlez’s Bait texted:

Perch still going not as many out with cold takes sorting

PARK BAIT NOTE: Park Bait is closed for the winter.


Probably important to remember this as ice begins to build, even in spots on Lake Michigan and the harbors. Pier passes are 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.


Not sure how many boat fishermen will still be getting out with this weather, but for those hardy souls, I will run this one more time.

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. It’s very simple, one limit.

He sent a better image of the reciprocal zone from

Credit: Indiana DNR

Credit: Indiana DNR

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.


Ice fishing should rebuild through this week enough to allow nearly universal ice fishing around the Chicago area. Click here for the general regulations on ice fishing for public sites around Chicago fishing.


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.


Staff at Triangle Sports and Marine said, as of Christmas, ice fishermen were on the backwaters, the west end of Loon and the south end of Channel; by weekend, there will be widespread ice fishing.

EARLY CHAIN ACCESS: The old stand-by on Nielsen’s Channel is Hermann’s with its $5 parking, bait, food and drink. For the T-Channel, ice fishermen will have to improvise, I believe this year for access and parking. For early access on Channel, there’s Chopper’s Bar, where the $5 parking is taken off if food or drink are ordered. For Spring, there’s Granny’s, where the $5 parking is taken off if food ordered.

For more info and lake updates, go to Fox Waterway Agency or call (847) 587-8540.


Check withCapt. Pat Harrison at Pat Harrison Outdoors.


No update.


No update.


POWERTON:Shore fishing is open, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15.LAKE SHELBYVILLE: Check withKen WilsonofKen Wilson Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check withJason Johnsof Boneyard Fishing EVERGREEN:Bait shop and boat rental are closed for the season.HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season.

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 ––– – 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.-McMASTER 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. 31PRAIRIE 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.


No update fromLance LaVineatHowie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay, but I would think the whitefish should be going shortly.


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. The sauger were going and heading toward the deep holes last week when I was out with Mike Hanson, but that could difficult with the weather this week.


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:

Still good steelhead here and ther on voodoo jigs tipped with waxworms or spawn on a plain hook With this cold weather winter run steelhead will start trickling in a lot better now


Check withNick Carr at Kankakee River Trading Post in Altorf , but there were ice floes going Tuesday morning when I passed the river.


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. Staff at Henry’s Sports and Bait said lakers are still going, particularly at Navy Pier.

NOTE: Park Bait at Montrose is closed for the season.

SALMON SNAGGING:Snagging season on the Illinois lakefront, which ends Sunday, 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.


Gene Dellinger atD & S Bait said, “I am 80 percent certain they will be ice fishing Dunn’s Bar [on Mendota] by the weekend.” As of Tuesday, ice fishermen were catching a few perch on Kegonsa, a few bluegill on Waubesa, and were ice fishing at Monona Bay and North Triangle.

You can also 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.


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

Dodged the forested big snow last week and while nobody is liking this weather now (-21 below at open this morning), this super cold is making some great ice for the season to come! Fishing overall had been good , though ice conditions have not. Ice thickness of 3-7 inches of past weekend should improve drastically now that most areas have little snow left on the ice (caution should be used on western shorelines though.).Walleyes: Very Good Reports through out the weekend had good catches of eaters in the 15-19″ range on jigging raps, hyper glides and hyper rattle baits . This shows good aggressive action by walleyes still responding well to the early / thin ice. Tip-up anglers reporting good results on chubs and suckers. Several big fish of 25-28″ this weekend were caught and released. Nicely done!Bluegills: Very Good Still very nice sized average as is typical for early ice, most action coming in 5-9′ of water, but watch for that to change deeper as ice thickens with this cold. Ice fly’s by VMC and Northland tipped with spikes or moussee’s best. #3 Fiska’s tipped with purple, red or black plastic also producing well. Lots of 7 1/2- 81/2″ gills with more than a few 9-10″ers reported.Northern Pike: Very Good Some very good fish in the 30 + size . Big shiners and suckers best. A few actively jigging large Slender spoons and Pimples. Best in 5-9′ range.Yellow Perch: very good-good. Not great numbers, but nice sized fish in shallows on medium fatheads or 2-3 waxies bunched on a Northland forage minnow jig.Largemouth Bass: good This species likely to slow down with recent cold. Prior to, lots of fish on medium shiners on tip-ups.Crappie: Fair-Good Starting to get some reports from anglers venturing out over a little deeper water. Best to use grubs or plastics from reports as not getting very aggressive bites in 12-16′ of water.This extreme cold should add 1-2 inches of ice easily per day. High forecasted for Friday of 14 will be warmest of week. Great travel conditions should be here by then.Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop Like us on FaceBook


See perch at top and steelhead report in Indiana streams.Capt. Rich Sleziak atSlez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind. texted:

Everybody waiting on the ice will be guys on some places end of the week I’m loaded with spikes mousies and all ice gear open 5am everyday


No update.


No update.


Staffat Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said river started icing up Tuesday.


Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.


Clint Sands said the lake was 99 percent iced over Tuesday and one ice fisherman was out. He said Lakeside will reopen Friday and be open seven days a week, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Park hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. [CORRECTION]but the close goes to 6 p.m. on Monday.

For more information and reports from Lakeside, 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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