Winter arrives for Chicago fishing and the wait is on for perch: Midwest Fishing Report

It’s waiting out the weather and waiting on perch around Chicago for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

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Rico Cantu sent the crappie above from the Lockport area.

Rico Cantu sent the crappie above from the Lockport area.

Provided

So much for my plans to go along with some hardcores on Halloween night for fishing, the weather forecast just did not sound fun, but otherwise it is mainly waiting—waiting on perch to come in good, waiting on steelhead to push up the streams, waiting for the weather to settle around Chicago—for this sprawling raw-fie Midwest Fishing Report.

There’s that and waiting on crappie fishing to really set up, as Rico Cantu showed when he emailed the photo above and this on Friday:

Hey Dale hope you are well I caught this nice crappie today on a crappie jig and I did release it, take care . Rico from Lockport Illinois.

AREA LAKES

Still some trout around, but the focus is shifting toward crappie as winter creeps in.

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Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a fall largemouth bass.

Provided

But Ken “Husker” O’Malley was thinking largemouth bass when he emailed the photo above and this:

Hey Dale, Here is s recap of this past week’s fishing. Area lakes-bass have been good on jerk baits during sunny midday hours worked over inside weedlines. After the heavy rains hit this weekend, bass continued to be good fishingoutflows with a bitsy bug jig tipped with a craw paca. Work the jig slowly along the current seams. TTYL

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Arden Katz said they did well for decent white bass, some crappie and a few keeper walleye in 18-20 feet on Marie trolling at .5 to .75 mph with a weight on bottom with two hooks with fatheads. Water has cooled into 40s.

Art FrisellatTriangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said walleye are excellent with the biggest around bridges and current areas; muskie are fair, but some quality fish are being caught on suckers; look for white bass off deeper points.

The lower river remains no-wake. Check updates at foxwaterway.com or (847) 587-8540. LOCK NOTE: Last day for Stratton Lock is Thursday. It will be closed from November through April 30.

CHICAGO RIVER

Capt. Pat Harrison messaged:

Been out 3 times in about a week now finally settling back in. I’m finding Bass on the Chicago River but most are 12 to 14. I’m thinking the dropping water temps are going to change things a bit. Should see buggier Bass soon when the Perch start to show up. The River is still over pool a bit and moving a little faster than usual. I will be back out later this week with another update.

Good to have Harrison back with reports.

COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS

Braidwood, Heidecke, LaSalle and Mazonia (except Monster at Mazonia South, which is open year-round) are closed for the season.

DES PLAINES RIVER

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Des Plaines River northern pike in fall.

Provided by Rich Anzalone

Rich Anzalone emailed the photo above and this on Friday:

Dale, Here’s a couple of pics of a Northern pike my son Mike caught on a chatter bait after work today while fishing on the Des Plaines River in Lemont with his friend.They didn’t get to measure or weigh it before releasing it. Rich Anzalone Lemont, IL

DOWNSTATE

EMIQUON: Go to http://experienceemiquon.com/content/nature-conservancy-emiquon-preserve-lake-access. SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season. POWERTON: Reopens to bank fishing on Dec. 23. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15.

FOX RIVER

River is mainly near or in flood stage downstream of the Chain.

GREEN LAKE AREA, WISCONSIN

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Wisconsin Smallmouth Alliance president Jerry Pasdo with a pair of Green Lake smallmouth bass.

Provided by Mike Norris

Guide Mike Norris emailed the photo above with this explanation:

Wisconsin Smallmouth Alliance President Jerry Pasdo with two nice Green Lake smallmouth bass caught last week from Big Green Lake.Photo courtesy of Mike Norris

He also emailed this fishing report.

Fishing Report – 10/28/2019 Mike Norris We had decent fall weather in south-central Wisconsin late last week and anglers returned to area lakes.Reports varied from lake to lake but there were some surprisingly good results.Unfortunately, wintery weather is predicted for later this week, with night time temperatures dipping into the 20’s and a possibility of snow this Thursday.I’m optimistic there will still be fishable days ahead though and don’t plan on shutting down my guide business and storing the boat yet.Here is my report from last week: Big Green Lake – While the water temperature in some of the area lakes has dipped below 50 degrees, Big Green remains a bit warmer at 51 degrees.This is due to Big Green’s size (7,230 acres) and its water clarity, both of which slow down the cooling process.Fishing for smallmouth bass remains good and weather permitting, there will still be opportunities to catch some of the largest bass and walleyes of the year on Big Green.My client’s and I had good catches of smallmouth’s last week, but the bass were running a bit smaller than the week before.While I continue to fish with live bait, other anglers are reporting success with swim baits and jerkbaits.In addition to live bait rigging I fished with and had good success with a MegaBass Mega Slowl soft plastic jerk bait.Once again, I found smallies residing anywhere from in and around docks to mid-depth flats where healthy patches of coontail adjacent to rocky shoals attract baitfish.But with the arrival of a high-pressure system late last week I also saw some bass reposition out to 25 – 35 ft. along steep breaklines. Fox Lake – With the water temperature dropping below 50 degrees fishing picked up last week on Fox Lake.I’m receiving reports of nice catches of walleyes up to 20 inches long by friends who are trolling crankbaits 10 – 12 deep feet right down the middle of the main lake basin.Try jointed Rapala Shad Raps and Tail Dancers in black and silver or firetiger colors.A 50-inch muskie was caught and released on Fox Lake by an angler fishing from his pier last week. . . . Contact Mike Norris, Wacky Worm Guide Service, at 630-842-8199 for Big Green Lake and other south-central Wisconsin guided fishing trips.

GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WISCONSIN

Check the Wisconsin DNR weekly report at https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html

ILLINOIS RIVER

Projected to be in flood stage at Starved Rock and LaSalle into next week.

LAKE ERIE

Check the report at http://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/fishing/fishing-forecasts-and-reports/the-fish-ohio-report

LAKEFRONT

It is mainly waiting on perch to come in good.

Dennis “Bigbo” Ocasio messaged:

Went to 87th today from 5am till 9am only one small perch and no bites after the one i got a carp thow lol it was funny was about 6 am and was useing a glow jig with minnows sents its was dark still and i saw the tip of my pole twitch and the bam it went down like crazy I thought I hope they brown trout or something or Laker I ended up surfacing the fish to the top of the water walked it all the way to the end to the steel beams all the way to the right and tried to land it and as soon as I pick the lineup up it snapped another gentleman came out at about 7:30 and he ended up hooking into a carp as well bigger than mine and his line broke as soon as he tried to get it up to

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor (hours now 5 a.m.-6 p.m.) texted:

All I’ve heard is that there’s been steelhead in most of the harbors on crawlers. Smallmouth still active in harbors also.

SALMON SNAGGING: Here are the details from the IDNR:

4) 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). d) Disposition of Snagged Salmon and Paddlefish. All snagged salmon and paddlefish must be removed from the area from which they are taken and disposed of properly, in accordance with Article 5, Section 5-5 of the Fish and Aquatic Life Code.

MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN

Guide Mike Norris emailed this:

Fishing Report – 10/28/2019 Mike Norris We had decent fall weather in south-central Wisconsin late last week and anglers returned to area lakes.Reports varied from lake to lake but there were some surprisingly good results.Unfortunately, wintery weather is predicted for later this week, with night time temperatures dipping into the 20’s and a possibility of snow this Thursday.I’m optimistic there will still be fishable days ahead though and don’t plan on shutting down my guide business and storing the boat yet.Here is my report from last week: . . . Madison Chain – Shore angling for walleyes remains the big story on the Madison Chain.My friends are scouting public shoreline areas for signs of shallow walleyes and then casting suspending jerkbaits to them with a twitch, pause, twitch pattern.Be ready for the fish to hit on the pause.Best jerkbaits remain Husky Jerks and Rapala X- Raps.Boat anglers are reporting walleye catches while vertical jigging steep breaklines in 20 -30 ft of water. Try the Governor’s Island and Mendota County Park areas. The Entire Lake - Slow No Wake order remains in effect for all the Madison Chain of Lakes, which includes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa and Kegonsa.The order may be lifted on Lake Mendota later this week.Phone the Dane County Land and Water Resource Department at 608-224-3730 if you need an update. Contact Mike Norris, Wacky Worm Guide Service, at 630-842-8199 for Big Green Lake and other south-central Wisconsin guided fishing trips.

Also check the D&S Bait update at https://www.facebook.com/dsbaitandtackle/.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

Kurt Justice at Kurt’s Island Sport Shop emailed:

While the open water fishing season is winding down, with other options pulling sportsmen away (duck, archery, grouse etc.), those still plying the ever-cooling waters of the Northwoods are still finding success. Cold (A.M. launch temps to 25 degrees) and wind haven’t made it easy on the late October anglers.Colder water (43 – 46 degree average) has slowed the activeness of fish, but good catches still being made. Musky:Good –Suckers (or Trout), if you can find them are still the way to start out.More reports of pick-up and drops as the takes seem less aggressive, more tentative.Happen every year, are the fish getting educated as the season winds down?Strikes on gliders (Smity jerks) and jerk baits such as Suicks continue to hold up.Slow moving plastics and twitch baits.Even over depths of 15-20’+ with baits that only run 2-3’ down, picking up fish.Sucker supplies still an issue, hatchery raised Brook Trout proving to be effective, durable, somewhat attainable yet pricey.Call your bait dealers ahead to see if any suckers are on hand. Walleye:Good –Biggest hindrance has been wind.Deep, transition areas of 22-32’ where gravel slides meet mud flats best.Chubs, suckers, large fats and even ½ crawlers on 1/4 – 3/8 oz jigs or Lindy rigs. Crappie:Good –Best over deep wood or along coontail edges, 14-20’ suspending 2-6’ off bottom.Big Crappies will take medium fatheads suspended below slip-floats.Mark fish on locator, then get upwind, anchor up and float bait back to schools. Northern Pike:Good –Few targeted, but being caught while fishing for other species.Most on twitch and jerks meant for Musky.Largest this week, 39. Bluegill:Good – Few targeting, but those that are finding fish deep, willing to take small Crappie minnows or ½ crawlers.Nice averages of 8-9 with a few 10 scattered within. No Bass reports.Though a big 21 Smallie (C&R) caught wile slip bobber fishing for Crappies this weekend. With water temps in mid-40’s, night time temps in upper 20’s to low 30’s, chance of a little snow by weeks end, action and participation will likely slow.Yet good catches still to be had as reports of largest Smallies, Pike and Walleyes made to shop have all come in last 10 days.Keep an eye out for weather, but don’t put your rods away quite yet! Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop Like us on FaceBook

That sucker shortage is not just in northern Wisconsin, it is all across the area.

NORTHWEST INDIANA

Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station (winter hours are 5 a.m.-5 p.m.) texted:

my worker said decent biz groups going to 87 st area and when lake allows straight out of burns ditch perch Steelhead in area streams will get better and better next few weeks

The wait is on.

BTW, on suckers, Slez added:

I do have musky suckers in stock lots of calls about them

Word to the wise.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

The Wisconsin DNR usuaully issues updates on Tuesday or Wednesday at https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/rootriverreport.html

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN

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Night fishing success on the St. Joseph River system.

Provided by A.J. Cwiok

A.J. Cwiok messaged the photo above and this report:

Another successful night at the st joe. Lost a monster steelhead at the beginning, walleyes should be heating up within the next few weeks.

Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said some steelhead off the pier and a few whitefish. River is high.

Whitefish reports starting. I am interested because I have yet to catch my first whitefish on southern Lake Michigan.

SHABBONA LAKE

Clint Sands at Lakeside said there are a lot of crappie being caught and a few muskies, water is near normal. Thursday is last day for Lakeside until ice fishing comes. (At the rate we are going, it might come sooner than usual.) On Friday, park hours go to 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT

For the southern Lake Michigan reports from the Wisconsin DNR, go to https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/outdoorreport.html#01

WISCONSIN RIVER

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Wisconsin River eater northern pike.

Provided by Rob Abouchar

Rob Abouchar emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale My quest for a Muskie on a Senko continued with no luck on Saturday on the Wisconsin River in Merrill .The Muskie Hunters and duck hunters were out in fairly good numbers despite the frigid morning temps on Saturday.I fished with Joe The Grasseater Schatz and he struck for his personal best Northern Pike.Thepike hit a 5 inch Strike KIng Rage Swimmer in white on a silver jighead.The big fish hit just yards away from where I lost the Muskie a week before.Some vindication of sorts.Most anglers were throwing big Muskie baits and drifting suckers.Even a couple of boats running planer boards.A muskrat fisherman seen early in the morning reported skim ice in the backwaters by his traps and freezing in the early morning hours.The big pike was harvested and the best meal of the season; a Pike and home fries feast may have put an exclamationpoint on the season...depending on that ice! Tight lines!!! Rob

I am a little curious about the effort to catch a muskie on a Senko, sounds like the kind of Quixotic quest I would try.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

FREMONT: Guide Bill Stoeger texted:

Had some goofy weather last few days, not much happening. Water temp yesterday 46.3. Some walleye and a few crappie. Water temp should drop by the weekend, and I think the walleye bite will improve

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