Surprises, some ice fishing and some Chicago perch: Midwest Fishing Report

A few surprises come for perch anglers around Chicago and there’s some ice fishing north in the sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

SHARE Surprises, some ice fishing and some Chicago perch: Midwest Fishing Report

There was ice fishing at Hermann’s Rest A While on Tuesday.


Some surprises in fishing (such as real early coho), some spotty ice north and variable perch in Chicago lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Hermann’s texted the photo above in their Tuesday update. Their report is in Chain O’Lakes report.


For shore fishing, South Side slips are most consistent; meanwhile Navy Pier, the downtown and North Side harbors remain slow or spotty at best.

For boaters, Cal system is best, as Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind. texted:

Same on perch good action and fair size xl fatheads best bait orange perch Fly rigs have been good fish being caught from mouth of river all the way up to around ford plant


(Though ice fishing is spotty at best, I decided to include this again this week.)

Ice fish at your own risk, unless noted. Ice fishing is not permitted at the Chicago Lagoons, FPD of Kendall County, FPD of Will County and FP of the Kankakee River Valley.FP COOK:Ice-fishing lakes are Arrowhead, Axehead, Beck, Belleau, Big Bend, Bode South only, Bullfrog, Busse main and south, Flatfoot, Green, Horsetail, Ida, Maple, Papoose, Powderhorn, Saganashkee Slough, Sag Quarry, Tampier, Turtlehead, Wampum.FPD DuPAGE:Permitted most sites. No ice fishing at Spring Creek Reservoir. Late-night fishing allowed at Deep Quarry, must be out of preserve by 11 p.m.FPD KANE:Permitted only at Lake Patterson (Hampshire South FP), Oakhurst FP, two ponds within Paul Wolff Campground and Grunwald Farms FP.LAKE FP:When conditions allow, ice fishing permitted 6:30 a.m. to sunset at Banana and Independence Grove south bay; 6:30 a.m. to one hour after sunset at Sterling.MAZONIA SFWA:Monster at Mazonia South is open year-round open-water or ice fishing; other lakes reopen to either ice of open-water fishing on Dec. 26. McHENRY CCD:Ice fishing at The Hollows (West Lake only). SILVER SPRINGS SFWA: Must use the east entrance.


Readers suggest SpotHero app downtown. Montrose (free parking); Navy Pier (check in parking office in east lot, be out by 10 a.m. for $8 angler parking); DuSable Harbor (fisherman’s lot); Northerly Island/Burnham Harbor (meters or fisherman’s lot); Steelworkers Park (free street parking at east end of 87th).


Pier passes ($6) for select piers in Chicago harbors and $10 parking passes (DuSable, Burnham fisherman’s lots) are available at Henry’s Sports and Bait, Park Bait (until close) or Northerly Island (10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday, credit card only).


It’s waiting on fishable ice or the return of open water, though there is spotty ice fishing north and west.

But generally what Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed holds:

Hey Dale, Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing. Area lakes- waiting. Ice is around inch and a half and not safe yet. The extended forecast does not look good for making ice. Rivers may be a better option. TTYL


Most consistent perch action has been here, but it can be spotty too.


Hermann’s Rest-A-While texted on Tuesday:

Good Morning from Hermann’s! We have about 2 1/2-3 of ice reported on the back channel! Please stop in to pay $5 for parking. Warm up with some chili or a burger- our Weekday Retro Lunch Special from 12-2pm includes a burger, fries & a 10oz draft or pop!

BTW, Hermann’s also offers to include people on text messages about ice conditions.

Absolutely! Please tell anyone who wants to opt in to this service they can text ice conditions to (847) 309-2225.

Brad Irving at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said there’s fishing and fishable ice on the back channels of the Chain and just on the border at Shangrila and Twin Lakes. With 2 1/2-3 inches, it pays to heed Irving’s advice, ``Just be extra careful.’’

ICE-FISHING ACCESS: Most places run some version of $5 parking, usually taken off food or bar bill. Hermann’s Rest-A-While (Nielsen’s Channel), Granny’s Lakeside Diner at Spring Lake Marina, Choppers Bar and Grill (Channel), Sandbar Bar & Grille (Marie), Oak Park Lounge (Pistakee Bay), Musky Tales Bait Shop (near the old Mentone’s), Barnacle Bob’s (Marie).


Waiting on perch.


Braidwood, Heidecke, LaSalle are closed.


Brad Irving at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said ice fishing is going in the bay with some pike.


POWERTON: Reopens to bank fishing on Monday, Dec. 23. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15. EMIQUON: Go to SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season.


Guide Mike Norris emailed:

Fishing Report – 12/16/2019 Mike Norris Three inches of ice formed in Beyer’s Cove on Big Green Lake last week, but ice anglers are waiting for the big bluegills to show up.The Cove is known for big bluegills during the early ice period before hordes of anglers show up and spook them out of there.The main lake on Big Green is still wide open and should remain that way into January.A small contingent of diehard anglers are still launching boats there on windless nights and targeting walleyes in open water while trolling crankbaits in the east end of the lake.On Little Green Lake ice anglers are drilling holes around the Island for crappie and bluegill and setting tips-ups over weeds in 5 to 6 ft. of water for northern pike and walleyes.Wedges Bay and Town Park on Fox Lake have up to 5 inches of ice.Northern Pike on tip-ups with medium sized roaches is main bite in Wedges Bay while anglers are targeting bluegills with micro jigs and plastics in the bay near Town Park.Ice thickness should improve on most area lakes this week with the arrival of colder temperatures. Contact Mike Norris, Wacky Worm Guide Service, at 630-842-8199 for Big Green Lake and other south-central Wisconsin guided fishing trips.


Check the Wisconsin DNR weekly report at

Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay emailed this:

Good afternoon fellas…Here is a quick update as far as ice fishing is concerned We are just starting to get ice on some of our shallow bays which includes Little Sturgeon, Riley’s Bay and Sawyer Harbor along with in and around the marinas downtown.So with that said, there are some ice fishermen tip-toeing out in some of those areas chasing some early season Pike and Perch and are having some success.With some cooler temps in this weeks forecast, I anticipate some thicker and a bit safer ice which in-turn should make for some pretty good early season opportunities.For the Perch, fishermen will spread out tip ups and suspend minnows under tip-ups along with jigging with a wide variety of jigs tipped with minnow heads, wax worms and spikes.And for the Pike, most fishermen with spread tip-ups and Automatic fishermen and suspend Large Golden shiners and sucker minnows throughout the water column.And if the cool weather stays and the strong winds stay away, thousands of fishermen will be heading out chasing the mighty Whitefish.As for the Whitefish, they are pretty much all over the place from as shallow as 5 feet of water all the way out to that 60 plus foot range once we get good ice cover.Best baits for Whitefish include…Rapala jigs, Howie’s Whitefish jigs, Sweedish pimples and Jiggin shad raps just to name a few.Tip your jigs with waxies, spikes, minnow pieces and plastics all work great for Whitefish Thanks; Lance LaVine Howie’s Tackle 1309 Green Bay Rd Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235 Ph: 920-746-9916


Check the report at


See perch at top. Otherwise, perch anglers also make sporadic catches of lakers and steelhead and even an occasional brown and whitefish.

Park Bait at Montrose Harbor is closed for the season.

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.


Check the D&S Bait update at


The lakes (except Monster at Mazonia South, which is open year-round) are closed. But the lakes will reopen on Dec. 26 to ice fishing or open-water fishing.


Kurt Justice at Kurt’s Island Sport Shop emailed:

Ice thickness, safety and mobility are the biggest concerns to anglers as of this time (12/16).Thickness varies greatly from lake to lake and even on different parts of each lake. We have reports of as little as two inches coming in this morning, as well as 10 inches on others.Small lakes that froze early have it the worse.Not enough ice (6 avg) to support the weight of that first heavy snow.Larger lakes and off shore basins that remained open during first two snowfalls before locking up have stronger (yet not always thicker) ice.Areas of higher traffic are mixed with some areas of more slush, yet also areas of less slush due to snow being trampled and freezing up. Crappies:Good - Most focus on this species, though action up and down.Slow dropping plastics best on areas that aren’t too hard to move around.Some tip-down bites on small minnows. Northern Pike:Good-Fair –Action a bit slower than previous week.Large shiners best. Bluegills:Good-Fair – Again, not up to par with previous weeks fishing.Most anglers reporting action fish with fewer keepers.Live bait doing best with waxies, mousees over plastics and a very inactive jigging sequence. Walleye:Good-Fair –Just prior to dark on 3-4 sucker minnows best.Mostly tip-up bite, Eyes somewhat inactive, could be moon (full) period. Perch:Fair – Still a shallow water bite.Small Bluegill shaped jigs tipped with waxies or crappie minnows best. Largemouth Bass:Fair – Some Bass on jig poles set-up for Gills, some on medium shiners on tip-ups. The forecast of a couple more nights of below zero combined with no more snow for the next 10 days bodes well for making ice safer and less troublesome for traffic Keep eye on our FaceBook page for ice updates! Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop Like us on FaceBook


Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted:

Same on perch good action and fair size xl fatheads best bait orange perch Fly rigs have been good fish being caught from mouth of river all the way up to around ford plant Steelhead doing fair throughout the tributaries voodoo jigs best but spawn saks taking fish too Some keeper coho have been caught from boat and shore fisherman recently nice surprise

Nice surprise indeed.


The Wisconsin DNR usually issues updates on Tuesday or Wednesday at


Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said there’s some whitefish off pier and some steelhead from mid-river to Berrien Springs.


Lakeside is closed until ice fishing. Park hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m.


For the southern Lake Michigan reports from the Wisconsin DNR, go to

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