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Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Early perch reports, crappie inland, record warmth flees

Biggest and best news for the sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report is the perch bite starting on southern Lake Michigan; otherwise it is back to crappies inland and a comedown from the week of record November warmth.

Kankakee River sunset during the November record heat. Photo provided by Kyle Danhausen
Kankakee River sunset during the November record heat.
Provided by Kyle Danhausen

The best news for this sprawling raw-fie Midwest Fishing Report is some early reports of perch on southern Lake Michigan, but the overwhelming impact is from the record warmth for the past week.

Kyle Danhausen summed up the November heat wave with the photo at the top and this on the Kankakee River Rats Fishing page on Facebook:

What a gorgeous weekend we had !

Just remarkable stretch of weather, including some record-breaking days.

LAKEFRONT PERCH

Perch begin.

Staff at Henry’s Sports and Bait said perch are being caught at the South Side slips. Park on the street and walk in. Also a few reports up the Calumet already.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

. . . I did have a report of a guy fishing for steelhead with a spinner or jig of some sort and he caught a really nice jumbo perch possibly two at Diversey but other than that I have heard nothing in this area. There are a lot of bait fish in the harbors from what I’ve been told hopefully the perch are right underneath them or right behind them.

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

Some nice perch being caught cal park area and in the slips

Some good action last few days for perch cal park and up in river and in slips

Xl fatheads and perch fly rigs best must move around but it has started and will only get better

I repeat his last phrases: “but it has started and will only get better.”

PIER PASSES

Typically, the Chicago Park District’s pier pass program, which allows legal access to select piers during he winer months at most Chicago harbors, starts in November. Not this year. It remains on hold.

AREA LAKES

I still see a few guys trout fishing, but it is mostly crappie, otherwise.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed:

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing.

Area lakes-the unusually warm weather, while nice and I don’t think anyone will complain, has made fishing tough. Bass numbers have slowed and have been running on the small side. Crappie have slowed.

. . .

After taking a week off, the nature pic of the week is back [below]. I wasn’t the only one enjoying the record warm weather.

TTYL

Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team

Sunning turtle during the record November warmth. Photo provided by Ken “Husker” O’Malley.
Sunning turtle during the record November warmth.
Provided by Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

This may be my last report on bass and bluegills until next Spring, but to still be fly fishing for them in November is a pleasant surprise. Bluegills and small bass were active over the weekend. There was even a hatch of midges on a local pond and a few were getting picked off of the surface. But I didn’t have any Griffith’s gnats in the flybox, so it was all sub-surface fishing for me. And I spooked a few fish that were holding tight to the bank and, judging from the size of the wakes they left, were not all small. There should be a few good weeks of crappie fishing before we get any ice.

. . .

Pete

ILLINOIS’ INLAND TROUT: Here are the Chicago-area sites: (Cook County) Axehead, Belleau, Busse North, Green, Horsetail, Sag Quarry East, Wolf; (Kankakee) Rock Creek, Bird Park Quarry; (Kendall): Big Lake; (Lake) Sand Lake; Spring Grove Hatchery Pond; (Will) Lake Strini, Van Horn Woods.

BRAIDWOOD LAKE

Closed for the season.

CALUMET SYSTEM

Hearing of some perch far up the river already. See whether the weather change helps or hurts.

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Water levels are low and being drawn down; so be cautious launching and navigating channels.

Arden Katz said to work the pockets on the shoreline of Catherine and Channel for bluegill with some crappie mixed in.

Art Frisell at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said crappie are excellent, try in 8-12 feet with small ice jigs and small minnows; white bass are suspended down 8-12 feet over main lake basins; for walleye, try small roaches around main lake points or bridges; muskie are slow, try big suckers and big jerkbaits.

NOTE: Check updates on water conditions at foxwaterway.com or (847) 587-8540.

DOWNSTATE

EMIQUON: Basically, go to the launch. General information at http://experienceemiquon.com/sites/default/files/LakeAccessRules.pdf. Fishing is allowed sunrise to sunset even during waterfowl season this year because The Nature Conservancy has suspended their public waterfowl hunting program this year due to COVID-related issues. TNC hopes to resume the public waterfowl hunting program next year.

POWERTON: Waterfowl season is open, so adjust accordingly.

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the year.

SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing.

GREEN LAKE AREA, WISCONSIN

Tyler Uteg and Mike Norris with a double caught simultaneously last weekend on Big Green Lake. Provided by Mike Norris
Tyler Uteg and Mike Norris with a double caught simultaneously last weekend on Big Green Lake.
Provided by Mike Norris

Guide Mike Norris texted the photo above and emailed this:

Fishing Report 11/9/2020

Mike Norris

Big Green Lake – My clients are hooking up with some chunky smallmouth bass on Big Green. With the recent warm weather, the best bites have come early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Casting or drifting with blacktail chubs or suckers are responsible for most of our catches. Bring your own bait up if heading this way as blacktail chubs and suckers are scarce in my area. I am told chubs will not be delivered to local bait shops until the ice fishing season starts. Walleye fishing is fair and are being caught dragging rigs baited with extra-large tuffies. I am also getting reports of anglers catching walleyes trolling crankbaits after dark.

Fox Lake (Dodge County) – Shore anglers are experiencing good catches of perch running between 9 and 11 inches. A minnow suspended beneath a float or dead sticked on the lake bottom are producing most of the catches. Neckdown areas where water crosses beneath roadways is the preferred location for shore anglers, but I am getting reports that the perch are biting throughout the lake, so do not overlook any area where there is public access. Boat anglers are also having success.

Phone or message me at 630-842-8199 to book a guided fishing trip or contact me through my website at www.comecatchsmallmouth.com

GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WISCONSIN

Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.

HEIDECKE LAKE

Closed for the season.

KANKAKEE RIVER

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a Kankakee River smallmouth bass. Provided photo
Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a Kankakee River smallmouth bass.
Provided

Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed the photo above and this:

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing.

. . .

Kankakee River-water temps are in the low 50’s. Water is gin clear and very low. Active smallmouth can be found in deep pools with current using a minnow jerk bait. Overall bite was slow and you really had to work for them.

. . .

TTYL

Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team

LAKE ERIE

Shaun Murphy messaged the photo below and this:

20” small mouth caught by my brother in law, Craig Ralston. 6.50 lbs Kelly’s island, lake Erie off of kelleys shoal. 25ft of water. Phantom lure

Abyss lure, gold , blue and black

Lake Erie smallmouth bass. Provided by Shaun Murphy
Lake Erie smallmouth bass.
Provided by Shaun Murphy

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

LAKEFRONT

People are biking or walking in to fish. Fisherman’s parking passes are not being sold while the lakefront remains officially closed, nor is the winter pier pass.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

There are still a few steelhead being caught in a few of the harbors. Seems as though the nicer weather slowed things down a bit. I did have a report of a guy fishing for steelhead with a spinner or jig of some sort and he caught a really nice jumbo perch possibly two at Diversey but other than that I have heard nothing in this area. There are a lot of bait fish in the harbors from what I’ve been told hopefully the perch are right underneath them or right behind them.

Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan texted:

Mainly very nice lakers, 75 foot of water, 44 feet down, to the bottom, between waukegan harbor and the power plant. Aug and his buddies got a limit Saturday, along with another customer of ours.

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).

LaSALLE LAKE

Closed for the season.

MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN

Click here for the update from D&S Bait.

MAZONIA

Closed for the season, but Monster Lake at Mazonia South stays open year-round.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

Howard Bass emailed the photo below and this:

Hi Dale,

Ive been in boulder junction for the last month and the weather is giving me whiplash. First I pulled a steel truss dock from a frozen lake. Had to use a sledge hammer to get through it. This last week it’s in the mid sixties. Fish r biting. A 36” with a November belly. Once again on jig and minnow six pound test from 25’ of water. Walleye biting as well

Northern Wisconsin muskie. Photo provided by Howard Bass
Northern Wisconsin muskie.
Provided by Howard Bass

Kurt Justice at Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua emailed:

Couple weeks ago, we looked to be heading into early ice up. Last weeks warm spell opened things back up on our lakes.

Many sportsmen and women have put their boats away and set their sights (literally) on other ventures. (If I need to spell it out…hunting. Get it?) Still, for those who haven’t put their boats away, fishing has been good.

Musky: Good-Very Good – Sucker bite continues to be best with some good reports from anglers casting larger glide baits (Smutly Dogs, Smity Jerks) and large swim baits! Large Cranes and 9-11” Grandmas also producing.

Walleye: Good – Deep bites best using jig and minnow combos over gravel/mud transitions in 30-45’. Flowage fish relating to deeper wood.

While a few anglers have found Smallies and Crappies while working for Walleyes, not much to report on.

Whitefish have been hitting very well along deep breaks adjacent to shallow spawning locations, #5 pimples best.

Deer sighting seem to be up this year from last year, with a few more larger bucks being reported. Far cry from the late 90’s early 2000’s, but hopefully an upswing.

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
Like us on FaceBook

You know it is November when deer reports bleed into the fishing reports.

NORTHWEST INDIANA

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

Some nice perch being caught cal park area and in the slips

Some good action last few days for perch cal park and up in river and in slips

Xl fatheads and perch fly rigs best must move around but it has started and will only get better

Lake trout action fair at portage and Michigan city boat and peir action

Blade baits and jigging spoons best for lakers if u go live bait medium golden roaches are best

Crappie going good at lake George in Hobart around Wisconsin st bridge using minnows

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

Click here for the Wisconsin DNR’s report, usually on Tuesday or Wednesday.

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN

Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said there are more and more steelhead in the river; one whitefish was caught Tuesday off the St. Joseph pier.

SHABBONA LAKE

Site hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lakeside, Pokanoka’s Cafe and camp store are closed for the season. Lakeside plans to reopen when ice fishing comes.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

. . .

I did hit a Lake Michigan tributary targeting steelheads and browns last week. The water was a little high for this time of year, but it had dropped almost back to normal from the previous week. It was clear and wading was simple enough. I was surprised by the high numbers of zombie salmon still around. Most, if not all, were chinooks, so there may still be good numbers of coho yet to come.

Pete

Click here for the southern Lake Michigan reports from the Wisconsin DNR.