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Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Perch, perch, perch, crappie; where’s the ice?

Perch around Chicago and southern Lake Michigan are the main story, but there’s also good crappie action Downstate and walleye in Wisconsin for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Some 23 feet of perch on Mike Hanson’s screen in the Calumet. Provided photo
Some 23 feet of perch on Mike Hanson’s screen in the Calumet.
Provided

Perch again lead this sprawling raw-fie Midwest Fishing Report but there’s crappie and walleye reports too leading into the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. But not ice fishing, yet.

Mike Hanson messaged the photos above and below and this on Wednesday:

Good day on the cal- sag Starved Rock Guide Service

23 feet of perch

It was a slug fest

LAKEFRONT PERCH

The center of the action remains the Calumet system and the South Side slips, though a few perch are being caught at the North Side harbors. Security varies in its dealings with fishing on the private property areas around the South Side slips, but in general be prepared to not be allowed to fish the private property areas.

The bounty and beauty of Chicago’s yellow perch. Photo provided by Kyle Danhausen
The bounty and beauty of Chicago’s yellow perch.
Provided by Kyle Danhausen

Kyle Danhausen texted photo above and this:

I’m Thankful this week!

Then he added this and the photo below:

This one was 14.5Chicago

A 14.5-inch jumbo yellow perch. Photo provided by Kyle Danhausen
A 14.5-inch jumbo yellow perch.
Provided by Kyle Danhausen

Arden Katz said he counted 60 rigs at the Cal Harbor launch late last week and he caught perch “almost at will” at the South Side slips, with perch running about 8 inches on average with a few 10s from shore. He uses a double Mini-Mite rig with a pencil weight. “I shake it and hold it, when I hold it is when they bite,” he said. He considers it a far better set-up than crappie rigs and pyramid weights.

“What I can’t figure for the life of me, I am almost 60, and for the life of me I can’t figure why these perch aren’t on the North Side at Montrose and Diversey,” he said. “I’m no biologist. I don’t understand it. Why ain’t they there?”

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

Perch action cal park and up the river still very good xl fathead minnows and baby golden roach minnows are what u want for bait

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor said some perch are being caught on the outside of the harbor, a few inside.

AREA LAKES

Between deer hunting and the weather, few are out. Most of the few out are trying for crappie.

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

Hey Dale,

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

Area lakes-despite the high winds limiting time out, crappie have been very good. On sunny days, fish move up shallower out of the main basin during afternoon hours. Trigger X plastics worked under a slip float have produced the most consistent bite. Key is to slowly keep twitching the bait. Roadrunners have taken a few as well.

. . .

TTYL

Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team

Ken “Huskier” O’Malley with a quality local crappie. Photo provided
Ken “Huskier” O’Malley with a quality local crappie.
Provided

BRAIDWOOD LAKE

Closed for the season.

CALUMET SYSTEM

As noted in the perch report at the top, tremendous piles of perch inside the river.

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Water is extremely low, use caution if or when launching and when navigating channels.

Brad Irving at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said there are some crappie being caught in the mouths of channels on Pistakee and some suspended down 18 in 30 feet of water.

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

DOWNSTATE

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing, who said that crappie are excellent. “You can catch them in 1 foot to 14 on jigs,” he said. “Honestly, it doesn’t matter.” Rend Lake is the best right now; Lake of Egypt is fair. “These crappie should be deep right now and they’re not,” he said. He mentioned the deer are still in rut and there are still some fall mushrooms.

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.

FOX RIVER

See FOTW for a surprise muskie.

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

No deer hunting for me-just one outing, fishing a Fox trib this week. It wasn’t all that warm, but without the big winds, it was pretty comfortable. Multiple species were active within a few yards of each other. I caught mostly crappies and a few rock bass. A tiny smallmouth and a carp also liked the white streamer. The only species I saw but didn’t catch was suckers. Have a great Thanksgiving.

Pete

GREEN LAKE AREA, WISCONSIN

Bass photo provided by guide Mike Norris from a recent outing. Provided photo
Bass photo provided by guide Mike Norris from a recent outing.
Provided by guide Mike Norris

Guide Mike Norris texted the photos above and blow and this:

Bass is 21 inches [above]. Pike is 37 inches [below]. We had 7 nice ones in 3.5 hours of fishing. It was cloudy the day before and we were getting walleyes with the bass. I should have gone out today but got Xmas shopping done before the snow moves in tomorrow. Next trip is Thanksgiving Day!

Pike photo provided by guide Mike Norris from a recent outing. Provided photo
Pike photo provided by guide Mike Norris from a recent outing.
Provided by guide Mike Norris

Guide Mike Norris also emailed the report below:

Fishing Report 11/23/2020

Mike Norris

Big Green Lake – Angling pressure is down with the Wisconsin gun deer season in progress but for the few anglers still out fishing the rewards are there. Surface water temperature on Big Green has cooled to 44 degrees and the biggest fish of the year are on a feeding binge. My clients and I are catching smallmouth bass up to 20 inches and bonus northern pike and walleye. For the most part the few anglers out braving the cold weather are casting anything from A-Rigs to tubes and catching a few fish, but I am continuing to slow troll with live bait and catching numbers of fish. I will continue to guide through November and December until the boat ramps get iced in.

Fox Lake – Shore anglers are still catching crappies and perch on minnows suspended beneath floats, but the panfish action has slowed with the cooler weather. Boat anglers are reporting moderate success trolling for walleyes and muskies. Bluegill fishing is fair in “The Jug”.

For information on guide trips reach out to me on Facebook at mike.norris.7773 or 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

George Peters emailed this and the photo below:

Kankakee river still low and clear but water temp down to upper 30’s or low 40’s. Fishing slow only a few bites. This 17” fish hit a small spinner bait in a deep hole. Walleye will still bite in the cold, but it’s wait till next year for smallmouth. G. Peters

George Peters with a late fall smallmouth bass from the Kankakee River. Provided photo
George Peters with a late fall smallmouth bass from the Kankakee River.
Provided

LAKE ERIE

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

LAKEFRONT

People are biking or walking in to fish. Neither fisherman’s parking passes or pier passes are being sold while the lakefront remains officially closed.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor said that all gates are locked, but the gate at Montrose will be accessible for people to come to the shop, then go. Nobody will be allowed to stay. Access to shop, give or take, until the end of the month or the first week of December, whenever she closes Park Bait for the season. Hours are M-F 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat-Sun 6 a.m.-6 p.m. On Thanksgiving, it is 6 a.m.-2 p.m.

She said some browns, steelhead and even some coho are being caught.

Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan texted:

Sounds like guys on the government peer aren’t getting a few browns and steelhead on the bottom, the usual, spawn sacks, roach minerals, and some shrimp. A few boaters have been going out between 45 and 75 ft of water, sounds like between Waukegan and comed, and getting nice lake trout! Guys that have their favorite crappie holes and whatnot are hitting those as well in this area, but not a lot of reports in general because obviously it’s hunting season and a lot of guys are sorry they put their boats away!

Yes, it is hunting 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).

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

Gun deer season continues through Sunday, Nov. 29. Click here for the new muskie regulations.

NORTHWEST INDIANA

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

Perch action cal park and up the river still very good xl fathead minnows and baby golden roach minnows are what u want for bait

Lakers at portage and Michigan city for boat and shore fisherman. Blade baits and a jigging spoons best baits.

Steelhead in the lower stretches of salt creek and lil cal nothing hot and heavy yet but some fish being had. Voodoo jigs tipped with waxworms best but some fish on spawn sacks too

Slezs bait shop is open on Thanksgiving day 5 to 5

Christina Petrites at Stan’s Bait & Tackle Center in Hammond emailed:

Hi, Dale. Hope you’re staying warm with the first snow of the season!

Here’s what we have for this week:

~Steelhead: moderate; being caught on skein. Anglers in the river are catching steelhead on mag lips & flat fish. Dam & lakefront anglers are getting steelhead on lures & spawn.

~Whitefish: good; pier & shore fishing has been going well on single eggs.

~Perch: excellent; lakefront slips & inland lakes having great success. Most guys are limiting out within a couple hours. Minnows, beemoths, & worms are the top performers. Flies & spinners working fair also.

~Bluegill/ Crappie: Moderate; still some being caught on inland lakes & local tributaries. Worms, beemoths, & small lures working best.

~Bass: Fair; worms, chatterbaits, & spinners doing well.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

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

SHABBONA LAKE

Site hours are 8 a.m.-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

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

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:

The fishing has been excellent for walleye. Limits every day, and no one on the river. River rigs working best, fishing upper and lower ends of the holes.