Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Variable lakefront perch & steelhead, ice slowly builds north

Variable perch, steelhead and other lakefront catches, and ice slowly building farther north lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

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A bobber, snagged on a crappie set in warmer weather, sat frozen in ice Monday in that in-between time between ice and open water. Credit: Dale Bowman

A bobber, snagged on a crappie set in warmer weather, sat frozen in ice Monday in that in-between time between ice and open water.

Dale Bowman

Variable perch on the Chicago lakefront, slowly building ice farther north and some decent steelhead reports lead this sprawling raw-fie Midwest Fishing Report.

LAKEFRONT PERCH

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 small piece of Steelworkers Park at the eastern end of 87th is public land.

Arden Katz went exploring along the Cal and found some spots to fish the perch in the river and caught a few, all the way to the Ford plant.

Jeffrey Williams messaged Tuesday afternoon that he caught two small perch under the State Street bridge on the Chicago River.

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

Perch for boat fisherman still good fishing 105st and father into the river xl fatheads best bait. Shore fisherman it’s been slower must change spots and move to different areas and hope to land on a few.

AREA LAKES

It’s one of those in-between times for ice and open water.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed:

Hey Dale, Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing. Area lakes- waiting. Most lakes have locked up with below freezing temps overnight. Geese are keeping some areas open. We should have open water opportunities later in the week with the forecast showing 50’s and rain.

Sandhill cranes flying around Chicago. Credit: Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Sandhill cranes flying around Chicago.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Here is the nature pic of the week. More Sandhills heading for their wintering grounds. TTYL — Ken Husker O’Malley Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team

BRAIDWOOD LAKE

Closed for the season.

CALUMET SYSTEM

Perch are well up the river, at least as far as the Ford plant.

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Waiting on ice to be thick enough for ice fishing, otherwise it is guys trying for muskies. Water remains extremely low, so use caution when launching or navigating the channels.

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

CHICAGO RIVER

Jeffrey Williams messaged Tuesday afternoon:

so i was fishing for some gills and i caught 2 small perch under the state st bridge, couldnt get any pics cause my phone was updating it self, they were only 6 in, caught maybe 8 gills all were CPR, they were too small to get any meat out of em

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

Harry Bowey from Princeton, Wis., with a 5-pound, 9-ounce smallmouth bass caught last week (released) with guide Mike Norris. Provided photo

Harry Bowey from Princeton, Wis., with a 5-pound, 9-ounce smallmouth bass caught last week (released) with guide Mike Norris.

Provided

Guide Mike Norris texted the photo above and emailed this report:

Fishing Report 12/6/2020 Mike Norris Big Green Lake – Despite nighttime temperatures dropping into the low 20’s Big Green Lake remains wide open due to its ultra-clear water and depth.I saw several boat anglers on Big Green during the Thanksgiving holiday week, but I am now the only boat out on the water.The resulting lack of pressure on the fishery is paying big dividends for my clients and me.With the thermocline long gone I am locating and catching smallmouth bass at various depths on live bait rigs, and these fish are arguably the biggest my clients and I catch each season.Ice is forming on the shallower lakes in my area, but the late week forecast calls for daytime temperatures in the mid-40’s.So, it will be another week or two before the ice is thick enough to safely walk on the shallower lakes in my area.Barring a deep freeze, I expect to continue to guide for smallmouth, walleyes, and northern pike on Big Green Lake through the start of the new year. For information on guide trips reach out to me via my Facebook page at mike.norris.7773 or email me through my website atwww.comecatchsmallmouth.com

GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WISCONSIN

Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.

HEIDECKE LAKE

Closed for the season.

LAKE ERIE

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

LAKEFRONT

Perch report is at the top. A truly unique mix of fish—trout, whitefish, perch, bluegill, sunfish, lake trout—are being caught, sporadically, up and down the lakefront, when weather and water conditions allow. I expect more will be out the next three days with the weather forecast.

People are biking or walking in to fish. Fisherman’s parking passes and pier passes are not being sold while the lakefront remains officially closed.

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

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

Not as fast as we would like, but after the past couple ice seasons…we’ll Take IT! Ice coverage is building throughout the Lakeland area and anglers are heading out (by cleated foot only) to enjoy early ice fishing. Walley:Good-Very Good – Favorite early ice target for many, late afternoon to dusk has been very good in the shallows (2-6’) using tip-ups baited with shiners.Jigging Raps and Shiver Minnows also effective for this aggressive, early bite.Pre-dawn through mid-morning also giving up good action anywhere green cabbage can be found. Crappies:Good-Very good – Most anglers targeting Crappies finding best bites early in AM and again mid-afternoon through dusk.Minnows producing, but jigging lures with flash such as Little Cecils also good tipped with waxies. Northern Pike:Good-Very Good – Big minnows and even Hot Dogs on tip-ups producing.Using a tie-able wire leader and #5 Pimples dressed with minnow heads also putting fish on ice. Yellow Perch:Good – Moving through shallows in what seems to be loose schools taking smaller minnows and striking K-Rips tipped with waxies. Bluegill:Good – 4-8’ weeds.Tear dot jigs tipped with waxies, spikes or plastics all good. While some large lakes still have open water (Fence, Trout) most are locked up and slowly building ice.Nearly snowless, so creepers are essential.Also, use a spud bar to check ice, have a rope and/or float suit, go out with a friend.Reports of ice thickness in 2-6+ range, but caution always required. Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop Like us on FaceBook

NORTHWEST INDIANA

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

Perch for boat fisherman still good fishing 105st and father into the river xl fatheads best bait. Shore fisherman it’s been slower must change spots and move to different areas and hope to land on a few. Steelhead in area tributaries voodoo jigs tipped with waxworms best but spawn sacks work too. Wolf lake giving up some big crappie and a few walleye xl fatheads will do the trick.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

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

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN

Proprietor Phil Schuman at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said fishing is good, including a 15-5 walleye from the river; steelhead are good and fresh fish are coming in, best on on Mag Lips in 3.0 or 3.5 or with spawn; a few are surf fishing for steelhead off the beach; a few whitefish have been caught off the 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

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

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