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Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Perch, lake trout, ice fishing up north while waiting here

Fishing for perch on the South Side of Chicago, with some lake trout mixed in, leads this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; there’s ice to the north while we are waiting on it here.

Quinn Wunar with his really big perch, caught on the Chicago lakefront. Provided photo
Quinn Wunar with his really big perch, caught on the Chicago lakefront.
Provided

Fishing for perch at the South Side slips, the Calumet and Navy Pier, with some lake trout mixed in, leads this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; there’s ice to the north and it’s waiting on it here.

Quinn Wunar tweeted the photo at the top and this info:

Caught and released

Hit like a brown!

15& 1/4 ish

Thought it was a small trout

Good thing to think it might a trout, a good number are being caught on the lakefront by perch anglers. For example, see the Fish of the Week.

LAKEFRONT PERCH

Reports have generally been very good over the holiday weekend around the South Side slips, the Calumet and Navy Pier.

Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait texted:

. . . 87th street perch still biting with no skim ice in the way yet. Get access w free parking!! Happy New Year.

Arden Katz said there had to be at least 300 people at 87th last week. He tried Navy Pier on Christmas and caught fish on every cast, fish around 10 inches, near the bus turnaround on the west end; but then it was tough on Monday.

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

87th slip has been jammed packed with perch fisherman everyday for weeks now.

Lots and lots of perch caught . . .

Crappie rigs and perch fly rigs tipped with fatheads, xl fatheads or Rosie reds doing the best.

NAVY PIER ANGLING

The north side of Navy Pier is open for anglers. The discounted parking for anglers is $9, if out by 10 a.m.

PIER PASSES

The $6 pier passes, which allow legal access to select piers at most Chicago harbors, may be bought at Henry’s Sports and Bait (cash only) and Northerly Island Visitor Center (credit-card only). A number of additional piers were added this year to bring the total to 31 piers.

LAKEFRONT PARKING

Chicago Park District’s parking passes for the fisherman’s parking lots at DuSable and Burnham harbors are on sale at Henry’s Sports and Bait in Bridgeport and Northerly Island Visitor Center.

Readers suggest SpotHero app downtown. Otherwise, here are some basics: Foster (free street parking or pay lot); Montrose (now a mix of metered and free street parking); Belmont (pay lots on north and south sides); Diversey (pay lot or street parking); DuSable Harbor (pay lot or fisherman’s lot); Northerly Island/Burnham Harbor (meters, pay lot or fisherman’s lot); 31st/Burnham (meter parking between McCormick Place and 31st Street Harbor); Oakwood/39th (meters); 63rd Street/Casino Pier (pay lot); Steelworkers Park (free street parking at east end of 87th); Cal Park (free parking).

SALMON SNAGGING

Snagging for Chinook and coho, allowed only at Lincoln Park Lagoon south of Fullerton, Waukegan North Harbor, Winnetka Power Plant or Jackson Harbor (Inner and Outer Harbors) ends Friday, Dec. 31.

AREA LAKES

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a crappie before local lakes iced over. Provided photo
Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a crappie before local lakes iced over.
Provided

Ken “Husker” O’Malley of Husker Outdoors emailed the photos to the left and below, and this:

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this weeks fishing.

Area lakes-most lakes locked up with thin ice yesterday morning only to allow open water opportunity by the afternoon. How long can we go with the long rods?

Crappie have been good and have been the most consistent bite. Most days they are cruising weedlines. Some days you can find them in the main basin.

Best bait has been a maki plastic under a slip float. White and chartreuse has been the go to colors.

Here is the nature pic of the week. Closing time.

TTYL

Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team

Nature photo of the week. Provided by Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Nature photo of the week.
Provided by Ken “Husker” O’Malley

BRAIDWOOD LAKE

Closed. Reopens March 1.

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Proprietor Greg Dickson at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said on the possibility of ice fishing, “My personal opinion is that we are looking at early next week.”

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

NOTE 2: The Stratton Lock and Dam is closed through April 30.

COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS

Both units of Mazonia reopen Wednesday, Dec. 29, for either or both ice fishing (at your own risk) and open water. Braidwood, Heidecke and LaSalle are closed for the season.

DES PLAINES RIVER

Sean Whippo with one of his favored northern pike. Provided photo
Sean Whippo with one of his favored northern pike.
Provided

Sean Whippo emailed the photo left and this:

The Pike bite has been extremely consistent all fall without much pause, and now with the above average temps and recent rainfall, it’s been absolutely HOT. Slow rolling Husky Jerks & hard, slow sinking Swimbaits has been the ticket for me, and the Des Plaines has given me 3 30+” fish in the last two weeks, first two 30 and 30.5, last one 31.5 and 7.1 lbs. All great fighting healthy fat river Pike too.

I stay ridiculously plugged into the Esox scene, and Pike are still being consistently caught in mostly all the river and creek systems in the Chicago area, even out to the Kishwaukee River. In addition, SEVERAL 40”+ inch Pike (up to 43”) have been recently caught in the last two weeks in the Des Plaines. Apologies for the lengthy mail, but I’m an Esox crusader, and I think it’s worth a mention that they remain catchable without pause even now! The Des Plaines River is also somehow not as well known for the Pike it produces from North to South, so just thought it would be worth a shout! Thanks for your awesome reports! Keep up the good work!!!

Kind Regards,

Sean Whippo

I’m a fan of crusaders.

DOWNSTATE

EMIQUON PRESERVE: Doug Blodgett, director of river conservation for the Illinois chapter of The Nature Conservancy, emailed on Tuesday, Dec. 28:

For the Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve, public fishing goes back to sunrise to sunset starting tomorrow [Wednesday, Dec. 29], coinciding with the end of public waterfowl hunting here. Permits for 2022 are now available at Dickson Mounds Museum Tues-Sat 10AM-4PM.

POWERTON: Bank fishing reopened on Monday. Winter hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15.

SPRING LAKE: Boat fishing is allowed after 1 p.m., after goose hunting is closd, on the main lake. Bank fishing along South Lake Road is allowed all day.

SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service.

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing.

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season. Check regulations at http://www.wetlands-initiative.org/dixon-paddling-fishing.

GREEN LAKE AREA, WISCONSIN

Courtney Dornfeld, from Glen Ellyn, with a Lake Puckaway northern pike. Provided by Mike Norris
Courtney Dornfeld, from Glen Ellyn, with a Lake Puckaway northern pike.
Provided by Mike Norris

Guide Mike Norris texted the photo above and emailed this:

Fishing Report – 12/27/2021

Mike Norris

Big Green Lake – With the exception of the Beyer’s Cove and the T-Channels, Big Green remains wide open. This may change with single-digit temperatures moving in later in the week. I am still targeting smallmouth bass and walleye there with live bait from my boat when weather permits.

Ice is forming on the shallower lakes in my area. Lake Puckaway is my early ice go-to place right now for both northern pike and walleye. Access the lake by foot from the Oak St. landing or from Hickory Point. I am also targeting bluegills and northern pike through the ice in Wedges Bay, and in the Town Park area on Fox Lake. Try medium sized shiners beneath a tip up for pike, and small tungsten jigs tipped with plastic for bluegills.

HEIDECKE LAKE

Closed. Reopens April 1.

KANKAKEE RIVER

George Peters with a Kankakee River smallmouth bass. Provided photo
George Peters with a Kankakee River smallmouth bass.
Provided

George Peters emailed the photo above and this:

This one is for you, Dale! Christmas Day 17” smallmouth. Fished a 1/8 oz. Jig in a slow backwater with a log jam. Water only 40 degrees.

That just makes me envious as hell. A Christmas smallmouth bass from the Kankakee is something I meant to for decades. Once again the family lollygagging over opening gifts and then eating our traditional Chinese meal meant I did not have a window to try.

He also sent this and the photo below:

Shortly after the bass got this Christmas Carp on the same jig. Took me 20 minutes to land on 6 pound test. I don’t know how big, but I had all I could do to lift it . Probably near 20 pounds. Happy Holidays! G. Peters

George Peters with a carp from the Kankakee River. Provided photo
George Peters with a carp from the Kankakee River.
Provided

KENOSHA, WISCONSIN

Cory Yarmuth messaged this on Monday, and the photo below:

Kenosha Wisconsin harbor brown trout on a white x rap

Cory Yarmuth with a brown trout from Kenosha Harbor. Provided photo
Cory Yarmuth with a brown trout from Kenosha Harbor.
Provided

LAKE ERIE

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

LAKEFRONT

It’s perch (at the top) and lake trout, primarily.

Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait texted:

Lake trout showing up in dusable harbor on spoons blades and kastmasters. Pier pass required. 87th street perch still biting with no skim ice in the way yet. Get access w free parking!! Happy New Year.

Beside his perch report at the top, Arden Katz said a few lake trout are being caught every day at 87th.

SNAGGING: Friday, Dec.. 31 is the final day for snagging Chinook and coho on the Illinois lakefront.

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.

LaSALLE LAKE

Closed. Reopens March 15.

MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN

Gene Dellinger at D&S Bait said Tuesday morning, “Cherokee Marsh is the only thing locally they are fishing at the moment. Imagine that they will be on more by this weekend.”

Click here for the update from D&S Bait.

MAZONIA

Both units reopen, Wednesday, Dec. 29, for open-water and/or ice fishing (when safe); Monster at Mazonia South is open year-round. Hours are 6 a.m. to sunset.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

Scott Oglanian with a good walleye through the ice in the Northwoods of northern Wisconsin. Provided photo
Scott Oglanian with a good walleye through the ice in the Northwoods of northern Wisconsin.
Provided

Scott Oglanian messaged the photo above and this:

This was last week in the northwoods of N Wisconsin

Kurt Justice at Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua emailed this and the photo below:

Fishing Report Dec 28, 2021

We’ve been blessed with some ice making weather so far this ice season. Despite snow falls

(8+” 12/27th, more forecasted for night fall 12/28), The wind and dry cold air have kept lakes in favorable ice making conditions.

Fishing still good overall if not a bit slowed this last week. Typical after snowfall. Also, wind has not always made things comfortable for anglers.

Walleye: Good – Very Good! Good ice cover with limited snow made for good travel conditions as anglers reported good late afternoon thru early dusk reports. Most repots from anglers using medium golden or river shiners around cabbage flats of 7-12’. Jigging raps, Shiver Minnows and Buckshot spoons tipped with a minnow head as walleyes are still aggressive. As ice thickens and anglers are spreading out to off shore humps, use of sucker minnows becoming more popular.

Northern Pike: Good – Very Good! Good reports with nice fish up to 34” reported this past week. Big Shiners (slabs if available) tempting larger pike in 6-12’ cabbage.

Crappies: Good Bite tough on windy days as finesse with plastics not easy. Tip-downs with small rosies on crappie minnows working. If shallow weed bite not working, slip out to 15-20 flats outside weeds. Dusk best.

Bluegill: Good Same as Crappie, wind makes for tough finesse bite. On calmer days, small plastics, waxies and mousses producing in shallow bays of 5-8’. For largest gills start early (dawn).

Yellow Perch: Good-Fair Most action is weeds of 6-10’ on waxies, small minnows. Not a lot of reports from anglers plying mud with wigglers, but that should start soon enough.

Largemouth Bass: Good-Fair Action jigging #3 pimples and Buckshot Spoons tipped with minnow heads as well as jigging Shad Raps also catching bass of 14-17” in weedy bays of 6-10’.

Most ice reports coming in with averages of 6-12” of good ice. Snow depth of 3-6” but travel good. A.T.V and snowmobile use good for the most part. Always use caution on untraveled ice. Cold, dry conditions should mean more good ice buildup this week!

Stephanie Blohm, of Minocqua, Wisconsin, with a walleye from ice fishing in the Northwoods. Provided by Kurt’s Island Sports Shop
Stephanie Blohm, of Minocqua, Wisconsin, with a walleye from ice fishing in the Northwoods.
Provided by Kurt’s Island Sports Shop

NORTHWEST INDIANA

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

87th slip has been jammed packed with perch fisherman everyday for weeks now.

Lots and lots of perch caught with some Lakers being had too.

Crappie rigs and perch fly rigs tipped with fatheads, xl fatheads or Rosie reds doing the best.

Open regular hours on New Year’s Day 5 to 5

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

Hi, Dale! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Here’s to a delightful New Year to everyone:

Perch fishing remains pretty awesome in Lake Michigan (slips mostly) & the Gary Lighthouse. Beemoths, smaller minnows, & spikes have been baits of choice. Mini Mites have also been working well lately for Perch, Crappie, & Trout.

Steelhead fishing remains very good on the Calumet & Saint Joseph Rivers, with mag lips being the best lures. Spawn is working sporadically in some spots.

Lake Trout anglers are having moderate success in Lake Michigan & subsidiary inlets, using mostly Powerbait, trout worms, Mini Mites, & spinners.

Wolf Lake is producing some nice Walleye. Nightcrawlers & spinners working well.

Whitefish being caught East toward Michigan City on single eggs off piers mostly.

I think she nailed the description of perch fishing.

ROCK RIVER, WISCONSIN

Arden Katz said they caught lots of sauger and walleye over the weekend, but everything was under 18 inches, at the Jefferson Dam.

SHABBONA LAKE

Concessions are closed. Site hours through Jan. 31 are 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN

Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said some limiting out on steelhead in the river.

Paddle and Pole hosts the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder Camera.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:

About the same as last week. The ice conditions are improving, but most still walking or 4 wheelers