Chicago fishing, Midwest Report: Bluegill, crappie, walleye, sauger, steelhead, hoping on perch

The fall bites are building for walleye, sauger, crappie and even bluegill to lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; and the wait goes on for perch.

SHARE Chicago fishing, Midwest Report: Bluegill, crappie, walleye, sauger, steelhead, hoping on perch
Jerry Shear with a big walleye from Lake Erie.

Jerry Shear with a big walleye from Lake Erie.

Provided by Shaun Murphy

The fall bites are building for walleye, sauger, crappie and even bluegill and lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; and the wait goes on for perch. And, even to the far north, not a hint of ice fishing yet.

Shaun Murphy messaged the photo at the top from his boat Friday near Kelleys Island on Lake Erie of Jerry Shear and a big walleye, and this:

8.5 lbs. 28.5 off of Kelly’s Island 50’ water. 2.2 mph 125 back unassisted.

out on Kelly’s Island, lake erie. Yes today Bandit 125’ back , huff daddy custom lure .

They were seven miles out, then the winds forced them off the lake.

Just goes to show, some walleye are naturally large on Lake Erie.

PIER PASSES

Pier passes begin next Tuesday, Nov. 15 and run through March 31. The $10 pier passes, which allow legal access to select piers at Jackson Park, Burnham, DuSable, Diversey, Belmont and Montrose harbors, go on sale on next Tuesday, Nov. 15 and may be bought at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor (cash only) and Northerly Island Visitor Center (credit-card only).

LAKEFRONT PERCH

Waiting. Hope is the cold snap will turn it on.

NEARSHORE SALMON/TROUT

Jeffrey Williams with his first Chinook. Provided photo

Jeffrey Williams with his first Chinook.

Provided

Jeffrey Williams messaged the photo above and this from Monday:

My 1st Salmon, caught out of Burnam, 14 lbs on the dot

Man wat a awesome fight

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

Steelhead still doing pretty well in the harbors on spawn, med to large wax worms.Still some Kings and Coho on lures and some baits.

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

Lakers and whitefish action on the Michigan city pier using blade baits and spoons for whitefish best fishing bottom with small peices of skein or little peice of worm

Few steelhead in area creeks must cover a lot of water use voodoo jigs tipped with waxworms or dime size spawn sak on single hook.

LAKEFRONT PARKING

Chicago Park District’s parking passes for the fisherman’s parking lots at DuSable and Burnham harbors are on sale at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor and the 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).

AREA LAKES

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a bluegill from area waters. Provided photo

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a bluegill from area waters.

Provided

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

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap if the past weeks fishing.

Area lakes-bluegill continue to be the hot bite. Ice jigs under a slip float tipped with wax worms are the best bait worked along the outside weedlines adjacent to deep water.

. . .

TTYL

Ken Husker O’Malley

Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team

Dr. Atul Mallik found a channel catfish in a Chicago lagoon. Provided photo

Dr. Atul Mallik found a channel catfish in a Chicago lagoon.

Provided

Dr. Atul Mallik emailed the photo above and this:

Hello Dale!

It’s been a while and, between college football games and garage band mosh pits, I hope you and yours are well.

I was pleasantly surprised to catch a nice small channel catfish at Columbus Park Lagoon at dusk on Wednesday night. Earlier in the year I just saw small bullheads, and I remember your article about a lack of channel cat stocking this year, so this was something else.

https://chicago.suntimes.com/2022/6/5/23155226/chicago-outdoors-chicago-lagoon-catfish-deck-robin-family-minnesota-sturgeon-ducks-decoys

Many possible answers, but I was just happy to reel in this fish: (with a Berkley Gulp Minnow on a 1/2 oz jighead floated under a bobber, a terminal tackle combo of convenience in the dwindling light)

Otherwise, a modest amount of Chicago lakeshore and river fishing this late summer and fall yielded a large number of small fish…and infinitesimally small number of big fish. I’m OK with that, but my son is looking for more so I need to up my game. In the meantime, gearing up for perch too.

Thanks and best wishes always,

Atul

Good to hear from Dr. Mallik again. Yes, my family life has been busy the last month of so.

As to the channel catfish, the Chicago Park District was able to have some stocked this fall in the usual lagoons from a surplus at the hatchery. My guess by the size of the catfish in the photo that it is one of those stocked this fall.

Pete Lamar with a bluegill by a fly rod. Provided photo

Pete Lamar with a bluegill by a fly rod.

Provided

Pete Lamar emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale,

I’ll send this now as I’m likely finished fishing for the week. I wanted to get out on Saturday-last day of Daylight Savings Time, so all sunsets will be early for the next few months-but it didn’t happen due to the gale-force winds. Sunday turned out to be a much better day: temps in the low 60s; wind quit in the late afternoon; the water must have warmed a little because the fish were feeding. It was a mixed bag of bluegills and largemouths. The bluegills were of respectable size; the bass were not. But it’s November and I’m catching fish on fly tackle, without a hat and gloves and can still feel my fingers. Not much to complain about.

I haven’t targeted crappies yet and haven’t found any while fishing for bass and bluegills either. If the forecast colder weather materializes next week, that could be the start of it.

Pete

I think he is spot on that the season will truly being changing with this weekend, as others also note in this report.

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Kyle Tepper at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said water should be turning over soon; crappie and bluegill shallow in the channels (seawalls, docks) on plastics or wax worms; white bass fair on Wolf River rig with a minnow; some trolling for walleye or working the channels with small swimbaits or jig and minnow; muskies good on suckers or big plastics, Channel, Marie or Catherine best; for bass, crankbaits or little swimbaits; catfish best on cut bait under schools of crappie.

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

NOTE 2: Stratton Lock and Dam is closed through April 30, 2023.

CHICAGO RIVER

Jeffrey Williams messaged Monday:

Interesting day, we walked from the riverwalk(state st) all the way to Burnam, he caught a nice 2 lb smallie under state st and lost 2 salmon while walking the lakefront

COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS

Heidecke, LaSalle, Braidwood and Mazonia (except Monster Lake is open all years) are closed.

DOWNSTATE

EMIQUON PRESERVE: During waterfowl season, fishing is not allowed until noon. Access permits and liability waivers are required. They are available Tuesday to Saturday at Dickson Mounts Museum, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

POWERTON: Closed until after duck season.

SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service.

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing.

SPRING LAKE: Site superintendent Thad Cook emailed:

Hey Dale, Oct 21st is the last day for boats to be on Spring Lake. Boat fishing will still be allowed from the Sky Ranch ramp up to the narrows throughout waterfowl season. The stoping point in the narrows will be marked with buoy markers. The youth waterfowl hunt is oct 23-24. Bank fishing will be allowed along the south Lake road after 1:00pm during waterfowl season. Thanks. Thad

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season.

FOX RIVER

Vince Oppedisano with a fall walleye from the Fox River. Provided photo

Vince Oppedisano with a fall walleye from the Fox River.

Provided

Vince Oppedisano emailed the photo above and this:

Dale,

Spent a lot of time on the Fox River again this weekend, mostly wading with crankbaits & jerkbaits.

Kane County levels were a little low but not too bad. Saturday conditions were very tough with strong wind gusts, more weed growth than last week, and fallen leaves everywhere. Tough to get too many clean casts without picking up a weed or a leaf. The rain on Saturday seemed to help with the leaf situation, they were much more cleared out on Sunday.

Still able to locate some smallmouth but definitely less than the prior few weeks. Noticed a few short strikers, I think the dropping water temps are slowing them down....but it seems like very good conditions for some other species. Had a good size musky go full airborn a few feet in front of me and spit the hook yesterday. Very cool experience, and always more tolerable when you’re still catching some good fish. Picked up another handful of walleye over the weekend, some good size (see attached— would estimate about 20 inches).

Looking forward, would anticipate pretty good fishing this week until the winter temps hit on Saturday. We’ll see how that changes things.

GREEN LAKE AREA, WISCONSIN

Guide Mike Norris emailed:

Fishing Report – 11/06/2022

Mike Norris

Big Green Lake – Last week’s summer-like weather brought anglers back to the lake in droves, but the calm glassy-water conditions slowed the bass fishing. That all changed when a cold front moved through the area last Saturday with cooler temperatures and wind gusts up to sixty mph. With cooler temperatures the bite for smallmouth bass will improve this week as they group up and start relocating to their wintering holes. Look for fast tapering drop offs in 20 to 35 feet of water for bass. Controlled drifts along break lines with a Carolina-rigged live bait offering is a smart choice for finding bass this time of year.

Fox Lake – The largemouth bass on Fox Lake woke up and bit well last week after a dismal early fall season. Local anglers located bass in shallow water in both the Jug and in the Government Area. Both chatterbaits and swim jigs worked well fished above the last good green weed growth. One angler reported catching over seventy bass during an outing last week.

GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WISCONSIN

Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.

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

Hi fellas….Here is a quick update on the fishing

Perch fishing has been super as of late when you can get out there with the nasty weather we have had. Sawyer Harbor, Riley’s Bay and Little Sturgeon are all good areas in the fall. Fathead minnows and plastics the best baits to use in the fall.

The Pike fishing has been super and will just continue to stay good right through ice up. Sturgeon Bay ship canal, Sawyer Harbor, Riley’s Bay and Little Sturgeon are all very good areas to try. Jerk baits, spinner baits. Spoons, large plastics and sucker minnows are all good areas to target Pike

The Smallmouth Bass fishing has been excellent as it usually is late in the fall. Fish near their wintering areas in that 20 to 40 foot range. Howie’s Shorty tubes, ned rigs, swim baits, Alabama rigs along with live bait rigging sucker minnows on circle hooks

The Walleye fishing should be getting better as the water continues to cool. The night bite becomes much more prevalent this time of year and you pretty much can fish right up until we ice up. Trolling and casting suspending jerk baits generally the ticket in the fall

ILLINOIS RIVER

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a sauger from the Illinois River. Provided photo

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a sauger from the Illinois River.

Provided

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

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap if the past weeks fishing.

. . .

Illinois River- water levels are low with water temps holding at 55. Sauger are spread out throughout the river. Areas to work are near wintering holes and drop offs from the main channel. Best bait has been vertical jigging a Clam tikka mino tipped with a fathead. White bass are hit or miss on blade baits.

. . .

TTYL

Ken Husker O’Malley

Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team

KANKAKEE RIVER

Bob Johnson with quality fall smallmouth bass from the Kankakee River. Proved photo

Bob Johnson with quality fall smallmouth bass from the Kankakee River.

Provided

Bob Johnson emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale -Got a double Sunday. I set one pole down in rod holder with lure dangling a foot below surface and a follow up bass hit it just before boating first bass. 2 the hard way. More of the same on river as fall frenzy continues. River temps still above 50 with a slight stain from recent rains. Best action continues on finesse baits having less success on crainkbaits, bladed jigs and swim baits. Walleye bite remains slow but hopeful that will change with falling water temps.

LAKE ERIE

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

See photo and note at the very top.

LAKEFRONT

Bluegill at Jackson Park Harbor. Provided by BoRabb Williams

Bluegill at Jackson Park Harbor.

Provided by BoRabb Williams

BoRabb Williams messaged the bluegill photo above and this on Wednesday:

Dale Bowman ... Today at 63rd Street Harbor

He added:

Dale Bowman ..... we’re catching Everything in Jackson Park Harbor.... from King Salmon... Coho... rainbow.. Steelhead ... crappie blue gills... etc

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

Steelhead still doing pretty well in the harbors on spawn, med to large wax worms.Still some Kings and Coho on lures and some baits. A few smallmouth and Northerns in the mix.No perch reports yet. Our hours are now 6am to 4pm

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).

MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN

Click here for the update from D&S Bait, Tackle & Fly Shop .

MAZONIA

Closed, except Monster Lake is open all year. Lakes will reopen after various hunting seasons.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

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

For the second year in a row, it looks like November will be a better month for big Musky! Water temps averaging 45 -48 degrees as of today (11/8). With conditions over the end of last week not so favorable, we are seeing a lack of angler participation for all but Musky and Walleye.

Musky: Good – Nice fish (42-45) being reported but few Big Fish. Suckers have been dominate, with some anglers reporting surprisingly shallow fish and lots of bait fish in the shallow water also. While casting into weeds of 10-14’ has brought out fish, hanging suckers in water 20-25’ has been good. Oddly, not deeper than the 25’ range yet.

Walleye: Good – Even this species seems to be shallower on some lakes than expected. While most anglers working 34-44’ doing well using chubs on 3/8 – 1/2 oz jigs or drop-shotting along gravel slides or mud basins. Anglers finding Walleyes moving back up into weed edges of 12-14’. Casting and ripping #9 Jigging Raps and #3 Shiver Minnows up gravel slides of 40’ to 24’ also producing.

Forecast has warm weather (highs upper 50’s) through Thursday night (11/10), then a major drop with highs of mid 30’s to upper 20’s and lows through Tuesday (11/15) in the upper teens. Warm rain on 11/9-11/10 will bolster surface temps, but cold change with rain and snow will pull those temps down into low 40’s or possibly below.

Good time to hunt big fish…if you’re willing!

Speaking of hunting – The board is up for the Big Buck Contest, stop in to sign up before opening day, November 19th.

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop - Like us on Facebook

NORTHWEST INDIANA

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

Lakers and whitefish action on the Michigan city pier using blade baits and spoons for whitefish best fishing bottom with small peices of skein or little peice of worm

Crappie, bass and bluegills up and down the river near 249 bridge. Minnows, jigs tipped with waxworms best.

Few steelhead in area creeks must cover a lot of water use voodoo jigs tipped with waxworms or dime size spawn sak on single hook.

Slez’s has all the minnows you want perch will be up in the river soon.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

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

SHABBONA LAKE

Site winter hours—through Jan. 31—are 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Boondocks is closed

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT

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

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN

Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said steelhead are by the Berrien Springs dam, good smallmouth bass in the St. Joseph River, not much off St. Joe pier with the weather; some whitefish at South Haven.

Paddle and Pole hosts the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder Camera.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:

The water temp Monday was 45 degrees. Crappie and white bass are slowing down, although still getting bass near Poygan. Walleye action should pick up by next week. The river is on the rise, and cold weather coming in this weekend

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