Perch stay No. 1, ice builds nearer: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report
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Perch fishing on the Chicago lakefront remains the top story for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report, but there is also some ice building while there’s open-water fishing locally, especially on the rivers.
Such as Matt Mullady, who is still catching quality smallmouth bass from the Kankakee River with artificials, even with 38-degree water. See the photo at the top.
The condensed Midwest Fishing Report appears Wednesdays on the outdoors page of the Sun-Times newspaper. The sprawling raw-file report is posted here online on the Sun-Times outdoors page.
The sticker in this is the blow that roiled at least some of the waters and may hold the bite back in some spots. Even where knocked back for a day or two, I suspect the bite will return as the lake settles.
But staff at Henry’s Sports and Bait, whose regular hours are M-F 6:30 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat. 6 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun. 6 a.m.-5 p.m., said the obvious, that the perch are going pretty much everywhere around the Chicago harbors.
Stacey Greene of Park Bait texted this update Tuesday morning:
I just came from Northerly Island picking up the pier passes. . . I plan on being there through this weekend and then the weather will dictate what comes next. Thanks
She also noted that Diversey had good perch before the blow and added:
Diversey have a lot of fish and mostly nice keepers
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind. texted:
Perch at cal park and up river and slips and navy peir really good since last report lots of fish xl fatheads and perch fly rigs best. . .I’m sure lake is muddy now from huge blow up in river and slips will be a little cleaner but that 40 mph wind dirtyed it up
The Anglers Outlet in Oak Forest has regular hours of M-Th. 7 a.m.-6 p.m., F 7-7, Sat. 6-5, Sun. 6-3. In the next few weeks, the shop will be moving to 17036 Oak Park Ave. in Tinley Park, a couple blocks north of Freddie Bear Sports.
ACCESS/PARKING OPTIONS FOR PERCHING CHICAGO LAKEFRONT
Here are some parking and access notes for winter perch fishing. Information on parking passes and pier passes is below under separate headings.
Montrose Harbor has plenty of free parking within easy walking. . . . At Navy Pier, check in at the parking office in the east lot, then be out by 10 a.m. sharp for $6 parking. . . . For DuSable Harbor, use the small fisherman’s lot. . . . At Burnham/Northerly Island, use the Burnham fishermen’s lot or meter parking north of the old terminal (on days with no events at Soldier Field or the music pavilion). . . . Only legal fishing at the slip north of 87th is on the east end at Steelworkers Park. Plenty of free street parking. The slip at 89th is private property.
The kinks have been worked out and the designated piers should be good to go, including that newly allowed pier near the fisherman’s parking lot by Burnham.
Selected piers in the Chicago harbors–Montrose, Belmont, Diversey, DuSable, Burnham, Jackson–are open to fishermen with a pier pass. The $6 passes are available at Henry’s Sports and Bait and (new) at Park Bait as long it is open.
Been getting reports of double parking (as in parking in other fishermen at DuSable). Don’t be that guy. Passes ($10 for two months) for parking at the two small fishermen’s lots at DuSable and Burnham harbors are available at Henry’s Sports and Bait.
CHAIN O’LAKES: Proprietor Greg Dickson at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said, “We have pretty nice cold weather staring us in the puss. From Tuesday on, it looks like we are camped under freezing. It looks very promising. But right now I don’t know how to call it. [Areas] blocked from the wind will get capped and [thicken].”
As to the North Woods, Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua, Wis. emailed this:
Early ice fishing definitely underway as anglers have been plying waters of the Northwoods for almost two weeks.
Despite rain on Friday Eve/Saturday making things very slippery and not very safe for walking, the rain may have actually helped by removing snow cover and weight from existing ice. We seemed to have lost very little in ice thickness, mostly just the snow cover.
Walleye: Very Good – Early evening bite best followed by dawn bite as next best time. Jigging lures (UL Rippin Raps, Slab Raps, Jigging Raps, Hyper Glides) as well as jigging spoons (Demon Tongues, Slender Spoons, Tinglers w/ minnow heads) have been deadly as Walleyes actively chasing moving baits. Tip-ups with large fatheads, suckers or chubs also producing. Yet, while bite is active, great time to work on your Walleye jigging skills! Lots of “eater” Walleyes reported this past week, yet bigger Eye’s to 28” also caught and released.
Bluegill: Very Good – Where safe ice covers green weeds of 4-8’ nice Gills taking small jigs (Moon Glitter, Dot Tear Drop, Mooska jigs) tipped with waxies, spikes or plastic (red, purple best this week)
Crappie: Very Good – Shallow fish cruising in the same waters as the Gills. Horizontal presentations (Ratso’s, Sled Heads, Z-Vibes and even the smallest UL3 Rippin Raps) producing larger slabs (along with occasional Large Mouth Bass). Slip floats and tip-downs with minnows also producing.
Yellow Perch: Very Good-Good – Great numbers in the shallows, but necessary to sort for some keepers. Try larger baits (medium fatheads, Impulse rigged mayflys, waxtails or Flutter Spoons tipped with 2-3 waxies) Aggressive jigging seems to draw in Perch, then pause to get bites.
Northern Pike: Very Good-Good – Big shiners, chubs and suckers on tip-ups. Pike cruising shallow weeds where panfish are located.
Musky: Poor? – Sorry, but few anglers out. Only a few lakes open for boats, though one report of an ice angler catching a low 30” fish on tip-up. Season’s last day Nov 30th.
Unlike the southern and eastern parts of the state, the weather this weekend should only help our ice formation. A light dusting has put some “grip” back on the ice, but creepers still a must, as well as a spud bar for checking ice thickness. Most anglers reporting 5-6”, but there are areas that need watching. Be safe, carry a rope, get a float suit and take a friend.
Our 9th Annual Ice Fishing Extravaganza is this weekend, Nov 30th, Dec 1st & 2nd. Meet reps, pro staffer’s (Paul Delaney will be here), get great deals and a chance to win a Striker Floating Ice Jacket & Bibs.
I would call it in between with some open water and some largely unsafe ice.
Click here to find river closures listed by the Illinois DNR. Go to http://water.weather.gov//ahps2/index.php?wfo=lot to check area water levels and projection. To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to http://waterdata.usgs.gov/il/nwis/current/?type=flow
Closed for the year.
It’s one of the perch hotspots, especially for boaters. See above.
See ice fishing update above.
Check updates at Fox Waterway Agency or (847) 587-8540 for more information.
STRATTON LOCK AND DAM: The lock is closed through April 30. Click here for more info on the lock and dam.
No update this week from Capt. Pat Harrison at Pat Harrison Outdoors.
DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN
No update this week.
DES PLAINES RIVER
Marcus Benesch sent the report below and a photo and story of a northern pike, which will be Fish of the Week tomorrow:
Dale,After missing much of the fall bite because of high water and the clarity of a caramel frappuccino, I’ve been scavenging on what’s left for the ‘catching’.Multiple outings with river temps fluctuating between 33 & 38 degrees in Lake County have produced plenty of strikes. Most productive baits have been big and slow swimbaits and cranks. If there were one lure I could throw from now till March it would be a 6″ Jake. Most fish came from 3fow or less in the usual spots along weed lines and submerged timber.. . .Marcus BeneschGurnee, Illinois
Larry Dozard of Larry’s Fishing Hole sent this update on closures and fall/winter hours at some Downstate sites:
* THIS AREA Will CLOSE TO BOAT FISHING on Oct. 17th. With the Last Day to Boat Fish being Oct. 16th
AND BANK FISHING ONLY ALLOWED AFTER 1PM but NO FISHING ALLOWED in EAST POINT ACCESS AREA,
(lakes to the East) which is CLOSED TO ALL FISHING to provide a GOOSE REFUGE AREA during seasonCLINTON LAKE:
An easterly area of Clinton Lake (The Waterfowl Refuge Area) between the DeWitt Bridge East (CH14)
and the Rt. 48 Bridge . . . remains Closed typically until April 1st.COFFEEN LAKE:
During the Central Zone waterfowl season: No fishing north of the railroad tracks (upper pool)
until after 1pm daily through Jan. 31stDOUBLE T STATE FISH and WILDLIFE AREA:* THIS LAKE IS CLOSED TO FISHING – . . . till Feb. 1stEMIQUON PRESERVE:
No boating, fishing or ice skating access before 12:00 pm during waterfowl hunting season.
Oct. 27 – Jan. 31
Lake users should be aware that hunting might occur on the Preserve other times as well.EVERGREEN LAKE:
– A SOUTHERN PART OF EVERGREEN LAKE – AROUND DEER ISLAND and ALL OF SIX-MILE CREEK BAYIS CLOSED TO GAS from Oct. 15th through JAN. 1st to allow resting areas for migratory waterfowl.
YOU ARE ALLOWED TO STILL RUN A TROLLING MOTOR ONLY IN THESE AREAS.HENNEPIN-HOPPER LAKES: * Lakes are CLOSED for season.. And will be Open spring 2019.McMASTER LAKE at – SNAKEDEN HOLLOW:
Lake will CLOSE TO FISHING on Oct 15th . . . Lake will Re-Open on February 1st.NEWTON LAKE:
As written in the fishing regs booklet : * The cold arm of Newton Lake shall be CLOSED daily
from one-half hour before sunrise until 1:00 pm to all fishing and boat traffic except for
legal waterfowl hunters during waterfowl season commencing with regular duck season through
the close of the Canada goose and regular duck season.
* For here – Regular South Waterfowl Season for 2018: Nov. 10 – Jan. 31PRAIRIE LAKE in Jim Edgar/ Panther Creek State F&W Area:
Lake Partial Closures during Waterfowl Season from Nov. 1st to Jan. 15th
Lake access is CLOSED until after 12:01 PM on Wednesday & Saturday.POWERTON LAKE:
*- Lake Will RE-OPEN to Shore Fishing on Dec. 24th
– but – Will Remain CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING Until Feb. 15thRICE LAKE:
Will Re-Open at end of Duck & Goose season.SANGCHRIS LAKE:
* THE WEST & EAST ARMS OF LAKE and Small AREA NEAR DAM WILL CLOSE DURING WATERFOWL SEASON to boat traffic . . . through Jan. 31, 2018SPRING LAKE (South & North):
Last Day of Boat Fishing in Hunting Areas is Oct. 19th
As – THIS AREA will CLOSE TO BOAT FISHING in Hunting Area on Oct. 20th
— with BANK FISHING ALLOWED ONLY AFTER 1pm–
– AREAS THAT REMAIN OPEN TO BOATS ALL DAY ARE NORTH OF MAPLE ISLAND with ramp at
north end at the Sky Ranch Road launch and IN PIKE HOLE with carry in boats —
and Shore Fishing is allowed in entire lake after 1pm in Hunting areas or at boat ramps all day.
No update this week.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
FOX RIVER, WISCONSIN
GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN
I could use somebody to give winter reports.
GREEN BAY/STURGEON BAY
No update this week from Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay.
Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report.
Closed for year.
On fishing and conditions, check with B&B Live Bait in Ottawa–(815) 433-0432.
INDIANA STREAMS (LAKE MICHIGAN TRIBUTARIES)
Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map. Access points for Little Cal and Salt Creek, which are closer to Chicago than Trail Creek, may be found at littlecal_saltcreek_access.
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind. texted:
Good trickle of winter run steelhead since last report lots of fish caught salt creek and trail creek mainly but lil cal giving few up too voodoo jigs in black and purple tipped with butterworms and or waxworms best
The river is up and stained, as most of the precipitation came as rain over the weekend. Before that last week, Matt Mullady said he was still catching some good smallmouth with artificials, even with the water cooled as low as 38 degrees.
Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report. It generally comes out Tuesday.
See perch at top. Staff at Henry’s Sports and Bait said some lakers are being caught around the South Side.
SALMON SNAGGING: Snagging season is open at four spots on the Illinois lakefront. Here is the word from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources:
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)
Closed to fishing.
MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN
Closed to fishing, except for Monster Lake at Mazonia South, which is open year-round to fishing.
Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report. It is generally out Tuesdays.
Muskie fishing ends Friday, Nov. 30, though ice may have something to say about it. Otherwise, the report from Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop is at the top under the ICE FISHING report.
See perch report at the top.
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind. texted:
Perch at cal park and up river and slips and navy peir really good since last report lots of fish xl fatheads and perch fly rigs bestGood trickle of winter run steelhead since last report lots of fish caught salt creek and trail creek mainly but lil cal giving few up too voodoo jigs in black and purple tipped with butterworms and or waxworms bestSome dandy crappie being caught under 249 bridge with minnows or chartuese jigs tipped with waxworms in a boat is best to move around but some being caught on shoreI’m sure lake is muddy now from huge blow up in river and slips will be a little cleaner but that 40 mph wind dirtyed it up
ROCK RIVER, ILLINOIS
ROCK RIVER, WISCONSIN
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
The Wisconsin DNR’s Root River Report is usually out Tuesday or Wednesday. Click here to see it.
ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN
Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said steelhead and walleye are going pretty good in the river, especially toward Berrien Springs; weather has virtually stopped lake fishing.
ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA
Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.
Lakeside–(815) 824-2581–is closed for the season (reopening when ice fishing comes). Boat rentals are by appointment only in November.
Park hours are 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. through Jan. 31.
SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT
For the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report, click here to see it. Streams flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow.
WINNEBAGO SYSTEM, WISCONSIN
Check with River’s Edge.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN