The start of ice fishing, perch in on the Chicago lakefront and some river fishing truths highlight this Midwest Fishing Report.
I will usually post the sprawling, raw-file online version of the MFR, which appears condensed on the Sun-Times outdoors page, generally by Tuesday evening.
If you have suggestions, tweet @BowmanOutside or email email@example.com.
MarcyPaschky at Hermann’sLowlife Bar & Grill at Nielsen’s Channel off the Fox River at Port Barrington, one of the early ice-fishing spots, sent the photo of geese on ice from Sunday and emailed this note Tuesday afternoon about ice fishing conditions (with a bonus info on the doings at the tavern):
Hello everyone! Boy have we missed all of you! I think this is going to be a much better season than the last couple of years. For starters, the water level is definitely higher than last year. And we’re getting colder temps sooner than last year as well. I took the 1st picture 2 days ago, Nov. 24th, of the geese walking on the skim. And the rest are from today. No, the ice is not safe right now. It’s about an inch. The shorelines are wet, and water is flowing near bridge. However, we do have plenty of chili and cheeseburgers in the house! 🙂 Also, we have a brand new tap beer system with Miller Lite, Bud Light and Highlife available in pints or 10 ouncers. And of course, the Illinois licensed video gambling is up and running.Regular bar hours are as follows:Monday open at1:30pmTue.-Fri. open at10:30amSat-Sun open at9:00amWe may open earlier on all days once ice is safe…Still $5 per car to park, and please be safe, buddy up, keep ice clean, and be considerate of our neighbors.Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving holiday. We are all thankful that Wayne is doing well, and celebrated another birthday this month, after recovering from a stroke he had in April. He is home and doing fine, I just wanted to let everyone know in case they hadn’t heard. He’s sitting on his same old barstool, and cracking the whip as usual! 🙂Marcy
CHAIN O’LAKES/FOX RIVER BACKWATERS ICE FISHING
Greg DicksonatTriangle Sports & Marine guessed Ice fishing is about to begin, probably this morning in a few spots by the bravest or craziest sorts.
CHAIN/FOX BACKWATERS ACCESS INFO:T-Channel: Famous Freddie’s. Channel: Chopper’s Bar, $5 parking taken off if food ordered. Spring: Granny’s, $5 parking taken off if food ordered. Nielsen’s Channel: Hermann’s, $5 parking, wax worms, food, drink. Ackerman’s Channel: Try Port O’Blarney. Marie: Sand Bar and Grille, free if patronize the place; when thicker ice comes, Barnacle Bob’s is the spot. Petite: Hideout, $5 (box up soon). Pistakee: Oak Park Lounge, $4 parking. Loon: Pay launch fee. Deep: Once ice thickens, Jack & Lydia’s Resort.
NOTE:Check Chain updates athttp://www.foxwaterway.com/or (847) 587-8540.
For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/
ICE FISHING REGS CHICAGO-AREA PUBLIC SITES
With ice fishing beginning in spots around Chicago fishing over the next couple days, here are the updates and reminders on area public sites:
CHICAGO LAGOONS: Not allowed. COOK FPD: Ice fish at your own risk: Arrowhead, Axehead, Beck, Belleau, Big Bend, Bode South only, Bullfrog, Busse main and south (no north pool), Flatfoot, Green, Horsetail, Ida, Maple, Papoose, Powderhorn, Saganashkee, Sag Quarry east and west, Tampier, Turtlehead and Wampum. DuPAGE FPD: Ice fish at your own risk. Spring Creek Reservoir is closed to ice fishing (fluctuating levels). Late-night fishing is allowed at Deep Quarry Lake in Bartlett (fishermen must be out of preserve by 11 p.m.) KANE FPD: Ice fishing, at your own risk, at Lake Patterson, various ponds at Burnidge. LAKE FPD: Ice fishing is permitted at Banana, Independence Grove south bay and Sterling, when area is posted as safe for fishing. MAZONIA SFWA: Monster Lake is open year-round for open-water or ice fishing. Ice fishing at your own risk. Other lakes open after hunting. McHENRY COUNTY CD: Sites listed for ice fishing when appropriate: Fel-Pro RRR, the Hollows (Lake Atwood and West Lake), Lyons Prairie & Marsh, Pleasant Valley, Rush Creek pond and Stickney Run pond. SILVER SPRINGS SFWA: Ice fish at your own risk. Use east entrance. WILL FPD: No ice fishing allowed.
Steve Palmisano at, at Henry’s, Stacey Greeneat Park Bait; Ed McCainatMik-Lurch and Arden Katz combined for this report:Montrose slow; Diversey loaded (takes sorting); DuSable loaded; Navy Pier variable (best spot on Tuesday); 31st some; 87th on the lakefront and 92nd and 95th on the river have lots of perch (takes sorting). Minnows are best for bigger perch.
AREA WATER LEVELS
Go to http://water.weather.gov//ahps2/index.php?wfo=lot to check area water levels and projections. Probably a good week to do this again.
To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to http://waterdata.usgs.gov/il/nwis/current/?type=flow
(Head): Central Wisconsin gearing up for ice fishing season, and gun deerhunting seasons looks very promising; all in and amidst the lakes and theWisconsin River in Wisconsin¹s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosineeand Wausau). With the 2013 gun deer season upon us and water temperatures at freezing theguides at Hooksetters have put their boats away for the year. And a greatyear it has been! With hundreds of muskies caught, many of them over 50inches along with thousands of walleyes, panfish and pike we would like totake this time to thank all of the people that trusted us to take themfishing this year. Thank you!!! For you ice fishing enthusiast it won’t be long now. With temperatures inbelow freezing we may be experiencing ice fishing as soon as next week. Justremember to use caution on first ice and don’t travel alone. Our guides atHooksetters will be on the ice as soon as safe conditions permit and we willkeep you posted on the ice conditions and current hot bites as they developthroughout the winter.
No update fromJeff Nolanof Bridgeport Bass.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
MAZONIA: Fishing is closed, other than Monster Lake at Mazonia South stays open for fishing year round.BRAIDWOOD:Closed to fishing.LaSALLE:Closed to fishing. HEIDECKE:Closed to fishing.
DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES, WISCONSIN
Brian Gatesat Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle reported some ice fishing beginning on Como and shallower bays and lakes freezing up.
DES PLAINES RIVER
Marcus Benesch sent this report, with a lot of winter-weather truth in it:
What a difference a week has made. While the devastating storms were taking place last Sunday, I was up in Lake County floating a stretch of river in search of pike at the mercy of a hail storm. Anyway, the water temperature readings I took last weekend were between 51-54 degrees. This weekend I was getting readings at 40-42 degrees. However, the cold water doesn’t seem to bother the dog much. Ice covered rod tips made it hard for Pike fishing this weekend, but still found a pattern and a few fish. Pike were holding in sunny areas of river with the best bite coming at high sun in the early afternoon. Shiney bright stick baits were getting a lot of attention. I also spent sometime looking for crappie using a 1inch gulp minnow on a 1/16th oz gumbal jig. Crappie were few and far between, but was able to run into a few small white bass and green sunfish at a warm water discharge. Marcus Benesch River Grove, Illinois
Larry Dozardoflarrysfishinghole.com sent this on Downstate closures during the fall and winter hunting seasons:
–ANDERSON LAKEis CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING for the season–BANNER MARSHIS CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING AND AS OFOCT. 31st, BANK FISHING ONLY ALLOWED AFTER 1PM butNO FISHING ALLOWED in EAST POINT ACCESS AREA , which is CLOSED TO ALL FISHING to provide a GOOSE REFUGE AREA during season tillFeb. 1st–DOUBLE T STATE FISH and WILDLIFE AREAIS CLOSED TO FISHING for the season and remains Closed tillAPRIL 1st, 2014–EMIQUON PRESERVEduringwaterfowl huntingseason fishing is allowed only between Noon and sunset.–EVERGREEN LAKE– A SOUTHERN PART OF Lake AROUND DEER ISLAND and ALL OFSIX-MILE CREEK BAY ISCLOSED TO GAS MOTORS from Oct. 15th throughJAN. 1stto allow for resting areas for migratory waterfowl. YOU ARE ALLOWED TO STILL RUN A TROLLING MOTOR IN THESE AREAS ONLY. – Also, the ENTIRE lake and park, with the exception of the campground, is CLOSED to general use Nov. 22-24 andDec. 5-8 for the Deer Management Program.–RICELAKEis CLOSED to boat fishing till end of Duck & Goose season–SNAKEDEN HOLLOWincluding McMASTER LAKE IS CLOSED TO FISHING for the Season till Feb. 1st–SPRING LAKE (South & North)IS CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING in Waterfowl Hunting Area with BANK FISHING ALLOWED ONLY AFTER 1pm–And Closed to shore fishing in hunting areas on Oct. 26th.. AREAS THAT REMAIN OPEN TO BOATS ARE NORTH OF MAPLE ISLAND with ramp at north end at the Sky Ranch Road launch and IN PIKE HOLE with carry in boats -On December 25thboat fishing and shore fishing in the waterfowl hunting area will be allowed after 1:00 p.m. through the end of Canada Goose season.–CLINTON LAKEthe easterly area of Clinton Lake between the DeWitt (CH14) and the 48 bridges is CLOSED FROM OCT. 10th throughMARCH 31stto protect fish and wildlife. It will Re-OPEN April 1st..–POWERTON LAKEIS CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING and CLOSES TO SHORE FISHING and ALL FISHINGON OCT. 26th(Last day for Shore fishing isOct. 25th) and REOPENS TO SHORE FISHING ONLYON DEC. 23rdAND NO BOAT FISHING tillFEB. 15th–SANGCHRIS LAKETHE WEST and EAST ARMS OF LAKE and Small AREA NEAR DAM Are CLOSED DURING WATERFOWL SEASONto boat traffic throughJan. 31, 2014 (during this time fishing boat traffic is permitted in the center hot arm only).And the Entire lake will be CLOSEDNov. 22-24andDec. 5-8thdue to firearm deer hunting on adjacent properties.The exception will be for hunting programs with restricted usage during this time period.For more info, contact site office at 217/498-9208 from8 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondaythrough Friday.
No report this week.
SS Minnows in South Elgin–(847) 289-0135–offers the opportunities of a local bait shop.
Check Fox updates near the Stratton Dam at http://foxwaterway.com/ or (847) 587-8540. For the area above the Montgomery dam, go to http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/closures/Pages/default.aspx
To join the Fox River Angler Diary Project, go to http://data.foxriverfishing.com I think it is one of the neater projects around.
Sam Bennetthas a getting-started guide for the Fox athttp://www.foxriverfishing.com/tips/fox-river-getting-started-guide/
The Wisconsin DNR has a report, which is typically updated on Tuesdays, posted athttp://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html
Staff at Time on the Water Outdoors reported sauger moving to the wintering holes, jig and minnow is best, best from Spring Valley bridge to I-39.
Steelhead are in, according to Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert. And the weekend forecast looks good for fishermen getting out.
Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.
Norm Minassent this, with a lot of cold-water truth in it for river fishing:
Cold water river fishing is here, my thermometer shows the water temps to be in the 30’s which meets my definition of cold water. 40 degree watertemps is cool water fishing. The flowrate is a bit above normal flow rates but dropping. Water has some stain, algae still present on the bottom in some stretches. If you dress for the weather and can deal with issues like line guides icing up than you can find beauty as well assolitudeout on the river this time of year. As the water drops you can see collars and caps of ice left on the vegetation. Watching the sunlight glistening and shimmeringthru them as they sway in the wind is a thing of wonderment. Watching low hanging mists coming off the water and blowing upstreamaroundmy hipstends to get me more mystical and in tune with the waterthan usual The total sense of solitude you feel when you get away from forked stick country brings peace and serenity to my soul. I feel a deepened sense of connection to the gods and goddesses of the natural world out there in that solitude..Watching snow flakes land on a dry browned leaf and see the individuality of each flake makes you appreciate what ever force created them. No matter how you choose to worship, you have no doubt that you should. Yes there have been fish caught as well. The most productive trip saw three smallmouth in the 18-19 inch class taking magnum flukes in slower flows. Norm
The Ohio DNR has general Lake Erie info and a fishing report.
See top for perch report. Just a few incidental browns around.
CHICAGO PIER PASSES:The $6 pier passes, which allow access to select piers, are in at Henry’s, 3130 S. Canal.
SNAGGING:Here are the regs:
Snagging for chinook and coho salmon only ispermitted from the following Lake Michiganshoreline areas from October 1 throughDecember 31; however, no snagging is allowedat any time within 200 feet of a moored watercraft or as posted:— Lincoln Park Lagoon from the FullertonAvenue Bridge to the southern end of theLagoon, — Waukegan Harbor (in North Harbor basinonly), — Winnetka Power Plant discharge area,— Jackson Harbor (Inner and Outer Harbors)
MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN
Go to http://www.dsbait.com/ for information and reports from D&S Bait.
MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN
Mike Mladenikhas reports and info at hisMike Mladenik Guide Service site.
Muskie season ends Saturday. Ice fishing is beginning, while some of the biggest lakes remain open.
Kurt JusticeofKurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this Monday afternoon:
Well, this is as early of a start to ice fishing as we have had in a while!Saturday and Sunday’s cold blast (-8 to -10 degrees) locked up almost every lake in the Lakeland area.Trout Lake is still open as of 11/26.Musky season runs throughSaturday, November 30. Reports of 2-5 of solid ice from all around.Angler’s venturing out on the Flowages and lakes of 1,000 acres.Even the bays of larger lakes such as Lake Tomahawk are seeing anglers. Excellent reports of walleye catches from anglers fishing shallows using suckers and chubs on tip-ups and Jigging Raps in 3-6’ depths. One angler caught a 37 pike using a large shiner on a tip-up.Others reporting great action on tip-ups in shallow weedy bays of 3-7’. Panfish anglers are just starting to show up. Early ice is always a tope time to fish gamefish and it’s here now! Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop www.kurtsislandsports.com
EAGLE RIVER: Note that this report came Sunday and we have had a number of ice-forming days and nights since, Report for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce based on Creative Brilliance interviews with Eagle River guides“Muskie Matt”of Wild Eagle Lodge,“Ranger Rick” Kruegerof Guide¹s Choice Pro Shop,Mat Hegy; and Eagle River hunting enthusiast,Dan Anderson:
(Head): Musky, walleye, northern and panfish all providing a good bite. Gundeer season is open. All in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. Water temps in the Eagle River area are in the low 30s. Small amounts of iceare beginning to form in back bays and along shoreline structure. It’s thetransition time from open water to ice in Eagle River, BUT, there is stillgood open water fishing action and anglers are going out. That doesn’t meanthat in the coming time things won’t freeze up on smaller lakes, whilelarger area lakes remain open. Anglers will now have to start to pick andchoose which lakes to go out on for open water fishing, depending on whetherthey can get out onto the water from shore or boat landings. And no, thereis no way anyone is going out ice fishing at the moment. All of our guidesources who know the Eagle River inside-and-out will keep us apprised of howthings are going and we will pass the information on to you. In themeantime, get your ice fishing tackle in good shape, and be ready. Earlyice is a primo time to fish in the Eagle River area. Stay tuned. Open water fishing report.sky in the Eagle River area are in two locations: Shallow weed edges in 10feet of water or less, or main lake break edges in 10-30 feet. Use aregular sized crankbait, jerkbait, glidebait, or 12-17 inch live sucker.Slow retrieve. Do a figure 8 as your bait nears the boat. All dayaction, with short feeding windows. Good bite. Walleye in the Eagle River area are in 15-30 feet of water off of main lakebreak edges. Use a jig and a minnow. Walleye are tight to bottom. All dayaction. Good bite. Northern in the Eagle River area are in 10 feet of water or less in andaround old and remaining weeds. Use a Husky Jerk (minnow or walleyepattern) or a northern sucker under a slip bobber. All day action. Goodbite. Panfish (crappies, bluegills and perch) in the Eagle River area are on mainlake mudflats and adjacent break edges in 15-30 feet of water (the panfishhave gone deep). Perch are tight to bottom. Crappies and gills aresuspending fairly close to the bottom (start at the bottom and work yourway up until you find the proper depth where the fish are locating on thatparticular day and lake). Use a chunk of crawler, crappie minnow or waxie,on a small jig or under a slip bobber. All day action. The bite is good.
Weekend weather looks nice enough for those who have not put the boat away to get out and enjoy some perch fishing or lake trout chasing on the reef outside the Port.
Brian Breidert, Lake Michigan fisheries biologist sent this:
Perch fishing has been good when the weather conditions have been good. Late last week and into this week we have seen favorable conditions and some success out of Burns ditch near the wall at port of Indiana. Conditions are good for whitefish as Michigan anglers have been reporting good success. Steelhead fishing in the stream has been very good with nice catches occurring throughout the tributaries. This weekend should be decent all around for fishing. Red Breasted mergansers in the harbor chasing bait. Might be good fishing in the harbor for walleye as a result.
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
The Wisconsin DNR Root River Report is again being updates weekly, generally by 4 p.m. Tuesdays.
Lakeside is closed. It’s muskie time.
For information and reports from Lakeside, go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.
The Wisconsin DNR posts a fishing report, generally updated on Tuesday at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html.
Stream flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow
SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN RIVERS
TylerHarmonsent this Monday:
River steelhead fish has been really decent since the weather stabilized back out. Walleye fisherman are catching a few. Whitefish still being caught from the piers.
ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA
Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.
Check reports and info at River’s Edge.
Ed McCainatMik-Lurch reported some walleye and a few crappie in the corn channel on the Indiana side.