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Perch, finally: Chicago fishing

Finally some better perch reports start to come in for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

The MFR appears in a condensed form Wednesdays on the Sun-Times outdoors page.

Steve Palmisano sent this photo of an hour’s worth of perch Friday at 87th Street.

BTW, no ice yet anywhere near Chicago. And with the forecast for heavy rains, virtually no river reports.


The bite turned on last week for shore fishermen at the 87th Street slip (park on street and walk back). It is also starting at 95th. “Lots of excitement,’’ said Steve Palmisano at Henry’s. “People are catching perch and they taste good.’’ Arden Katz said Mini-Mites and spikes are best for numbers; while minnows and crappie rigs are better for bigger perch. Staff at Mik-Lurch said boaters are doing well with both large fatheads and baby roaches in the 87th slip and in Cal Harbor, east of river mouth. Stacey Greene at Park Bait said a few have been caught at Montrose.


I asked what the chances are for ice fishing by next week in the North Woods. Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop said water was 46 degrees Tuesday in Minocqua; but forecast for Friday on is freezing or below; maybe some ice shallow next week. Key is the word maybe.


Crappie remain the top bite overall, but, as Ken “Husker” O’Malley notes, so are big bass, as when he sent this:

Hey Dale,

It’s time to hunt for big bass. Area lakes are cooperating. Bait of choice is a strike king bitsy bug with a twin tail spider grub. Certainly not a numbers game. Dragging the bait slowly through areas that still have good weed growth is key. Late morning or early afternoon are best times. Attached are a few of the nice ones.


Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Waterworks fishing team 

TROUT NOTE: Daily bag is five, inland trout stamps and fishing licenses are required for those 16 and older. Here is the list of nearby sites, including the ones not on the state list: Axehead, Belleau, Busse North, Horsetail, Green, Wolf (Cook County); Silver Pickerel, Grove (DuPage); Bird Park Quarry, Rock Creek (Kankakee); Big Lake at Silver Springs SFWA (Kendall); Sand Lake at Illinois Beach SP and Banana (Lake); Spring Grove Hatchery Pond (McHenry): Lake Strini, Van Horn Woods (Will). Click here for the statewide press release on the fall trout season.


Week to check on levels with the rains coming. 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


Hooksetter’s Guide Service, via Creative Brilliance, sent this:

(Head): Musky, walleye and crappie all hitting, with gun deer hunting season almost here; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin’s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau).

There is still plenty of great fishing going on right now in the central Wisconsin area.

Fishing has been outstanding this past week with numbers of muskies being caught along with some good crappie and walleye catches being made. Most of the activity has been during the afternoon hours when the water temperatures have warmed up a little bit. Right now our water temperatures are starting out in the low 40 degree range early in the day and moving up to the mid-forties by late afternoon.

Muskies have been the main target this past week and a lot of the action is now on live suckers in the 14 to 16 inch range. Most of the suckers are set on quick strike rigs. These quick set rigs are then set below slip bobbers anywhere from 4 to 8 feet down depending on water depth to allow the sucker to suspend over suspected musky areas. We also practice another rig where the suckers run behind the boat with no bobber at all. This sucker just swims freely behind the boat at any depth it wants as if it were naturally swimming about the area.

Walleyes and crappies have been confined to the deeper stretches of the river and areas of the main lake. Jig and minnow combinations have been working effectively on the walleyes and for the crappies we have been running small minnows set below slip bobbers at different depth.


Deer hunters are anxiously waiting for the gun deer season to arrive, with over 600,000 hunters getting ready to take to the woods in anticipation of tagging that big buck. With near perfect conditions in the central Wisconsin area and a delayed rut, hunters should find deer movement strong opening weekend of the 2015 gun deer season. Most of the activity will start out in transition areas and funnels between open areas of fields and select cut forests. As the day’s progress start looking for the thickest areas in the woods to hunt. These are safety areas that big bucks will head to when the pressures of human presence start to infiltrate the woods.


Sucker bite should be strong for muskie; and, with all the rains, walleye should be popping around current areas. Arden Katz said the lakes turned over and white bass are on fire in 18-21 feet on Marie.

Check Chain updates at Fox Waterway Agency or by calling (847) 587-8540.

For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/


No update.


MAZONIA:  Closed for season, except Monster Lake at Mazonia South, which is open year-round. Lakes are open daily 6 a.m.-sunset. HEIDECKE: Closed for season. BRAIDWOOD:  Closed for season.  LaSALLE: Closed for the season.


Brain Gates at Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle said that on Delavan, the night bite from shore for walleye is the best thing going; days, some walleye and bass are being caught in 17 feet; on Geneva; some smallmouth in 25-30 feet on Lindy rigs with small suckers; lots of small bluegill in Abbey.


No update.


EVERGREEN: Bait shop is closed. Mike Steffa sent this note:

Firearm Deer Management Program Coming Up – ALMOST ALL OF PARK/LAKE CLOSED

The McLean County Department of Parks & Recreation will be conducting the annual firearm portion of the Deer Management Program from November 20-22, 2015 AND December 3-6, 2015. Lethal Weapons will be in use! COMLARA Park/Evergreen Lake will be closed * to General Use during these dates/times. ONLY VALID SPECIAL HUNT PERMIT HOLDERS AND PARK STAFF WILL BE ALLOWED INTO HUNTING AREAS. Violators are subject to a Class B Misdemeanor arrest.

* The COMLARA Park Campground (Sites 1-33) will be open for camping. Also fishermen are allowed to fish at Campground Cove, Jone’s Pond, and at the Pumphouse.

Larry Dozard of larrysfishinghole.com sent this:


HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season. Will reopen to fishing in 2016 with a much expanded format. Also, there should be at least one day of ice fishing this winter. EMIQUON: Because of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s shutdown, fishing and boating permits will be done at the launch. Call (309) 547-2730. SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide ServiceSOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing POWERTON LAKE: Closed to fishing. Shore fishing on Dec. 21. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15. McMASTER LAKE at SNAKEDEN HOLLOW: Closed to fishing until Feb. 1.

Larry Dozard of larrysfishinghole.com also had these updates:

SPRING LAKE (South & North) –* THIS AREA WILL BE CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING in Hunting Area ON OCT. 17th with Last Day to Boat Fish being Oct. 16th – with BANK FISHING ALLOWED ONLY AFTER 1pm–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 –

SANGCHRIS LAKE –* THE WEST and EAST ARMS OF LAKE and Small AREA NEAR DAM ARE CLOSED DURING WATERFOWL SEASON to boat traffic effective Oct. 14th (last day to boat fish will be Oct. 13th) through Jan. 31, 2016 (during this time fishing boat traffic is permitted in the center hot arm only).

ANDERSON LAKE – – – THIS AREA IS CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING in Main Lake from Oct. 16th through Dec. 22nd during waterfowl season with bank fishing Only allowed.

BANNER MARSH – ** THIS AREA WILL CLOSE TO BOAT FISHING Oct. 14th (last day to boat fish will be Oct. 13th) –AND BANK FISHING ONLY ALLOWED AFTER 1PM but NO FISHING ALLOWED in EAST POINT ACCESS AREA, which is CLOSED TO ALL FISHING to provide a GOOSE REFUGE AREA during season till Feb. 1st – –

PRAIRIE LAKE in Jim Edgar/ Panther Creek State F&W Area – – Lake is CLOSED to Fishing from Nov. 1st – Jan. 15th until After 12:01 PM on Wednesdays and Saturday.

CLINTON LAKE – REMEMBER an easterly area of Clinton Lake between the DeWitt (CH14) and the 48 bridges is CLOSED FROM OCT. 10th through MARCH 31st to protect fish and wildlife…

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: Nov. 14 – Jan. 31


No update.


No update.


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

Good Morning folks

Here is what I have been hearing as far as the fishing is concerned

Bass fishing seems to be going very well as the Smallmouth have pretty much moved into their fall patterns and are starting to really put on a feed bag. The best depths have been ranging a bit…anywhere from that 18 foot mark out to 40 plus feet of water. All the areas for fall Smallmouth fishing are pretty much the same year in and year out. Look for deep structure and deep shoreline drops and start searching for schooling bass. The best baits have been blade baits, Rip n Raps, Spinner Baits and of course sucker minnows have been good.

Walleye fishing at night has been going pretty well when the weather allows it. Fishing primary shoreline drops and tops of reefs with suspending crank baits like Smithwick’s and Husky jerks. There has also been an OK daytime bite for the Walleyes when targeted. Fishermen have been concentration around those deep ledges and deeper edges of the off shore reefs. Blade baits, Rip n Raps, paddle tails, Moonshine shiver minnows and Jigging Rapalas.

Perch fishing has been also going pretty well for the very few fishermen that have been going out after them. Sawyer Harbor, the Sturgeon Bay Flats, Riley’s Bay, Little Sturgeon and the Chaudoir’s Dock area all good spots to try before the water turns to ice. Fathead minnows are the best live baits to have on the boat.

Pike fishing has been excellent according the fishermen that are reporting in. The Walleye fishermen and Bass fishermen have been hooking a bunch of big ones on accident using the Bass and Walleye methods. The fishermen that have been targeting the Pike have been trolling with large crank baits and spoons along with dragging big sucker minnows and having some excellent success.


Lance LaVine

Howie’s Tackle
1309 Green Bay Rd
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
Ph: 920-746-9916

The Wisconsin DNR posts a report, typically updated on Tuesdays at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html


No update this week with the coming rains.

Illinois Valley Outdoors is open in Spring Valley.  The phone is (815) 663-1000.


Rains could finally spur a real steelhead run; or blow out the creeks. Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.


No update this week with the coming rains.


The Ohio DNR has general Lake Erie info and a fishing report.


No update.


Stacey Greene at Park Bait said still some trout around Montrose; and a even a few northern pike. SALMON SNAGGING: Greene reported fair action at Lincoln Park lagoon south of Fullerton. The only other spots open for snagging coho or Chinook are Waukegan Harbor north basin, Winnetka Power Plant discharge, and Jackson Park inner and outer harbors.


Check reports from Gene Dellinger at D&S Bait.


Check with Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service.


MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:

Minocqua Area Fishing Report 11-17-2015

While the continuing October like weather may come to an end this Thursday (forecast for highs in low 30’s by then), the past week has been a bonus for anglers that haven’t put their boats away yet.

Musky: Good –Very Good. The sucker bite continues with some reports of surprisingly shallow (5’) bites during the day. Drifting or slow rowing suckers has been very productive with lots of the action coming from fish of 40-46”. Numerous reports of larger fish … getting away (of course)! Slow moving jerks, gliders and rubber baits still effective.

Walleye: Good. While most reports from deep lakes where finding Walleyes in 30-50’ depths not uncommon right now. On smaller Lakes go back to weed edges. Flowages, edge of river channels in 8-10’. Smaller lakes and flowages fatheads have worked fine. On deep lakes, 3-5” suckers, red tails or black chubs on Lindy style rigs best.

Crappies: Good. Most of the best reports from flowages where this species relating to drowned wood. Small to medium fatheads best.

Largemouth Bass: While I’m sure bass are still out there – our anglers have put it away for the season.

Water temps recorded this past weekend ranged from lows of 40 degrees (Rainbow Flowage) to highs 46 degrees (Trout Lake). With two days of temps in mid – upper 50’s to buoy lake temps – still expect to drop with Thurs / Fri high barely reaching above freezing.

Kurt Justice
Kurt’s Island Sport Shop

EAGLE RIVER: This report came the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce, based on Creative Brilliance interviews with Eagle River guide “Muskie Matt” and legendary George Langley of Eagle Sports Center and hunting enthusiast Dan Anderson:

(Head): Musky, walleye, crappie and perch all providing a good bite; all in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.

Water temps in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area run from the high 40s to the low 50s.

MUSKY: Use suckers- – 12-18 inches- -fish off of the deep weed edges in 8-15 feet of water (lake dependent). Don’t give up on running a big jerkbait, or a big double 10 spinner bait, dragging them off the weeds while you’re running suckers. Remember to always do a figure 8 as your bait nears the boat. All day action, with no particular feeding windows, and the bite is good.

WALLEYE: The walleyes are tight to bottom on deep mudflats in 15-30 feet of water. Use a 1/8th ounce jig, or if it’s windy, go to a ¼ ounce – -tipped with a redtail chub up to 4 inches, or the largest fathead you can find (the redtails provide the best action, but the fatheads will get hits). Find the depressions or holes in the mudflats, as that’s where the walleyes will be locating. All day action, and the bite is good.

CRAPPIE: Crappies are on mid lake basins in 20 feet of water. They’re a couple of feet off the bottom. Use a jig and a minnow, letting it hit bottom, and then do a couple of cranks and you’ll be in the crappies’ feeding zone. You can also try a slip bobber with a minnow, running it real deep. The bite is good throughout the day, but you’ll get your best action from mid-morning to mid-afternoon.

PERCH: The perch are still locating and mixed in with the walleyes on deep mudflats in 15-30 feet of water. Fish the holes and depressions, using a jig with a smaller minnow than for the walleyes, or try a crawler. Some very nice perch, 10 inches or more are being caught with regularity. All day action and the bite is good.

FLY FISHING:  With untold numbers of rushing streams, brooks and rivers, Eagle River provides wonderful opportunities for fly anglers of every ilk.  And for the adventure of a lifetime go for gamefish with a fly rod on one of the Eagle River area’s hundreds of lakes. Eagle River guide guru, and 35 year avid fly angler for musky, George Langley, tells us that it’s a memorable experience for fly anglers, but realistically you must be able to double-haul cast and attain distances of 70-90 feet on your cast.


See perch at the top. When weathers allow, both trollers and jiggers are taking lake trout at the reef out of Portage.


The Wisconsin DNR Root River Report is generally posted on Tuesday.


Staff at Tackle Haven said steelhead are in the river; with the weather and waves, there’s  only a few off the pier and only a few whitefish.


Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.


Lakeside is closed until ice fishing in late December or early January. For more information and reports from Lakeside, go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.


The Wisconsin DNR posts a report at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html. It is usually posted by Tuesday afternoon. Stream flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow.


Staff at Mik-Lurch said there are a few walleye being caught on the Indiana side.


No update.