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Perch & first ice (what?): Chicago fishing

Perch fishing sets up on the South Side of Chicago for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; while ice fishing appears a good week or more away, even in northern Wisconsin.

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

LAKEFRONT PERCH

South Side slips are the epicenter. Biggest perch are coming on minnows; Mini-Mites and spikes take better numbers. Steve Palmisano at Henry’s said, “You have to weed them out, but I have seen some 9- to 12-inch limits, but there is lots of 6s, 7s and 8s.’’ The North Slip (87th) is receiving the most interest, but perch are also being caught at 89th, 92nd and 95th. Staff at Mik-Lurch said perch fishing is so good around the South Side that they will be open every day again (8 a.m.-5 p.m., till noon on Thanksgiving) and a few boaters are catching some in Calumet Harbor. On the North Side, staff at Park Bait said a few have been caught at Montrose.

ICE FISHING?

Even in northern Wisconsin, first ice will not be for another week or so. “Not ready yet, but it is coming,’’ said Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua on Tuesday. “It is not cold today, but it is calm. There will be some places to fish this weekend, the edges of the flowages [depending on snow on Thanksgiving]. But the bulk of the ice fishing will begin the first weekend of December.’’ At Eagle River, “Ranger Rick’’ Krueger at Guide’s Choice Pro Shop said, “None whatsoever. I am still muskie fishing. If anybody is crazy enough to go out on the smaller ponds, they will go through. I think it will probably be after the 10th of December. The big lakes are wide open, water temperatures are about 39-40 degrees.’’

AREA LAKES

Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:

Hey Dale,

Big bass continue to be the story on area lakes. Even a snow storm didn’t slow the bite. Key was slowly dragging the jig on the bottom and twitching it momentarily in open pockets. I switched up the trailer and went to a four inch Berkley chigger craw for a bigger profile and added scent. Attached are few nice ones. It was worth getting covered in snow.

TTYL

Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Huskeroutdoors
Waterworks fishing team

AREA WATER LEVELS

Probably will be a good week to check on river conditions between the melting heavy snow and the forecast for significant rains, as noted by the few river reports we have. 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

CENTRAL WISCONSIN

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

(Head): Walleye and musky hitting; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin’s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau).

Windy weather and rain has kept us from fishing as much as we would have liked to this past week, but we did manage to get out and enjoy some time on the water. Water temperatures are in the low 40’s but with the temperatures dipping down into the low teens, don’t be surprised if some of the local central Wisconsin lakes start forming ice.

Most of our fishing has been concentrated around walleyes and muskies this past week. We found the walleyes in 6 to 12 feet of water holding in areas that we normally catch them once the lakes have frozen over. These are typical wintering areas associated with deeper water retreats and an ample supply of forage fish for food.

The muskies have been holding in non-current areas off the Wisconsin River system and in the backwater areas as well as a number of fish holding on main lake points and wind-blown shorelines. Our best success has come from dragging suckers very slowly (0.2 to 0.4 mph) behind the boat. On most days we are using quick set rigs under a slip bobber and setting live suckers down 4 to 8 feet. We are also running a couple of lines out with the suckers on quick set rigs with no bobber at all so the sucker can swim freely just like it normally would.

Along with the frostier weather coming up and if you are susceptible to cold temperatures, stop by your local sporting goods store and pick up a heated vest. These are great and they will eliminate the cold with heater coils that work down your back and chest area to keep you toasty warm.

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Art Frisell at Triangle Sports & Marine said to use caution at the launches with the snow and ice; otherwise, there are walleye around bridges and current areas; suckers continue to take muskie.

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

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

CHICAGO RIVER

No update.

COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS

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.

DELAVAN/LAKE GENEVA AREA, WISCONSIN

Brain Gates at Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle said not much going on, other than a few people fishing the Abbey on Geneva.

DES PLAINES RIVER

Marcus Benesch sent this reality check:

Dale,

Water temperatures really started crashing over the weekend. We also have some moderate swelling in some sections from last week’s rains and the river is high throughout the system. Now looking a head to later in week with the melt and threat of rain, we could see some flooding. I don’t think we ever had a flood this late in the year before. Keeping my fingers crossed the rain blows by.

Marcus Benesch
River Grove, Illinois

DOWNSTATE NOTES

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.

EVERGREEN: Bait shop is closed. 

Larry Dozard of larrysfishinghole.com sent this:

A SOUTHERN PART OF EVERGREEN LAKE – AROUND DEER ISLAND and ALL OF SIX-MILE CREEK BAY IS CLOSED TO GAS MOTORS from Oct. 15th through JAN. 1st to allow resting areas for migratory waterfowl. YOU ARE ALLOWED TO STILL RUN A TROLLING MOTOR IN THESE AREAS ONLY.

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

DuPAGE RIVER

No update.

FOX RIVER

Johnny “Sunshine” Pajak sent this:

Dale,

The Fox river is way up & not really fishable for a while. I did watch the seagulls having a feast though in the boils below a dam picking up shad. Once the river goes down in about a week or so it should be in the primetime for walleye.

John

GREEN BAY/STURGEON BAY

No update this week from Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay.

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

ILLINOIS RIVER

No update. Illinois Valley Outdoors is open in Spring Valley.  The phone is (815) 663-1000.

INDIANA STREAMS

Few steelhead in the creeks. Maybe the rains will help. Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.

KANKAKEE RIVER

No update.

LAKE ERIE

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

LAKE KOSHKONONG, WISCONSIN

No update.

LAKEFRONT

See perch at the top. Staff at Park Bait said there are a few steelhead around Montrose and even a few leftover salmon.

SALMON SNAGGING: Only legal spots for snagging Chinook or coho are Lincoln Park lagoon south of Fullerton, Waukegan Harbor north basin, Winnetka Power Plant discharge, and Jackson Park inner and outer harbors.

MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN

Check reports from Gene Dellinger at D&S Bait.

MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN

Check with Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

There will be open water all the way through to the final day of muskie season on Monday.

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

Minocqua Area Fishing Report 11/24/15

Its gun deer season, so little going on over the water, but a few diehards still venturing out.

Muskie: Good. Fewer anglers and a little less action, but fish still being caught – mostly on suckers. Last day to fish Musky is Nov 30th, so some time left.

Crappies: Good. Gets the nod over Walleyes as good numbers and big fish (14 plus inches) reported along deep gravel / mud transition areas and drowned wood.

Walleye: Fair to Good. A few anglers picking up deep water fish. A return to the shallows is showing up as the lakes get closer to ice up.

Temps in the low single digits Sunday closed up the pond behind the shop and added ice to some bays and small lakes. Lows in the 20’s with highs in the low 30’s won’t lose ice, but won’t make much very quick. A very few options by this weekend for ice fishing – better by the following weekend.

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, walleyes, and crappies putting on a good bite, with perch fair to good ; all in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.

Water temps in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area are in the low 40s and continuing to drop as cold weather moves in.

MUSKY: Use 14-18 suckers and drag them along deep weed or break edges (10-18 feet of water). Also, many musky hunters are missing the opportunity to cast some big jerkbaits while dragging suckers. Some good hits are had by doing this, and will up your percentage of success. Remember to always do a figure 8 as the bait nears your boat. Feeding windows are iffy and are lake dependent – -water temps have a lot to do with it. All day bite and the action is good.

WALLEYE: The walleyes are still locating over mudflats in 15-30 feet of water. They’re tight to bottom. Fish the holes or depressions in the mudflats for your best change of getting hits. Use a big redtail chub or an XL fathead on a 1/8th ounce or ¼ ounce (if it’s windy) jig. All day bite and the action is good.

CRAPPIES: Suspending on mid lake basins in 20 feet of water. Use a jig and a minnow. Plastics are not working that well right now. Fish mid-morning to mid-afternoon for best results. All day bite and the action is good.

PERCH: Mixed in wit hthe walleyes over mudflats in 15-30 feet of water. The perch are tight to bottom. Use a smaller minnow or a crawler on a jig. All day action and the bite is fair to good.

NORTHWEST INDIANA

See perch at the top.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

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

ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN

Staff at Tackle Haven, and others, said steelhead are going good in the river, best on skein, while it is slower at the dam; there’s some steelhead and a few whitefish off the piers.

ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA

Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.

SHABBONA LAKE

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.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN

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.

WOLF LAKE

No update.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.