Perch here, ice will be back: Midwest Fishing Report, Chicago fishing
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Perch fishing remains the top story for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; well, that and waiting on fishable ice to return.
Michael Planthaber posted this message and the photo above:
The Midwest Fishing Report for Chicago fishing appears in a condensed form Wednesdays on the Sun-Times newspaper outdoors page. The sprawling raw-file report is posted here online on the Sun-Times outdoors page.
Perch remain the top story, especially around Navy Pier, DuSable Harbor and the Southeast Side slips; but there are also perch being caught around the North Side harbors.
On Monday, John McKevitt posted this on Facebook:
If you like to fish, there is insane perch fishing taking place all along the lakefront. This past weekend I split my time between Navy Pier and Montrose. I caught in excess of 60 perch in 4 hours, of which a dozen ended up in the cooler. Open water fishing will end as soon as the harbors ice over, so get out now.
That about sums it up, “insane perch fishing.” BTW, that sounds like a punk or new wave band I listened to in my insane 20s.
Tom Platt at Henry’s Sports and Bait, which will be open 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Christmas Eve and closed on Christmas, said:
You gotta fish. You’re not catching 13 12-inchers in 15 minutes. You have to put your time in.
He said the best spots recently have been Navy Pier and Southeast Side slips, size is better, too. See PIER PASSES below for information on pier passes for harbor access.
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait, which will be open 5 a.m.-noon Christmas, in Lake Station, Ind., said, “This is more fish than anyone has seen in their lives. I am getting minnows every day.’’ Navy Pier and DuSable are good.
Arden Katz said they are still catching lots of perch at Navy Pier and he added, “I have never seen so many guys fishing Navy Pier in my life.”
PARK BAIT NOTE: Park Bait is closed for the winter.
Remember that pier passes are now available at Henry’s Sports and Bait. The passes allow for legal access to select piers available. They cost $6 cash with one per valid fishing license.
ILLINOIS-INDIANA RECIPROCAL AGREEMENT
Ben Dickinson, Indiana’s assistant Lake Michigan biologist, suggested with the perch crush that I include the reminder about the reciprocal waters around Cal Harbor. Key part is that having both Illinois and Indiana licenses does NOT give you the right to two limits; I repeat, does NOT give you the right to two limits. It’s very simple, one limit.
He sent a better image of the reciprocal zone from http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/files/fw-calumet_harbor_reciprocal_zone.pdf
Here is the wording from the Indiana DNR:
The agreement means Illinoisans
holding both a resident Illinois license and a
nonresident Indiana license can fish in the
reciprocal area, taking the daily limit for
whichever state they choose, but NOT for both
states. The place from which an angler launches a
boat does not impact his or her rights under the
agreement. The boundaries for the reciprocal area
are as follows:
– The east-west portion of the breakwater system
which extends lakeward from the Lake
Michigan shoreline at about 85th Street in
Chicago on the north (the area north of the
breakwater is not included).
– On the east, the reciprocal area extends from the
far east end of the northern boundary, southeast to
the southern boundary.
– On the south, the area extends from the southern
tip of the breakwater system, southwest to the east
side of the pier at the south edge of the Calumet
– The western boundary is the existing Lake
Michigan shoreline from Taylor Pier on the south
edge of Calumet Park beach to the far western
point of the northern boundary.
The reciprocal waters also include the main channel
of the Calumet River from Lake Michigan
downstream to the Ewing Avenue bridge, anglers
fishing from the Illinois shoreline of Lake Michigan
in Calumet Park and from the Calumet Harbor
breakwater system and from any other publically
accessible areas in the reciprocal zone.
The reciprocal agreement DOES NOT APPLY to
the channel waters of the North Slip on the
northwest corner of Calumet Harbor and the South
Slip off the Calumet River northeast of the Ewing
Avenue Bridge. The agreement also does not include
privately-owned shorelines, including both
shorelines of the Calumet River and the Ewing
Fishing access from the Lake Michigan shoreline
in Calumet Park is allowed only at areas and
hours allowed by the Chicago Park District.
Illinois and Indiana residents who are exempt
from sportfishing license requirements in their
home state are also exempt from sportfishing
license requirements in the reciprocal fishing
area. Individuals can take only one daily limit of
fish per day, so anglers from either state with both
an Illinois and an Indiana license must choose
which state’s regulations they intend to follow –
they cannot take both an Illinois and an Indiana
limit of fish.
A map of the reciprocal sportfishing boundaries
can be obtained by calling (219) 874-6824.
Mudpuppies, which are sometimes caught this time of the year. As Don Ayres reminded earlier this month, they are protected and they need to be released unharmed.
Ice fishing should come back in some spots by Christmas if the forecast cold comes. Click here for the general regulations on ice fishing for public sites around Chicago fishing.
AREA WATER LEVELS
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.
Ice fishing will be back, probably by the weekend. As proprietor Greg Dickson at Triangle Sports and Marine said, “What we are looking at a little bit of a hiccup in this thing, for safety. I am sure we will have people back out over the weekend.”
EARLY CHAIN ACCESS: The old stand-by on Nielsen’s Channel is Hermann’s with its $5 parking, bait, food and drink. For the T-Channel, ice fishermen will have to improvise, I believe this year for access and parking. For early access on Channel, there’s Chopper’s Bar, where the $5 parking is taken off if food or drink are ordered. For Spring, there’s Granny’s, where the $5 parking is taken off if food ordered.
For more info and lake updates, go to Fox Waterway Agency or call (847) 587-8540.
CHICAGO RIVER/CHICAGO LAKEFRONT
Check with Capt. Pat Harrison at Pat Harrison Outdoors.
Tom Platt at Henry’s Sports and Bait, which will be open 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Christmas Eve and closed on Christmas, said that the inlet was fishable over the weekend; mostly pike and crappie. By the weekend, should be some ice fishing again.
DES PLAINES RIVER
LAKE SHELBYVILLE: Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide Service said, “Crappie are on fire: Two-man limits within hours.” Best is on the north end. There’s also been some decent sauger catches, too. Muskie are going big time below the dam.
REND: Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing said there are limits of crappie in 2-14 feet on just about any method. Only question is what the late-week cold front will do.
LAKE OF EGYPT: Johns said that crappie are schooled in 20-30 feet.
KINKAID: Johns said crappie are going there, too.
POWERTON: Shore fishing reopens Tuesday. Site superintendent Stan Weimer said hours will be usual 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15.
EVERGREEN: Bait shop and boat rental are closed for the season. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season.
Larry Dozard of larrysfishinghole.com sent this update on some closing dates Downstate:
Dale, Here are the Winter Lake Closures I have from IDNR for Central IL (& couple extra).
ANDERSON LAKE –– – THIS AREA Will CLOSE TO BOAT FISHING in Main Lake on Oct. 21st with Last Day to Fishing being Oct. 20th during waterfowl season with bank fishing Only allowed.BANNER MARSH – ** THIS AREA WILL CLOSE TO BOAT FISHING Oct. 18th (last day to boat fish will be Oct. 17th) — 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 – –CLINTON LAKE -REMEMBER an easterly area of Clinton Lake between the DeWitt (CH14) and the 48 bridges willCLOSE to protect fish and wildlife FROM OCT. 10th through – typically March 31st – but with weekend, could be March 30th, 2018..?DOUBLE T S.F.&W.A. ** THIS AREA WILL CLOSE TO FISHING Oct. 1st with LAST DAY to Fish being Sept. 30th and will remain CLOSED till Feb 1st..EVERGREEN LAKE – –– – 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.-McMASTER LAKE at SNAKEDEN HOLLOW –* THIS AREA WILL CLOSE TO FISHING for the Season on Oct. 16th(last day to fish is Oct. 15th) till Feb. 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: Nov. 23 – Jan. 31PRAIRIE LAKE in Jim Edgar/ Panther Creek State F&W Area – Lake access is CLOSED to Fishing from Nov. 1st – Jan. 15th until After 12:01 PM on Wednesdays and Saturdays.RICE LAKE –* THIS AREA WILL CLOSE TO FISHING on OCT. 21st with Last Day of Fishing being OCT. 20th and Will Re-Open at end of Duck & Goose Season..SPRING LAKE (South & North) –* THIS AREA WILL BE CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING in Hunting Area ON OCT. 21st with Last Day to Boat Fish being Oct. 20th –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 –AND Shore Fishing is allowed in entire Lake after 1pm in Hunting areas or at boat ramps all day..SANGCHRIS LAKE –* THE WEST and EAST ARMS OF LAKE and Small AREA NEAR DAM ARE CLOSED DURING WATERFOWL SEASON to boat traffic effective Oct. 18th (last day to boat fish will be Oct. 17th) through Jan. 31, 2018 (during this time fishing boat traffic is permitted in the center hot arm only).Keep up the Good Work,Enjoy the Fall &
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
FOX RIVER: WISCONSIN
GREEN BAY/STURGEON BAY
Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay sent this:
Hello guys! Here is a quick update on what is going on up here as of now and what we should expect here in the hopefully very near future
The smaller bays are starting to get some ice cover and are the protected marinas and as of this weekend there were some fishermen that ventured out and found some fish. So this is what we heard….
Perch fishermen managed a few decent batches of fish, fishing in the shallow bays of Sawyer Harbor and Little Sturgeon. Up until this point, only the back bays had safe enough ice to walk out on and fish so the area is a bit limited, but never the less, most fishermen that we talked to managed to catch enough fish for a meal. Shiner minnows under tip-ups along with an assortment of jigs tipped with minnow heads and waxies were working. Along with the Perch, there was some decent Pike action mixed in from fishermen that were targeting them and even some decent Pike caught by the Perch fishermen in those same areas. Along with the areas I mentioned above, Pike fishermen have been finding some fairly safe, walkable ice in a few of the protected marinas mainly in downtown Sturgeon Bay where they have been catching mainly Pike and a few bonus Brown Trout mixed in. Large Golden shiners under tip-ups and auto fisherman have been working the best.
As far as the Whitefish fishing in Door County up until this point, we just don’t have the ice cover yet to sneak out to the so called Hot Spots quite yet, but it is coming! After this week it looks like the weather is going take a turn for the better for the die-hard ice fishermen and it’s going to get very cold and hopefully freeze up the entire bay of Green Bay. The only Whitefish action we heard of has been from the Dykesville area in very shallow water like less than 6 feet. Once the bay freezes and becomes safe for travel Whitefish fishermen will be heading out to their favorite hotspots which include Henderson’s Point, Larson’s Reef, Sherwood Point along with that vast shoreline to the north of Sturgeon Bay where the options are endless especially when we have good safe ice. The main method for the Whitefish is vertical jigging with a wide variety of jigs like Sweedish Pimples, Forage minnow and Jigging Rapalas just to name a few. And above your main jig, fishermen will run some kind of a slider hook like a treble or single hook, small jig or even a fly of some kind. Tipping your jigs with waxworms, spikes, minnow pieces or gulp is always a good bet.
Walleye action obviously hasn’t started as of yet either because of the lack of ice cover, but once we get just enough ice to safely venture out, the go-to Walleye spots will be full of people. Some of those spots include…Henderson’s Point, Riley’s Point, Sherwood Point and Larson’s reef just to name a few. The best baits year in and year out are OddBall jigs, Rapala and Moonshine jigs along with a variety of jigging spoons tipped with minnows or minnow heads
1309 Green Bay Rd
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
I bet we will start hearing about enough ice for whitefish by next week.
GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN
Closed for the year.
As the water cools, should be a spike in good walleye and sauger fishing, especially downstream toward Hennepin and Henry.
Check fishing status at B & B Live Bait–(815) 433-0432–in Ottawa, where hours are now in the morning.
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., said there are some leftover skamania in the streams, but not too many winter-run steelhead yet with the relatively warm water.
Nick Carr at Kankakee River Trading Post in Altorf said the top bite is trying for walleye with minnows below the dams.
Perch report is at the top and perch are the main focus, but there are some other fish going. Tom Platt at Henry’s Sports and Bait, which will be open 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Christmas Eve and closed on Christmas, said there are some browns, especially around South Side spots, and still a few lakers are being caught, best on roaches but some on spoons, too.
NOTE: Park Bait at Montrose is closed for the season.
SALMON SNAGGING: Snagging season on the Illinois lakefront, which ends at the end of the month, is open in four places. The daily bag is five total of Chinook and/or coho. Here are the details from the fishing regs booklet:
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 for the year.
MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN
Gene Dellinger at D & S Bait said ice is holding on Cherokee Marsh, Lakefront Park and parts of Monona Bay (Kegonsa is iced but thin); by next week he expects wide spread ice fishing.
Closed for the year, except Monster Lake at Mazonia South remains open year-round. Check with Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington.
MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN
Check with Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service sent this:
Check the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report, which generally comes out Tuesdays for updates.
MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of
Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua sent this:
Snow has created problems here in the Northwoods as the insulation and weight of winter’s blanket has shut down the ice making abilities of even the coldest of nights.
Caution and high waterproof boots are required for fishing the ice right now. Areas of good ice are being fished heavily as access and ice thickness are NOT good everywhere.
Walleye: Very Good – Thin ice and some mild temps of late are bringing in some shallow action at dusk. Lots of eater (to 20”) fish with some trophy fish of 27–29 ½” again this past weekend. Suckers and chubs have been tops on tip-ups while jigging Raps, Slab Raps and Hyper Glides have produced large aggressive fish even in water as little as 4-6’.
Northern Pike: Very Good – Big, lively bait producing larger than area average Pike of 30-39 ½” this past weekend. Weedy flats of cabbage in 4-8’ best. Rigging big shiners on Finicky Foolers or Danglers so as to get the Rod/Reel experience has been fun.
Bluegill: Very Good – Numbers are good, but for those willing to search out some off the beaten path lakes big Gills have been very good. Tungsten Fly’s and #3 or #4 Fiska’s tipped with moussies or small plastics. Reports (and photo evidence) of honest 10”+ Gills, including a 11 ¼” over the weekend.
Largemouth Bass: Very Good – Taking medium golden shiners on tip-ups. Also being caught on jigging Raps meant for Walleyes and small jigs meant for Gills.
Yellow Perch: Good – Shallow bites in flats of 4-8’ using small-medium fatheads or 2-3 waxies bunched on Northland Forage Minnow jigs.
Crappie: Fair – Very few reports so far, anglers with cameras seeing few fish.
Ice thickness reports are running from 2-7”. The snow from last week is keeping ice from building and causing slush. Can’t recommend anything but walking and spudding your way around right now. If the snow doesn’t arrive and we get the cold that’s forecasted for next week, we should be good. Keep your fingers crossed.
See perch at top. Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind. said they are still getting some crappie at the 249 bridge; there was a bit of ice fishing on the Valpo Chain over the weekend, it will be the weekend or next week before ice fishing returns. WILLOW SLOUGH: Open water. LAKER REMINDER: Indiana now has a daily bag of three lake trout on Lake Michigan, to match Michigan. Illinois’ daily bag remains at two.
ROCK RIVER, WISCONSIN
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
Reports are winding down from the Wisconsin DNR.
ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN
Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said boaters are taking some steelhead in the river; shore fishermen are catching suckers.
ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA
Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.
SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT
The Wisconsin DNR posts a report during open water at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html. It is usually posted by Tuesday afternoon. Streadsm flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow.
Check with River’s Edge.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN