Ice fishing sets up in some areas, and we include some access points for the Chain O’Lakes, to lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; but of course perch fishing on the Chicago lakefront remains the top story.
Along with the perch come some surprises such as the lake trout around Navy Pier. Mike Trinka sent the photo above and this explanation:
My cousin and myself went out this past Friday at Navy Pier for some lake perch and towards the middle of the day I got a surprise lake trout. This hit on a little jigging rap I was using for perch.
It’s a beautiful thing. Another laker will be Fish of the Week.
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 from the Southeast Side slips to Burnham/Northerly Island to DuSable Harbor to Navy Pier to Diversey Harbor and Montrose Harbor.
Tom Platt at Henry’s Sports and Bait said the bite slowed a bit, but they have started seeing some bigger perch, including a few to 14 inches; it was “elbow to elbow” at Navy Pier over the weekend. He also said that more people are getting out and using the piers in the harbors to fish. See PIER PASSES below.
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind., texted:
Got cold not as many guys my way like there was navy pier packed on weekend a lot of those guys are farther Ilinois guys and I don’t see them perch bite
Arden Katz said it was just jammed around Navy Pier and perch were being caught over the weekend; but he found a better size at 87th (North Slip).
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
Last week, 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. I think it is still worth including, though I think the weather is limiting boaters. 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.
Here is a JPEG from ifishillinois.org:
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 sets up in some areas, especially north; but dicey at best in most areas. Click here for the general regulations on ice fishing for public sites around Chicago fishing.
As to open water last week, Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:
Hey Dale,Here is a recap of this week’s fishing.Area Lakes- waiting. Some that are wind protected have locked up while others have plenty of open water. Some colder temps could have us on hard water before Christmas.TTYL—Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Waterworks fishing team
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.
Proprietor Greg Dickson at Triangle Sports and Marine said he expects ice fishing this week on the backwaters. He also said on Monday they had started ice fishing just across the Wisconsin line on Camp Lake. As of Tuesday morning, they were not yet fishing Nielsen’s Channel.
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.
LOCK/DRAWDOWN: The Stratton Lock is closed for the season; and drawdown underway. With the drawdown, use caution navigating. For more info and lake updates, go to Fox Waterway Agency or call (847) 587-8540.
CHICAGO RIVER/CHICAGO LAKEFRONT
Check Capt. Pat Harrison at Pat Harrison Outdoors.
DES PLAINES RIVER
POWERTON: Closed, shore fishing reopens Dec. 26. EVERGREEN: Bait shop and boat rental are closed for the season. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. LAKE SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide Service.
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 – -Bait Shop Fall Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 7 Days
And LAST DAY BAIT SHOP OPEN is Oct. 14th (Depending on bait supply)– Boat Rental Fall Hours: 8:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M. SAT. & SUN. ONLY
– BOAT RENTAL will CLOSE for the season Oct. 8th
– – 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.-HENNEPIN-HOPPER LAKES – Lakes are CLOSED for the SeasonMcMASTER 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. 31POWERTON LAKE –WINTER HOURS (Oct. 1st – April 30th): 8am – 4pm
– THIS LAKE WILL CLOSE TO BOAT FISHING ON OCT. 21th(Last day for Boat fishing will be Oct. 20th) and CLOSES TO SHORE FISHING and ALL FISHING ON OCT. 28th (Last day for Shore fishing is Oct. 27th)
and REOPENS TO SHORE FISHING ONLY ON DEC. 26th AND NO BOAT FISHING till FEB. 15th – –PRAIRIE 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 last week, but I think the general premises hold still this week:
Good afternoon fellas
Here is what I have as far as the update on the fishing
Well we have cold weather on its way starting this week here in Door County. Whether it will be cold enough, for a long enough period of time to get some safe ice cover on some of the shallow bays, we will just have to wait and see. Never the less, ice fishermen are starting to get geared up for the season.
During the early ice season, fishermen crowd the shallow bays of Sawyer Harbor, Little Sturgeon and Riley’s Bay just to name a few spots searching for a nice meal of Perch or Pike, which both can be quite prevalent during the early ice season in that shallow water. Small jigs tipped with waxies, spikes or minnows will work well for the Perch, even suspending minnows under tip-ups works quite well. And for the Pike, suspending large Golden Shiners or sucker minnows under tip-ups and or auto fishermen.
Walleye anglers are patiently waiting for some good ice cover so they can head on out to their hot spots. Some of those spots include…Henderson’s Point, Sherwood point and the Larson’s Reef area. Best baits include the good old Rapala Jig, Odd Ball Jigs and Moonshine shiver minnows tipped with whole minnows or minnow heads
And of course there is the fan-favorite and quite abundant Whitefish. Hundreds of fishermen will pile out on the ice when it becomes safe enough looking to fill their buckets with limits of Whitefish and in most cases, fishermen are quite successful. A very wide variety of jigs tipped with minnow heads, wax worms, spikes and gulp with work along with slider rigs.
1309 Green Bay Rd
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN
Closed for the year.
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., texted:
Some steelhead in salt and trail creek waiting on a good push of winter runs this cold weather will help that
Check with Kankakee River Trading Post in Altorf.
Perch report is at the top and perch are the main focus, but there are some other fish going. Several faithful readers reported good lake trout also being caught around Navy Pier. Tom Platt at Henry’s Sports and Bait said guys were catching lakers and some browns. 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 some ice fishing started on Cherokee Marsh; he expects more general ice fishing on such places as Monona Bay to be a week or so away.
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:
A little taste of things to come. Enough ice in places for anglers to get out on ice, but caution still advised no matter where you go.
Walleye: Very Good – Anglers using tip-ups baited with river shiners, Walleye suckers on medium golden in fairly shallow water (5-8’) at dusk, after dark. Early ice aggressive fish hitting jigging lures such as Raps, Hyper Glides and Rotating Power Minnows. Nice catches of eaters with 29 ½” topping the bragging list!
Northern Pike: Very Good – Larger baits (suckers/shiners) on tip-ups. Weedy shallow flats of 3-7’.
Yellow Perch: Very Good – Fish Shallow flats in bays with 3-5” of ice over 3-8’ of water. Medium fatheads, forage jigs loaded with waxies best.
Bluegill: Very Good – Fish shallow. Tipping jigs with bright plastic or spikes/moussies best. Lots of Gills with good #’s of eaters (7”+) reported.
Crappie: Fair – Not a lot of strong reports. Don’t find as many shallow and better haunts over deeper water not supporting decent ice.
Largemouth Bass: Very Good – Few anglers target through ice, but plenty being caught by anglers using medium shiners on tip-ups.
Despite some ice making, cold, lake effect snows covering lakes will slow ice production. Foot traffic recommended at this point. Ice thickness ranging from 2-5”. Wear creepers (snow very powdery), carry rope, floatation and spud your way out to test ice.
Forecast for low’s in single digits with highs in teens to low 20’s will add to ice. Looks much better by weekend.
Before you venture out onto the ice, there are steps you need to take to make sure that you have a safe and enjoyable time. The most important piece of knowledge is knowing that there is no such a thing as 100% safe ice, but you can take precautionary measures to stack the odds in your favor of knowing the safety of the ice before it is too late.
Visitors must understand that the safety of ice is determined by a combination of conditions and factors, not just thickness. One of the important things that need to be considered in determining the safety factor is the type of water (pond, lake, stream, river, etc.). The type and size of the water will have varying factors such as depth, chemistry make-up, and current to name a few. Other major considerations are appearance (color, texture and features), daily and weekly temperatures, snow cover, and distribution of the load on the ice (not only yours but surrounding area too). To read the entire ice safety article, click here. See the fishing report below.
Panfish: Using slip bobber rigs tipped with minnows or a piece of red worm should catch you a bunch. Crappies are in the deeper weeds and around lay downs, so a slip bobber rig tipped with small minnow or plastic will work on these. Bluegills are up in the shallows, so a slip bobber rig tipped with a small piece of worm or wax worm will work on these fish.
Bass: Largemouth will be found around structures such as, laydowns and docks. Throwing spinnerbaits and plastic will work even near top water and around pads and reeds will spark action. Smallmouth are going to be in and around the rocks, so jigs tipped with live bait, plastics, and crankbaits will work here.
Northern: You will find these fish in and around the deeper weeds. You can use smaller spinnerbaits like #3 or #4 Mepps. Safety pin style spinnerbaits are an effective choice.
Walleye: These fish will be found on the deepest weed edges and on the rock piles. As the month goes on, these fish will start moving towards the deeper breaks.
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind. texted:
Some steelhead in salt and trail creek waiting on a good push of winter runs this cold weather will help that The guys which aren’t many are still getting crappie under 249 bridge area just down from portage marina on minnows or jigs in black or white tipped with beemoth some dandy crappie and good numbers
WILLOW SLOUGH: Still lots of open water, don’t expect ice fishing soon. 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 some steelhead in the river; weather prevent pier fishing.
ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA
Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.
Clint Sands at Lakeside said there is only skim ice in the bays; he expects it will be another week or two before ice fishing. Lakeside is closed until ice fishing comes. Park hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information and reports from Lakeside, go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.
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