Ice building in northern Wisconsin, sporadic perch on the Chicago lakefront, Chicago pier pass issues headline the Midwest Fishing Report. And we introduce a couple new contributors for the Des Plaines River, of all places.
This mess of perch was taken out of East Chicago Marina last week with Capt. Chuck Weis. As I uploaded the photo, I realized it was slugged ``perch11-11-08onice.'' And at a quick glance ``on ice'' reads like ``o nice.'' I kind of like that.
But let us get back from my wandering brain. Weis called Tuesday and said he put his boat away with the string of weather in recent days. However, those perch are there for those who still have their boats available.
This is the extended online version of the Midwest Fishing Report, which appears in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays. Normally, I post the online MFR by Wednesday morning.
If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First the ice in northern Wisconsin.
Primary sources: Eagle River Sports, Pastika's and Minocqua guide Kurt Justice
Ice fishing is near. A few daring sorts have tried spots in more protected colder areas.
Justice put it best: ``I won't recommend it yet, but it is building. By the end of the week, there were be safe ice fishing, and there will be open water for boat anglers.''
Dick Matkin at Eagle Sports in Eagle River said, ``Ice conditions are non-existent, but it looks like it is starting. Ice fishing by the weekend is very iffy. They are still row-trolling on some lakes [as of Monday].''
In Hayward, staff at Pastika's said smaller lakes iced over Monday night, but nobody had tried as of Tuesday morning. They opined, ``By the weekend, should be at least some ice fishing.''
Otherwise, Justice said muskie were good on lakes with whitefish or ciscoes, which are shallow and spawning, especially after dark.
CHICAGO PIER PASSES
Pier passes are unavailable.
The only explanation I have so far from the Chicago Park District was that a new system will be started. Apparently the call on that new system was made without consulting Mayor Daley's Fishing Advisory Committee, which was designed to handle exactly such decisions.
FYI, the committee meets at the McKinley Park fieldhouse at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 20. The meeting is open to the public.
Primary sources: Kolar Bait and Henry's Sports, Bait & Marine
We're in that in-between period: very few are trying and there was even some shell ice forming Tuesday morning.
For an overview of nearby river conditions, go to this NWS site.
BIG GREEN LAKE, WISCONSIN
Primary source: Guide Mike Norton.
Go to www.biggreenlakefishing.com, then click on fishing, then lake report.
CHAIN O'LAKES AREA
Primary sources: Triangle Sports & Marine or Capt. Darrell Baker
Triangle reports muskie are the No. 1 target with large suckers or big jerkbaits, better lakes now are Loon, Silver and the Chain lakes. Some muskie up to 45 inches being caught. If you have access to deeper water, crappie are still good. Water is very low, navigation is possible but use caution.
More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
Monster Lake at Mazonia South remains open for fishing year-round, otherwise fishing is closed at the cooling lake/strip pits.
DES PLAINES RIVER
A couple guys have offered help with a Des Plaines fishing report. Here are starter samples from both.
First is Matt Coppolino, who has been fishing the DesPlaines River from Hofmann Dam south for the past five years. He was recommended by Ken Gortowski.
``The river temperature is now in the low to mid 40's. The Walleye and Sauger bite is very good. Concentrate in areas with rocky bottom and moderate to fast current in and around deep water. Sunset into the night is the best fishing. Lures that have been working are any type of stick baits like x-raps, floating Rapalas and, rattlin rogues.
Northern Pike are good. Current breaks and slack water areas will hold fish. Minnows and Golden Roaches will always produce along with stick baits, spinner baits, and crank baits.''
And here's Andrew Ragas of www.fishing-headquarters.com:
``Has been a very good week of fishing for both Walleye and Sauger on the DesPlaines River. Fishing at night, or after sunset with large minnowbaits such as Floating Rapalas, Husky Jerks and X-Raps has been best. Walleyes up to 28-inches have been caught and released with many in the 20-inch range reported as well, including a "first cast of the night" 25-incher over the weekend. Sauger good too - lots of action, not much size. Unless it's daytime, very few anglers using live bait.
Most fish relating to hard bottom areas with moderate current, and
deeper pools with adjacent current. Lots of areas like this exist from
Lake to Will co. so find your spots and get to work!
If you go out at night, wear layers, bundle up, wade with extreme
caution, and be safe!
Many smaller Pike being found along with Walleye and Sauger. For
possible better fish, concentrate your efforts in the northern suburbs
as well as around the harder-to-access stretches from Willow Springs
area to Lemont - swimbaits, minnow baits, spinnerbaits, bucktails, etc.
Larger DesPlaines River tributaries such as Salt Creek are sketchy at
best and probably done for the year as many fish in the last week seem
to have migrated back out to the river to winter for the season
-(POOR). Water temperatures are barely 40-degrees. If you must, find
any deep water pools with rock or timber in the DuPage and Cook co.
preserves and give the fish a slow presentation with live bait. Small
Pike, Crappies, Creek Chubs, and a straggler Walleye are a
possibility. With the weather getting colder by the week, expect the
quality of fishing to go significantly downhill from here.''
For more, call (217) 774-2020.
The latest fishing report is posted here. Boat rental are open weekends only now.
Bank fishing reopens on Dec. 24, the day after central zone waterfowl closes. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
Primary sources: Kolar Bait and wading guide Ken Gortowski
I could use a hard-core fisherman for reports over the winter reports.
ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA
Primary source: Guide Buster Culjan or Cajun's Bait
Few are trying, but the sauger bite is on downstream. Just how good it is should be known after the tournament on Sunday.
Primary sources: Ed Mullady, ``Catfish'' Dave Bradigan
Mullady sent this:
``Kankakee River in good fishing condition.
In Indiana, try Point for Pike on big minnows *bluegill on red worms, rubber spiders. Catfish on minnows, cheesebaits.
Some largemouth and smallmouth bass hitting in bayou or ditch mouths where fishing allowed.
Smallmouth Bass continues good on *Jig & Twister Tail *live minnows *Mepps #2 Spinners in Illinois.
Some smaller walleye below dams, around bridge piers, shoreline pools.''
Primary source: Harborside Bait & Tackle and Capt. Bob Poteshman
Harborside reported a few browns and rainbows in the harbor on white tubes and waxies or Oslo spinners.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
Primary source: Rickard's and Ohio DNR
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
Primary sources: Henry's Sports, Bait & Marine, Park Bait, Capt. Bill Kelly and Capt. Bob Poteshman
Finally signs of perch.
Maybe there will be something to the Thanksgiving tradition of perching Navy Pier. A worker at Navy Pier reported perch showed up Tuesday, though only a couple people were fishing.
Jack Vadas at Vet's reported, ``At least there is a little shore action [around Cal Park].'' There's been some perch in the park in evenings after dark, and some of the slips in the river around 92nd. When boaters get out, they are catching some at the Cal breakwall.
Carl Vizzone reported good panfish at Diversey. Mike Repa at Park Bait echoed that on good bluegill and crappie at Belmont and Diversey, and a smattering of perch around the piers at Montrose.
Primary source: Salmon Stop
Salmon Stop reported a few steelhead inside the harbor with spawn sacs or wax worms down a couple feet under slip bobbers.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
Primary source: D&S Bait at dsbait.com
Primary sources: Mik-Lurch Tackle Outlet, Capt. Chuck Weis and Capt. Ralph Steiger
Some perch off shore at night in Cal Park. When winds allow, boaters found perch off Inland and the Cal breakwall.
ST. JOSEPH AREA, MICHIGAN
Primary sources: BJ Sports and Michigan DNR
BJ Sports reported good steelhead, hot colors are orange and pink; toward the dam has been better than the piers. River has walleye. Some are trying for whitefish off the piers when the winds allow.
Primary sources: Lakeside and guide Jay Angel
I would repeat what Angel suggested last week: It's muskie-trying time and weather; otherwise, fish for crappie in the deep trees with minnows.
For more reports, click here.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT