The freaky warm November weather has some nice catches going on Chicago-area ponds and lakes.
Here is Chuck Landeros (a Sox hat always makes a fisherman look better) with a nice largemouth, well, let him tell it,
``I caught two 3 lb fish on back to back casts at the tail end of my outing. I caught them on an Rapala X-Rap about 1 in the afternoon at a local DuPage county lake.''
Otherwise, perch are going in Indiana when boaters can get out and white bass and sauger are good on the Illinois River.
This is the extended online Midwest Fishing Report, which appears in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays. I try to post the MFR here by Wednesday morning.
If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Primary sources: Kolar Bait and Henry's Sports, Bait & Marine
The warm weather had many more fishermen out than normal. And they have been making some decent catches.
Crappie remain the best bite with good catches at places like Skokie Lagoons and Saganashkee. Guide ``Jimmy T'' Templin reported good bluegill in north suburban ponds. Landeros' bass is indicative of what is going on local lakes and ponds.
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 continued excellent crappie in most channels, otherwise, check channel mouths. Walleye are excellent, Marie is best, use roaches on split-shot rigs or Lindy rigs. Muskie are very good on suckers or big jerkbaits. White bass also continue good in the river or on wind-blown main lake shorelines.
Use care in boats, water levels are being dropped.
More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
Only Monster Lake at Mazonia South is open for fishing. Tony Noto and two buddies tried everything last week with no action. Water was 48 then, likely warmer by now, but will cool by the weekend again.
DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN
Primary source: Guide Dave Duwe
``The fishing season for me has come to a close! The shorter days and unpredictable weather make consistently getting an opportunity to get out on the lake a bit too difficult. Once there is safe ice, I'll try to provide an update on the ice fishing. After that, I'll be back in May 2009 with weekly updates once again. If you'd like to speak with me this winter, look for me at almost any boat show or sport show in SE Wisconsin.'
Currently, the walleye bite is very good. The fish are still very deep. They were in 20-32 ft of water. Jigging spoons has been the most productive method. Chrome and Red or Pearl are catching most of the fish. Look for the fish by the Village Supper Club or by Browns Channel.
Crappies are again shallow. They are in the 10-12 ft depth range right on the weedline. They can be easily caught with small plastics. Purple and Chartreuse are the best colors. They are putting the feed bag on for the long winter. Look for the fish by Willow Point or by the Yacht Club.
The largemouth bass have been caught on fat head minnows fished on a very light Lindy rig, 1/8 oz sinker and 24 inch snell tipped with the fat head minnow. The key location has been the deep water rock bars coming out of 20 ft of water going up to about 12-13 ft. These locations can be found near Assembly Park or the Oriental boat house.
Bluegills are shallow. They can be readily caught in the 6-8 ft depth range. They are being caught on slip bobbers fished with ice jigs and a wax worm. Look for the fish by Willow point or by the Yacht Club. There is a secondary bite on the lake. They do suspend over the main lake basin approximately 10-15 ft down in 40 ft of water. If you see people fishing out in the middle of the lake, it's a good bet that this is why. The suspended fish are usually the biggest.
Northern Pike are starting to bite on the large suckers which are 10-12 inches. What a typically do, is position the boat in 20 ft of water and cast crankbaits into the weedline. I like using Bandit 400 series bass crankbaits in fire tiger. This will draw the fish towards your suckers that are positioned beneath the boat. There is no way a northern pike can resist a feisty sucker. Make sure that you have your suckers on a Abu Garcia 6500 with bait clicker. It make sucker fishing possible.'
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
Todd Carlander caught his biggest channel catfish of the year on Saturday, so it is worth working it.
Over the weekend, Richard Harris, who caught the Fish of the Week, a 38-inch muskie, indicated this of fishing near Yorkville: ``Caught a 38" (12.3 lb) Muskie whilst fly fishing for Walleye (10 wt. fly rod with jig) on the Fox River this Sunday. Another angler caught a 38" Muskie an hour before approx 500 yds down from my position. Great morning on the Fox!''
Gortowski didn't have much to report, but sent this: ``Once upon a time I would have been out all weekend, today and for the next two days. Of course, going to the spots that have been up on my site for weeks.
I'm reluctant to rely on what guys on the sites are saying. Those getting out are tying into smallies and walleye. Except for a few at the Yorkville dam over the weekend, didn't see a soul from the bridge down for as far as you can see. Feel like I'm lurking when that's the best I can do.
I think people just don't get out like they used to.''
GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN
Primary source: Duwe
``This is the last report until ice fishing. With the shorter days it is getting much more difficult to get out fishing and the weather although beautiful this past weekend is not always conducive to fishing.
The past fishing season has been very different than prior years. Lake Geneva shut down due to the rain and cool temperatures in the spring, the season caught up in about 2-3 weeks and just started later in the spring than normal. This was probably the worst spawning bite in 16 years of guiding because of the spring weather. Also the deep water smallmouth bite really didn't get going good until late September.
The other notable item this year was that the Northern Pike bite was very slow all season. As a rule I was catching between 7 and 10 pike per 4 hour trip and this year it was a struggle to catch 4 per trip. I believe a lot of it has to do with the very poor spawning the last couple of years.
The Lake Trout fishing was hit or miss this season, one day you'd go out and catch a few and the next time you'd go out and not have any bites. The overall size of the fish were quite a bit larger than in past years. The average size this year was about 7 lbs.
Largemouth bass were again very good in mid-June. The bite did not last that long but while it was on it was excellent. We usually have about a 15-20 day window for this bite and this year it was more like 10-14 days. During this time we were catching 20-25 fish per day.
Walleye fishing is reaching prime time right now. You need to troll in 12-15 ft of water and the weed bays that are slowly dying off. The best locations are by Trinkes and by Fontana Beach. I troll Bandit Walleye lures, deep divers in chrome/blue or chrome/black or large Rapalas.
Currently the yellow perch are schooled up and in the shallow waters in 8-10 ft of water. Look for the fish by Knollwood or by Rainbow Point. They can be easily caught by slip bobbering small fat head minnows or nightcrawler pieces.''
ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA
Primary source: Guide Buster Culjan or Cajun's Bait
There's good white bass around Starved Rock, I-39, the cornfield flats and Peru piers and riprap. Cajun's suggested working 15-17 feet near drops. Their staff also gave a key hint: ``Everything is a light bite, even the stripers.''
Sauger are very good; best is I-39, Myrtles, Hennepin powerlines and Spring Valley Boat Club. Nice crappie are around bridge piers and in the Vermilion.
This e-mail from Bob Kidd on the season opener of the 14th year of the Illinois Walleye Trail indicates how good the sauger are:
``The 2009 season opener was held at Hennepin, Illinois November 2, 2008. The teams were treated to a complimentary dinner, provided by Hennepin Marine, Saturday evening before the rules and orientation meeting.
The teams arrived Sunday morning and found ideal weather conditions, daytime temperature high in the mid 70's and light and variable wind. Water conditions were ideal, 1' to 1 1/2' clarity and surface temperatures around 49 degrees.
The Saugers must have heard about the Saturday night dinner because the feedbag was on. The 51 teams brought in 46, 6 fish limits to the scales, weighing a total of 553 pounds for the 287 fish. With $7250.00 payout money on the line, plus loyalty sponsorship monies, the team of Jim Melton, Wyoming Illinois and Rick Funcannon, Lacon Illinois, brought in a limit scaling 17.45 pounds, earning them $2750.00 plus $250.00 loyalty bonus compliments of Hennepin Marine as the first highest placing Lund boat owners. Capturing second place, Max Actis. Spring Valley Illinois and Mike Stuckert Spring Valley Illinois weighed a limit of 16.01 pounds, earning them $1425.00 along with a $100.00 gift certificated from Hennepin Marine for the second highest placing Lund boat owners. Third place honors went to the father and son team of Steve Skupien and Jeremy Skupien, Frankfort, Illinois for a limit weighing 15.88 pounds, earning them $1000.00. . . . Big Fish honors went to John Smith Monmouth, Illinois and Dave Hall Oglesby, Illinois with a 3.5 pound Sauger earning them $510.00 plus a 10th place finish for an additional $200.00.''
Primary sources: Ed Mullady, ``Catfish'' Dave Bradigan
Mullady sent this:
``Kankakee River in good condition.
Point Area near English Lake, Indiana: good for *pike on big minnows *Bluegill, Croppie on *worms *minnows*spinners.
In Illinois, Dave Zack, Momence Conservancy District, reports limits of smallmouth bass being caught in the Momence part of the Kankakee, as well as some largemouth bass.
Catfishing going good throughout river on *minnows *chicken liver *cheesebaits. Croppie on jig and minnow.
Smallmouth Bass good near *Aroma Park,IL; Johnson's Fisherman's Park, Kankakee, IL, and Kankakee River State Park. *Smallmouth Bass, Catfish, also good near Wilmington, IL''
Primary source: Harborside Bait & Tackle and Capt. Bob Poteshman
Harborside said on some days, the browns and rainbows are very good in the harbor on spawn, Oslo spinners, Moonshine spoons or white tube jigs. Some browns are 15-18 pounds. One rainbow weighed 15 pounds. Other days, fishing is spotty. The Pike has been fair.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
Primary source: Rickard's and Ohio DNR
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
Action remains steady. Snagging for coho and chinook is permitted only at Waukegan's north harbor basin, Winnetka power plant discharge area, Lincoln Park lagoon from Fullerton bridge south and Jackson Park's inner and outer harbors.
Primary sources: Henry's Sports, Bait & Marine, Park Bait, Capt. Bill Kelly and Capt. Bob Poteshman
Several reports of good bluegill, especially at Diversey. Park Bait reported some chinooks at Belmont on spawn, and unconfirmed reports of perch off Montrose's south rocks on Sunday, nothing since.
Primary source: Salmon Stop
Salmon Stop reported shrimp sacks are taking some steelhead, otherwise some browns on crawlers or roaches near the bottom and a few coho on crawlers or frozen shiners.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
Primary source: D&S Bait at dsbait.com
Primary sources: Eagle River Sports, Pastika's and Minocqua guide Kurt Justice
Justice sent this:
``Lots of different weather this week. From snow , ice ,to 60's looks like it will be back into the 30's by the weekend though. With cold nights and mornings lake temps dropped quite a bit. Some rose back up on sunny warm afternoons. But a little wind and more cold brought them back down. Recorded tamps as high as 46 degrees(White Sand) and as low as 38 degrees (Willow Flowage)
Musky--Good. Started out hot for those willing to face nasty weather last Monday. Guide Jim Weston helped client to a 47"-32"er plus raised two others. One that was smaller and one that dwarfed the 32"er. Action rather erratic with the warm spell over the weekend. Glide baits such as Smity, Manta, Hellhounds. Smuttly Dogs best in such cold water. Muskies want big slow easy meals. Suckers still best bet. Just use larger baits and don't expect as much action as mid October.
Walleye--Fair. Reports of early in the week better. Fishing slowed thurs-sat. Reports of deep water fish being marked, not biting . Shallow bite decent if you can find the right lake ( less than 25 feet). Redtails the best choice, though reports of success casting some stick baits. After dark over shallow soft bottomed bays.
Unfortunately we did not have reports for other species. Typical for this time of year. Though there should still be some good crappie action going on.
We actually had a little skim ice on pond behind shop following the snow last Monday. Warmed since but cold temps coming back.''
Primary sources: Mik-Lurch Tackle Outlet, Capt. Chuck Weis and Capt. Ralph Steiger
Weis simply put it of perch: ``They're here.'' But they are scattered so he suggested drifting is key. Biggest perch can be found in certain areas, if you find them work that area. Otherwise the perch take sorting for keepers. Another way to help is to use bigger minnows.
He also noted: ``They're hitting like walleyes, hitting and dragging with it. The biggest fish I caught was 13 3/4 inches, it hit it four times and I missed it three times.''
He also uses Galambos glow beads and orange flies to improve his success. He is working in 30-34 feet, not in the deeper holes, but just off them. In another oddity, he has found they are catching females in the morning and males in the evening.''
Jim Giglio reported good smallmouth to 20 inches on crankbaits Friday and to 21 inches on Monday; and some big perch, too. Some lakers were being taken on the reef.
Primary sources: TJ's Bait/Tackle & Canoe Rental
Jan Prose at TJ's sent this;
``Walleye fishing has been pretty good this past week. Several guys got their limit, size range about 15-22". Jig and minnow is good, one reported red and white tube was working
Sunday. Smallmouth are hitting on crank baits, and catfish are good
on worms. Water temp has come up about 5 degrees since last week.''
ST. JOSEPH AREA, MICHIGAN
Primary sources: BJ Sports and Michigan DNR
Whitefish in southern Lake Michigan is one of those quirky things I have wanted to catch for years. Might be a good time to try, BJ Sports reported good whitefish on Monday off the piers on a single salmon egg on a salmon hook on the bottom. A few steelhead off the piers and up the river. Walleye continue decent in the river.
Primary sources: Lakeside and guide Jay Angel
For more reports, click here.
Mik-Lurch said crappie remain good in the corn channel, and walleye should be starting with the cooler weather. And remember the restrictions on the lake with waterfowl seasons going.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN:
Primary source: Guide Bill Stoeger
Stoeger said water temperature dropped, crappie are hard to find, but if found they are good. Walleye from Orihula downstream are good, many 16-26 inches. A few white bass mixed in with walleye, mainly downriver. Trolling around cane beds on Poygan with No. 15 floating Rapalas on planer boards is producing big pike. Weather will change before the weekend and may strongly impact fishing.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT