We're in the November doldrums before ice begins forming to the north, and that may be as close as next week.
But there is still some good fishing, such as this pair of fine walleye caught by North Sider Zee Drnovsek, a former Yugoslavian, from the St. Joseph River. ``Catfish Dave'' Bradigan sent the photo.
The main highlights are perch in Lake Michigan on the Illinois/Indiana border for boaters, and sauger on the Illinois River.
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.
CHICAGO PIER PASSES
Henry's Sports/Marine expects to have the $6.50 pier passes from the Chicago Park District for sale by Friday, Nov. 14. By then, the designated piers and harbors should be known. Officially, that program, which gives legal off-season access to select piers in Chicago harbors, begins on Saturday.
Primary sources: Kolar Bait and Henry's Sports, Bait & Marine
Crappie remain the prime target for the few trying. Very few out with the recent weather.
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
If you're a boater plying the Chain for fall crappie or muskie, use caution, the water is coming down. Access is still available, but be smart.
Triangle reports muskie being taken on suckers, Marie and Bluff are best. Crappie are being taken in channel mouths on minnows or spikes. Bluegill are being caught around in-water timber. Walleye, some in the 5-pound class, remain good, Marie is best; be careful if you try to navigate to the bridges.
More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
Only Monster Lake at Mazonia South is open for fishing.
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
This might be the last week for the year for reports from Gortowski. If somebody is a dedicated Fox fisherman and wants to step up for the winter months, drop me a note at email@example.com.
``Well, it looks like my ability to get out fishing ended a few weeks ago.
So my fishing reports are becoming more useless.
I refuse to glean info off the other sites. It's not fair to them.
I'll get in touch with a couple of reliable sources and see what there plans are for the next few months. I would rather have you giving actual fish catching reports rather than my theories. They are sound theories because I've done them all well into December. But since I'm not going and no one else is reporting going, what's the point?
That being said then, maybe this should be my last one for this season. Unless of course I get out one or two more times for some warm water discharge fishing.
I know where I would be going, even in this colder weather.
Indian Trail Road, east side all along the water intake plant. Number 4 or 6 octopus hook, split shot, minnow. Work it like you would work a light jig on the bottom.
From Orchard Road west, north side of the river. That would be the sunny side. Fish any slower looking water you can find, no matter how small it looks. Same rig as above. If you see schooling carp in the slack water, throw it into the middle of the school. For some reason, kicked up food I think, smallies will hang out with the carp.
Doesn't really matter where you go. They're all over the place. You just have to be patient. The guys who know me know where the flats are just down from the warm water discharge. That big pool, from the end of the island to the power lines, from the east to the west side, is loaded with walleye. Best way to get to them is wade. Deepest area is along the east shore. You want to wade up to the east shore from the west, but be careful. At normal water there are armpit deep spots. And the water is up a bit. And cold. Bad combination for getting wet.''
ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA
Primary source: Guide Buster Culjan or Cajun's Bait
Cajun's reported sauger are good from the cornfield flats to the Little Vermilion and Spring Valley Boat Club on downstream. It's a jig and minnow in 15-18 feet. They hadn't heard much on white bass.
Primary sources: Ed Mullady, ``Catfish'' Dave Bradigan
``Kankakee River continues to be in good fishing condition.
*Smallmouth Bass hitting good in both IN and IL...especially along 3-5 feet pools near shore. Try *Chug Bug
*Streamer flies *Countdowns*Mepps #2 Spinners*minnows.
Pike fair to good at mouths of all bayous and ditches. Best catches on 4-7" minnows *large jointed Countdowns.
Walleye fair below bridge piers - Dams *mouths of tributaries! Good baits are *jig & minnow * Rattlin' Rogue *jig and crawlers.
Catfishing continues good on *minnows *cheesebaits.''
Primary source: Harborside Bait & Tackle and Capt. Bob Poteshman
Spawn or white tube jigs and wax worms are producing browns and rainbows and a few salmon in the harbor, Harborside reported. Pike has been slow, unless the rain kicks in some fishing.
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
Park Bait reported a few salmon and steelhead at Belmont. Henry's reported a few browns, steelhead and fresh kings at Burnham. Before the winds, there was some good panfish, including big crappie, at Diversey, said Carl Vizzone. The only shoreline perch report came from Mik-Lurch about a few under the lights at Cal Park. Boaters should find perch at Cal Park.
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.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
Primary source: D&S Bait at dsbait.com
D&S Bait reported some pike on Mendota on suckers or jerkbaits in 10-20 feet on the points. Muskie are improving on Monona and Waubesa. Panfish are fair in Monona Bay and over the weeds on Waubesa.
Primary sources: Eagle River Sports, Pastika's and Minocqua guide Kurt Justice
The change toward hard water is coming.
``The cold weather is settling in. Sunday hit the high 20's, water temps continue to cool. We have a little skim ice around the reeds on the pond behind the shop. Reports on lake temps are running 37* (on Flowages) to
43* on the larger lakes. With highs in the low 40's this week, lake temps will continue to fall slowly, but lakes should remain open for this coming weekend.
Musky: Good. Best action on Big Glide Baits (Smity, Smuttly, Mantas) and jerks (Smity, Bobbies) worked in conjunction with large suckers. Don't expect to see numbers of fish, but fish being caught are heavy. Larger, warmer lakes producing best (Minocqua, Tomahawk, Flambeau).
Walleye: Fair. Fish moving back up to outside greed weed edges. Redtailed chubs, 4" suckers worked SLOWLY producing. Casting #9 Rapalas, Rattlin Rouges over shallow weed flats also picking up some nice (18-22") walleyes after dark.
The difference between air and lake temp is less than 20* now. Water temps will slowly continue to fall, a few shallow lakes will start to show ice in protected areas (north, northwest). Launches should not be a problem this week. By next week things will change.''
Primary sources: Mik-Lurch Tackle Outlet, Capt. Chuck Weis and Capt. Ralph Steiger
The perch are in off Inland Steel, as I found out with Weis and John Galambos, when the three of us limited out in three hours Tuesday morning. It is a jig and minnow bite, best when drifting over the shoals. There's fish in at Gary Light and Cal Park too. The main problem is finding OK weather and winds.
There's a few steelhead in the creeks, Mik-Lurch reported.
Primary sources: TJ's Bait/Tackle & Canoe Rental
From Jan Prose at TJ's:
``Walleye! Seems like the bite is about an hour before sunrise, and from
3-5 in the afternoon. Several nice sized ones over 25" range caught on
west side Sat. Not many fishing since this last cold snap.''
ST. JOSEPH AREA, MICHIGAN
Primary sources: BJ Sports and Michigan DNR
As Drnovsek showed, walleye are good in the river. BJ Sports reported other species are tough.
Primary sources: Lakeside and guide Jay Angel
This is muskie-trying time and weather. Otherwise, Angel suggested fishing for crappie in the deep trees with minnows.
For more reports, click here.
Primary source: River's Edge
Angel, who happened to be up there playing recently, reported lots of smaller walleye and sauger on slip-bobbers in 3-12 feet from the dam back to River's Edge.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN:
Primary source: Guide Bill Stoeger
Stoeger said walleye remain fantastic, Orihula to Poygan has been best on a jig and minnow, mainly 20-25 feet. Good crappie are slowing, better action is upriver, Gills Landing north.
Primary source: Mik-Lurch
Those who have enjoyed the walleye fishing at Wolf in recent years, especially those who pitched in money in the donation jars at places like Mik-Lurch and Vet's, there will another stocking on Thursday. The volunteer group, headed by Bruce Caruso, were able to clear the VHS hurdles to obtain fish.
Vizzone promised photos and info if I can't make it out. I will post details hopefully late Thursday. This is a great program for and by fishermen. Stuff your buck in the donation jar next time you're at one of the shops.
Mik-Lurch reports decent crappie in the corn channel.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT