The possibility of lakefront perch for Thanksgiving and building ice in northern Wisconsin headline the Midwest Fishing Report this week.
This is the extended online version of the MFR, 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 email@example.com.
HOLIDAY SHORELINE PERCH?
There's hope for shoreline perch on Thanksgiving, but the action has been variable.
Park Bait reported some keepers inside Montrose, but it takes sorting. Arden Katz said best is to cast out with a drop-shot rig, find the weeds and work it back slowly.
Henry's Sports/Marine reported some limit catches in the last few days of 8-inch perch, but even then it takes sorting, at Navy Pier. It's a minnow bite or use exaggerated jigging with things like Hali jigs, Swedish Pimples or jigging Rapalas.
Mik-Lurch reported some under the lights at Cal Park and up the slips in the river.
NORTHERN WISCONSIN ICE
Primary sources: Eagle River Sports, Pastika's and Minocqua guide Kurt Justice
First ice is here, and ice is building slowly. Justice said, ``Should be a great Thanksgiving week early ice bite.''
HAYWARD: Pastika's reported key spot is Chippewa Flowage, which closes on Sunday. A lot of years there is no ice fishing there. Ice fishing has been excellent for walleye, including several 8-pounders on the Flowage. Good solid hard 3-5 inches of ice for fishermen fishing bays and other places that freeze first on area lakes. As of Tuesday, Lac Court Oreilles, Grindstone, Round and Whitefish were open enough to put in a boat. Ciscoes are just finishing the spawn, so some are still trying for muskie.
EAGLE RIVER: Eagle Sports reported about 4 inches on smaller lakes. Some of the bigger lakes just iced up in the last day or so. As of Tuesday, Trout was the only lake with open water.
MINOCQUA: From Justice:
``Nighttime temps that fell below zero in some areas Friday night locked up all but Trout and Fence and the Middle/West of Lake Tom. Minocqua and Kawaga froze shore to shore. While temps have warmed up some, it doesn't look as if things will open back up.
Reports on ice on the smaller lakes are reaching 2-5", the large lakes only an inch to 1 1/2". Not a lot of ice will be made this week with temps averaging low 20's to low 30's, but conditions firming up. In Minocqua area very little to no snow on ice.
Musky: Trout and Fence open water reported.''
CHICAGO PIER PASSES
On Friday, Nov. 28, the Chicago Park District is scheduled to begin selling pier passes at the ice rinks at Daley Bicentennial Park, McFetridge Sports Center, Midway Plaisance Park, Mt. Greenwood Park, Riis Park, Rowan Park, Warren Park and West Lawn Park. Pier passes grant legal access to designated piers in the boating off-season.
Primary sources: Kolar Bait and Henry's Sports, Bait & Marine
We're in that in-between period.
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/FOX RIVER BACKWATERS
Primary sources: Triangle Sports & Marine or Capt. Darrell Baker
Ice is in that very iffy stage, call first.
Wayne Krcmar at Hermann's in Port Barrington--847 639-9644--reported a few guys fished that Fox River backwater on Sunday, but nobody since. (I'm guessing some may try this morning.)
Greg Dickson at Triangle--(847) 395-0813--said, ``[Chain channels are] not ready yet, they are still busting ice to get out to do some muskie fishing with suckers.''
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 cooling lake/pits fishing is closed.
DES PLAINES RIVER
From Matt Coppolino:
``Fishing has been slow this past week. Air temps in the teens and night has brought down the water temps into the mid to high 30's. The Walleye and Sauger bite has been fair with some decent fish being caught earlier in the week. Now is the time of year to slow down the presentation. Jig and minnow worked slowly in deeper holes would be a good bet for hooking into some fish. Northern Pike have been good throughout the river. Spoons, spinner baits, and swimbaits have been producing. Fish them slowly anywhere there is a current break or a place for fish to hide out of the current such as downed trees and holes.''
From Andrew Ragas of www.fishing-headquarters.com:
``Fishing on both the DesPlaines River and its tributaries has slowed
considerably this week. Walleyes and Sauger continue to be found but
with less frequency and the run we've experienced in recent weeks
appears to be nearing its end. Best catches of the week were a pair of
20-inchers caught after dark with the largest being a 4-pound
22-incher. Larger minnowbaits worked slowly through deeper pools with
a little current are still holding some active fish.
With the water temperatures in the upper-30 degree range and ice
beginning to form on the shorelines, it might be time to entirely
start fishing slowly with plastics or live bait.
As for Pike, some friends are having success up north fishing the
deeper holes and timber. Spoons - Slow-rolling bucktails - live bait.
As for the Salt Creek, not much happening. Some anglers fishing the
dam in Hinsdale with not much to show. Some scattered reports of small
Pike being found throughout Cook and DuPage co. preserves. Either way,
the water is getting cold and it won't be long before people start
flocking to the warm water discharges.''
For more, call (217) 774-2020. For reader Paul R Sokolowski, who wondered when drawdown is, usually setting off the muskie bite below the dam, it is generally Dec. 15. The key rate for triggering the best bite seems to be a flow topping 1,500.
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
See above for ice fishing on backwaters. Otherwise, open-water fishing will be focused on the discharges or the dams.
I could use a hard-core fisherman for over the winter reports. If you're willing to help, please drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA
Primary source: Guide Buster Culjan or Cajun's Bait
Culjan said they even caught some white bass from 10-3 p.m. in 10-12 feet on sand bars over the weekend. But the main story is the sauger biting in main spots in 18-20 feet, lots of small fish (8-10 inches) to sort through, and that's a good thing. He said the river is so clean, that he had up to 3 feet of clarity in spots. He said jigging has been better than pulling. He has been sticking with hair jigs and scent. Water is about 39-40 degrees.
The story on the IWT tournament Sunday from Bob Kidd backs up the good sauger bite:
``The Illinois Walleye Trail converged at the city of Henry for its second tournament of the 2009 season. River conditions were ideal, 1 to 1 1/2 foot of clarity, and 40 degree surface temperature. The saugers came out in full force with the feedbag on. The 44 participating teams all caught fish with 35 teams catching limits, and the other 9 teams catching at least one fish. Total weight caught was 482 pounds numbering 238 fish scaled. Placing first was the brother team of Bruce Merkel, Spring Valley, and Gary Merkel, Arlington, Illinois, scaling a limit of 6 fish weighing 19.82 pounds. This basket earned them $2350.00. Presentation consisted of jig and minnow fished in 14 foot of water. Second place honors went to Mike Stuckert, Spring Valley, IL and Steve Safranski, Peru, IL, scaling a limit weighing 16.89 earning them a check for $1300.00. Also compliments of Hennepin Marine as the highest placing Lund boat, they received a $100.00 gift certificate. Rounding out the top 3 were Steve Lotz, Lena IL, and Doug Clark, Lena, IL scaling a limit weighing 16.71 earning them a check for $850.00. Big Fish honors went to Rick Rundle and Dave Puetz with a 4.42 pound sauger earning them $420.00 plus an eighth place finish worth an additional $225.00. Compliments of Ezee Step Jason Wrosch from Chicago, Il won a $100.00 check as the Highest place of finish boat with an Ezee Step. The Illinois Walleye Trail's next stop will be in Spring Valley on March 22, 2009. Complete results and information may be found at www.prairielandeyes.com.''
Primary sources: Ed Mullady, ``Catfish'' Dave Bradigan
Norm Minas is one of the few who venture the river during icy spells. Late one winter, I trekked along and caught my first 32-degree water smallmouth with him. He sent this Saturday:
``I saw the first ice of the year on some slack water areas while fishing Friday. The crappie were using it as overhead cover. I tossed a 1/16 oz weighted keeper hook with a Sassy Grub on top of the ice and pulled it off. I had a couple decent crappie grab it as it fell.
The water temp in the moving water was 35 degrees and the air temps were 27 degrees. I got 9 small walleye in the 14 to 19 inch range on crankbaits as well as 3 medium size smallies in the 15-18 inch range. I also picked up a 24 inch drum on a 3/0 weighted keeper hook with a 5 inch Fat Albert grub at the bottom of a lift.
Hope your hunt was a success.''
(For those who wondered, no deer for me.)
``Smallmouth Bass should continue fair to good through warmer temps. Best on *live minnows *spinners *jig and twister tails *Countdowns.
Try for pike at creek and ditch mouths in both IN and IL on *big minnows *Dr. Spoons *Mepps #5 Spinner.
Walleye fair right at dark on *jig and minnow *Crankbaits
Reports are scarce as not too many fishermen have been out.''
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
See top for perch notes and pier pass info. Panfish slowed at Diversey.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
Primary source: D&S Bait at dsbait.com
Primary sources: Mik-Lurch Tackle Outlet, Capt. Chuck Weis and Capt. Ralph Steiger
Mik-Lurch reported perch at the Hole-in-the-Wall, Cal Park and the slips up the river. When conditions allow, boaters are doing excellent for lakers at the Port on Spin-N-Glos. Browns are starting at the discharges, especially the stateline power plant. One 10-pounder was caught in the last week. Creeks have some steelhead.
ST. JOSEPH AREA, MICHIGAN
Primary sources: BJ Sports and Michigan DNR
BJ Sports reports some walleye and steelhead in the river, most are focusing on Berrien Springs.
Primary sources: Lakeside and guide Jay Angel
For more reports, click here.
Primary source: Mik-Lurch
Mik-Lurch reported decent crappie and walleye in the corn channel.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT