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Midwest Fishing Report: Lakefront perch and a big walleye

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Karen Sass' 30-inch walleye, caught from the Kankakee River on Saturday, is a good reminder of the quality of fall fishing available on Chicago-area rivers and, along with shoreline perch, leads this Midwest Fishing Report.

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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 outdoordb@sbcglobal.net.

FISH OF NOTE

There's no good photo, but Karen Sass caught what might be the walleye of the year from the Kankakee River on Saturday. According to Mike Lee at Frank's Bait in Momence, the Momence woman was casting a jointed crankbait from shore east of town when she caught and landed a 30-inch walleye weighing 9 pounds, 14 ounces.

Lee said it is the biggest he's seen in 2009. Ed Mullady and I both are checking, but it might be the biggest reported all along the Kankakee this year.

LAKEFRONT PERCH

A few weeks early, the first signs come of perch from shore at Navy Pier. There were some limits over the weekend, though Monday slowed, so it is spotty. At Montrose, there's been small perch, only a few keepers. Boaters are doing well, most days, around Cal Park/Inland Steel area near the Illinois/Indiana line. Most are launching at 95th, but East Chicago Marina is also an option. Even on Monday, Mik-Lurch reported dozens of boats in Cal Harbor, including some school kids either off for the day or allowed to bag class. The hot spot had been by the foghorn off Cal Park. Inland Steel has been spotty, as had been the deep hole 3/4 of a mile north of Gary Light.

AREA LAKES

For the handful doing it, this is a good time for big fall largemouth and if the weather becomes more seasonable for crappie. The traditional crappie spots in Cook County, such as Skokie Lagoons, Busse and Saganashkee, have been on the variable side.

AREA RIVERS

For an overview of nearby river conditions, go to this NWS site. River conditions are shaping up to be good for the weekend.

BIG GREEN LAKE, WISCONSIN

For guide Mike Norton's report, go to

www.nortonsfishingandhuntingadventures.com, then click on fishing, then lake report.

CHAIN O'LAKES AREA

Arden Katz continued to report ``suicidal'' bluegill on Channel and Catherine (``hand-size of 6 to 7 3/4 inches''), tight to shore. ``If you find green weeds, cast right next to the weeds,'' the North Sider said. Triangle reported excellent muskie, Channel and Catherine are best in 9-12 feet with lures, or try suckers deeper in 20 feet. Crappie are fair in channel mouths in 8-12 feet, best from 2 p.m. on. Walleye are best on main lake points, especially Marie, on crawlers on Lindy rigs or slip-bobbers.

NOTE: The drawdown is underway on the Chain.

For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/

More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.

COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS

Only Monster Lake at Mazonia South remains open year round.

(LATE ADD)
DES PLAINES RIVER

From Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament www.fishing-headquarters.com:

Besides the weather and water temperatures, the river and its
productivity in fishing has finally gotten back to normal. Flow rates
are at 600cfs which deems it as being safe for floating/ boat fishing,
and wading near shore. However, I'd be cautious because water clarity
is poor right now - dark brown and 6 inches at best.

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of getting out on a float trip
for the first time ever with one of my blog readers, Dan Cahill. We
covered about 2-miles worth of water in the S.W. suburbs near the
Cook/Will co. border. Pike and Largemouth Bass were the norm on both a
mild Saturday and Sunday in which we saw water temperatures come back
up to 55-degrees.

Right now, Pike and Bass are relating close to shore. Wood such as
downed trees, log jams, and stumps have been their areas of choice and
if there's some depth and maybe a nearby entrance to a ditch or creek
mouth which holds clearer water, then the potential for some more fish
increases.

Pike up to 25" are being found on jerkbaits such as X-Raps and Husky
Jerks. In addition, spinnerbaits and bucktails burned across the top
of the water column have yielded good results as well. Live bait in
the form of shad, creek chubs, and suckers, has been productive too.
Once it gets cold again, expect the bigger fish to come out.

Likewise, Largemouth Bass up to 17" have been best on spinnerbaits,
chatterbaits, and X-Raps. Best colors are white/silver and anything
with a shad colored profile.

As for the Walleyes and Sauger, there is little to report on, and not
many have been trying either. A few 14 to 18 inch Sauger are being
found in deeper hard bottomed pools with current. Minnowbaits at night
best.

Very little angling pressure right now, and the tributaries like Salt
Creek are devoid of fish. The river should be fully wadeable and
walkable by later this week. Let's pray for a cold-spell so that the
fishing for all species improves, and water temperatures can fall back
to normalcy and into the more seasonable 40's.


DOWNSTATE NOTES

EMIQUON: Emiquon Preserve near Lewistown is open to fishing. During the duck season, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, fishing is closed in the mornings. Otherwise, interested parties may request a permit and list of rules between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown. There is no fee. No gas powered motors are permitted, and bank fishing is not allowed. For more, call (309) 547-2730. SHELBYVILLE: For more, call (217) 774-2020. POWERTON: Shore fishing reopens Dec. 28. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15, 2010.

FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS

Levels are coming down nicely.

Ken Gortowski sent this:

Every time I think I'm done, the opportunity arises to go one more time.
Spent the bulk of the day at U of C and found myself home by 3.
Went and hit Orchard Road.
Had 3 smallies on, got to see two nice ones near the surface just before I lost them. Landed one.
Jig and pearl twister, big shore line eddy that went on for a few hundred yards and all fish were within 10 feet of shore.
Crotch leaking waders make these trips all the more interesting. My built in thermometer was telling me the water was cold.
If you catch my drift.
Going out for the solitude and need to relax now. And to enjoy these un-November like days.

I am familiar with crotch-leaking waders, as well as ankle-leaking waders, and mystery-leaking waders. For an extended online report from Gortowski (requires login), go to http://www.wadauwant.com/wd_journal/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=520

ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA

The river in coming down, but was still up in the trees by Starved Rock yesterday. But conditions should be good by the weekend.

The best word was from guide ``Buster'' Culjan, who said, ``When you have water temperatures like that, everything will bite.'' The water is in the low 50s. Otherwise, Culjan said they are catching sauger at Ottawa, pulling three-ways. He said by the weekend, it should be good Starved Rock to Hennepin area, farther downstream from Spring Valley on he thought might have clarity issues with water draining from the fields and duck clubs after the flood.

KANKAKEE RIVER

See note at top about the 30-inch walleye caught at Momence.

Otherwise, the river is in very good shape for fall fishing.

Ed Mullady sent this:

Toward a more pleasant report, the Kankakee River and its tributaries are at a good fishing level, and clearing considerably. In Indiana, *Smallmouth Bass fair on *spinners*minnows *Twister Tails *Catfish good on *minnows, cheesebaits, crawlers. *Pike improving, esp. at mouths of ditches and bayous.
Best places are the Point, north of English Lake *Rt. 55 Area.
In Illinois, *smallmouth bass improving on *minnows *crankbaits*Wtd.Keeper Hook and Double Twister tails. Smaller walleye being caught *Catfishing good. Best places are: *Momence Area *Kankakee Dam through Sawmill Creek *Kankakee River State Park *Wilmington Dam around Island Park.

KENOSHA, WISCONSIN

Check the latest at Harborside.

LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON

For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.

LAKEFRONT

For perch, see top. At Diversey, there's some bluegill and nice crappie, Park Bait reported. There's some steelhead swimming around the harbors. Capt. Ralph Steiger reported outstanding action for deeper smallmouth. SALMON SNAGGING: Most of the fish are now quite dark. Snagging for chinook and coho salmon is open at select areas on the lakefront: inner and outer harbors at Jackson Park, Lincoln Park Lagoon from the Fullerton Avenue Bridge to the southern end of the Lagoon, Winnetka power plant discharge area and Waukegan Harbor (in North Harbor basin only). No snagging is allowed at any time within 200 feet of a moored watercraft or as posted. Salmon snagging season ends Dec. 31. CHICAGO'S FISHERMAN'S PARKING: The $10 parking passes for the small fishermen's lots at Burnham and DuSable harbors are available at Henry's.

MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN

For D&S Bait, go to dsbait.com

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

Mid-November is something of the traditional first-ice date, it's not close this year. Muskies are doing well on a deep sucker bite, according to Island Sports sent this:

NORTHWEST INDIANA

For perch, see top.

Ed McCain said if boaters are having trouble catching lakers off the reef at Michigan City, they should check their trolling speed. It needs to be at 1.6-1.7. Best has been downriggers down 14 with a silver glow Dodger and a Spin-N-Glo, the other hot presentation has been a Dipsy Diver out 35 with a clown Dodger and Spin-N-Glo.

There's some dark salmon and browns around the lakefront. There's been an influx of some steelhead into the creeks. They are spooky, so wear camo and walk softly, and use spawn.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

For the full Wisconsin DNR report, including weir notes, go to http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/fish/lakemich/rootriverreport.htm

Here's the latest fishing report:

Fishing below the weir
Lincoln Park

Island and Lincoln park have both been holding great numbers of fish, and angler numbers continue to drop in these areas as most concentrate on the dam area upstream. Look for browns and bows to be holding in the deeper pools and on the current seams and fish them with either a yarn egg or by drifting a spawn sac. The salmon have been holding over the gravel beds in the current as they finish up their spawning. They are best fished with a fly rod. Large black or olive flies, like the whooley bugger, have been great producers along with egg imitations.

Fishing above the weir
The best concentration of fish has been from quarry lake up to the Horlick dam. As a result, angler numbers have been at their greatest in this area. Again, the deeper holes and current seams have been holding browns and the occasional bow, and up in this area the salmonids have been anywhere and everywhere as they pile up at the dam (their final destination). Fly fishermen have been having the best success with a variety of flies. Egg imitations, scuds and the usual whooley bugger and egg sucking leech have all been effective. Dark colors still remain best, but smaller size flies have been working better here. Colonial park remains good for fishing, but has consistently had fewer fishermen.


SHABBONA LAKE NOTE

Aaron Sands, Bill Ballenger, John Graham, Jim Kopjo, Denny Sands and Jay Angel will give seminars at Indian Creek High School in Shabbona. Doors open at 3:30 p.m. For more reports, click here.

WOLF LAKE:

Mik-Lurch reported some decent crappie action in the corn channel on the Indiana side.

LINES ONLINE

ILLINOIS

www.ifishillinois.org
www.prairiestateoutdoors.com

CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS

www.chicagolandfishing.com
www.windycityfishing.com
angling101.com
www.chitown-angler.com
www.illinoisoutdoors.com
www.heartlandoutdoorsman.com
www.wadauwant.com
www.patharrisonoutdoors.com
Fishing Headquarters

CHICAGO AREA INFO

fishingchicago.org
www.chicagofishinglinks.com
chicagofishing.org

DOWNSTATE
larrysfishinghole.com
www.ilfishing.com

MICHIGAN DNR REPORT

www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10364-34956--,00.html

WISCONSIN DNR REPORT

dnr.wi.gov/org/caer/ce/news/or/

IOWA DNR REPORT

www.iowadnr.com/news/currentfish.html

INDIANA DNR REPORT

http://www.in.gov/apps/dnr/fishing/dnr_fishingreport?display=Lake+Michigan

MIDWEST

www.lake-link.com

NORTH AMERICA

www.casualangler.com

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on November 11, 2009 5:53 AM.

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