It's a good time of year to think of the future, because, frankly, there isn't a whole lot of fishing going on (other than stateline boat fishing for perch) for the Midwest Fishing Report.
By future, I mean such things as the privately funded stocking of walleye for the 12th straight year in Wolf Lake on the Indiana side. The latest stocking of 4,200 5- to 8-inch walleye was Saturday. Thanks to Carl Vizzone for the photos. A story is posted here.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
BOAT FISHING FOR STATELINE PERCH
There have been two hot spots: in Cal harbor from the green buoy east as far as 2 1/2 miles or off Gary Light. On Friday and Saturday, there was a major school of big fish (Mike Starcevich of Mik-Lurch weighed a 15 7/8-inch perch caught by Art Book at 1 pound, 14 ounces).
Burbank fisherman Tom Zeman has much sage advice on fishing the school of big fish in deep water (48-52 feet) clay flats off Gary Light. ``You want to be on one of those subtle bottom changes,'' Zeman said. ``If you can find those subtle changes or convergences, you are on fish.'' He said the biggest school is about 1 1/2 to 2 miles off Gary Light. His bearing was 41 degrees, 39.757 minutes north, 87 degrees, 18.876 minutes west.
Key is to keep moving. Capt. Chuck Weis of Ace Charters, who is keeping his boat going as long as the weather holds, said, ``I had a quarter mile of fish in one area, then the next day those fish weren't there.'' He didn't notice any difference in minnows, and was using plain hooks.
Starcevich said fly rigs with glow beads have been the hot ticket. On Friday, he said his group had 30 longer than 14 inches, including 10 longer than 15. He said fishermen need a seminar on how to anchor or drag anchors on the clay flats and on reeling up perch slow in the deep water so the air bladders don't distend.
CLINE AVENUE NOTE: With the Cline Avenue bridge closed for six weeks, don't use East Chicago Marina unless you know the area. Mik-Lurch plans to prepare maps and have them shortly. Zeman said he launched from Portage and came west. Or launch from 95th.
Not a lot is happening in the lull before ice fishing. One friend reported doing well on a local pond (of course it is a super secret one, so I'm not sure how much that helps) for bass. Otherwise, the usual fall crappie bite has been spotty at best.
For an overview of nearby river conditions, go to this NWS site. Few are trying, but, considering all the rain, conditions are fairly good.
ILLINOIS: White bass have been slow. Sauger are active, though not winter concentrated yet, in that 16-20 foot range up and down the river. Here are the key notes from Bob Kidd about Sunday's Illinois Walleye Trail tournament out of Hennepin:
The Illinois Walleye Trail started its 2010 season on Sunday November 15, at Hennepin Illinois. The river had come down to 16 feet at LaSalle and water clarity was 1-1 1/2 feet. Catching fish was not the problem but getting keeper fish above the 14 inch size was. Teams said all day that they were catching 40-50 fish a day. It looks like the Illinois River is going to have about three different class of Saugers over the next three years to continue the great fishing. Most teams were either jigging with minnows or pulling three ways with live bait or cranks. Water temp remains around 52 degrees.
Steve Sandor of Ottawa, Illinois and Jeremy Piacenti of Tiskilwa finished first position with a six fish limit weighing 12.51 pounds earning them $2,200.00. Steve and Jeremy were fishing below Hennepin.
KANKAKEE: Ed Mullady sent this:
Smallmouth Bass good in Indiana
*Ditches leading to Kankakee River at the Point.
*Rt. 55 (Indiana) Area:
Smallmouth Bass on *minnows*crankbaits*#3 Mepps Spnrs.
Smallmouth bass good in Illinois:
*Top Bait has been a Mr. Twister Weighted Keeper Hook, with Double Twister tail and live minnow combined!
Good *Momence Area *Kankakee River State Park *Wilmington Island Park.
Overall: Catfish, croppie, rock bass good! Walleye fair
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
With the extremely low water from the drawdown on the Chain, use extreme caution launching and be aware of difficult navigation, but some nice catches are being made, especially of bluegill, muskie (40-inch pluses) and walleye (up to 8 pounds), reported Triangle. Catherine remains outstanding for bluegill, very shallow, said Arden Katz, who keeps moving until he finds them. Key is Mini-Mites and spikes under a tiny float. Triangle reported good action on Loon for crappie and walleye.
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 is open for fishing.
DES PLAINES RIVER
From Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament www.fishing-headquarters.com:
This past week has been a hit or a miss for everything in fishing. Inconsistent is the best way to explain it. Water temperatures have fallen to 50-degrees, and water levels are at the lowest they have been since early October.
The best of the bunch are Northern Pike, and the occasional Walleye and Sauger.
Pike remain to be best on jerkbaits such as X-Raps and Husky Jerks. In addition, spinnerbaits, bucktails, and swimbaits have yielded good results as well. Live bait in the form of shiners and chubs drifted beneath float set-ups are also catching some fish too. Areas worth fishing are creek mouths, wood, log jams, shorelines and backwater areas receiving direct sunlight, and deeper pools & main river channel.
Like pretty much this entire fall fishing season, Walleye and Sauger continue to be perplexing, thus giving many of us, who are trying for them, major headaches. The fishing by far is inconsistent for Walleyes as they have not been relating to the usual areas we find them during this time of year. We've been covering areas of the river with current, rock hard bottom, deep pools, and wood, and few fish are showing themselves. However, some fish up to 20? are being caught on minnowbaits after dark. (Rebel, X-Raps, Rapala Floaters)
Meanwhile, Sauger fishing continues to be a little better but they're inconsistent as far as river locations are concerned. The most common places we have been finding them at are in current with hard bottom. Fish up to 18-inches are being reported. Jig and plastics, jig & live bait, and minnowbaits are providing best results. Color doesn't seem to matter as majority are being caught during the low-light and nighttime hours.
As for everything else, Largemouth Bass and Panfish are almost non-existent right now. However, some Bass are being found in the deeper pools and channels, and wood that receives sunlight ? Crankbaits, jerkbaits, and spinnerbaits with a white shad profile.
Very few anglers are out fishing right now and this remains to be a mystery to me. Right now is quite possibly the best time of season to catch that fish of the year because before you know it, we will soon be ice fishing! . . . . . Sigh.
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.
EVERGREEN REMINDER: All areas of COMLARA County Park & Evergreen Lake, except for the Visitor Center and Family campground area, WILL BE CLOSED Friday through Sunday AND December 3-6, 2009 for the Firearm Deer Management Program. Fishermen wanting to fish can do so from SHORELINE ONLY at the Pumphouse, Campground Cove, And Jone's Pond (Inside Campground) ONLY. If the lake becomes frozen and conditions permit, ice fishermen can ice fish in Campground Cove or Jone's Pond. S.H. West County Park , near LeRoy, remains open.
POWERTON: Shore fishing reopens Dec. 28. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15, 2010.
The Root River Report is at dnr.wi.gov/fish/lakemich/rootriverreport.htm.
For Kenosha, check Harborside.
Here is the latest Wisconsin DNR report on the Root:
Brown trout have moved into the river in great numbers and are now the most prevalent fish. A fair number of coho also remain along with the last of the kings, but they are not looking too long for this world. There are a few steelhead being caught, but their numbers have been low so far. All areas of the river have been holding fish. Browns (and coho) are spawning on the gravel beds in good numbers. Yarn or flies are best for these fish. Small flies have been working best now that the water clarity is better. Single egg flies as well as a variety of smaller, natural flies have worked. For those wanting to drift spawn, the deeper pools have also been holding good numbers of fish and have been hitting best in the morning hours. In terms of numbers, Washington park golf course up to the lower stretches of Lincoln park have been best...but good numbers do exist all the way to Horlick dam.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
Best is boat fishing for perch out of 95th, see top. The few perch around the shoreline have been rare and small, and there's scattered browns and steelhead. Most action has been panfish in harbors like Diversey.
SALMON SNAGGING: The salmon that are around are awfully 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
Staff at Island Sports said some ponds are skimming partially, but they project ice fishing as being a couple weeks away. Otherwise, the few trying are taking muskies on suckers.
Best bite is boat fishing for perch, see above. Mik-Lurch reported some steelhead and small coho up the streams. There's also some good browns around the shoreline. The big run of lakers at the Port is likely to come when the water finally hits 46 degrees.
ST. JOSEPH AREA, MICHIGAN
BJ Sports reported whitefish and steelhead off the St. Joe piers on Tuesday. Some spotty steelhead in the river, and good walleye just down from Shamrock Park. Some walleye at Berrien Springs opposite the fish ladder, too.
For reports, click here.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT