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Midwest Fishing Report: First ice?

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Well, it's more than two weeks late, but the promise of first-ice fishing in northern Wisconsin leads this week's Midwest Fishing Report, as does the start of shore fishing for perch in Chicago.


Nor should we forget that the above-average warmth daily for the past four weeks gave fishermen some bonus time on the shore, as this photo from a fishing friend of his son at a ``private pond'' last week shows. I think that may come to a crashing halt over the next few days as winter arrives.

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


More than two weeks late, first-ice fishing may be coming this weekend. But this is a time to call first or check online repots at some place like EAGLE RIVER: George Langley at Eagle Sports Center--(715) 479-8804--said, ``On the small lakes, it is better than 50-50 [by the weekend].'' He was fairly certain there would be some ice fishing for weekenders somewhere. HAYWARD: Al Rosenquist at Pastika's Sport Shop--(715) 634-4466--said, ``There's a pretty good chance with 20s for highs and single digits at nights . . . as long as we don't have any wind.'' MINOCQUA: Kurt's Island Sportshop staff--(715) 356-4797--did not think it was likely there would be ice fishing there by the weekend.


Shore action is beginning. Limit catches started coming from Navy Pier, but it varies day to day. Late Tuesday morning, Arden Katz pulled a limit of perch from Montrose. ``If you can't catch perch now, you should take up golf,'' the North Side fisherman said. ``Guys with minnows are catching bigger fish, but guys with jigs [Mini-Mites] and spikes are outcatching them 2-1.''

For boaters, weather, waves and wind is the limiting factor. but the perch are still there in Cal Harbor (keepers take sorting) and off Gary Light for boaters able to get out. On the Gary Light jumbo spot, Ed McCain said, ``Remember south winds throw up 4-footers on the spot.'' Icing on launches will be a problem later in the week.


Because of the fish poisoning being done on a six-mile stretch around Romeoville and Lockport, the canal will be closed to boat traffic around that area for several days.


As the photo showed, some were taking advantage of the unusual November warmth. December is here and will be acting like December, so shell ice will be forming later this week on most ponds and lakes and we will be in that in-between period before safe ice forms.


For an overview of nearby river conditions, go to this NWS site. Despite the lateness of the year, I am including most individual river reports.


For guide Mike Norton's report, go to, then click on fishing, then lake report.


People continue to access open water areas. Fishing has been decent, especially muskie on large suckers or large jerkbaits. Walleyes are decent on large fatheads around bridge areas or main lake points. Crappie are decent toward evenings. Beware of low water on the Chain, but other lakes have good levels. Safe ice is a long way off, though shell ice will form shortly.

For more reports, see

More Chain info at


Only Monster Lake at Mazonia South remains open year round.


From Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament

I said it last week, but this might be my last report for the 2009
season. We'll see where the weather takes us to during the next week.
Over the weekend, I concluded my final float trip of the season with
Dan Cahill and we caught nothing. While I might be done fishing for
the year, my trying friends are still out there and catching some, so
here's this week's status report:

The past week can be summarized in one word: S-L-O-W. However, if time
is invested, the rewards can happen.

Water temperatures are down at 40-degrees, but current is up from last
week's rain, and water clarity is very dark, muddy, and stained.

Northern Pike, although sluggish and lacking much life, are relating
to the mid-river channels, deeper pools, and log jams with some nearby
depth. Jerkbaits, twitch baits, and live minnows worked on jigs or
under a float have been best. Few fish are being caught, but those who
are catching are reporting fish as small as 10-inches to as big as

Walleye for the most part have been few and far between for everyone
this fall season, and much of the experienced futility remains
unexplained. Despite that, a few fish here and there, up to 18 inches,
are being reported from deeper mid-gradient current areas with hard
bottom, along with transitions in depth and bottom composition. Fish
slow with jig and plastic, and jerkbaits, and you might be able to
score up a fish. The same can be said for Sauger. They are already
moving into their wintering areas - tailraces below dams, deep
slackwater pools & hard bottom, and river channels.


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. EVERGREEN: From site staff: A Reminder that all areas of COMLARA County Park & Evergreen Lake, except for the Visitor Center and Family Campground Area, WILL BE CLOSED 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. POWERTON: Shore fishing reopens Dec. 28. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15, 2010. SHELBYVILLE: For more, call (217) 774-2020.


Staff at Cajun's, which is closed for the winter, reported lots of sauger (takes sorting for keepers) around usual spots like I-39, Hennepin and Senachwine. River is near normal at Starved Rock, still high farther downstream.


As Ed Mullady notes, few are trying, but he also mentions this is prime time to catch a big walleye on the Kankakee; otherwise, he sent this:

DEC. 1, 2009 - Kankakee River Report Compiled by Ed Mullady, Sportsman's Letter
e-mail: PHN; 815 932 7285

POINT, north of English Lake: Catfish continues fair on*minnows* crawlers
*cheesebaits. Walleye fair on *minnows *Rattlin' Rogue *jig and crawler.

KANKAKEE F&W AREA: Rt. 39 & 8: Catfish fair. Some pike showing up on *minnows *Dardevle Spoons. Most of this area is closed to fishing during hunting season. Best to check at Headquarters before trying to fish PH: 574-896-3522.

RT. 55 AREA: Croppie fair along shorelines in quieter waters on *minnows *crawlers *pinkie jigs. Pike fair on big minnows.

ILLINOIS: MOMENCE AREA: Smallmouth bass fair on crankbaits * jig and twister tails* Mepps #3 Spinners. Walleye fair on Jig and Minnow* Jig and crawler*Rattlin' Rogue.

KANKAKEE RIVER STATE PARK: Nick at Trading Post reports a 5 lb.1 oz. walleye caught by Eddie Keller on a jig and chub minnow *Mark Wyora, a 6 lb.13 oz. walleye on a Rattlin' Rogue. Smallmouth Bass fair on jig and twister tails *crankbaits *Mepps #3 Spinners. Catfish fair on *minnows *cheesebaits.

WILMINGTON AREA: Angelo's reports walleye mostly on jig and minnow. Catfish fair on *minnows *crawlers.

Not too many out fishing, and with weather change, conditions may also change.


Check the latest at Harborside.


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


For perch, see top. Otherwise, there are a few browns and steelhead around. And a big pike was taken at Montrose and measured in at Henry's . I will post that separately. 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.


For D&S Bait, go to


For perch, see top. Mik-Lurch reported steelhead are in the creeks, which are in good shape, and taking spawn sacks and b-moths.


From the Wisconsin DNR Root River Report:

Root River Fishing Report for November 30, 2009
Water and flow conditions

Recent rains have brought river levels up several feet and will continue to rise a bit following Sunday mornings rains. The clarity, as one would expect, is poor....mere inches of visibility. The extremely high water has made for some very difficult fishing this weekend.
For up to date river conditions, check out the USGS web site of stream flow conditions [exit DNR] in Wisconsin. Just click on the river that you want to see.
Fishing Report
Finding fish has been hard enough, then when one is hooked the heavy currents work against the angler even further. Few fish were located and hooked this weekend (fewer anglers were out as well). Fish are holding in the slack water and on current edges (especially near the bank). Drifting spawn sacs will be the best way to get bit. Those using fly gear should be using large flies and Black flies. Bright, gaudy flies will work at times as well. Browns have been the predominant fish in the past weeks, but steelhead are in the river as well.


For reports, click here.


Mik-Lurch expects the walleye bite to take off with the water cool-down.



Fishing Headquarters



MICHIGAN DNR REPORT,1607,7-153-10364-34956--,00.html






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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on December 2, 2009 6:05 AM.

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