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Midwest Fishing Report: First ice & waiting on perch

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The first hint of first ice and waiting on lakefront perch lead this Midwest Fishing Report.


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


Park Bait reported little perch inside Montrose harbor, otherwise, it has been slow for perch on the Chicago lakefront. Shore action should start soon at Navy Pier, one of the top winter excursions in Chicago fishing. Mik-Lurch reported boaters taking some on Tuesday in Cal harbor and at the Hole-in-the-Wall. When weather allows, boaters should take some around Gary Light, too.


Could it be, a bit late but in time for those heading north for the Thanksgiving holiday.

In northern Wisconsin, guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports said, ``Single-digit nights by early next week will start to lock up smaller lakes.''


Crappies are the main fish of pursuit, and there's been some good reports. However, most of those came from the warmer days last week.


For an overview of nearby river conditions, click here.


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


From licensed guide and trapper Phil Schweik and guide Glenn Moberg of Hooksetters Guide Service:

(Lead): Water temps are in the upper 30s in the central Wisconsin area.

Musky action has been strong in the central Wisconsin area with good catches
(and releases!) being made on a regular basis. With water temperatures in
the upper 30s the fish have been holding over deep water and relating to
suspended forage about 6 to 8 feet down in 12 to 16 feet of water. Crank
baits like Depth Raiders, Grandmas and Bulldawgs have been working very well
with the afternoon bite being best as the water temps warm up throughout the

Walleyes have been putting on an all day bite in the central Wisconsin area,
and are hitting on every outing. Sharp breaklines from 12 to 16 feet on main
lake basins have been the best bet for consistent catches. Jigs tipped with
minnows or Lindy rigs dragged along the bottom have been providing some
excellent action.

The crappie bite is outstanding in the central Wisconsin area. The fish
have been holding over deeper water - -14 to 18 feet deep, suspending down
about 5 to 7 feet. Slip bobbers rigged with small jigs, tipped with
plastics or minnows are consistently putting lots of fish in the boat. The
real key here is being versatile with color as one day the crappie will
like orange or yellow, and the next day, it may be green or pink.

Bow deer hunters in the central Wisconsin area have seen a surge in activity
as the rut is now in full swing. Bucks are moving more freely during
daylight hours, and are chasing does very aggressively. Good locations to
set up now are doe feeding areas and close to or near bedding areas. Try
hunting the feeding areas in the evening, and hunting the bedding areas in
the morning for best results.

I know this is a fishing report, but I just enjoy reading the bowhunting report.


With drawdown, use caution if launching. Before the cold snap, Arden Katz tore up bluegills on ice jigs or Mini-Mites shallow (2 feet) on Catherine. With docks out, keep moving until you find a school. Triangle Sports suggested crappie are top bite, try early and late, Channel is best; walleye are fair, try main lake points with slip-bobber rigs; and muskie are fair on big jerkbaits.

For more reports, see

More Chain info at


I would note that multiple people are reporting some outstanding fishing on the river.

Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass sent two reports.

First Monday: Mondays chicago river report; south branch ashland, good numbers of small and large mouth 10 to 15 inches shore fisherman at western had some big cats and bluegill in his basket using wax worms

And from Sunday:

Just back Sunday 5 pm The best day on the river in 10 years during the bears game I caught over 25 bass some at Ogden slip some in front of the Sun Times building(and 1 nice crappie) some at origins park all over 10 inches a few keepers 3 and a half hours ! Will send pics soon.


Only Monster Lake at Mazonia South is open for fishing.


From Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament

Fishing conditions are poor to fair. Water levels still low according
to the gauges, running at 3.1 and flow rates at 240. In addition,
water temperatures are holding steady at 45 degrees.

Everything has been slow and inconsistent, but Northern Pike and
Sauger are offering anglers the greatest chance at catching something.
Even Channel Cats from the southern portions of river around Joliet
are coming back out to play and hitting anything that swims by them.
Likewise, Longnose Gar have been extremely active down in the big
basin as well.

Pike are running on the small side for the most part, but some fish up
to 28 inches are being caught from the wooded upper sections near Lake
County. Everywhere else from Cook to Will remains slow in action for
the most part with occasional 15 to 20 inch snakes. Feeding windows
are small and short, and warm sunny days and mid-afternoon hours seem
to be the best for any activity right now. Fish are being found in
deep pools, drop-offs and channel edges, mid-river areas, along
submerged wood, and areas with direct sunlight. Slow presentations are
recommended: Slow-rolling spinnerbaits, 4 to 7 inch Jerkbaits (with
long pauses in retrieve), paddle-tail swimbaits, and live bait drifted
beneath a float. Anything matching a shad or shiner profile and any
neutral color/ natural imitator is advised.

Sauger have been slightly more active with the colder water
temperatures and Walleyes are a hit or a miss. Both species have not
been around in number like the previous few years due to the low water
levels we've had throughout all of fall. Sauger up to 18" are being
caught during the daytime hours on live bait being jigged and dragged
along the bottom from the deepest hard-bottom pools that can be found.
Also, Walleye of similar sizes have been caught periodically during
afternoon and nighttime hours on minnowbaits and jig and plastics
retrieved slow through the deep holes and current.

Very few are fishing right now, and boat traffic is at a minimum.
River remains low with excellent water clarity. Lastly, observe the
baitfish as a lot have been active during the daytime hours and
enjoying the sun in shallow water. That might be something to consider
for next time.


EMIQUON: Emiquon Preserve near Lewistown is open to fishing, however, there are restricted times during the waterfowl season. 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 info from the Corps, call (217) 774-2020.

EVERGREEN: Site staff sent this note:

Firearm Deer Management Program This Weekend!
A Reminder that all areas of COMLARA County Park & Evergreen Lake, except for the Visitor Center and Family campground area, WILL BE CLOSED November 19-21, 2010 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.

Any updated fishing report will be posted here.


For an extended rumination from Ken Gortowski, click here. Below is a more condensed version:

The Fox River continues to be in near perfect shape. Water flows are excellent in spite of the recent spotty rains. Long term sunny skies and temps in the 40's and 50's bode well.

Bucket of minnows is in order, large fatheads. Better yet would be river shiners seined from a feeder ditch. Better still would be 1 to 2 inch baby bluegills taken from the river or a creek or a ditch. Bluegills are gamefish and can't be seined, so think of another way to get them. There's reasoning behind this, but that's a longer story.

Dams and creek mouths, including the areas 100 yards above and below the mouths, and any slack water areas that sit in the sun. If the slack water area is filled with rocks and boulders, so much the better.

Was looking over my records dating back to 1998. Similar weather patterns had me catching fish right up at the North Aurora dam, with 20 to 30 fish days, till Christmas. A couple of other dams produced well too.

My waders are leaking and no chance of getting new ones any time soon. My days in the water may be ending soon. Unless I can find some rubber pants with built in booties to put on under the waders. These conditions will keep the fishing sissies out of the river, so expect to have spots all to yourself, if you go.


Thom Matejewski at Time on the Water Outdoors reported better sauger, both jigging or trolling. Spring Valley bridge is producing sauger and white bass; Hennepin has bigger sauger; best ones are coming around Senachwine. Work in 10-14 feet.


River is extremely low. Few are trying, but this is when walleye action picks up dramatically. Just remember restrictions in hunting areas in both states. Occasional fishing companion Lee Sczepanski has been doing well for smallmouth, mainly wading around with a minnow bucket on tribs in Indiana.


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


For perch, see top. Park Bait reported some bluegills at Diversey and some steelhead too over the weekend. There's still some salmon being seen. Gregg Pavalon reported some good steelhead and salmon around Evanston. SALMON SNAGGING: There's some around, but most are scruffy. Snagging for chinook and coho salmon is allowed only at the 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.


For D&S Bait, go to


EAGLE RIVER: Creative Brilliance sent this report for the Chamber of Commerce:

(Lead): Water temps range from the mid 30s to low 40s in the Eagle River,
Wisconsin area.

Musky action in the Eagle River area is good. Fish outside of the weeds to
the first break edge, in 8-15 feet of water. Use a jerk bait, glide bait,
or a 12-15 inch sucker (if you can find them).

Northern are in 15 feet of water or less in and around weeds, in the Eagle
River area. Use a minnow bait like a Husky Jerk or a northern sucker under
a slip bobber.

Walleye are providing fair action in the Eagle River area. Fish break edges
over hardbottom areas in 15-30 feet of water. The walleye will be tight to
the bottom. Use a jig and a XL fathead.

Perch in the Eagle River area are hanging with the walleyes in 15-30 feet of
water, and are putting on a better bite than the walleye. Fish right off
the bottom, using a small fathead minnow on a jig.

(Report for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce based on Creative Brilliance
interviews with Eagle River guides "Muskie Matt" of Wild Eagle Lodge,
"Ranger Rick" Krueger of Guide's Choice Pro Shop, and Mat Hegy).
Contact info for Eagle River:
* Eagle River Chamber of Commerce; 800-359-6315; 715-479-6400; e-mail:; web:
* "Muskie Matt", 715-891-5980; e-mail:
* Mat Hegy, 715-571-7544, e-mail:
* Guide's Choice Pro Shop, guide/owner "Ranger Rick" Krueger 715-477-2248
* George Langley, Eagle River Fishing Guides Association, 715-479-8804.

MINOCQUA: Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports sent this:

Water temps continue to drop. First real snow of the season has also brought the feel of winter closer. Few anglers out due to high wind/snow Saturday and Sunday. The few hardy souls that did venture out found some good action though.

Musky: Good. With water temps running about 40 degrees and less on most lakes, fish preferring large slow moving easy targets. Suckers have been best with large weighted jerks and gliders next. Throw the big smity jerk, 10" suicks, 10" mantas.. Work deep across rock humps or outside existing green weeds.

Walleye: Fair - Good. Bite has improved later in week with most small to mid sized lakes experiencing a good weed edge bite. Especially on cloudy days or at dusk. Deep water anglers reporting good catches using heavy jigs and chubs or suckers.

With most the concentration on deer this week, expect pressure to be very light. Single digit nights by early next week will start to lock up smaller lakes. Musky season ends Nov 30th.


For perch, see top. Capt. Ralph Steiger is catching variable lakers on the reef outside of the Port with jigging spoons or trolling. The creeks have some steelhead and coho in them, according to Mik-Lurch.


From the Wisconsin DNR's Root River Report:

Root River Fishing Report for November 16, 2010
Water and flow conditions

Fishing on the Root River over the weekend was pretty good at times. The weather was cooler and the little bit of rain received my have aided in some successful trips. Although water levels remained about the same and water flow was still low, brown trout and Coho salmon were active. Water Temperatures were around 45-47 degrees Fahrenheit and water clarity was mostly fair. Fishermen were concentrated on river segments downstream from the weir but some anglers still had success upriver. . . .
Fishing ReportIn Lincoln Park fishing was steady over the weekend. Catches were comprised mostly of Coho salmon and brown trout. Anglers reported the most success with either fishing by drifting spawn sacs and bobber or using small wet flies. The largest catches were around sunrise and late evening. The larger harvested Coho salmon weighted between 7-8 pounds while brown trout were ranging from 7-12 pounds. Â Â Â Â
In Island Park fishing was good over the weekend. Angler effort was concentrated in the upper river segments near the river fork on the northern end. Anglers here were mostly fly-fishing and a few groups did very well landing some large catches. Most harvested fish were brown trout and Coho salmon but a couple Chinook salmon have still been caught. Most of these harvested trout and salmon were males with the exception of a few. The average brown trout weighted between 7-10 pounds and Coho salmon ranged from 6-9 pounds.
At Washington Park fishing was very good with some large catches of brown trout and Coho salmon. The best fishing was near the two large walking bridges. Anglers had split success using brightly colored flies or spawn sacs. Brown trout were dominating the catches here and ranged from 7-17 pounds. The brown trout caught here were nicely mixed between males and females. On Sunday afternoon a couple anglers had a good trip landing a Coho salmon, two brown trout, and a steelhead. The steelhead was a very healthy looking male that weighted 9.5 pounds and had no fin clips. It was caught on a very small brown and white fly. Â Â
Fishing pressure upstream from the weir was moderate on Saturday and then very low on Sunday. Fishermen at Colonial Park had a slow weekend with limited fish activity. Fish presence was higher in Quarry Lake Park but successful trips were still sparse. A couple of fly-fishermen landed two big Chinook salmon on Saturday morning that weighted 11 and 14 pounds each. They were fishing the deeper water holes in the river segment that runs through the Racine County Club.
Fishing near the Horlick dam was hit or miss with only a couple salmon caught. Fishermen reported seeing Coho salmon active tight to the dam, but had a tough time getting them to bite. Most fishermen put their effort in downstream from the bridge and the western bank. Salmon seemed to be holding there but were still hard to entice.


Click here for BJ Sports.


For reports, click here.


Guide Bill Stoeger reported walleye are slowing with water levels dropping.


A 9-pound-plus walleye was caught on the Indiana side on a Husky Jerk Sunday night. Mik-Lurch also reported a few other walleye are being taken on other crankbaits or leeches, there's decent crappie and pike are improving on large golden roaches.



Fishing Headquarters



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






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In Island Park fishing was good over the weekend. Angler effort was concentrated in the upper river segments near the river fork on the northern end.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on November 17, 2010 8:45 AM.

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