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Midwest Fishing Report: Perch, first Northern ice & Downstate options

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Lakefront perch and the first ice in northern Wisconsin lead this Midwest Fishing Report, but don't forget, that to our south, there are some very good open-water options in Illinois fishing.


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


Let's start with Downstate adventures.

My friend and beginning guide Pete Riedesel ( has had a good run of weekend muskie fishing on Spring Lake. Including the photo above with his young son Cam on Saturday. I think that is their 34-incher. They also caught a couple smaller muskies. Then on Sunday, Pete went back with a friend and boated two more, even though they had to bust ice to get out. He thinks ice will end the muskie fishing at Spring by this weekend.


Then there is Jim Giglio (above), the south suburban man who sent this from the southern Illinois cooling lake of Newton:

friday and saturday at Newton Lake , my son Chris (below) and I caught over 100 fish , here's a few of the bigger one's ! Water temps 60 to 73 degrees most caught on laydowns with 1/4 oz. spinnerbaits and some on topwater!


I am ashamed to say, Newton is one Illinois lake I have yet to fish.


Navy Pier remains the top spot for the favorite of Chicago fishing. Arden Katz, who said closer to the lake is best, sorted out his limit in 40 minutes on Saturday. Henry's reported some at Burnham and Montrose, but Katz said it took 100 fish to sort out a limit at Montrose. Minnows on the bottom remain the method. Weather has limited and will limit boaters. When they could get out, boaters found good action around 95th and Gary Light, but the Hole in the Wall slowed, according to Mik-Lurch. Minnows and fly rigs have been best.


It's that iffy period with lakes skimming and icing over.

Around Minocqua, the first risk-takers ventured out last Wednesday on smaller lakes; larger lakes skimmed over on Saturday. There's been some good first-ice walleye and pike. However, Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports e-mailed,

`` Extreme caution is advised. Temps have been above freezing since Sunday morning (34-38 degrees) but current reports show Tuesday 11/30 as last day with temps above freezing for the next 10 days. Highs of 29 degrees with lows into low teens should help lock things up. Single digit nights are needed to build some good ice, but none forecasted in near future.''

The Eagle River Chamber of Commerce report was advising people not to try ice fishing until better ice forms. That should change by later this week.


There's some skim ice, but ice fishing is far off, maybe a few small spots far north by the weekend.


For an overview of nearby river conditions, click here. I included individual river reports, but debated not.


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): Even if you are a totally knowledgeable local or use a first class
local guide, we recommended that you DO NOT YET VENTURE OUT ON ANY ICE in
the central Wisconsin area. It is fraught with danger and risk. Be
patient. We will keep you closely posted on ice conditions.

Open water fishing in the central Wisconsin area has come to a close. With
the recent spell of sub freezing temperatures the area lakes are beginning
to freeze over.

A few hardy local anglers are starting to venture out onto THIN ice to
target the first walleyes and panfish of the ice fishing season. Backwater
areas off the Wisconsin River and shallow lakes are where these intrepid
anglers are going right now. Local guides advise people NOT TO GO OUT ON
THE ICE. It is unsafe, and this report is simply stating facts about those
who are going out - -no one is making any recommendation that you do so at
this time. On the contrary, WAIT until it's safe, and we'll keep you
advised of ice conditions. What follows are recommendations of how and
where to fish WHEN THE ICE IS SAFE!

Walleyes will be feeding aggressively in the central Wisconsin area during
low light periods, and can be targeted with golden shiners or small suckers
suspended below tip ups in 2 to 5 feet of water. Run your bait 8 to 12
inches from the bottom, and for an added attractant, run multi-colored beads
and blades to give it some noise and color. The best time of the day to
target these walleyes is from 5 pm until Midnight.

For panfish in the central Wisconsin area, work small tear drop jigs tipped
with waxies or spikes right down on the bottom on the vast mud flats in 6 to
8 feet of water. Look for submerged timber to be holding most of the fish
right now, as they are locating tight to structure. Crappies are suspended
and can be taken by setting up tip downs over a little deeper water. Bait
your tip down with small minnows and run them at different depths to find
out where the majority of the fish are running. A good flasher unit will
come in very handy here, as it will show you what depths the fish are moving

Deer hunters in the central Wisconsin area are getting ready for the
upcoming muzzleloader season. With the number of good bucks being taken
during the regular 9 day gun deer season, muzzle loader hunters have high
anticipation. For best results target areas near food plots or still
standing corn or beans, as the deer will migrate towards these areas now
that we have snow on the ground and finding food becomes harder for them.


Waiting. There's been some skim ice, but ice fishing by the weekend is iffy at best. Greg Dickson at Triangle Sports didn't think there would be ice fishing before next week.

For more reports, see

More Chain info at


Only Monster Lake at Mazonia South is open for fishing.


From Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament

I officially called it a season this past weekend and won't be out as
frequently. However, as long as there are still some fish being
caught, I might as well keep informing.

Angling pressure is extremely light, and the river is continuously
getting colder.

Water levels are slightly up due to rainfall, 3.6 on gauge and flow of
600. Clarity is brown and although there is an increased flow, it will
recede fast and levels will still be unusually low. As of this past
Sunday on a float trip through DuPage County with Dan Cahill, water
temperatures were at 38 degrees, and ice was forming along the
shorelines, ditches, and backwaters that were away from sunlight.
Thickness was half an inch in some places.

Northern Pike still remain the most catchable of any species, but
sluggish and inconsistent. Fish are few and far between, but if in the
right locations, some numbers can still be had. Best fishing appears
to be taking place up in the far north of Lake County (shore fishing
and wading/ more action), and in the southwest suburbs of Will County
(boat fishing). Occasional fish up to 30 inches are being found, most
notably by Dan Sims from 11/28 who fished from shore and was
slow-rolling his Sims Spinners. However, majority are running 15 to 25
inches. Fish are utilizing the deepest channels and holes that exist
on the river. Boat anglers are focusing on depths of 7 to 15 feet,
while waders and shore anglers are targeting accessible holes from 4
to 8 feet. In addition, downed wood and boulders getting baked by
sunlight are also holding an occasional fish or two, as well as creek
mouths and deeper shoreline areas.

Jerkbaits with slow retrieves and long pauses are catching most fish -
X-Rap 10's, Bomber Long and Jointed A's, and Rebel Minnows. Also,
drifting an oversize shiner or minnow beneath a float through eddies
and slackwater pools have yielded a few catches.

Walleye and Sauger are few and far between. Occasional fish (mostly
Sauger) are still being found from deep rocks and channel areas. Slow
presentations and live bait are recommended.


Ken Gortowski called to say he had no update this week, but noted that he had a four-year stretch where he caught smallmouth from the Fox every month of the year. In other words, don't stop trying.


Click here for the word on the extended outing in the cold and wind Tuesday from Norm Minas.

Ed Mullady sent this:

The river is getting a bit more water tonight.
Walleye fishing improving in Momence Area, Kankakee Dam thru Sawmill Creek, Kankakee State Park, Wilmington island Park. Good on jig and minnow *Rattlin' Rogue,
*jig and crawler(both live or artificial).
In Indiana, Pike good along shorelines at Point, Rt. 55 Area. Best on Dr. Spoons *large minnows *#5 Mepps spinner.


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


For perch, see top. SALMON SNAGGING: 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): Anglers preparing their equipment for the ice fishing season.

It's that time of year again and according to all of our guiding sources
the open water season for fishing is pretty-much done in the Eagle River
area. A few die-hards may still try to get out, but generally, now is the
time for everyone to get their equipment and tackle in shape for the
upcoming ice fishing season in the Eagle River area.

Eagle River guide Muskie Matt says that the Eagle River Chain of 28 lakes
(largest freshwater chain of lakes in the world) is replete with skim ice.
It's true that some of the bigger lakes are still open, BUT, the shorelines
and the landings are freezing, and it's quite difficult to launch and get
out. In addition, the weather is cold and can be quite windy. There are
also periods of snow, which can hinder the formation of solid ice if the
snow provides a blanket of cover on the forming ice. And yes - -some of the
back bays on the smaller lakes look like they could be OK, BUT, our guides
tell us NOT TO GO OUT! It's still too early. Sit tight. Eagle River wants
everyone to enjoy what we have to offer, but only in complete safety.

We will keep you closely posted on how ice formation is coming along, so be
just a little patient, and you'll be able to enjoy the "first ice" fishing
bonanza which is a hallmark of the Eagle River area.

In the meantime, you can look forward to some fabulous snowmobiling as if
the weather cooperates, the 500 miles of snowmobile trails in the Eagle
River area will open on December 10th, providing snowmobiling enthusiasts
with what we believe is the finest snowmobiling anywhere. Remember Eagle
River IS "The Snowmobile Capital of the World."

(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:

Today is the last day of the Musky Season. A few last minute die hards did score some low 40" fish that were reported over the weekend, but as soon as the wind that kept most anglers off the lakes died down, the majority of the lakes skimmed over with ice.

Anglers did hit the ice as early as 11/24. Small lakes and the flowages reported ice thickness of 1-1/2" - 2-1/2". Larger lakes skimmed over on Saturday 11/27 (Minocqua, Kawagasaga, Squirrel ect). Anglers have been fishing Big Arb, Carrol, Rainbow and other smaller lakes with some good success on Walleyes and Pike.

Extreme caution is advised. Temps have been above freezing since Sunday morning (34-38 degrees) but current reports show Tuesday 11/30 as last day with temps above freezing for the next 10 days. Highs of 29 degrees with lows into low teens should help lock things up. Single digit nights are needed to build some good ice, but none forecasted in near future.


For perch, see top. Mik-Lurch reported some lakers on the reef by the Port, mainly by trollers. There's steelhead in Salt and Trail.


Still some decent fishing here, as the Wisconsin DNR's Root River Report indicates:

Root River Fishing Report for November 29, 2010
Water and flow conditions

Water depth and water flow were both up due to recent rain earlier in the week. Water was highest on Thanksgiving Day and had fallen a little by Sunday. However the water depth and flow rate over the weekend were still higher then this years fall average. The faster moving water combined with overcast skies made water clarity relatively low. Water temperatures were also low averaging between 24-26 degrees Fahrenheit. This has caused some ice to begin forming on the river banks and in areas of low current.
. . .
Fishing Report
Most fishing pressure was found above the RRSF. Some anglers were fishing just upstream from the weir's refuge but success was limited. Inside Colonial Park fishing was a little better but most success was found in the upstream areas of the park. Catches were comprised mostly of Coho salmon ranging from 4-7 pounds. Anglers reported success from drifting spawn sacs with a bobber
At Quarry Lake Park fishing was pretty good all weekend. Anglers had success throughout the entire park, downstream toward the Racine Country Club, and all the way upstream toward dam. Catches were made up of mostly Coho salmon but some steelhead and brown trout were also landed. On Thanksgiving Day one angler landed a very nice 6.5 pound Skamania strain steelhead planted from the 2007 stock. Later on Sunday, another angler landed two more steelhead. Fin clippings indicated a Ganaraska and a Skamania strain. The Ganaraska was smaller at 2 pounds while the Skamania measured 6 pounds and 28 inches. The steelhead were all caught using small darker colored flies.
At the Horlick dam fishing pressure was steady all weekend. Anglers had some nice catches of Coho salmon with a couple brown trout and even a couple Chinook salmon have still been landed. Success was spread out from tight to dam, downstream under the bridge, and further downstream to the first large river bend. Anglers had split success using spawn sacs and throwing flies. Harvested Coho salmon ranged from 3-8 pounds, brown trout ranged from 6-15 pounds, and Chinooks were small this time averaging 5-7 pounds. Many of the harvested fish over the weekend were not marked with the caudal fin clip which indicates processing from the weir. This makes sense since the weir has been removed and fish can easily move past the facility.

Fishing pressure downstream from the weir in Lincoln Park, Island Park, and Washington Park were relatively low all weekend. Some anglers were fishing Lincoln Park but success was limited to a few fishermen. Some anglers were able to pick up a few nice Coho near the refuge. Catches of brown trout were lower this weekend compared to earlier in the month.


Click here for BJ Sports.


For reports, click here.


Mik-Lurch reported some crappie in the corn channel.



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 November 30, 2010 8:58 PM.

Stray Cast: Konerko & Soriano, river spots was the previous entry in this blog.

Ramble with Storm: Black dog, white tracks is the next entry in this blog.

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