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Midwest Fishing Report: Perch in & first ice

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The perch are in on the Chicago lakefront and there will be first ice on at least some lakes in northern Wisconsin.


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


Perch are in on the Chicago lakefront, but it takes sorting. Arden Katz caught 80 perch to find 12 keepers at Navy Pier. He was using Mini-Mites and spikes, but said those using minnows were catching bigger perch. Steve Palmisano of Henry's said Navy Pier is leading the way with 8- to 10-inch perch, while the perch are in at Montrose and Burnham, too, but it takes more sorting. ``It's a minnow bite on the bottom, no rocket science there,'' Palmisano said. Weather has prevented boaters from trying around the Indiana/Illinois line.


It's mainly waiting on first ice or trying for crappie.


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 hovering in the mid to upper 30s in the central
Wisconsin area.

With the nine day gun deer season under many outdoorsmen and women have
turned their focus from fishing to hunting. This deer season in central
Wisconsin looks like it¹s going to be a real winner. With cooler
temperatures in the forecast, and the possibility of snow along with a lot
of big buck sightings, everyone is looking forward to a great gun hunt. Be
safe- - wear your blaze orange, always make sure of your target, and what is
beyond it.

There are still anglers getting out on the waters in central Wisconsin and
doing very well- - indeed, many deer hunters are making arrangements to get
in some fishing, along with their hunting, and those who do are going to
have a doubly good time!

Musky in the central Wisconsin area are biting hard as the season draws
down. Suckers are the main bait. Look for active fish to be holding over
the deepest water available, and run your sucker rigs from 6 feet down all
the way right to the bottom. The muskies are somewhat lethargic right now do
to the falling water temps, so you have to place the bait right in front of
them to elicit a strike. But just because they¹re docile before the strike,
don¹t let that fool you; because they strike, all you-know-what will break

Walleyes in the central Wisconsin area are still hitting well, with jigs and
minnows your best bait. Look for walleyes to be holding in 12 to 16 feet of
water right now, tight to the bottom. Orange and chartreuse colored jigs
have been the best producers.

Crappies are still being caught over deep water in the central Wisconsin
area. The crappies are suspending over the deep water, staging in their
pre-winter haunts. Savvy anglers have been very successful using spider
rigging with small jigs tipped with minnows or plastics set at different
depths, which take advantage of these aggressive slabs.

Be safe and good luck both hunting and fishing in the central Wisconsin


It's mainly waiting on first ice. Soon? Next week? Otherwise, there is some muskie and walleye fishing.

For more reports, see

More Chain info at


Jeff Nolan and Tony Klancnik of Bridgeport Bass sent this:

best bet is Wolf Point for largemouth and crappie, also good largemouth and big bluegill at Origins.
large mouth bass & big blue gill hitting @ origins park w/ fat raps. This weeks best bet @ Wolf Point. Large mouth bass and crappie caught on fat raps and drop shots.

I would note others have also said Wolf Point or in front of the Sun-Times is the hot spot.


Only Monster Lake at Mazonia South is open for fishing.


From Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament

Haven't had much time to get out lately due to some personal endeavors
and other projects, but this is what I know of at the moment:

Water temperatures are cold at 40-43 degrees. With Monday's rainfall,
river finally shot up to high, unwadeable levels. Gauge in Riverside
indicates a 3.8 and a flow of 800. Water clarity is terrible now and
water levels probably won't be back to a safe flow until the weekend.

Northern pike have been spotty with a few fish to 25-28 inches. The
big fish are there, just got to find them, and are slow to respond.
Deeper pools, creek mouths, and channel areas with 4 to 8 inch
jerkbaits (remember, big fast jerks and painfully slow pause). In
addition, drifting live bait with the current has scored a few fish as
well, as have swimbaits with an oversize paddle tail. Be patient and
fish slowly.

Walleyes and sauger were hitting semi-decent last week following my
last report and up until all of this rain, figures. Walleye to 22
inches and Sauger of equally-large size were reported by anglers such
as Matt Coppolino, and witnessed by myself. Minnowbaits (X-Raps) after
dark, and live bait fished during the daytime hours through deeper
rocky holes with current have been getting fish.

Looks like the air temperatures will be taking a nose-dive by the end
of this week but as soon as the water begins receding again, expect
some slightly productive fishing to still take place.


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: Any updated fishing report will be posted here.


Click here for Ramble with Gortowski. Otherwise, here is a shorter version from Ken Gortowski:

The fish were still hitting the one time I was able to get out even though landing them was a different story. Do as I say, not as I do and bring a bucket of bait. I've been lax in doing that. Artificials are still working, but something live will get you more.

The rains came through fast and in a narrow band. The river spiked up, but is just as quickly coming down. Never went beyond a safe wading level so being in the water is not a problem. Wednesday is more rain and it's effect on the river will depend more on how much rain hits the northern reaches. Otherwise the river remains in perfect condition.

The balmy temperatures are gone, nothing but 40's for the next 10 days. The water temps should be dropping, but it could take a couple of weeks before it starts to really shut down the smallmouth bass.

Just the opposite is happening for the walleye bite. After a few weeks of trying, Cory Yarmuth finally started tying into a few. He has a blog up and running now and you can read about his walleye quest on Legend Outdoors with Cory Yarmuth.

As for me, I'll be out scouting for waterfowl on the Fox. Heard shooting mid morning Tuesday at the blind on the river down from my house. Too hard to walk to that one, but the number of shots heard was encouraging. Hopefully the birds will start showing up at the blind I can get to without killing myself hauling equipment.


Thom Matejewski at Time on the Water Outdoors said good sauger are scattered from the dam to Henry, jig and minnow has been best; best depth varies. Pulling three-ways is producing white bass around all the bridges and creek mouths.


River is changing, cooling and finally picking up some fresh water.

Norm Minas had one of those unbelievable days on Monday before the weather change and sent this:

I had an excellent day for late November both in numbers and diversity . After dodging some rain and hail, I started with a topwater but didn't get anything. I switched to a Subwalk and soon had two nice smallies in the 15 to 16 inch range. As the smallies were taking the Subwalk when it closer to the bottom than the surface, I switched to a 2/0 weighted keeper hook with a 5 inch orange twister tail. It didn't take to get into a lot of fish but they were mostly walleyes. It was some of the best walleye action I've in a while with 17 walleyes between 15 and 26 inches in about two hours. I also landed two carp that swallowed the jig, the biggest one was a little over 30 inches. The wind really picked up and made jig fishing really problematic so I went back to topwaters. Usually this time of year when you get a nice chop on the water the shad get disoriented and the bass start chasing them. I still couldn't get a fish on top so it was back to the Subwalk. The first cast with the Subwalk and the drag was screaming. I thought maybe I'd foul hooked a big carp but after I got the fish to hand I was surprised to see it was a 21 inch Hybrid Striper. I don't run into them often in that stretch and land them even less often so this was a treat. After that landing 3 more smallies was almost anticlimactic.

The wind had really picked up, my back was in knots, it was starting to rain and I got hit by a couple pieces of hail, so I called it a day. Must begetting old or something. I get in the car, turn on the Score and hear Joey Votto was named the NL MVP , Childress got canned and Leslie Frazier finally gets a shot. Well one outta two ain't bad.

I think the key note there is the walleye, which will be the featured fish in coming weeks.

Ed Mullady sent this:

Here is river report:
River very low, fishermen doing well.
Best in Indiana *Point,near English Lake: Pike, (minnows,spoons)Croppie good, creek mouths(Spinners, minnows).
Illinois: Smallmouth Bass good near Momence *Kankakee State Park,esp:Bryan, Douglas Islands (on baits as above)*Wilmington: Walleye fair Dam and Island Park:(jig and minnow *jointed plugs) Pike at broken dam and shorelines(minnows*Dr.Spoons).


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


For perch, see above. There's still some dark salmon around. SALMON SNAGGING: The remaining fish are dark, but some are around. 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


Muskie season ends Tuesday, but mostly it is waiting on ice to form. Both
Minocqua guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports and George Langley or staff at Eagle Sports Center said there should be some ice fishing on smaller lakes by the weekend. Obviously, check in first.

Even though most efforts are on waiting for ice fishing, these reports address fishing over last weekend and week. There will be changes by this weekend, as noted in the graph above.

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

(Lead): Water temps in lower to mid 30s in the Eagle River area, as skim
ice starts to form on the river portion of the Eagle River Chain of 28 lakes
(largest freshwater chain of lakes in the world).

Musky are hitting well during feeding windows in the Eagle River area.
Patience is the key. Wait it out, and keep casting. When the feeding window
opens, the musky will hit very aggressively. Fish 8-15 feet off weed edges
to the first break edge. The musky are being surprisingly attracted to
smaller baits. Minnow baits or crank baits in the 4 to 6 inch range are the
ticket to success. Musky from sub-legal to the lower 40 inch range have
been the norm. Colors like firetiger, black/orange, white and ³sunset²
patterns have been producing best. Live suckers hanging over the side of
the boat have also been working very well, and availability is no longer an
issue. Hang live bait anywhere from 3 ft to 8 ft on the Eagle River Chain
of Lakes, to 20-30 feet on other Eagle River area deeper lakes like North

Walleye are providing some good action in the Eagle River area. Fish break
edges in 15-35 feet of water over hardbottom. Use a jig on an XL fathead.
The walleye will be tight to the bottom.

Northern in the Eagle River area are in and around weeds in 15 feet of water
or less. Use a northern sucker under a slip bobber or a Husky Jerk in a
minnow or walleye pattern. Good action.

Perch are biting in the Eagle River area. The perch are hanging with the
walleye. Fish 15-35 feet of water at break edges over hardbottom. The
perch, like the walleye will be pretty tight to the bottom. Use a crappie
minnow on a jig.

One of our contributors, Eagle River guide ³Muskie Matt² says: ³Time to dust
off your ice fishing gear, and remember that first ice in the Eagle River
area is usually a bonanza for ice anglers.² We will keep you closely posted
on ice conditions in the Eagle River area.

The gun deer season will be on when you read this report. You can have a
perfect ³two-fer,² by getting a big buck, and then some great fishing,
to-boot. Eagle River has it all - -in super abundance. Don¹t miss this once
a year opportunity.

(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:

With almost all attention on deer hunting last week and this week, not a lot of fishing reports, as would be expected. The few anglers venturing out have had good success, with weather being in their favor. But cold night time temps cooling water quickly.

Musky: Good. The few anglers venturing out are catching fish on suckers with quick set rigs. Some on pull baits such as Smity jerks and gliders such as Mantas.

Walleye: Good. Almost no pressure, but walleyes moving up to weed edges taking medium redtails on 1/16 oz jig. Deep water anglers still scoring on larger chubs 3/8 - 1/2 oz jigs over 40-60' depths.

Pond behind our shop officially (only if I'm the official) froze completely over on 11/21/10. Typically 7-10 days later Minocqua freezes tight. Last year the dates were 12/2 pond and 12/16 for Minocqua. Did have Musky anglers reporting surface temps at 40 degrees on unnamed lake. Could take longer than last year, but if conditions hold should see safe ice on Minocqua by first weekend of December.. Sooner on smaller lakes.


Weather limited big lake effort. There's mixed fish in the creeks. Mostly it is waiting on the weather to allow boaters to chase perch again.


There was a significant spike in flow on Monday, so fishing should be improved even more than Wisconsin DNR's Root River Report indicated:

Root River Fishing Report for November 22, 2010
Water and flow conditions

Fishing on the Root River over the weekend was pretty good at times. Water level was very low and temp was around 42. . . .
Fishing Report
Washington Park was busy both days with most anglers trying for Coho and Browns. Most of the time there were around 12-16 anglers by the suspension bridge. There was a 18.5 lb. 30 inch Brown caught on Sunday. Coho's were running small (2-4 lbs.) both days at Washington Park.
Between Washington and Island parks activity was limited with few anglers counted. At Island Park, the activity was located near the parking lot in the faster water, up to the north split, no action in the deep hole on the curve south of the parking lot. Several Coho's were caught early Saturday again in the 3-4 pound range. Fly rods were being used along with flies. No rainbow trout were caught at Island, although there was mention of a Brown or two being caught and released. Fishing pressure was mixed with around 6 anglers.
At Lincoln Park it was busier. Anglers were located from the Lutheran building on the curve all the way up to the weir. Besides Washington park, this was the other most fished area. A couple of nice Brown trout were caught (8 lb. range) on flies along with a few Coho. Fishing pressure was heaviest in the morning in this stretch, but slowed up pretty much after noon. Up from the weir, anglers had very limited success with only two Coho's and one Brown being weighed at the west parking lot.
Colonial Park had a few anglers with no success. Most were walking up to the golf course where there are some holes.


Click here for BJ Sports.


For reports, click here.



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 24, 2010 5:05 AM.

Ramble with Gortowski: Talking turkey on the Fox River was the previous entry in this blog.

Thanksgiving: Route 66 is the next entry in this blog.

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