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Midwest Fishing Report: First ice?

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There's mixed reports for ice fishing potential this weekend to lead this Midwest Fishing Report; by next week, there will be more widespread options for ice fishing.


This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears on the Sun-Times outdoors page on Wednesdays. I am running a bit late today.

If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at


There's a chance of spotty ice fishing by the weekend, but nobody sounded too sure Tuesday morning. EAGLE RIVER: ``We are hoping, but there is a lot of open water,'' said Brianna Holmberg at Eagle Sports Center. ``Give us a call back.'' HAYWARD: ``It don't look good for the weekend, just skim ice,'' said Al Rosenquist at Pastika's Sport Shop. ``The 50 degrees three or four days ago just killed it. It just cleared off. Maybe call ahead.'' MINOCQUA: ``It's not looking that way, we have ice but not enough to be walking on,'' said Lucas Zajicek of Kurt's Island Sport Shop. Minocqua was completely open Tuesday morning.


It's crappie time and waiting on first ice. I am betting next week in some northern and western ponds and lakes.


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:

(Head): Walleye and crappies hitting, as some nice bucks taken during firearm deer season ; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River of Wisconsin's Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau).

Ice forming on many lakes in the central Wisconsin area, as temperatures continue to drop.

Ice is forming on many area lakes and it won't be long until you are seeing cities of ice shacks out on the frozen water. In the central Wisconsin area. But don't be too hasty.... Even though early ice fishing can be the best of the year make sure that it is safe enough to head out onto. Conditions have been good at night to form ice but daytime temperatures in the upper 40's will diminish the thickness and strength as quickly as it is made.

With that said a few anglers are still out fishing the remaining open water on the Wisconsin River system in central Wisconsin. Walleyes have been active as well as a few nice catches of crappies. The deeper holes in the main river channel and deep bends with less current have been holding the majority of the fish. Various depths have produced but water in the 14 to 16 foot range has been the best. Jigs tipped with minnows has been the best bait worked right on the bottom.

Deer hunters had a pretty good firearm season in central Wisconsin with good numbers of both bucks and does coming in. Muzzleloader season is now on, and goes to December 7th. The gun season opened up with different conditions across the state varying from rain in the south to snow in the north but that didn't slow down the hunters taking to the woods. Here in the central Wisconsin area we saw rain in the morning turning to freezing rain and then snow. Having an umbrella in the woods really helped out making the day in the woods a lot more enjoyable. We actually saw 15 different deer on opening day hunting public land and tagged out on a nice 9 point buck with a 19 inch inside spread as he was making his way through a thick swamp on his way to a more secure hiding place.


It is primarily waiting on first ice. Next week for the hard-core daredevils. Triangle reported mostly muskie fishermen trying with fair success. On days less windy than Tuesday, some crappie fisherman are out.

For more reports, see

More Chain info at


Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass sent this:

Chicago river fishing report ; only fished the south branch this week , very slow threw every lure in the box at them but only a few fish all keeper size bass on big rapalas water temp 53 water level as low as we have ever seen exposing lots of structure. A good time to take pics and make notes for next season. Also we observed a dieing king all the way by Ashland ave bridge, never before have we seen one that far inland from the lake.


BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Only Monster Lake at Mazonia South remains open year round. HEIDECKE:Closed for the season. LaSALLE:Closed for the season.


DELAVAN: Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle reported those fishing nights are catching good walleye in 1-4 feet, days it is 8-11; on lures like Husky Jerks or Rattlin' Rogues. GENEVA: GLBT reported some crappie in 10 feet in Fontana.


EVERGREEN: South suburban fisherman Alan Epich sent this:

Myself, Mike Davis, & my Nephew Brett went on a Crappie expedition with Jim "The Crappie Professor" Kopjo It was an awesome experience and you can read more on the site

Just want to say that Jim is a tremendous crappie guide and put us on fish w/ease. It was very comfortable on his 24' pontoon boat. The weather was tolerable.
We boated 71 crappie.....51 keepers.Some up to 12"!

Any updated fishing report from staff will be posted here.

EMIQUON:With the central zone waterfowl hunting open, fishing on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays is afternoons only. Emiquon Preserve near Lewistown is open to fishing. Interested parties may request a permit (remember you need the new one for 2011) 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.


It will take a day or two for the water to clear, but Mik-Lurch staff reported the streams remain loaded with steelhead.


On Monday, Norm Minas sent this:

No fish caught since Friday so I'll go with today's efforts.

4,300 cfs and rising, lot of debris going downstream, visibility nil, water temps 45 degrees.
overcast, spit a little drizzle, temps might have hit low 50's.

enough rain lately to put water back in low laying areas around town, more ducks in them than on the river by a real wide margin. several different formations of geese heading out of dodge today and all weekend for that matter. still some robins hanging around, bluejays and woodpeckers very much in evidence. saw a couple of turkeys and a handful of deer.

With the rising water, I decided to visit of one my highwater spots that hasn't produced since early June due to a lack of water. Today it had enough, the fish were back. I was proud to see a goodly amount brownish, scummy looking foam cover on a good portion of the slackwater. I feel it provides more overhead cover, gives the fish more confidence to move shallower, I know it gives more confidence. I don't even mind the scum line on the waders afterward.

Strictly on a gut instinct I went with a 3 inch cigar type worm on a 1/0 weighted keeper hook. I usually like to start aggressive and work way back to something like this. With the overcast, the foam cover and the lack of visibility, it wasn't a rational decision based on how I fish but I went with it.

This is a good sized eddy, well actually an eddy within a larger eddy. the "smaller" eddy actually encompasses about 3/4 of the "larger" eddy if you can picture that. It' was maybe 3.5 to 4 ft at the deepest point, rock/sand/muck mix with the remnants of water willow beds toward the head of it and along about 1/2 the inside. The downstream end is definitely getting heavier toward sand.

I made my first casts toward the upstream end of the eddy and got a nice 17 inch smallmouth right at the head of it. I worked the seam and the inside of the eddy back to the point where the secondary eddy made it's turn back to the main current seam.
At the point where the secondary eddy meet the main current seam I picked up an 18 inch smallmouth. I worked the inside of the main current seam all the way back and picked up one more bass, a 15 incher. It wasn't all fun as there is still a lot of algae on the bottom. I would either get bite in short order or I would be cleaning the gunk off the lure. I cleaned a lot of gunk.

I worked along the inside of the eddy and up in to the newly flooded areas. One fish, a rock bass, a bit over 9 inches. A lot more gunk cleaned.

Next up I worked the heart of the secondary eddy and yup, cleaned a lot of gunk. I did have a nice carp in the mid twenty inch range swallow the jig, so it was worth the effort.

Last up I worked the downstream end of the eddy and got two walleyes one 23 inches, the other 25 inches at the base of the sand bar. also cleaned gunk, more in the nature of leafy type debris that had settled out.

I worked the jig extremely slow to completely stopped. It took three hours to cover with the jig, what I could have done with a crankbait in about 45 minutes.

Outside of picking all the gunk off it was a good day considering the time of year and the conditions.


Andy Mikos of Morton Grove, who would get my vote as the best non-captain fisherman on our end of Lake Michigan, sent this:

Just thought I would drop you a line about Kenosha fishing. Last week Wednesday when I got home from Kenosha the first thing I did was grab the Times and check out the fishing report. It simply stated that Kenosha was slow. Although not entirely wrong some fish can still be caught. Attached are pictures of a couple browns out of the 12 I have caught in the last week and a half to 2 weeks. The first picture is of a 12lb brown the second is of a nice one I caught at sun-up. All fish were caught out of my 14' boat on shad raps either in the small boat harbor or out in front of the hotel.

Until the ice comes in browns can be caught there. I'll be there this weekend. Water temp in the harbor was 43 degrees as of last Wednesday.


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


The big blow on Tuesday will make it tough for days. In Chicago, Arden Katz said the percentage of keeper perch at Navy Pier had went up by Sunday. I would think Navy Pier would be one of the first places to recover and hold cleaner water. Another option might soon be at 92nd or the slips near the mouth of the river. Basically, the lake needs to settle after the latest blow. Minnows remain the key for keeper perch.

SALMON SNAGGING: Snagging for chinook and coho is open on the Illinois lakefront at four locations only: Lincoln Park Lagoon south of Fullerton Avenue, Waukegan Harbor (North Harbor Basin only); Winnetka Power Plant discharge area and Jackson Park Harbor (inner and outer harbors). No snagging is allowed at any time within 200 feet of a moored watercraft or as posted.

CHICAGO FISHERMAN'S PARKING: The fisherman's parking pass--$10 for two months and available at Henry's Sports & Bait--is needed to park south of the main building at Northerly Island. . . . That's the same pass good for the small fishermen's lots at Burnham and DuSable harbors.


Click here for D&S Bait.


Mike Jarvis, two-time state-qualifier for bass fishing from Taft, sent this:

Hi, I fished the mississippi river out of clinton on friday and saturday for sauger. We got some sauger, but my cousin Ron Meister, got this fat pike as a bonus. [Photo above.] Our bump board only went to like 30 inches, and this was bigger. Probably 34 or 35 inches. He got it on 6 pound test with a number 8 hook and a little minnow. I noticed the lack of mississippi river fishing reports last Wednesday, so here is ours. The sauger werent on fire, but decent. The water was low, but we were fishing 15-30 feet, so it didnt matter too much. Dont try launching in shallow launches or cutting through backwaters, we learned that the hard way by getting stuck. We got some walleyes mixed in, but basically all of the fish were sauger. We used minnows, they wouldnt really hit any gulp or plastics for us. But, other boats were getting some on plastics and three way rigs with crankbaits.


For perch, see top; for streams, see Indiana Streams. Otherwise, it is waiting on Lake Michigan to settle.


Click here for any updated Root River Report.


Tyler Harmon messaged:

River is up a small amount and the water has some color to it. Still some steelhead action, and pier and beach fisherman along the Lake Michigan coast experienced great steelhead fishing last week. Just waiting for the ice to freeze up now. Biting at the bit for the hard water season.

Click here for an updated St. Joe report in Indiana. It's all steelhead now going through at South Bend, but the end is near.


Lakeside is closed, but it will open for ice fishing season.

For reports, click here.


Click here for any updated Wisconsin DNR's Lake Michigan Fishing Report.


Click here for River's Edge.


Guide Bill Stoeger reported excellent walleye (limits) downriver from Boom Island to the mouth; but more boats are trying around Fremont and upriver, too. Might be the last chance before ice comes in next week.



Fishing Headquarters



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






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ice on the bird bath this morning, not my favorite sight.

Same here Norm. Did not like it one bit. I hear in southern Missouri things never ice over. I can live with that.

Bring the ice! BRING IT ON!!!

waders don't like ice, stuff leaves bruises when them floes bounce off you.

This is a great fishing report!

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on November 30, 2011 9:47 AM.

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