The first "sprinkles" of reports on lakefront perch lead this Midwest Fishing Report.
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 email@example.com.
Steve Fiorio of northwest Indiana messaged this photo of a couple dandy perch. A year ago, he caught one of the all-time perch from southern Lake Michigan, a 16 5/8th inch brute.
It is beginning.
In Chicago, Arden Katz has caught some limits of 7- to 8-inch perch from Montrose in the past few days. Katz said to fish minnows on the bottom or jig with spikes for numbers. He uses light line, 4-pound or lighter. He said even 6-pound line makes it tougher. Mike Repa at Park Bait said keepers takes sorting, but the fish are here. Steve Palmisano at Henry's reported a ``sprinkling of reports'' from the north side of Navy Pier. Can we dream of perch on Thanksgiving morning at Navy Pier?
In Indiana, Ed McCain at Mik-Lurch said perch are being caught at 95th near the foghorn with glow perch flies and a cut minnow. Boaters and shore fishermen are catching numbers and size at the Hole-in-the-Wall. On Tuesday, Mike Starcevich got into them in the 39-foot hole off Inland Steel point. Gary flats are no-go. In 38 feet, north of the reef, Portage guys are catching some perch.
It's crappie time for those who aren't focused on deer hunting.
For an overview of nearby river conditions, click here.
BIG GREEN LAKE, WISCONSIN
For guide Mike Norton's report, go to www.nortonsfishingandhuntingadventures.com, then click on fishing, then lake report.
From licensed guide and trapper Phil Schweik and guide Glenn Moberg of Hooksetters Guide Service:
(Head): Musky and walleye hitting strong, with gun deer season running from
Nov. 19-27; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River of
Wisconsin's Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau).
For anglers the musky has taken center stage in the central Wisconsin area,
and anglers heading out can expect some of the best fishing of the year.
Water temperatures are now in the low to mid 30's (almost freezing) and with
that major of a cool-down the fish know it will not be long until total
freeze up. Large sucker minnows suspended below bobbers are taking a good
share of fish right now but jerkbaits like Suicks and crankbaits like
Shallow Raiders and Depth Raiders are taking some nice fish as well. Deep
shorelines and areas with rock are the most productive areas right now. To
be consistent just make sure that you work the entire water column as fish
can be suspended at different depths as well as holding tight to the bottom.
With all the interest in musky fishing at this time of the year most anglers
forget all about the walleye. With water temperatures close to freezing the
walleyes have moved into main lake areas in the central Wisconsin area that
have good weeds and nearby depth. For success at fishing for walleyes right
now try looking at areas that you would fish for them on first ice. I like
weed beds in 3 to 6 feet of water and areas that have a good concentration
of forage. The walleyes are already there and can be readily taken on jigs
tipped with small sucker minnows and large crankbaits like Rapalas in
numbers 11 and 13.
With the rut in full swing archers have been not only seeing some very nice
whitetail bucks but plenty of them in the central Wisconsin area. The
activity has moved from almost all night time activity to a lot of daytime
movement with mid day hours being very productive. Areas to target are rub
and scrape lines and areas with heavy doe activity. These can be feeding
locations and bedding vicinities or transition areas in-between. The
firearm deer season runs Nov. 19-27 in the central Wisconsin area. Great
time for some top fishing and a trophy buck.
CHAIN O'LAKES AREA
Triangle reported crappie as good, look for fish moving shallow toward evening; most being caught in current areas; be patient. Muskie are active. Water on most lakes has turned over. Walleye are good on large fatheads on various techniques such as jig and minnow fishing or by trolling crankbaits; look deeper, but shallower nights. Bluegill are slow.
For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/
More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Only Monster Lake at Mazonia South remains open year round. HEIDECKE:Closed for the season. LaSALLE:Closed for the season.
DES PLAINES RIVER
Dan Sims of Sims Spinners sent this:
Slow presentation is required. Husky Jerks and X-Raps, White and Fire Tiger. Long casts, very long pauses, has caught fish. Raised water levels have hurt the numbers of fish being caught overall. Water temps were 48.8 degrees Monday evening. Water levels should be back to normal by the weekend.
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.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
River wanderer/ponderer Ken Gortowski sent this:
The plan for the day was to go out to Marseilles State Fish and Wildlife Area to do some squirrel hunting. Only I had forgot that it was closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Rather than waste a rare 60 degree November day, I decided to go fishing.
The Fox was flowing at just over 1800 cfs. The two areas I had in mind require wading across the river, but that flow level is just about at my comfort level for wandering across the river. I've done it before many times, but it gets a bit tricky. If the water temps had been over 60 degrees, I probably would have gone, but with the water temps in the 40s, even the high 40s, taking a spill would be very unpleasant.
I opted to go test a creek wintering hole theory.
What I believe to be a wintering hole is about 9 miles up a creek. In theory, the game fish should have all abandoned the creek for the main river, but I'm catching smallies too late in the season and also too early in the season.
The Illinois Creek Chub Trout were everywhere in the creek. The cold water seems to have no effect on them at all. The first fish caught was one of the biggest Creek Chub Trout I've ever caught. According to different Departments of Natural Resources, they tend to be in the 4 to 8 inch range with some getting as big as 12 inches. The one caught was easily 10 inches, possibly bigger.
Every cast had small swarms of Creek Chub Trout attacking the small lure I was using. This supports my wintering hole theory. The hole is around 8 to 10 feet deep. I already know it doesn't freeze over, I've been there in January, but didn't fish. If there's that many Creek Chub Trout around, why would a game fish leave.
When I got to the hole, I started out with a small lure that looked like a small chub. There were no hits. Then I switched to a 4 inch tan Senko on an unweighted keeper hook. I'd let this sink to the bottom of the hole and just let it sit there. Maybe move it a bit, then let it sit some more.
This got me four smallies on, but I didn't land any of them. I did get to see them before they impolitely spit the hook. Two were small, less than 12 inches, but two were much bigger. Based on what I got to see, and based on how heavy they were, both were over the 16 inch mark.
I have a feeling these fish aren't going anywhere. Come January, I'm sure we'll have a few days that get above freezing. I won't go out if it's lower than that. I'll be back here with a bucket of minnows to see if this theory still holds.
Years ago we had a November like this and for that month my records show I caught 225 smallies out of the Fox. It doesn't help that the river is up a bit, but since anyone that wants to continue to try to fish the fox should be fishing the slack areas near shore anyway, it shouldn't matter. Throw something in that you can drag along the bottom and see what happens. Better still, go get minnows. Either way the key is to move things slow. Worked for me.
ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA
Time on the Water Outdoors reported water levels are stable, sauger and walleye are moving toward Spring Valley and Peru flats. It's jigging in deeper holes, otherwise it is pulling three-ways with a jighead on the bottom and floater on the long line. Crappie are fair, white bass are slow.
Mik-Lurch staff reported fall steelhead and some browns in the streams, which are receding and clearing.
Norm Minas sent this:
Cordell Gay Blades, in second hole, worked just fast enough to keep above the bottom. used occasional pop, sometime drew strike other times hit on straight retrieve.
slightly slower, deeper water off main current, mixed bag walleye and smallmouth.
Ed Mullady reported:
A GOOD TIME to try for KANKAKEE River walleye!. In Indiana, shorelines along Point area
near English Lake. Various sections around Momence, Aroma Park. Kankakee IL Dam thru
Sawmill Creek. Kankakee River State Park and Wilmington Area. Good baits include:*Jointed
plugs *snagless Dr. Spoons *jig and minnow *jig and crawler *yellow bucktail jigs.
Smallmouth Bass still hitting well at above locations on *minnows *Double Twister Tails *Mepps #2 spinners *fly rod streamers.
Largemouth Bass, Catfish, pike and croppie still hitting well!
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
Perch are just starting, see top.
CHICAGO: Park Bait reported some good bluegill at Diversey.
WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at Salmon Stop reported a ``few real fishermen'' are catching browns and steelhead on spawn, frozen shiners or alewives.
SALMON SNAGGING: The fish look yucky, but snaggers continue to do well in Chicago and Waukegan. 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.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
Click here for D&S Bait.
EAGLE RIVER: Creative Brilliance sent this report for the Chamber of Commerce:
(Head): Good action for walleye, northern and panfish, with musky fair, in
the Eagle River , Wisconsin area.
Water temps ranging from upper 30s to low 40s in the Eagle River, Wisconsin
Good fishing action available in the Eagle River area.
Walleye are hitting in the Eagle River area. Fish 10-25 feet where break
edges transition to main lake basins. The walleye will be about a foot off
the bottom. Use a jig tipped with a minnow. All day bite. Good action.
Northern in the Eagle River area are locating in 15 feet or less of water in
and around weeds. Use a Husky Jerk (minnow or walleye pattern), or a sucker
minnow under a slip bobber. All day bite. Good action.
Panfish (crappies, bluegills and perch) in the Eagle River area locating
with the walleye. Fish 15-25 feet of water where break edges transition to
main lake basins. Perch will be tight to bottom. Crappies and bluegills
will be suspending 3 to 6 feet off the bottom. Use a chunk of crawler or a
crappie minnow under a slip bobber. All day bite. Good action.
Musky in the Eagle River area are locating in 15 feet of water or less
outside of weed edges or holding on break edges. Use a medium sized
crankbait, glidebait, jerkbait, or a 12-14 inch sucker on a quick set rig.
Medium retrieve. Always do a "figure 8" as the lure nears your boat. All
day bite, with small feeding windows. Anglers are getting muskies, but
they're working for them. All around action is fair.
(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:
firstname.lastname@example.org; web: www.eagleriver.org
* "Muskie Matt", 715-891-5980; e-mail: email@example.com
* Mat Hegy, 715-571-7544, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
* 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 Kurt's Island Sport Shop sent this:
Pretty much just musky anglers fishing for the most part. One walleye angler did boat a 31 1/2", 10#12 oz walleye on Saturday. Other walleye anglers fishing deep gravel finding good action, nice eaters for the lonely few still fishing for eyes.
Musky anglers working deep, 20-40'. Suckers best, but large rubber baits and slow working countdown gliders also good.
Water temps ranging from 36-43 degrees. For example Minocqua was 41 this weekend, larger lakes are a little warmer, smaller lakes are cooler.
Most attention on upcoming deer hunt. Rut still in progress as bucks are ranging looking for does.
For perch, see top. Mik-Lurch reported those trolling glow spinners tipped with a crawler piece are taking walleye at night at the reef at the Port of Indiana. Otherwise, the lakers are starting on the reef. Best is vertical jigging, but some are using Dodgers and Spin-N-glos. There's a few coho in the Ditch discharges. SOMETHING DIFFERENT: Near Bremen, Ind., those jigging Fuzz-E-Grubs in 20-25 feet on Lake of Woods are picking up 2- to 4-pound walleye, according to Mik-Lurch.
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
From the Wisconsin DNR's Root River Report:
Root River Fishing Report for November 14, 2011
Water and flow conditions
The river was high and fast over the weekend, but is currently dropping. The water temperature was 46 degrees.
For up to date river conditions, check out the USGS web site of stream flow conditions in Wisconsin.
Upstream of the Weir
Fishing success was lower this weekend than it has been most of the fall, but that was likely due to the higher flows. Anglers caught coho, brown trout, and a couple of rainbow trout. Pink flies were most productive in the area from the Horlick dam downriver into Quarry Lake Park.
Downstream of the Weir
Fishing was slow below the weir, with only a few brown trout caught in Lincoln Park over the weekend.
SAINT JOSEPH RIVER AREA, MICHIGAN & INDIANA
Tyler Harmon Tyler Harmon messaged that steelhead had slowed, but rain would get things moving in the SW Michigan.
Click here for an updated St. Joe report in Indiana. It's nearly all steelhead now.
Lakeside is closed, but it will open for ice fishing season.
For reports, click here.
Click here for River's Edge.
Mik-Lurch reported crappie starting in the corn channel on the Indiana side, along with some quality bluegill on jigs and bee-moths; few walleye yet.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT