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Midwest Fishing Report: Rivers and lakes around Chicago fishing

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This stretch of late fall is often the in-between period for the Midwest Fishing Report, but this year it is more so than most as we come off record heat on Monday and await the first real ice fishing to our north next week.


Marcus Benesch came through again with a ``beautifully colored local northern pike'' of 31 inches from the Des Plaines River, ``caught in Schiller Woods while kayak fishing in December.''

The weekend and early week warmth led to a lot more effort on our rivers and lakes than usual in early December.

This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears on the Sun-Times outdoors page on Wednesdays. I think until next spring I will go back to combining the rivers and lakes sections again.

Normally, I post Wednesday mornings.

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


The forecast isn't as ferocious as expected, so expect the good perching may hang on, even for the Indiana boaters.

CHICAGO SHORE: Arden Katz reported lots of small perch at Diversey and Navy Pier, keepers take sorting. He is catching them with Mini-Mite with spikes; he said those using minnows are doing better for keepers. Steve Palmisano at Henry's also reported some being caught at the pipe at Burnham, Montrose and Belmont. Mike Starcevich at Mik-Lurch said some are being caught from shore under the lights at Cal Park. There's some in the river at 92nd and 95th.

INDIANA: Starcevich reported some huge perch, especially out of Portage. There's an unverified report of a 17-incher (we shall see). Starcevich said perch are all over Portage: ``The Donut'' to the R4. Gary Light in 44 feet turned on too. Shore fishermen are catching some big ones at the Hole-in-the-Wall.


Cabela's in Hoffman Estates holds its Ice Fishing Classic on Saturday. Click here for details. . . . Jim ``The Crappie Professor'' Kopjo gives a free ice fishing seminar 10 a.m.-noon Saturday for Lakeside at Shabbona Lake.


There was some over the weekend, but it is gone now. I suspect next week ice fishing will begin for real.

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

(Head): Open water fishing is over in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area as the lakes are all in the process of freezing over. Anglers are advised to get their ice fishing gear in shape, and we'll report "in real time" when the ice is safe to fish and when you can enjoy the legendary action in the Eagle River area.

(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: Kurt Justice of Kurt's Island Sport Shop sent this:

Wow, what an ice fishing season! It lasted all of about ohhh..... 4-5 days! Rain and warm temps (up to 52  degrees Monday put a kabash to the early ice. Lakes that froze have now reopened.
While temps for this week look to run from the low 20's to the low 30's, it is going to take the type of weather forecast for the following week to build ice.
What little ice fishing did occur, those precious 4 days were good. Walleye, some pike and bluegills provided action.
Kurt Justice
Kurt's Island Sports


When the weather was warm, a surprising number of good reports of largemouth, as well as crappie came in. I suspect as we transition more toward winter in the next week, it will be back to crappie again for those hardy few trying before ice forms.


For a general overview of nearby river conditions, click here.

To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, 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):  Ice is not safe in the central Wisconsin area, and no one should be out on it fishing.  Muzzleloader deer hunting has been very good, and should continue with the remaining archery season ;all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin¹s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau).

With the wry temperatures we've been having in the central Wisconsin area, we are advising anglers to stay off the ice and wait for colder temperatures and more solid ice.  Right now in central Wisconsin we have from 1 1/2 to 2
1/2 inches of ice, and that will more than likely diminish before it gets better.  There is no safe ice right now!


Staff at Triangle said for crappie and bluegill, try to find the longest piers, to access deeper water with the drawdown; there's fair muskie on big suckers or big jerkbaits; some quality walleye on slip-bobber or Lindy rigs; and white bass are relatively deep (12-15 feet) on main lake basins near main lake points.

For more reports, see

More Chain info at


MAZONIA/BRAIDWOOD: Only Monster Lake at Mazonia South remains open year round.


Marcus Benesch of River Grove sent this:

Amazing weekend weather had every angler out in full force .   On the Des Plaines northern pike still the best bite along with some stray largemouth bass still being had here and there.  Sauger and Walleye seem to only be relevant in southern sections of the river with only a few being had north of Salt Creek.  Flow and depth still down.  Focusing on river bends and lay downs in stronger current I was able to hook up with a few nice pike on a perch jointed minnow while kayak fishing the river before the bear game.   Here is a nice example of beautifully colored local northern pike.  31 inches caught in Schiller Woods while kayak fishing in December.


EVERGREEN: Bait shop/boat rental is over for the year. Any updated fishing report from site staff will be posted here.

POWERTON LAKE: Shore fishing reopens Dec. 24. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15.


Daniel Sala reported he and his dad Philip did well for smallmouth and muskies on Sunday in Batavia, fishing with creek chubs and casting X-raps.

Ken Gortowski sent this brief version of a weekend outing:

Spent Sunday afternoon out on the Fox. Nice walleye. I had the stringer in my hand, but threw it back in the car at the last second. I should have kept it. Would be eating walleye all week. Baked, fried, poached in a spaghetti sauce and served over linguine...MMMMM.
Bears game kept the river clear of fishing pests. 3 smallies, 3 walleye. Two of the walleye were 26 and 20 inches. I knew one stretch would give up the bigger walleye, but didn't think they'd be that big. Bank temp said 74 degrees. I was sweating enough, but that seemed a bit generous.

Click here for Gortowski's more extended treatment of this on It is worth the read and visual treatment.

Sam Bennett has a getting started guide for the Fox posted here.


Click here to check for an updated Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Fishing Report.


Haven't heard much. Should be some winter steelhead coming in, especially if we ever get some water.


SPRING VALLEY: River is low. Time on the Water Outdoors reported slow sauger; better toward Hennepin.


Norm Minas sent this after Monday:

What a glorious day weather wise. It was unbelievable, water temps in the 50's in December. I feel sorry for those working conventional hours who missed this, well unless they uh, had health issues that required missing work to recuperate in the sun. I still pretty much had the river to myself in the areas I fished today which is one of the reasons I don't mind my off days coming during the week.
 Two lures were all I needed today, a single spin spinnerbait and a rattlebait Shoot I even picked up a couple walleyes slowrolling the spinnerbait in a point pool. I also got some more walleye on a rattlebait on some flats.  I got some pike and smallmouth dropping the singlespin next to some wood cover. I picked up a few more smallmouth slow rolling the spinnerbait at the tail end of riffles.
 Another beautiful day forecast for Tuesday, I know where I'll be. All dressed up for business, wading business.


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


For perch see top.

CHICAGO PIER PASSES: The $6 pier passes for Chicago harbors, except 31st, are available at Henry's. And Burnham will be available after Bears season.

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.

SNAGGING: Snagging season is open for Chinook and coho. The only open areas on the lakefront are 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.


Click here for D&S Bait.


For perch, see top. Mike Starcevich at Mik-Lurch said some browns and steelhead are being taken at Gary Light; and whitefish are starting to be picked up as far west as the Hole-in-the-Wall.


Click here to check if there is an updated Root River Fishing Report from the Wisconsin DNR.


Lakeside is closed for the season, though it has the ice fishing seminar (above) on Saturday. It will reopen mid-December, when there is ice fishing.

For more on Lakeside, fishing reports and the lake, go to


The Lake Michigan Fishing Report had this:

Southern Lake Michigan Fishing Report: November 30, 2012
Kenosha Co.
No report.
Racine Co.
Fishing in Racine has been decent with browns and some perch biting in the harbor and marina areas, crank baits, plastics, and live bait fished beneath floats have all taken fish early or late in the day. The Root River remained very low and clear and no fishing was reported. Rain will be needed to increase flow and bring in some fresh steelhead and browns.
Milwaukee Co.
Fishing in Milwaukee the past week has been good, both trollers and shore anglers are finding some action for browns and a few perch. Brown Trout seem to be biting just about every were now with harbor boat anglers having the best success trolling crank baits off of lead-core and down riggers from the inner harbor out to 45 feet of water. Drifting in the marina and harbor casting jigs and spoons has also been affective for browns and Lake Trout (Lake Trout Harvest Season is ClOSED until March 2013). Shore anglers near the Hoan Bridge and Summerfest grounds are having some action on browns and perch using minnows or spawn sacs fished off of bottom early in the day. Casting spoons and plastics has also taken a few browns and perch. Some fish remain in the Milwaukee River but overall action is slow, some rain will be needed to raise river levels and improve fishing.
Ozaukee Co.
Fishing in Port Washington has been rather slow; a few browns have been taken on spawn fished off bottom or under a float at the power-plant discharge area and the Rotary Park rocks. No trolling reports are available.
Sheboygan Co.
In Sheboygan fishing remained rather slow, the Pigeon River and Sheboygan River held a few coho in the deeper pools and anglers were catching a few drifting spawn or casting spinners. Some Smallmouth Bass were also active in the deeper sections of the Sheboygan, tube jigs fished slowly along a rocky bottom was best.


Tyler Harmon messaged:

hate to say if but same as last week. Steelhead tournament this weekend I would say is an indicator that there are not many steelhead moving into the river due to low water levels. Whitefish still biting off the piers. Walleye are slow to none existent on the river.



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1 Comment

almost as nice today. all bass today on either a fluke or a weighted keeper hook/twister tail. prolly could have caught bass on other lures but that's what I felt like using today. Inflows, point pools, bridge abutments and current seams.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on December 4, 2012 9:54 PM.

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