Midwest Fishing Report: Perch (need we say more?) on southern Lake Michigan

Midwest Fishing Report: Perch (need we say more?) on southern Lake Michigan

Andy Mikos with a brown trout from Kenosha, Wisconsin, while a flock of geese flies behind him.

Andy Mikos with a brown trout from Kenosha, Wisconsin, while a flock of geese flies behind him.

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On Wednesday, Andy Mikos emailed the photo at the top, which came from a traditional day-before-Thanksgiving trip at Kenosha, Wisconsin. His report is in the Southeast Wisconsin section.

LAKEFRONT PERCH

Jim Shell emailed the YouTube video above, the photo below and this:

Hi Dale!

I’m sure you’ve already seen several reports stating that the perch are in. I can confirm that! We fished (by boat) off the Chicago skyline this past Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. We targeted perch all 3 days and also lake trout on Wednesday and Friday.

. . . We cruised the shoreline til we would spot schools of fish on our chartplotter. Once located, it was a slow presentation to get them to strike. We found the best presentation was a 1/8 oz jigging spoon. It HAS to be tipped with a small piece of meat. Any kind of meat works (worm piece, half a minnow, etc). Drop it to the bottom and slightly lift it and drop it. The bite was mostly very light. My son Casey uses an ice fishing rod, because the bite is so light. It does help, as he outfishes my 3 to 1. The numbers were pretty much the same all 3 days. Two hours to get a 2 man limit of 30 perch. We are catching around 100, to get the 30 that we keep. This has been our 5th year of catching perch along the Chicago lakefront, and this year has been the best so far for size. Wednesday our biggest was 13.5 and Friday we had a 14 and a 15 in the boat!

Jim Shell

Casey Shell with jumbo perch on the Chicago lakefront. Provided photo

Casey Shell with jumbo perch on the Chicago lakefront.

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I find that tip on Casey using an ice rod to feel the light bite an interesting suggestion. Such tips can also be useful when the fishing is shoulder to shoulder and the competition for the attention of the perch is intense.

Arden Katz said he’s catching a lot of perch at 89th, but you have “to weed them out, but there’s a ton in there. He’s using the new Nextalgx jig from PanfishPro with spikes.

Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Indiana, texted:

Perch fishing is in full swing now. Boat fishermen doing best but plenty being caught on the bank.

Perch from the mouth of cal river all the way to Torrence ave bridge.

Perch fly rigs or crappie rigs fished with fatheads, Rosie reds or baby golden roach minnows best but shrimp and white spikes do it too.

Perch success from Navy Pier. Provided photo

Perch success from Navy Pier.

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Jeffrey Williams messaged the photo above Monday and this:

Perch are on on Fire at navy pier, 36 perch amongst 3 of us, caught on shrimp and minnows

NAVY PIER ANGLING

The north side of Navy Pier is open for anglers. The discounted parking for anglers is $9 daily, if out by 10 a.m.

LAKEFRONT PARKING

FYI, my column for Wednesday is on parking the length of the Chicago lakefront.

Chicago Park District’s parking passes ($20 for two months) for the anglers’ parking lots at DuSable and Burnham harbors are on sale at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor (cash only) through early December and again when they reopen in spring and the Northerly Island Visitor Center (credit card only, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday).

PIER PASSES

The $10 pier passes, which allow legal access to select piers at Jackson Park, Burnham, DuSable, Diversey, Belmont and Montrose harbors, may be bought at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor (cash only) through early December and again when they reopen in the spring and Northerly Island Visitor Center (credit-card only, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday).

AREA LAKES

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a late November bluegill from local waters. Provided photo

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a late November bluegill from local waters.

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Ken “Husker” O’Malley of Husker Outdoors emailed the photo above and this:

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing.

Area lakes- Here is an update on the ice conditions in IL from this past weekend. Ice started coming off on Saturday on all lakes with skim ice in wind protected bays. The Sunday morning rains opened everything up.

Time to breakout the long rods. Bluegill were decent on 3mm wyw ice jigs tipped with half a waxie. The scent trail drew in the active biters along the main basin. Looking at the extended forecast we will have open water for a while.

TTYL

Ken Husker O’Malley

Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Kyle Tepper at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said lots are trying for muskies by trolling suckers or big Jakes and Grandmas or casting Bulldawgs and Medussas, best on Channel or Marie; lots of crappie action, with the low water focus on the deeper channels; walleye good, try the early-ice spots such as current areas son Marie with jigs or bladebaits.

NOTE: Check updates on water conditions at foxwaterway.com or (847) 587-8540.

NOTE 2: Stratton Lock and Dam is closed through April 30, 2023.

CHICAGO RIVER

Joshua Chupich with a big crappie, caught shortly after he caught his Fish of the Week, a walleye, from the North Shore Channel. Provided photo

Joshua Chupich with a big crappie, caught shortly after he caught his Fish of the Week, a walleye, from the North Shore Channel.

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Joshua Chupich, who earned Fish of the Week for his walleye from the North Shore Channel, emailed the photo above and this:

I was fishing during the day for whatever bit and I usually go into the night as well. Crappie seem to bite at almost any time. I had other rods for catfish but they weren’t active tonight. This 14 inch crappie bit at night about a half hour after the walleye was caught.

Largemouth bass from the Chicago River. Provided photo

Largemouth bass from the Chicago River.

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Jeffrey Williams messaged the photo above Saturday and this:

Riverwalk from yesterday, a beautiful 2.5 pound chunker

COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS

Heidecke, LaSalle, Braidwood and Mazonia (except Monster Lake is open all years) are closed.

DOWNSTATE

POWERTON: Closed until after duck season.

EMIQUON PRESERVE: During waterfowl season, fishing is not allowed until noon. Access permits and liability waivers are required. They are available Tuesday to Saturday at Dickson Mounts Museum, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service.

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing.

SPRING LAKE: Site superintendent Thad Cook emailed:

Hey Dale, Oct 21st is the last day for boats to be on Spring Lake. Boat fishing will still be allowed from the Sky Ranch ramp up to the narrows throughout waterfowl season. The stoping point in the narrows will be marked with buoy markers. The youth waterfowl hunt is oct 23-24. Bank fishing will be allowed along the south Lake road after 1:00pm during waterfowl season. Thanks. Thad

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season.

GENEVA LAKE

Kyle Tepper at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said anglers head there now for walleyes (trolling or drop-shotting with minnows) and muskies.

GREEN LAKE AREA, WISCONSIN

Kevin Tabor, of Riverside, with a 3.-pound. 5 ounce smallmouth bass caught Saturday on an outing with Mike Norris. Provided photo

Kevin Tabor, of Riverside, with a 3.-pound. 5 ounce smallmouth bass caught Saturday on an outing with Mike Norris.

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Guide Mike Norris texted the photo above and emailed this:

Fishing Report – 11/27/2022

Mike Norris

Big Green Lake – I guided for smallmouth bass on Big Green Lake on both Friday and Saturday last week and the smallmouth bass did not disappoint. With surface water temperature dipping into the mid 40’s I had to find them first as they had relocated from rock-strewn shallow water structures to deeper primary drop offs ranging from 20 to 40 feet of water. Warming southwest winds were a nice reprieve from the frigid weather earlier last week, but gusting winds made boat control difficult and limited our time on the water each day. Trolling against the wind at a half mile per hour with a Carolina rigged a 4-inch blacktail chub allowed me to follow the contour and catch our fish. Walleye anglers are trolling crankbaits just above deep weed edges in 10 – 15 feet of water.

Lake Puckaway – This shallow stained- water lake is one of the first to freeze up each fall and while last week’s warming trend opened the center of the lake, the shoreline areas remained ice up with 3 – 4 inches of ice. Ice fishing for bluegills is good in the back channels of the Fox River which feeds into Lake Puckaway, and anglers setting up tip-ups for northern pike and walleye are also doing well along the south shore of the lake.

I will be speaking on late fall to early winter open water bass fishing on Big Green Lake at the Walleyes Unlimited monthly meeting Tuesday, November 29th at 7 p.m. The meeting location is The Hideaway Pub & Eatery, 9643 S. 76th St., Franklin, WI

KANKAKEE RIVER

Robert Johnson with a hybrid striped bass from the Kankakee River. Provided photo

Robert Johnson with a hybrid striped bass from the Kankakee River.

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Bob Johnson emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale – Went back to the river and like you had mentioned, the ice thawed to open water. The water temp Saturday morning was right at 40 degrees and very clear. Caught about 8 Smallies on a jerk bait and another on a texas rig fished in deeper water. The Hybrid also hit the jerk bait towards the end of the morning. Fall seems to be the time of year Hybrids appear. I also added a pic of a bald Eagle. Very cool!!

George Peters with a smallmouth bass from cold water on the Kankakee River. Provided photo

George Peters with a smallmouth bass from cold water on the Kankakee River.

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George Peters emailed the photo above and this:

Happy holiday Dale! Just went down to the kkk, the ice is gone so I tried to get a Walkeye in some deep water with a 1/8oz. Jig and twister tail. No Walleye but this Smallie. Then I hooked something big! It took about 10 min. To get it in and that is when I noticed something very unusual. See next photo..

I will try to have somebody smarter than me figure out what kind of carp it is.

LAKE ERIE

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

LAKEFRONT

Tony Hammond with a good brown trout on the Chicago lakefront. Provided photo

Tony Hammond with a good brown trout on the Chicago lakefront.

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Tony Hammond messaged the photo above Thursday and this:

Got a 14 pound brown yesterday downtown!

Surprised me trolling

Browns and lakers to go with the perch.

Casey Shell with a good lake trout on the Chicago lakefront. Provided photo

Casey Shell with a good lake trout on the Chicago lakefront.

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Jim Shell emailed the photo above and this with his perch report:

Hi Dale!

. . , We targeted perch all 3 days and also lake trout on Wednesday and Friday. For the Lake Trout we trolled the break walls with crankbaits and spoons, for about an hour and a half each of the 2 days. We boated 2 fish each of those days. They sure do put up a good battle this time of the year.

. . .

Jim Shell

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

Hi Dale

Perch fishing good up and down the lakefront. All the usual baits, minnows top the charts but wax worms, spikes,shrimp etc…

Steelhead still being caught in harbors even finally saw a Brown Trout caught here at Montrose on Saturday. They are casting lures and crankbaits as well as using spawn sacs, wax worms, night crawlers and larger minnows.

As it stands now weather permitting the shop will be open through December 18th.

Shop hours right now are 6am to 3pm Monday through Friday 6am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday. Our mobile bait van Parked Bait will be at 85th St. from about 6am to 8 am then stopping at Navy Pier between 8:30am & 9am for the next 3 weekends (weather permitting).Have a great week!

SALMON SNAGGING: Here are the details from the IDNR:

4) Snagging for chinook and coho salmon only is permitted from the following Lake Michigan shoreline areas from October 1 through December 31; however, no snagging is allowed at any time within 200 feet of a moored watercraft or as posted: A) Lincoln Park Lagoon from the Fullerton Avenue Bridge to the southern end of the Lagoon. B) Waukegan Harbor (in North Harbor basin only). C) Winnetka Power Plant discharge area. D) Jackson Harbor (Inner and Outer Harbors).

MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN

Click here for the update from D&S Bait, Tackle & Fly Shop .

MANISTEE RIVER, MICHIGAN

A steelhead in winter weather from the Manistee River. Provided photo

A steelhead in winter weather from the Manistee River.

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John Hankes emailed the photo above and this:

Dale, loyal SunTimes subscriber here. I’m used to this weather in January but this came early! Conditions were tough in Michigan but we made the best of it! Not for the faint-hearted for sure.

John Hankes

Geneva, IL

He added these details:

Big Manistee River, Wellston, Michigan. November 20 and caught it on a trout bead.

MAZONIA

Closed, except Monster Lake is open all year. Lakes will reopen after various hunting seasons.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

Kurt Justice at Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua emailed:

The big question has been if there is any fishable ice? There is some. The bigger question is, will there be fishable ice after the snow? That has yet to be seen.

Many bays (south ends) and smaller lakes report 2 ½ – 4+. Some areas with ice that has moved due to wind, have up to 7. North of us on the Turtle Flambeau Flowage, reports are of 4-7 on most bays.

We won’t know how much snow we will get until its here. On the positive side, cold (single digits) and wind should dry and blow most new snow off the existing ice and allow more ice to build.

Not a lot of reports from the ice anglers that have ventured out. Walleye have been rather slow and inconsistent. Some good Pike action earlier in the week, but that has slowed also. Most panfish action has been scattered, though reports of both Walleye and Gills prior to the coming weather (11/29) have been good.

Use caution no matter where you travel. Only foot traffic is advised. Carry safety spikes, rope and wear flotation suits or life jackets for now.

Forecast for the rest of the week looks promising. Opportunities should open up as ice thickens. As earlier stated, pending snow (11/29) will tell.

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop – Like us on Facebook

NORTHWEST INDIANA

Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted:

Perch fishing is in full swing now. Boat fishermen doing best but plenty being caught on the bank.

Perch from the mouth of cal river all the way to Torrence ave bridge.

Perch fly rigs or crappie rigs fished with fatheads, Rosie reds or baby golden roach minnows best but shrimp and white spikes do it too.

Some whitefish and lakers being caught off of Michigan city peir.

Slez’s bait hours are 5 to 5 daily. We have all minnows in stock.

Christina Petrites at Stan’s Bait & Tackle Center in Hammond emailed:

Hi, Dale! I hope you’re enjoying the nice weather we’ve had this week. Looks like it’s gonna slowly cool down in the upcoming days; here’s what’s been happening around here in the fishing world:

Steelhead fishing on the rivers is off to a great start, with good numbers of fish being caught on both Maglips & Flatfish; spawn is doing well also.

Pier anglers are catching decent numbers of Whitefish & Lake Trout, with some Steelhead mixed in.

SHABBONA LAKE

Site winter hours—through Jan. 31—are 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Boondocks is closed

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT

Andy Mikos’ son with a brown trout from Kenosha, Wisconsin. Provided photo

Andy Mikos’ son with a brown trout from Kenosha, Wisconsin.

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Andy Mikos emailed the photo at the very top, and the photos above and below, and this:

Went out today in Kenosha for the annual day before Thanksgiving trip. Had to break through 150 yards of ice just to fish. We went 2 for 7 on browns. My son lost 2 next to the boat but still landed one. Thought you might like the picture with the geese in the background.

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN

Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said steelhead are good in the river from I-94 to Berrien Springs, be aware the water is very shallow; smallmouth in the river are very good; a couple steelhead and a couple whitefish off the pier. Whitefish have been even better at South Haven.

Paddle and Pole hosts the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder Camera.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:

Water temp is 34. We are picking up some walleye below Boom Island, 22-27ft. There were a few venturing out on the ice last weekend, but the warm weather but an end to that for now


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Author: Dale Bowman

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