Chicago fishing report, Midwest Fishing Report: Lakers, hints of ice north, waiting on perch, pier passesDale Bowmanon November 17, 2021 at 2:20 am

Mike Wagner, of Rockford, with a Big Green Lake smallmouth bass. | Mike Norris

Lake trout on southern Lake Michigan, hints of ice to come in the Northwoods, waiting on perch to truly set up on southern Lake Michigan, and sales beginning for pier passes for Chicago harbors are the leading items in this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Lake trout on southern Lake Michigan, hints of ice to come in the Northwoods, waiting on perch to truly set up on southern Lake Michigan, and sales beginning for pier passes for Chicago harbors lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Mike Norris texted the photo above, which shows the rewards of fishing this time of year. Of course, as somebody who has fished with Norris, I know it helps to go with somebody as good at teaching as he is.


The word is waiting; and hoping.

Ken Schneider and Arden Katz tried the South Side slips without luck Saturday afternoon. Schneider noted that the water is clearing some after the blow, but probably needs to cool a few degrees more.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

. . . Everybody’s waiting on perch. I have had a couple reports of possible perch here and there but none that I would bank on yet. Shouldn’t be long though. . . .

Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait in Bridgeport texted:

Perch are still trying, mixed reports , but still improving

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

Everybody still waiting on the perch to load up at cal park and up the river. Some caught last few days but still not good.


The $6 pier passes, which allow legal access to select piers at most Chicago harbors, went on sale Monday. A number of additional piers were added this year to bring the total to 31 piers. The passes may be bought at Henry’s Sports and Bait, Park Bait and Northerly Island Visitor Center. Henry’s and Park Bait are cash only; Northerly Island is credit-card only.

Carl Vizzone, fishing coordinator for the Chicago Park District gave these details:

A pier pass gives fisherman an opportunity to use various docks in 6 of our harbors. There are 31 different piers to choose from in our harbor system. The only harbor that may not be ready to go on schedule is Burnham as it is our late leaver harbor for boaters. We printed Covid guidelines on the passes as well as Westrec has hand sanitizer stations at each accessible gate that we will try to keep filled. Pier pass program runs from November 15th through March 31st, from 6 AM to 11 PM 7 days per week. Passes will be available at Henry’s Bait & Sports, Park Bait Shop and at Northerly Island Visitors Center. There should be metal signage on all eligible pier gates with info and contact number.


Chicago Park District’s parking passes for the fisherman’s parking lots at DuSable and Burnham harbors are on sale at Henry’s Sports and Bait in Bridgeport and Park Bait at Montrose Harbor.

Readers suggest SpotHero app downtown. Otherwise, here are some basics: Foster (free street parking or pay lot); Montrose (now a mix of metered and free street parking); Belmont (pay lots on north and south sides); Diversey (pay lot or street parking); DuSable Harbor (pay lot or fisherman’s lot); Northerly Island/Burnham Harbor (meters, pay lot or fisherman’s lot); 31st/Burnham (meter parking between McCormick Place and 31st Street Harbor); Oakwood/39th (meters); 63rd Street/Casino Pier (pay lot); Steelworkers Park (free street parking at east end of 87th); Cal Park (free parking).


Ken “Husker” O’Malley nicely captured last of the fall colors.

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

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing.

Area lakes-Crappie continue to be the most consistent bite. Prior to the cold front, fish were still scattered along the main basin. Twitch minnows worked just over the top of weeds will take the active biters. A few smaller bass can be caught as well with this presentation. The cold front should get the fish to start schooling up more.

. . .


Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team

Rob Abouchar emailed the photo below and this:

Hi Dale

Just wanted to share nice sunset in November on island lake. I Noticed some small ponds with ice off rte 12 on the way home and monkey apples on the ground off rte 176 . I’ve heard of good ice fishing on island lake so hopefully we will have some music sessions and fish fry action this winter. I have another jam session scheduled for this Saturday to keep working on the original reggae music.

Tight Lines and Good Health


Rob Abouchar
Fall scene at Island Lake.

I don’t why, but I just enjoy hearing about reggae stirred in the fishing report.


See perch report at top.


Art Frisell at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said largemouth and pike remain fairly shallow, catfish and white bass are good on Marie and Channel; crappie slowed outside of the channels with the cooler weather; there’s some bluegill action on Channel; muskie picking up on Marie, Catherine and Channel, mostly on suckers (smaller sizes) or something like Bull Dawgs. Water levels are being dropped.

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

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


Braidwood, Heidecke and LaSalle are closed for the season; so is Mazonia, except Monster stays open all year.


SPRING LAKE: Boat fishing is closed on the main lake; boat fishing is allowed from the Sky Ranch Road ramp to Maple Island buoy during waterfowl seasons. Bank fishing along South Lake Road is not allowed until after 1 p.m. during waterfowl season.

EMIQUON PRESERVE: During waterfowl season, non-waterfowl hunting boating (which includes 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.

POWERTON: Fishing is closed.

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season. Check regulations at


Guide Mike Norris emailed this report (the photo at the top is from Big Green Lake):

Fishing Report – 11/15/2021

Mike Norris

Big Green Lake – Smallmouth bass are active anywhere from weed edges located in 14 feet of water to drop-offs in 22 to 35 feet of water. Anglers working umbrella rigs, tube baits, or snap jigging with blade baits are catching bass, but my clients and I are catching more bass while fishing with live bait. We are also catching a few northern pike and walleye while bass fishing, but the best bet for larger walleye can be had while trolling crankbaits over deeper weedbeds after sunset. Surface water temperature remains steady at 51 degrees.

Beaver Dam Lake – Jumbo perch are roaming the shoreline areas. Look for neckdown areas to draw the best perch which are running up to 11 inches. Try using an ice jig beneath a float and tip the jig with a maggot or small pieces of red worms.


Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.


Perch report at top.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

Hi Dale steelhead still being caught over at Diversey. Everybody’s waiting on perch. I have had a couple reports of possible perch here and there but none that I would bank on yet. Shouldn’t be long though. Our hours right now are 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the possibility of leaving early if the weather is really bad, call ahead. We also plan on staying open through the first weekend of December. We will also be open Thanksgiving Day at 6 a.m. I just haven’t worked out of closing time yet I’ll know more next week. Have a great week!

Capt. Dan Leslie at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan said some steelhead are being caught on in-line spinners; and a couple coho as well, still some Chinook; a few boaters catching lakers. Water cooled to the 50s.

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).

d) Disposition of Snagged Salmon and Paddlefish. All snagged salmon and paddlefish must be removed from the area from which they are taken and disposed of properly, in accordance with Article 5, Section 5-5 of the Fish and Aquatic Life Code.


Click here for the update from D&S Bait.


I think the report below has the first mention of ice.

But otherwise, most focus seems to be on deer hunting, both for bowhunters and for gun hunters (season opens Saturday). At least some anglers are targeting muskies.

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

At the halfway point of November. Pond behind shop is ice covered. Typically, that means Lake Minocqua will have ice (not safe, just ice) cover in 7-10 days. We will see!

Musky: Good – Not many anglers on water. Air temps in 30’s as are water temps. Guide Jake Smith ended his season (of 59 straight Musky trips) with a three fish day on Sunday, including a big Tiger. Most of the few Musky anglers reported best on suckers or trout, with a few boated fish on jerk baits and rubber.

Walleye: Good – Deep water bite still good for the few anglers using suckers or large fatheads in 25-40′ along mud/gravel transitions.

Little else to report as open water fishing activity is quieting down. Of note, this is the first year here in the North where Musky season remains open thru December 31st…but only on open water. ICE is not allowed to be used as a base.

Forecast for coming week has lows of 20’s to down to single digits by next Tuesday (11/23), the short time temps will be above freezing won’t keep ice from forming on smaller lakes.

Deer Gun Season opens 11/20, so be aware of your surroundings when in the outdoors and good luck!

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop – Like us on Facebook


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

Everybody still waiting on the perch to load up at cal park and up the river. Some caught last few days but still not good.

Lake trout and whitefish in Michigan city spawn or skein on bottom and blade baits and spoons baits to start with.

Crappie at lake George in Hobart around the gazebo near the bank and around the bridges using crappie minnows and Rufus jr jigs tipped with beemoth.

Few steelhead being caught in area tributaries floating voodoo jigs tipped with beemoth. Don’t stay in one area you must cover some water.

Musky suckers still in stock over here. Open 5 to 5 this time of year.


The Wisconsin DNR’s report is done for the season, should return in the spring.

The report had this note: “Nov. 15, 2021 was the 11th and final processing day at the Root River Steelhead Facility.”


Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a Shabbona Lake crappie.

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

Hey Dale,

. . .

Shabbona Lake-water temps are 47-48 throughout the lake. Muskie have been slow with most days not having even a follow. A few crappie can be taken by working plastics in the brush piles and cribs for those looking to take a break from throwing the big baits.

. . .


Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team

Concessions are closed. Site hours through Jan. 31 are 8 a.m.-5 p.m.


Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said a few steelhead are being caught at Berrien Springs; same with a few whitefish off the pier (more at South Haven).

Paddle and Pole hosts the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder Camera.

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