Midwest Fishing Report
Written by Chicago Sun Times   
Thursday, 09 December 2004 02:45
Ice fishing: northern Wisconsin: Back bays and smaller lakes have fishable ice; larger lakes remain open. During a transition period, always use caution and common sense.

For gung-ho ice fishermen, it's worth a weekend trek across the border. Eagle River: Smaller lakes have 4-6 inches. Lac Vieux Desert has good ice but only fair fishing so far. Boot and some of the bays on the Chain have better action. Bigger lakes like Twin remain open. Any lake with moving water will have unsafe areas. Hayward: Back bays have about 5 inches. Walleyes are very aggressive on tip-ups evenings and nights shallow. Pike are going in the green weeds during the day. Minocqua: Walleye are best at dusk and night on suckers or shiners on tip-ups. Some crappie in 7-10 feet in bays with weeds. Smaller lakes and flowages have up to 4 inches of ice, but it is not uniform. Minocqua had skimmed over but reopened Saturday.

Area lakes: Slow: Few trying. Skim ice was in and out on ponds and smaller lakes. With increased water flow, it should be worth trying for walleye at the forest preserves. Should be some crappie around. Wolf has some bigger walleye (up to 6 pounds) starting; should pick up.

Area rivers: High: Fox is in the best shape; others are high or flooding. With high, cold water, stick with live bait. Calumet: Sporadic perch, mostly smaller, near the mouth. Fox: Most are working below the dams for walleye, smallmouth or white bass. Experienced smallmouth guys are working downstream holes. Illinois: Below Starved Rock, the river is expected to be at or above flood stage for several days; call first. Kankakee: Best bet is to fish calm pockets near flooded shorelines, creek mouths or bridge pilings. Much of the river is at or nearing flood stage for the next several days.

Chain O'Lakes: Decent: Muskie fishing continues very good for those getting out; best on big suckers. Walleye should only improve with increased water; best with large fatheads and Lindy rigs. Start deeper (15 feet) and work shallower. Some big crappie coming from 12-15 feet on Marie. Bluegill are variable; try to find weeds in 8 feet as the starting point.

Lakefront: Variable: Weather continues to be the greatest limiting factor. Chicago: Smaller baits like spikes on Ratso jigs are doing better than minnows for sporadic perch; best has been in the weeds off the piers at Belmont or Montrose. We keep saying this, but perch fishing eventually should improve at Navy Pier -- maybe this week. Boaters for perch in Cal Harbor had a tough time late last week, but better reports started again, and it may just be a matter of searching. Waukegan: Some browns with a few nice steelhead off Johnson pier (afternoon has been better) and south rocks with lake shiners just off the bottom.

Northwest Indiana: Decent: Lakers continue decent on the reef off the Port. Boaters trying for perch in Cal harbor had better reports again beginning Sunday; go searching. Rain will muddy the creeks, but there have been decent steelhead and browns going. Should be browns around the discharges, but it has been fairly tough.

St. Joseph River, Mich.: Rising: River will become muddy and higher. Steelhead had been going strong below Pipestone.

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