Northern Illinois Fishing Report – November 16th, 2012
The fish are starting to put the fall feed on. The bass will begin to feed with the dropping water temps. The fish are relating to any of the green weeds or wood and search baits like spinnerbaits and swim jigs are doing quite well at finding the aggressive fish.
Also pitch the weeds with heavy jigs and work the weed edges from shallow into the deeper water. The bass will be cruising these weedlines looking for an easy meal. Fish have been reported to be most active in the upper lakes. The boat docks have been holding some good fish, but bigger fish have been found around the channels.
The panfish bite is good as usual and the boat docks are offering some good structure. Look for the black floating docks or wood docks as those have the warmer water near them. Wax worms or crappie minnows on a single hook or your favorite ice jig under a slip float have done really well.
Work the areas in the 7 to 8 feet of water near the weeds. The crappies are suspended over deeper water as well as some of the larger bluegills. Watch your graph on the breaklines, and you will find the suspended fish. Minnows or jigs under a float or small jigging spoons worked around the suspended fish have been top producers. In the evening hours, watch for birds and surface splashing and you will find the white bass.
The whites have been schooling the minnows and busting the schools at the surface. Cast inline spinners or small crankbaits into the action, and it will be non-stop fish while the school is around.
The walleye bite is starting to pick up with the cooler water. You will find fish mostly in the early morning hours and the evening. However, overcast days are really turning those fish on and they are hitting all day. Bouncing jig and minnow combinations near bridge pilings, in channels and even on the weed edges are all proven to be good areas. You will want to catch the fish as they move up from the deeper water into the flats.
Twitch baits like x-raps as well as the standard jig and minnow combinations have been catching fish. Concentrate on deep water to shallow water transitions near current areas. The upper portion of the Fox has been producing some walleyes. Troll shadraps on long lines, and change up your speeds to trigger a strike.
The muskie fishing has been really starting to pick up nicely. There have been reports of some big fish being caught as well as higher numbers of fish. Fishing live suckers while casting has been the most productive pattern. Fishermen are getting a lot of follows that are not committing; however they are taking the live bait. Look for the breaklines associated with decent weed growth.
Troll or cast these edges working parallel to them with glidebaits or cranks. Bucktails with large blades can really be productive at this time as well. Trolling will allow you to cover a lot of water and increase your chances of hooking up with a nice trophy.
Forest Preserve Lakes
Crappie and bluegill fishing is slow. Channel cats are biting on stinkbaits, nightcrawlers and chicken livers. Flatheads biting on big roaches, bluegills, sucker minnows and carp. Bass fishing steady using medium roach minnows, soft plastics, lizards and worms. Pike biting in good numbers on roach minnows.
The salmon spawn bite has really picked up with fish being taken on spawn floated under a slip float during the daylight hours. Fish are still being caught casting crankbaits.
It is key to fish these baits very slowly so that they offer a target that stays in front of the fish longer. Waukegan has reported sporadic good catches of coho and kings with the downtown harbors reporting really good catches of fish.
There have been good reports of fish being caught north of the border in Wisconsin. With the end of the king run, this means that the steelhead and browns will soon follow.
Trolling for kings has been very sporadic with very few people heading out. For those who have been out, they have found some fresh fish in the 180 fow range fishing 30 to 50 feet down with spoons and flasher fly combos. There have been a few reports of a good brown trout bite trolling lead core and smaller spoons in the 20 to 30 feet range. This bite will only get better as the water begins to cool more.
The perch fishing has been on and off from the shore and from the boats both in the north and in the south. Wait until late November and they will really start to feed well on the south end.
The lake trout are starting to show up on the reef outside of the Port of Indiana. Trolling dodgers with spin-n-glos or body baits will put some of these colorful spawners in the boat. Jigging gulp jerkshads is also a productive way to hook into a giant.
There have been some really good reports from the city harbors of good size smallmouths being caught. The smallmouths are being caught all the way down into the Portage area of Indiana.
Goby-style baits on jigs as well as “drop-shot” rigs are putting some good fish in the boat. With the cooling water, these fish are really starting to feed up for the winter.
The smallmouth action has picked up again with the recent rains and the cooling water.
The fish are starting to school up and feed heavily. Fish using live minnows with a small hook and a few split shot about 12 inches above the hook. Work the eddies created by underwater or above water structure.
Fish have also been holding in the heavy current areas behind bottom structure waiting to ambush anything that comes past.
Bouncing jigs with white or crawfish colored twister tails can produce some respectable fish. Work the jig slow and fish the current seams and slack water. Pitch bass jigs to the rock walls and eddies and swim them back.
Darker colors seem to get more attention. Twitching a jerkbait with a strong rip/pause pattern can trigger some aggressive strikes.