Latest News and Reports - December 19, 2015

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Perch fishing on Chicago's Lakefront

Roger Wright, Ryan Welzenbach and I got out onto Lake Michigan Last week to get a new Illinois Outdoors TV Show on the perch fishing.  We had a great day catching many fish.   The sizes varied.  Most were 7 - 9 inches.  For every 4 that size we got one 10 to 12 inches long.   Minnows were the best bait.

Fish were all in the channel that runs from the opening of the Calumet River to the opening of the breakwall on the other side of the reciprocal area off 95th Street.  What we did was use the trolling motor to find fish on the depth finder.  Once found off the bottom, we use the trolling motors spot lock and stayed on top of them until they moved off.  When that happened, we just searched for another school.

There were about 50 boats our there.  We went out during the week.  Weekends would be more crowded.  With this cooler weather as of late, fewer anglers are going out.   Check out some of the video frames from this trip.   Should get you excited to get out when the weather warms a little more.

Muzzleloader season totals from Chris Young, IL DNR

Everyone, re the totals from the Muzzleloader Season held Dec. 11-13, hunters took 2,375 deer, compared to 3,444 in 2014.  Harvest sex ratios were 52% female to 48% male (1,239 female:1,136 male).

Waterfowl Migration Report from John Gordon - Avery Outdoors

Name: Brandon Geweke
Date: 12-14-2015
Location: Antioch, Illinois
Weather: We are seeing extremely warm temperatures over our region. 65 degrees in December light south winds.
Snow Cover: 0
Water Conditions: Lots of rain has flooded the majority of our fields.
Feeding Conditions: It is very difficult because with the warm weather it has made the majority of the birds stale. They are able to get their water and food from the same source due to the large amounts of rain we have been receiving.
Species and Numbers: Good news is there are still a ton of geese in the area and a strong number of mallards. Running traffic on these birds has been the key.
Migrations: We were in the heart of the migration now. The weather has it messed up a bit but birds are still reacting to spreads and calling.
Season Stage: We still have a month of honker hunting but our duck season closes on Tuesday.
Hunting Report: Running traffic on these birds has been the key. Normally we all want to hunt the X but what we have found is we have been more successful on our traffic fields because they have not been feeding in these fields for the last week. Right now if we hunt an X field and we literally are off by 100 yards for set up in the field we will just watch the show. So we are hunting the traffic fields and putting out our entire rig of decoys.
Gossip: Nothing at this time.

Local Pond Report by Ken HUSKER O'Malley

Hey Don,  Last night I went and took out the garbage. There I saw a huge night crawler slithering across my driveway. It's December 13! I promptly picked it up and put it in my lawn. Hopefully it can catch a nice walleye next spring. What an amazing stretch of weather! Ice fishing seems so far away. Ok, onto the report.

The bass bite has slowed on area lakes. Most consistent bite has been on a white chatterbait. Crappie have been much better on lipless cranks fished over mid lake humps. Definitely has been a reaction strike this past week.   TTYL

Ken "Husker" O'Malley
Waterworks fishing team

Illinois Firearm Season for Deer harvest is up  from Chris Young, IL DNR

Deer hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 86,771 deer during the seven-day Firearm Deer Season that closed on Sunday, Dec. 6. That figure compares to 76,575 deer harvested during the seven days of firearm season in 2014.

Preliminary harvest figures for the second segment of the firearm season on Dec. 3-6 totaled 28,803, compared with 24,745 during the second season in 2014.  The preliminary harvest total for the first segment of firearm season on Nov. 20-22 was 57,968 deer, compared with the 51,830 deer taken by hunters during the first season in 2014.

Deer hunting opportunities remain in Illinois this fall and early winter.

The Illinois Muzzleloader-only Season is this weekend, Dec. 11-13. The first Late-Winter Antlerless-Only and CWD Deer Seasons (in designated counties only) will be Dec. 31, 2015-Jan. 3, 2016. The second Late-Winter Antlerless-Only and CWD Deer Seasons (in designated counties only) will be Jan. 15-17, 2016. Archery Deer Season continues through Jan. 17, 2016.

Details on the Late-Winter and CWD seasons are available on the IDNR website at:

For more deer hunting information, visit:

Niagara NY Area Fishing Report by Bill Hilts, Jr.

  1. Lake Ontario and tributaries – After the recent surge of water (thanks to Erie Canal de-watering), flows are back to around 60 cubic feet per second according to Wes Walker with The Slippery Sinker in Olcott. Creek temperatures were still around 42 degrees and lake temperatures hovered around 44 degrees after one of the warmest Decembers on record so far. We did see a quarter inch of rain earlier this week but that didn’t have much of an impact. More rain is in the forecast for this week, but we’ll have to see if it has any effect on fish and fishing. Smaller streams are low; 18 Mile has a few fish, in the best shape. Better fishing can be found off the piers with spoons and spinners … if you can get out there. Wilson and Olcott both. Winds have been a problem again to gain access to that pier. A few perch are being reported in both harbors. Need a Christmas gift idea? How about a Lake Ontario Counties trout and salmon derby season pass! You can save $20 by getting the special holiday rate – for 60 days of competitive fishing on Lake Ontario – and a chance to win a piece of $140,000 in cash! Visit the website at for details.
  2. Lower Niagara River – Fishing was good to very good until the wind blew in earlier in the week and waters changed to a slate gray color on Wednesday. It’s not blown out and shore fishermen should still catch fish with clearer water near the shoreline. Eggs or egg imitations will also work. Even boat fishermen should be able to catch a few trout by using wobbling baits like Kwikfish or MagLips, but it’s not like it was where fishermen were reporting double-digit numbers of trout – a mix of steelhead, browns and lake trout. Lake trout season is closed until Dec. 31. More wind is in the forecast for Friday but we won’t know what impact that it will have on water conditions until a day or two later. Tickets are now on sale for the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo Jan. 22-24, 2016 at $16 for a three-day pass is something you just can’t beat, a great stocking stuffer.
  3. Upper Niagara River – The big news there is that the ice boom is being put into place at the head of the river. The boom won’t impact anything too much since Lake Erie water temperatures are still in the 40s. Water conditions are questionable as of this report with the recent winds creating turbidity. Shoreline casters in the upper part of the river should be able to pick up some trout or walleye by casting spoons, spinners or stickbaits. Best spot is around Broderick Park. The Niagara River Anglers Association will have its Christmas meeting on Monday, Dec. 21 at the Sanborn Farm Museum located on Saunders Settlement Road (Route 31, Sanborn starting at 7 pm.

Bill Hilts, Jr. - Director, Outdoor Promotions
1.877 FALLS US

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