Thursday, December 31, 2009

Great Lakes Anger : Year End Fish Totals

The results are in ladies and gents. It was one amazing year chasing fish up and down the Great Lakes. Thanks to every one of you for your readership, your support, your questions, and your comments.

Here are the totals:
Bluegill : 2
Brook trout : 5
Brown Trout (inland) : 54
Brown Trout (lake-run) : 16
Coho Salmon : 4
Crappie : 2
Creek Chub : 3
King Salmon : 11
Largemouth Bass : 47
Muskellunge : 1
Northern Pike : 72
Pumpkinseed Sunfish : 3
Rainbow Trout (inland) : 5
Rock Bass : 67
Smallmouth Bass : 16
Steelhead : 9
White Sucker : 1
Walleye : 7
Yellow Perch : 521

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chicago Perch Fishing Report : 12/20/2009 : Montrose Harbor

The ice is beginning to move in and perch are harder to find as a result. I found today at montrose harbor that getting away from the open water and fishing between the floating ice floes was the best way to find the fish. Perch were very scattered and the bite was lite when it did happen.

I hooked a few fish on artificials and a few more on cut bait made from a dead perch some other inconsiderate fisherman threw directly onto the ice.

Reports from Navy Pier sound similar, that you have to move around and work to find the school and when you do the perch are small. I caught a couple above 8 inches but most ran around 6 today.

The harbors still have a way to go before they lock up for the winter. Get out and catch some perch before you have to drill through to find them.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Great Lakes on the Ground : A new Blog from Andy Buchsbaum

This afternoon I found myself diving deeper into paragraph after paragraph of text focused mainly on the invasion of Asian Carp in the Chicago River and Calumet/Saganashkee Channel.

This blog is only a week old and is only six posts deep but if the writing continues on the vector it currently holds it should produce good reading for weeks to come.

Please give this new blog a read here, you'll be happy you did!

Andy Buchsbaum is Regional Executive Director of the National Wildlife Federation, he has taken the side of the Great Lakes on a number of Great Lakes issues in front of a congressional committee and is certainly considered a friend of Great Lakes Anglers everywhere.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lamprey Eels Continue Invasion in Great Lakes

A very well written article in the Niagara Falls Review.

An excerpt:

"The Great Lakes were pretty much a closed eco-system for thousands of years. The plants, animals and fish within this system co-existed with one another in a relatively balanced level. The early arrival of explorers from the east had little impact on this balance. The arrival of settlers in greater and greater numbers began to change the landscape. Logging and farming re-shaped the lands around the rivers and streams feeding into the lakes. As the human population grew, the once-balanced environment became unbalanced."

Read on by clicking the link above.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Stream of Consciousness

Another bit of beautiful, mouth watering, heart pounding video. I'll post them as long as they keep making them.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mike Iaconelli and Eric Haataja : City Limits Fishing : Milwaukee

I've done what they did dozens of times this year, and can guarantee you it's going to be a good show that showcases Milwaukee's premier Brown Trout fishery. Friends of mine were even out landing brown trout the same day he was making this video.

I've met Eric in Milwaukee and he certainly knows the harbor and the fishery like the back of his hand.

There is a great write up of the event here in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Chicago Perch Fishing Report : 12/13/2009

Perch are finally showing up in numbers in the harbors near Chicago, fishing picked up this morning at Montrose Harbor around 8:30 a.m. today and continued to be good until I left at 10:30. Between myself and two friends we pulled up around 75 perch in those 2 hours, 14 of which were winter keeper Perch in the 7.5-10 inch range. Shrimp on a crappie rig on the bottom worked well, artificial minnows and small spinners tipped with bait worked as well. Larger Perch hit the spinners but fish were far between using that method.

The code for the Montrose Harbor Docks (B Dock at least) is 3-4-5 this winter, this allows you to get out into the harbor and off the wall, move often if perch aren't biting to find an active school.

A friend took home the keepers in the photograph above, I gave some of my keepers to him and released the rest. A quick note, I was checked by the DNR today for license and limit. It is great to see the DNR out there enforcing some law. I wouldn't dare keep more than 15 perch or fish without a license. There is no where to run or hide and the DNR will catch you if you are poaching.

As the ice comes be safe and careful out there, a lot of fun will be had this winter on the ice but do some reading if you haven't been out before and always use common sense.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Asian Carp Fish Kill : Game Fish Saved

As I reported here a couple of weeks back they shocked the water pre-poison and removed as many game fish as possible. I only now have run across a tally of what was saved and in what numbers. Thanks to Dale Bowman at the Chicago Sun Times I'm able to bring those numbers to you today.

They are as follows:

Species saved and number:

largemouth bass : 63
smallmouth bass : 1
bluegill : 83
channel catfish : 10
grass pickerel : 2
black crappie : 1
walleye : 1
goldfish : 1
sunfish : 90

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Surf and Inshore Fishing : East Coast Stripers

I think I would like to try this type of fishing some day. It would seem that in this wonderful part of the world we live in, a willing fish isn't more than a quick car drive away, no matter where you are.


Watch this, you'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Trout Unlimited Take Action Against Asian Carp

Alright readers, I ask for your help on this one. It was brought to my attention in an email to me this morning ( that Trout Unlimited is asking people to send a letter through their "Take Action" program. Thanks to Chris S. for sending me the link and description, I'm pleased that we are forming a community of like minded, responsible anglers and lovers of the Great Lakes region.

The letter is simple and quickly filled out and can be done here at this link:

This is a copy of my version of the letter, much of it is filled in already for you (you may change it if you feel so inclined) and the last paragraph or two was added by me.

Action Item:Protect The Great Lakes (Residents IL, IN, MI, MN, OH, PA, WI)
Date Sent:12/9/2009
Description:Demand that Federal and State Agencies Take Aggressive Action Now to Protect the Great Lakes from Asian Carp
I am writing to ask that you take the most aggressive action possible to prevent the colonization of Asian carp in the Great Lakes. This would jeopardize the world’s greatest freshwater treasure by displacing native fish, disrupting a sport fishing industry worth $7 billion annually, and potentially harming boaters and other people recreating in the lakes and their tributaries.

The recent application of rotenone, a piscicide, to the area between the electric barriers and the Lockport Lock during routine maintenance, falls far short of the necessary actions to prevent further invasion by Asian carp and their colonization in Lake Michigan. In addition, the canal system that currently connects the Great Lakes with the Mississippi River systems needs to be seriously reexamined. One major rainfall could inadvertently allow invasive carp to breach the already thin barriers to their migration. Specifically, we ask the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard, Illinois and Indiana Departments of Natural Resources, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other members of the Asian Carp Rapid Response Team to implement the following recommendations:

1) Immediately close all the locks between the electric barriers and Lakes Michigan effective immediately, specifically O’Brien, Wilmette and Downtown Chicago Locks;
2) Aggressively expand the fish control and removal operations to all areas above the electric barriers up to Lake Michigan;
3) Continue and expand frequent monitoring of the Chicago rivers and canal systems and nearby areas of Lake Michigan;
4) Develop and implement a plan to decommission the canal and lock system to permanently sever the connection between the Mississippi River and Great Lakes drainages.

Trout Unlimited has more than 35,000 members living in the Great Lakes states and a long history of native fishery and habitat restoration work in the Great Lakes and its tributaries. On average, each Trout Unlimited chapter contributes more than 1,000 volunteer hours working with government agencies, private landowners, local schools, and others in their communities to improve rivers and streams though clean-up days, tree plantings and other activities and to support policies and programs that will protect and improve river and fishery health. To protect the many investments that TU has made in the Great Lakes and tributary resources, we again urge you to take immediate and aggressive actions to stop the spread of Asian carp.

I am an avid angler and lover of the great lakes. I actively teach others about the treasure we have in such a great resource and I personally would be devastated to see that resource compromised by yet another invasive specie.

Please do everything you can. This is important.

Again, thanks to Chris S for getting this to us, and please send the letter for yourself if you feel strongly about this. Follow this link to get to the letter.

December Gale Stirring up the Great Lakes

As I sit here typing my windows are rattling in their frame as a south/east gale gusts up to 40 mph. The winds will continue to howl, pushing 14 footers into Milwaukee tomorrow morning early as the winds turn west and follow this storm across the lakes, stirring up offshore waves to the 20-25 foot range in Lake Erie of all places.

Wonderful, I love the Great Lakes.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Concerned Reader on Asian Carp

A reader here at Great Lakes Angler had this to say regarding one of my prior posts on Asian Carp.

"For the past 10 years the Chicago Park District has stock the Lagoons with Catfish that came from fish farms that used Asian Big head Carp in there tanks. One can only speculate how many Asian Bighead Carp were accidentally stocked in our lagoons in the last ten years.

Now the greatest concern is two lagoons (Lincoln park zoo south Pond & Jackson Park that had direct access to Lake Michigan. Lincoln Park Lagoon had a Fish Kill, I believe that Jackson Park lagoon maybe next.

Now I previously tried to bring all of this on several online Fishing communities in Chicago, but unfortunately my actions were perceived as just spamming & many just plain ignored my postings. One website deleted my posting stating that "this was there house". I know for a fact one of the online-monitors of that site works for CPD.

I've even contacted bob "The Fishin' guy" from CPD & he gave me a well rehearsed statement that "the Asian Bighead carp in the Lagoons don't pose a great threat in the lagoon because the fact that they need fast current to spawn/reproduce". Which I feel is absolutely BS! Even though the Lincoln Park south pond was not connected to the lake like Jackson park is, it still had a drain pipe that went directly to the Lincoln park lagoon next to LSD."

Due to reading Dale Bowman's recent articles in the Chicago Sun Times detailing catches of Bighead Carp in these very lagoons I'd say that this "concerned citizen" is on the right track.

Thanks for the input my friend, I value all constructive feedback I get and do my best to read any comments or emails that I receive. I found this particularly detailed and well written comment to be important to bring to the attention of all the readers.

Thanks again.

-Great Lakes Angler

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Milwaukee Area Trout Fishing Report : 12/06/2009

As promised, I made it up to Milwaukee today to find some Lake Run Trout.

I started at my favorite spot on Oak Creek at first light, and was able to snap up a foot long steelhead right away. It wasn't long until the weekend party of "fishermen" walking down the middle of the river went ahead and spooked the entire river. I couldn't take it today, I just got in my car and headed for Milwaukee where my friend Mike was waiting at the harbor. I should mention that I did count a dozen steelhead moving in holes and bedding in what little gravel there was. I would have had a chance at these fish and likely would have stayed for a couple more hours had I not had the river ruined rudely by these guys who don't respond to my questions or comments about their style of fishing.

I met a guy on the river last month and ended up talking to him for a long time, he told me flat out that he considers every last angler on the river just another "friend he hadn't met yet". I wish more anglers were like you Andy. (Andy lives near Oak Creek and is a regular there). His courtesy was great, we even fished the same hole, he asked my permission to move into the top of the hole and fish it and then to skip by me and continue making his way downstream. We hopped over each other for about an hour sharing the crowded river with no problems.

Now that the rant is over I'll continue. We did what is becoming a ritual for our crew, skipping from spot to spot in the harbor looking for active fish. We checked the sailing center, the slips, the discharge, the channel, and finally we found some players at the summerfest lagoon.

Mike managed to entice one of the bigger browns in the lagoon with a hand tied fly that I tied up last winter after salmon season. I got a spawned out female on a spawn sac.

I would recommend people skip the harbors for the time being and find players in tailouts of deep pools and in rapids in the front of them after the day starts getting on its way. If I could re-do the day I might skip the harbor all together and focus on the Milwaukee River, which I unfortunately didn't get a chance to fish. I did have a great day with Mike and somehow the sun made 30 degrees feel like 45.

Some rain or snow melt-off will kick things into high gear on the tributaries, so look for that in December and January, any runoff will push fresh fish into all your favorite holes and these fish are often ready to take a spawn sac dead drifted through those pools.

That might have been the last Steelhead and Brown Trout for me in 2009, I may shoot at some perch here from Montrose Harbor and Navy Pier in the mean time. I'm slowly ticking my way to 1000 fish for the year and Lake Michigan Yellow Perch might just seal the deal.

Until next time, enjoy the photos!

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Quick Note on the Asian Carp Fish Kill

A single bighead carp has been found, and it looks as though this huge endeavor may not have been as necessary as previously thought. The sky might not be falling out yet, there is still hope.

The Army Corps of Engineers is doing a study to decide weather closing the locks in Chicago is a necessity.

Take a quick read through this article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has sent a letter to the bosses at the Army Corps asking (demanding actually) them to take a quick hard look at the costs and benefits to closing the locks.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Some Great Tarpon Fishing for a Cold Winter Night

It's getting cold on the fifth coast, warmer waters and blue skies are looking nice. This video is full of great footage of Tarpon grabbing up big flies, breaking a few rods, and jumping clear out of the water.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Today's Chicago Sun Times : Asian Carp on the Front Page

I suggest picking up a copy, or at the very least read through some of the article online here. The article speaks of the "boondoggle" that is the barrier, and of the poisoning of the channel tomorrow (Wendesday). Just under 7 miles of the river is going to be poisoned to prevent the advancement of Carp, although Dale Bowman does bring up some good points in his column, citing half a dozen or so cases of carp being found or caught in Lake Michigan already.

Photo from John Patsch/Sun Times

"The economic costs of these fish to the ecosystem would be tremendous - unquantifiable and irreversible."