November Fishing in Chicago
Now that November has crept up on us in no time, this is the month when most folks finally take their fishing gear out of the car or out of the den and put it all away until next spring. Time to get ready for the holiday season, deal with the shorter days and colder weather, and let the fishing wait until a nice balmy day next April. But really, your fishing season does NOT have to end just yet. Sure, renting a boat out on Deep Lake this time of year may not be as comfortable as a nice June day, or taking the kayak out on Busse Lake can be an additional challenge with the wind and cold, but there are other fishing opportunities – as well as fish to be caught!
Over the past several years, the Des Plaines River has provided me with some outstanding November fishing. Northern pike are the main fare, but good catches of largemouth bass and rock bass can be had (on the northern stretches), and add in a few smallmouth bass and walleye on the middle and southern stretches. Access is usually as simple as finding a preserve parking lot and exploring for a good spot to cast. Actually, November can be easier to fish from shore with the brush being much thinner and additional locations that weren’t accessible during the summer months are to easily accessed.
Perch fishing Lake Michigan at any of the various Chicago harbors can provide some fun action. Even at night, one can have a good time casting a line with minnows and hauling in a few nice sized perch.
The Busse Lake warm water discharge area is just getting started too. This location never freezes and provides the combination of oxygenated water from the nearby Busse Lake main dam, as well as the warm water from the water reclamation plant outflow. Yeah, it may sound gross, but it isn’t. Gin clear water and a fair amount of decent sized bass, with a excellent numbers of smaller sized bass will certainly provide some fishing thrills during this “off season”.
Don’t be afraid to still keep a rod and reel in the car and cast a jig and pig, plastic worm, or rattle bait and any preserve lake or nearby pond. If there’s fish in there, they will be fattening up for the winter and may jump at the opportunity for a quick meal. Also, try live bait! Yep, live bait can be deadly this time of year. No shame in using a fathead minnow or golden roach instead of that crankbait you have SO much summer confidence in. When you’re holding up that big fish, you’ll be glad you did!
So don’t put away that fishing gear just yet!