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Lake Michigan seeing a fall run of perch action

Updated: December 19, 2011 8:26AM



With only an hour and a half to fish earlier this week, Steve Fiorio and his brother Joe went looking for some perch out of East Chicago Marina.

“In that short time I had 11 keepers and a few nice ones,’’ Fiorio messaged. “Not in the 16-inch class, but over 14 inches are just as nice!’’

That 16-inch comment has a history. Fiorio, a sheet metal supervisor from Dyer, made history on southern Lake Michigan on Dec. 4, 2010, when he caught a freak yellow perch, which was 165/8 inches long with a girth of 111/2 inches.

Not bad. So it is understandable when Fiorio messaged, “Hope to get on them this weekend!’’

So do a lot of others. It looks like the weather and water will give fishermen a window to chase the fall bonanza of perch on southern Lake Michigan.

“Knock on wood twice, maybe we will have a couple weeks,’’ said perch guru Mike Starcevich of Mik-Lurch Fishing Tackle Outlet in Hammond. He said the water is clearing more every day.

“The good news is they are catching jumbo perch near East Chicago, limits of 10-inch-plus fish,’’ e-mailed Brian Breidert, Lake Michigan fisheries biologist. “This is pretty typical for this time of the year. Shore and boat both have been successful.’’

The most consistent bite has been from shore (permission only) and boat at the Hole-in-the-Wall. It’s been successful enough that we hear a couple fishermen were ticketed by Indiana conservation officers this week for too many perch.

Starcevich found perch on Tuesday in the 39-foot hole off the point of Inland Steel. Others found them tight to current breaks near the wall. Starcevich said the Gary flats, usually the spot in late fall, has been dead. Earlier this week, Cal Harbor was producing near the foghorn. Then Wednesday, it was outside of the gap.

In areas still holding cloudier water, Ed McCain of Mik-Lurch said key is glow perch flies and cutting minnows in half to leave a scent trail.

Shore fishing is beginning in Chicago. There’s been some limits of small perch (7 to 8 inches) at Montrose Harbor, and a few reports from the north side of Navy Pier. McCain reported some small ones in the river at 92nd Street.

Deer hunting: In recent years, the biggest danger in deer hunting has been falls from stands. On Monday came a different one. Fred Smith of Fort Wayne died due to a lacerated liver, likely from an encounter with a buck he shot during the deer reduction hunt at Chain O’Lakes State Park. According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Smith’s son said the buck was still alive and Smith “scuffled with the deer before killing it with a knife.’’ In early afternoon, he was pronounced dead at the park.

There was a lot of wind for opening weekend of firearms season. DNR deer biologist Chad Stewart said, “I heard from biologists that numbers were down a little bit, but I actually hear that every year.’’ Indiana does not do daily tabulating. Staff at Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Area reported 30 deer registered by Wednesday morning. LaSalle FWA reported six.

Fishing notes: Breidert noted there are still some fresh steelhead moving into the streams. Mik-Lurch reported a few browns mixed in. ... On the St. Joseph River in both Indiana and Michigan, it’s slowed, but some steelhead are coming through. ... On inland ponds and lakes, crappie fishing is underway.

Waterfowl hunting: LaSalle staff said ducks came in, including some mallards, but there hasn’t been a lot of hunters. Willow Slough was holding about the same as last week. Kingsbury has been slow.

Wild things: The count of sandhill cranes at Jasper-Pulaski on Tuesday was 8,001. It should be a good time for a break from turkey to watch them.



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