The 2012 fishing year, now drawing to a close, has been another up-and-down year of fishing in this area. The climate changes have really had an impact on the fish population and therefore on the fishing.

Last year’s winter was very light by Chicago standards, leaving many area lakes and streams with a water-level problem in early spring. The northern pike spawn was very early because of the weather, and the largemouth bass spawn was very late for the same reason.

Rain, when there was any, came in bunches and flooded a lot of the best fishing areas, leaving large amounts of debris in the water and hampering the bite. Just when it looked like the fish had settled into their early summer patterns, along came the longest 90-degree heat wave ever. If the fish could swim, they moved to deep water for the cooler water temperatures. Those that couldn’t move didn’t make it.

June saw late-August water temperatures: The water in Lake Michigan reached almost 80 degrees near shore, and the perch population moved from 10-foot-deep water to 120-foot-deep water, where they suspended 50 to 60 feet deep, miles off shore. The bass population also moved from shallow-water feeding grounds to reefs and humps off-shore in search of cooler water.

In August, even the fishing on Lake Vermilion, 610 miles north, had suffered damage from the heat. For two full weeks the number-two walleye lake in the State of Minnesota gave a total of four walleyes. The lake had dropped several feet since the season opened in May, and the vegetation that normally dies back in September was already turning brown in August.

The fall here in the ’burbs saw very little improvement in the fishing. There were occasional good days, but mostly poor results.

Enough about 2012 – here’s looking forward to some great fishing in 2013 for everyone. Have a very happy holiday season, and we’ll see you in the New Year. Until then, keep a tight line.

— Dick