Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes and rivers around Chicago fishing (update)

Written By Sun-Times Wire Posted: 10/22/2013, 10:57pm

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(NOTE: DOWNSTATE NOTES UPDATED) Crappie fishing, fall trout in Illinois, incoming trout and salmon around Lake Michigan lead this Midwest Fishing Report.crappieChain2013

Did I mention crappie? Say Tim Lynch and his 16-inch crappie from the Chain O’Lakes report.

I will usually post the sprawling, raw-file online version of the MFR, which appears condensed on the Sun-Times outdoors page, generally by Tuesday evening. 

If you have suggestions, tweet @BowmanOutside or email straycasts@sbcglobal.net.

FALL TROUT

Season opened in Illinois on Saturday. The new sites might be best choice. Staff at Wolf Lake said plenty of trout are left. Marcus Benesch said not many fished Busse Woods, less than at the traditional Axehead; he did best on green PowerBait.

Open waters nearby include in Cook County: Axehead, Belleau, Busse Woods North Lake (new), Horsetail and Wolf Lake (new); DuPage: Silver, Pickerel and Grove; Kankakee: Bird Park Quarry; Kendall: Big Lake; Lake: Banana and Sand Pond; McHenry: Spring Grove Hatchery Pond (new); Will: Lake Strini (new) and Van Horn Woods (new).

Those 16 and older generally need a trout stamp and a fishing license. Daily bag is five.

Basic methods are light line (4-pound), small hooks (No. 12 or smaller) or ice jigs with small baits (prepared trout baits, corn, pinch of Velveeta cheese, small fatheads, red worms) under tiny floats.

Click here for the general release on the fall trout season statewide.

SNAGGING

Here are the regs:

Snagging for chinook and coho salmon only is permitted from the following Lake Michigan shoreline areas from October 1 through December 31; however, no snagging is allowed at any time within 200 feet of a moored watercraft or as posted: — Lincoln Park Lagoon from the Fullerton Avenue Bridge to the southern end of the Lagoon, — Waukegan Harbor (in North Harbor basin only), — Winnetka Power Plant discharge area, — Jackson Harbor (Inner and Outer Harbors)

AREA LAKES

Crappie reports are increasing and will be even more with the cooler weather, but the biggest thing remains the fall trout program.

AREA WATER LEVELS

Go to http://water.weather.gov//ahps2/index.php?wfo=lot to check area water levels and projections.

To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to http://waterdata.usgs.gov/il/nwis/current/?type=flow

CENTRAL WISCONSIN

From Hooksetter’s Guide Service:

(Head):  Good action for walleyes, muskies, and crappies, with bow deer hunters getting ready for the rut; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin¹s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau).

Anglers are in the central Wisconsin area are having good luck on walleyes and muskies, with consistent action from crappies and white bass.  A lot of the action is taking place on main lakes along sharp breaking channel edges and in submerged structure.

The muskies in the central Wisconsin area have been taking large baits like Reef Hawgs, Suicks and Mantas, along with rubber style baits like Bulldawgs.

Most of the walleye and crappie action in the central Wisconsin area has come on jig and minnows combinations worked right in the deep structure or along the deepest part of the break lines on the main lakes in the area.

CHICAGO RIVER

No update from Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass.

CHAIN O’LAKES

Chain regular Tim Lynch caught a 16-inch crappie, the photo above, symbolic of top bite. Staff at Triangle reported most crappie being taken near shore on small minnows. Muskie are steady, fish reported daily. Bluegill and white bass are spotty. For walleye, try current areas.

Check updates at http://www.foxwaterway.com/ or (847) 587-8540.

For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/

COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS

MAZONIA:  Fishing is closed, other than Monster Lake at Mazonia South stays open for fishing year round. BRAIDWOOD: Closed to fishing. LaSALLE: Closed to fishing.  HEIDECKE: Closed to fishing.

DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES, WISCONSIN

No update this week.

DES PLAINES RIVER

Marcus Benesch sent this:

Plummeting water temperatures on the river.  About 8 days ago we had water temps in the mid 60s.  Now we’re looking at low 50s and dropping in Cook County.  Pike taking more time than usual to adjust. Bite really slowed down.  Was able to mustard a half dozen yesterday in the drizzle using a 5 inch white fluke bounced into every laydown.  Water clarity is great and most of leaves are still in the trees not floating on the water surface.  Some panfish still biting in the sunny shallows.

For the guys on the south Des Plaines River, channel cats have been making one last push with the cold front. Lost 2 and landed 2 while Pike fishing last Friday evening.  A buddy of mine in Joliet is having similar run ins.  All on artificial presentations.

Nick Doumel of brookfieldangler.com sent this:

The cold weather/water has definitely had an impact on fish activity and location. All of my normal smallie spots were nearly void of life. In a 1 mile stretch that has produced big numbers, I only pulled one dink. The water on that stretch is all a bit faster with random pockets and holes. Water clarity is stellar.

By the time I got to the end of that first stretch, I had a theory that they would be in slower water so I hiked back up stream to a few shallow stretches I know about with a pretty slow and steady current. I found 5 more fish – 2 smallies and 3 large mouth. The biggest smallie was only 12″ and the large mouth were about the same.

Minnow patterns were the best bet but color preference had definitely changed. A month ago, bright was the way to go. This time around, they wanted something that matched the rest of the landscape…slightly drab.

DOWNSTATE NOTES

UPDATED: Larry Dozard of larrysfishinghole.com sent this on Downstate closures during the fall and winter hunting seasons:

- ANDERSON LAKE is CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING for the season
- BANNER MARSH IS CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING
AND AS OF OCT. 31st, BANK FISHING ONLY ALLOWED AFTER 1PM   but   NO FISHING ALLOWED in EAST POINT ACCESS AREA ,
which is CLOSED TO ALL FISHING to provide a GOOSE REFUGE AREA during season till Feb. 1st
- DOUBLE T STATE FISH and WILDLIFE AREA IS CLOSED TO FISHING for the season and remains Closed till APRIL 1st, 2014
- EMIQUON PRESERVE during waterfowl hunting season fishing is allowed only between Noon and sunset.
- EVERGREEN LAKE – A SOUTHERN PART OF Lake AROUND DEER ISLAND and ALL OF SIX-MILE CREEK BAY  IS CLOSED TO GAS MOTORS from Oct. 15th through JAN. 1st to allow for resting areas for migratory waterfowl.  YOU ARE ALLOWED TO STILL RUN A TROLLING MOTOR IN THESE AREAS ONLY. – Also, the ENTIRE lake and park, with the exception of the campground, is CLOSED to general use Nov. 22-24 and Dec. 5-8  for the Deer Management Program.
- RICE LAKE is CLOSED to boat fishing till end of Duck & Goose season
- SNAKEDEN HOLLOW including McMASTER LAKE IS CLOSED TO FISHING for the Season till Feb. 1st
- SPRING LAKE (South & North) IS CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING in Waterfowl Hunting Area
with BANK FISHING ALLOWED ONLY AFTER 1pm–  And Closed to shore fishing in hunting areas on Oct. 26th..
AREAS THAT REMAIN OPEN TO BOATS ARE NORTH OF MAPLE ISLAND with ramp at north end at the Sky Ranch Road launch and IN PIKE HOLE with carry in boats -On December 25th boat fishing and shore fishing in the waterfowl hunting area will be allowed after 1:00 p.m. through the end of Canada Goose season.
- CLINTON LAKE the easterly area of Clinton Lake between the DeWitt (CH14) and the 48 bridges
is CLOSED FROM OCT. 10th through MARCH 31st to protect fish and wildlife. It will Re-OPEN April 1st..
- POWERTON LAKE IS CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING
and CLOSES TO SHORE FISHING and ALL FISHING ON OCT. 26th (Last day for Shore fishing is Oct. 25th)
and REOPENS TO SHORE FISHING ONLY ON DEC. 23rd AND NO BOAT FISHING  till FEB. 15th
I forgot one
- SANGCHRIS LAKE THE WEST and EAST ARMS OF LAKE and Small AREA NEAR DAM Are CLOSED DURING WATERFOWL SEASON
to boat traffic through Jan. 31, 2014  (during this time fishing boat traffic is permitted in the center hot arm only).
And the Entire lake will be CLOSED Nov. 22-24 and Dec. 5-8th due to firearm deer hunting on adjacent properties.
The exception will be for hunting programs with restricted usage during this time period.
For more info, contact site office at 217/498-9208 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

I truly appreciate it.

DuPAGE RIVER

No report this week.

FOX RIVER

SS Minnows in South Elgin–(847) 289-0135–offers the opportunities of a local bait shop.

Check Fox updates near the Stratton Dam at http://foxwaterway.com/ or (847) 587-8540. For the area above the Montgomery dam, go to http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/closures/Pages/default.aspx

To join the Fox River Angler Diary Project, go to http://data.foxriverfishing.com I think it is one of the neater projects around.

Sam Bennett has a getting-started guide for the Fox at http://www.foxriverfishing.com/tips/fox-river-getting-started-guide/

GREEN BAY

The Wisconsin DNR has a report, which is typically updated on Tuesdays, posted at  http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html

ILLINOIS RIVER

Time on the Water Outdoors reported sauger going around Hennepin and Senachwine Lake, basically from Clark island downstream.

INDIANA STREAMS

Ed McCain at Mik-Lurch reported kings in “nooks and crannies on golf courses and little streams” all over. Browns and steelhead should be coming in soon.

Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.

KANKAKEE RIVER

Ken “Husker” O’Malley of Water Werks Fishing Team sent this:

I waded the Kankakee over the weekend. River is low and very clear. Because of the grass and moss, you are really limited to the number of baits you can throw. The top water bite for smallmouth was on fire during the morning hours. Baits without rattles produced best because of the clear water. Working the baits along current seams were key. Once the top water bite ended, minnow imitating plastics on 1/0 keeper hooks worked very slowly produced a few more bass. Here are a few of the average bass being caught.

LAKE ERIE

The Ohio DNR has general Lake Erie info and a fishing report.

LAKEFRONT

CHICAGO: Shore salmon slowed. Ray Hinton has been getting a couple lakers on the lakefront; the time and water temperatures are about right for lake trout to come in. WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop reported a few kings on spoons on the lakeside, on bait under bobbers on harborside. Boaters are working 175-200 feet around the reefs big kings, big lakers and some coho.

LITTLE BAY de NOC, MICHIGAN

Jim Ross of Bridgeview sent this report:

Just got back from Little Bay. I was there from the 12th of October to the 19th.

We stayed at Lindberg’s Cove right on the lake. Walleye fishing was tough the first 4 days.

But on Weds, we trolled the same reefs with different lures, and the rattlin rouge in reddish black was the hot color. Thanks to the neighbor Gary, in the cabin next to us that gave us the secret lure color.

We got Walleyes from 17 to the biggest being 26. I was with my friend Sonny Loepke from Chicago. For the week we caught 15 walleyes, all trolling at night and on the 3 reefs.

We also got some small mouths during the day time on walleye suckers, and I also caught a football size jumbo perch, that was 14 inches on a rattlin rouge.

We didn’t pick up any walleyes on the jig & night crawler, only a carp.

We also caught 3 northern pikes on lures up to 36 inches. Weather was in the 40′s during the day, and 30′s at night; and rainy.

It was a very good trip. Thank you

MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN

Go to http://www.dsbait.com/ for information and reports from D&S Bait.

MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN

Mike Mladenik has reports and info at his Mike Mladenik Guide Service site.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:

Wind, rain, cold and snow.  Water temps in the Lakeland area continue to fall.  Fast dropping temps have put turn-over behind us, concentration will be deeper now.

Musky:  Fair-Good.  Varying reports.  Some areas slow, probably due to turn-over, others that had been off saw a spike in activity.  Suckers have been king – supply tough west of 51, but 51 and east are good for wilds.  Glide baits such as Smuttly Dogs and rubber baits such as Alien Eels, Medussas and larger twitch and jerk baits are moving fish best as is typical for this time of year.  Good numbers of tigers caught over the weekend as well as a 49” true musky.

Walleye:  Fair-Good.  Best to fish deep water lakes in 40-50’ using suckers of 3-5” (chubs if you can find them), on 3/8 oz to ½ oz jigs or Lindy style rigs.  Find drop-off areas with transition zones of hard to soft bottom.  Vertical jigging ½ oz spoons or Jigging Raps where schools are marked so competition is there.

Smallmouth Bass:  Good.  Use caution fishing deep (35-45’) using suckers.  Retrieve slowly so as to be able to safely release big smallies of 20+”.

Crappies:  Fair/Good.  Action slowing.  Best relating to drowned wood – 12-14’ deep.  Use medium fatheads to target nice crappies of 11+”.

Pike:  Fair/Good.  Live bait rigs using 4-7” suckers or chubs.  Concentrate on heavy weeds of 8-12’.

Water temps average around 49 to 50 degrees.  That’s still 5 degrees warmer than this time last year, but closer than the 12 degrees warmer just two weeks ago.

Snow and cold this week should continue to cool.  Musky fishing hasn’t been “hot” yet, so this should be the week.

EAGLE RIVER: Report for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce based on Creative Brilliance interviews with Eagle River guides “Muskie Matt” of Wild Eagle Lodge, “Ranger Rick” Krueger of Guide¹s Choice Pro Shop, Mat Hegy; and Eagle River hunting enthusiast, Dan Anderson.

(Head): Northern and panfish action good to excellent, with musky, walleye and smallmouth bass providing a good bite. Grouse hunting and migrating duck hunting is good, with woodcock hunting set to pick up big time, and bow deer hunters look forward to the quickly approaching onset of the rut; all in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.

Water temps in the Eagle River area are hovering in the upper 50s. Northern in the Eagle River area are putting on a good to excellent bite. Fish 10 feet of water or less, in and around weeds.  Use a Husky Jerk (minnow or walleye pattern), small Mepps, bass style spinner bait, or a northern sucker under a slip bobber. All day action.

Panfish (crappies, bluegills and perch) in the Eagle River area hitting strong.  Fish 15 feet of water or less off of weed edges or over adjacent hardbottom areas.  Perch are tight to bottom, with crappies and gills suspending up and down the water column (day dependent).  Use a Mini Mite, chunk of crawler, or crappie minnow on a small jig or under a slip bobber. All day action. Bite is good to excellent.

Musky in the Eagle River area locating in 10 feet of water or less off of weed edges or in and around weeds.  Use a bucktail, jerkbait, glidebait, Bull Dawg, or a live sucker (12-15 inches).  All day action, with peaks in the evening.  Do a “figure 8″ with your bait as it nears the boat. Bite is good.

Walleye in the Eagle River area are locating in 10-30 feet of water off of break edges or on adjacent mud flats.  Use a jig and a minnow.  The walleye are tight to bottom.  All day action.  Bite is good.

Smallmouth bass in the Eagle River area are locating in 10-30 feet of water. Fish hardbottom break edges and mid-lake humps.  Use a plastic tube and plastic crawfish, or a jig and a minnow.  All day action. Good bite.

NORTHWEST INDIANA

Big thing is the salmon and trout in the streams. But the great hope is perch when the lake settles. As is, McCain reported some perch being caught at the Hole-in-the-Wall.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

The Wisconsin DNR Root River Report is again being updates weekly, generally by 4 p.m. Tuesdays. Reads like big kings and some browns are in, especially on the lower portion.

SHABBONA LAKE

Weather has limited effort, though this is the perfect weather for the muskie there.

For information and reports from Lakeside, go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN

The Wisconsin DNR posts a fishing report, generally updated on Tuesday at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html.

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN RIVERS

Tyler Harmon sent this:

Well some fall steelhead are beginning to make there appearance known in the rivers. Fishing was good this weekend, and should only improve. Also still a few coho salmon around. Walleye fishing has been decent. Should be a wide variety of species hanging around the piers; few early whitefish, brown trout, lake trout, and of coarse steelhead.

ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA

Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.

WISCONSIN DELLS

Check reports and info at River’s Edge.

 

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