It’s fall muskies, hope that rains spark the river actions on Lake Michigan and white bass on the rivers for this Midwest Fishing 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 email@example.com.
Plenty of salmon around to be snagged in the Illinois lakefront harbors, though fish are darkening.
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)
Crappie time is coming, now that fall trout time is pretty much past.
AREA WATER LEVELS
Go to http://water.weather.gov//ahps2/index.php?wfo=lot to check area water levels and projections. Probably a good week to do this again.
To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to http://waterdata.usgs.gov/il/nwis/current/?type=flow
(Head): Musky and northern hitting, and deer hunters preparing for the rut; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin¹s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau).
The fall musky bite in the central Wisconsin area is right now and big fish are being caught by anglers running large suckers run under bobbers and by guys throwing large jerkbaits like Suicks and Mantas. Most of the action is in 8 to 14 feet of water but a few fish have been caught suspended over very deep water up to 30 feet deep.
Walleyes in the central Wisconsin area have been very active and nice catches are being made by anglers working the deeper pockets in the river and sharp drop-offs in the lake. Most of the walleyes are in at least 10 to 12 feet of water with some even deeper. A slow presentation using jigs tipped with large fathead minnows has been the best means for targeting these walleyes.
No update from Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass.
Drawdown is underway, try for walleye around “The Triangle” at Mineola/Fox/Nippersink. Staff at Triangle reported mainly muskie guys out with suckers; otherwise it is white bass and crappie.
NOTE: Drawndown is undersay and the lock is closed. 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
DELAVAN: Brian Gates at Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle reported smallmouth moved shallow as 10-11 feet, taking night crawlers.
GENEVA: Gates said guys casting crankbaits toward shore are catching walleye at night.
DES PLAINES RIVER
No report this week.
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- SANGCHRIS LAKE THE WEST and EAST ARMS OF LAKE and Small AREA NEAR DAM Are CLOSED DURING WATERFOWL SEASONto 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.
No report this week.
Pete Lamar sent this:
A very brief report on the Fox: Saturday afternoon, I hit the same discharges as the week before. Didn’t move a fish at one; the other had a lot of willing smallmouth in all sizes. The unexpected bonus fish this week turned out to be a yellow bass.
Sam Bennett was back in town and sent this:
Walleye have been good. Plenty of envious text pics I’ve received from a bud who targets them exclusively. Still, have to know where and what you’re doing. Husky jerk or fatheads. No clue on spots. Typical areas I assume.
I got into town on Halloween and was able to find smallies just off of the shad. River is choked with shad. They travel in year class. Find the smaller guys and fish the fast water next to the schools.
Got my first Fox musky in the bigger shad. A fluke. Be prepared to spend time and fish high probability spots with little action. I got a nicer smallie as well. Put in the time or wait for ice. The river provides but it’s slow to do so. If you can wait her out there are better fish to be found.
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/
The Wisconsin DNR has a report, which is typically updated on Tuesdays, posted at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html
Staff at Time on the Water Outdoors reported with increased flow, white bass are going up and down the river, all the way to the Starved Rock dam; sauger moved up to Spring Valley bridge and the clam beds. The rain coming in should only help, I suspect.
Rains should help bring some fresh fish in the streams.
Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.
Norm Minas (nice to have him back) sent this:
river is a bit above normal flow for this time of year, stained, definite mud lines at inflows as they bring clearer water now. water temps low 50′s, more leaves than weeds in water column. algae still present on bottom in some stretches.
one morning it was mystical being out there, the mist slowly rising off the water, gently twisting upward to be eaten by the sun’s rays well above my head. there were occasionally glimpse of vibrant yellows, oranges and reds interspersed with rusts and greens through the mists as the colors of the changing season were fleeting in and out of view. you could hear but only occasionally catch sight of geese passing over head. the presence of other geese on the water was noted only audibly. unseen critters rustled through the undergrowth along the banks. the water had a steely look to it and seemed quieter than usual although that may have been an illusion created by the sense of isolation I felt.
As far as fishing goes, the bass were on mud lines at inflows, mostly on cranbaits worked slowly against the current. there were a few that took jig/pig bounced along the seams. the walleyes hit best in the low light on rapala j-11′s on flats off the channel edges.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley of Water Werks Fishing Team sent this:
This might be more of a “lack of “report”. Tried to fish the Kankakee yesterday. River came up a foot and a half from all the rain we received during the week. That put it way above normal pool for this time of year. Wading the main river was impossible. Focused more on fishing tight to the bank behind log jams with a jig and minnow. Managed some rock bass but that was about it.
Water Werks Fishing Team
The Ohio DNR has general Lake Erie info and a fishing report.
CHICAGO: Staff at Park Bait reported some bluegill at Diversery. Ed McCain at Mik-Lurch said shore guys are starting to get some perch from the river at 92nd and 95th.
WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop reported some small browns bobber fishing shrimp on harborside of South Rocks.
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.
MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:
Water temps have dropped since last report, now ranging from 36-42 degrees. The musky action has picked up from slow start. Many muskies caught in the last few days and while artificial lures may be bringing them in, most of the catches have been on suckers. . Musky Suckers have not been an issue to get in our area as they have been somewhat in the western part of the state. Heard of muskies raised or caught on Suicks, Rubber baits and Bobbies. Action has been as shallow as 5’ weedlines or some caught suspending over deeper water.
While most of the reports have been muskies, there still are a few walleye fisherman out there. A few catches off 8-13’ weedlines, mostly on walleye suckers and large fatheads as chubs have still been difficult to get. Many catches have been in DEEP water 40-65’, again on minnows.
Only one perch report and that was in 25’ weed edge on crappie minnows.
No other species reported this week. Forecast looks to be full of precipitation the next several days.
Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
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): Walleye, northern and panfish putting on a good to excellent bite, with musky action good and improving. Bow hunting action for deer heating up, with grouse hunting excellent, and diver ducks along with northern mallards continue to move in. All in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. Water temps in the Eagle River area are in the low 40s and continuing to fall.
Walleye in the Eagle River area are in 10-30 feet of water off of main lake break edges. The walleye are tight to bottom. Use a jig a minnow. All day action, and the bite is good to excellent.
Northern in the Eagle River area are in 10 feet of water or less in and around weeds and off of weed edges. Use a Husky Jerk (minnow or walleye pattern), bass style spinner bait, or a northern sucker under a slip bobber. All day action. Bite is good to excellent.
Panfish (crappies, bluegills and perch) are in 15 feet of water or less in the Eagle River area. Fish weed edges or adjacent hardbottom areas. Use a chunk of crawler or crappie minnow on a small jig or under a slipbobber.
Perch are tight to bottom, with crappies and gills suspending up and downthe water column (lake and day dependent start at the bottom and work your way up until you reach the depth that the fish are locating at on that particular day). All day action and the bite is good to excellent.
Musky in the Eagle River area are in 10 feet of water or less in and around weeds, OR off of main lake break edges in 15-30 feet of water. Use a standard size jerkbait, glidebait, crankbait, or a 13-17 inch live sucker. Standard retrieve, and don’t forget to do a “figure 8″ as your lure nears the boat. All day action (no particular feeding windows – -just random). Bite is good and improving.
Sucker bite is on for muskie at Webster Lake. Ed McCain at Mik-Lurch reported some perch on the Gary flats, some in 45 feet north of Burns Ditch; good lakers slow trolling (1.2-1.4) the reef outside of the Port with three-colors of Leadcore, a Dodger and a Spin-N-Glo.
A 9-pound walleye was reported at the mouth of Burns Ditch, other walleye are being caught at night on Deep River.
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
The Wisconsin DNR Root River Report is again being updates weekly, generally by 4 p.m. Tuesdays. The rain should only spark a good push of fresh coho, browns and Chinook.
Lakeside is closed. It’s muskie time.
For information and reports from Lakeside, go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.
The Wisconsin DNR posts a fishing report, generally updated on Tuesday at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html. As I mentioned in the Root River report, I suspect the tributaries could be prime in the next few days with the heavy rains.
Stream flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow
SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN RIVERS
Tyler Harmon sent this:
Whitefish and Steelhead action on the piers has been great. Single salmon eggs for the Whitefish and spawnbags and casting orange spoons for the Steelhead. River fishing has been slow some Steelhead, Walleye, and Lake Trout around. Spawn has been the best for the Steelhead and Lake Trout.
ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA
Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.
Check reports and info at River’s Edge.
Crappie are starting. NOTE: The annual walleye stocking is 11 a.m. today at the T-Pier (Sheffield and Calumet on Indiana side).
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN
I did not get a call into guide Bill Stoeger, so no update.