From Chinook, brown trout and coho near shore and up streams around southern Lake Michigan to crappie on inland lakes, fall fishing builds for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.
Larry Green tweeted this note with the photo at the top from the Forest Preserves of Cook County:
Caught and released over 100 crappies in the Forest Preserves. Biggest was 14 inches.
MFR for Chicago fishing appears in a condensed form Wednesdays on the Sun-Times newspaper outdoors page. The sprawling raw-file report is posted here online on the Sun-Times outdoors page.
A faithful reader has been getting and seeing browns and kings at Kenosha. SE Wisconsin lakefront might be the best nearby right now. Otherwise, check the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report.
CHICAGO: Cory Gecht at Park Bait said there have been kings to 22 pounds in the last week; multiple fish were caught Sunday night at Montrose; no coho yet; a few steelhead by Diversey and Belmont. Steve Palmisano at Henry’s said there are fish here and there at low light; best on spoons and crankbaits; dropping water temperatures could help.
WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop texted:
The shore fishing has slowed down the last couple days due to effects from the Hurricanes, they’re still getting fish just not as many. It should pick back up in a couple days, they are using glow spoons, nightcrawlers, and spawn sacks.
INDIANA STREAMS/NORTHWEST INDIANA: Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind., texted:
Decent push coho and few kings in salt creek and trail creek #3 # 4 creek spinners and spawn saks and skein best baitsFish are moving fast thru mid to upper sections alreadyLakefront at burns ditch slow most fish not staging just running in at Michigan city behind dnr a few around best at nite casting small flicker shad or glow spoons still most fish that come are running straight up ditch . . . Someone asks got more leeches in today and plenty of spawn saks and skein
SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN: Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said not much off the piers.
With this cool weather, it seems like crappie fishing is picking up earlier than usual.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:
Hey Dale,Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing.Area Lakes- bass have been good on senkos Texas rigged and wacky rigged depending on how thick the weedlines are. Evening hours have been best now that water temps are dropping. Fall patterns will be setting up very soon.TTYL—Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Waterworks fishing team
AREA WATER LEVELS
Click here to find river closures listed by the Illinois DNR. Go to http://water.weather.gov//ahps2/index.php?wfo=lot to check area water levels and projection. To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to http://waterdata.usgs.gov/il/nwis/current/?type=flow
Pete Banach and Tommy Sanders won weekend bass tournament, but fishing was tough. Some nice blue catfish, as main column shows, are being caught.
Braidwood is open daily. Through Sept. 24, close is 7 p.m.; from Sept. 25-Oct. 7, close is 6:30 p.m. Final day of fishing is Oct. 17.
Art Frisell at Triangle Sports and Marine said walleye are beginning the fall feed around current areas; white bass are excellent in 8-12 feet, drift around to find schools of feeding fish; bluegill (try deeper in 8-12), crappie and muskie (deeper than normal) are fair.
For more info and lake updates, go to Fox Waterway Agency or call (847) 587-8540.
Capt. Pat Harrison of Pat Harrison Outdoors sent this:
Chicago River Fishing Report and then some.
Last week was a bit slow on the water for me, We fished Sunday night into Monday Morning up in Racine Wisconsin trolling for Trout and Salmon we went 1 for 4 boating a nice 15# Female King. I am on a learning curve with trolling with my Buddies Nick and Mike showing me the tricks of the trade. I was on the river one day last week we managed a few small Bass some nice size gills and about a dozen Cats. Water temps are dropping and levels are lowering which will be a plus. Buddies of mine that are shore fishing at night are getting some nice fish along the harbor walls. I attended the first Annual High School Bass Tournament on Bangs Lake put on By Plainfield South Bass Club, Lake County Water Sports and Wauconda Boat. The Tournament director was Bob Bobbich Head coach for Plainfield South he did an outstanding Job putting the event together.
Want to Thank Frank Hyla for the weigh in ceremony complete with the High School Bass Weight In Trailer, also Chauncey for helping Frank and doing part of the MC work and Dale Bowman for helping spread the word about the event. The event felt like a Mini Bass Masters well done guys.
I had the pleasure of having 2 State Champ anglers fish out of my G3. I have to say the future of fishing is very impressive this young guns can fish and as a two man well oiled machine. These kids that are fishing in these High School Teams are serious anglers and I am sure that in the future we will see some of them fishing Pro circuits and holding their own. I think to myself I am Blessed to be in a sport where from 3 to 93 we can still get out and fish and even compete if we choose. Sorry not much of a fishing report but I will report fishing is in good hands with the younger generation.
DELAVAN/LAKE GENEVA AREA, WISCONSIN
GENEVA: Dave Duwe sent this:
Lake Geneva Fishing Report 9/11/17 through 9/17/17
As the water has been cooling the fishing action has been improving almost daily. The fish that weren’t biting last week are starting to feed. The best bite on the lake remains smallmouth bass and rock bass.
Smallmouth bass are being caught in 22-25 ft of water. They are on deep water structure. The best bait has been extra large fat head minnows fished on a lindy rig or lindy rigged nightcrawlers. As the water cools, the nightcrawlers will become less of a factor and the smallmouth will almost exclusively feed on the minnows. Look for the fish by Yerkes Observatory, the South Shore club and between Elgin Club and Knollwood.
Largemouth bass fishing has been overall very good. The best action has been in the shallow weeds in 10-12 ft of water. The best location has been just west of Coleman’s Point and in Trinkes Bay. They can be caught on white spinner baits or drop shotting 4 inch finesse worms.
Rock Bass fishing has been very good. The average size of the rock bass is large, most of them are about 1 pound. They are mixed in with the smallmouth bass in 22-25 ft of water. The best success is coming on extra large fat head minnows fished on a lindy rig. Although Rock bass aren’t considered game fish, when they get to be over a pound, they are fun to catch for any angler.
The walleye bite remains constant. The best approach is trolling at night with large Rapallas or Wally Divers. Concentrate in the 14-17 ft depth range for the best action. Abbey Springs or the flat by Coleman’s point have been producing quite a few fish.
Bluegill and Sunfish action remains very good in the 18-20 ft depth range. The greatest concentration of fish have been by Knollwood or by Gage Marine. I’ve been catching most of mine on split shot rigged nightcrawlers straight beneath the boat slowly back trolled.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063
DELAVAN: Dave Duwe sent this:
Delavan Lake Fishing Report 9/11/17 through 9/17/17
We are starting a gradual warming trend which should improve the bite over the next week or so. It’s a bit too early to get into the fall patterns and the summer bite has been slower than average with the cooler temps this warm up will help significantly.
Northern Pike action has been improving. I’m catching them on two different methods. The first is Thill Big Fish slip bobbers and the other is lindy rigs about 1 foot off bottom. For the slip bobbers, I’ve been catching the fish in the weed flats in 10-12 ft of water. The only problem with the shallow weed bite is that the fish have a tendency to be on the smaller side. The lindy rig bite is occurring in 15-17 ft of water around the main lake points. These fish are averaging 30+ inches in size.
Largemouth bass are starting their fall migration from the weedline into the shallower weeds. The best location has been by Lake Lawn Lodge and the west end in Viewcrest and Highland Bay. They can be caught on chrome and blue Rattle Traps and medium suckers fished on a split shot rig.
Bluegill fishing has been slow. The best bite has been 12-14 ft of water. Look for the fish by Assembly Park hump or just west of Willow Point. The best approach is giant red worms or wax worms fished on an ice jig. You want to fish them with a straight line and small sinker. The fish are suspended about 2-3 ft off bottom.
Walleyes are starting to show up again. They are feeding on extra large fat head minnows or small suckers. The best depth has been 22-25 ft of water. The best spot has been the hump by Assembly Park or just off the Village point. As the water starts to cool, this bite should improve greatly.
Crappie fishing is getting better. They are starting to aggressively bite on the weedline in 12-15 ft of water. Small purple and chartreuse plastics fished on a 1/32 oz jig head have been producing most of the action. Look for them by Belvidere Park or west of the Yacht Club by the gray boat house.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063
DES PLAINES RIVER
POWERTON: Boat and shore fishing is open. Final boat day is Oct. 20; final day of shore fishing is Oct. 27. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season. EVERGREEN LAKE: Larry Dozard of larrysfishinghole.com sent this update post-Labor Day:
Here is latest for Evergreen:– FALL HOURS BEGAN SEPT. 5th FOR EVERGREEN LAKE BAIT SHOP & BOAT RENTAL:
Bait Shop: 8:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M. 7 Days/Week
Boat Rental: 8:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M. SAT. & SUN. ONLY
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
FOX RIVER: WISCONSIN
GREEN BAY/STURGEON BAY
Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay sent this:
Hey there…here is a quick update from Door County
Perch fishing has been fantastic pretty much all summer long and it should just continue to get better as it usually does as we move through September and into the later stages in fall. Areas that have been good are…Little Sturgeon, Riley’s Bay, Sawyer Harbor and right in downtown Sturgeon Bay. Fathead minnow, leaf worms and night crawlers still the best live baits.
Pike action is really starting to heat up now as it usually does come September and will continue right through fall into the ice fishing season. Better areas continue to be Little Sturgeon, Rileys Bay and downtown Sturgeon Bay. Trolling and casting large crank baits, spoons, large plastic swim baits, spinner baits and soaking large suckers all very effective for the Pike
Salmon fishing is heating up in the Sturgeon Bay ship canal as those big 4 year old Kings make their final swim to spawn. In the channel, casting and trolling with spoons and large plugs seem to be the most effective method along with soaking spawn sacs. On the big water, there is still plenty of opportunities to catch a bunch of Rainbow Trout and some nice 2 and 3 year old Kings. The best bite has been in that 180 to 250 plus foot mark. Howie Flies and an assortment of spoons have been the best
Walleye fishing continues to stay strong especially down around that Chaudoir’s Dock area. Other good areas to try this time of year are Henderson’s Point, Larsons Reef along with the vast structure and shoreline to the north of Sturgeon Bay. Trolling a wide variety of crank baits like deep Husky Jerks and Flicker shads, crawler harness and rip jigging with Rapala jigs, rippin raps and Moonshine shiver minnow all working well
Bass fishing has been very good especially around the northern Door County peninsula. Drop shotting and tubes have been the best methods. Soon, folks will start dragging around sucker minnows as those big bass look to get even bigger for the winter
1309 Green Bay Rd
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
Wisconsin DNR report is usually posted Tuesdays and includes reports from both the bay and lake sides.
Final day is Oct. 10 Lake is open daily 6 a.m. (6:30 shore side) to sunset.
B & B Live Bait–(815) 433-0432–in Ottawa is open.
INDIANA STREAMS (LAKE MICHIGAN TRIBUTARIES)
Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map. Access points for Little Cal and Salt Creek, which are closer to Chicago than Trail Creek, may be found at littlecal_saltcreek_access.
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind., texted:
Decent push coho and few kings in salt creek and trail creek #3 # 4 creek spinners and spawn saks and skein best baitsFish are moving fast thru mid to upper sections already . . . Someone asks got more leeches in today and plenty of spawn saks and skein
River is as low, clear and wadeable as it has been all year. Check with Nick Carr at Kankakee River Trading Post in Altorf.
Shoreline salmon at the top.
CHICAGO: Tom Platt at Henry’s said some good drum are being caught in the harbors. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said it was slow, mostly lakers with an occasional brown or king, in 100-140 feet.
WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop texted:
Boat fishing has been good for king salmon and lake trout south of Waukegan Harbor, everyday Depp’s are a little bit different
Capt. Scott Wolfe of School of Fish Charters and president of Trollers Unlimited sent this report:
Hi Dale –
Fishing was very slow this past week and opportunities were limited due to weather. There are plenty of kings in the harbor. They are largely inactive due to the high water temperatures. The few I have heard of being taken have been on Glow Filcker Shad made custom for Lake Michigan Angler in Winthrop Harbor and on Size 13 Rapalas, Fire tiger or Orange. There are some Browns coming in and there are coho staging in deeper water, almost ready to come in. Trollers have been targeting Lake Trout with some bonus coho in 120+ feet of water with better catches in 150 and deeper. It’s been a really early bite, like pre-sunrise, with the fish shutting down after the sun comes up. Everything deep, 90 feet or lower in the water.
Please let me know if you have any questions. Have a great week.
NORTH POINT: Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said fishing was decent with some big coho, a few steelhead and kings, mostly in 140-240 feet.
Final day is Oct. 15. The cooling lake south of Seneca is open daily, 6 a.m. to sunset. Also, boaters should be aware that there will be no launching if wind is 14 mph or higher.
MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN
Through Sept. 24, close is 7 p.m.; from Sept. 25-Oct. 7, close is 6:30 p.m. Oct. 17 is the final day, except Monster Lake remains open year-round.
Check with Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington.
MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN
Check with Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service sent this:
Check the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report, which generally comes out Tuesdays for updates.
MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua, Wis. sent this:
High pressure and cloudless skies could be to blame for some of the tough fishing this past weekend. Yet for certain anglers and certain species windows of opportunity existed.
Bluegill: Good-Very Good – Despite some “dead” zones, good reports on some very nice fish. Anglers finding most “good” fish in 12-16’ of water. 1/2 crawlers, leaf worms or waxies placed on small 1/32 oz jigs or suspended on #6 Aberdeen hooks below slip-floats.
Musky: Good – At times very tough, but windows of opportunity arose (as they tend to) and the anglers on the water at those times did extremely well. Several reports of anglers with fish of 45-50” reported. Bucktails, spinner baits, soft baits and even top-water towards dusk. Not a lot on suckers yet, but with many lakes having surface temps of 62-64 degrees, that shouldn’t be long.
Largemouth Bass: Good – Good reports of anglers working outside weed edges with 7” worms Carolina rigged, tubes and drop-shotting 3” Wacky Worms or Texas rigging Sweet Beavers and other creature baits.
Northern Pike: Very Good-Good – Spinner baits best over weed tops in 8-12’. Chatter baits and 4 ½” swim baits also effective.
Crappie: Good – Working deep (14-18’) wood or coontail edges. Small minnows, Mini-Mites tipped with waxies and 1/16 oz Slo-Poke jigs with a 2” Paddle Tail swam along edges very effective.
Yellow Perch: Good – Numbers of perch in and along cabbage flats of 8-12’. Drowned wood a good draw. 1/2 crawlers best bet.
Smallmouth Bass: Good – Drop-shotting 3” Gulp minnows or 3” Senkos over 22’ gravel humps. Tube/jigs along 14-18’ coontail edges also effective.
Walleye: Good-Fair – High pressure took its toll on decent bite. Gravel humps of 14-24’ using 1/8-1/4 oz jigs tipped with large fatheads. Some deep sandgrass action using Walleye suckers on Lindy rigs.
Morning had been cold, (low 38 degrees) now just cool. Daytime highs in upper 70’s this week. Redtails unavailable still, substitute with blacks or Walleye suckers.
Water levels still high, but Flowages down a little. With surface temps in lo-mid 60’s but daytime highs in upper 70’s, don’t expect much change in water temps.
With days getting shorter and water temperatures dropping, shallow weeds will start dying, moving fish into deeper areas to follow the oxygen that is left in the water. As this turnover starts, it will reoxygenate water levels from top to bottom as the thermocline will disappear.
Panfish: Perch are found around the deeper weeds. Using slip bobber rigs tipped with minnows or a piece of red worm should catch you a bunch. Crappies are in the deeper weeds and around lay downs, so a slip bobber rig tipped with small minnow or plastic will work on these. Bluegills are up in the shallows, so a slip bobber rig tipped with a small piece of worm or wax worm will work on these fish.
Bass: Largemouth will be found around structures such as, laydowns and docks. Throwing spinnerbaits and plastic will work even near top water and around pads and reeds will spark action. Smallmouth are going to be in and around the rocks, so jigs tipped with live bait, plastics, and crankbaits will work here.
Northern: You will find these fish in and around the deeper weeds as the shallow weeds are starting to die. Walleye anglers will catch these while jigging. You can use smaller spinnerbaits like #3 or #4 Mepps. Safety pin style spinnerbaits are an effective choice.
Walleye: These fish will be found on the deepest weed edges and on the rock piles. Minnows are working better now and crawlers will still work until water gets colder. As the month goes on, these fish will start moving towards the deeper breaks. Early mornings and later evenings will be the best times to catch a few for a fish fry.
Muskies: Every strategy is working for these beasts, As the water temperatures start to cool off, fish will start moving to the deeper weed edges. Bucktails, rubber baits and crank-baits will all work this month.
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind., texted:
Decent push coho and few kings in salt creek and trail creek #3 # 4 creek spinners and spawn saks and skein best baitsFish are moving fast thru mid to upper sections alreadyLakefront at burns ditch slow most fish not staging just running in at Michigan city behind dnr a few around best at nite casting small flicker shad or glow spoons still most fish that come are running straight up ditchCrappie ok at bridges in lake George in Hobart on crappie minnowsSomeone asks got more leeches in today and plenty of spawn saks and skein
WILLOW SLOUGH NOTE: J.C. Murphey Lake is closed through Sept. 24. LAKER REMINDER: Indiana now has a daily bag of three lake trout on Lake Michigan, to match Michigan. Illinois’ daily bag remains at two.
ROCK RIVER, WISCONSIN
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
The Root River Report from the Wisconsin DNR has started again. The Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report is generally posted on Tuesday and includes a Root river section. Click here for the stream flow update, which can be really important for how good the fishing is.
ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN
Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said lakers are being caught in 80-100, salmon in 120-140; piers slow, river fair.
ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA
Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.
Staff at Lakeside said quite a few muskie are being caught; crappie are “doing well’’ off cribs and trees, but keepers take sorting; catfish are decent; walleye slowed; a few hybrid stripers and bass; water temperature is around 70.
Park is open 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Lakeside is open 6 a.m.-6:30 p.m. The restaurant is open weekends.
Here are the hours for Lakeside for the next few months:
Shabbona Lakeside is now OPEN for the SEASON
Lakeside will be open everyday, 7 days a week,
September 6th to September 30th 6 AM to 6:30 PM
October 1st to October 10th 6:30 AM to 6 PM
October 11th to October 31st 7 AM to 5PM
For more information and reports from Lakeside, go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.
SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT
The Wisconsin DNR posts a report during open water at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html. It is usually posted by Tuesday afternoon. Streadsm flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow.
Sturgeon season runs through Sept. 30. Click here for regulations and information.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN