Salmon returning & back to summer: Chicago fishing

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So now we swing back to something close to summer again and even so some salmon are showing up for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; I would also highlight the Hennepin-Hopper and Wolf River reports.

The MFR appears in a much condensed form Wednesdays on the Sun-Times outdoors page.


It begins, slowly, but the return of salmon, both Chinook and coho, is well underway, even if spotty and sporadic.

CHICAGO: Steve Palmisanoat Henry’s Sports & Bait said a 15-pound-plus king was weighed Monday. There are sporadic catches, not just at harbor mouths but also along 31st and 39th shorelines; bite started with crankbaits, but now some spoons are working.

Stacey Greeneat Park Bait said at Montrose it is more coho than kings.

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN:Staff at Tackle Haven said Saturday was a great for kings and coho in the St. Joseph channel, slowed Sunday; some fish are moving through the Berrien Springs ladder.

INDIANA: Assistant Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Ben Dickinson posted on Facebook on Monday about Trail Creek at Michigan City.

Passed over 200 cohos today at the lamprey barrier… that nice cold front and north winds got em running this weekend

He added this Tuesday:

Coho are still showing up. This weekend sure looks prime for Indiana waters, i’m anticipating some cold upwellings with all the south winds, and then rain and a cold front with 20 mph north winds on the back end of that

Staff at Mik-Lurch said reports were coming from the Hole-in-the-Wall, East Chicago and Hammond marinas; and even the back of Wolf Lake.


Hook-and-line sturgeon runs through Sept. 30 on select rivers in Wisconsin. Click here for info and some on the changes. WISCONSIN DELLS: Staff at River’s Edge Resort said no legals yet, but lots of fish in the 40- and 45-inch range.


Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:

Hey Dale, Bass are very good on area lakes. Larger bass being caught as water temps start to cool. Mornings hours are producing by pitching a 5 3/8 senko to bass cruising shorelines. Afternoon and evening hours a swim bait or chatter bait have been the best producer. Fishing will only continue to get better. I love this time of year. TTYL Ken Husker O’Malley Huskeroutdoors Waterworks fishing team


Go to to check area water levels and projection. To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to


No report this week from Hooksetter’s Guide Service, via Creative Brilliance.


Art Frisell at Triangle said bluegill are being caught shallow in the warmth of day; white bass are feeding in main lake areas, especially on Marie and Bluff; crappie are best morning and evenings; muskie are improving with 40-inch fish reported, on small jerkbaits or Bulldawgs; walleye improving, scattered on main lake flats.

Check Chain updates at Fox Waterway Agency or by calling (847) 587-8540.

For more reports, see


No update.


LaSALLE: Hours are 6 a.m. to sunset daily. There is a concessionaire with bait and food options.

BRAIDWOOD: Still quality bluegill and numbers of catfish are being caught. Lake is open daily 6 a.m.-sunset. MAZONIA: Lakes are open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.

HEIDECKE: Launch opens 6 a.m., shore fishing at 6:30 a.m.; close is sunset.


GENEVA: Dave Duweof sent this:

Lake Geneva Fishing Report 9/14/15 through 9/20/15 Overall the fishing on Lake Geneva has been above average for the transition period between summer and fall. There hasn’t been large numbers of catches but there are fish to be had. Smallmouth bass fishing has been good. The average catch has been 6-10 fish per trip. The fish are being caught in 22-25 ft of water. The best location has been by Yerkes Observatory or Colemans Point. I’ve been catching most of my fish Lindy rigged nightcrawlers or Lindy rigged fat head minnows. The fish are associating tight to the bottom. The fish are in very small schools so if you catch 3-4 fish in an area, it might be time to move on. Largemouth bass are starting to move from their deep water summer haunts to the shallower waters. Most of the fish are in 14-15 ft of water. Look for the fish by Trinkes Bay or by Colemans Point. You can catch them Carolina Rigging green pumpkin lizards or by Lindy rigging nightcrawlers. As the water continues to cool, they will continue to move shallower. Rock bass fishing has been excellent. The last couple of weeks the fish have been in large schools in 18-22 ft of water. The fish can be caught in 15-20 ft of water. The best bait has been extra large fat head minnows or nightcrawlers. I’ve been fishing most of the live bait on lindy rigs. Perch fishing has been excellent in 10-12 ft of water. The best approach is small fat head minnows fished on a slip bobber rig. You want to fish the baits 6 inches above the weed growth or on the bottom. Look for the fish by Knollwood or by Belvidere Park. Northern Pike fishing has started to slow as the thermocline starts to break. As the water starts to cool, the pike will move into the shallow weedline. Look for the fish by Williams Bay or by Fontana Beach. Once they move shallow, the best approach will be large slip bobber rigged medium suckers. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

DELAVAN: Dave Duweof sent this:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 9/14/15 through 9/20/15 With the warm weather and cold fronts, the fishing has been up and down. We are in a weird transition period from the heat of the summer to the fall pattern. The best bite on the lake continues to be the bluegills. The walleye have been almost non-existent so far. Bluegill fishing has been very good in 14-16 ft of water. The best location has been by the Township Park or by Willow Point. The best bait remains leaf worms fished on a split shot rig or a Thill split bobber rig. You want to fish the bait 6 inches to 1 foot off bottom. The average size of the fish has been 7-9 inches. In the next couple of weeks will start to move deeper. Walleye fishing has been very difficult. I’ve tried jigging and fishing fat head minnows in 20-24 ft of water with very limited success. As the water cools, the bite should increase tremendously. Northern Pike fishing has been average. I’ve been catching 3-4 fish each trip. They are located in 20-24 ft of water. I’m starting to increase the size of the bait. Most of the bait I’ve been using have been extra large suckers, averaging 8-9 inches. Look for the fish by the gray condos or by Belvidere Park. Crappie fishing has been starting to improve as the water cools. The fish are being caught in 10-12 ft of water on the weedline. The best bait has been small plastics in purple and chartreuse colors. Look for the fish by the gray condos or by Willow Point. Largemouth bass are still located on the main lake points in 15-17 ft of water. The best location has been by the Yacht Club or by the Village Point. With the cooling water temperature the fish are not in very large schools. You want to continually move and catch the fish throughout the weed lines. I’m catching most of my fish on Thill slip bobbers fished with medium suckers or with a split shot rigged nightcrawler. As the water cools, the bass will start biting almost exclusively on minnows. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


Marcus Beneschsent this:

Theres some extra flow in Cook county from the recent rains. Some more murky water as well. Pike are still very active, hitting just about everything. Small mouth bass have been popping up a lot north of the old Hoffman dam, small ones, but in decent numbers. I did wade a Will County stretch on Sunday. Nothing serious, just tossing a 6 inch gulp crawler for anything that would hit. Ended up with a plethora of specie. White bass, largemouth, drum, channel cat, and gar. Well, had to switch to a small vibrax to stick the gar. Marcus Benesch River Grove


HENNEPIN-HOPPER: The Wetlands Initiative Executive director Paul Botts dropped a note, which included these reports:

Our daily logbook is hilarious, guys are reporting having caught 80 bass in a couple hours, 60 pike, etc. One group told us that they stopped counting at 100 bass and then on the way back in just let their lures trail in the water and got some more hits. Mostly not keepers but big enough to be a lot of fun. And it certainly looks like for 2016 (when we will have a fishing season of more normal length) there will be plenty of big ‘uns.

Lakes are open to fishing Tuesday through Sunday until Sept. 27. SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing EVERGREEN: I need to check the post-Labor Day bait shop and boat rental times. POWERTON: Both shore and boat fishing are open. Hours are 6 a.m.-8 p.m. EMIQUON: Call (309) 547-2730.


No update.


Ken Gortowski sent this:

I keep getting bored to tears out on the river so I tried the creeks after the recent rains brought them back up to normal. I knew small water is what I needed to cure me of my fishing doldrums. Worked today, no real surprise. Also, just like every late summer/early fall… Minnows crowding the shallows, creek chubs in the slightly deeper pools and dink smallies on a feeding binge. Went 15/9 on the smallies with a lot of other tap tap tapping, but they weren’t all dinks. Some foot long, I consider dinks to be considerably less than that and 2 of the 3 bigger ones let me see them before they spit the hook back at me. The dinks were inhaling the usual 3-inch twister I use and by the way they were fighting, I was always surprised to see how small they were. No clue why they start making a run up the creeks at the end of August, but I’ve been tracking this for a good 15 years. Usually by the third week of September they abandon the creeks. A few years ago on one creek I caught a little over 100 smallies and counted another 100 or so on. A few days later a friend wanted a try at it. He caught 15. That’s how fast they’ll leave this time of year. End of September and all of October is when the bite goes nuts out on the river, but I’ll be skipping that. Ken G


No update this week from Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay.

The Wisconsin DNR posts a report, typically updated on Tuesdays at


Thom Matejewskiat Illinois Valley Outdoors said trollers are taking sauger at Clark Island and the Hennepin flats; white bass are being caught at the dam and tributary mouths; catfish good on cut Asian carp.

Illinois Valley Outdoorsis open in Spring Valley. The phone is (815) 663-1000.


As noted above, coho poured in at Trail Creek on Monday. Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.


River should be in good wading shape for the weekend, barring major late-week rains.

Norm Minassent this on Monday:

River came up with rains, slowly dropping again. clarity up to about a foot, temps dropped to low to mid 60’s with cooler nights, came up close to 70 today by afternoon. algae breaking free and flowing in water column, still too much on bottom to fish cranks in some stretches. Fishing got real slow since the last report, fish here, fish there, no fish in more places, just no good pattern in location, lures, retrieves or time fished. Then came a massive bug hatch, lasted three days, covered at least 1/2 mile of river. Yeehah , I’m Dan Gapen and Al Lindner combined. The smallmouth were totally on the feed, I’d have stretches of 9 fish in 12 casts and similar type runs on multiple occasions. when I wasn’t on one of those runs the action was still real good. Rattlebaits for the most part, flukes and big swimbaits, no point in finesse when the action is that fast . Fish up shallow on bars, strong on upstream edge, mid point in water column on cobblestone flats feeding up of fish feeding on bugs . riffles, channel edges , humps all producing. the bugs were hatching off shore , the water willow edges I checked just didn’t have the go, so I quit checking . The bug hatch was over today, tough fishing , though I wasn’t shocked seeing as they just feasted for three days. I got a couple smallmouth on rattlebaits at the bottom edge of a bar next to the channel. I picked up a few more and some walleye casting a 7 inch magnum fluke on an 11/0 ewg hook and letting it hit bottom along some seams. Lift it after it hit bottom, sink, repeat, repeat . Very light takes, mostly just saw some line movement . After going an hour without a hit I switched gears. Back to the car, grabbed the crick rod and gear and hit a bridge out on the river. Rock bass on size one Mepps. Sunfish and crappie on 1/16 oz jig with two inch plastics . Fish in the shade , tight to plinngs or in slack pocket just behind them . That died, went home , fired up the grill and made some burgers peace norm


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


No update.


For shoreline salmon, see top.

CHICAGO: Capt. Bob Poteshmanof Confusion Charters said south winds could bring cold water back, maybe bring back the mature coho; otherwise lakers are around, scattered through the water column not just on the bottom.

WAUKEGAN: Ted Boska sent this:

Hello and good morning Dale.Last week weather and nice warm day’s makes Waukegan both reed’s fishing hot . Weather not allows us fishing on Saturday, but Sunday lake was fishable, still bit choppy. South reef loaded with big lakes mostly.For mix beg best is 250-300 when weather allows. Thanks Capt Ted (diehard angler ) BOSKA

NORTH POINT:Poteshman said fishing is dramatically better as fish moved closer to shore in 100-250 feet.


Check reports from Gene Dellinger at D&S Bait.

No update from Scott Hill of Fishingthrills Guide Service.


Check with Mike Mladenik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service.


MINOCQUA: Kurt Justiceof Kurt’s Island Sport Shop called with this report.

Walleye are very good; flowages are excellent, moving shallower and being caught on weedless 1/16th-ounce jigs; on deeper lakes in 28-38 feet with redtail chubs on Lindy rigs.

Despite warmth and high skies, muskie are good on bladebaits. Surface baits should be working by the weekend. On Monday, the surprise was catching a couple muskie on suckers, even though the water was 66-68.

Smallmouth are very good; some very big fish of 18-21 inches. On flaowages, they are being caught shallw on jig and minnow or spinner baits in 6 feet or less; onn lakes, they are being caught on deep gravel bars topping out at 22 feet on either drop-shotting or with Lindy rigs with chubs.

Largemouth are very good, once again topwaters are working with the warmth, especially evenings; during days moving baits are working.

Pike are very good on No. 3 Mepps, ChatterBaits or swimbaits; some nice fish

Not much on panfish, cabbage is dying and they are moving out; the exception is crappie on wood on the flowages.

The 80s this week will push surface temperatures back to the 70s.

As to tree color, he said there was not much change so far.

EAGLE RIVER:This report came the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce, based on Creative Brilliance interviews with Eagle River guide “Muskie Matt” and legendary George Langley of Eagle Sports Center and hunting enthusiast Dan Anderson:

(Head): Musky, largemouth and panfish action very good, with northern bite active. Walleye and smallmouth so-so/fair to good; all in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. George Langley’s words of wisdom regarding Eagle River’s current fishing conditions: If this was a pie, it would be great, but unfortunately it’s not- – and it’s turnover time. The lakes are turning over, water temps dropping, and we’re seeing green on a lot the lakes in the Eagle River area. Water temps range from the high 60s to the low 70s and declining rapidly. MUSKY: Musky action is pretty darn good. The muskies are spread out all over the place. At times you’ll find muskies in the weeds, and at times suspending in deeper water. All types of baits are working now, with larger bucktails recommended. All day bite with much longer feeding windows, and night fishing is still working, if you’re so inclined. Don’t forget – -always do a figure 8 when your lure nears the boat. LARGEMOUTH BASS: Largemouth bass action remains very good with fish in the heavy weeds in surprisingly shallow water. Plastics are working best, but surface baits still working very well. PANFISH: Crappies still hitting hard over and around deep brush piles. Find them and you’ll hit a pot of gold – -can be furious action. Use a minnow. Bluegills are still in the shallow weeds, but starting to move a little deeper, as the weeds die off. Use worms for the gills. Perch are still in deeper weeds acting like little walleyes. Anything will work for the perch – -minnows, leeches and crawlers. NORTHERN: The northern are very active and aggressive in their bite. Still at deep weed edges, and in the deepest weeds you can find. Chubs are the live bait of choice under a slip bobber or on a jig, as well as any noisy, flashy bait like a Johnson Silver Minnow or Mepps. WALLEYE: Walleye action is only so-so. Bait selections are working equally – -minnow, leeches and crawlers. Most important is that the bite is inconsistent. Fish one spot and get some fish, and the next day, nothing. The walleye are spread out, with very few left in the shallower weeds. Fish mudflats, deep weeds, and on the Eagle River Chain of 28 lakes (largest freshwater chain of lakes in the world), the walleye are moving towards the holes. The only pattern for the walleye right now is that there is no pattern. SMALLMOUTH BASS: The smallies are moving shallower a bit – – in the 15 foot depth range, give or take (hardbottom areas, only). They’re also changing their feeding pattern from crayfish (they’re dying off) back to minnows. Action is fair to good. FLY FISHING: With untold numbers of rushing streams, brooks and rivers, Eagle River provides wonderful opportunities for fly anglers of every ilk. And for the adventure of a lifetime go for gamefish with a fly rod on one of the Eagle River area’s hundreds of lakes. Eagle River guide guru, and 35 year avid fly angler for musky, George Langley, tells us that it’s a memorable experience for fly anglers, but realistically you must be able to double-haul cast and attain distances of 70-90 feet on your cast.


For shoreline salmon, see top.


The Wisconsin DNR Root River Report is generally posted on Tuesday.


For shoreline salmon, see top.


Click herefor reports from the Indiana DNR.


Clint Sandsat Lakeside said muskie are picking up (40-inch fish on Monday); crappie are doing good and some nice hybrids are being caught, mainly evenings. NOTE: Muskie weekend Saturday and Sunday; check or call (815) 824-2581.

Lakeside is open 6 a.m.-6:30 p.m. For more information and reports from Lakeside, go to or call (815) 824-2581.


The Wisconsin DNR posts a report at It is usually posted by Tuesday afternoon. Stream flow info is at


No update.


Guide Bill Stoeger said very few are fishing for them but white bass exploded at the river mouths on jig or fly and minnow; white bass are going out on the lakes, too, just watch for diving birds then cast into the melee. He said water will likely warm back up but he expects the good bite to continue and even build.

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