The late heat of summer finally broke and by this weekend the air, if not the water, will feel like we are headed into fall, which we are, and that change leads this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.
The MFR appears in a much condensed form Wednesdays on the Sun-Times outdoors page.
You never know what will show up in urban waters, say this plecostomus that was gripped from the Des Plaines River on Saturday during the flotilla organized by Marcus Benesch.
It begins, slowly.
CHICAGO: Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports & Bait said usually colder weather usually brings in more Chinook and more fishermen chasing them; and that cold snap comes this week. Stacey Greene at Park Bait said there has been more coho than the few Chinook at Montrose; and there is some coho at Diversey, too.
SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN: Staff at Tackle Haven said a few are being seen and fewer caught in the St. Joseph River.
INDIANA: Staff at Mik-Lurch said there was a report of one by a boater at the Hole-in-the-Wall.
CHICAGO: Stacey Greene at Park Bait said after the slowness over the weekend, there were better catches between storms Tuesday morning, as witnessed by the photo to the right.
SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN: Staff at Tackle Haven said perch take work, but those working at them have been catching them best to the south off “The Chalets” in 35 feet; others are working in 40 feet just north of the St. Joe pier.
NORTHWEST INDIANA: Still waiting on better reports, though there were some last week out of Michigan City.
But in the Gary Light area, it has been tough.
WISCONSIN STURGEON NOTE
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 keepers were reported so far, but there was one that reached 59.5 inches.
AREA LAKES (AND CREEKS)
Bass are the top bite going, well, that and channel catfish.
Norm Minas sent this:
Hiding out for the holiday weekend. Fished a pond, fished cricks, got way back in the country, one day meet a family out for a cruise in a horse drawn wagon.
Largemouth in the pond like swimbais, nice change of pace.
Cricks are solitude and simplicity. Never saw another fisherperson, wee rebel craw, crappie size spinnerbit, Charlie brwer slider head/ do nothing worm, size zero, size one mepps. fit in one box that fit in pocket . smallmouth, rock bass, sunfish. good numbers, size what you expect in a real small crick. fish holding all thru pools, not much action in any other part of crick.
[Kankakee part in Kankakee River report]
AREA WATER LEVELS
Might be one of those weeks again to check levels on local rivers. 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
Hooksetter’s Guide Service, via Creative Brillance, sent this:
(Head): Musky bite heating up, with bass and panfish hitting well; lots of action at bear baiting stations, hopefully meaning a great black bear season; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin’s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau).
Musky fishing is heating up and our bear baits are being hit hard as we move into September.
With water temperatures now in the mid 60’s the fall musky bite is just starting to heat up. Musky action has been pretty good this past week with multiple fish on jerkbaits and bucktails along with a few fish still being caught on topwater baits like the Fat Bastard made by Lake X Lures. Most of the fish are still holding in weeds along with a few fish now being caught by working the river channel edges in 7 to 10 feet of water.
Action for bass has been pretty good this past week with numbers of fish being caught. Most of the action has been by throwing deep diving crankbaits to submerged structure in 4 to 8 feet of water.
Panfish have been aggressive and taking the lead have been big bluegills. Most of the larger fish have been holding in 6 to 8 feet of water in and around submerged wood. You can still find plenty of bluegills in and around weed beds right now but most of those fish are going to be the smaller 5 to 7 inch variety.
Our bait stations are regularly being hit during the daytime hours by multiple good sized bears. Most of this activity has come from diligent scouting and regular baiting of these locations. We can only wait and see what our efforts have done to see if we will be successful.
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA
Fishing is obviously going to be far different with the cold snap as compared to the hottest week of the summer, something Greg Dickson at Triangle acknowledged when he said the cold snap should revive fishing for crappie and white bass in the river; and the improved current with the forecast rain should spark the walleye bite to improve.
Check Chain updates at Fox Waterway Agency or by calling (847) 587-8540.
For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
LaSALLE: Hours are 6 a.m. to sunset daily. There is a concessionaire with bait and food options.
BRAIDWOOD: Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports & Bait said 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.
DELAVAN/LAKE GENEVA AREA, WISCONSIN
GENEVA: Arden Katz said drop-shotting continues to produce quality smallmouth in 15-17 feet.
Dave Duwe of FishLakeGeneva.com sent this:
Lake Geneva Fishing Report 9/7/15 through 9/13/15
Overall, the fishing on Lake Geneva remains a bit slow. The extreme heat of this past week has messed with the late summer pattern a bit. The best bite remains the deep water bluegills or smallmouth bass.
The smallmouth bass fishing has been hit or miss. If you find an actively feeding school of fish, you will catch a bunch but if you don’t find an active school it’s tough. The fish are scattered by deep water structure associating with pods of bait fish. The fish have been in 25-50 ft of water. The fish I’ve been catching have been by Conference Point or in front of Yerkes Observatory. The best presentation a split shot rigged nightcrawler or a split shot rigged extra large fat head minnow. I’ve been slowly moving around deep water structure looking for the fish on my Hummingbird depth finder. Once I find the fish I stop and present live bait to them.
Northern Pike fishing has been okay. The fish have been in 30-35 ft of water. The best location has been by the boat launch in Fontana or just east of Cedar Point. The fish are biting on lindy rigged suckers and chubs fished right on the bottom. I’m using a standard lindy rig with a ¾ oz sinker and a 24 inch leader.
Largemouth bass fishing has been good in the deep water haunts. Look for the fish by Trinkes. The best approach is either Carolina rigging green pumpkin lizards or dragging ¾ oz football head jigs. The best water depth is 22-24 ft of water. As the water temperature starts to cool the fish will start to move off the deep water structure and toward shore. This should happen in the next week or so as the weather breaks.
Bluegill fishing has been very good in the 22-24 foot depth range. The best approach has been leaf worms fished on a split shot rig underneath an anchored boat. The fish are tight to the bottom or about 6 inches above. Look for the fish by Trinkes or in front of Gage Marine boat dock.
Walleye action has been good. Fish are being caught on crawler harnesses above the weeds in 15-17 ft of water. The best location has been by Trinkes or in Williams Bay. You want to slowly troll the crawler harnesses as 1.2 mph. The best time for them is of course from midnight to 2 a.m. when there is a nice breeze.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
DELAVAN: Dave Duwe of FishLakeGeneva.com sent this:
Delavan Lake Fishing Report 9/7/15 through 9/13/15
The fishing on Delavan has been hit or miss. The fishing has improved from the mid August slump but the continued heat is lowering the numbers. The average catch is about 10-12 game fish in a 4 hour trip. The only good thing with the warmer weather is that there are a few more northern pike in the daily catch.
Largemouth bass have been tight to the weedline in 15-17 ft of water. The best location has been just west of the Yacht Club or by Browns Channel. They are being caught on a Texas rigged 6 inch worm in grape color or on a split shot rigged nightcrawler or large fat head minnow. A secondary pattern has been casting slop frogs in 2-3 ft of water. The best location has been by north shore drive or by the boat launch channel. Use a black or white frog for the best success.
Northern Pike has been improving with the warm weather. The best depth has been 20-25 ft of water. Look for the fish by Belvidere Park or by the gray condos. I’ve been positioning my lindy rigged suckers about 1 foot off bottom for the best success.
Bluegill fishing has been very good in 11-13 ft of water. The fish have been by Assembly Park and in front of the Township Park. The best approach is either slip bobber rigged leaf worms or just free swimming a leaf worm down the water column. The average bluegill size has been 8-9 inches.
Some yellow perch are being caught in the 12 ft depth range in front of the Township Park. They are being caught on hellgrammites or small leaf worms. They are being caught on slip bobbers fishing the bait about 1 ft off bottom in scattered weeds.
Walleye fishing has been very slow. The only success has been coming at first light or at dusk. The best approach has been casting medium diving crankbaits along the weedlines. The best location has been by Willow Point or the weedline by the gray condos. Work a depth of 15-17 ft of water.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
DES PLAINES RIVER
Marcus Benesch sent this:
The river is in excellent shape. Smallmouths are good bite in southern portions of the river and pike remain hot up in the north. Water levels are perfectly normal.
So Saturday we had our big Floatilla, we had just over a dozen boats. Tons of fish were caught, but the most interesting was scooped right out of shallow water at the launch. A Plecosimus.
HENNEPIN-HOPPER: 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 this week from Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay.
The Wisconsin DNR posts a report, typically updated on Tuesdays at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html
Thom Matejewski at Illinois Valley Outdoors said catfish are the steadiest bite; especially on cut bighead or silver carp; otherwise fishing slowed during the low water and heat. During low water, the key for white bass and sauger was finding current around creek mouths or bridge pilings (now the rains may change the current questions).
Illinois Valley Outdoors is open in Spring Valley. The phone is (815) 663-1000.
Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.
River is in good wading shape, even low; well, unless we get too much rain overnight.
Norm Minas sent this:
(End of his fuller reporter, which is partially above in the Area Lakes section.)
did relent, spent part of Monday out on the river. hit a bug hatch three quick smallmouth on rattlebaits. after that 2/0 weighted keeper hook/ blue-black fat ika on seams for bass and walleye, hit some smallmouth at riffle lift in back end of a pool.
regular waders sprung huge leak one day, back up waders sprung leak the next, buying new waders . why not, that’s the kind of stuff that’s been going on lately. life goes on, deal with the details .
LAKE KOSHKONONG, WISCONSIN
For perch and shoreline Chinook, see top.
CHICAGO: Stacey Greene at Park Bait said there were a few steelhead mixed in with the few coho and Chinook at Montrose. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said there was or is a band of mainly lakers with a few kings and coho from the R4 to The Wreck in 65-130 ft.
NORTH POINT: Poteshman said the best is deep (250-300 feet) for a mixed bag from North Point to Kenosha, he thinks the weather change might improve near-shore fishing with warmer water.
MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN
Check reports from Gene Dellinger at D&S Bait.
No update from Scott Hill of Fishingthrills Guide Service.
MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN
Check with Mike Mladenik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service.
Arden Katz said the best salmon fishing is jigging Gulp! Minnows on a half-ounce darter jig by the gaps; there is more coho than Chinook being caught.
MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:
Minocqua Area Fishing Report
Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
Maybe it was the late Labor Day weekend or the threat of rain (that never amounted to much), but, traffic was light in the Lakeland area both on and off the water. Warm weather (highs in the mid 80’s) continued to warm the lakes. Combine this will some clouds and fishable wind, those that decided to get out on the water had good fishing.
Walleye: Good to very good. Certain early fall-type patterns are setting up. Natural lakes with deep gravel humps are producing walleyes on 1/8 to ¼ oz. jigs over 22-40’ of water using large fatheads or redtail chubs. Flowages seeing the best action shallow casting 1/6 oz. weedless jigs tipped with redtails, fatheads, ½ crawler or 3” Gulp Alive minnows. Three inch twister tail grubs also scoring fish from depths of 5’ to as little as 2’.
Northern Pike: Good to very good. Lots of reports of anglers catching pike on spinnerbaits over 6-8’ weed beds. Mepps Comets, #4 Aglias and Vibrax spinners as well as 4” swimbaits are working. Plenty of 22-28” fish with some fish of 30-33” being caught. Suckers and chubs on jigs are also producing. This weekend has produced some of the best pike action of the year so far and should only improve into the fall.
Musky: Good to very good. With most action occurring up in weeds of 6-10’, spinnerbaits have been a hot lure as of late. The ability to fish above the weeds without getting fouled up has put a lot of fish in the net lately. Rizzo Tails, #700 series Buchertails, Mepps Musky Killers as well as top water tail baits such as Whopper Ploppers, Pacemakers, Top Raiders and Tally Wackers moving fish with surface temps all the way up to 77 degrees on some lakes. The blades and top water will produce until turn over (which is a ways off).
Largemouth Bass: Good. Anglers targeting this species doing well with shallow running cranks and lipless cranks (Rattlin’ Raps, Rat-L-Traps), spinnerbaits and chatterbaits. Casting Wacky Worms, Beaver baits and jig with plastic craws into heavy weeds of 8-12’ when fast moving baits are not working.
Smallmouth Bass: Good. Drop-shotting gravel humps and deep coontail edges using 3” Gulp Alive minnows, pin minnows and plastic craws. Working sandgrass flats of 18-24’ Carolina rigging creature baits and plastic craws still producing.
Bluegills: Fair to Good. Warm days found gills moving in shore a bit, but not tight. Swim rafts and other forms of shade/cover holding gills waiting to gobble up small leeches, waxies or worms. Dying weeds pushing gills out of shallows in most lakes. Look for suspended gills relating to standing, live coontail.
Perch: Fair to good. Frozen soft shells hard to resist. Target drowned wood and the base of deep weed edges.
Crappies: Fair. Surprisingly not showing up in the usual early fall haunts. Casting small jig/spinner combos best to locate active or aggressive fish.
Last week’s long range forecast called for a warm September. That was easy to believe after a weekend of 80 degree days. Now the forecast is switching to cooler weather with highs in the 60’s. Temperature drops are not good in spring and summer, but, should bring lakes back in line for fall. Expect lakes to cool some and actually help bites of most species, especially musky, pike, walleye and crappies.
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): Walleyes, northern, smallmouth, and panfish putting on a good bite, with musky and largemouth hitting fair to good; all in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.
Water temps range from the mid 60s to the low 70s in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. With the outside temperatures going up and down, the fish are a tad wishy-washy in their bite. The action is still generally good, but the fish are not “jumping in the boat.” Steady, more fall-like weather will markedly increase the action.
WALLEYE: Fish deep weed edges in and around 14 feet. Use a jig and a minnow, and if there’s no wind, try a slip bobber. The deep weed edges are all lake dependent – what’s shallow on one lake, will be deep on another. Find the deepest weed edge you can on the lake you’re fishing, and that’s where the walleyes are locating. The walleye are tight to bottom. Mornings and evenings are best. The action is good.
NORTHERN: Find any green weeds in 4-8 feet of water (same places that the bluegills and largemouth bass are locating). Use a slip bobber or a jig, hooked up with a minnow or crawler. Try a Johnson Silver Minnow, or a bass style spinner bait. They’re all working. You’ll get “bit off” by northerns, if you’re going for bluegills. Good action.
SMALLMOUTH BASS: Fish hardbottom areas, concentrating on rocks and drowned timber, in 8-20 feet of water. Use a jig and a minnow, or a crayfish colored crankbait. The bite is good.
PANFISH: Crappies, bluegills and perch. The gills are in shallow weeds in 3-5 feet of water (lake dependent – -could be deeper on clear, deeper lakes). Use a worm, or a chunk of crawler. The perch are on the deeper side of the weeds in 8-12 feet of water, and some are starting to move up to 20 feet deep on the rocks. Fish both areas. The perch move up and down depending on the time of day. The higher the sun, the closer to the weed edges you want to be. Use a crappie minnow or red worm for the perch. The crappies are still suspending outside the deep weed edges in 10-20 feet of water. Use a slip bobber, with a crappie minnow or a blade bait. Good action.
MUSKY: Fish on the edge of the remaining green weeds in 8-14 feet of water. Run a bucktail over the top of the weeds, or try a jerkbait. Right now use a regular sized bait (you can use a 700 Buchertail as a reference point for size), and do a regular retrieve. As the water temps start to drop, bait sizes will increase. Don’t forget to always do a “figure 8” as your lure nears the boat. You’ll get a bit more action fishing early morning or evening, but the bite is about the same throughout the day. Action is fair to good right now, but that will get better quickly as the water temps start to drop.
LARGEMOUTH BASS: The largemouth’s are still in the shallow, heavy green weeds in 3-8 feet of water (lake dependent). Try a surface bait, a safety pin style spinner bait, or a minnow under a slip bobber. 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 perch/shoreline salmon, see top.
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
The Wisconsin DNR Root River Report is generally posted on Tuesday.
ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN
For perch/shoreline salmon, see top.
ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA
Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.
Clint Sands at Lakeside said the heat over the holiday weekend slowed fishing; expect better fall fishing with the cold snap; otherwise, it is largemouth and walleye late or early or bluegill on the roadbed.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this on hybrid chasing:
Hit Shabbona yesterday. Hybrids are very good at first light. Look for them busting balls of shad just under the surface. Top waters produced but a lipless crankbaits with a stop and go retrieve worked the best. It was important for the bait to stand out and that flutter action of a dying shad worked best. Once the sun came out things died down dramatically. It was worth it to get out before the sun came up.
Check out the pic I am attaching of the eagle perched in the tree. He is back. Very cool!!
Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Waterworks fishing team
Lakeside is open 6 a.m.-6:30 p.m. For more information and reports from Lakeside, go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.
The Wisconsin DNR posts a report at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html. It is usually posted by Tuesday afternoon. Stream flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN