White bass, crappie, fall bites build: Chicago fishing

SHARE White bass, crappie, fall bites build: Chicago fishing

One of my favorite views from Montrose Harbor this summer.
Credit: Dale Bowman

Looks like fairly stable fall weather for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report and with that, building white bass and crappie bite going.

The 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.

I decided to run a scenic photo of Montrose Harbor, in honor of the Cubs and Cubs fans, taken when I was bopping around there for some reason in late August.


Still trout around, even with two weekends of the season here and gone. And I have had multiple reports of golden rainbow trout at several sites. Those 16 and older need license and trout stamp. Daily bag is five.

Nearby sites include in Cook County (Axehead, Belleau, Busse North, Green, Horsetail, Wolf); DuPage (Silver, Pickerel, Grove); Kankakee (Bird Park Quarry, Rock Creek in Kankakee River SP); Kendall (Big Lake at Silver Springs SFWA); Lake (Banana, Sand at Illinois Beach SP); McHenry (Spring Grove Hatchery Pond); Will (Lake Strini, Van Horn Woods).

Click here for the statewide release.


CHICAGO: Fish are being seen in harbors, rare catches. Cory Gecht at Park Bait said a few steelhead being caught at Diversey. WAUKEGAN: No update. INDIANA: Capt. Rich Sleziak  at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted that a few coho and a king or steelhead now and then on the upper stretches of the tributaries on spawn sacks and spinners. SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN: Check the Wisconsin DNR report, usually out Tuesday. SOUTHWEST MICIGAN: Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor reported a few steelhead coming in.


Here is the word on snagging legally on the Illinois lakefront from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources:

4) 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: A) Lincoln Park Lagoon from the Fullerton Avenue Bridge to the southern end of the Lagoon. B) Waukegan Harbor (in North Harbor basin only). C) Winnetka Power Plant discharge area. D) Jackson Harbor (Inner and Outer Harbors).


See fall trout at the top, otherwise, the top bite is crappie and that should only keep building this week.

Ken “Husker” O’Malleysent along with this report:

Hey Dale, Top water baits worked during last hour of light still remain the best bet for bass on area lakes. Mornings have slowed considerably with the blue bird skies we have been having lately.TTYL — Ken Husker O’Malley Huskeroutdoors Waterworks fishing team


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


Closed for the season.


Arden Katz reported water cooled to 50s, good white bass (to 14 inches) rip jigging/drifting at 1/2 mph, some crappie and lots of yellow bass, too, with Bluff and Marie best. Art Frisell at Triangle said crappie are beginning to bite steadily; walleye going on most main lake flats; muskie improved (see FOTW) and bluegill (some quality size that bodes well for ice fishing) are good.

For updates, check with Fox Waterway Agency or call (847) 587-8540.


No update from Capt. Pat Harrison (click here for his site).


GENEVA: Posts on fishing by Mark O’Neill can be found at http://www.structure-fishing.com/Lake_Geneva_Fishing_.html


No update.


EVERGREEN: Mike Steffa sent a note that the bait shop and boat rental are closed for the season. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for season. LAKE OF EGYPT/REND: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard FishingSHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide Service.

Larry Dozard of larrysfishinghole.com sent this update on Downstate closures:

– RICE LAKE – will CLOSE to fishing on Oct. 15th with Last Day to Fish being Oct. 14th and will Re-Open at end of Duck & Goose season..– BANNER MARSH – Will CLOSE TO BOAT FISHING on Oct. 12th with last day to boat fish being Oct. 11th AND 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 – THIS LAKE IS CLOSED TO FISHING As of OCT. 1st and remains Closed till Feb. 1st– EMIQUON PRESERVE – No boating, fishing or ice skating access before 12:00 pm during waterfowl season.– EVERGREEN LAKE – the 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 resting areas for migratory waterfowl. YOU ARE ALLOWED TO STILL RUN A TROLLING MOTOR IN THESE AREAS ONLY.– SNAKEDEN HOLLOW & McMASTER LAKE – Will CLOSE TO FISHING for the Season on Oct. 10th with Last Day of Fishing on Oct. 9th– SPRING LAKE (South & North) – WILL BE CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING in Waterfowl Hunting Area ON OCT. 15th with Last Day to Boat Fish being Oct. 14th with BANK FISHING ALLOWED ONLY AFTER 1pm– & 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 – and Shore Fishing is allowed in entire lake after 1pm in Hunting areas or at boat ramps all day.– POWERTON LAKE – LAKE WILL CLOSE TO BOAT FISHING ON OCT. 15th (Last day for Boat fishing is Oct. 14th) and CLOSES TO SHORE FISHING and ALL FISHING ON OCT. 22nd (Last day for Shore fishing is Oct. 21st) and REOPENS TO SHORE FISHING ONLY ON DEC. 19th 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 SEASON to boat traffic effective Oct. 12th (last day to boat fish will be Oct. 11th) through Jan. 31, 2016 (during this time fishing boat traffic is permitted in the center hot arm only).– PRAIRIE LAKE in Jim Edgar/ Panther Creek State F&W Area – Lake is CLOSED from Nov. 1st to Jan. 15th to Fishing until after 12:01 PM on Wednesday & Saturday.– ANDERSON LAKE – THIS AREA Will be CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING in Main Lake from Oct. 15th (with last day to boat fish Oct. 14th) through Dec. 20th during waterfowl season with bank fishing Only allowed.– CLINTON LAKE – an easterly area of Clinton Lake (The Waterfowl Refuge Area) between the DeWitt Bridge East (CH14) and the Rt. 48 Bridge will CLOSE be on October 10th and will re-open on MARCH 31st…


Pete Lamar sent this:

Hi Dale, Hope you had a nice weekend. I went to a filtration plant discharge on the Fox on Saturday afternoon. It’s a small one and a group of fishermen were just leaving when I got there. That didn’t bode well. They’d gotten into smallmouth; I didn’t land a thing. Just a few short strikes. Late Sunday afternoon I fished some Fox tribs southwest of Aurora. Many thanks to Ken G. for having written about them over the years; if not for that, I’d have thought of them as something to drive over on the way to Shabbona. Water was low/normal for this time of year and very clear. Smallmouths were not in their usual places in the rocky runs, so I fished a slow-moving pool with a dark muck bottom. Rock bass were in there and so was a nice smallmouth-15 inches (maybe migrating to Winter lies?). I regret measuring him accurately: without a good measurement, he might have been one of those 18-20 inch fish I hear so much about but so rarely see. Pete

I love the last comment about fishermen and fish size. And Pete is also right about the lasting impact of the teachings of Ken Gortowski on the Fox River.


No update.


No update from Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay, I think he is deer hunting.

The Wisconsin DNR report is usually posted Tuesdays and includes reports from both the bay and lake sides.


Closed for the season.


Thom Matejewski at Illinois Valley Outdoors in Spring Valley said it is more of a jig and minnow bite for sauger and walleye; good crappie action around pilings, barge tie-ups and island brush; white bass picking up at the Sarved Rock Dam, the mouth of Vermilion and inside the river, and at the opening of Spring Lake.


Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted that a few coho and a king or steelhead now and then on the upper stretches of the tributaries on spawn sacks and spinners. Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map


Apparently the fall bite for smallmouth is on, two good fishermen reached out to me in the last couple days

Jeff Humenik texted Saturday:

Smallies are on fire kkk river

He texted back that Zara Spooks and white Rouges were working at the Des Plaines ramp.

Kyle Danhausen, yeah, the Shimano big man, messaged Monday:

Smallmouth fishing has been life changing Dale … Ralph and I had 55 Sunday Lots of picture fish Yeah, that Ralph would be Capt. Ralph Steiger.And Danhausen added a note of caution, well worth notingits been really good .. if he is a wader .. use caution … the river is too high and swift to be in .. .in my opinion


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


See shoreline salmon/trout reports at top.

NORTH POINT:Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said there was excellent fishing out for 2- and 3-year-old kings in 120-150 feet, and lakers in 180-200; mostly on flasher and flies. CHICAGO: Cory Gecht at Park Bait said small perch are being caught in the harbors. Poteshman said there are lakers around Julian’s and Gumby’s Reef (east, slightly north of R4 2 miles). WAUKEGAN:  See Julian’s Reef for lakers.


No update.


Check Jarek Wujkowski of Rodsbent Guide Service.


Closed for season.


Go to Facebook for the latest updates from Gene Dellinger at D & S Bait.


Closed for the season, but Monster Lake at Mazonia South remains open year-round. Check with Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington. Open daily, 6 a.m.-sunset.


Check with Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service.


Check the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report, which generally comes out Tuesdays for updates.


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

Anglers faced a variety of weather changes last week, from very high to extremely low barometer readings, lots of sun, to fog so thick it lasted into the afternoon on one day. The weather affected the really good fishing anglers had been experiencing the previous week. Musky: Good. A few tough days due to weather, but, still some good reports of anglers boating nice fish on suckers. Glide baits, jerks and twitch baits also producing. Fish being found at all types of depth, from as little as 5 feet to depths of 26-32’ along breaks of the larger lakes. Crappies: Good. Action slower than previous week. Best reports on lakes in 10-14’ weeds. Medium fatheads producing big slabs of 12-14, though most fish in the 10-12 range. Largemouth: Good. After not being on the chart last week (no reports), good action in green weeds of 8-12’ using Senkos and Yum dingers wacky style. Pike: Good. Shallow weeds using jig/chub combos. Lots of smaller fish in 4-6’ with a few 28-32 to keep things interesting. Walleyes: Good-Fair. Being more susceptible to weather/barometer extremes, this bite got spotty. Reports of walleyes deep (28-41’) using redtails on big lakes, with only small windows of action common. Smallmouth Bass: Fair. A few brutes (to 21’) caught by anglers jigging chubs in shallow weed flats. Perch: Fair. Bite slowed this week. Still some anglers scoring using leaf worms. Water temps held due to warm, sunny afternoons, despite nights/early mornings in the 30’s. Most lakes 50-55 degrees. With forecasted temps to barely reach 50 degrees and lows in the low 30’s (and a cold rain by mid week) expect surface temps to drop into the upper 40’s) Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop http://www.kurtsislandsports.com

EAGLE RIVER: B+L, from interviews with guides George Langley, Muskie Matt and Colin Crawford, sent this for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce.

Temperatures in area lakes are remaining in the low and middle 50’s. This time of the season experiences a lot of turnover in active fish species due to temperature changes, but patient anglers can still find great success. For a full Eagle River area fishing report, read below. Fishing Report We are still seeing water temps into the low to mid 50’s. You should keep your eyes on the water temps and conditions if things start to change, as you will need to react also. Muskie: Suckers seem to be the normal bait now, but still throw those big spinnerbaits and rubber. Northern Pike: Fishing weed edges and/or some type of cover with jerkbaits have been boating some nice fish this week. Walleye: This week we found them on deep mud flats and still on the deep rock humps. Early and late in the day you can find fish on the tops, while midday they will go deeper you will have to follow them out. Jig and minnow combos seem to work the best. Bass: (Largemouth) Bass are moving out of the shallows and lurking in the deep weed edges, because they are starting to die. If fishing weeds, (Smallmouth) basic live bait rig is always a go to presentation; also crankbaits will work well. Panfish: Bluegills are being found on the deepest weed edges amongst the greenest weeds. Slip bobber rigs are the way to go with a good selection of live bait such as waxies and red worms. Plastics are working under bobbers also; you just have to twitch your rod to make sure they have movement action. Crappies are starting to suspend over some mud flats, while small jigs tipped with minnows or small blade baits like cicadas will also work. Perch are being caught on the mud flats also using small minnows.


See shoreline salmon/trout at the top. Capt. Rich Sleziak  at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted that crappie are being caught in Deep River and Burns Ditch with minnows on plain hooks or jigs in yellow and white tipped with bee-moths best.


No update.


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.


See shoreline salmon/trout at the top. Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said there’s bass going in the river, very little on the lake or pier.


Click herefor reports from the Indiana DNR.


Clint Sands at Lakeside said crappie (cribs and brush piles), muskie (multiple fish days) and bass are the top bites; water is 60 degrees and cooling.

Lakeside remains open daily, 7 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. The restaurant is closed for the season. 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.


No update.


It is one of the sites for fall trout.


Arden Katz said the cold front last week slowed the bite for walleye and white bass.

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