Turn toward fall: Changing options around Chicago fishing

SHARE Turn toward fall: Changing options around Chicago fishing

At least for the near future, it is a turn toward fall and it shows in the sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

The MFR 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.

Top photo is electrician Jake “Stonewall Jackson” Krajewski with his first king, caught over the weekend at Waukegan.


CHICAGO: Stacey Greene at Park Bait said some kings, more coho, and some steelhead continue to be caught, especially at Belmont and Montrose. WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop texted that continues to be good with some salmon and trout being taken off Government Pier. Some good kings are being caught as shown by photo at top. INDIANA: Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station said weather limited lake access, but some fish are up the streams. SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN: Arden Katz said kings were very good at the gap in Milwaukee Harbor over the weekend, jigging with white 5-inch Gulp! Minnows. Also check the Wisconsin DNR report, usually out Tuesday.


Staff at River’s Edge said no legals have been caught yet at the Dells. Hook-and-line season is open for sturgeon in Wisconsin; on rivers allowing keeping of fish there is a 60-inch limit. Click here for general info.

Here are the catch-and-release rivers added this year:

New catch and release opportunities for this year include:

  • Mississippi River: upstream of the Red Wing Dam until March 1, 2017 and downstream of the Red Wing Dam until April 14, 2017.
  • St. Croix River from Prescott to Gordon Flowage: until March 1, 2017.
  • St. Louis and Nemadji rivers: until April 14, 2017.
  • St. Croix River(Wisconsin/Minnesota boundary water): from October 1 to October 15.


The season is open in Illinois for bullfrogs (sport fishing license required, may be taken by hook and line, gig, pitchfork, spear, bow and arrow, hand or landing net) and bullfrog or green frogs in Indiana.


More crappie reports come, even on my local pond.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:

Hey Dale, The fall bite is starting to setup nicely on area lakes for bass. With the dropping water temps, focus on inside and outside weedlines. Pitching a Strike King bitsy bug with a 4 inch power craw is taking larger bass in the system. Using an aggressive hop and fall is triggering the reaction strike in bass. This technique will continue to take larger bass over the next month.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


Check with Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington. Lake is open daily, 6 a.m.-sunset.


Art Frisell at Triangle said crappie are picking up around current areas by drops or main lake points in 8-13 feet; nice perch in same area in 5-9 feet; muskie are going best on small bucktails, some big fish are being moved; walleye are fair, best around bridges or main lake points; bluegill are fair.

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


Capt. Pat Harrison (click here for his site) sent this:

Chicago River Fishing Report 9/3 – 9/11 Last week was a little up and down weather wise with some hot and cold weather and some rain mixed in. With some temps dipping into the 50’s the water temps are dropping and fish will be feeding more so fishing should pick up. As I’m writing this I see some reports of fish being caught. As temps drop smaller baits moving slower should add to your catch rate. Tuesday I had the Pleasure of having Mike from Capital Outdoors out for an interview and a day of fishing. It was hot and tough we caught a few fish Crappie, Gills and a couple small Bass we locked out and fished the break walls then setup a the sport riggers and flat lined a few baits for Trout and Salmon with no results out in 50 f.o.w Surface temps were still in the 80’s. It was a fun day Thank you for sharing the day with me Mike and letting me share my Passion with you. We will do it again soon. Wednesday I had a friend out Dale Bowman we have known each other for years he is a Great Guy. We started the day with some Crappie and Gills and mixed in a few Bass. We locked out onto the lake and fished a few spots got one small Bass then Dale hooked up to what we thought was a trophy Smallmouth. The Grandt Rod was bent hard and we both though we saw a Bass Flash after a couple minute tug a war we landed a 27 Catfish it was fun to watch Dale work the fish on 10# test. We talked about the fishing local and shared a memory from the last time we were in a boat together. It was 8 years ago I invited him to spend the day with a good friend of mine Jim Schaefer JD Spinners guide service and I on the Chain for some Walleye fishing Memorial Day weekend. Dale thought I was nuts but he showed up and we had a fun day of Walleye, Bass, Catfish and Drum fishing. JD passed away a few years ago and he is missed he was a great guy and good friend. I don’t want to give anymore away Dale is going to be writing about our Adventure soon. Thank You for sharing the day with me Buddy it is always great to spend time with you. Thanks for what you do in the outdoor world . Capt .Pat

The story of my day with Pat is the outdoors column in the Sun-Times tomorrow.


GENEVA: Dave Duwe sent this:

Lake Geneva Fishing Report 9/11/16 through /18/16 Overall, the fishing on Lake Geneva remains a bit slow. The warm water this summer has made the fishing a lot slower than typical for this time of year. The lake has seen less pressure with the kids back to school. As the water cools the fishing should improve greatly. The best bite remains the largemouth bass. The largemouth bass are in 17-21 ft of water. The best location has been by Maytag Point and by Covenant Harbor. You want to drop shot root beer colored 4 inch finesse worms. The best length for the dropper has been 8-12 inches. Average catches have been between 8 and 15 fish for a 4 hour trip. 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. 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. 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 is 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. 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 at 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: Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 9.11.16 through 9.18.16 Most of the past week, the heat has been above average and the lake temperature has been 4-5 degrees higher than normal for this time of year, this is also making the fishing a bit slower than normal for this time of year. The overall size of the fish has been relatively small but there are still some great numbers. 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, Browns Channel and Willow Point. The best presentation has been drop shotting 4 inch finesse worms or fishing underneath piers on the north shore. The drop shot bite is best in 15-17 ft of water. 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 best presentation has been trolling deep diving crankbaits along the weedline in 16-18 ft of water. The best color for the crank bait has been pearl color or fire tiger. I’ve been trolling by Assembly Park or Browns Channel. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


No update.


EVERGREEN: Mike Steffa sent this update on fall hours:

FALL HOURS FOR EVERGREEN LAKE BAIT SHOP & BOAT RENTAL: BAIT SHOP: 8:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M. DAILY BOAT RENTAL: 8:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M. SAT. & SUN. ONLY Thank you. Michael J. Steffa – Director McLean County Dept. of Parks & Rec.

HENNEPIN CANAL: Thom Matejewski at Illinois Valley Outdoors in Spring Valley said the crappie bite has really picked up, especially around Tiskilwa. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for season. POWERTON: I need to confirm fall hours. LAKE OF EGYPT/REND: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. EMIQUON: Because of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s shutdown, fishing and boating permits will be done at the launch. Call (309) 547-2730. SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide Service.


Pete Lamar sent this:

Hi Dale, This isn’t at all comprehensive, so feel free to use it or ignore it. I did a little bit of fishing in the Fox tribs SW of Aurora yesterday. I didn’t do any exploring; this was just a milk run of the usual spots. As always, there were some smallmouth and rock bass around. There was a sparse caddis hatch towards sunset; carp seemed to notice it more than the smallmouths or rock bass. Just for the heck of it, I turned over a few rocks to see if there were any hellgrammites around. There weren’t, but I did find some mayfly nymphs clinging to the undersides of the rocks. Pete

I find that last note interesting, though I am not sure what it means.


No update.


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

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


Fishing hours are 6 a.m.-sunset daily.


River is coming off a minor flood and is on a steady drop, which should make for good fishing, said Thom Matejewski at Illinois Valley Outdoors in Spring Valley. Before the river came up, sauger and walleye had been good on the flats. Catfish remain good on cut bait.


Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted that some fish are up the streams and spawn or skein sac are best; best creek is Salt. Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.


River is high and stained, but fishable. NOTE: The bridge over Rock Creek on Route 102 is open.


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


See shoreline salmon/trout reports at top.

CHICAGO: Stacey Greene at Park Bait said a pike is being caught nearly every day at Montrose; and there’s lots of small perch inside harbor.

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said it’s primarily an off-shore fishery for mostly lakers, R4 has been one of better spots; but some small kings, coho and browns in shallow.

WAUKEGAN: Ted Boska sent this:

Hello and good morning Dale.Middle of the week fishing continues to be good for mix bag of fish from 250″.Look like rainbows gone somewhere this week and mostly lakers are dominant fish at this time. Lot of lakers around south reef as well. For the weekend Saturday -brutal fishing again because of weather, rain and waves actions slow fishing down.Sunday -no fishing, because of waves Crazy weather patterns for weekend fishing like always. Thanks Ted ( diehard angler ) BOSKA

NORTH POINT: Posteshman said spawning reefs have good lake trout, in 180-200 feet there are lakers, some steelhead and salmon.


No update.


No update from Jarek Wujkowski of Rodsbent Guide Service.


The cooling lake south of Seneca is open daily, 6 a.m.-sunset. Final day of fishing is Oct. 15.


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


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.


Arden Katz had a report at top. 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:

A week of on and off rain, wind and electrical storms made for spotty fishing reports. The cooler weather forecasted last week didn’t come until Sunday (9/11), finally dropping some surface temps below the 70’s after weeks of hanging in the 72 degree range. Largemouth Bass: Very Good-Good. With some action returning up in the shallows on spinnerbaits (Boonies), shallow cranks (Bandit) and twitch baits (X-Raps, Shallow Raps) scoring well as are buzz baits. Plastics in the form of Wacky worms (Yamamoto, Yum) as well as plunging Sweet Beavers and Creature baits in slightly deeper weeds of 8-12’. Smallmouth Bass: Good. Best on deep humps drop-shotting Jackall pin-tails and Gulp Alive 2 ½ minnows. Football jigs with skirted grubs also working. Bluegills: Good-Very good. They are moving back into 5-8’ weeds. Small leeches, worms, Berkley Power Nymphs. Musky: Good. Best up over 5-10’ weeds on big spinner baits (Boonie, Bucher, Slop Master) topwater (Pacemakers, Whopper Ploppers and Top Raiders) and large bladed bucktails. Suckers (9-10) are also working well for being this early in the season. Turtle Flambeau Flowage reports good action on Boonie Baits up shallow. Pike: Good-Fair. Best on blade baits (Boonie, Chatters) and twitch baits (Husky Jerks, Rattlin Rouges) or meat (suckers, chubs) on a jig with wire leader. Good follow up after working swim baits over flats. Walleye: Fair-Good. Action improving some on lakes. Deep bites over gravel/mud transitions in 18-26’ using 1/8-1/4 oz jigs with ½ crawlers or large fatheads. On flowages, redtail chubs on Jack’s weedless jigs in 5-7’ of heavy cover best. Also anglers using Jigging Raps scoring over 18-26’ gravel. Perch: Fair. Best on warmer days up in weeds of 4-8’ taking ½ crawlers or medium fatheads. Crappie: Fair-poor. Few reports as of this past week. With water levels unseasonably high and warm, some patterns for September are off (walleye, crappie). With cooler temps in the future, hopefully action on our favorite fall fish (Musky, Walleye, Crappie) will improve. Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop 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.

Fishing Report Muskie: Larger size baits such as double 9’s and 10’s spinnerbaits, bigger jerk baits and even top water on warmer days will get bit. Remember that the proper equipment is needed to use certain baits to make your fishing experience enjoyable. Northern Pike: Fishing the weed edges with bass style spinnerbaits or inline spinnerbaits, such as Mepps #4 and #5, and weedless spoons, such as Johnson Silver Minnows, should get action. Jig and minnow combos fishing near weeds for walleyes will catch a few also. Walleye: Look for the deep weed edges that are by sharp breaks for the best results. If the wind picks up, don’t hesitate to go to a heavier jig to maintain bottom contact. Minnows are starting to become more the bait of choice along with crawlers. Leeches are getting harder to find. Bass: (Largemouth) Bass spinnerbaits (safety pin style) and crankbaits are working well. If fishing weeds, don’t forget to bring top water baits like a Scum Frog or a Zara Spook. Texas and Carolina rigging plastics will also entice that fish to bite. (Smallmouth) Basic live bait rig is always a go to presentation; also plastics and crankbaits will work well. Panfish: For Bluegills, slip bobber rigs are the way to go baited up with a good selection of live bait such as waxies, small leeches and red worms. Plastics are working under bobbers with a twitch of the rod. Crappies will be looking for cover in the weeds, downed trees or around cribs and a slip bobber rigged with small minnow or plastics. Work them the same way as with Bluegills. Perch are in the weeds too, and using a selection of small leeches (if available), red worms and small minnows on slip bobbers are the ticket for them.


See shoreline salmon/trout at the top. Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted that a few perch are being caught in 30-50 feet by those drifting out of Michigan City. Crappie are picking up in such places as Lake George around the bridges.


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.


For shoreline salmon/trout, see top. Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said there’s some perch in 42 feet off “The Chalets”; lakers are good in 90 feet off the Cook plant; otherwise, it is 200 feet for salmon.


Click herefor reports from the Indiana DNR.


Staff at Lakeside said lots of walleye are being caught jigging off the road bed; bass are on the weed lines, a few on the dam face; some nice hybrid stripers are being caught; catfish are OK, best on stinkbait; muskie picking up, more seen than boated.

Lakeside remains open daily. The restaurant is open Friday through Sunday. 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.


See Wisconsin sturgeon note at top. Staff at River’s Edge said river is normal, walleye, smallmouth and white bass are being caught.


No update.


No update.

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