Back to summer: The ups and downs of Chicago fishing

SHARE Back to summer: The ups and downs of Chicago fishing

Summer temperatures return, but even so, the kings and other salmon and trout keep coming ashore and lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; and we have the closing dates for the cooling lakes and other public sites Downstate.

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.

Yes, indeed, the kings keep coming in, warm or cold, as BoRabb Williams showed with this 15-pound king from 63rd Street Tuesday.


CHICAGO: Stacey Greene at Park Bait kings and coho continue to be caught in one of the better recent years. Tom Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait said there was a rush of good fish on Sunday at 31st Street. There have been other reports up and down the Chicago lakefront. Tom’s brother Steve said the smaller salmon being caught include many coho.

WAUKEGAN: As the column shows this week, there have been some outstanding catches of coho and Chinook, not just in Chicago, but also in Waukegan, especially off Government Pier.

INDIANA: David Martin Repya messaged:

finally a nice run of king’s in M.C..Some in New Buffalo too

Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted that it has been slow otherwise close to shore.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN: Arden Katzsaid they went 4-for-8 Saturday, all over 20 pounds at Milwaukee Harbor. He counted 37 boats in the gap, and saw lots of fish caught from shore and boats, a couple bites on spoons but it was mainly jigging with white 5-inch Gulp! Minnows! Carl Vizzone texted that there were “lots of fish in Port Washington.” On Monday, he caught a coho and Chinook and he saw over 30 fish caught in three hours, most people fishing with whole alewives, a few with spawn. He said people throwing spoons had to work harder. He was the only one jig fishing (1/8th-ounce jighead with 3-inch Keitech minnow).

Also check the Wisconsin DNR report, usually out Tuesday.

SOUTHWEST MICIGAN: Phil Schuman at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said just a few kings and coho have been caught off the pier.


Staff at River’s Edge said many sturgeon being caught in the Dells area, though no legals checked in so far. But there was a report of a 70-incher caught and released, not checked in, next to them.

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.


Crappie reports should build when cooler weather finally settles in.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:

Hey Dale, Bass on areas lakes have been very good. Work top water baits early morning hours before sun rises over tree tops. Cast parallel to the shorelines to cover as much water as possible. Once the top water bite slows, start pitching jigs along inside and outside weedlines. Work the jig aggressively to trigger reaction strikes. Pitching into weed mats late in the morning will produce a few as well.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


Site staff reported 84 at the north (cool) side; 95, south (hot). Final day of fishing is Oct. 11.

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 bluegill are very good, try shallow (find shade) with Mini-Mites or Yummies; muskie are improving weekly, try topwaters, bucktails or small jerkbaits; lots of people are catfishing; walleye are fair on leeches or crawlers around bridge areas or main lake points; crappie 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, 9/11 9/17 Not a lot to talk about this week with the weather still playing tricks with us.I feel the season is running a few weeks off due to water temps still being high and forecasts for 80 degree temps again this week. I did a trip last week with 2 clients that fished hard all day from Burnham Harbor to Belmont Harbor. We fishing all the rocks and break walls from 6 to 60 f.o.w for a few bumps and no takers. Surface temps are still mid to low 80’s just to hot for fish to want to play. We locked back onto the river and did manage 3 small bass about 12 to 14 inches not much for a full long day of pounding the water but that’s fishing. I decided to postpone a couple trips and stay off the water for about a week so I will be back out later this week to see what temps are and if fish are starting to move I’m hoping what temps are creeping down with our cooler nights otherwise I am going to try deeper with the drop shot rigs to find fish. Enjoy your week I haope I have a Fish catching report next week Tight lines and Big Fish.


No update.


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 crappie continue good on minnows under a float; bluegill improving on tiny jigs and wax worms.

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for season. LAKE OF EGYPT/REND: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide Service.

Larry Dozard of 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…


No update.


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. Final day of fishing is Oct. 4.


Thom Matejewski at Illinois Valley Outdoors in Spring Valley said walleye and sauger fishing is good on the flats, and around areas such as Senachwine, pulling crankbaits, but jig fishing is picking up, too. Catfish are “excellent” on cut bait or creek chubs; some white bass starting to show.


Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted it has been slower. Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.


Norm Minas sent this:

it’s been pretty much waterwillow related fishing with the high water of late . singlespin tipped with a 5 inch twister or swimbait has done the job. fished inside/outside edges, pockets, points and cuts/holes in the beds . once the water dropped and the tops of the willows poked thru found fish sliding out to the outer weed edge and the seam . slow rolled the spinnerbait from the weed edge to the seam . fat, healthy smallmouth, been eating well . been some really big smallmouth as well . peacenorm

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 one powerliner got into a few good perch earlier this week on fatheads. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said, “Quite a bit of lake trout between `The Wreck’ and the R4’’; inside of the R4 to the R2, there’s an occasional laker and smaller kings and coho.

WAUKEGAN: Ted Boska sent this:

Hello and good morning Dale.Spawning Lakers are dominant fish at this time on both reefs.300 feet this week magic area for mix bag of fish with very big rainbows, occasionally king. Overall good week of fishing. Thanks Ted ( diehard angler ) BOSKA

NORTH POINT: Posteshman said there’s good fishing for steelhead and lakers in 100-200 feet, with some coho and an occasional smaller king; past 300 feet, there’s been a band of steelhead.


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.


Final day of fishing is Oct. 11. 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.


See report from Arden Katz at top for shoreline salmon/trout. 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:

By most reports, this September has not been a typical September. Very high water and above average surface temps could be the culprit. What is usually a great month for walleye, crappie, bass and the start of the musky fall bite has fallen well short of expectations. Still 10 days to go, but, without a major change in weather or a draw down on the flowages, things look to remain fairly tough. Bluegills: Fair-Good. Not often listed this high in September. Bluegills being found in 7-10’ weeds. Anglers using leeches, waxies, worms, tubes. Pike: Fair-Good. Spinnerbaits best late mornings over 6-10’ weeds. When action slows try jig and chub combo. Musky: Fair-Good. Fish starting to relate back to structure. Fish can be found on deep weed edges in 10-20’. Best tactics have been casting large rubber baits (Alien Eel). Depth Raiders with a jerk/pause retrieve have also produced. Anglers starting to use smaller suckers. Smallmouth Bass: Fair. Deep humps best. Drop-shotting pin-minnows, plastic craws or jig/skirted grubs best. Walleye: Fair. Better earlier in the week. When bites going, deed gravel/mud transitions using 1/4oz jigs or Lindy Rigs to fish Redtail chubs or ½ crawlers. Bites extremely light. Be patient and pay attention to any extra weight. Perch: Fair. A few reports of anglers catching nice perch on crawlers or medium fatheads in 8-12’ weeds. Largemouth Bass: Fair. Some reports of smaller fish in weeds, but, seemed to have fallen off the map. Crappies: Fair. Flowage bites haven’t been great. A few fish near drowned wood. Hate to be the bearer of bad news with a not so great report, but, hopefully as we get out from under full moon and high pressure, we will see a little more drop in surface temperature. That will help us salvage fishing the last 10 days in September and have a great October. Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop

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: Baits such as double 9’s and 10’s spinnerbaits, bigger jerk baits and top water are still working. Remember that the proper equipment is needed to use certain baits to make your fishing experience enjoyable. Northern Pike: Fishing the deep flats with some type of weeds could be sand grass or coontail, Jig and minnow combos are the bait of choice. Walleye: They’re locating near the tops of deep rock humps early and late in the day. These fish are going to deeper waters during the day, so be prepared to follow them out. Jig and minnow combos are the ticket here. 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 also; just twitch the rod for movement. Crappies will be looking for cover in the weeds, downed trees or around cribs and a slip bobber rigged with small minnow or plastics and can be worked the same way as Bluegills. Perch are in the weeds too, and using a selection of small leeches (if you can still find them), red worms and small minnows on slip bobbers are good options.


See shoreline salmon/trout at the top. Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station said perch were good over the weekend in 25-30 feet, including jumbos, drifting with baby roaches. Crappie are good at night in 30 feet on Pine Lake.


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. Phil Schuman at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said there’s perch in 40 feet off “The Chalets’’; walleye are picking up in river.


Click herefor reports from the Indiana DNR.


Staff at Lakeside said muskie picked up in the no-motor zone, especially on BullDawgs low in water column; crappie picked up, work shallow weeds morning, cribs during day; walleye are going on jigging spoons or Flicker Shad; bluegill and perch are on the weed lines; bass are best on the dam face; there’s been some nice catfish out of the deep trees.

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


See Wisconsin sturgeon note at top. Staff at River’s Edge said there’s good walleye on crawlers or Rapalas with orange bellies; there’s decent white bass and smallmouth action.


No update.


No update.

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