Arrival of fall: Feedbag time for Chicago fishing?

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Fall returns, with all that means to fishing for this 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.

Photo at top was sent late last week by Mike Starcevich with some shoreline fishing for returning Chinook in Indiana.


CHICAGO: Cory Gechtat Park Bait said still kings being caught, as well as coho and some trout, especially on west end of Montrose Harbor, casting spoons or with golden roachs. Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait texted they continue to pick off some kings and coho, up and down the lakefront.

WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop texted that it is now more of a crankbait bite for the steelhead and kings; with frozen roaches taking some browns on the bottom, either South Rocks or Government Pier.

INDIANA: Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station said weather limited boating effort; but there are a few fish up the streams, but more fishermen than salmon generally. He expects a good rain and cool down could draw in fish to the streams.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN: Arden Katzsaid lots of fish inside of the harbor now, best on crankbaits, rattling baits. Also check the Wisconsin DNR report, usually out Tuesday.

SOUTHWEST MICIGAN: Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said weather limited action; but the colder water when the lake settles should bring kings into the river.


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).


Staff at River’s Edge said sturgeon are being caught, but legals tagged yet. Hook-and-line season is generally open for sturgeon in Wisconsin, through Friday, Sept. 30.; 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.


StevePalmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait texted that crappie reports are picking up and he only expects that to pick up more as true fall weather builds.

And I suspect that the report from Ken “Husker” O’Malley will change with the weather. Otherwise, he sent this on Monday:

Hey Dale, Bass have slowed a bit with the warmup in the weather. Should get better with more normal temps. Top water early morning still producing. Follow up missed strikes with a 5.25 inch senko. Work top water baits at last light as well for a few bass.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


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.


Staff at Triangle said trolling with smaller crankbaits is producing more muskie; a few white bass and crappie are being caught in the river on shallow turns or eddies; some crappie and big white bass are being caught around Blarney Island; there’s bluegill and perch on the south end of Channel; catfish are good on stinkbait or cut bait.

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


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

Chicago River report 9/17 – 9/25 Well water temps are starting to come down and fish are starting to move. Surface temps down to low 70’s to mid 60’s and dropping . We caught some nice fish Bass 12’ to 17 Crappie 8 to 11 Gill’s 7 to 10 and a few Cats about 18. Mixed bag but it was fun toward the end of the week the Bass seemed to be showing up a little more. Most fish were caught in 2 to 8 fow of water with Bass and Cats coming off bottom in 10 to 12 fow With these cooler days and nights and the wind we are getting things should start to get better and better. I will be down part of this week a couple things to do and a Differential repair on the Jeep. I see a lot of guys out working the Harbors from shored and having some Luck. We will start throwing spoons and jigging Vibrations Tackle Echo Tail blade baits this week for sure. Looking forward to a few trips up to the Wisconsin Harbors to do some Salmon fishing with the temps dropping I do this with a couple buddies that are teaching me the tricks of the trade. Thanks for reading have a Great week.


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, some fish to 14 inches, on minnows under a float.

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 pulling three-ways or trolling crankbaits are picking up both sauger and walleye, some are being caught jigging, too; some white bass around bridges; crappie are going around pilings or island brush; Vermilion has some hybrids up inside.


Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted that some kings are in the streams, but they are scattered from the lake to Valparaiso for instance. Cold and rain could help. Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.


No update, other than water levels are OK. 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: StevePalmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait texted that they still continue to catch small perch inside the harbors. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said lakers and a few other fish are being caught around the R4 and Julian’s Reef.

WAUKEGAN: Ted Boska sent this:

Hello and good morning Dale.Weather conditions kept us in the harbor for many day’s and not allow us go fishing.Many 4 year’s old kings jumping inside the harbor, that means we have go fishing only to south reef for many Lakers only,or over 300 feet for mix bag of fish. One important thing -you must have seaworthy boat go that far or sister boat next to you.Past few day’s we really fish in very difficult conditions. .I spotted many people ignore lake Michigan water and charging conditions. Saturday and Sunday no fishing because of waves and gusty wind’s. This week is not looking good, because of North east wind’s to end of this week. Thanks Ted ( diehard angler ) BOSKA

NORTH POINT: Posteshman said early the bite is in 120-160 feet, then out to 180-230, mainly for lakers on the bottom, a few other fish higher; an inshore fishery, depending on the day, is going from North Point to Racine, Wis.


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.


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:

Cooler weather in bringing things more into a fall-like pattern here in the Northwoods. Water temps moving down into the mid 60’s has helped spur on some activity from some of our favorite fall fish. Walleye: Good-Very Good. Action best over rock/gravel humps in 20-28’ of water. Traditional jig/minnow or crawler methods working well. Lindy rigging chubs accounting for better fish on the larger lakes. Jigging Raps over rocks producing well. On some flowage water and smaller lakes, walleyes in shallows taking small redtails or large fatheads on weedless jigs. Musky: Good. Cooler water getting fish amped up! Top water and bladed baits (Bucktails and spinnerbaits) still producing best. Outside weed edges of 8-12’ on most lakes. Some deep suspended fish hitting rubber and big twitch baits. Sucker action picking up. Crappies: Good. Best tight to drowned timber in 15-18’. Medium fatheads on slip-floats. Also small thumper jigs worked vertical over same wood. Northern: Good. Liking the cooler water. Chasing spinner baits and 3 ½ swimbaits. Twitch baits such as X-raps, Husky Jerks and Rattlin’ Rouges over green weeds also working. Live bait (chubs/suckers) always a good choice. Smallmouth Bass: Good. Best over gravel humps. Feeding on sculpin, so a sculpin type match (skirted grub) a good choice. Some action shallower, outside weed edges of 8-14’ using Shadow Raps and X-Raps. Largemouth Bass: Good. Some reports from anglers probing weeds with Sweet Beavers. Wacky worming and jig/plastic combos also working. Colorado bladed single spinnerbaits also a good choice. Bluegills: Good. Returning to remaining green weeds. Also being found with crappies in drowned wood. Perch: Best on Flowages in 4-6’ weeds on medium fatheads or ½ crawlers. With temps only peaking in the 60’s until the weekend, expecting continued better bites. The next two weeks will be prime time for musky/sucker action. 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: Bigger baits such as double 9’s and 10’s spinnerbaits, crankbaits, bigger jerk baits and top water are still working. Suckers are starting to be used also. Northern Pike: Fish the deep flats with some type of weeds (could be sand grass or coontail) to find northern pike. Use Jig and minnow combos are the bait of choice. Walleye: Finding 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, but they will go deeper in the mid-day. 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, 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 red worms and small minnows on slip bobbers is the ticket for them.


See shoreline salmon/trout at the top. Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station said that crappie are going good around the bridges at Lake George; perch had been OK off Dunes State Park before the cold water welled up.


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 when weather allows, lakers and a few 3-year-old kings, steelhead and coho are being caught in 80-110 feet; catfish are good int he river, some walleye and smallmouth, too.


Click herefor reports from the Indiana DNR.


Staff at Lakeside said muskie are going in the no-motor zone on bigger soft plastics; walleye are active on the underwater weed line (10-12 feet) on jigging spoons or Flicker Shads; bass are going on topwaters or spinner baits in the weeds or by the dam face; catfish are good on chicken liver; crappie are shallow mornings, then deeper out to cribs midday; bluegill and perch are shallow.

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.


No update.


Jim Popek sent this:

Dale, Fished the Fremont Area the last 2 weekends. Catching largemouth and pike in the backwaters. Few crappie and bluegill being caught as well. Walleye are still being caught drifting with jigs and crawlers. White bass are at the mouth of Poygan and a few by the rock wall at Partridge Lake. It is an early and late bite. Some crappie being caught in the river. Need water temps and river level to go down before this bite really turns on. Tightlines – Jim

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