Fall kings keep surprising: Royal joys of Chicago fishing

SHARE Fall kings keep surprising: Royal joys of Chicago fishing

Kings coming to shore around southern Lake Michigan highlight 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.

John Carlson sent the photo above with this explanation:

Dale, my son is fishing the Pere Marquette this weekend enjoying some great weather and some even better fishing. He tells me that these fish he is catching are most likely wild fish as this river has not been stocked with Kings in over 10 years. I will have to check on that though. John


CHICAGO: Stacey Greene at Park Bait said Diversey has been strongest spot for kings, but Belmont and Montrose are also producing regularly; an occasional laker, too. There have been some caught on South Side, too. WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop texted that some kings, pike and steelhead were being caught off the end of government pier Tuesday. INDIANA: Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted the blow pushed fish up the streams, change could come when south winds this week eventually turns the water over. SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN: Check the The Wisconsin DNR report. SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN: Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said some kings, coho and steelhead are being caught off the pierheads.


Staff at River’s Edge said lots of smaller sturgeon (minimum of 60 inches) are being caught around the Dells; though a guide reported seeing one legal-sized caught and released.

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.


With the heat building again, I suspect things will change this week. Bluegill are in or around the weeds, or near shade with this continued heat, are the top bite.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:

Hey Dale, Bass on area lakes have been good as water temps continue to cool down with the cooler nights. Focus on outside weedlines during evening hours. Finesse presentations are key to numbers. 4 1/4 inch senkos and drop shot worms have been best.Smallmouth have been very good on area creeks. Work 3 inch craw imitation baits on a 1/0 keeper hook. Work the bait slowly over the bottom during mowing hours.Fishing will only get better as we approach the fall season.TTYL


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 bluegill are good on Pistakee Bay in 8 feet; walleye are fair, look in 7-12 feet; white bass are fair suspended over deeper water, adjust slipper bobbers when found; muskie are fair, try toward evening into night.

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 8/27 – 9/4 Surface temps in the mid to lower 70’s and the fish are moving a bit. We caught Bass on jigs and plastics in water from 4 to 18 feet fishing the River and out on the lake. The river is starting to turn on a little some nice Crappie and big gills on small plastic baits. Had a couple out from Sweden that really enjoyed the River and Lake Michigan and they caught fish. Saturday had a friend Vic (Buster) and Mike out for Busters Birthday Cruise, and it started more like a cruise than a fishing trip we fished quite a few spots before we finally got fish to go. We ended up with some pretty nice fish Bass 12’ to 17 Crappie up to about 12 and some Gills. Buster caught his best gill to date just over 10. At weeks end I was thinking it was Great having air and water temps in the 70’s and I am listening to the weather for today and the next few days Heat Index 100 degrees. May take a little work to find them but we will. Enjoy your week and fish on. Capt.Pat Harrison

I plan to be out with Pat on Wedneesday.


GENEVA: Arden Katz said drop-shotting is producing good rock bass, but the bass fishing has been tougher.


Marcus Benesch sent this:

Dale,River levels are back at normal lows. Sqeeters have subsided and evening fishing is becoming more pleasant. Pike fishing is at full bore now that September is here and fall is around the corner. Now and into winter is the best time for bigger fish. Topwater is still producing as well are large bucktails and spinnerbaits. Weedlines and laydowns are go to targets. If you can find a creek with water there’s probably a pike or two holding that spot as well.Marcus BeneschRiver Grove, Illinois


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-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.


No update.


No update.


Lance LaVineat Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay sent this:

Good morning fellas Here is what I have as far as the fishing goes Perch fishing has been going excellent in recent weeks…the better areas have been right in downtown Sturgeon Bay on the edges of the channel, Sawyer Harbor and Little Sturgeon. 8 to 15 feet of water has been the better depths as of late and anywhere you can find weed is a good place to start. Medium and large fatheads along with crawler pieces have been the best baits. The Pike fishing is also heating up as it usually does this time of year. Again, the Sturgeon Bay ship canal, the Sturgeon Bay Flats, Potawatomi Park shoreline and Little Sturgeon all good spots to chase those Pike. Trolling and or casting large plugs, spoons, spinner baits, large swim baits and or dragging suckers all good options to boat a Pike Walleye fishing has been going OK as of late. It really started to get pretty good and then we got a bunch of Door Counties wonderful winds and it screwed up the water again which slowed things down. But, that water should normalize hear again and we will see some good fishing through fall as we usually do. Henderson’s Point south past Chaudoir’s Dock, Larson’s Reef along with the vast structure to the north of Sturgeon Bay are all good options for the Walleyes. Flicker Shads and minnows, Deep Husky Jerks, Reef Runners , Smithwick Rogues and crawler harnesses are all good options for the trollers. Rippin Raps, Rapala jigs, Moonshine Shiver minnow and an assortment of paddle tails are all good options when you want to jig Bass fishing has been going super as of late and will continue to stay good right through fall. Concentrate your efforts around steeper shoreline drop-offs, deeper channels and off shore structure, but with all of the alewives around, you cannot bypass the shallow stuff especially if there is a school bait fish that the bass are following. The best baits have been a wide variety of drop shot plastics, shorty tubes, spinner baits, some top water baits along with Senko’s. The fall run of King Salmon and Brown Trout is about to begin here in our area. Casting or trolling spoons and crank baits or soaking spawn sacs all good options when the spawn is on Thanks; Lance LaVine Howie’s Tackle 1309 Green Bay Rd Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235 Ph: 920-746-9916

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 dropping, down to 16 feet Tuesday at LaSalle. Thom Matejewski at Illinois Valley Outdoors in Spring Valley said pulling crankbaits is producing sauger on the flats.


Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map. The north blow pushed some kings and a few steelhead into the streams.


Norm Minas sent this:

The flow rates are dropping now that it quit raining but it’s still out of the banks a bit and about 5 times it’s normal flow . At least the damn grass isn’t shooting up 4 inches every other day in my back yard . Visibility still limited but then again algae isn’t a problem either . Water willows generally sticking up about 1/2 way out of the water . Definitely not real wadeable , very limited entry . There are some spots where the fisherman’s paths are still flooded, where there is a foot of water or so and shade there are minnows hanging about and smallmouth chewing on them .Even with the murky water if there is no shade the smallmouth weren’t chewing for me . Best lure for me has been a rattlebait , it’s beat a spinnerbait hands down . The outside edges of the waterwillow beds especially points and pockets are still producing . Once again the rattlebait is working so much better than a spinnerbait that I finally just started using rattlebaits exclusively . Crankbaits worked against the current on the seams are also producing fairly well . Rattlebaits are doing a bit better than crankbaits in riffle areas but it’s definitely worth using both . The upstream side has been better than the downstream side . There are a few waterwillow islands out in the main flow that I can reach by wading into slower water . I toss a 1/2 oz rattlebait into the slack area behind the islands and have done very well on that pattern. Rock bass on 1/0 weighted keeper hooks/ 3 inch Berkley power walleye leeches in eddies . Gar at mouths of inflows on reapers rigged on an unweighted ewg hook .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: Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said there are a fair amount of coho, steelhead and lakers in 130-160 feet; also off R4 in 90-120; south wind could change things dramatically.

WAUKEGAN: Ted Boska sent this:

Hello and good evening Dale.Middle of the week fishing continues to be good for big rainbows, mixed up with coho and Lakers from 180 to 300 feet. Occasionally king, but not many this week. For holiday weekend mother nature makes fishing brutal again. Very limited catches, because we never made it to our destination point and cut fishing trip short. Nobody leaves harbor on Monday, big waves makes fishing impossible. I hope weather conditions improve in next week we can go and fish again. Thanks Ted ( diehard angler ) BOSKA

NORTH POINT: Posteshman said fishing remains “outstanding’’ for plenty of steelhead, lake trout and big coho with a few kings, as deep as 250 feet, but best in 200, it has been better on the Wisconsin side of the state line.


No update.


No update from Jarek Wujkowski of Rodsbent Guide Service.


Reports just keep coming of big blue catfish. The cooling lake south of Seneca is open daily, 6 a.m.-sunset.


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.


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:

Following a sunny, but a bit windy Labor Day Weekend, storms on Tuesday and Wednesday may change the coming weekend’s outlook as we get into the September fishing.Water temps remain unseasonably warm, most lakes from small to large reading about 71-72 degrees surface temperature. The shallow weed die off of a couple weeks ago seems to have ended, with more reports of fish using the shallows once again.Largemouth Bass: Very good. Back up in the weeds of 5-10’. Anglers casting spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and shallow cranks reporting good action. Along deeper weed lines, ripping twitch baits (deep X-raps, Husky Jerks, Scatter Rap DHJ) catching aggressive bass. Follow up with Sweet Beavers, Mighty Craws or Wacky worms to pick off the less enthusiastic fish.Smallmouth Bass: Good-Very good. Scattered about deep structure (gravel humps, sandgrass, wood) in depths of 15-30’. Skirted grubs on football jigs as well as Carolina rigged scoring nice fish of 18-20. Counting down lipless cranks over sandgrass flats of 16-20’ also working. Jig or Lindy rigging crawlers, leeches (getting tough to find) also good.Musky: Good. Action starting to move back up a bit shallower. Big spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and top-water baits good. Sun over the weekend didn’t help very much, but, windward sides of lake producing.Bluegill: Good. Another species that has moved to some degree back in the shallows (probably luring in the predators). While still finding schools suspended deep on large lakes, mid-sized (1,000 acres and less) lakes are seeing good action on small leeches and worms in 5-8’.Pike: Good-Fair. Most catches on live bait over the weekend. Some incidental catches on spinnerbaits by bass anglers.Walleye: Fair. Scattered reports for the most part. A few lakes producing over gravel in 18-26’ on large fats on 1/8 – ¼ oz jigs. Also after dark on lighted slip-bobbers with large leeches.Perch: Fair. Few reports. ½ crawlers on 1/16oz jig or medium leech under slip-bobber in weeds of 8-12’.Crappies: Fair. Few reports, likely due to high winds where most crappie fishing done at this time.A light cool down (highs in 60’s) expected after stormy mid-week. Weekend weather looks good. Flowages unusually high for September due to so much rain. If water temps start to drop a little should improve walleye and crappie fishing. 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.

Fishing Report Muskie: Action on these guys has varied widely with action seemingly just as good for suspended fish as weed fishing. In the weeds, use surface baits and bucktails. Suspended fish are going after Bulldawgs. Walleye: Look for the deep weed edges that are by sharp breaks for the best results. Crawlers are still getting good action, but bring a few minnows along. Night fishing is still good with a great fall daytime bite nearing. Bass: Largemouth bass are still lurking in the weeds, so don’t hesitate to go shallow with plastics, surface baits and spinner baits. Smallies are deeper and tending to congregate around deep brush piles. Wacky worms are doing the trick for the smallmouth bass. 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, too, with the aid of twitching the rod for movement. Crappies are beginning to move a bit deeper, about 5 to 7 feet from the weeds. Work them the same way as with Bluegills.


See shoreline salmon at the top. Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station said that a few smaller salmon/trout are being caught in 65-100 feet; the only perch reports are deeper in 30-50 feet out of Michigan City.


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 a 34-pound flathead was caught in river near the shop Monday night; boats on Lake Michigan are trolling in 90-110 feet for kings, lakers and steelhead; perch fishing is very slow.


Click herefor reports from the Indiana DNR.


Staff at Lakeside said there was good walleye, jigging spoons or trolling Flicker Shads, on deep weed lines in 10-12 feet; same methods also producing the occasional big hybrid striped bass; there’s good catfish action continuing ; bass are on the weed lines or dam face; crappie are picking up in cribs on the north end; muskie going in no-motor zone on bucktails.

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 the river is normal; trolling orange-bottomed Rapalas is producing walleye; crawlers are attracting both smallmouth and walleye.


No update.


No update.

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