Fall trout opens in Illinois, weather is crappie (fishing): Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

Fall trout season opening Saturday in Illinois and crappie improve around Chicago leads this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

SHARE Fall trout opens in Illinois, weather is crappie (fishing): Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

Crappie bite was on last week, winter weather and all, in northern Wisconsin.

Provided by Dave Derk

The opening of fall trout season leads this sprawling raw-fie Midwest Fishing Report, but the cooling weather and waters should spark the crappie bite, too, for this weekend.

Dave Derk sent a bunch of cool photos, including the one above, from the annual trek to northern Wisconsin (report in NORTHERN WISCONSIN) that he and Sondra Katzen, Brookfield Zoo spokesperson, do.

It’s crappie time all over.


Fall trout season opens Saturday, Oct. 19. I included an inclusive list of nearby sites (not all of them are listed on the state press release) below the basic information:

Here are the basics from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources:

All anglers — including those who intend to release fish caught before Oct. 19 — must have a valid fishing license and an Inland Trout Stamp, unless they are under the age of 16, blind or disabled, or are an Illinois resident on leave from active duty in the Armed Forces. The daily catch limit for each angler is five (5) trout. Illinois fishing licenses and Inland Trout Stamps are available at DNR Direct license and permit locations, including many bait shops, sporting goods stores and other retail outlets. Check the IDNR website at: http://dnr.illinois.gov/DNRDirectMonitor/VendorListing.aspx Fishing licenses and trout stamps also can be purchased by using a credit card through DNR Direct online via the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov. NOTE: Not all fall trout sites open at 5:00 a.m. on opening day. Anglers are reminded to check the opening time of their favorite trout fishing location prior to the season. For more information about all site regulations, anglers should contact individual sites that will be stocked with catchable-size trout.

Here are sites open in the nine-county Chicago area:

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

Go to https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/news/Pages/Illinois-Fall-Trout-Season-Opens-October-19.aspx for the statewide release.


Trout opening on Saturday is the main thing, but, with the coming cooldown, I expect crappie to take a lead soon.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed:

Hey Dale, Here is s recap of this past week’s fishing. Area lakes-the cold front that hit over the weekend has slowed fishing. A few bass on jerk baits, but otherwise slow. Bluegill were decent along outside weedlines on J & S custom plastics under a slip float. Best action was mid to late afternoon hours. TTYL


Closed for he season today.

But Rob Abouchar sent this recap from the weekend:

Hi Dale, . . . The Anglers Choice Braidwood Division Bass fishing tournaments concluded on Sunday at Braidwood with 18 boats going out into the frosty conditions. Seems appropriate it should end frosty just as the season begins on the cooling lake. Big Props to Mary Jo as she is sending thanks to Dave, Todd,Matt, and Mary as tournament Co-Directors and Directors for AC. Special Thanks goes to Rick Byrnes making Anglers Choice one of the best competitive fishing series around. The final tournament was won by the team of Randy Miller and Andy Wegner with 9.15lbs. 2nd place went to Joe Gemmel and Matt Janulis with 7.28lbs. 3rd place went to the team of Barney and Neal with 6.51lbs. The big bass of the tournament was a 3.94lb largemouth caught by the team of Randy Miller and Andy Wegner. These numbers are much lower than prior tournaments. Makes me wonder how severe the fish kill over the summer was. I am Planning on hitting the Wisconsin river this weekend to continue the Muskie on a senko quest... the water is not hard yet! Tight Lines!!! Rob


Just a reminder, for anglers, no-wakes are some of the greatest fishing opportunities. As of Tuesday afternoon, the Chain and upper river were no wake, while the lower river was closed. Check updates on conditions at foxwaterway.com or (847) 587-8540.

DAM NOTE: The Stratton Lock and Dam will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays (with the exception of Labor Day and Columbus Day) through the end of the 2019 navigational season. Through September, the lock will be operated on Wednesdays through Sundays 8:00 a.m.-midnight. In October, it will operate Wednesdays through Sundays 8:00 a.m. -8:00 p.m.

Go to http://www.foxwaterway.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/20318-IDNR_Announces_Updated_Operating_Schedule_at_Stratton-Bolger_Lock_and_Dam.pdf for details.


EMIQUON: Go to http://experienceemiquon.com/content/nature-conservancy-emiquon-preserve-lake-access. SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season.


As of Tuesday afternoon, the river remained closed from Stratton Lock and Dam to Bridge Street Bridge in Millington. More at https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/closures/Documents/FoxRiverLakeMcHenryKaneandKendal.pdf



Bill Gros with a Green Lake smallmouth bass.

Provided by Mike Norris

Guide Mike Norris texted he photo above and this:

Bill Gros from Hinsdale, IL with a 20-inch Green Lake Smallmouth Bass

Norris emailed this fishing report:

Fishing Report – 10/14/2019 Mike Norris Last weekend was a near repeat of the weekend before with rain and wind dominating the south-central Wisconsin region. Add in near freezing temperatures and occasional snow squalls and it was no surprise to see many of the boat landings empty. Though most anglers stayed away from the lakes fishing was rewarding for those who knew where to find quieter pockets of water which were not affected by the wind. Big Green Lake – Mid week fishing was very good for smallmouth bass up to 20 inches in length, bluegills to 9 inches and perch up to 10 inches. Smallmouth bass are transitioning into fall patterns and the fishing is picking up. As the weather settles look for bass to be located near and in healthy weedbeds where schools of minnows and small perch reside. While I am live bait rigging with chubs, other anglers are doing well for bass on swimbaits and umbrella rigs. I’m finding the bigger bluegills and perch in weed pockets located in 8 – 12 ft of water and catching them on drop-shots with a #6 hook tipped with a red worm. If fishing with artificial lures, please be reminded Wisconsin regulations allow only three hooks on an umbrella rig. . . . I am getting reports from friends that they are still catching walleye by trolling the main basin of Fox Lake with crankbaits and a few muskies are being caught by anglers drifting with suckers on Little Green Lake. Many lakes in the Midwest are going into the fall turnover right now but we should experience great fishing for the remainder of October and well into November once the water stabilizes. Contact Mike Norris, Wacky Worm Guide Service, at 630-842-8199 for Big Green Lake and other south-central Wisconsin guided fishing trips.


Check the Wisconsin DNR weekly report at https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html


Closed for the season.


Check the report at http://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/fishing/fishing-forecasts-and-reports/the-fish-ohio-report


Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

Steelhead hitting crawlers at Belmont & Diversey harbors. Spawn sacs working at Burnham. Not much salmon or trout activity that I’ve heard of at Montrose. Snaggers doing ok on kings. Haven’t seen the guy this week that was fishing for perch last week but I know he did okay on small minnows and some jigs and maggots. Still some big carp and sheephead around the harbor. A few Northerns & Smallmouth here and there also.

Try a state record smallmouth there at Monroe Harbor. Go to https://chicago.suntimes.com/2019/10/15/20916246/joe-capilupo-catches-illinois-record-smallmouth-smashes-samps-1985-record for that story.

Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop texted:

Snaggers doing ok, bait guys, sacks and shrimp doing okay, plugs and spoons ok, not many reports due to weather

Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed:

Hi Dale. When the weather allows the fishing is excellent from Waukegan to Wilmette. The fish have stacked up in shallow water from South of the harbor to the R2 buoy. All species are there including nice 3 year old kings and big lakers and browns. The best way to target all species is with Warrior spoons in the two smaller sizes Flutter and XL in bright pattens of pinks and orange. Super Jordo, Killer Orange, Steelhead Candy and Coho Candy were good. Trolling rapalas and Small #3 Luhr-Jensen J-Plugs should work too. From shore clearer and cooler water this week helped the casters. Several coho and a few late-spawning kings came on flicker shads in custom colors of Green Zebra, Yellow Zebra and Wonderbread. Try to stay away from the snaggers. Capt. Scott Wolfe School of Fish Charters 630-341-0550 www.schooloffishcharters.com

From the IDNR, the snagging notes:

SALMON SNAGGING: 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). d) Disposition of Snagged Salmon and Paddlefish. All snagged salmon and paddlefish must be removed from the area from which they are taken and disposed of properly, in accordance with Article 5, Section 5-5 of the Fish and Aquatic Life Code.


Closed for the season.


Mendota, Monona, Waubesa and Kegonsa remain no-wake.

Mike Norris emailed this fishing report:

Fishing Report – 10/14/2019 Mike Norris . . . Madison Chain – I went down to Lake Monona again one day last week and found bluegill action to be very good fishing from shore in the Triangle area. Small jigs tipped with red worms and fished under a slip bobber worked best for me. Anglers are also doing well for bluegill fishing from the seawall at Monona Terrace. Other anglers are still catching walleyes are on Lake Mendota when they can get out on the lake. Concentrate on 20 – 30 ft of water along steep breaklines and jig vertically with minnows or Jigging Raps. An Entire Lake - Slow No Wake order remains in effect for all the Madison Chain of Lakes, which includes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa and Kegonsa. . . . Contact Mike Norris, Wacky Worm Guide Service, at 630-842-8199 for Big Green Lake and other south-central Wisconsin guided fishing trips.

Check the D&S Bait update at https://www.facebook.com/dsbaitandtackle/.


Closed for the season, except Monster Lake at Mazonia South is open year-round.


Dave Derk sent this update on Sunday from the annual trek north he and Sondra Katzen do:

Hi Dale, Sondi and I just got back from our fall fishing trip to northern Wisconsin. Weather was all over the place with the last 4 days having winds 20-30 mph. Horrible boat control. Our lake had not turned over yet and in our search for fish we found many sitting right above the thermocline (see attached pic of my graph). I believe they were waiting for the lake to flip so they could go to their deep water winter grounds. Sondi ended up catching 48 crappie that were between 12-15. She also caught many walleye mixed in with the crappie. She did well on Smallmouth bass and Northern pike as well. We didn’t spend a lot of time fishing for Muskie but unfortunately she lost two at the boat that were not hooked well. We were the only boat on the lake and the resident eagles literally followed us around hoping for a fish handout.

Kurt Justice at Kurt’s Island Sport Shop emailed:

Winter was last weekend (temps lows of 28 degrees…snow…wind…). Fall was the prior week. Does that mean spring is this coming week? Doubt it!! The cold, snow, wind and lack of Musky suckers put a damper on what many consider one of the best weekends of the Musky season. Musky: Good – Those that could procure some suckers had good success on quick-set rigs working 10-18’ weed edges. Smity and Suick jerk baits as well as Smuttly gliders scored well. Wind was big factor in boat control, lack of meat factored in participation. Crappie: Good – Scattered, rarely found tight together, but nice slabs of 12-14+ using medium to large fatheads. Drowned wood in 14-18’. Watch locator closely for fish suspending sometimes 4-6’ off bottom. Northern Pike: Good – Most caught while targeting other species. Twitch baits, jerk baits and 4-6 suckers or chubs best. Walleye: Good-Fair – Deep gravel best working 1/4 - 3/8 oz jigs (sometimes larger with wind) using large fatheads, 3-4 suckers or chubs. Vertical fishing Shiver Minnows and Jigging Raps (#7 - #9) also scoring some aggressive hits. Bluegill: Good – Big Gills in deep wood using half a crawler under slip-floats in 14-18’ water. No Bass reports this week. The sucker situation (Musky Sucker) is as bad as I’ve seen. Pond suckers raised in Minnesota wiped out by deep snow causing winter kill. Wild suckers are very hard to come by due to high water in streams and rivers. Catching suckers is hard and dangerous work, present high water only compounding problem. The are expensive, take good care when you get some. Take only what you think you’ll need so the next angler can have some also.

“Sucker situation” has a certain ring to it.


Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted:

Crappie started in river underneath 249 bridge in the log jams on minnows or chartuese jigs tipped with beemoth Salmon few and far between upper stretch’s is wer to go tho When wind allows perch good around donut and dune state park 30 ft of water and a lot of nice ones xl fatheads and baby roach best baits


The Wisconsin DNR usuaully issues updates on Tuesday or Wednesday at https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/rootriverreport.html


Lakeside is open daily 6 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Park hours are 6 a.m.-10 p.m. The restaurant is open weekends only.


For the southern Lake Michigan reports from the Wisconsin DNR, go to https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/outdoorreport.html#01

The Latest
‘Moonlight’ actor says he’s playing a suspicious ‘ladies man’ with his eye on Kelly Rowland in the steamy, locally made Netflix film.
Marlene Hopkins oversaw the 2020 Crawford plant demolition that coated the community in dust. She’s now acting commissioner of the city’s buildings department.
Saperstein was the son of Polish Jews who moved to Chicago when he was a small boy. His Harlem Globetrotters played a key role in creating pro basketball as we know it today.
Gould replaces Sam Baker, who held the job for four seasons. Gould met with the Rolling Meadows players on Friday morning.