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Hoping on kings, lingering summer, other things in Chicago fishing: Midwest Fishing Report

The big hope remains the rare and elusive Chinook on southern Lake Michigan shoreline, but there are other things around Chicago fishing for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Resized/Sun-Times
Aiden Torres with a 7.9-pound steelhead caught Sunday.
Provided by Henry’s Sports and Bait

The hope of big Chinook on the shoreline of southern Lake Michigan is the driver for this sprawling raw-fie Midwest Fishing Report, but there are other things going on around Chicago fishing.

It’s not just kings driving the lakefront as Tom Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait showed when he texted the photo above of Aiden Torres with a 7-9 Steelhead caught Sunday.

LAKEFRONT SALMON/TROUT

CHICAGO: Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

There have been a few more but still seems like they are swimming & jumping more than hitting. We did weigh 1 on Saturday that was 33 3/4 lbs. It was a monster. Low key fishermen no pics. Just have to get out and try there’s always a chance of catching one.

That is a huge king, only a few pounds off the Illinois record.

WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan texted:

Pier fishing and south rocks have been really picking up, cohos and Kings, perch and browns on the bottom

Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed:

Waukegan shore fishing has been fair. The bite is now best with a skein presentation with a chunk of Skein 2 to 6 feet under a slip bobber. Small coho and brown trout have moved in to feed actively and they are feeding on the skein. Some kings continue to be caught casting or by kayak fishermen trolling in the North harbor. Custom painted Flicker Shads and Rattle Traps in Wonder Bread, Yellow Zebra, Green Zebra and Glow Firetiger have been best. Slow, slow and slower on the retrieve, as slow as you can retrieve and still get some action out of the lure.

. . . Capt. Scott Wolfe

School of Fish Charters
www.schooloffishcharters.com
630-341-0550

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

Perch at the ditch outside the muddline when the few groups that have been steady going can get out some Trail creek has a fair number of kings coho and steelhead in it salt creek lil cal and burns ditch is on the slow side to say the least most cover water and be at right place at right time spawn saks and in line spinners are best baits

MILWAUKEE: Arden Katz said that they caught nice kings on lipless crankbaits over the weekend and he said that it looks like the spawn bite is starting.

SALMON SNAGGING

Salmon snagging opens Tuesday, Oct. 1. Here are the details 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).

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.

AREA LAKES

If you are keeping track or plannning, fall trout season opens Oct. 19.

Larry Green tweeted yet another oddity from Humboldt Park lagoon, a red devil cichlid (I got the ID from Animal Island Pet Shop in Midlothian).

Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed:

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing.

Area lakes-bass continue to be good on senkos pitched to open weed pockets and inside weedlines. With the recent warm up, bass have gone back to a summer pattern of moving up shallow early morning and late evening hours. An occasional bass can be taken on topwater during evening hours if you can withstand the mosquitos.

TTYL

Pete Lamar emailed:

Local ponds and lakes are still producing bass and bluegills on the surface towards sunset. The water hasn’t really cooled off and there is still a lot of frog and insect activity.

BRAIDWOOD

Final day of fishing is Oct. 15. Saturday is Oak Lawn’s high school bass tournament.

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

All three zones are closed to boating as of noon Tuesday. Check updates at foxwaterway.com or (847) 587-8540.

DAM NOTE: Just in case the zones reopen to boating, remember that 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.

DES PLAINES RIVER

High, receding from flood or in flood, depending where.

DOWNSTATE

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.

FOX RIVER

Projected to be dropping this week, but hovering near flood stage through the weekend at Montgomery.

kengortowskiphotography messaged on Instagram :

@bowmanoutside the Fox is unwadeable and creeks a little high, but smart anglers know how fast creeks can drop so they should keep an eye on them. Fish should be looking for someplace calmer to hang out.

GREEN LAKE AREA, WISCONSIN

Resized/Sun-Times
Randy Risseeuw from Beloit, Wis. with a four-pound smallmouth bass from Big Green Lake.
Provided by Mike Norris

Guide Mike Norris emailed:

September 23, 2019 Green Lake Area Fishing Report

Big Green Lake – I got back from a ten-day trip to Colorado last week and am back out on Big Green guiding clients for smallmouth bass. Last Saturday’s guide trip resulted in numerous catches of smallmouth bass up to 4 lbs. Best lures remain Senko’s, drop shot rigs and trolling with leeches if you can find them. I’m also catching walleyes will fishing rock piles and in weedy areas with Ned rigs and crankbaits. Panfishing is spotty. Some days bluegills are stacked up around deep water cribs and other days they are hard to find. I am still seeing an increase in northern pike cruising the weed edges and this may be impacting the panfish bite. With the arrival of warmer weather this past week water temperature at Big Green remains 70 degrees and above. Nonetheless, lake trout are moving out of deeper water and into shallower flats in 70 – 90 ft. of water and can be caught vertically jigging Rapala Jigging Raps, half ounce spoons or tube jigs. To protect spawning lake trout, the WDNR shuts down lake trout fishing at the end of September.

Little Green Lake – Muskies are biting in the shallows and in deeper water. No giants but 40-inch fish are being reported. Muskie fishing should continue to improve with stable weather coming this week. Largemouth bass fishing remains consistent in shallow weedy areas. Skip soft plastics like Senko’s or swim jigs around docks. Anglers can still catch all the crappies they want by drifting over the deep basin with a minnow and split shot rig. As the water cools perch and bluegills will be showing up in shallower water.

Fox Lake – I’m starting to catch nice panfish and the crappie bite is picking up. The odd thing is the crappies are being caught by anglers fishing in and around piers where they normally should be down deep in the lake’s basin. Bass fishing is improving on Fox Lake and walleye are active now. Cast crankbaits around the islands and troll out along the weed edge for walleye.

. . .

Please contact Mike Norris, Wacky Worm Guide Service, at 630-842-8199 for Big Green Lake and other central Wisconsin guided fishing trips.

HEIDECKE LAKE

Final day of fishing is Oct. 8.

ILLINOIS RIVER

High but under flood stage and projected to drop steadily the rest of the week at both LaSalle and Starved Rock.

KANKAKEE RIVER

Best shape of local rivers, wadeable in the usual spots and even low in places, as is the Iroquois River.

LAKE ERIE

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

LAKEFRONT

See lakefront salmon/trout at top, as well as info on salmon snagging, which opens Tuesday, Oct. 1.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor tested:

There have been a few more but still seems like they are swimming & jumping more than hitting. We did weigh 1 on Saturday that was 33 3/4 lbs. It was a monster. Low key fishermen no pics. Just have to get out and try there’s always a chance of catching one.

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said that it is primarily lake trout out of both Chicago (125-160 feet) and North Point (150-220) with an occasioanl big steelhead or king; there are steadier lakers setting up around the reefs up north.

Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan texted:

Pier fishing and south rocks have been really picking up, cohos and Kings, perch and browns on the bottom

Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed:

Waukegan shore fishing has been fair. The bite is now best with a skein presentation with a chunk of Skein 2 to 6 feet under a slip bobber. Small coho and brown trout have moved in to feed actively and they are feeding on the skein. Some kings continue to be caught casting or by kayak fishermen trolling in the North harbor. Custom painted Flicker Shads and Rattle Traps in Wonder Bread, Yellow Zebra, Green Zebra and Glow Firetiger have been best. Slow, slow and slower on the retrieve, as slow as you can retrieve and still get some action out of the lure.

Waukegan area trollers have been getting limits of big lake trout whenever weather allows. They are stacked up on the reefs and humps to spawn. Both Laker takers and spoons worked from 80 feet to the bottom. The Jimmy Fly Mo Rig Laker Taker in Goby pattern (gold and green) was by far the best rig this week with Warrior Lures Green Menace and Colville Crusher a close second and third. There are brown trout and small coho now in shallower waters inside of 100 feet, but most of those fish are really small and although legal, in my humble opinion they should be left alone until next year.

Chicago trollers have similar action with good catches of big lake trout on the humps and reefs, mostly from Gumby’s Reef off Evanston and North of there. As with Waukegan there are small coho and trout moving in and can be found in shallower water. There are small coho and brown trout moving in to feed at the Chicago harbors and there are big kings in the harbors. I haven’t heard of anyone yet using skein in Chicago but I would think this would be the week to move to that presentation and away from only casting. I’m sure the great folks at Park Bait will have more information for you on the shore fishing in Chicago.

Most of the Waukegan fleet, myself included will be pulling boats next weekend. I’ll continue to report to you as I get information from the captains staying in until later in the year. Have a great week Dale.

Capt. Scott Wolfe

School of Fish Charters
www.schooloffishcharters.com
630-341-0550

LaSALLE LAKE

Final day of fishing is Oct. 15.

MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN

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

Guide Mike Norris emailed:

Madison Chain – Last week’s rain and windy weather slowed fishermen down on Lake Mendota. Perch are leaving the weed pockets and moving out to the deeper flats in 25 – 35 ft. of water. Try the west side of Mendota for panfish. Anglers are still fishing weed pockets located outside of the rock humps for bluegill on Lake Monona. A Cubby jig tipped with a chunk of redworms and hung under a slip float works best. Tenney Park and around The Rock on Monona are good areas to try your luck. Smallmouth bass are biting on Lake Waubesa.

Please contact Mike Norris, Wacky Worm Guide Service, at 630-842-8199 for Big Green Lake and other central Wisconsin guided fishing trips.

MAZONIA LAKES

Final day of fishing is Oct. 15, except Monster Lake remains open year-round.

MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN

Resized/Sun-Times
Smallmouth from the Menominee River.
Provided by Mike Mladenik

Guide Mike Mladenik of http://www.bigsmallmouthbass.com/ emailed:

Late September Bite

Even with the unstable weather we are still catching quality smallmouth on the Menominee River. Smallmouth are moving into the fall pattern and the next 5 weeks should be great. Top producing baits are Case Lil Magic Swimbaits and Case Sinking Salty Shads. I am also starting to see a good Red Tail Chub bite. Cooler weather this week and the water temp will start to drop which can trigger a great bite!

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

Kurt Justice at Kurt’s Island Sport Shop emailed:

A very warm week of weather, air temps touching 80 degrees, has lake and flowage surface temps in the upper 60’s to 70+ degrees on some lakes. It has changed patterns noticeably on some waters, throwing a monkey wrench into what has already been a very “off” early fall season.

Crappie: Good-Very Good – Starting to set- up nicely over deep wood in 14-18’. Yet on some waters, with rising water temps, those same Crappies became tough to find yet, showed up in only 3’ of water. Big slabs of 13-14” in water where you would usually only find them during spawn.

Northern Pike: Good – While a cool down will likely help pick this bite up, still good action on spinner baits, Mepps #3’s and chatter baits in 3-8’ cabbage. Nice fish reported into mid-30” range.

Smallmouth Bass: Good – Best over deep gravel humps of 18-28’. Drop-shotting 3” Gulp minnows and small craw imitations scoring action, with some big 19-21” fish reported.

Musky: Good – Top-water still in vouge as subtle baits such as Flop-tails and creepers doing well on calm, overcast mornings. Big bladed spinner baits and buck tails also working. Sucker bite slowed, but should pick up late in week as waters cool a little.

Largemouth Bass: Good – Deep weed edges have been most consistent, using jig & creature combos or Texas rigging sweet beavers. Tube jigs also working, some vertical fishing tight to edges.

Walleye: Fair-Good – Warm weather has changed some things. Catching Walleye in shallows on overcast days on large fatheads or small chubs on 1/16 oz weedless jigs. On larger lakes warm up changed pattern from move into deeper water. Walleyes very scattered.

Yellow Perch: Fair-Good – Mostly incidental catches while fishing for Crappies and Walleyes.

Bluegill: Few reports

Hopefully this warm up has been a blip and a steady cool down will be coming. Odd to see temps rise 6–8 degrees as we near last week of September. Warmer water will prolong the open water season, but many anglers and sportsmen have their plans mapped out, and as we’ve seen, Mother Nature isn’t always on the same page.

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
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NORTHWEST INDIANA

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

Perch at the ditch outside the muddline when the few groups that have been steady going can get out some nice size fish in there too

Perch still good in new buffalo nice size too

Trail creek has a fair number of kings coho and steelhead in it salt creek lil cal and burns ditch is on the slow side to say the least most cover water and be at right place at right time spawn saks and in line spinners are best baits

Grand boulevard lake down the street from the bait shop is giving up some dandy gills and redears beemoth and red wigglers best baits

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

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

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN

Phil Schuman at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said it was kinda slow, some lakers in 100 feet, very few kings; nothing off the pier; little in the river. As long as weather allows there are perch in 30-35 feet, better perch in 15 feet off New Buffalo.

SHABBONA LAKE

Clint Sands at Lakeside said muskie continue active; crappie remain in the cribs with the water hanging around 70; bass are going in the weeds or on the dam face; catfish and hybrid stripers are slow; there is a foot of clarity and water is up about a foot but should be normal by the weekend.

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.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT

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

WISCONSIN DELLS

Sturgeon season ends Monday, Sept. 30.

STURGEON: Hook-and-line sturgeon season below the dam (and other river spots across Wisconsin) runs through Sept. 30. A permit is needed if you plan to keep fish, minimum length is 60 inches. Go to https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/sturgeon/SturgeonInlandFishery.html

WISCONSIN RIVER

Rob Abouchar emailed this and the photo below:

Hi Dale

The fishing on the Wisconsin River is still going strong! The Smallmouth are still hitting Senkos rigged wacky style or texas rigged. Some nice pike are starting to become more active as the water temps continue to drop and are hitting spinnerbaits and chatterbaits. The best areas were near eel grass edges and areas where multiple weed types were present. The Smallmouth will be moving to pre wintering areas soon as the daytime temps continue to decrease. Very few anglers out over the weekend with the misty cloudy conditions.

This weekend my Leyden High School Bass team will be participating in the Oak Lawn High School event at Braidwood Lake from the North Launch. Go Eagles!

Tight Lines

Rob

Resized/Sun-Times
Rob Abouchar with a pike in the rain of late September.
Provided