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Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Inland trout, fall crappie and lakefront salmon/trout

Inland trout season in Illinois leads the sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; but there is also lakefront salmon/trout and the fall crappie bite should keep building.

August Betke with his first trout, caught at Sand Lake. Photo provided by Jason Betke
August Betke with his first trout, caught at Sand Lake.
Provided by Jason Betke

Inland trout opening up in Illinois leads this sprawling raw-fie Midwest Fishing Report, but there are plenty of other things going on, too, including what should be an improving fall crappie bite and some lakefront salmon/trout action.

But this is a week to feature trout.

Jason Betke sent the photo at the top and this:

Hi Dale:

My son August Betke caught his first trout at Sand Lake this past Saturday. The lake was well stocked and fishermen all around us were catching the limit. Here’s a picture!

Jason Betke

Chicago

ILLINOIS’ INLAND TROUT

Most sites statewide opened Saturday. Daily bag is five; those 16 and older need a fishing license and trout stamp. Click here for details. Here are the Chicago-area sites that opened Saturday (Cook County) Wolf Lake, William Powers SRA; (Kankakee) Rock Creek, Kankakee River SP, and Bird Park Quarry; (Kendall): Big Lake, Silver Springs SFWA; (Lake) Sand Lake, Illinois Beach SP; (McHenry) Spring Grove Hatchery Pond; (Will) Lake Strini and Van Horn Woods.

The Forest Preserves of Cook County fall trout season will start at sunrise on Wednesday, October 21, at Axehead Lake, Belleau Lake, Busse Reservoir – North Pool, Sag Quarry East, Horsetail Lake and Green Lake.

Click here for details on the FPCC sites opening.

CHICAGO FISHING PARKING PASSES

The parking passes for the fisherman’s parking lots are not being sold while the lakefront remains officially closed.

ILLINOIS RIVER LOCKS

Closures are on for the Dresden Island, Marseilles and Starved Rock on the Illinois River to facilitate major repairs. Peoria and LaGrange locks have reopened.

Here are the two lead paragraphs from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois – Beginning July 1, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District is temporarily closing the Dresden Island, Marseilles, Starved Rock, Peoria and LaGrange locks on the Illinois Waterway to facilitate needed repairs and maintenance. The closures, which will be conducted simultaneously to limit impacts to navigation, are scheduled to last through late October.

During the closures, no vessels will be able to pass through the closed locks. Navigation on the rest of the river, between the locks, will be able to continue without impact as water levels will be maintained at a normal level throughout the season.

Click here for details on the timing and other details on the closures.

AREA LAKES

The opening week of inland trout is the big thing, but there is still lots of other fishing going on.

Ben Thompson with a nice crappie from Fish Lake. Provided by Bob France
Ben Thompson with a nice crappie from Fish Lake.
Provided by Bob France

Bob France messaged the photo above and this on Friday:

It was chilly this morning at Fish Lake in Volo. It didn’t stop Ben Thompson and I from chasing the bass and crappie! All cpr...

Mike Endzel emailed the photo below and this late last week

Hey Dale

Had a record day out in Lemont in the afternoon, 50 degree temps with heavy winds and overcast. No bites until 5pm or so.

Bass pushed up shallow as the sun started getting lower and I caught a half dozen on spinner baits between depths of 1 to 5 feet including this nice one.

Mike Endzel with a largemouth bass from the Lemont area. Provided photo
Mike Endzel with a largemouth bass from the Lemont area.
Provided

Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed the photo below and this:

Hey Dale,

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

Area lakes-fishing has been excellent. Now is the time to catch big fish. The average catch rate has been 10 an hour for bass. Work a lipless crankbait along the outside weedlines that are on ledges to deeper water. Crappie have been excellent on weed flats during midday hours. Search for the active schools using a variety of jerk minnows. Best bait has been the Diawa Dr. minnow. Once you locate the active schools it is non-stop action.

TTYL

Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a nice fall crappie. Provided photo
Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a nice fall crappie.
Provided

BRAIDWOOD LAKE

Closed for the season.

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Greg Dickson at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said white bass are still hitting good and crappie. Should be improving muskie bite, so it is time for suckers. Walleye bite is going toward minnows and stay around neckdown areas, especially with wind current.

NOTE: Check updates on water conditions at foxwaterway.com or (847) 587-8540.

NOTE 2: The Stratton Lock and Dam is closed for the season.

DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN

Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 10/19/20 – 10/26/20

This past week, it was hard to find time to get out on the lake with strong winds and an enormous amount of rain. With the cooler weather, the lake temperature is cooling rapidly and the walleyes are starting to bite.

Walleye pike are off the main lake points in 22-24 ft of water. They can be caught on lindy rigged nightcrawlers with a 24-30 inch leader. I prefer using a painted hook on my lindy rig in either pink or chartreuse. As the water cools, the fish will switch to an all fat head minnow bite within the next 10 days or so if the water continues to cool.

Largemouth bass have been spotty due to the ups and downs of the temperature. One day we struggle to hit 60 and the next day it’s 80+. The bass I’ve been catching are on the weed lines in 15-17 ft of water. Look for the fish just east of Willow point or just west of Browns Channel.

Bluegill fishing has been very slow. I’ve only been catching a few fish each trip out. The fish I’ve been catching are in 12-13 ft of water right in the weeds. Look for the fish by the buoy line in Viewcrest and Highlands Bays.

Northern Pike action is steady. The fish are in the weed flats in front of Lake Lawn Lodge, Highland Bay and Viewcrest Bay. White spinner baits and chatter baits have been producing the most action. The only downside is that the fish have been on the small side.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063

DOWNSTATE

EMIQUON: Basically, go to the launch. General information at http://experienceemiquon.com/sites/default/files/LakeAccessRules.pdf. Fishing is allowed sunrise to sunset even during waterfowl season this year because The Nature Conservancy has suspended their public waterfowl hunting program this year due to COVID-related issues. TNC hopes to resume the public waterfowl hunting program next year.

POWERTON: Final day of regular fishing is Friday, Oct. 16.

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the year.

SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing.

FOX RIVER

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

I covered more ground than usual on the Fox tributaries, trying-unsuccessfully-to find the crappies that I’d stumbled into last week. I caught a few smallmouths, rock bass and even a couple of surprise largemouths. All were small. Even with occasional rain over the weekend, water was still low and clear. There is more rain forecast for this week. I hope it gets fish feeding, or at least moving, again before things lockdown for the Winter.

Pete

GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN

Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 10/19/2020 through 10/26/2020

It’s beginning to sound like a broken record, but fishing still isn’t very good on Lake Geneva. The best bite is the perch. The smallmouth and largemouth bass are scattered between 12 and 20 ft of water. They just won’t school up the way they should be, however if you find some you will catch a decent number of them.

Yellow Perch are very plentiful. They can be caught in 10-12 ft of water. The best location is by Rainbow Point, Belvidere Park and Knollwood. You would have to do some sorting, however a good limit is accessible. They can be caught on leaf worms and small fat head minnows. The best approach is slip bobbers fished with panfish cobras from Bait Rigs.

Largemouth bass are in two patterns. They can be caught in the 10-12 ft range or on the deep breaks in 20-25 ft of water. The shallower fish are being caught on Texas rigged green pumpkin worms or 4 inch ring worms. The weight is determined by the amount of wind. I seldom go over a ¼ oz weight. The deeper fish are being caught drop shotting 4 inch shads or finesse worms. The best location has been by Trinkes or the Military Academy.

Some walleyes are still being caught trolling at night. The best depth has been 12-15 ft of water. Deep diving suspending baits have been producing most of the action. Most of the fish have been coming from Trinkes or by Abbey Springs. The best time to fish still remains from 11 pm to 3 am.

Smallmouth bass are being caught in the 12-14 ft range. They are aggressively hitting nightcrawlers or football head jigs dragged on the bottom. On the football head jigs, the best color is rootbeer on a ¼ oz jig head. The smaller jig head will prevent a lot of the weeds from snagging your bait. Look for the fish by the Military Academy or Elgin Club.

Rock Bass are available in the 12-14 ft range. The location hasn’t been as important as the depth. Most of the fish have been coming by Fontana Beach or by Rainbow Point. The best presentation is a split shot rigged nightcrawler.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

GREEN LAKE AREA, WISCONSIN

Ryan Whitaker of Chicago with two 5-pound bass caught from Big Green Lake last Sunday. Provided by Mike Norris
Ryan Whitaker of Chicago with two 5-pound bass caught from Big Green Lake last Sunday.
Provided by Mike Norris

Guide Mike Norris texted the photo above and emailed this:

Fishing Report 10/20/2020

Mike Norris

Big Green Lake – Bass fishing remains good on Big Green. This bite will get even better as Big Green’s water temperature falls below 55 degrees. I am catching smallies on live bait rigs fished in 8 to 14 feet of water but angler’s using artificial lures are also doing well. Cast Nation held their Fall Fishing Classic on Big Green last weekend and the two-day tournament was won by Ryan Whitacre of Chicago, IL. Whitacre brought four smallies weighing 12 lbs. to the scale on Saturday, but scored big on Sunday with a five-fish limit weighing 19.94 lbs. for a winning weight of 31.94 lbs.

Little Green Lake – Anglers are catching muskie while trolling on Little Green though there are not a lot of guys out. I heard one angler caught a 44-inch northern pike while out muskie fishing. A few anglers are still targeting crappie in 15 ft drifting with minnows. Walleye fishing is slow.

Beaver Dam Lake – Perch up to 11 inches are still the best bet for anglers targeting Beaver Dam Lake. One of the best areas to target perch is from the pier at Edgewater Park. Try small fatheads and or red worms suspended 12 to 18 inches beneath a float.

Phone me at 630-842-8199 to book a guided fishing trip or contact me through my website at www.comecatchsmallmouth.com

GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WISCONSIN

Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.

Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay emailed this:

Hi guys, here is a quick report…

Perch fishing has been absolutely fantastic and should continue to be great right up until ice as it has the past bunch of years. Sturgeon Bay, Sawyer Harbor, Riley’s Bay and Little Sturgeon all good options right now. Fathead minnows along with leaf worms and crawler pieces all good live baits

Northern Pike fishing has been very good and that fishing also will be good up until ice and during the ice season as it has in the past. Casting and trolling suspending crank/jerk baits, spinner baits, plastics along with soaking large sucker minnows

Walleye fishing has been getting better as it should this time of year. Trolling with crank baits both during the day and at night has been good, but the night bite has been a bit better. Sherwood Point, Larsen’s Reef, Henderson’s Reef and Chaudoir’s Dock all good options.

There are still some fall run 4 year old King Salmon swimming around in some of the northern Door County harbors along with a few right in downtown Sturgeon Bay. And we did hear of a couple Brown Trout reports which usually happens this time of year. Casting with crank baits and spoons along with spawn sacs all will take their fair share of fish

Thanks;

Lance LaVine

Howie’s Tackle
1309 Green Bay Rd
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
Ph: 920-746-9916

HEIDECKE LAKE

Closed for the season.

KANKAKEE RIVER

Heard glowing reports during the Fish Tales club meeting on Thursday. River remains very low.

LAKE ERIE

Shaun Murphy with a good Lake Erie walleye. Provided photo
Shaun Murphy with a good Lake Erie walleye.
Provided

Shaun Murphy messaged the photo above Tuesday afternoon and this:

6lb 25 “ lake Erie Huron, ohio

He added:

boat. 45fow 2.2 mph , 2 oz snap weight 100’ feet back , bandit lures

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

LAKEFRONT

People are biking or walking in to fish. Fisherman’s parking passes are not being sold while the lakefront remains officially closed.

SALMON SNAGGING: Here are the details from the IDNR:

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.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

Good morning My friend Mike got two Browns and a steelhead Saturday at Diversey with a slip bobber nightcrawlers about 4 feet down.There were steelhead here at Montrose during the week still on medium roaches about 8 to 12 foot down. The strong winds made it a little hard to fish some days. Other than that I don’t have anything else to report.Have a great week!

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said weather has been the limiting effort, but when out the lake trout fishing was “phenomenal.” His last time out there was good action off the R4 in 130-140 feet. Out of North Point, fishing on the reefs has been excellent; on Monday, for a change, ran straight out of North Point to 180-185 feet and caught big lakers.

“There is excellent lake trout fishing on the big rock piles and reefs, probably from the R4 on north,” Poteshman said. “They are biting on the bottom, they are deep. Haven’t heard much about little kings or coho.”

He also advised with the forecast winds this week that small boaters use caution, but he noted “There is also some shallow in 15-40 feet.”

Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan texted:

Lakefront is doing ok, have seen a few steelies and browns, along with kings, mainly snagging those. Sand lake is ,, well,, was doing great, Aug and his friend got their limit yesterday,, today, so far, nothing!

LaSALLE LAKE

Closed for the season.

MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN

Click here for the update from D&S Bait.

MAZONIA

Closed for the season, but Monster Lake at Mazonia South stays open year-round.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

Kurt Justice at Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua emailed:

Maybe due to the warm Octobers of a couple years ago, but this one sure seemed to turn cold quick. Air temps in the upper 20’s to low 30’s, wind, SNOW, can only mean one thing…It’s Musky Time! While the weather hasn’t been easy on those willing to venture out, some good things for those that have.

Musky: Good-Very Good – With water temps dipping into upper 40’s on all but the largest lakes, the sucker bite has improved. Fishing suckers 10-18’ down in 16-22’ depth has been the key while casting shallower to draw fish up. Good, heavy fish in the 40-48” range with some good fish being caught on glide baits (Smity Jerks, Phantoms w/ tails) and Jerks (Suicks, Bobbies) and rubber (Medussa, Burbots). Best fish of the week, 48” on Suick, but most on suckers!

Walleye: Good – Lots of searching. Some reports of anglers finding in green weeds of 6-10’, but overall depth is where the bulk of the action is from. Most anglers vertical fishing 22-38’ using Shiver Minnows, Jigging Raps and Hyper Rattles. Lindy rigging tail hooked redtails, black chubs and Walleye suckers also successful. Don’t be afraid to search shallower – a lesson learned Sunday after working 30-50’ transitions and holes only to find fish on 25’ bars!

Smallmouth Bass: Good – While not many anglers targeting, very nice fish caught using Shiver Minnows over rock bars this past weekend targeting Walleyes.

Not a lot of other reports to put out due to cold, snowy and windy weather. Assume good Crappie fishing still over deep wood on Flowages, jut tough to find weather to cooperate.

With forecasted highs to only hit 44 degrees this week and lows in low 20’s, expect lakes to slowly continue to cool down. Once surface temps hit low 40’s, slower retrieves and presentations will be required. Yet good fishing still to be had.

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
Like us on FaceBook

NORTHWEST INDIANA

A.J. Cwiok found a big Chinook on Trail Creek. Provided photo
A.J. Cwiok found a big Chinook on Trail Creek.
Provided

A.J. Cwiok messaged the photo above and this:

Couple nice ones this weekend

The king was at trail creek in Indiana . . .

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

Still a good number of groups fishing for salmon upper stretches of tributaries is the areas you will find what fish that are left most fish very dark now.

Some crappie around the bridges of lake George in Hobart. Crappie minnows under a bobber best bet.

A few musky being caught Bruce lake and Webster lake area. Suckers are available at slezs bait shop.

Christina Petrites at Stan’s Bait & Tackle Center in Hammond emailed:

Here’s what I have gotten for this week:

Fishing has picked up some the last few days, with the steady, cooler temperatures.

~Bass: moderate action-swimbaits & nightcrawlers working well; Cedar Lake is the hotspot to try.

~Crappie: good; beemoths& redworms working best; Wolf Lake Lake George have had decent performances.

~Salmon/Steelhead: still doing fairly well; Steelhead moving into the rivers. Local tributaries fairly easy picking if you have the patience.

~Catfish: doing well in most area lakes & lagoons. Stinkbait & cutbait are currently the go-tos.

~Walleye/Pike: Fair; Wolf Lake & Kankakee River having best success on large Nightcrawlers & lures.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

Click here for the Wisconsin DNR’s report, usually on Tuesday or Wednesday. Key phrase was this:

The majority of the angling activity continues to be focused around the Steelhead Facility. Most anglers are still utilizing fly fishing tackle in order to catch chinook salmon. More coho salmon are being seen in the river now as well. Even though there are plenty of fish in the river anglers had limited success.

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN

Night walleye on the St. Joseph River. Provided photo
Night walleye on the St. Joseph River.
Provided

A.J. Cwiok messaged the photo above and this:

Couple nice ones this weekend

. . . the walleye was on the st joe in Michigan

SHABBONA LAKE

Site hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Lakeside, Pokanoka’s Cafe and camp store are closed for the season. Lakeside plans to reopen when ice fishing comes.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT

Click here for the southern Lake Michigan reports from the Wisconsin DNR.

WISCONSIN RIVER

OK, I am a sucker for snow photos.

Snowy fall day on the Wisconsin River. Photo provided by Rob Abouchar
Snowy fall day on the Wisconsin River.
Provided by Rob Abouchar

Rob Abouchar emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale,

It was the kind of weather on Saturday in Wisconsin that might make an angler think the season is over; but the bite said it is not over yet. A steady snowfall greeted me at the Alexander Boat Launch in Merrill on Saturday morning and picked up as the sun rose. Within the first few casts and the lights of the Hydro Electric Dam still bright in the snowy darkness a big Smallmouth hit a KVD 1.5 Sexy Shad crankbait followed on the next cast by a walleye. The Bass bite continued in the snow with a Strike King White spinnerbait. As the snow tapered off the northern Pike bite picked up as fish were breaking the surface and crashing bait fish in shallow weeds and still living lily pads. Also a white Chatterbait with a white Kalins’ grub got some nice Pike. Only a few docks are still on the flowage and there are more duck hunters than anglers. There were a couple anglers fishing suckers and casting big lures for Muskie. It is the time for big Esox to bite! Headed back this weekend to meet with the Supper club owner about a gig for the band at Club 64 in Merrill overlooking the river. Something about playing a gig at a supper club on Prime Rib night overlooking the Wisconsin River seems right for a fishin’ musician...will report.

Tight lines and Good Health,

Rob

WOLF LAKE

Trout fishing went well on opening weekend on the Illinois side.

Christina Petrites at Stan’s Bait & Tackle Center in Hammond emailed crappie and walleye (crawlers or lures) going on the Indiana side.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:

Walleye action continues to be good. Air temp this morning 34 water temp 45 , had my 3 fish limit in 15 minutes. Some crappie up river, scattered and slowing down. Haven’t seen a white bass in 3 weeks.