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Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Trout, crappie, lake trout, bass, white bass and fall feeding

The opening of Illinois’ fall inland trout season, crappie fishing building inland and big lake trout on Lake Michigan lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Nick O’Brien with a big lake trout caught on Migrator Charters out of North Point Marina. Provided by Rich Anzalone
Nick O’Brien with a big lake trout caught on Migrator Charters out of North Point Marina.
Provided by Rich Anzalone

The opening of Illinois’ fall inland trout season, crappie fishing building inland and big lake trout on Lake Michigan lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Rich Anzalone emailed the photo at the top and this:

Dale,

Family friend Nick O’Brien caught this 24 lb 12 oz, 38” Lake Trout while in town last week for a wedding. We went out of Winthrop Harbor with Migrator Charters on Thursday. Captain Caleb said it was the biggest Lake Trout catch of the season.

Rich Anzalone

Lemont

TROUT SEASON

Click here for the FOTW with a big trout caught by Jesus Arellano.

A limit of trout from opening weekend of Illinois’ inland trout season. Provided by Jason “Special One” Le
A limit of trout from opening weekend of Illinois’ inland trout season.
Provided by Jason “Special One” Le

Jason “Special One” Le texted the photo above and this from a suburban lake:

I got my limit before the sun up lol

Smoke em

Victor Blackful emailed today:

I just saw your article on this year’s trout. The trout in green lake this year are very small. I have been out the last three days and they are all the same size. Small. Mepps rooster tail is the bait of choice.

Victor Blackful

Capt. Dan Leslie at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan had a bit of surprise note that small spoons, such as Little Cleos, seem to be working better than PowerBait or minnows at Sand Lake.

Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait texted that lots of people are fishing trout inland.

I’ve seen crowds at the spots I have driven by.

Dicky’s Bait Shop in Montgomery reported fatheads seemed to be the ticket for the inland trout.

Daily bag is five; those 16 and older need a fishing license and an inland trout stamp. Nearby sites include in Cook County (Axehead, Belleau, Busse North, Green, Horsetail, Sag Quarry East, Wolf), DuPage (Grove, Pickerel, Silver); Kankakee (Bird Park Quarry, Rock Creek); Kendall (Big Lake at Silver Springs SFWA); Lake (Sand Lake at Illinois Beach SP); McHenry (Spring Grove Hatchery Pond); Will (Lake Strini, Van Horn Woods).

Click here for the statewide release.

LAKEFRONT PARKING

Chicago Park District’s parking passes for the fisherman’s parking lots at DuSable and Burnham harbors are on sale at Henry’s Sports and Bait in Bridgeport and Park Bait at Montrose Harbor.

Readers suggest SpotHero app downtown. Otherwise, here are some basics: Foster (free street parking or pay lot); Montrose (now a mix of metered and free street parking); Belmont (pay lots on north and south sides); Diversey (pay lot or street parking); DuSable Harbor (pay lot or fisherman’s lot); Northerly Island/Burnham Harbor (meters, pay lot or fisherman’s lot); 31st/Burnham (meter parking between McCormick Place and 31st Street Harbor); Oakwood/39th (meters); 63rd Street/Casino Pier (pay lot); Steelworkers Park (free street parking at east end of 87th); Cal Park (free parking).

AREA LAKES

Rudy Radasevich with a nice crappie on a special weekend. Provided photo
Rudy Radasevich with a nice crappie on a special weekend.
Provided

Rudy Radasevich tweeted the photo above and this on Sunday:

Dale, I did a little crappie fishing this morning on my birthday weekend. 65 ain’t that bad.

Crappie fishing should keep improving.

Plus, I just love that note.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a good local-lake largemouth bass. Provided photo
Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a good local-lake largemouth bass.
Provided

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

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing.

Area lakes-water temps are slowly getting down into the low 60’s with the colder overnight temps. Another week and the typical fall bite will start.

Crappie are still scattered in the main basin. Best baits have been minnow baits or small Mepp spinners. Any part of the day can pick off the active biters.

Bass have been better during evening hours on chatterbaits or topwater poppers. A few smaller bass can be caught on minnow baits while fishing for crappie. Always fun on ultra-light tackle.

Here [below] is the nature pic of the week courtesy of Vickie O’Malley. Backroad travels during the fall.

TTYL

Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team

Nature photo of the week for a fall scene. Credit: Vickie O’Malley
Nature photo of the week for a fall scene.
Vickie O’Malley

BRAIDWOOD LAKE

Closed for the season.

CALUMET SYSTEM

Calumet system crappie. Provided by BoRabb Williams
Calumet system crappie.
Provided by BoRabb Williams

BoRabb Williams posted the photo above and messaged:

..... we killing the Crappie in the Calumet system

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Art Frisell at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said crappie are the top bite, on gold hooks with small minnows fished around channel mouths in 8-12 feet; white bass are very good on wind-blown shorelines with waxies or spikes and jigs; bluegill are good, especially shallow, on waxies or spikes on ice jigs; for walleye, use split-shot rigs with small roaches or large fatheads, best on Marie; muskie are fair, best are suckers or small Bull Dawgs, try Petite or Fox.

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

NOTE 2: The Stratton Lock and Dam is open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. through Oct. 31.

CHICAGO RIVER

Jeffrey Williams with his PB carp, caught from the Chicago River. Provided photo
Jeffrey Williams with his PB carp, caught from the Chicago River.
Provided

Jeffrey Williams messaged the photo above and this:

new PB

26 lbs 35 in

he made no attempt to let me know he was on, didnt take line, didnt make the pole move, nothing. I only knew cause the line was in a different spot

tht pumped me up, day started real slow

biggest i ever seen caught out of the main branch of the river

my good ol Ugly Stick GX2 got the job done, had 30 lb braid on the reel, hardest part NOT LETTING HIM GO UNDER THE RIVERFRONT

DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN

Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake 10/18/21 through 10/26/21

This week saw fishing very good in the early part of the week but by the weekend the fish shut down.

Bluegills and perch have moved slightly deeper. The bite has been sporadic however you can still catch a few nice fish. The best depth seems to be the 25-27 ft. range. Most of the fish are being caught on leaf worms or wax worms. Most of the success has been coming on small ice jigs and slip bobbers. Look for the fish down the west end by the Island or by the weed point by the gray condos.

Walleye fishing has been average. The numbers of fish have decreased due to the turnover of the lake. This past weekend, I was still able to find a few legal fish. The best bite is now on fat head minnows. I’ve been fishing them either with a lindy rig or a small lead head jig, color doesn’t seem to matter. The best depth has been in the weed line in 15-17 ft. of water. The best success I’ve had were on the main lake points.

Northern pike fishing has been good. A lot of large fish are being caught in the 9-10 ft. range in the shallow weeds. Large bucktails or spinner baits have been catching most of the fish. I like either white or black for lure color. The northern fishing has been best by the weed flat by Browns Channel or by the Viewcrest Bay.

Bass fishing has been good. The fish have moved back into the shallows off the deep weeds. Most of the fish are now in 9-10 ft. or off of docks. The best baits have been either tube baits or small plastic pre-rigged worms, black and purple seem to be the best colors.

Good luck in your fall fishing. For guide parties next season please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063.

DOWNSTATE

POWERTON: Winter hours—8 a.m.-4 p.m.—are back. Last day for boat fishing is Oct. 24. Bank fishing runs through Oct. 29. SPRING LAKE: Oct. 22 is the last day for boaters on the main lake; boat fshing is allowed from the Sky Ranch Road ramp to Maple Island buoy during waterfowl seasons. Bank fishing along South Lake Road is not allowed until after 1 p.m. during waterfowl season. EMIQUON: Access permits and liability waivers are again required. They are available Tuesday to Saturday at Dickson Mounts Museum, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season. Check regulations at http://www.wetlands-initiative.org/dixon-paddling-fishing.

FOX RIVER

Dicky’s Bait Shop in Montgomery reported a couple 20-pounder flatheads caught in Aurora.

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

Things picked up a little bit this week with the cooler weather and some rain. I practiced a couple of times with the two-handed rod on the Fox and it was prime. Water levels had come up with the rain late last week, but it was still clear and there was decent current. Far better conditions than we’ve faced the past few months. Smallmouths were active, including near the surface. There were some who didn’t get hooked on their first attempt at eating the fly but came right back on the next cast. They seem to be enjoying the cooler water. Same goes for the tributaries: water is up a little and the fish have moved back to their usual Fall locations, at least for now. Big temperature drops are forecast for later in the week: that could make for some productive crappie fishing.

. . .

Pete

GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN

Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 10/18/21 through 10/25/21

Hurry, the fall colors are outstanding, which makes the fishing experience all that much more special.

Large mouth bass fishing has been up and down, some days there are good catches and the next it’s a struggle. I have been fishing a lot of shallow weeds with a close proximity to hard (sand) bottom. The fish I have been catching all are quality fish with several 3-4 pounders. I still have been using the night crawler single split-shot rig. The depth of water I have been working is 6-12 feet. The best locations have been by Knollwood, Geneva Bay and Fontana Beach.

The majority of the quality smallmouth bass are still in 20-23 feet of water and can be caught using lindy-rigs. (1/8 oz weight and single hook with minnows) The small mouth fishing will continue to get better as the water cools. They will be able to be caught in shallow rock points in a couple of weeks, if the water continues to cool as it has been. Once the fish move shallow, I like the Kalin’s grubs or Arkie Crawlin’ grubs. Root beer or pumpkin are the best colors. Smallies are being caught near Coleman’s Point, Black Point and Rainbow Point.

Bluegills and Pumpkin’ seeds are being caught throughout the lake in the same locations as the largemouth bass. I have been using the night crawler/split-shot rig for them also. I have been catching a lot of quality fish, very few small ones. Crappie fishing is sporadic. I have received some good reports of quality fish off the Fontana Beach. They are being taken in 12-15 feet of water on slip-bobbers and small minnows. Tube jigs 1/64 or 1/32 shouldn’t be overlooked and are also a deadly method on most occasions. Try smoke or red/white.

You can’t go anywhere on the lake right now without catching perch. The hard problem is to find the quality perch. I like the Belvidere Park flat or Knollwood. Try slip-bobbers with small minnows.

Northern Pike fishing has been fantastic. Numbers of legal fish are being taken. Chubs on slip-bobbers have been producing fish. The quality fish are being caught in 20-24 feet of water in the deep weeds. With the cooling water, the fish will be moving shallow, making the catch even easier. Look for the better fish in the Fontana Beach area. It is the classic fall spot on Lake Geneva. Trolling can also be an effective approach. I like the large husky jerks, blue/silver or the Berkeley Frenzy stick bait. Enjoy the fall colors, winter is near.

For Guide Parties next season call: Dave Duwe 262-728-8063

GREEN LAKE AREA, WISCONSIN

Guide Mike Norris emailed:

Fishing Report – 10/18/2021

Mike Norris

Big Green Lake – Nighttime temperatures fallen into the upper thirties and Big Green Lake is starting to heat up. Both large and smallmouth bass are feeding on crayfish which have migrated to deep weed beds. I am also catching bass on offshore rock piles. Try tube baits or a jig and minnow in pockets of gravel and rock found in and around standing green weed beds. Lindy rigging with larger sucker minnows is also coming into play. Do not be afraid to go shallow. Perch in the 9 to 11-inch range and bluegills up to 9 inches have moved in shallow and the bass are right behind. I am finding panfish in bays in 1 to 2 feet of water. Try casting a red worm threaded onto a small hook.

Fox Lake (Dodge County) – Bass fishing is decent on Fox Lake. I am still finding them shallow and Senko’s cast in and around docks is my lure choice. Walleyes are eating medium-sized shiners hung below a float in 12 – 15 of water, though some are still shallow though, as evidenced by a 31-inch walleye caught by an angler fishing for bass with Senko’s in four feet of water. Last week a homeowner fishing off his dock caught at 51 ¾ inch muskie with a sucker beneath a float.

To book a guide trip reach out to me via my Facebook page at mike.norris.7773 or email me through my website at www.comecatchsmallmouth.com

GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WISCONSIN

Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.

HEIDECKE LAKE

Closed for the season.

LAKE ERIE

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

LAKEFRONT

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

Good morning Dale,

Most of last week’s weather was unstable with rain so not as many were fishing. The few reports I have had still have a few kings being caught around the harbors mostly still on spoons and crankbaits with a few starting to hit spawn. Reports of Steelhead and a few Coho being caught on the Horseshoe and surrounding harbors on largefatheads, medium roaches, spawn and crawlers. No Brown Trout reports yet.No Smallmouth reports.

have a great week

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said off Chicago fishing is tough, bite is really far out, better bet is making the long ride to Julian’s Reef for lake trout; out of North Point, focus on or around the reefs, especially Waukegan Reef, for lakers with a few big kings, too, big plastic attractors seem to be doing better than the metal ones. Poteshman noted that a lot of little lakers are being caught around the reefs.

Capt. Dan Leslie at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan said some kings are being caught on spoons and spawn sacs; snaggers are doing OK.

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.

LaSALLE LAKE

Closed for the season.

MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN

Click here for the update from D&S Bait.

MAZONIA

Closed, but Monster stays open all year.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

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

Getting some of what we anglers have been asking for. Colder temps and wind have lake surface readings in the 50’s. So, what’s with the fish we ask? High pressure, full moon…, could point to all types of excuses (and we usually do)! Fishing, with a few exceptions, has remained sub-par for this time of year. Participation seems light also.

Musky: Fair-Good – In my boat “POOR”, but a few anglers reported seeing fish and a few upper 40” fish (46, 47 & 48” ers) reported. Mixed reports, one large fish on top-water, though that will probably end as water temps dip into mid-50’s. Gliders, Jerks and twitch baits preferred, with suckers producing some of the best fish of the week.

Walleye: Fair-Good – Wind made for tough boat control. Anglers able to find fishable fish found them in gravel/mud transition fish in depths of 20-34’ using 1/4 - 3/8 oz jigs tipped with black chubs or large fats. On lakes less deep, work 12-15’ weed edges, wind-blown, with 1/8 oz weedless jigs and fats

Smallmouth Bass: Fair-Good - Same with Walleye, wind made locations tough to fish. Drop-shotting 3” minnow imitations best near drowned timber.

Crappies: Fair – No reports of numbers, but fish running large – 10-12” eaters and 13-15” slabs not uncommon. Lakes in warm, calm bays over weed tops in 9-12’. Flowages near drowned wood in 12-18’

Northern Pike: Fair – Few targeting. Pike still relatively shallow on jig/chub combos.

Due to wind and time of year (lack of participation) reports on Gills, Perch and Largemouth lacking.

While forecast of high 60’s temps early in week, night time temps in low 30’s and highs of low to mid-40’s by the weekend will put lakes in or at the brink of turn-over. Check water clarity before launching.

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop - Like us on Facebook

NORTHWEST INDIANA

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

Lots of fisherman out and fishing everywhere.

Best thing going has been catfish on triple s stinkbait at rosser lake in New Chicago.

Stone lake in Laporte giving up nice gills for boat fisherman using jumbo reds.

Still lots of fisherman fishing the tributaries but the action has slowed way down.

Slezs bait is on fall and winter hours now 5 to 5 daily.

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

Hi, Dale. The weather had certainly cooled off this past week. With the recent fluctuation, here’s what’s been happening around here:

Lake Michigan trolling has slowed right down in the last week. Anglers are waiting for the water to cool & the fall Steelhead to run. River fishing is slow with just a few Coho & Kings being caught.

Walleye, Smallmouth, & Catfish are still active on the rivers.

Inland lake Bluegill & Crappie remain steady.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

The Wisconsin DNR report on today, Oct. 19, included this:

The Root River experienced a sizeable increase in angling activity this week despite already high angling effort over the previous few weeks. Anglers are now being seen fishing from the mouth all the way up to the dam, whereas previously anglers were crowding around the Steelhead Facility. All anglers are continuing to target coho or chinook salmon as the run progresses.

Click here for the full update from the Wisconsin DNR, usually on Tuesday or Wednesday.

SHABBONA LAKE

Adam Honiotes at Boondocks reported some success trolling for walleye, no reports of muskie; crappie are being caught in the trees; panfish are good. The concessions will close Oct. 31, reopening April 1.

Site hours through Oct. 31 are 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT

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

WISCONSIN RIVER

An October night on the Wisconsin River. Credit: Rob Abouchar
An October night on the Wisconsin River.
Rob Abouchar

Rob Abouchar emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale,

The first real cold front came through Merrill on Saturday and the Bass fishing cooled a bit on the Wisconsin River. Sunday morning brought the first frost of the season emphasizing the fact that only a few weekends of fishing remain on the river. There were reports of Muskie starting to be caught. My Senko was getting some bites but only some small Northern and a little smallmouth were landed. Joe The Grasseater Schatz continued to catch nice fish on his Handmade Schatzee chatterbait in Ghost Minnow color, tipped with a kalins jerk shad. The best colors now seem to be white or black and orange. There were lots of shotgun blasts ringing out early in the day as many waterfowl are migrating as the season changes. Next trip on the river we will be floating suckers. And possibly a Senko.

Tight Lines and Good Health

Rob

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:

Water temp down to 54 degrees this morning. White bass action still good, fishing sand bars and current breaks. As the river cools, more walleye are showing up. Fish deeper holes and channels