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Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Chinook lead, snagging began, inland fall feed builds some

Chinook lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; plus, snagging on the lakefront is underway and the fall feeding frenzy gives hints of arriving on inland waters.

Team Krappie INC. gathered at the festivities at Jackson Park last week for salmon. Provided by BoRabb Williams
Team Krappie INC. gathered at the festivities at Jackson Park last week for salmon.
Provided by BoRabb Williams

Chinook continue to lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report, plus snagging on the lakefront is underway and the fall feeding frenzy gives hints of arriving on inland waters.

BoRabb Williams messaged the photo at the top and this:

Team Krappie Inc.... and Friends..... Opening night for Salmon Snagging Season....... but I don’t SNAG!!!

Earlier he had texted an invite for me to see the “BIG FEAST and Fishing” Thursday night into Friday morning at Jackson Park.

Guys start at 3...4pm cooking and stuff... while throwing Lures before 12am strikes

Next year, I need to attend to savor the experience. My stamina isn’t back enough yet to do it this year.

SHORELINE/TRIBUTARY SALMON/TROUT

Anthony Sokolov with one of the biggest Chinook caught this fall from the Chicago shoreline. Provided photo
Anthony Sokolov with one of the biggest Chinook caught this fall from the Chicago shoreline.
Provided

CHICAGO: Jason “Special One” Le, who has been on a roll with Chicago kings lately, texted the photo above and this Monday night:

This is biggest kings I saw so far in Chicago

44 inch caught at diversey

He caught it on Jason special custom lure

Mu boi Anthony [Sokolov]

25lbs and up he said

He don’t got scale with him

Catch and release

Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait said salmon are spotty, sporadic as different schools come through. “But we are seeing more fish coming through the harbors. I call them the stupid ones. They are like new ducks flying into a blind.” The water continues cool, so it prolongs the season, he said. Spoons and crankbaits still catching salmon.

Carl Vizzone texted on Friday about fishing at Northerly Island

Not much of a report here. Been trying here daily. More and more jumping, but we haven’t hooked up yet. We’ve just been on fishing pier here at Northerly. I’m determined to get a fish here or bust. Hope all is well with you!

On Tuesday morning, he texted the photo below of Eric Gholston with a salmon from off the handicapped pier.

Eric Gholston with a salmon from Northerly Island. Provided photo
Eric Gholston with a salmon from Northerly Island.
Provided

WAUKEGAN: Capt. Dan Leslie at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan said spoons and spawn sacs are working for primarily kings with a few coho around the harbor.

Capt. Scott Wolfe of School of Fish Charters emailed:

. . .

Shore - a new group of Kings showed up mid-week. This group seemed to be smaller than the first ones, but take what you can get. Fishing was good through the weekend and the fish were not totally turned yet. For persons not snagging - try to find an area where there are no snaggers for many reasons. Skein is starting to work and I had a buddy that got two nice bass on skein in addition to a couple of kings.

I just pulled my boat but I’ll continue to get you good info when I can.

Capt. Scott Wolfe

School of Fish Charters/Manipulator
630-341-0550
schooloffishcharters.com

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

Kings and coho in all nwi tributaries spawn sacks, skein and spinners best.

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN: Weather and wind really limited pier and shoreline fishing.

ILLINOIS TROUT SEASON

Early catch-and-release season for trout is open at select spots, closest is Rock Creek at Kankakee River State Park. The regular fall trout season opens Oct. 16.

SALMON SNAGGING

Salmon snagging on the Illinois shoreline of Lake Michigan runs through Dec. 31.

Here are the key 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).

ILLINOIS FROG SEASON

Illinois’ bullfrog (only) season runs through Oct. 15. A fishing license is required. “Bullfrogs may be taken by hook and line, gig, pitchfork, spear, bow and arrow, hand, or landing net.” Daily bag limits eight, possession limit 16.

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

Even with the warmth, some are finding crappie.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a fall crappie. Provided photo
Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a fall crappie.
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-Waiting. The weather hasn’t decided yet if it should be summer or fall. The water temps are slowly going down.

Bass are good during evening hours on top water baits. Poppers continue to be the best choice. Overcast evenings have been better.

Crappie are still scattered in the main basin. Stay mobile to pick off a few here and there on minnow baits. First light and last hour have been the best times.

Here is the nature pic of the week [below]. The seasons are starting to change.

TTYL

Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team

Fall changes. Provided by Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Fall changes.
Provided by Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

. . .

I did catch some good-sized bluegills in a forest preserve pond on Sunday afternoon after the rain. It wasn’t fast fishing-I had to keep moving to find the fish and worked hard for them-but they would bite when I found them.

Pete

BRAIDWOOD LAKE

Open daily 6 a.m. to sunset. Oct. 19 is the final day of fishing.

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Arden Katz: Little tougher fishing with many boats on Saturday; but lots of perch (“I thought I was at 89th”) trolling in 10-12 ft. on points with live bait for yellow bass, white bass with a stray channel catfish, too.

Staff at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said crappie are in the channels and bluegill, too, some perch in the bays around the lily pads; walleye starting to move up with the cooler nights; catfish the usual on stinkbait or crawlers.

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

A big Chicago River carp. Provided by Jeffrey Williams
A big Chicago River carp.
Provided by Jeffrey Williams

Jeffrey Williams messaged the photo above and this on Saturday:

1 hour to get him in

DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN

Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake 10/04/21 through 10/11/21

Fishing has been very tough over the last week or so. The warm weather has confused the fish and they aren’t sure whether they should be in their fall or summer patterns. The best bite on the lake remains the walleye. They can be caught off the weedlines.

Walleye pike can be caught trolling deep diving crank baits or jigging in 35 ft of water. You want to be just outside the main lake points when trolling. I troll between 16 and 22 ft of water. The early morning hours are the best. You want a fire tiger or pearl colored crank bait which resembles the crappie. Look for the fish by Browns Channel or by the island. You want to get to the lake about an hour before sunrise.

Northern pike have been spotty. The pike I’ve caught were in 10-12 ft of water on the weedline. They can be caught on medium suckers fished on a slip bobber. The best location has been by the Oriental boathouse or by the Yacht Club. I haven’t been fishing suckers on lindy rigs so that might be a possibility. Keep the boat on the outside of the weed edge in 17 ft of water and back troll into the wind.

Bluegills remain suspended in the main lake basin. They are 20 ft down in 35 to 40 ft of water. A good fish locator is essential to find the active fish. The best presentation is an ice jig or a single hook with a heavy split shot. You want to fish straight lined right beneath the boat. Look for the fish by the Village or off of Willow Point.

Perch are being caught in 12-15 ft of water. The best bait is large leaf worms or small fat head minnows. Look for the fish by the outlet channel or down by the old Boy Scout camp. Fish the worms on a slip bobber rig for the best success.

Largemouth bass are in 4-5 ft of water around the boat docks. I’ve been concentrating on south shore piers. They can be caught on Senkos or All Terrain Stiks. Green pumpkin or watermelon seed are the best colors.

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

DES PLAINES RIVER

A collage of fall fishing on the Des Plaines River. Provided by Jonny Pitelka
A collage of fall fishing on the Des Plaines River.
Provided by Jonny Pitelka

Jonny Pitelka messaged the photo above and this on Wednesday:

Hey Dale I hope all is great! I had the day off yesterday from work and was able to hit the water! Water temps are getting chilly and the smallie frenzy fall bite has begun!!

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.

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.

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season. Check regulations at http://www.wetlands-initiative.org/dixon-paddling-fishing.

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,

Not much of a change this week, but at least things didn’t get any worse. I got rained on for the first time in a long time. It didn’t do anything to raise river and stream levels, but they didn’t get any lower. I fished a small trib of the Fox and caught a few nice bluegills (and some very small smallmouths) where I usually only find smallmouths. I think the current was so slow due to low water levels that fish usually associated with still water are now able to occupy it. As far as the Fox itself, it didn’t come up much, if at all with the weekend rain. I was going to practice some two-handed casting and had to go to an area not far below a dam to find any current. The water was practically stationary a mile or so above the dam.

. . .

Pete

GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN

Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 10/04/21 through 10/11/21

You will never find a warmer October than we have this year. The fish are in a bit of a funk due to the extended heat wave we are having. The lake temperatures have actually been increasing over the past week.

Rock bass can be readily caught in the 12-15 ft depth range. They are being caught on split shot rigged nightcrawlers or fat head minnows. The best location has been by the Military Academy or by Knollwood.

Smallmouth bass are starting to show up on the main lake points. They can be caught by dragging jigs or Carolina rigging Zoom lizards. The best spots have been Conference Point or by Black Point. The jigs I prefer are All Terrain football jigs in the ½ oz green pumpkin. This pattern will be effective for the next few weeks.

Northern Pike action has been improving in the weed flats. Look for the fish in Williams Bay or Fontana. As always, the best approach is slip bobber rigging large golden shiners about 1 ft above the weeds. The only way to fish them is to keep the boat anchored. You want to key on the weed points on the flat.

Perch fishing has been fantastic. The fish are in 12 ft of water. To catch the bigger fish, you need to use bigger minnows. You want to slip bobber rig about 1-2 ft off bottom. The best locations have been by Rainbow point or by Knollwood.

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

Guide Mike Norris emailed:

Fishing Report – 10/03/2021

Mike Norris

Big Green Lake – Surface temps remain in the upper 60’s and the smallmouth bass bite continues to be good along the weed edge and rocky shoals. Swimbaits and tubes are accounting for my catches, with numerous fish going three pounds or better. Muskie fishing has picked up also. Try outside weed edges in 13 -17 feet of water for both species. Bluegills remain scattered but should regroup with falling water temps. I am getting a few reports of walleye action in 30 -40 feet of water on jigging raps. The smallie bite should continue through the month of October.

Rick Wendlandt – Largemouth bass on Fox Lake are shallow and can be found in two feet of water and under piers along rocky shorelines. A Senko is my go-to lure. Walleye fishing has improved with anglers trolling Flickr Shad and Salmo crankbaits out over the basin of the lake. Northern pike are active so try using wire leaders when trolling. I am getting reports of several anglers catching crappies while trolling for walleye.

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

Open 6 a.m. (6:30 bank fishing) to sunset. Tuesday, Oct. 12 is the final day of fishing.

KANKAKEE RIVER

Bob Johnson with a good northern pike from the Kankakee River. Provided photo
Bob Johnson with a good northern pike from the Kankakee River.
Provided

Bob Johnson emailed the photos above and below, and this:

Hi Dale -

Back to some spots on the river Saturday morning for the slow start to fall bite. I believe the fisherman in the area will appreciate the cooler rain coming in this week paired with shorter days. Summer is trying to stick around. Fall is on the way?

The river is in good shape with clear water and temps at 69 to 70. Water level is low. Joel Wilson and myself caught a mixed bag of Smallmouth, largemouth and a good size river pike. Northern was caught on rapala crainkbait and Bass were hitting on surface baits and finesse baits sticking to dark colors. Had success in 3 to 7’ depths and around lay downs.

Joel Wilson with a good smallmouth bass from the Kankakee River. Provided by Bob Johnson
Joel Wilson with a good smallmouth bass from the Kankakee River.
Provided by Bob Johnson

LAKE ERIE

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

LAKEFRONT

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.

Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait said salmon are spotty, sporadic as different schools come through, but we are seeing more fish coming through the harbors. “I call them the stupid ones. They are like new ducks flying into a blind.” The water continues cool, so it prolongs the season, he said. Spoons and crankbaits still catching salmon.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

Good morning Dale. With this crazy warm weather and warm water it’s so hard to predict what the fishing should be, could be, will be. From what I have seen and heard there are still plenty of Kings being caught up and down the lakefront some are dark some are still pretty clean. I think there’s a few trout starting to mingle in the mix. There’s also a few Northern starting to be caught while casting for the salmon. There’s still some guys catching some Smallmouth in a few of the areas. Some big carp and drum around the area also.

As of Monday October 4th our hours are 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. 7 days a week.

Thank you Dale have a great week!

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said lake trout on the reefs are definitely active. “That is definitely the place to fish if you got the time.” Some guys out of North Point trying to fish other than the reefs with mixed results for a mixed bag.

Out of Chicago, fishing come back for lake trout and a couple other fish in 120-160.

Capt. Dan Leslie at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan said spoons and spawn sacs are working for primarily kings with a few coho around the harbor.

Capt. Scott Wolfe of School of Fish Charters emailed:

Offshore - the fish have adjusted to the warmer water in the area and fishing was again great this week. Limits of trout are being taken on the reefs and hills offshore and there are some 2 and 3 year old kings in the same area. Spoons can take both. Presentations run 120 to the bottom down. There is little above that depth. Glow and white spoons seemed to be best. Warrior UV Wonderbread and Arctic Ice Spoons were good. Fish were very speed sensitive, sometimes wanting fast and sometimes slow. To target the biggest Trout use the dodger and Mo rigs from Jimmy fly or Lake Michigan Angler. Again White glo and blue/Aqua worked well.

Shore - a new group of Kings showed up mid-week. This group seemed to be smaller than the first ones, but take what you can get. Fishing was good through the weekend and the fish were not totally turned yet. For persons not snagging - try to find an area where there are no snaggers for many reasons. Skein is starting to work and I had a buddy that got two nice bass on skein in addition to a couple of kings.

I just pulled my boat but I’ll continue to get you good info when I can.

Capt. Scott Wolfe

School of Fish Charters/Manipulator
630-341-0550
schooloffishcharters.com

LaSALLE LAKE

Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait said anglers are still catching big catfish and blues. Open daily 6 a.m. to sunset. Oct. 15 is the final day of fishing.

MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN

Click here for the update from D&S Bait.

MAZONIA

Hours are 6 a.m. to sunset. Oct. 19 is the final day of fishing; but Monster stays open all year.

MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN

Mike Mladenik with a good walleye from the Menominee River. Provided photo
Mike Mladenik with a good walleye from the Menominee River.
Provided

Guide Mike Mladenik of bigsmallmouthbass.com emailed the photo above and this:

The fishing has been on Fire the last 2 weeks of September including 10 smallmouth over 20-inches. The Menominee River is at normal fall levels and smallmouth bass are stacking up even though the water temp is still warm at 60 degrees. October sould be excellent!!!

Walleye fishing on High Falls Flowage has also been good so now is the time to book a fall walleye trip. On October 2 I caught a huge 30-inch walleye which was easily over 10-pounds. I released the walleye back into the flowage.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

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

Weather continues to be too nice!

Cool nights can’t seem to combat the sunny, warm afternoons and get these water temps dropping. This traditionally has been a very good weekend to be fishing, last year at this time the weather was cold and the fishing hot! Forecast doesn’t show much of a change for the coming week. Algae blooms popping up like its August for crying out loud!

Smallmouth Bass: Good-Very Good – The bright spot for this week’s reports as Smallies seem to be gathering on rock piles and drowned wood. Drop-shotting 3” minnow replicas, slip-floating minnows and jigging crawlers helped save several trips this past week with #’s and large Smallies to 20+”. A few anglers still scoring big Smallies shallow on top-water and swim baits in water as shallow as 2-3’.

Largemouth Bass: Good – Finding green weeds has been key, swimming 3-5” swim baits, spinner baits and lipless cranks have been effective to finding action for those still targeting Largemouth.

Northern Pike: Fair – Even this typically easy to find fish have had their moments. With days of no clouds and little, to no, wind, even Pike became tough at times. Swim baits (4-5”) spinner baits and jig and 4-6” suckers have been best.

Crappie: Fair – Big slabs (Crappies of 13-14”+) but numbers off. Fish still scattered, on bright, flat days work deeper to 16-19’ to find fish. Eaters (10-12”) coming on medium fats under floats.

Walleye: Fair – Bites best at dawn and again after 5 PM, as Walleyes not happy with high pressure, sunny skies and little wind. Chubs and crawlers best choice, these fish also very scattered and light biting.

Musky: Fair-Poor – Action not what’s expected! Still some shallow weed fish, but top-water not up to snuff. Bucktails with Marabou and swimming rubber baits best. Haven’t had many reports of size, mostly low-mid 30”ers.

Yellow Perch: Fair – Not being targeted much. A few nice fish in drowned wood being caught by anglers targeting Walleye or Crappie.

Bluegill: Fair-Poor – Not being targeted. Some big Gills (9+”) in and around deep (14-18’) wood on ½ crawlers.

What to think! Water temps dropping into low 60’s overnight, but shooting up to 68-70 degrees by afternoons. As stated earlier, algae blooms off setting, looks like the typical fall “sucker” season may be a couple weeks away. All we can do is keep casting away, waiting for the “bite” to get hot once the weather gets cold.

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
Like us on Facebook

NORTHWEST INDIANA

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

Kings and coho in all nwi tributaries spawn sacks, skein and spinners best.

Crappie better and better at lake George in Hobart use crappie minnows and fish around the bridges at evening time

Rosser lake still giving up channel catfish on triple s stinkbait.

Slezs bait went to fall and winter hours now 5am to 5pm daily.

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

Hey there, Dale. The cooler temperatures may be welcome as far as people go, but some of the fish are going through an adjustment process at the moment. Here’s what’s been heard as of late:

Perch fishing has been very slow from the Hammond area, to Michigan City all the way up to South Haven. A few perch have been caught in local, inland lakes.

Trolling for big fish has been steady, with Lake Trout & a few salmon; the best depths have been in 135-175 FOW, using small spoons, spin doctors, & flies. Anglers have been doing OKAY jigging for Salmon in the mouths of the Little Calumet & Paw Paw rivers.

Smallmouth and Walleye are still being caught on the rivers & Wolf Lake on nightcrawlers & spinners.

Catfish are still being caught in nice numbers; Dowling Park, Oak Ridge Prairie, & Powderhorn have been hot spots lately. Cutbait (suckers, shad, & skipjack), nightcrawlers, & beemoths performing nicely.

As for panfishing, Bluegill & Crappie are doing moderately well in the inland lakes. Beetle spins, beemoths, & red worms are items of choice.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

Click here for the Wisconsin DNR’s report, usually on Tuesday or Wednesday.

SHABBONA LAKE

Concessions are going. 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.

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN

Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said wind and weather limited pier and boat action for salmon and trout, when boats are able to get out it was 120-160 for lakers, steelhead and a few coho; smallmouth, drum and catfish with a few walleye are being caught in the river.

Paddle and Pole hosts the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder Camera.

WISCONSIN RIVER

Joe “The Grasseater” Schatz with a good smallmouth bass from the Wisconsin River. Provided by Rob Abouchar
Joe “The Grasseater” Schatz with a good smallmouth bass from the Wisconsin River.
Provided by Rob Abouchar

Rob Abouchar emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale

With the reggae gig done and a big success it was up to the Wisconsin river for some fall foliage and fishing. The Smallmouth were starting to put on the fall feed bag. Water still in the low 60s and bass hitting wacky rigged senko in 2 to 6 feet of water. Joe The Grasseater Schatz got his personal best Smallmouth Bass. It truly was one of those big fish that you see in the net and take note. We took no measurement or weight but it was one of the biggest I’ve seen for this section of the river. Some small northern were also caught on spinner bait and chatter baits. The foliage was near peak in Merrill and the fall feedbag is on.

Tight lines and good health

Fall arrives on the Wisconsin River. Credit: Rob Abouchar
Fall arrives on the Wisconsin River.
Rob Abouchar

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:

Water conditions still the same. Temp 64 degrees. Crappie and white bass are the best bet to fill a cooler. In the wood for crappie, sand bars for white bass.