Chicago fishing, Midwest Report: Salmon/trout, fall trout info, derby, cat-on-dog, Shabbona tale

Shoreline salmon and trout again lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; plus info on Illinois’ upcoming fall trout season and a Waukegan derby, as well as hints of fall fishing arriving around Chicago, a cat-on-dog note and a Shabbona saga.

SHARE Chicago fishing, Midwest Report: Salmon/trout, fall trout info, derby, cat-on-dog, Shabbona tale
Quinn Wunar with the bounty of some recent “epic” salmon fishing on the Chicago lakefront.

Quinn Wunar with the bounty of some recent “epic” salmon fishing on the Chicago lakefront.

Provided

Shoreline salmon and trout again lead this sprawling raw-and-file Midwest Fishing Report; plus an epic account of chasing hybrid stripers at Shabbona Lake by Pete Lamar, info on Illinois’ upcoming fall trout season and a Waukegan derby, hints of fall fishing arriving around Chicago and a cat-on-a-dog note.

Quinn Wunar tweeted the photo at the top and this this morning:

Hey Dale,

Last week kings have been super scattered, patience and slow rolling spoons have been the ticket. When you find them fresh lakeside, there are usually more close cruising.

Yesterday was pretty epic with the cool weather. Midday window was hot and tons of big coho hitting up and down the water column with some silver jack kings mixed in as well. Spinners & spoons, hot color patterns. Sunlight kills the midday bite. For now. Should be an exciting fall. Especially if the Sox sneak in.

Quinn

I have more faith in the fall run of salmon than I do in the Sox’s playoff hopes.

SHORELINE SALMON/TROUT

Jason “Special One” Le texted the YouTube link above.

Tim “Spike” Davis finding late-night success on salmon at Montrose Harbor. Provided phot

Tim “Spike” Davis finding late-night success on salmon at Montrose Harbor.

Provided

Tim “Spike” Davis texted the photo above and this from a catch at Montrose:

3/4 little Cleo glow . I started casting at 8pm . Didn’t hit until [late]. As I always say, what I lack in intelligence I make up for in determination

There’s many kind of smarts in the world: people smart, wild smart, gut smart and book smart. Davis might be self-deprecating about his book smarts, but he’s more than blessed with the other smarts.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

Good morning Dale

Not many reports over the weekend probably due to the icky weather but before that they were still catching salmon. My reports are that they are still hitting lures and crankbaits but have been selling some spawn sacs. Not many trout reported. . . . Have a great week!

Capt. Scott Wolfe of School of Fish Charters out of Waukegan emailed:

Hi Dale.

Harbor fishing is defiantly picking up. Cohos are starting to poke their heads in. Some coho, kings and occasional steelhead are being taken. Most are coming on small spoons and cranks. Lake Michigan Angler in Winthrop Harbor and The Salmon Stop in Waukegan will have latest hot lures. My recommendation would be to downsize this year. With more coho than normal use smaller size spoons and cranks. Jigging inside the harbor is taking some. Jiggers must make sure to stay out of the path of boats. There are big issues in Michigan ports now where no fishing areas in navigable channels are being discussed. Let’s avoid that here. I’m hearing guys are already getting bites on skein. So floating skein in one rod while casting with another is a good option if there is room.

. . .

I think the rain yesterday will trigger more fish to enter the harbors. Have a good week.

Capt. Scott Wolfeschooloffishcharters.com312-933-0552

Capt. Dan Leslie at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan said, “Things heating up at the pier, but still looking for cold weather and water.” Lots on spoons and classics, such as Kastmasters and Moonshines; some using spawn sacs.

Two happy boys tag-teamed this near-shore Chinook on Triplecatch Charters out of Indiana over the weekend. Provided photo

Two happy boys tag-teamed this near-shore Chinook on Triplecatch Charters out of Indiana over the weekend.

Provided

Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Indiana, texted the photo above and this:

Still some salmon to be had outside of burns ditch in 15 to 40ft of water. Plugs, spoons and crankbaits baits to use.

The fall run of salmon in nwi tributaries is now a good batch of fish are in the area creeks.Spinners, spawn saks and skein are baits to use in the area creeks.

ILLINOIS FALL TROUT

The fall season for catchable rainbow trout opens Oct. 15. As usual, anglers 16 and older need an inland trout stamp and a fishing license. Daily bag is five trout.

Nearby sites include (Cook County): Axehead, Belleau, Busse Woods North, Green, Horsetail, Sag Quarry East, Wolf Lake at William Powers SRA; (DuPage): Silver, Pickerel, Grove; (Kankakee): Bird Park Quarry, Rock Creek at Kankakee River SP; (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.

Early catch and release season opens Oct. 1. Nearby early catch-and-release sites are (Kankakee County): Rock Creek at Kankakee River SP; (Ogle): Pine Creek, White Pines Forest SP; (Jo Daviess): Apple River, Apple River Canyon SP.

FISH DERBY

Salmon Unlimited’s 12th annual Kids’ Shore Fishing Derby is Saturday, September 17th at Waukegan Harbor, rain or shine, 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. It’s free to all kids, 18 and younger. Ages 13 and younger must have an adult guardian.

For more information and registration, visit salmonunlimitedinc.com/kids.

A GOOD READ, A LONG-FORM REPORT
(Trying for hybrid striped bass at Shabbona Lake)

On Saturday, Pete Lamar emailed this account in two parts:

Part 1:

HI Dale,

I owe you one-I got out to Shabbona last night and really enjoyed it.Imagine if I’d actually caught a hybrid.I’d probably be back out there right now.

I arrived 30-45 minutes before sunset and it was a beautiful evening:70s, sunny, light winds.As soon as I crested the hill and could see the lake, there was nervous water along the entire face of the dam.Seemed early for shad but there were fish feeding.It turned out to be a massive midge hatch and there were being eaten by baitfish, which were in turn being fed on by game fish.I’m confident at least some of the gamefish were hybrids-I got a look at them when they cleared the water to take a baitfish.There were others within a rod length of shore:I’d see a big wake moving parallel to the shore and then a noisy eat.I’m a more than adequate caster, but I won’t win any distance competitions.Still, there were always fish within casting distance.I didn’t make a single blind cast:all were to the middle or edges of baitfish balls.It makes things so interesting when there is a possibility of an arm wrenching take on every cast.

As far as fly selection, I started with a big white streamer in an attempt to mimicthe shad.Later on, after sunset, I switched to a black minnow pattern, thinking it would provide a better silhouette to a hybrid looking up at the moonlit sky. Let me send this now. I can’t read down any further and have more to tell. I’ll get right at it

Part 2:

(Continued) I tried a strip/pause retrieve to mimic a baitfish wounded in a previous attack waiting to be finished off. I also tucked the rod under my arm and did a hand over hand retrieve as fast as I could (that comes from having spent many Winter days at Stateline Edison and watching the shad swim for their lives when being chased by brown trout; they were fast but were no match for the browns).Nothing worked.I was surprised at how small the baitfish were. I may have left more appropriate flies-smaller white streamers with silver flanks-on my tying table at home.One thing I didn’t try but should in the future is some glow in the dark flies.Nothing phosphorescent in fresh water, but there may be some remnant memory for the striper side of the hybrids of eating some glowing squid in the ocean.That seems to be the case for Lake Michigan salmon and steelhead as well as stream dwelling browns and brookies:they willingly eat glow in the dark patterns. Half the fun of fly fishing is overthinking these sorts of things.

Pete

The quest is often what makes fishing so special.

AREA LAKES

Bob France with a cat on a dog. Provided photo

Bob France with a cat on a dog.

Provided

Bob France messaged the photo above and this:

That was my cat on a dog picture... catfish on a hotdog!

I’m a sucker for stuff like that.

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

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a local largemouth bass.

Provided

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

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing.

Area lakes-before the rain and cold front bit over the weekend, summer patterns were back in full swing.

Bass are very good. Work a texas rigged senko with a Vector extra wide gap hook worked along the outside weed lines.

Crappie have been very good on an IJO Plastics pannie crawler worked under a slip float. Switch colors until the fish let you know what they want. Areas to focus on are wind blown bays and weed edges.

. . .

TTYL

Ken Husker O’Malley

Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team

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

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a local crappie.

Provided

Rob Abouchar emailed:

Hi Dale,

I left my phone at home so I am sending this sans pictures.After the all day rain on Sunday I wanted to check how it affected the action.It seemed to cool the water temps considerably as the fish were now cool to the touch.I caught several nice bluegills as well as three yellow belly Bullhead cats. The lures were a white jig headwith mylar and a northland jig with mylar hair both tipped with the trout worms.The mylar is a newrevelationfor me as far asbluegill are concerned.Some of the gills were again very good size and have me looking forward to some bluegill bites in the near future. As well as cooling the water temps the rain seemed to improve the water clarity as the algae is waning.My Neighbor across the street reported catching some bass on a chartreuse spinnerbait saying the bass seem to be coming in a little more. This SaturdayI will be taking the fishing club to the Salmon Unlimited Kids Derby inWaukegan.Last time out one of the members landed a 17 pound king so we are looking for something big again!

On the music front I have been contacted by the Wild Hare saying they would love to get us on the schedule for a show in the near future.This would be a big one for me as we have played there before but doing other peoples music.This would be us playing all original music for the reggae massive as they say.Also I have been asked to play at the Zappafest in Milwaukee in December withGazortenplatt.This too would be a great thing as they have original Frank Zappa Band Member Ike The Thingfish Willis to play with them each year.Things you never thought would happen can happen. This from a guy chasing a muskie on a senko.

Tight Lines and Good Health

Rob

How can you not enjoy a fishing report that includes the Wild Hare and a mention of Frank Zappa.

BRAIDWOOD LAKE

Final fishing day is Oct. 18.

District fisheries biologist Seth Love would like to hear from anglers on hybrid catches at Braidwood. You can email him at seth.love@illinois.gov.

Open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.

CALUMET SYSTEM

Jesse Gonzalez with a big carp from the Cal-Sag. Provided by Jeffrey Williams

Jesse Gonzalez with a big carp from the Cal-Sag.

Provided by Jeffrey Williams

Jeffrey Williams messaged the photo above and this about the success of his brother Jesse Gonzalez:

31 pounds, caught on the cal sag

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

HEADS UP: Lily Bug Acres (the former C.J. Smith Resort) now has its phone: (224) 788-8968.

Kyle Tepper at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said the white bass are “phenomenal,” best on small crankbaits or jigs and minnows, Bluff, Channel, Marie and Petite best; for bluegills, most trying near docks with slip-bobber rigs, some trying deep with drop-shots and crawler pieces; with the heavy rains, the walleye bite should pick up around current areas; crappie picking up, mostly deeper; some big flatheads out of Marie, Fox and the river; smallmouth were good deep; a few muskies on bucktails.

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

NOTE 2: The Stratton Lock and Dam has normal daily operating hours of 8 a.m. to midnight through Sept. 30.

COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS

Final fishing days: Heidecke (Oct. 11), LaSalle (Oct. 15) and Braidwood and Mazonia (Oct. 18).

Braidwood, Mazonia, LaSalle and Heidecke are open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.

DOWNSTATE

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season.

POWERTON: Summer hours are 6 a.m.-8 p.m. through Sept. 30.

EMIQUON PRESERVE: Hours are sunrise to sunset. Access permits and liability waivers are 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.

FOX RIVER

Vince Oppedisano with a flathead from the Fox River. Provided photo

Vince Oppedisano with a flathead from the Fox River.

Provided

Vince Oppedisano emailed the photo above and this:

Dale,

Hope you enjoyed the weekend.

Fox River, Kane County…..heat & lower water levels made the smallie fishing tough the past couple of weeks. Persistence yielded some decent numbers, but found it a challenge to find anything of real good size.

Got out for a couple hours before dark today, much different story out there. Levels up several inches from last week, river is flowing pretty good right now. Much cooler temps, really did feel like fall tonight. Lesser quantity, but the handful I hooked into were much better size, probably 15 to 18 inches or so. And a bonus flathead on a crankbait this evening too.

Hoping to make the best of these last couple months of open water before we freeze over again.

Sweet Lord, for some of us, that’s plain mean mentioning freezing over already; for some others, that is a glimpse of heaven.

Mike Cronsell at Dicky’s Bait Shop in Montgomery reported slow generally slow, but smallmouth picked up with the flow picked up from the rain.

GREEN LAKE AREA, WISCONSIN

Guide Mike Norris emailed:

Fishing Report – 9/11/2022

Mike Norris

Big Green Lake – This past weekend’s heavy rain event combined with air temperatures that dropped 25 degrees slowed the bass bite.It took nineteen pounds to win a bass tournament on Big Green before the rain moved in last Saturday.By comparison, only fourteen pounds won a tournament this past Sunday with most contestants not even reaching a five fish limit of bass.As expected, the big bluegill bite slowed also.The massive schools of bluegills I graphed and caught over the last couple of weeks thinned out and the size of the gills were smaller.The good news it both the bass and bluegill bites are far from over and should recover by mid-week and continue to be good through the remainder of September.

Fox Lake – Largemouth bass fishing picked up last week and I expect it to continue to improve as the lake recovers from last weekend’s rain event.Crappie fishing is decent.You can locate them in the main basin of the lake and just off Maple Point.Local anglers reported catching two muskies in the mid forty-inch range in the past week.

GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WISCONSIN

Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.

HEIDECKE LAKE

Final fishing day of fishing is Oct. 11.

Fall fishing is here, as Bob Johnson emphasizes with his walleye photo from Heidecke Lake. Provided photo

Fall fishing is here, as Bob Johnson emphasizes with his walleye photo from Heidecke Lake.

Provided

Bob Johnson emailed the photo above and this;

Hi Dale -Heidecke has improved with shorter days and declining water temps. Lake is at 76 degrees and getting active. Caught a healthy 23.5 4 lb Walleye late along with bass and drum on finesse baits dark colors. Also fished Saturday morning and boated some quality largemouth and smallmouth using jigs along riprap and casting Rapala crainkbaits off island in 7’ of water. Sundays rain should be good for all lakes and rivers for the week ahead. Fall fishing is here!

Bob Johnson with a big freshwater drum from Heidecke Lake. Provided photo

Bob Johnson with a big freshwater drum from Heidecke Lake.

Provided

I couldn’t decide between the walleye and the drum, so I included both.

And, yes, it feels like fall, though it looks like summer will return very quickly.

Heidecke is open 6 a.m. (6:30 bank fishing) to sunset.

LAKE ERIE

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

LAKEFRONT

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

Good morning Dale

Not many reports over the weekend probably due to the icky weather but before that they were still catching salmon. My reports are that they are still hitting lures and crankbaits but have been selling some spawn sacs. Not many trout reported. Still a lot of Northerns.Nothing else to report.

Have a great week!

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said that out of North Point, when weather allows, there’s some coho, kings and lakers out deep; inside of The Hill it more salmon. Out of Chicago, it is mainly lakers in 90-150 with occasional kings and coho.

Capt. Dan Leslie at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan said, “Things heating up at the pier, but still looking for cold weather and water.” Lots on spoons and classics, such as Kastmasters and Moonshines; some using spawn sacs.

Boats are going to 80 feet for cold water and silver fish; it’s out deeper for lake trout.

Capt. Scott Wolfe of School of Fish Charters emailed:

Hi Dale.

Harbor fishing is defiantly picking up. Cohos are starting to poke their heads in. Some coho, kings and occasional steelhead are being taken. Most are coming on small spoons and cranks. Lake Michigan Angler in Winthrop Harbor and The Salmon Stop in Waukegan will have latest hot lures. My recommendation would be to downsize this year. With more coho than normal use smaller size spoons and cranks. Jigging inside the harbor is taking some. Jiggers must make sure to stay out of the path of boats. There are big issues in Michigan ports now where no fishing areas in navigable channels are being discussed. Let’s avoid that here. I’m hearing guys are already getting bites on skein. So floating skein in one rod while casting with another is a good option if there is room.

For boats, the fish were definitely shallower this week. Trollers going to the 200 foot levels did not do well. 125-135 seemed to be the best with early morning in the 85 to 115 range. Cohos make up most of the catch with occasional kings, lakers and browns. White/Aqua and white/green combos in flies and spoons still seem to be best for us. Warrior Hey Babe, Two Face, Froggy and Fighting Irish took fish.

I think the rain yesterday will trigger more fish to enter the harbors. Have a good week.

Capt. Scott Wolfeschooloffishcharters.com312-933-0552

LaSALLE LAKE

Final fishing day is Oct. 15.

Site is open daily 6 a.m.-sunset. As a perched lake, boating is closed when winds top or will top 14 mph. Check daily updates on boating at (815) 640-8099.

MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN

Click here for the update from D&S Bait, Tackle & Fly Shop .

MAZONIA

Final fishing day is Oct. 18, except Monster Lake remains open year-round.

Hours are 6 a.m. to sunset.

MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN

Guide Mike Mladenik of bigsmallmouthbass.com emailed:

September 10 Fishing Report

Hot Topwater Bite

Read Report

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

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

Things starting to move into the right direction for September as warm afternoons, followed by cool nights, have started to lower surface temps.Friday’s (9/9) highs in the mid-eighties was followed by cool (mid to high 40’s) and rain.Reports of surface temps as high as 75 degrees Friday have scaled back into the upper 60’s by Monday (9/12)

Fish have been found all over the place, requiring searching for what you’re looking for.

Largemouth Bass:Good-Very Good – Most anglers finding Bass up shallow in 4-8’ with green weeds flipping jig and creature baits or Wacky Worming. Some Largemouth on deep, clear lakes also being caught on drop-shot rigs over sandgrass beds in 17-22’ by anglers targeting Smallies.Still others casting inside weed lines on those warm evenings finding top-water action on Whopper Ploppers and Jitterbugs.Bite best on warmer evenings.

Smallmouth Bass:Good-Very Good – Once again, varied locations.Deep rock humps of 20-25’ holding Smallies coming on drop-shot rigs.Sandgrass flats in 17-22’ holding Smallies while some Brown Bass still found relatively shallow (8-12’) on tube jigs.Lots of reports cracking 5#’s this week.

Northern Pike:Good-Very Good – As the water temps drop, these fish will keep getting more active.Spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and 4-5 swimbaits over green weeds of 5-10’.If slow, jig a 4-6 chub or sucker to entice action.

Crappie:Good – Better lake action than Flowages over the weekend.On lakes Crappies active in 7-10’.Small-medium fatheads or 1/32 – 1/16 oz jigs tipped with 1 or 2 twister tails.

Musky:Good – Keep an eye on the shallow bite!Nice fish moving in 4-8’.Top-water time, high riding bucktails and big spinnerbaits.

Bluegill:Good – Finding schools suspending out from coontail edges over 14-18’, as well as over drowned wood.Nice Gills of 8-9 this past week, 1/2 crawlers or beavertails all that’s needed on 1/16 oz jig or below slip floats.

Yellow Perch:Good-Fair – Most reports from anglers dropping down towards base of green cabbage with crawlers or fats.Keep bait within 12-18 of bottom in 8-12’.

Walleye:Good-Fair – This is where things are mixed up a bit.Example:Caught Walleyes jigging Shiver Minnows in 26’ while also catching Eyes in weeds of 7-10’, same lake, same day.The move to deeper water should be on, but any green weeds still holding nice Walleyes on chubs, large fats and crawlers.

Following Wednesday morning (low to upper 40’s), the rest of the week looks very stable with lows of 60’s and highs in the 70’s.Like to see a little more cool down to spike the bite, but headed in the right direction.

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop - Like us on Facebook

NORTHWEST INDIANA

Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted this report and the photo in the Shoreline Salmon and Trout Report:

Still some salmon to be had outside of burns ditch in 15 to 40ft of water. Plugs, spoons and crankbaits baits to use.

The fall run of salmon in nwi tributaries is now a good batch of fish are in the area creeks.Spinners, spawn saks and skein are baits to use in the area creeks.

Panfish action on Loomis and long lake in Valparaiso has been decent using jumbo red wigglers and crickets

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

Hi, Dale! I hope you’re enjoying the beautiful weather, & the warm days ahead will be a great excuse to get outdoors! Here’s what’s been going on lately in the fishing world around these parts:

Fishing still remains pretty steady on Lake Michigan, with some good numbers of King Salmon. Spoons have been working best-mostly blue ones.

Perch have been kinda scattered, but anglers are still catching some.

Inland anglers are still catching Bluegill & Crappie in moderate numbers.

River action has been Walleye & Smallmouth Bass mostly; it has been just fair, with every day being different.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

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

SHABBONA LAKE

John Honiotes at Boondocks reported the new thing is muskies, mostly smaller, have started to be active; otherwise the two main bites are hybrid stripers on crawlers or chicken livers without weight and catfish on chicken livers or crawlers.

Site summer hours—6 a.m.-10 p.m.—run through Oct. 31.

Bait shop is open 6 a.m.-7 p.m. daily; restaurant, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. weekends.

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 not much on recent reports.

Paddle and Pole hosts the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder Camera.

WISCONSIN DELLS

Hook-and-line sturgeon season in Wisconsin runs through Sept. 30. Click here for the details. Click here for the harvest areas. Check with River’s Edge, which reported mostly smaller sturgeon.

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