Hopes for the fall feeding frenzy to build and the beginning of snagging season on Monday lead  this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Marcus Benesch had some interesting pike action on the Des Plaines River from his kayak and the photo grab above is part of it with this explanation:

Even had a pike launch out the water at my lure as I was getting ready to put the rod down.  Captured the whole thing on video. See link..

The condensed Midwest Fishing Report appears Wednesdays on the outdoors page of the Sun-Times newspaper. The sprawling raw-file report is posted here online on the Sun-Times outdoors page.

SALMON SNAGGING

Snagging season opens in four select spots on the Illinois lakefront on Monday.

Here is the word from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources:

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)

LAKEFRONT KINGS

Staff at Henry’s Sports and Bait said spoons are taking a few a 31st, Burnham and Montrose. Staff at Park Bait said glow spoons are taking some kings and a few pike at Montrose.

At Waukegan, Capt. Scott Wolfe of School of Fish Charters emailed:

In Waukegan Harbor very few fish were caught.  Those caught represented a mixed species catch with a few kings, a few coho and a few steelhead.  With the steelhead coming in I’d expect the skein bite to be starting up now.  Trollers are occasionally taking big pre-spawn coho and those should be in the harbor this week or next.  Brown trout usually show up as the same time as the coho.  There were not enough fish caught to really identify any pattern, a few on cranks and a few on spoons being cast.

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

Casting at night and early morning at Washington park in Michigan city has given up some here and there glow spoons and crankbaits in all colors must put time in no easy pickings this year

I’m closing at 6 pm everyday now still open 5 am daily that never changes
A few last couple days have been had bye casters at mouth of ditch casting crankbaits and spoons again must put time in isn’t locked and loaded type fishing
We have in stock all sizes and colors of spawn saks and fresh cured skein

ILLINOIS FROG HUNTING

Frog hunting in Illinois, bullfrogs only, runs through Oct. 15. Daily bag is eight. Fishing license is required; bullfrogs may be taken by “hook and line, gig, pitchfork, spear, bow and arrow, hand, or landing net.”

AREA LAKES

Resized/Sun-Times

Suburban largemouth bass.
Provided by Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing.
Area Lakes- bass have been good during early morning hours. Focus on outside weedlines slowly working a TRD paired with a 3/16 oz weedless jig head. Popping  the bait off the weeds creates a reaction bite.
. . .
TTYL
Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team
Resized/Sun-Times

Bass from Wood Dale.
Provided/Rob Abouchar

Rob Abouchar sent the photo above and thisupdate:

Hi Dale

Three weeks of school activities and music performances has ended and i am looking forward to a weekend up in Wisconsin for some R and R and fishing.  We took the High School and Transitions students fishing at Woodale Grove and the bass and bluegill were hitting in the sweltering hot conditions last Thursday.  The smiles on the kids faces were all we needed but the catching was good.  After school we took the Bass fishing team and the catches continued.  The boys in the bass club enjoyed catching some largemouth bass bluegills and even messed around with some frogging.  I landed one of the biggest bass i have caught from Woodale Grove while demonstrating how to work the unweighted texas rigged Senko for the club.  When a huge snapping turtle was chasing a local anglers bait we knew it was time to take it back to the school.
Also the Jogging For Josh run for Autism fundraiser was a big hit.  The Happy Tapper in Northlake was packed and the Hot Sofa Band delivered one of it’s best shows to date on Saturday with a fill in drummer no less.  Thanks to Mark from Crooked Moon for sitting in.  Good luck to Kim Padilla running the Marathon!!!
Tight lines
Rob

AREA RIVERS

Click here to find river closures listed by the Illinois DNR. Go to http://water.weather.gov//ahps2/index.php?wfo=lot to check area water levels and projection. To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to http://waterdata.usgs.gov/il/nwis/current/?type=flow

BRAIDWOOD LAKE

Final day of fishing is Oct. 16. Lake is open 6 a.m. to sunset. Check with Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington.

CALUMET SYSTEM

No update.

CHAIN O’LAKES

Arden Katz said he is catching good crappie, and a few catfish, in 12-14 feet on Marie and Bluff with rigged minnows, drifting/trolling at 0.8 mph.

Brad Irving at Triangle Sports and Marine said white and yellow bass (and he means good quality-sized fish) are very good on Marie over rock bottoms evenings on Salmos or Flicker Shads; there’s some walleye, too, right at dusk; catfish remain good on crawlers all over; try crappie at the mouths of Nippersink and Squaw; muskie guys are already drifting suckers.

Check updates at Fox Waterway Agency or (847) 587-8540 for more information.

STRATTON LOCK AND DAM: Open daily 8 a.m.-midnight through Sunday, Sept. 30, then is 8 a.m.-8 p.m. through October. Click here for more info on the lock and dam.

CHICAGO RIVER

Capt. Pat Harrison at Pat Harrison Outdoors sent this:

Chicago River and Lake Michigan Report,

So last week things started looking up a bit the Crappie and Gills are starting to feed. We caught good numbers but there are a lot of dinks. So a larger jig was needed to drop through all the bait bandits to get to the bottom faster Normally I’d throw a 1/16 to 1/8 oz. jig I stepped up to ¼ and 3/8 oz. jig and we got down to the larger fish also some Bass and a few Cats.

 I’m really looking forward to the water temps dropping the surface temps were still 72 to 75 degrees I’m looking forward to seeing the 58 to 54 range then everything starts to turn on as the fish know the season change is coming and they put the feed bag on. It was tough to get out on the lake with the high winds and waves Small Craft warning etc. If your going out on the lake Please be safe it can change in a minute. Most of the time the only thing that makes a strong South wind stop is a stronger North wind.

Haven’t heard of any Perch being caught yet but I think the water is still to warm Hope to see them soon. I’m going to chase some Salmon and Trout this week I’ve heard off a few being caught. As always be safe on the water and hook a monster.

Capt. Pat

DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN

Dave Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 9/23/18 through 9/30/18

Fall has officially arrived on both the calendar and the temps. After about 10 days of high temps and high pressure, we’ve seen a significant drop and for the past few days high temps have struggled to get into the lower 70’s.

Largemouth bass are biting again with the weather change. The fish are on the inside turns off the main lake points. They can be caught on lindy rigged nightcrawlers or drop shotting 4 inch finesse worms or white chatter baits. As the water continues to cool, the bait will switch from nightcrawlers to shiners and fat head minnows. Look for the fish by Assembly Park Point, Willow Point and by the gray condos.

The walleye pike fishing is also continuing to improve. The fish I’ve been seeing are coming out of the 22-24 ft depth range. They can be caught on jigging Rapalas in chrome and blue or pearl color. I prefer the size 7. The best bite has been in the pre-dawn or dusk period of the day. The best location has been by the concrete point or by Browns Channel.

Bluegill fishing has been spotty. Most of the action has been with suspended fish in the main lake basin, about 10-15 ft down in 40 ft of water. The best presentation has been ice jigs with wax worms or leaf worms fished on a split shot rig.

Crappie fishing remains consistent. The fish are in Viewcrest Bay on the buoy line. You want to use a 1/32 oz lead head jigs and purple or chartreuse plastics. A slow “stop-n-go” retrieve has been the best approach.

Northern pike action remains consistent in the medium weeds in 13-15 ft of water. Use spinner baits or chatter baits for the best success. The best location has been by Lake Lawn Lodge or the bay by Browns Channel.

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

DES PLAINES RIVER

Marcus Benesch sent this:

Dale,

River was high much of September and is finally starting to resemble normal fall flow.  Large mouth bass and pike have really picked up with the drop in temps. Pike are clobbering just about anything you throw right now.  In and around timber or creeks is a sure bet. Even had a pike launch out the water at my lure as I was getting ready to put the rod down.  Captured the whole thing on video. See link..
Marcus Benesch
Gurnee, Illinois

Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:

Area rivers- launching out of the conservation area, bass were good on both the DesPlaines and Kankakee rivers. Focus on rock points, shoreline cover, and areas with current breaks and drop offs. Jigs dressed with chigger craws and Texas rigged quad craws were the best producers. Water clarity was better on the DesPlaines but better flow on Kankakee.

DOWNSTATE NOTES

LAKE SHELBYVILLE:  Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide ServiceSOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing.

EVERGREEN: As posted on the web site:

Evergreen Lake Bait Shop & Boat Rental – NOW OPEN 6-6 EVERY DAY!

POWERTON: Open 6 a.m.-6 p.m.

FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS

As noted above, the flathead are going.

FOX RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.

GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN

Dave Duwe sent this:

Lake Geneva Fishing Report 9/23/18 – 9/30/18

After about 10 days of high pressure, the weather broke at the end of this past week and improved fishing tremendously. With the fall weather in place, the fishing should improve almost daily. For those who are interested, I’ll be speaking at Hoffman Estates Cabela’s Store on October 10th at 7:00 pm of behalf of the Lake Geneva Fishing Club.

Largemouth bass fishing has been improving. The fish are off the weed lines in the deep water approximately 23-25 ft of water. The fish can be caught on lindy rigged nightcrawlers or drop shotting 4 inch finesse worms. Green Pumpkin and watermelon seed have been the best colors. Look for the fish by Covenant Harbor, Maytag Point and the weed line by Gage Marine.

Bluegill fishing remains excellent in the 18-20 ft depth range. The best location has been by Elgin Club or the Lake Geneva Yacht Club. You want to fish leaf worms, 6 inches to 1 foot off bottom. The schools are very large and are visible on your graphs and fish finders. I like to use a vertical presentation using my Minn Kota trolling motor to keep me directly over the schools of active fish.

Rock bass fishing has been a little slow. I’m catching a few here and there but without any great numbers. I haven’t isolated the reason yet other than to say I haven’t been specifically looking for them either. The few I have caught have come off of nightcrawlers fished right off bottom.

Walleye fishing remains excellent at night. The fish remain in their same general areas by Trinkes Bay, Williams Bay and Abbey Springs. Trolling remains the best presentation. Medium diving stick baits in chrome/blue or chrome/black are the best choices.

Smallmouth bass fishing is starting to improve with the cooler water temps. They are just off the main lake points in 20-25 ft of water. Look for the fish by Conference Point, South Shore Club or Black Point. I’ve been using lindy rigged nightcrawlers or fat head minnows.

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

GREEN BAY/STURGEON BAY

No update from Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay. Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report.

HEIDECKE LAKE

Oct. 9 is the final day of fishing.

Lake hours are 6 a.m. to sunset daily; well, shore fishing is always scheduled to open at 6;30 a.m.

ILLINOIS RIVER

Check with B&B Live Bait in Ottawa–(815) 433-0432.

INDIANA STREAMS (LAKE MICHIGAN TRIBUTARIES)

Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map. Access points for Little Cal and Salt Creek, which are closer to Chicago than Trail Creek, may be found at littlecal_saltcreek_access.

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

More coho than kings in rivers as of now some fish but it is on slower side maybe the rain we got Tuesday morning will help. Spinners spawn and skein best baits

I’m closing at 6 pm everyday now still open 5 am daily that never changes
All creeks burns ditch salt creek lil cal and trail creek have fish but u must put ur time in to get fish
A few last couple days have been had bye casters at mouth of ditch casting crankbaits and spoons again must put time in isn’t locked and loaded type fishing
We have in stock all sizes and colors of spawn saks and fresh cured skein

KANKAKEE RIVER

Kyle Lund sent this:

The kankakee is still low and flowing slow. I have seen alot of anglers taking advantage of the low water to wade up to the face of the damn in Kankakee. Reports seem to be mixed all along the river. Some guys are taking smallies regularly by fishing fast moving deeper water and others are struggling to find fish anywhere. Walleye bite started and stopped in a matter of 3 days. The river is in a transitional period but the temps and water levels are just not cooperating. I think the fish are just as confused as I am as an angler at this point. Their internal clock is telling them one thing but their current conditions are completely different. My best advice is as long as summer levels and temps are hanging around start with fast water and work your way slower. Forecasted temps are expected to lean more towards fall weather but water level will remain around the same for the foreseeable future. Hoping next weeks report will be more informative and positive. Like they say you cant catch them from the couch!

I meant to grab a photo of the guys wading below the Kankakee dam the other day. Not sure if we will get enough rain to change that or not.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:

Area rivers- launching out of the conservation area, bass were good on both the DesPlaines and Kankakee rivers. Focus on rock points, shoreline cover, and areas with current breaks and drop offs. Jigs dressed with chigger craws and Texas rigged quad craws were the best producers. Water clarity was better on the DesPlaines but better flow on Kankakee.

KENOSHA, WISCONSIN

Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report. It generally comes out Tuesday.

LAKE ERIE

Click here for bag limits and prospects for the season from the Ohio DNR. The Ohio DNR has general Lake Erie info and a fishing report.

LAKEFRONT

See lakefront salmon at the top.

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said that out of Chicago, there’s mainly lakers in 110-150 feet outside of the Wreck and a few are trying outside the R-4; out of North Point, it’s 130-250 feet for lakers with occasional steelhead, coho and king mixed in out deeper.

Capt. Scott Wolfe of School of Fish Charters emailed:

Hi Dale –It’s been a real pleasure to send you reports this year.  I’ll send information when I can but my boat is running our final trips for 2018 this weekend.  Our Chicago partner boat, Storm Warning Charters with Capt. Brian Gentile, will be running outboard powered boats all year and we can arrange charters any time out of Chicago.  I’d love to give you a great report about the fantastic fishing, but the truth is it was slow since the big NE winds last Wed. and Thursday.

In Waukegan Harbor very few fish were caught.  Those caught represented a mixed species catch with a few kings, a few coho and a few steelhead.  With the steelhead coming in I’d expect the skein bite to be starting up now.  Trollers are occasionally taking big pre-spawn coho and those should be in the harbor this week or next.  Brown trout usually show up as the same time as the coho.  There were not enough fish caught to really identify any pattern, a few on cranks and a few on spoons being cast.

Waukegan offshore saw slow action.  The NE winds warmed the water and the water on the offshore reefs was at least 10 degrees warmer than last week.  Water temps at the bottom were in the mid-40’s last week and mid-50’s to mid-60’s this past weekend.  This and the fact the lakers are more concerned with spawning than eating made for some slow trips.  There are still trophy fish being caught with my Saturday morning crew of Grizzly Cooler guys giving us a new boat record laker at 30.88 pounds, 38.75” long and 25.5” girth. Wildlife artist Tom Wendel will be creating a replica that will be going on the Grizzly Coolers wall of fame in their Iowa headquarters.  Trollers have been getting lakers and a few 2 and 3 year old kings and coho around the off-shore reefs.

Off Chicago the story was about the same as Waukegan with below average fishing.  The reefs and hump are holding lakers with silver fish in the area, but the warm water has really shut them off.  There are nice fish to be taken and if the water cools off they should start being more aggressive again.  Trollers should concentrate on the deeper areas off the reefs pulling Jimmy Fly Mo Rigs near the bottom and then run magnum Warrior glow spoons on copper lines.  Even during the day the glows have produced better than the non-glow spoons.

Capt. Scott Wolfe
www.schooloffishcharters.com
312-630-0550

LaSALLE LAKE

Final day of fishing is Oct. 15. Lake is open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.

MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN

Check updates from D & S Bait on Facebook.

MAZONIA

Final day of fishing is Oct. 16, except for Monster Lake at Mazonia South, which is open year-round to fishing.

Lakes are open 6 am. to sunset daily. Check with Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington.

MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN

Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service sent this on Frida:

The water temp is dropping (60 degrees)and big smallmouth are schooling up and they are on the feed. We are also catching big pike and walleyes. Looks like a Fantastic October. I had a few cancelations the second and third week of October so prime time to book a trip!

MILWAUKEE HARBOR

Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report. It is generally out Tuesdays.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

MINOCQUA:  Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:

What a difference a few days make, fall is officially here and it brought heavy rains, strong winds and cool temperatures with it.  Fishing slowed down a little bit due to the weather, though there is an upside…water temps are dropping and soon enough fish will be in their fall feeding patterns.

Musky:  Fair-Good – Fishing slowed a little but with the cooling temps more and more fish are coming on sucker rigs.  Most fish I’m hearing being caught are in the mid to upper 30” range, nothing huge yet, but with fall coming on look for fish size to get larger.

Northern Pike:  Fair-Good – With the cold front, suckers or chubs are a good bet for Pike.  Fish them under a slip bobber rig around weed edges.  Mepps spinners or jerkbaits worked over weed beds would be another good bet as well.

Smallmouth Bass:  Good – Despite the weather Smallmouth fishing still remains good, just slow down and downsize your presentations to put more fish in the boat.  6 to 14’ of water, with rock or gravel bottom, along the first break you’ll find fish.  Drop shotting and Ned rigs are catching most fish.

Largemouth Bass:  Fair – The cool front slowed down Largemouth fishing a bit, though fish are still being caught, one just has to bring out the finesse gear to catch these guys more productively.  Ned rigs are a great choice.  Also, a dropshot rig, rigged up with a 3” Wacky worm on a weedless hook would be another good bet.  Look for these fish along the weed edges and work your baits slowly.

Crappie:  Fair – Live bait, as in a small to medium size fathead, under a slip float, is a good choice for Crappies now.  Plastics thrown on a light 1/32 oz jig is another good bait to search for these fish.  Find cabbage weeds and fish along the edges of them.

Yellow Perch:  Fair – Deep wood is still the key to finding these fish.  Jigs tipped with crawlers or a small fathead is a good bait presentation.

Bluegill:  Fair – Deep weed edges in the 12’ range is a good location to be searching for Gills right now.  Small worms or wax worms are all you need to be putting fish in the live well.  For large Gills try tipping a Mini-mite jig with a wax worm.

Walleye:  Fair – Hearing a few more Walleyes showing up from guys braving the winds the past week.  Jigs tipped with a fathead, chub or crawler have been all good bets.  Fish are still on deep structure or points in 18’ of water all the way down to 25’ we have been hearing.

Cool weather this next week is forecasted, highs in the 50’s and lows in the 30’s.  Look for fish in the following weeks to start changing into their fall patterns.  This is an exciting time of year to be on the water, larger fish are more common, less boat traffic and beautiful scenery as the leaves begin to change.

Kurt Justice – Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
www.kurtsislandsports.com
Like us on FaceBook

NORTHWEST INDIANA

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

More coho than kings in rivers as of now some fish but it is on slower side maybe the rain we got Tuesday morning will help. Spinners spawn and skein best baits

Casting at night and early morning at Washington park in Michigan city has given up some here and there glow spoons and crankbaits in all colors must put time in no easy pickings this year
Crappie fishing will start getting steady as the water cools a little more
I’m closing at 6 pm everyday now still open 5 am daily that never changes
All creeks burns ditch salt creek lil cal and trail creek have fish but u must put ur time in to get fish
A few last couple days have been had bye casters at mouth of ditch casting crankbaits and spoons again must put time in isn’t locked and loaded type fishing
We have in stock all sizes and colors of spawn saks and fresh cured skein

ROCK RIVER, ILLINOIS

No update.

ROCK RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

The Wisconsin DNR’s Root River Report is usually out Tuesday or Wednesday. Click here to see it.

ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN

Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said smallmouth are good in the river; pier is slow; there’s a mixed bag of fish at Berrien Springs.

ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA

Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.

SHABBONA LAKE

Resized/Sun-Times

Shabbona Lake muskie, sept. 23, 2018 .
Provided from Facebook

Staff at Lakeside noted the photo above and this on their Facebook page:

Chuck Powell with a giant Illinois muskie September 23rd 2018 on the lake at sunset

They said that muskie were active over weekend; lots of hybrids have been caught, too; the surprise is some good-sized and numbers of walleye on the road bed; catfish and bass remain strong; water cooled into low 60s.

Lakeside–(815) 824-2581–is open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Park hours 6 a.m.- 10 p.m. The restaurant is now open on weekends only.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT

The Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report restarted. Click here to see it. Streams flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow.

WINNEBAGO SYSTEM, WISCONSIN

No update.

WISCONSIN DELLS

Hook-and-line sturgeon season runs through Sunday, Sept. 30. Click here for details. Minimum length is 60 inches. A tag is required if keeping. Staff at River’s Edge reported lots of sturgeon being caught, but no legals registered.

WISCONSIN RIVER

No update.

WOLF LAKE

No update.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.