Fall trout, fall feeding patterns in Chicago fishing: Midwest Fishing Report
Subscribe for unlimited digital access.
Try one month for $1!
Subscribe for unlimited digital access. Try one month for $1!
Fall trout season in Illinois opens Saturday and leads this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.
Gary Q. Le would be in the discussion for best big-bass catcher around and he sent the photo above and this note:
Took my son and nephew out for some Columbus Day fishing. The afternoon started with non-stop gill and bass action with the worm and bobber. The boys wanted to try out bigger baits so I tied on my favorite kid-friendly top water wake, the Blackdog Shellcracker. After a few warm up casts the bite was again on fire and they both ended up with their personal best bass! I’m especially proud of my son Kingston for landing this piggie of a largemouth all by himself! Unfortunately we didn’t have a scale, but the fish ended up being a healthy 22” long and very well rounded! We were all smiles – what a blast! I hope you will Kingston’s catch on our epic day for fish of the week, thanks!
I may add a Kankakee River report from Kyle Lund.
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.
INLAND FALL TROUT
Illinois’ fall trout season opens Saturday. Click here for the statewide information. Here are the nearby sites, including ones not included in the statewide release: Cook County (Axehead, Belleau, Busse North, Green, Horsetail, Sag Quarry East, Wolfe); DuPage (Silver, Pickerell, Grove); Kankakee (Bird Park Quarry, Rock Creek); Kendall (Big Lake at Silver Springs SFWA); Lake (Sand Lake at Illinois Beach SP, Banana); McHenry (Spring Grove Hatchery Pond); Will (Lake Strini, Van Horn Woods).
Here are the important details from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources:
No trout may be taken from any of the stocked sites from Oct. 1 until the fall trout season opens at 5 a.m. on Oct. 20. Anyone attempting to take (harvest) trout before the legal harvest season opening will be issued citations.
All anglers — including those using fly fishing gear who intend to release fish caught before Oct. 20 — must have a valid fishing license and an Inland Trout Stamp, unless they are under the age of 16, blind or disabled, or are an Illinois resident on leave from active duty in the Armed Forces. The daily catch limit for each angler is five trout.
CATCH-AND-RELEASE FLY FISHING
Catch-and-release fly fishing for fall trout is open at nine sites around Illinois. The regular fall trout season opens Saturday, Oct. 20.
Here are the notes on the early catch-and-release fly fishing from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources:
The Fall Catch-and-Release Fly Fishing Season will be available at nine sites beginning on Oct. 6 at locations marked with an asterisk (*) in the list below. Fly fishing anglers can use fly fishing gear to catch and release trout beginning Oct. 6 at the nine sites. No trout may be kept during the fly fishing period, but all anglers can keep trout after the opening of the regular fall trout season on Oct. 20.
As to general requirements for the early fly-fishing, the IDNR noted this:
All anglers — including those using fly fishing gear who intend to release fish caught before Oct. 20 — must have a valid fishing license and an Inland Trout Stamp, unless they are under the age of 16, blind or disabled, or are an Illinois resident on leave from active duty in the Armed Forces.
Here are the nine sites that allow early catch-and-release fly fishing:
Jo Daviess County: Apple River, Apple River State Park *
Kankakee County: Rock Creek, Kankakee River State Park *
Ogle County: Pine Creek, White Pines Forest State Park *
Adams County: Siloam Springs State Park Lake *
Cass County: Gridley Lake at Jim Edgar Panther Creek SFWA *
Hancock County: Horton Lake, Nauvoo State Park *
Morgan County: Morgan Lake, Nichols Park, Jacksonville *
Sangamon County: IDOT Lake, Springfield *
St. Clair County: Willow Lake, Peabody River King State Fish and Wildlife Area *
Tom Platt at Henry’s Sports and Bait said crappie are improving in the forest preserves, including some 11- and 12-inch fish; also some better walleye action.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:
Hey Dale,Here is a recap of the past week’s fishing.. . .Area lakes- bluegill are excellent on plastic tails under a slip float. Work the outside weedlines.TTYL—Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Waterwerks fishing team
This is one of those weeks where water levels may be important. 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
Closed for the year.
Chain remains no-wake. Both sections of the river are closed to boating. Check updates at Fox Waterway Agency or (847) 587-8540 for more information.
Arden Katz said the water mid-50s, good crappie and white bass, start in 15 feet on Marie and Bluff, snapping a drop-shot rig while trolling or drifting 1/2 to 3/4 mph is best; CJ Smith’s is hot for yellow bass.
Art Frisell at Triangle Sports and Marine said white bass are best on Marie on Mepps or Kastmasters; crappie picking up mornings; walleye are improving, Marie best; bluegill are pulled back, start in 10 or 8 feet, then work in; muskie fair.
STRATTON LOCK AND DAM: Open daily 8 a.m.-8 p.m. through October. Click here for more info on the lock and dam.
Capt. Pat Harrison at Pat Harrison Outdoors sent this:
Chicago River Report,
Well to say the least the weather has been interesting. Air and water temps have been up and down and some wind has been fun. Water temps are down to 58 to 61 depending on where your at. Fish are moving, we’re getting a few largemouth and some nice Catfish on the river the gills have been biting but its tough finding the Crappie. With the high water making a little current down river I am seeing more Panfish down as far as Ashland Ave.
Been spending more time on the River than the lake with the winds and rolling water. I’m hoping weather gets back to normal next week and things settle down. Changing air and water temps change the fishing, a slower presentation helps as the fish are going to use less energy to chase baits in the cooler water. I’m still throwing a white jig and twister tail also small crank baits and plastic creature baits.
With the cold temps and wind it’s nice to be able to enclose part or all of the boat to stay warm and out of the rain and wind. Next week shows to be about the same weather I have 4 trips on the calendar Hope ti get them in safe and productive Enjoy your week.
Thanks Capt. Pat
DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN
DES PLAINES RIVER
Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:
Hey Dale,Here is a recap of the past week’s fishing.Desplaines River- water temps were 67-73. Focus on points with rock and areas with drop offs with rock. Best bait was a quarter once bitsy bug with a mega bait craw for bass.. . .TTYL—Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Waterwerks fishing team
Larry Dozard of Larry’s Fishing Hole sent this update on closures and fall/winter hours at some Downstate sites:
* THIS AREA Will CLOSE TO BOAT FISHING on Oct. 17th. With the Last Day to Boat Fish being Oct. 16th
AND BANK FISHING ONLY ALLOWED AFTER 1PM but NO FISHING ALLOWED in EAST POINT ACCESS AREA,
(lakes to the East) which is CLOSED TO ALL FISHING to provide a GOOSE REFUGE AREA during seasonCLINTON LAKE:
An easterly area of Clinton Lake (The Waterfowl Refuge Area) between the DeWitt Bridge East (CH14)
and the Rt. 48 Bridge will CLOSE on October 10th and remains Closed typically until April 1st.COFFEEN LAKE:
During the Central Zone waterfowl season: No fishing north of the railroad tracks (upper pool)
until after 1pm daily through Jan. 31stDOUBLE T STATE FISH and WILDLIFE AREA:* THIS LAKE IS CLOSED TO FISHING – From Oct. 1st till Feb. 1stEMIQUON PRESERVE:
No boating, fishing or ice skating access before 12:00 pm during waterfowl hunting season.
Oct. 27 – Jan. 31
Lake users should be aware that hunting might occur on the Preserve other times as well.EVERGREEN LAKE:
– A SOUTHERN PART OF EVERGREEN LAKE – AROUND DEER ISLAND and ALL OF SIX-MILE CREEK BAYIS CLOSED TO GAS from Oct. 15th through JAN. 1st to allow resting areas for migratory waterfowl.
YOU ARE ALLOWED TO STILL RUN A TROLLING MOTOR ONLY IN THESE AREAS.HENNEPIN-HOPPER LAKES: * Lakes are CLOSED for season.. And will be Open spring 2019.McMASTER LAKE at – SNAKEDEN HOLLOW:
Lake will CLOSE TO FISHING on Oct 15th during Central zone Waterfowl Season,
with Oct. 14th being the Last Day to be on the Lake.
Lake will Re-Open on February 1st.NEWTON LAKE:
As written in the fishing regs booklet : * The cold arm of Newton Lake shall be CLOSED daily
from one-half hour before sunrise until 1:00 pm to all fishing and boat traffic except for
legal waterfowl hunters during waterfowl season commencing with regular duck season through
the close of the Canada goose and regular duck season.
* For here – Regular South Waterfowl Season for 2018: Nov. 10 – Jan. 31PRAIRIE LAKE in Jim Edgar/ Panther Creek State F&W Area:
Lake Partial Closures during Waterfowl Season from Nov. 1st to Jan. 15th
Lake access is CLOSED until after 12:01 PM on Wednesday & Saturday.POWERTON LAKE:
* The Last Day for Boat Fishing is Oct. 19th
And – Last Day for Shore Fishing is Oct. 26th
– As – LAKE WILL CLOSE To ALL FISHING On Oct. 27th –
– Lake Will RE-OPEN to Shore Fishing on Dec. 24th
– but – Will Remain CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING Until Feb. 15thRICE LAKE:
Will CLOSE to Boat Fishing on Oct. 20th
with the Last Day To Be On The Water is Oct. 19th through Waterfowl Season
and will Re-Open at end of Duck & Goose season.SANGCHRIS LAKE:
* THE WEST & EAST ARMS OF LAKE and Small AREA NEAR DAM WILL CLOSE DURING WATERFOWL SEASON to boat traffic effective Oct. 10th through Jan. 31, 2018SPRING LAKE (South & North):
Last Day of Boat Fishing in Hunting Areas is Oct. 19th
As – THIS AREA will CLOSE TO BOAT FISHING in Hunting Area on Oct. 20th
— with BANK FISHING ALLOWED ONLY AFTER 1pm–
– AREAS THAT REMAIN OPEN TO BOATS ALL DAY ARE NORTH OF MAPLE ISLAND with ramp at
north end at the Sky Ranch Road launch and IN PIKE HOLE with carry in boats —
and Shore Fishing is allowed in entire lake after 1pm in Hunting areas or at boat ramps all day.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
Boating remains closed from Montgomery upstream.
FOX RIVER, WISCONSIN
GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN
GREEN BAY/STURGEON BAY
Closed for year.
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:
A few fish left in upper strengths of creeks mainly coho with few steelheads
If Kyle Lund gets a chance to pull a report together, I will add it to this post.
Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report. It generally comes out Tuesday.
People are getting antsy for the early perch to arrive. I suspect water needs to cool some more. Tom Platt at Henry’s Sports and Bait said crankbaits are taking some kings from Burnham Harbor and south, that includes a 15-pounder on Monday; and there’s been a few steelhead at Navy Pier. Staff at Park Bait said there are some kings “here and there” around Montrose.
SALMON SNAGGING: Tom Platt at Henry’s Sports and Bait said snaggers are doing OK early mornings and nights.
Snagging season is open at four spots on the Illinois lakefront.
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)
MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN
Closed to fishing, except for Monster Lake at Mazonia South, which is open year-round to fishing.
MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN
Check with Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service.
Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report. It is generally out Tuesdays.
MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:
Snow, wind and cold continue to push lake temps down in the Lakeland area. Many lakes showing temps of 44-49 degrees as of Sunday (10/14)
This early cooling off has slowed the bite down on many species and brought the “Hot” bites, while still good, to a slower presentation.
Musky: Good-Very Good – Best reports on suckers since mid-week. Bladed quick set rigs get the nod with several reports of multi-fish days coming in. Gliders, jerks and jointed twitch baits also producing.
Northern Pike: Good – 6” twitch baits, small jerks or live suckers or chubs under floats.
Crappies: Fair – Bite better mid-week, slowed by weekend. Medium fatheads under slip-floats. Deep mud flats or drowned wood.
Walleye: Fair – Boat control tough in wind. Best deep gravel/mud transitions using jigging Raps, large fats or chubs on Lindy rigs.
Bass, Bluegill, Perch: No Reports
With water temps so cold, consider most all lakes turned over. Slow presentations best. Looks like warmer temps (50’s) this coming weekend, should make for more pleasant conditions.
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind. texted:
A few fish left in upper strengths of creeks mainly coho with few steelheadsCrappie starting to go good in burns ditch and deep river along with harbors at cedar lake crappie minnows and or jigs tipped with waxworms
ROCK RIVER, ILLINOIS
ROCK RIVER, WISCONSIN
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 decent in the river, there’s been a few mixed salmon/trout at Berrien Springs.
ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA
Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.
Staff at Lakeside said there’s been some walleye on the road bed, catching is fair; muskie guys are trying; water is in mid-50s.
Lakeside–(815) 824-2581–is open 7 a.m.-5 p.m. The restaurant is now open on weekends only.
Park hours are 6 a.m.- 10 p.m. through Oct. 31.
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
Check with River’s Edge.
Rob Abouchar sent the photo above and this report:
Hi DaleThe water was high and stained on the Wisconsin River over the weekend. The river in town at Merrill was un-fishable. I hit the Alexander Flowage above the dam and the hard cold front and frigid temps had the fish very sluggish. Only the Schatzee Lures Chatterbait in walleye pattern could get the fish to bite. Even then the strikes were short and quick. Many plastic trailers were bitten off and the bait missed with the fish in a negative mood. All anglers I spoke with who were casting and floating suckers for Muskie reported a “dead bite” and no fish. The bass bite was non-existant. I still had a couple of good bites on my 10 inch senko with no hook ups. Enough to make me want to return next week to catch the toothy critter that left giant teeth marks on the tail end of the Senko. Any warmer days with no rain should have the fish on the Fall feed again. No Angling this week as I will be with the Leyden Special Olympics basketball players attending the Coaches Clinic by the girls varsity basketball team for Make A Difference Day on Saturday at West Leyden.Tight LinesRob
Remember, there is a bunch of stuff on Saturday, including a festival and the opening of trout season and waterfowl hunting.
BoRabb Williams messaged:
Dale Bowman….. was at Wolf…..slowly changing over to winter mode… got a few crappie and gills SLOW….. I was inside the park and K channel
He added today:
Dale… the backside is CLOSED FOR Hunting… but they should turn on in a few Days.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN