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Kings and flatheads as summer returns: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

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Flathead catfish from the Fox River.
Provided

Big flatheads on rivers and the ongoing trickle of big Chinook, key word being big, to near shore on southern Lake Michigan lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; and summer weather hangs on (at least for now).

Ricky Sjurset sent the photo above, one of several big flatheads from the Fox River in the middle of last week, and this note:

Its a great time of year for them.. The only fish to ever drive me nuts

That’s the best kind of fish, ones that drive you nuts.

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.

LAKEFRONT KINGS

Staff at Henry’s Sports and Bait said Chinook are spotty in Chicago, better at the North Side harbors. Staff at Park Bait said there’s still catches at the jetty and inside the harbor at Montrose.

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

Waukegan Harbor is absolutely loaded with kings.  The water is surprisingly clear and you can literally see them swimming everywhere.  Action has been slow with few landed, likely due to the warm weather and water.  Most fish landed have been at night on glow cranks.  Most people are using the Lake Michigan Angler custom painted Flickershads.  Some have had success digging deep in their gear boxes and tossing old Rebel FastTracks, Ping-A-Tee’s and even Flatfish with the thought being that the fish are seeing so many Flickershads that they need to see something different.

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

A batch of coho and some kings showed up at mouth or burns ditch and around Michigan city lighthouse Sunday morning last couple days have been decent for some boats trolling mag spoons and j plug style baits

Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., emailed this:

The 4 year old King Salmon have made their way into the Sturgeon Bay shipping channel, are around the pier heads and are in some of the Lake Michigan tributaries throughout the county.  It’s a great opportunity for shore fishermen and small boat fishermen to get in on some Salmon action.  Casting and trolling with plugs, spoons and soft plastics along with soaking spawn sacs

ILLINOIS FROG HUNTING

Frog hunting in Illinois, bullfrogs only, is open. 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

As tomorrow will show, there are still some interesting fishing going on in the ponds, including a big pike for Fish of the Week.

AREA RIVERS/CREEKS

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

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Braidwood bass tournament.
Provided

Rob Abouchar sent the photo above and this report:

I will admit that I am fascinated by Abouchar’s reports including interesting stuff outside of fishing.

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

Brad Irving at Triangle Sports and Marine said that white and yellow are really going evenings on Marie on small crankbaits; stinkbait continues to work best for catfish; topwaters evenings are best for muskie; walleye remain good with current and high water flow; there’s some decent bluegill and crappie on Pistakee.

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

STRATTON LOCK AND DAM: Open daily 8 a.m.-midnight through Sept. 30. 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,

  I took last week off to get caught up on a number of things. I’m back at it this week and maybe just in time. A few of the guys I know that fish the river and Lake are getting some nice large mouth some over 4 lbs. The Smallmouth bite is picking up also got word of a few nice fish. I am still waiting to hear about the Perch moving haven’t heard any real reports yet.

  I’m looking for that 64 to 58 degree surface temp and the river will turn ob real nice.   I have heard of some nice Trout and Salmon being taken in the mouths of the harbors and along the rocks. I hope to boat some fish this week and have a Real fishing report next week. Fishing Bass and multi-species the next few days and then over the weekend going do so trolling and jigging for Salmon and Trout. Enjoy your week and I hope you hook a monster.

Thanks Captain Pat

DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN

Dave Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 9/17/18 through 9/24/18

The consistent high pressure system we’ve been experiencing has been slowing the bite significantly as the week progressed. All species were affected to some degree. With a weather pattern change, the fishing should improve and the bite will go back to being outstanding.

Largemouth bass fishing dropped to average this week. The numbers have been cut in half this past week from prior weeks and the size of the fish is also smaller. The fish remain adjacent to the main lake points but the schools are substantially smaller. The depth continues to be consistent at 13-17 ft of water.

Bluegill fishing has been spotty. There have been a few fish caught in Assembly Park, Highlands and Viewcrest Bays. An easy limit has been hard to come by. You want to use Thill slip bobber or straight line a leaf worms beneath the boat. Look for them in 12-13 ft of water.

Northern Pike are being caught in the shallow weed flats in 12-13 ft of water on White spinner baits or Chatter baits. The pike prefer a fast moving bait. The deep water sucker bite has been difficult all summer.

Crappies can be caught suspended on the out edge of the weed lines about 5 feet down in 25 ft of water. Look for the fish by Willow Point or by Browns Channel. The best plastics colors have been chartreuse or purple on a 1/32 oz Arkie jig.

There are a few smallmouth bass showing up on the deep weed lines in 15-18 ft of water. The fish are actively feeding on minnows and lindy rigged nightcrawlers. The fish I’ve been catching have been right off bottom.

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

No update.

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 9/17/18 – 9/24/18

We’ve had some strong high pressure systems this week which has made the fishing tougher than it already was on Lake Geneva. The walleye pike bite is still your best bet but it’s still only a night bite.

Largemouth bass fishing has been average in the 14-17 ft depth range. The fish can be found on the weed line by Trinkes, the 700 club and Covenant Harbor. The best approach is drop shotting 4 inch finesse worms or in the early morning hours fishing chug bugs in chrome/blue or chrome/black. Once we get a weather change and the pressure drops we should see this bite get stronger.

Bluegill action remains steady in 18-20 ft of water. The best location remains by Elgin Club or Gage Marine. The bluegills are biting about 6 inches to 1 foot off bottom. You want to use leaf worms or trout worms for the best success.

Walleye fishing remains excellent when there is any wind at night. The bite is best between 9:00 pm and 2:00 am. Medium diving stick baits have been producing most of the fish. Chrome & blue and chrome & black have been producing well. Fish the stick baits just above the weed line. The best location has been by Trinkes, Abbey Springs or in Williams Bay.

Some Lake Trout are being caught in the main lake basin about 70-80 feet down in 110 feet of water. Chrome/Blue or Chrome/green spoons are producing most of the action. You want to fish for them at first light for the best chance of success. The end of the season is drawing near so if you haven’t tried for them, make sure you get out soon.

Smallmouth bass have been extremely hard to find. They’ve vanished into their deep water haunts. There are a few being caught by Gage Marine or the Yacht Club in 20-22 ft of water. The best chance for success is lindy rigged nightcrawlers or yellow perch. The large schools aren’t available now but expected back as we get into fall.

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

Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay sent this:

Good morning fellas.  Here is an updated fishing report as of 9/17/18

The 4 year old King Salmon have made their way into the Sturgeon Bay shipping channel, are around the pier heads and are in some of the Lake Michigan tributaries throughout the county.  It’s a great opportunity for shore fishermen and small boat fishermen to get in on some Salmon action.  Casting and trolling with plugs, spoons and soft plastics along with soaking spawn sacs

The Perch fishing has been excellent in recent weeks and will  just continue to get better as we move through September and into October.  Best areas include…Sturgeon Bay Channel, Sawyer Harbor, Little Sturgeon, Riley’s bay and the Chaudoir’s Dock area.  Fathead minnows, crawlers and leaf worms the best live baits

Walleye fishing can be classed as OK throughout the county.  Some of the better areas have been Chaudoir’s Dock, Henderson’s Point, Larsen’s Reef along with some of the structure to the north of Sturgeon Bay.  Crawler harnesses and deep diving crank baits have been the best during the day and some suspending crank baits at night fishing a bit shallower water

Pike action has been going pretty good and that too will get better as we move through fall and the water cools.  Trolling and casting large crank baits and spoons along with pinner baits, large plastics and soaking sucker minnows. Sturgeon Bay, Little Sturgeon and Riley’s Bay all good spots to target those fish

Thanks;

Lance LaVine

Howie’s Tackle
1309 Green Bay Rd
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
Ph: 920-746-9916

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:

Some fish being caught in salt creek and trail on spinners and spawn saks
Cool weather coming in later in the week and some rain will help creek fishing a lot

KANKAKEE RIVER

No fishing update, but cooler weather forecast later in the week should help kick in the fall feeding frenzy. Water is again on the low side.

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 are good lakers in 130-160 feet from the R4 and south; mornings are by far the best; out of North Point, there’s a decent band of lakers in 160-220 feet with the  occasional steelhead and coho deeper than 230.

Capt. Scott Wolfe of School of Fish Charters emailed:

Hi Dale –

Waukegan lake trout fishing is absolutely as good as it gets.  Every trip has been a limit of quality fish and a good mix of sizes and year classes which indicates a solid, healthy fishery.  Any of the reefs off Waukegan will produce.  Top rigs are Jimmy Fly Mo Rigs near the bottom.  The fish definitely have been picky about colors.  We  will get 4 in a row on yellow and they suddenly it will shut off.  You put dark green down and you get 5 in a row and then they change their minds again.  If trollers are not getting action, change colors until they start hitting.  Copper lines 200 plus feet out with Magnum Warriors in Green or Purple have been good too.  VooDoo and Kervorkian patterns along with the Green Menace (which is now officially our favorite lure) have been producing nice fish.

Waukegan Harbor is absolutely loaded with kings.  The water is surprisingly clear and you can literally see them swimming everywhere.  Action has been slow with few landed, likely due to the warm weather and water.  Most fish landed have been at night on glow cranks.  Most people are using the Lake Michigan Angler custom painted Flickershads.  Some have had success digging deep in their gear boxes and tossing old Rebel FastTracks, Ping-A-Tee’s and even Flatfish with the thought being that the fish are seeing so many Flickershads that they need to see something different.

Chicago trolling has been nearly as good as Waukegan with many limit catches.  The catch rate has been a little slower with the best area anywhere between Gumby’s Reef and Julian’s Reef.  The fish have also been more spread out off Chicago with more fishing coming suspended above the bottom than on the bottom.  Luhr-Jensen Dodgers in front of Jimmy Fly Mo Rigs or old school Howie Flys anywhere from 60 to the bottom have worked with 100 to the bottom typically better.  Glow spoons on leadcore and Copper with Bloody nose and Lobster patterns producing best.

There is still plenty of great fishing ahead with kings in the harbor, cohos coming in soon and Lakers with their fall feedbags on big time.

Scott R. Wolfe
www.schooloffishcharters.com
630-341-0550

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 Monday:

Load of big smallmouth this morning!
on my Case sinking minnow rig.

MILWAUKEE HARBOR

Arden Katz reported warmer water moved in over the weekend and fishing slowed.

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:

It’s been hot and muggy, leaves and grass are green, people jumping off the dock for a swim to cool down, you would think it’s July.  It’s September though, archery season just opened this past weekend, football is well into swing, but you couldn’t’ tell by going outside.  Water temperatures are in the low to mid 70’s.  In all my years of guiding I have never seen the water this warm, this late.  The fishing though, continues to be fairly decent.

Musky:  Good-Very Good – Even with the warm temps, I’m hearing more and more fish being caught on suckers.  Top-water has also been an effective choice, Whopper Ploppers, Top Raiders are good bets, throw these baits early morning, late in the day or after dark. Bucktails over cabbage is another good option that has been putting fish in the boat.

Northern Pike:  Good-Very Good – Weed beds and edges are holding Pike right now.  Small bucktail spinners like Mepps #5, spinnerbaits and chatterbaits, anything that gives off a lot of flash and vibration are triggering these fish to bite.  For larger fish, try using suckers or chubs rigged under a float.

Smallmouth Bass:  Good-Very Good – Fish have been coming from 6-13’ of water and along the first break.  Plastics like tubes, Ned Rigs and grubs are taking some pretty decent fish. Fish still aren’t in their fall pattern and fish are scattered.  Good fish in the 4#+ category continue to be reported.

Largemouth Bass:  Good – Weed edges are good locations to find fish right now.  Texas rigging creature baits, Ned Rigging and Wacky rigging have been good bets.

Crappie:  Fair-Good – Best bites are still coming early morning and late evening.  Small 1” tubes or small twister tails are good search baits to find schools of Crappies.  A slip float with a small fathead minnow is another good option to finding fish.

Yellow Perch:  Fair-Good – If you can find deep wood you should find some Perch.  Worms, minnows, softshells and mini-mites are all effective ways to get these guys to bite.

Bluegill:  Good – Fishing has picked up a little bit with the warmer temps.  Better fish are still coming deeper in 12-16’ of water off weed edges.  Look for Gills to be suspended.  Worms and wax worms are getting these fish to bite.  Also try a mini-mite tipped with a waxie for the larger fish.

Walleye:  Fair – With the warm water, fishing continues to be slow, though a few Walleyes are getting fooled into being caught.  Fish are deep, 22’ down to 26’ is where fish have been coming from.  Jigs tipped with a crawler, chub or fathead are getting some of these fish to bite.  Jigging Raps, Slab Raps and shiver minnows are good choices too.

Fall is coming, the 22nd to be exact, and the weather is coming too this week.  Low 60’s for highs forecasted and 40’s at night, this should help to cool off the warm waters.  Hopefully a turn in the weather mid-week will get us back to a more fall like pattern.  With all the rain down in the south/mid-state, our flowages are high (Rainbow up 8’ in two weeks) and warm. Not what we are used to.

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

EAGLE RIVER: No update from B+L, from reports from Colin Crawford of Colin Crawford Guide Service, for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce.

NORTHWEST INDIANA

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

Lakefront coho and some kings just showed up decent sat night sun morning

A batch of coho and some kings showed up at mouth or burns ditch and around Michigan city lighthouse Sunday morning last couple days have been decent for some boats trolling mag spoons and j plug style baits
Some fish being caught in salt creek and trail on spinners and spawn saks
Cool weather coming in later in the week and some rain will help creek fishing a lot

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 before the blow today, there were good perch in 42 feet north of the pier,; otherwise, there are a few fish, mostly coho at Berrien Springs; smallmouth are very good in river.

ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA

Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.

SHABBONA LAKE

Staff at Lakeside said there are good catfish all over, good on cut bait; there’s good largemouth bass hitting topwaters early and at last light by the dam face; crappie are good on small minnows at Somonauk Point; a few smaller hybrids (not many big ones recently.

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 Sept. 30. Click here for details. Minimum length is 60 inches. A tag is required if keeping. Staff at River’s Edge reported plenty of sturgeon, but no legals registered yet.

WISCONSIN RIVER

No update.

WOLF LAKE

No update.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.