“Lake trout, lake trout, get your lake trout,” Ed McCain said Tuesday morning. When weather allows, lakers off the Port of Indiana are the top bet and lead this week’s Midwest Fishing Report.
This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays. Normally, I post the online MFR by Wednesday morning.
If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With the lakers in mind, we lead with northwest Indiana.
McCain of Mik-Lurch said on Sunday that two separate boats have double-digits lakers on. He said downriggers with Spin-N-Glos behind 0 trashcan Dodgers are best. He said slow is key and keep rigs 14 feet or shallower from the reef to the rocks, otherwise, you will lose your stuff. A couple other working on downriggers are a “School of Minnows” with a Spin-N-Glo or try Sutton spoons (remember them).
He also pointed out that regular fishermen can get after the lakers too, you don’t need downriggers. Troll No. 8 or 9 Rapalas (firetiger, silver, chartreuse) or if you have found them try vertical jigging or casting crankbaits. Remember the limit is two per angler. The laker bite should hold well into November, the difficulty is more the weather.
Winds limited perch effort, but try calling Mik-Lurch–(219) 989-0575–later today after a few people who were scheduled to try report back. Salt and Trail are holding fish and should be in perfect shape for the weekend. Spawn is key for steelhead success, as are small floats and light line. There’s kings and coho in the creeks too.
It’s fall time, and the primary focus is crappie.
For an overview of nearby river conditions, go to this NWS site. The high, dirty, cooling water has made for tough fishing and few are trying. I still did individual river reports, however.
BIG GREEN LAKE, WISCONSIN
For guide Mike Norton’s report, go to
www.nortonsfishingandhuntingadventures.com, then click on fishing, then lake report.
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA
Triangle reports walleye are picking up with the current from the rains, jigs and minnows around current areas are the best method. Some good catches of panfish in the backwater channels. Muskie have been decent; with water up, concentrate shallower.
For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/
More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
Only Monster Lake at Mazonia South remains open for fishing.
DES PLAINES RIVER
From Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament www.fishing-headquarters.com:
Not much to write about given the recent rainfall and high water levels which are too unsafe for wading or even boating & floating. Water temperatures are in the 50-55 degree range and the current is flowing at a rate of 1,300 /over 400.
Before the rainfall, most notably last week, Sauger were more active at night than Walleye and fish up to 18 to 19 inches were taking jigs and larger plastics (fluorescent colors) bounced and swum through the current and deeper holes. But with the high water now, I don’t think that information matters.
As for now, I wouldn’t bother fishing for the next few days unless you are rebellious and skilled at high water and its shores. It’s a mess. For some wishful thinking, and if no more rain, it could be ready by the end of this weekend. Then, I would begin focusing on the shoreline eddies, log jams, and bridge pylons.
EMIQUON: Emiquon Preserve near Lewistown is open to fishing. During the duck season, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, fishing is closed in the mornings. Otherwise, interested parties may request a permit and list of rules between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown. There is no fee. No gas powered motors are permitted, and bank fishing is not allowed. For more, call (309) 547-2730. SHELBYVILLE: For more, call (217) 774-2020. EVERGREEN: After a weekend trip, guide Jay Angel reported,
“The crappie fishing is fantastic at Evergreen Lake right now because they are in tightly packed schools and relating to the deep brush that is found just off of the rustic campground shoreline. For best results use small bobbers and crappie sized minnows.”
The staff fishing report is posted here. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Site is being rehabbed. Fishing may be a year or two away. POWERTON: Shore fishing ends Friday.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
Ken Gortowski sent this rumination on the shift from fishing to hunting:
When the river level on the Fox comes up, my interest in fishing it goes down. Dramatically at times. That’s what happened over the weekend. I found myself with a few hours time and an uncooperative river. Things could have been good if not for the rain.
When the river is up I generally go fish one of its creeks. They return to normal in a couple of days, usually. Problem with this time of year is that the creeks empty of fish. I was hoping against all hope that the high water may have pushed some back into at least the first few hundred yards. It was not meant to be. The creek I hit was devoid of life except for a few ducks that were pissed at my presence. The hike to the creek and the last of the fall colors hovering over the creek still made the trip worth while. The sun had made a brief appearance that morning and lit up the remaining colors.
Hit North Aurora next. This time of year can be a bonanza of smallmouth, white bass and walleye when the conditions are good. The areas I wanted to fish, the areas where I do the best on the 3 species mentioned, were completely blown out by the water. I saw 3 fools actually trying to wade into these areas. Obviously clueless on how to read water and oblivious to how dangerous it could be. I considered passing on that information, but decided I wasn’t up for the conversations. There was a good chance they wouldn’t die for any spill they took, but it would be an extremely unpleasant experience. I figured let them learn from the experience.
I spent 20 or 30 minutes lamely casting to areas where I knew I wouldn’t catch anything and gave up.
Headed to Montgomery for a sure thing and the fish cooperated. Not any numbers, but it was something. Landed 6 smallmouth and missed a few more all in about an hour.
Starting back in the morning, when I stepped out on my porch to enjoy that first cheap cigar of the day and a couple of cups of coffee, I notice the squirrels. I counted 8 rummaging through the neighborhood under the old oaks that grow along here. That was in front of my house. More could be heard down toward the ravine.
On the creek the squirrels were boldly running across paths and out in the open in search of acorns and maple tree seeds. Must be nice to be able to pass from one side of a creek to another without ever getting your feet wet.
Down in Montgomery the squirrels were combing the shores and balancing on high limbs out over the river. I always keep one eye open on those. There are times when they don’t have as good a grip on a limb as they think.
Since the water is up and more rain is in the forecast, I just about may be done with fishing for the year. Maybe a quick jaunt to Montgomery if I feel desperate. The walleye are running and now is the time to target them. Which I won’t do. Lame fish, lame fight, can’t be bothered.
I think this week I’ll be digging out my 20 gauge. Making sure it’s clean and ready to go. Maybe dig out the old 12 gauge single shot pipe on a stick. I was told it might be somewhere between 80 and 100 years old. Deadly accurate especially for long shots and kicks like a mule. Gotta love it. Maybe the .22/410 over under. There is a place it can be used. I think it’s time to put a small dent in the squirrel population. Cook up some linguini and squirrel sauce. Or linguini and squirrel al fredo.
Yep, I think it will be time much better spent from now till early spring.
For a more complete rumination (you must log in), go to http://www.wadauwant.com/wd_journal/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=505
ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA
River crested earlier this week just under flood stage at LaSalle, but it remains up in the trees and dirty. Guide Buster Culjan said he expects it to be 7-10 days before the river is really fishable again. However, launches are open.
Overall, the Kankakee is in slightly better shape, at least than the other area rivers, but it too is high, fast and dirty. Ed Mullady reported pike are picking up in the mouths of creeks and bayous. Smallmouth and rock bass are decent in both states; and he said the bite for catfish goes on.
For Kenosha, check at Harborside.
From the Wisconsin DNR:
Root River Fishing Report for October 26, 2009
Water and flow conditions
Recent precipitation has brought river levels up several feet and the river will continue to rise in the next 48 hours following last nights rains. Water clarity has gone from good to chocolate milk colored. Good news is that the higher river levels will make fish passage past the weir possible so there is less need (from an angling perspective) to have fish released upstream from the weir. . . .
Fishing below the weir
Higher waters mean less angling pressure throughout the river, especially in Lincoln park, which had small numbers of anglers for much of the past weekend. Look for fish to be holding in the deep pools and eddies just off the main current flow. Chinook are still present, but coho and trout (both brown and rainbow) are beginning to dominate the river. Large black flies have produced best.
Fish numbers are also good here, with most fish holding in the river bends that are providing the fish with a break from the heavy currents. Again, large black flies have been best, although in the river bends in Island have also been good for those fishing spawn sacs.
Fishing above the weir
With the high water there is an excellent population of trout and salmon (most of which have bypassed the weir and come straight over the weir dam). Colonial park has had the fewest anglers, with angler numbers increasing as you draw nearer to the Horlick dam. That said, there are fish throughout Colonial and Quarry, but like the fishermen, the largest numbers of fish are concentrated at the Horlick dam. There has been a great variety of fish here and if you can find a current seam you will undoubtedly find fish holding there. The large pools at the dam are also holding great numbers as fish stack here as the days progress. Large black flies (like the whooley bugger) have been best.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
CHICAGO: Salmon and steelhead have been slow, though few are trying with the weather. WAUKEGAN: Salmon Stop reported spawn or shrimp on a slip bobber are taking some browns and steelheads and a few kings on spoons, but kings are turning dark. SALMON SNAGGING: Action has been fairly consistent, however, the fish are turning darker. Snagging for chinook and coho salmon is open at select areas on the lakefront: inner and outer harbors at Jackson Park, Lincoln Park Lagoon from the Fullerton Avenue Bridge to the southern end of the Lagoon, Winnetka power plant discharge area and Waukegan Harbor (in North Harbor basin only). No snagging is allowed at any time within 200 feet of a moored watercraft or as posted. Salmon snagging season ends Dec. 31. CHICAGO’S FISHERMAN’S PARKING: The $10 parking passes for the small fishermen’s lots at Burnham and DuSable harbors are available at Henry’s.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
For D&S Bait, go to dsbait.com
Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports sent this:
I was off on last weeks water temp report. It was cooler than I posted (my fault) and it’s even cooler now. Most lakes are running between 41 and 43 degrees with some small lakes and flowages even colder to 37-39 degrees. The cold rain/snow mix this past weekend held temps down, but still some decent fishing reports from the brave souls who ventured out.
Musky: Good. Fish not chasing much, but still hitting large twitch baits, gliders and jerks out along 14-20′ weed edges. Suckers on quick set rigs with blades best overall on windy days. Fish just beyond water visibility.
Walleye: Fair to good. With turn-over complete fish can travel anywhere. While many anglers finding fish in 30-50′ also try working deep weed edges of 12-14′ on overcast days with redtailed chubs.
Pike: Fair-Good. Most anglers catching pike while targeting musky or walleye. Nicer pike (low 30″ range) hitting 7-8″ twitch baits (cranes, jakes) meant for musky.
Crappie: Fair. Foul weather kept crappie anglers at bay, a few reports of deep weed edge crappies in 15-20′.
Daily highs holding in the 40’s (50’s on We and Thurs). Cold for this time of year, fish slow and with live bait as much as possible.
OREGON: Jan Prose at TJ’s Bait/Tackle & Canoe Rental sent this:
River came up 2 feet with the recent rains, but it’s fairly clear. Several nice walleye were caught last week, but has slowed down since. It’s been slow….
ST. JOSEPH AREA, MICHIGAN
BJ Sports reported good catches of whitefish off the St. Joe piers, including some limits. Steelhead and lakers (in the last three days) are up to Berrien Springs and beyond.
Lakeside closes after Sunday. Water cooled to upper 40s. This is muskie time, majority being caught around trees or above the cribs. Some crappie above the cribs, mainly the shallower ones.
For more reports, click here.
Some nice crappie are taking large fatheads and Mini-Mites in the corn channel, and walleye are moving in during low light, according to Mik-Lurch.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN:
Guide Bill Stoeger said walleye are improving, especially from Partridge Lake upstream to Red Banks, and rising water should only bring more in. Rising water shut down the crappie bite.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT