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Midwest Fishing Report: Lakefront perch and a big walleye

Karen Sass’ 30-inch walleye, caught from the Kankakee River on Saturday, is a good reminder of the quality of fall fishing available on Chicago-area rivers and, along with shoreline perch, leads this 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


There’s no good photo, but Karen Sass caught what might be the walleye of the year from the Kankakee River on Saturday. According to Mike Lee at Frank’s Bait in Momence, the Momence woman was casting a jointed crankbait from shore east of town when she caught and landed a 30-inch walleye weighing 9 pounds, 14 ounces.

Lee said it is the biggest he’s seen in 2009. Ed Mullady and I both are checking, but it might be the biggest reported all along the Kankakee this year.


A few weeks early, the first signs come of perch from shore at Navy Pier. There were some limits over the weekend, though Monday slowed, so it is spotty. At Montrose, there’s been small perch, only a few keepers. Boaters are doing well, most days, around Cal Park/Inland Steel area near the Illinois/Indiana line. Most are launching at 95th, but East Chicago Marina is also an option. Even on Monday, Mik-Lurch reported dozens of boats in Cal Harbor, including some school kids either off for the day or allowed to bag class. The hot spot had been by the foghorn off Cal Park. Inland Steel has been spotty, as had been the deep hole 3/4 of a mile north of Gary Light.


For the handful doing it, this is a good time for big fall largemouth and if the weather becomes more seasonable for crappie. The traditional crappie spots in Cook County, such as Skokie Lagoons, Busse and Saganashkee, have been on the variable side.


For an overview of nearby river conditions, go to this NWS site. River conditions are shaping up to be good for the weekend.


For guide Mike Norton’s report, go to, then click on fishing, then lake report.


Arden Katz continued to report “suicidal” bluegill on Channel and Catherine (“hand-size of 6 to 7 3/4 inches”), tight to shore. “If you find green weeds, cast right next to the weeds,” the North Sider said. Triangle reported excellent muskie, Channel and Catherine are best in 9-12 feet with lures, or try suckers deeper in 20 feet. Crappie are fair in channel mouths in 8-12 feet, best from 2 p.m. on. Walleye are best on main lake points, especially Marie, on crawlers on Lindy rigs or slip-bobbers.

NOTE: The drawdown is underway on the Chain.

For more reports, see

More Chain info at


Only Monster Lake at Mazonia South remains open year round.



From Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament

Besides the weather and water temperatures, the river and its

productivity in fishing has finally gotten back to normal. Flow rates

are at 600cfs which deems it as being safe for floating/ boat fishing,

and wading near shore. However, I’d be cautious because water clarity

is poor right now – dark brown and 6 inches at best.

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of getting out on a float trip

for the first time ever with one of my blog readers, Dan Cahill. We

covered about 2-miles worth of water in the S.W. suburbs near the

Cook/Will co. border. Pike and Largemouth Bass were the norm on both a

mild Saturday and Sunday in which we saw water temperatures come back

up to 55-degrees.

Right now, Pike and Bass are relating close to shore. Wood such as

downed trees, log jams, and stumps have been their areas of choice and

if there’s some depth and maybe a nearby entrance to a ditch or creek

mouth which holds clearer water, then the potential for some more fish


Pike up to 25″ are being found on jerkbaits such as X-Raps and Husky

Jerks. In addition, spinnerbaits and bucktails burned across the top

of the water column have yielded good results as well. Live bait in

the form of shad, creek chubs, and suckers, has been productive too.

Once it gets cold again, expect the bigger fish to come out.

Likewise, Largemouth Bass up to 17″ have been best on spinnerbaits,

chatterbaits, and X-Raps. Best colors are white/silver and anything

with a shad colored profile.

As for the Walleyes and Sauger, there is little to report on, and not

many have been trying either. A few 14 to 18 inch Sauger are being

found in deeper hard bottomed pools with current. Minnowbaits at night


Very little angling pressure right now, and the tributaries like Salt

Creek are devoid of fish. The river should be fully wadeable and

walkable by later this week. Let’s pray for a cold-spell so that the

fishing for all species improves, and water temperatures can fall back

to normalcy and into the more seasonable 40’s.


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. POWERTON: Shore fishing reopens Dec. 28. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15, 2010.


Levels are coming down nicely.

Ken Gortowski sent this:

Every time I think I’m done, the opportunity arises to go one more time.

Spent the bulk of the day at U of C and found myself home by 3.

Went and hit Orchard Road.

Had 3 smallies on, got to see two nice ones near the surface just before I lost them. Landed one.

Jig and pearl twister, big shore line eddy that went on for a few hundred yards and all fish were within 10 feet of shore.

Crotch leaking waders make these trips all the more interesting. My built in thermometer was telling me the water was cold.

If you catch my drift.

Going out for the solitude and need to relax now. And to enjoy these un-November like days.

I am familiar with crotch-leaking waders, as well as ankle-leaking waders, and mystery-leaking waders. For an extended online report from Gortowski (requires login), go to


The river in coming down, but was still up in the trees by Starved Rock yesterday. But conditions should be good by the weekend.

The best word was from guide “Buster” Culjan, who said, “When you have water temperatures like that, everything will bite.” The water is in the low 50s. Otherwise, Culjan said they are catching sauger at Ottawa, pulling three-ways. He said by the weekend, it should be good Starved Rock to Hennepin area, farther downstream from Spring Valley on he thought might have clarity issues with water draining from the fields and duck clubs after the flood.


See note at top about the 30-inch walleye caught at Momence.

Otherwise, the river is in very good shape for fall fishing.

Ed Mullady sent this:

Toward a more pleasant report, the Kankakee River and its tributaries are at a good fishing level, and clearing considerably. In Indiana, *Smallmouth Bass fair on *spinners*minnows *Twister Tails *Catfish good on *minnows, cheesebaits, crawlers. *Pike improving, esp. at mouths of ditches and bayous.

Best places are the Point, north of English Lake *Rt. 55 Area.

In Illinois, *smallmouth bass improving on *minnows *crankbaits*Wtd.Keeper Hook and Double Twister tails. Smaller walleye being caught *Catfishing good. Best places are: *Momence Area *Kankakee Dam through Sawmill Creek *Kankakee River State Park *Wilmington Dam around Island Park.


Check the latest at Harborside.


For Ohio DNR report go to and or call (888) HOOKFISH.


For perch, see top. At Diversey, there’s some bluegill and nice crappie, Park Bait reported. There’s some steelhead swimming around the harbors. Capt. Ralph Steiger reported outstanding action for deeper smallmouth. SALMON SNAGGING: Most of the fish are now quite dark. 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.


For D&S Bait, go to


Mid-November is something of the traditional first-ice date, it’s not close this year. Muskies are doing well on a deep sucker bite, according to Island Sports sent this:


For perch, see top.

Ed McCain said if boaters are having trouble catching lakers off the reef at Michigan City, they should check their trolling speed. It needs to be at 1.6-1.7. Best has been downriggers down 14 with a silver glow Dodger and a Spin-N-Glo, the other hot presentation has been a Dipsy Diver out 35 with a clown Dodger and Spin-N-Glo.

There’s some dark salmon and browns around the lakefront. There’s been an influx of some steelhead into the creeks. They are spooky, so wear camo and walk softly, and use spawn.


For the full Wisconsin DNR report, including weir notes, go to

Here’s the latest fishing report:

Fishing below the weir

Lincoln Park

Island and Lincoln park have both been holding great numbers of fish, and angler numbers continue to drop in these areas as most concentrate on the dam area upstream. Look for browns and bows to be holding in the deeper pools and on the current seams and fish them with either a yarn egg or by drifting a spawn sac. The salmon have been holding over the gravel beds in the current as they finish up their spawning. They are best fished with a fly rod. Large black or olive flies, like the whooley bugger, have been great producers along with egg imitations.

Fishing above the weir

The best concentration of fish has been from quarry lake up to the Horlick dam. As a result, angler numbers have been at their greatest in this area. Again, the deeper holes and current seams have been holding browns and the occasional bow, and up in this area the salmonids have been anywhere and everywhere as they pile up at the dam (their final destination). Fly fishermen have been having the best success with a variety of flies. Egg imitations, scuds and the usual whooley bugger and egg sucking leech have all been effective. Dark colors still remain best, but smaller size flies have been working better here. Colonial park remains good for fishing, but has consistently had fewer fishermen.


Aaron Sands, Bill Ballenger, John Graham, Jim Kopjo, Denny Sands and Jay Angel will give seminars at Indian Creek High School in Shabbona. Doors open at 3:30 p.m. For more reports, click here.


Mik-Lurch reported some decent crappie action in the corn channel on the Indiana side.




Fishing Headquarters



MICHIGAN DNR REPORT,1607,7-153-10364-34956–,00.html