I did not expect such an extended stretch of good, stable weather in early October, but we will be thankful and give some options for fall fishing in this Midwest Fishing Report.
I figure October is as good a time as any to recombine the rivers and areas/lakes sections of the MFR again.
This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears on the Sun-Times outdoors page 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.
TROUT NOTES: All fishing is closed at Pickerel, Grove and Silver lakes in DuPage County until trout fishing opens on Oct. 15. . . . In Cook County, where Axehead, Belleau and Horsetail will be stocked, all fishing is closed from Oct. 10-14, reopening Oct. 15 for trout. . . . Trout details next week.
For an overview of nearby river conditions, click here.
BIG GREEN LAKE, WISCONSIN
For guide Mike Norton’s report, go to www.nortonsfishingandhuntingadventures.com, then click on fishing, then lake report.
From licensed guide and trapper Phil Schweik and guide Glenn Moberg of Hooksetters Guide Service:
(Head): Fall fishing is peaking with everything hitting strong: Walleyes, musky, crappies, catfish and white bass; and the archery deer hunting season is in high gear; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River of Wisconsin’s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau). Water temps in the central Wisconsin area now in the low to mid 50s and fish like muskies and walleyes are holding in deeper water relating to areas with less current and structure. Walleyes in the central Wisconsin area can be found in the deeper pools in the main Wisconsin River system anywhere from 10 to 16 feet of water. Target these deep walleyes by drift fishing in the pool working jigs tipped with minnows. Start at the upper end of the pool and slowly drift through the entire pool working jigs in 1/8th and 1?4 ounce right on the bottom. Keeping your bait in contact with the bottom is key as this is where the walleyes will be locating. As you make several passes you will notice a pattern as to where the majority of the fish are staged or holding, but don’t get up in anchoring as dropping the anchor will startle the school and they will move on quickly. The musky bite in the central Wisconsin area has been phenomenal. One boat on one outing caught and RELEASED 18 muskies from 34 to 45 inches. The best bite has been on the large plastic baits like Bulldawgs, but jerkbaits and bucktails have also done their damage as well. A few nice muskies are being picked up on live suckers so don’t be afraid to throw out some fresh meat under a big bobber, behind the boat – -recognizing that this year especially, the suckers are pricey. Slab crappies are hitting well in the central Wisconsin area. Most of the activity has come from suspended fish hanging out in 14 to 18 feet of water holding about 4 to 7 feet down. Slip bobbers rigged with small minnows has been the ticket for working these suspended fish, but don’t hesitate to try casting a small jig and working it in right under the surface. This is how to catch the biggest fish in the school. The catfish in the central Wisconsin are have been on fire and just about every spot fished has at least a few of them holding in the area. The cats are generally being picked up incidentally while targeting other species. If you target cats, you’ll find they’ll hit anything from small suckers to crawlers, along with hunks of a white bass. As long as it smells like food the cats will strike hard, and they’re a blast to catch, as well being top flight eating. The white bass in the central Wisconsin system have been a lot of fun to catch, and have a large population in the area. Again, white bass is not a species generally targeted, but they show up in locations where anglers are targeting walleyes and crappies. Some anglers have seen schools of white bass chasing small minnows on the surface, and have had great success catching them while they are on the surface. School of white bass terrorizing a bunch of minnows is easy to distinguish as a tornado. The surface of the water looks like it is exploding and minnows are flying out of the water everywhere, with the bass close behind. A small spinner like a Mepps #1 or #2 thrown into the mix is all you need to entice a chasing white bass to hit. Archery deer season is well under way in the central Wisconsin area, and hunters are reporting seeing plenty of deer in the woods. Oak ridges and neck down funnel type areas between bedding areas and feeding locations are great places for stand locations. Just remember when choosing a stand location that it is very important to take into account wind direction. Always place your stand downwind from the trail leading to and from the area you are planning on hunting. Deer have an extremely keen sense of smell and any detection of human presence will send them in another direction.
Plenty of deer, good words.
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA
On northern lakes, Arden Katz reported good white bass, averaging 8-9 inches, on minnows on drop-shot, drift in wind or troll on calmer days in 4-6 feet; some walleye and perch mixed in. Triangle reported good walleye in the current areas; best on split-shot rigs tipped with large fatheads or crawlers. Muskie are fair on bucktails or jerkbaits, looked shallow. Crappie are improving toward evening. Bluegill are fair, look deeper than normal.
For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/
More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.
Didn’t see an update from Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass yet.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Only Monster Lake at Mazonia South remains open year round.
HEIDECKE:Closed for the season.
LaSALLE:Lake is open Wednesday through Sunday only. Lake closes Oct. 15 and October hours are reduced to 6 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
DES PLAINES RIVER
Water levels are more normal and stable than last week. I think Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament www.fishing-headquarters.com, is gallivanting around somewhere.
DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES, WISCONSIN
DELAVAN: Guide Dave Duwe sent this:
Delavan Lake 10/3/11 through 10/10/11 With the cooler nights the lake is starting to cool off. The water temp is now hovering right at 60 degrees. The lake has not turned over yet, but if the weather remains as cool as it has been it should happen in the next week or so. Walleye fishing has been very good. The fish are in two patterns; the deep water jig or trolling the weedlines in 16-18 ft of water. The deep water walleyes can be caught on Swedish pimples or on jigging Rapalas. The best location is in the main lake basin in 30-35 ft of water. For trolling, you want to try near the island on the west end or by Browns Channel. Use medium diving crank baits for the most action. Northern Pike are active in the shallows. They can be caught by the island or by Lake Lawn Lodge. Using a Thill Big Fish slip bobber with a medium sucker seems to work well. As the wind permits, I’ve been slowly drifting, however if it’s too windy, I do anchor. Perch have been biting in 30-35 ft of water. This is a seek and destroy mission. You need to find the fish on your locator before you start fishing. They can be caught on small fat head minnows on an ice jig. They are located usually in the main lake basin near the Yacht Club. Some of my friends have been catching nice limits of fish. Largemouth bass have moved shallow. They are in 4-5 ft of water around the boat docks. The best presentation has been a split shot rigged nightcrawler or a green pumpkin Senko. The best docks I’ve fished are on the South Shore. You want to fish the holes in the weeds with a hard sand bottom. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050 Daily Reports 10/1/11 Delavan Lake, 30 degrees, sunny, winds N at 10-15 mph. Water temp 58 degrees. Caught 5 largemouth and 1 northern pike. Fishing was tough due to the cold front. Caught a few fish on medium suckers with a slip bobber. 9/29/11 Delavan Lake, 60 degrees, cloudy and rainy, winds N at 5-30 mph. Water temp 60 degrees. Caught 20-30 largemouth bass, 4 walleyes and 1 northern pike. The walleye came on fat head minnows in 20 ft of water. The bass were tight to shore wherever there was sand bottom in thick weeds. The pike was caught on a medium sucker.
GENEVA: Duwe sent this:
Lake Geneva 10/3/11 through 10/10/11 This is a huge body of water with very few fishermen. The Williams Bay road project is in full swing so the boat launch is closed. To launch you need to go to Fontana or Linn Pier. Perch have been biting. The key to the perch fishing is the bigger the bait the bigger the fish. Instead of using small fat head minnows, the bigger perch have been coming off of small golden shiners or even medium shiners. The best depth has been 10-12 ft. Look for the fish by Knollwood or by Belvidere Park . Smallmouth bass fishing has been good. The fish are coming out of the 20-25 ft depth range and are starting to concentrate on rocky points. The best location has been by Black Point or by Conference Point. Carolina rigging Arkie Crawling Grubs or 6 inch Zoom lizards has been producing most of the action. My Carolina rig has a 2 ft leader and a 2/0 hook. Northern Pike are in the shallow weeds. The best location has been Williams Bay and the beach in Fontana . Look for the fish in 12-15 ft of water. You want to slip bobber rig with large golden shiners. I prefer to anchor this time of year, that way I can use multiple rods. Rock bass can be found in the 10-12 ft depth range. With the water temperature as it is, they will bite on fat head minnows or nightcrawlers. The best approach is a split shot rigged nightcrawler. Look for the fish by the old Military Academy or by Knollwood. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
CRAB OPRHCARD: Jason Johns of Todd Gessner Outdoors reported crappie good shallow by wood.
SHELBYVILLE: Guide Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service reported white bass good on wind-blown flats, crappie improving shallower (5-6 feet); and largemouth good on secondary points on Sweet Beavers or 10-inch worms.
LAKE OF EGYPT: Johns said bass are excellent.
REND: Johns reported crappie on the cusp on goodness, shallow (4-8) on jigs or minnows; largemouth and catfish are good.
EVERGREEN: Site staffer Brad Wood sent this:
Evergreen Lake Fishing Report-October 3, 2011 Fishing really picked up over the weekend. Many limits of Crappie were reported. Fish have been reported all over. Many have been caught at the pump house in 10-15 ft. of water, many have been caught along the spillway, and there are plenty coming from coves around structure. Most Crappie have been caught using minnows. Reports of Saugeye continue to trickle in with most being caught late afternoon and into the evening hours. Many have been caught around points and near drop offs. Bass have been hitting spinner baits well in coves and on points. We have had several reports of Muskie being caught and many more following lures. It seems like the cooler weather has really got the fish in a feeding frenzy. Just a note we have decided to make another order of minnows this week to supply the high demand. Delivery day is on Friday. We should have them in stock through this weekend, and maybe even some left around for next weekend. Once this order is exhausted we will stop selling them for the year. Bait shop hours will be 8:30-4 everyday except on Saturdays we will open at 8:00. We are not staffing someone at the bait shop due to low staff levels, but we do have the buzzer on the building where someone will help you.
Any updated fishing report will be posted here.
EMIQUON: Emiquon Preserve near Lewistown is open to fishing. Interested parties may request a permit (remember you need the new one for 2011) 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.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
River wanderer/ponderer and now ChicagoNow blogger Ken Gortowski sent this last night:
Got out on Saturday for a couple of hours with the expectation that the slightly higher water would push all the fish tight along the shore line. I purposely went to the stretch of the Fox where the bite has been pretty good for the past month or so. I like running my own little experiments to see how things are changing and reacting. The air was colder, the water was a bit high and the water was definitely colder. I used to take all those measurements, but now I just get in the water. Yep, a little high. Put my hand in the water, yep, it’s colder. The conditions for fishing tight to shore were ideal. Only there were no fish around. In those couple of hours I managed to land one and miss one, which is why I gave up. When I got home a couple of hours before the sun set, I was met with what the you doing home? Pretty much out there. The conditions for the rest of the week are ideal. Warmer air temps, dropping river levels and it looks like this will continue through the weekend. I don’t have time to get out during the week, back to work, so I recommend you go check out the Fox board on WindyCityFishing.com. Chances are someone there will be hitting the river throughout the week. Problem for me is that it sure looks like the fall colors will peak this coming weekend or real close. This is the time of year I don’t really care about fishing or hunting. I like to cover ground. See as much as possible. This past Sunday I think I covered about 3 miles wandering around the woods taking pictures. That was a short trip. There are some relatively new forest preserves down my way that I already know nobody visits. I’ve covered two of them pretty well, but the third one is a challenge. No paths to follow, an impenetrable undergrowth and I have to park on the side of the road on about a 15 degree angle. Besides something new to explore, there’s an added bonus. Back in there somewhere are a couple of ponds. I hear they might have fish. With the underbrush starting to die off, maybe it won’t be so bad after all.
Time on the Water Outdoors reported sauger improved, jigging or pulling three-ways, near the Vermilion and by Hennepin; white bass picked up on crankbaits around rock or riprap.
Mik-Lurch reported the creeks, especially Salt, Trail, Little Cal and Deep River, were loaded with kings, coho and steelhead.
Commitments and a bug limited Norm Minas, but he sent this Monday:
I got out today and lasted two hours before my body said enough. I figured that might happen so I just cherry picked a few key spots. I was using a 5 inch swimbait rigged flat on a 1/2 oz jig as the algae buildup on the bottom made working a crankbait a little problematic. The emergent weeds that had broken off and were all over seemed to have a severe affinity for my rattlebait. I hit one spot on a seam of a channel twixt two riffle that has some larger chunk rock, that produced a fish. I moved to a hump in a deeper pool to produced two more fish. The last stop was at a rocky waterwillow topped small island. This island has a long bar extending to the front, a smaller angled bar on one side, a larger bar on the other with bigger rocks on it and a slack area behind that did have a lot of emergent vegetation before it started dying and breaking off. I worked all around it and ended up with four more fish. Altogether 5 smallmouth and 2 walleye. Water temp was 61.4 degrees, air temps 60 degrees, still nice enough to fish in short sleeve shirt. There surely won’t be many more days where that will be the case this year.
Ed Mullady reported:
Terrific weather! Even a few more inches of water showing up on the Kankakee. Indiana: Croppie hitting good around Point, near English Lake & in Shelby area. Try pinkie jigs *small spinners *2-3″minnows *nightcrawlers. Some pike hitting on spoons, large spinners, minnows. Illinois: Variety of fish being caught. East of Momence good overall. Kankakee River State Park: Smallmouth bass good. Try around at mouth of Rock Creek*Rex and Carly Islands. Good on Mepps #3 Spinners *Keeper Hook & Twister tails *minnows*crankbaits. Wilmington area good around Island Park for smallmouth bass on above baits. Rock bass also good on crawlers *#1 spinners *streamer flies.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
Lake should settle later this week with south winds and stable weather. The best report came out of North Point from Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters, who reported a good mixed bag of lakers, steelhead and kings from 200 feet and out deeper.
SALMON SNAGGING: Snagging for chinook and coho opens on the Illinois lakefront at four locations only: Lincoln Park Lagoon south of Fullerton Avenue, Waukegan Harbor (North Harbor Basin only); Winnetka Power Plant discharge area and Jackson Park Harbor (inner and outer harbors). No snagging is allowed at any time within 200 feet of a moored watercraft or as posted.
CHICAGO NOTE: The fisherman’s parking pass–$10 for two months and available at Henry’s Sports & Bait–is needed to park south of the main building at Northerly Island.
CHICAGO’S FISHERMAN’S PARKING: The $10 parking passes for the small fishermen’s lots at Burnham and DuSable harbors and now the south side at Northerly Island are available at Henry’s.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
Click here for D&S Bait.
EAGLE RIVER: Creative Brilliance sent this report for the Chamber of Commerce:
(Head): Good, consistent walleye, northern and panfish action, with musky fair in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. Water temps in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area are in the upper 50s. Walleye in the Eagle River area are putting on a good bite. Fish 10 feet of water or less in and around weeds. Use a jig and a minnow. All day bite. Northern are hitting well in the Eagle River area. Fish 10 feet of water or less in and around weeds. Use a Husky Jerk, small Mepps, or a northern sucker under a slip bobber. Good all day action. Panfish in the Eagle River area, remain pretty-much locating in the same area. Fish 10 feet of water or less in the weeds, and just off the edges. Perch will be tight to bottom. Crappies and bluegills will usually be a foot or two off the bottom, and at times will move higher in the water column. Use a crappie minnow or chunk of crawler under a slip bobber. Good all day bite, with some nice fish being taken (you’ll still do some sorting, but there’ll be plenty for the frying pan). Musky action in the Eagle River area remains fair. Anglers are definitely getting fish and have had plenty of follows, but they’re working for what they catch. Fish 10 feet of water or less in or near weeds. Use a SMALL bucktail, crankbait, jerkbait, or a 10-12 inch sucker (the suckers are starting to come on). Guides are reporting that suckers are quite expensive this year. Use a medium retrieve, and make sure you do a figure 8 as your lure nears the boat. All day bite. (Report for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce based on Creative Brilliance interviews with Eagle River guides Muskie Matt of Wild Eagle Lodge, Ranger Rick Krueger of Guide’s Choice Pro Shop, and Mat Hegy). Contact info for Eagle River: * Eagle River Chamber of Commerce; 800-359-6315; 715-479-6400; e-mail: email@example.com; web: www.eagleriver.org * Muskie Matt, 715-891-5980; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org * Mat Hegy, 715-571-7544, e-mail: email@example.com * Guide’s Choice Pro Shop, guide/owner Ranger Rick Krueger 715-477-2248 * George Langley, Eagle River Fishing Guides Association, 715-479-8804. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
MINOCQUA: Guide Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:
After a cold, wet and windy week, this past weekend and the coming week put us in the midst of a Native American summer. Temps at night, cold but daytime warm and sunny.; but we got enough cold to spur the musky bite on. Musky: Good-Very Good. Sucker bite is picking up. Good action on suckers with Smity Quick set rigs. Fish as shallow as 4 feet to 20 feet deep- but shallow seemed to be the best; Colidens, Jerks and Twitch baits work best, water temps dug 50-56 degrees depending on the lake size. Watch for cloudy lakes as some lakes are finishing up turning over. Walleye: Good-Improving. Deep gravel/mud transitions holding fish. Ventricle Jigs, 1/8 oz. jigs tipped with large fatheads or half of a crawler. Lindy rigs with chubs over flats of 18-28 feet. Northern Pike: Good. Action slowed with nice weather. Slow retrieve on spinnerbaits and spoons. Jigging chubs in 8-12 foot weeds is most effective. Yellow Perch: Good. Medium fatheads, half of a crawler in mud and outside of the weed edge 12-16 feet deep. Crappie: Good. Deep lakes anglers finding crappie at weed bases with minnow and small plastics. Flowage fish drift mud flats of 12-16 feet with minnows under floats. Small Mouth Bass: Good. Anglers using smaller plastics or drop-shot rigs scanning. Big smallies are in 18-26 feet of water. Scalpin imitations very effective at this time. Large Mouth Bass: Good. Fish weeds of about 8-12 feet with scentless Yum Dingers. Some action on spinnerbaits, pre-rigged plastics in afternoons as water warms. Despite Tourist weather (colors hitting peak this week), fishing not bad due to drop in temps and turn-over finishing up. Looks like nice weather will stick till Sunday, highs in the low 70’s will keep temps in the 50’s. These next two weeks are your best bet for musky action on suckers-nice fish on Sunday from 37-46 1/2 inches reported from our guides. Suckers still hard to come by-but not as bad as last year.
Mik-Lurch reported good salmon around Buffington, Hammond, East Chicago and Shipping Channel. The boys at Mik-Lurch think the lake will have settled enough that they plan to get out and explore for perch. If they find some, I might update. . . . Willow Slough has decent bluegill fishing; boat fishing ends Thursday.
SAINT JOSEPH RIVER (MICHIGAN & INDIANA)
Michigan guy, Tyler Harmon, simply Facebooked:
Salmon fishing’s about shot in this part of the state. Still a few straggler summer steelhead being caught and a few straggler coho and kings. Fall steelhead will begin to show anytime this month.
Early reports from the Indiana waters of the St. Joe are good. Early last week, the Indiana DNR reported 1,346 salmonids have moved past the South Bend Fish Ladder, and now about 164 per day. Water levels are good. Most of the fish moving through now are coho (6-10 pounds). Best for them is below the Mishawaka Dam at Central Park on bright-colored spinners. Even a few brown trout went through the ladder; very rarely do they go past South Bend.
Click here for an updated St. Joe report in Indiana. It usually comes later in the week.
Action should pick up with stable weather. Lakeside reported some nice crappie on top of the cribs; a few muskie in recent days.
For reports, click here.
Click here for the any updated Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Report. I did not see any yet. . . . There’s an open house at the Root River Steelhead Facility from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. Go to dnr.wi.gov/fish/lakemich/RootRiverOpenHouse.html. . . . I thought the Wisconsin DNR was going to begin its Root River report, but I am beginning to wonder. Check here.
Click here for River’s Edge.
Mik-Lurch reported crappie started in the corn channel on Wolf Lake.
WOLF RIVER, FREMONT, WISCONSIN
Guide Bill Stoeger reported crappie slowed with higher water; white bass (various sizes) are good at the rocks around Partridge or from Boom Island downstream.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT