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Midwest Fishing Report: Fall comes

Flurries should be flying around here by this afternoon and more of a real snow to the north, so fall comes to this Midwest Fishing Report.

This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears on the Sun-Times outdoors page on Wednesdays. I am running a bit late today.

If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at


It’s crappie time in crappie weather. The usual spots should start giving them up. I saw the two old guys hitting our town pond this week, so it is getting close.


For an overview of nearby river conditions, click here. Probably a good week to check.


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


From licensed guide and trapper Phil Schweik and guide Glenn Moberg of Hooksetters Guide Service:

(Head): Great fall musky and walleye bite, as the deer rut starts coming on;

all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River of Wisconsin’s Marathon

and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau).

As we move into November and the open water fishing season starts to wind

down our attention turns to deer hunting and the only thing on most hunters

minds is the rut. But even with the rut, anglers should not forget that

some of the best fishing of the season for the largest predators is still

going on is still going on in the central Wisconsin area. Musky action is

at it’s best right now and anglers targeting them will encounter some of the

biggest fish of the year.

Musky action in the central Wisconsin area has been very good with a lot of

nice fish being caught. We have had several fish in the 30+ pound range

with a couple pushing that 40 pound mark! With the water temperatures now

down in the 30’s most of our action has been on suckers suspended below

bobbers. When running suckers we like to run them at about 5 to 7 feet

down. We have also had good action this past week on artificial baits like

Suicks and Shallow Raiders. Most of the action has come by drifting in 8

to12 feet of water along rocky shorelines but we have also had some action

working wood associated with sand in the afternoon hours.

With most outdoorsmen focusing on either deer hunting or musky fishing there

are not a lot of people out there targeting walleyes. With that said the

walleye fishing in the central Wisconsin area has been very good with some

very nice catches of fish coming in. Most of the fish have been in deep

water (12 to 16 feet) holding tight to the bottom and at the lower end of

the deeper pools. Run either orange or yellow jigs tipped with minnows for

action but if you are really interested in catching the largest fish of the

year go with plastics.

With the rut coming on stronger, hunters should look at targeting specific

areas for hunting. Scrape lines, rub lines and areas with high

concentrations of does are all areas that hunters should be scouting and

setting up at to be successful. Not only are these good areas to target this

is the time of the year that hunters should plan on sitting all day long if

they can. Mid-day hours can be some of the best times of the day for big

buck activity as they are moving all day long in search of does.


Lakes should transition through turnover this week. Arden Katz reported crappie and walleye moved deeper on Marie (14-16 feet) and hitting minnows. Triangle reported excellent crappie on small minnows. Many are muskie fishing, best on small muskies or jerkbaits. Walleye are excellent on floating Lindy rigs or split shot and a hook.

For more reports, see

More Chain info at


Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass sent this:

Chicago river fishing report ; Only fished the south branch this week lots of fishing pressure the last few weeks so I tried something different ….a small spoon and had mixed results a few small mouth but scarce numbers . Note ; There has been lots and lots of fishing boats out lately and I usually know the other anglers but not lately . Our Chicago river fishing secret is out .

Jeff is right. But some of that pressure is also because the weather has Lake Michigan yucked up.


BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Only Monster Lake at Mazonia South remains open year round. HEIDECKE:Closed for the season. LaSALLE:Closed for the season.


Dan Sims of Sims Spinners sent this:

Here is this weeks fishing report.

Fishing has been good for Pike and Bass. Although my time has been spent chasing those elusive Walleye. One or Two here and there, and that’s it. Sauger have been most active using night time tactics while fishing for Walleye. Ghost X-Raps seem to out fish other colors and baits, both will produce fish.

Pike fishing… Dan Cahill has been fishing the lower stretches of the Des Plaines from boat and has had great success. Orange Rattle-Traps casted near lay downs have yielded some seller catches this past weekend. It seems Mr. Cahill is always on fish. Good Job Dan!!

With this wet weather moving in… “1970 cfps Riverside, IL USGS gauge 11-9-2011 @ 01:00.” It is time to adapt! Fish unusual structure. Newly formed high water eddies, back currents and any other area you think will hold fish. Fish are there. Water temps were 49 degrees Monday evening.

On a side note… A group of fellow Des Plaines River anglers have recently formed a Brotherhood/Club for all fishermen to join in the quest to advance greater fishing in the Des Plaines River Valley. Please give us a follow on “

I feel we have a great start, and awesome group core people involved already! Special thanks goes out to Nick Doumel, Andrew Ragas and Brian Toth for their hard work and dedication to our sport! Only good things will come!

Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament, sent this:

River is running high (4.9 on usgs), and is probably not worth fishing

again until early next week. Despite the present conditions, this

rainfall along with the colder temperatures will heavily influence

walleye and sauger, and a nice run of fish (possibly the one and only

of this fall) should arrive as soon as water levels settle and when

wading is possible again.

It’s a shame that the rain has come at an inconvenient time as fishing

from now into the weekend under normal conditions would be superb!

River is mostly unfishable right now, so I will report on how things

were prior:

Before the rainfall, some really nice catches were made. Over the

weekend friend, Dan Cahill, and his friend caught and released several

nice northern pike on their float trip. Six were up to 30″, and the

largest was a 33″. Orange and shad patterned rattlebaits fished with a

medium retrieve along shoreline drop offs, channel edges, and downed

wood were catching them. Water temperatures at the time were holding

at 49 to 53 degrees.

The next day I tried to follow up on their success by wading a few

miles downstream and I couldn’t even buy a fish. Moral of the story is

that it’s a benefit to have boat access.

Largemouth and smallmouth bass are beginning to tail off, as fish are

now moving into their wintering holes. However, a few stray

largemouths are still being found in the same areas being occupied by

pike. Slow-rolling white and silver spinnerbaits, slowly retrieved

crankbaits, jig and pigs, and rattle baits are catching fish up to 16″.

A few walleye and sauger were around before the rainfall, but not

many. Dan Sims and friends got into two sauger last night on X-Raps

from areas with deeper current and hard bottom. Not many other reports

besides that one.

Creek and tributary fishing was pretty good during the last week.

Northern pike up to 28″ were common along Salt Creek, as were walleyes

in the 14 to 18 inch class. Large jig and plastics (orange colors)

along with 3 to 5 inch minnowbaits (orange and whites) were catching

fish during the afternoon and nighttime hours. All fish were holding

in deeper pools with current and hard bottom. In addition, largemouth

bass up to 16-17″ were putting on a show with smaller crankbaits from

similar areas.

Creeks may be ready to fish again by the weekend, thankfully. As for

the river, it should be good again by sometime early next week.

In closing, Dan Sims, myself, and a group of our friends are in the

process of establishing a club/organization that is dedicated to

improving the quality of fishing along the Des Plaines River

watershed. It is still in its infancy. We call ourselves the “Des

Plaines River Anglers Association.” If interested to know more about

us, please visit our Facebook page –


EVERGREEN: Any updated fishing report from staff will be posted here.

EMIQUON:With the central zone waterfowl hunting open, fishing on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays is afternoons only. 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.


River wanderer/ponderer Ken Gortowski had one of his rare skunks in the past week. He said a few posters on the Fox River section of had caught some.


Time on the Water Outdoors reported sauger are mainly in 10-12 feet, bigger ones are shallow as 8 feet; best is jigging or pulling three-ways with floaters. White bass are fair. Rain may help the current and spike the fishing.


Mik-Lurch staff reported fall steelhead started coming in.


Norm Minas sent something I will post separately, but here is the fishing report:

Sorry this is getting to you later than normal, blame the Bears and Doug and OB on the post game.

Water temps remain below 50, cool water fishing in my weird worldview. water levels slightly below normal, algae still a problem both on the bottom and in the water column in some of my favorite stretches. leaves are an aggravation but not a problem.

i continue to find smallmouth feeding up on shad in softer, not always deeper flows. the wind sometimes seem to move the shad shallower against some mid stream bars and the bass do follow. Topwaters still remain a good option as do flukes, you just have to let the bass decide although flukes do gather fewer floating leaves. i have also found that rattlebaits higher in the water column are working but where the algae is following it’s either a fish or picking green slop. I kinda feel like Buck Owens and Roy Clark, a pickin and a grinnin[when it’s a fish , of course].

I worked a slacker/slower area where the leaves where more of an issue than algae floating and did well with a single spin spinnerbait tipped with a 5 inch grub slow rolled just off the bottom and worked higher in the water column. The bass ignored topwaters, rattlebaits, flukes, crankbaits, swimbait/swim jig, jig/plastic in that area. you just have to be a bit versatile in your approach at times.

Ed Mullady reported:

Fishing time for many fishermen happens at this time of the year!

In Indiana, work *jig and minnow *jig and crawler *Rattlin Rogue for walleye at Kankakee

River areas open for fishing. Smallmouth Bass good along shorelines on *jig and twister tail *live minnows *Mepps #2,#3 Spinners.

Two good areas include Point, near English Lake *Rt. 55 Area.

Pike, largemouth bass, croppie also being caught.

Illinois: Sate Line to Momence *smallmouth bass good on above baits *some walleye on

*jig and minnow *shoreline nightcrawlers*jointed minnows.

Kankakee Dam through Sawmill Creek good for *walleye*bass*catfish.

Kankakee River State Park: Smallmouth bass *rock bass *croppie good.

Wilmington Area: *Walleye fair to good around Island Park. Catfish good.

Supposed to have some more rain….could make fish more active!


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


CHICAGO: Park Bait reported just a few perch, one steelhead and some bluegill starting at Diversey. Perch should go soon in Cal Harbor. Henry’s said it is mainly waiting for perch to go. WAUKEGAN: Capt. Augie Ralph at Salmon Stop reported a few browns from shore on bait like frozen shiner or shad.

SALMON SNAGGING: Snagging continues to go relatively well. Snagging for chinook and coho is open 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 FISHERMAN’S PARKING: 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. . . . That’s the same pass good for the small fishermen’s lots at Burnham and DuSable harbors.


Click here for D&S Bait.


EAGLE RIVER: Creative Brilliance sent this report for the Chamber of Commerce:

(Head): Good action for walleye, northern and panfish, with musky fair, in

the Eagle River , Wisconsin area.

Water temps in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area are hovering in the low 40s.

Walleye in the Eagle River area are putting on a good bite. Fish 10-25 feet

off of break edges. The walleyes are tight to bottom. Use a 1/8th ounce

jig with a fathead minnow. All day bite, with peak action coming in late


Northern are providing good action in the Eagle River area. Fish 15 feet of

water or less in and around weeds. Use a Husky Jerk (minnow or walleye

pattern), or a northern sucker under a slip bobber. All day bite.

Panfish (crappies, bluegills and perch) are locating in 10-25 feet of water

off of break edges. The perch will be tight to bottom (same areas as the

walleyes), with the crappies and bluegills suspending around 5 feet off the

bottom, plus or minus. Use a chunk or crawler under a slip bobber or a

crappie minnow under a slip bobber or hooked up to a small jig. All day

action. Good bite.

Musky action is fair in the Eagle River area. Fish 15 feet of water or less

off of weed or break edges. Use a medium sized crankbait, jerkbait,

glidebait or a 12-15 inch sucker hooked up to a quick set rig. Medium

retrieve. Do a “figure 8” as the lure nears your boat. All day bite, with

a few feeding windows throughout the day. The feeding windows vary and are

unpredictable as far as time of day goes. Anglers are getting muskies, but

the fish are not “jumping in the boat.”

(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:; web:

* “Muskie Matt”, 715-891-5980; e-mail:

* Mat Hegy, 715-571-7544, e-mail:

* Guide’s Choice Pro Shop, guide/owner “Ranger Rick” Krueger 715-477-2248

* George Langley, Eagle River Fishing Guides Association, 715-479-8804.


MINOCQUA: Guide Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop said walleye and muskie are the two bites. He reported muskie good to fair; best on suckers in 20-30 feet over hard bottoms; or count down rubberbaits or glidebaits, then work them slow. Walleye on deep lakes are deep (22-45) on heavy jigs or Lindy rigs; on shallow lakes, look in the weeds in 6-8.


Ed McCain at Mik-Lurch reported glow flies with the front half of a minnow were taking perch at the Hole-in-the-Wall. Having that cut minnow to leave a scent trail was important. Perch are being marked but not caught on the Gary flats, same is true over at Cal Harbor. There’s some browns at the old Dean Mitchell, a few lakers inside Lake Street.

With dirty water, dark Dodgers and spin-n-glo trolled at 1.1-1.4 mph (speed is key) are taking some lakers at the reef at the Port of Indiana. McCain also suggested three colors of lead on Yellow Birds or walleye boards with a 20-foot fluorocarbon leader.

When lake settles and clears more, both the lakers and perch should go.


Tyler Harmon Tyler Harmon messaged that there were good steelhead and some whitefish off the pier, good steelhead in the river.

Click here for an updated St. Joe report in Indiana. It’s more steelhead now.


For reports, click here.


I would note that the rain and weather may impact flows for the better on the Root and Pike, so keep that in mind when reading the report below.


Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report:

Southern Lake Michigan Fishing Report: November 7, 2011

Kenosha Co.

Shore fishing in Kenosha has been generally slow, but occasional coho and browns have been taken in the harbor and off the south pier. Most fish were caught on spawn. Flows on the Pike River are low, and fishing remains slow.

Racine Co.

In Racine, water levels on the Root River remain low. Numbers of brown trout in the river have started to increase in downstream areas, while the Chinooks have tapered off. Decent numbers of coho have been caught, with most taken on flies. The majority of fishing pressure remains in Lincoln Park, but a few anglers have also been successful near the Horlick dam. Fish were processed at the Root River Steelhead Facility on Monday, November 7. The DNR is finished collecting coho eggs, and the fall weir season is now over. DNR crews processed a total of 3,828 fish and passed upstream 1,798 Chinooks, 1,258 coho, 57 brown trout, and 18 rainbow trout. A total of 573 coho were spawned.

Milwaukee Co.

In Milwaukee, shore anglers continue to catch salmon on spawn in the slip near the Milwaukee Yacht Club, and brown trout have now been reported near the McKinley launch. Water levels are low on all Milwaukee area tributaries. In the Milwaukee River, fly anglers have been catching decent numbers of salmon in Kletzsch Park and in the vicinity of Capitol Drive. Egg sucking leeches have produced. Good numbers of fish can still be found in the Menomonee River near Miller Park. In Oak Creek some mature salmon are present in the deeper holes below the dam. Trollers working near the harbor have been catching mature Chinooks on J-plugs. When trollers can get offshore from Milwaukee, immature Chinooks, coho, and rainbows have been taken on flashers and flies fished about 20 to 40 feet down in 120 to 160 feet of water.

Ozaukee Co.

Port Washington Harbor/Shore: Fishing pressure has been light, and success has slowed a bit. Spawn remains the most productive bait. Most anglers have been catching Chinooks and some whitefish. The water temperature near the power plant has been around 48F. Port Washington Pier: Sauk Creek: The water level remains low. Fish are still in the creek, and fishing pressure has been light. The water temperature was around 44F. Flies and spawn have been the most productive lures, and Chinooks and coho have been reported caught.

Sheboygan Co.

Sheboygan Ramps: The lake has been too rough for boaters to get offshore. Sheboygan Piers/Shore: A few brown trout have been reported caught off the lake side of the piers, and some chinooks have been caught on spawn near the Deland boat launch. Sheboygan River: The water level remains low, and fishing pressure has been generally light. Most anglers have had moderate success with spoons and flies for trout and salmon. Chinooks, coho, brown trout, and rainbow trout have been reported.


Click here for River’s Edge.


Mik-Lurch reported some good bluegill and crappie on both sides of the toll road; corn channel in Indiana is warm, but some crappie starting.




Fishing Headquarters



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