Midwest Fishing Report: Rivers section

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High water, or should that be flood waters, and deciphering its meaning

leads this rivers section of the Midwest Fishing Report.

This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears on the Sun-Times outdoors page on Wednesdays.

Well, this is the rivers section for rivers around Chicago fishing. The lakes and areas MFR will follow shortly.

Normally, I post the online MFR, both the rivers and lakes/areas sections, by Wednesday morning. A tooth is getting replace early tomorrow, so I’m early.

I will probably separate out the rivers section like this until the fall.

If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at straycasts@sbcglobal.net.

Let’s lead with a commentary by Ed Schmitt (his mug leads the report), of FourSeasonAngler.com, in response to Ken Gortowski’s regular comments in conditions like this.

Hearing Ken constantly whining about the rivers being blown out with the recent rains got me thinking. No, not about him moping around his house in his bathrobe chewing on a cheap cigar (disturbing though isn’t it). It got me thinking about a spell like this early March last year. http://www.fourseasonangler.com/archives/2561 In conditions like this bass will find ambush points. A lure with noise, vibration, and a dark silhouette held fluttering in the current or worked in and out of the current seams is too enticing for them to ignore. This same principle can be applied to any stream, pond, or lake that has a storm water run-off pouring into it. There is no reason to throw on the waders. There is no reason to dwell on the dismal USGS gauge readings. And there is certainly no reason to think you just can’t fish in this stuff. Unless of course, you’re not man enough to deal with it…. The fish are still there. I actually think as far as rivers, streams and creeks go, flow extremes concentrate fish. Food for thought.


For an overview of nearby river conditions, click here. And it matters this week.


Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass sent this:

Passover week 2011 , south branch a few small bass and a few bluegill , observed lots of carp jumping and being caught by shore fisherman their stringers were as full as I have ever seen . Fitting , a good week to try that Gefilte fish recipe

Then he added this a few minutes ago:

Just got back went out on south branch during rain on Monday caught 3 12 inch bass and caught an American eel about 19 inch .


Didn’t expect anything from Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament www.fishing-headquarters.com. If he sends something, I will add.

I would just note that some of the veteran fishermen around Riverside have a long history of fishing in the flooded forest preserves under conditions like this, primarily with crawlers for a variety of fish.


Frank Macikas sent this:

I haven’t been out but really don’t need to be to let you know the river is high, fast, and dirty. As of right now the gauges in Shorewood are reading over 1300cfs and the norm for this time of year is around 400cfs. With more reason in the forecast I don’t see it coming down anytime soon. If I was going to fish, it would be the obvious choices; eddies as tight to cover as possible.


From Ken Gortowski:

I heard on Sunday that this is the cloudiest April since 1992. The cloudy April of 1992 was blamed on a cloud of ash from Mt. Pinatubo that covered the northern hemisphere for 12 to 18 months. This April is 5 to 10 degrees below normal, depending on where you live in Illinois. Trees and plants are at least 2 weeks behind in leafing and blooming. The Fox River, though high, isn’t all that bad. Still too high for the average wading angler, but I know areas where I can walk along the shore in the water. If you don’t know the water, don’t go in. On Monday the river was flowing at about 3500 cfs in Montgomery. In case you’ve lost the link to where I get that data, go here: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/il/nwis/uv?dd_cd=01&dd_cd=02&format=gif&period=30&site_no=05551540 Over on the WindyCityFishing Fox forum, http://windycityfishing.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=13, those that have been getting out have been getting the occasional fish, but nothing hot and heavy yet. More rain on the way, but it seems that the river is trying to come down as fast as it came up. With sporadic rains over the next week, it could keep going up and down a bit. Check that gauge link. You’ll get used to what the numbers mean relative to water levels the more you compare the two. With the air temps looking like they’ll be heading into the 60’s rather consistently, it won’t matter if the river is up or down. The bite should be turning on and if the river is high, the fish will be close to shore, making it a little easier if that’s where you have to be. My choices for high water fishing would be to walk the shores in St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia, lower Batavia, North Aurora and around Indian Trail Road. Further south, the whole east side from the Montgomery dam down for almost 2 miles could be good. I don’t see too many doing this for as easy as it is. The west side in that stretch has a few access points that are worth fishing, but they may take more effort to figure out. South of Batavia it gets much more difficult. You can actually walk the east shore from Batavia all the way to Orchard Road. It’s hard as hell and you’ll need to step in the water quite a bit, but there’s a lot of nice water through there. Just be careful. Down in Yorkville you can no longer fish at the dam on the south side of the river. That’s where the new Yorkville Whitewater Course is located and you can’t fish there. Over the summer a bridge will be installed that will take you to a spit of land that faces the dam. That you’ll be able to fish from. What most probably don’t know is that the whole north side, from the dam to the Route 47 bridge, is a public park. I never fish at the dam because the fishing is considerably better both further up and down stream, but if you desperately need to fish this dam, that’s your other option. Whether or not the fishing is any good on that north side, who knows. If the rain ever stops, within a week the creeks that feed the Fox will come down to normal. That’s what I’m waiting for. Over the past weekend, even they were high and muddy. Since it seems like everything is behind by at least a couple of weeks, things could get good relatively soon..


River is projected to be above flood stage for at least a week at LaSalle. Henry is looking at major flood conditions.


Norm Minas reported catching smallmouth and catfish around flooded trees on Tuesday.

Ed Mullady sent this:

As you know, river is high. In Indiana, Catfishing is good at the Point area, north of English Lake. Greenwood Bait relates good on *minnows *chicken liver *plastic worm with cheesebait. Also good in river at LaSalle F&W Area. Croppie hitting good along shorelines in above locations! Best on jig and minnow In Illinois, catfish good throughout area, especially on slightly flooded shorelines. Fishing still going on, mostly with live bait or bright colored, fluorescent lures worked near shorelines.


When I passed upper sections Sunday afternoon, it looked in relatively good shape, for what that is worth in these changing times. Morris Wetlands is open for fishing that stretch of the Mazon. Hours will 6 a.m. to sunset.


From the Wisconsin DNR Root River Report:

Root River Fishing Report for April 25, 2011 Water and flow conditions Recent rain has caused the Root River water depth to rise a fair amount over the past week. This made for some unfavorable water conditions that kept many anglers off the river this past weekend. The water velocity was holding fast between 800-950 cfs while the high turbidity produced low visibility. Although the warmer air temperatures and sunny skies did pull out a few anglers, effort was still very low. On Sunday water temperature was 50 degrees Fahrenheit. For up to date river conditions, check out the USGS web site of stream flow conditions in Wisconsin. Fishing Report Most of the fishing pressure over the weekend was in Lincoln Park and just upstream in the lower segments of Colonial Park. On Saturday a few anglers were working the river segments but the fast water made the placement of bait very challenging. Some anglers had to abandon the wet fly or spawn sac to cast small spinners. Despite their perseverance, few steelhead were landed. At the Horlick Dam fishing effort was low on Saturday with about a dozen fishermen visiting the dam and even fewer on Sunday. Most of the fishermen were concentrating just downstream under the highway K bridge. Unfortunately the fishing was pretty slow over the weekend. On Sunday, one angler was able to get a couple steelhead to bite but they were able to break free in the fast current.


From Tyler Harmon, a young gung-ho fishermen:

Not a thing Dale, no report this week. Streams, Walleye, Pike, and catch and release bass season all open Saturday. I will be out hitting it hard on some flooded small streams and going out pike fishing sunday. The joe is almost over its banks so it wont be till next week that it gets down low enough to really fish.










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