Midwest Fishing Report: Rivers section

SHARE Midwest Fishing Report: Rivers section

Rivers are returning toward something close to summer normal and it’s just nice to have more normal reports for this rivers section of the Midwest Fishing Report.

As Jan Prose at TJ’s Bait/Tackle & Canoe Rental in Oregon put it, “ Time to go fishin!”


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.

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.


For an overview of nearby river conditions, click here.


Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass sent this:

Chicago river report ; South branch , Blue gills hitting spikes on slip bobber bass few and small on small cranks ; Main branch ; Smallies are in ! hitting erie darters good size in front of chump tower 4 #er lock area good with chigger craws on jigs . Did not fish north branch down town was so good

I love fishing so good in one spot you stay there.

And he added this follow-up:

Just got the call from Dale of Bridgeportbass Carp hitting berries from trees near Daley boat ramp and Origins park very good size 20 plus # ers


Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament www.fishing-headquarters.com sent this:

DesPlaines River: —————– After all the rain, and nearly two weeks of being unfishable, river levels finally receded to respectable and safe levels for fishing with the gauge in Riverside registering at 3.95. Shore fishing is preferred and recommended for now while wading will be good by later this week. Water temperatures are in the low 70 degree range, and clarity is about average for summer, at 6 to 12 inches. It seems as if spring was bypassed altogether and summer quickly came. Best options given the conditions right now are northern pike, largemouth bass, and channel catfish. Feeding windows are short, but longer during the early morning hours and late afternoons/evenings. Pike are now utilizing areas with current (hard bottom and rocks a plus) as well as deeper channels and main-river areas with establishing weedbeds, trying to avoid the heat, and holding in areas that can be a few degrees cooler. Where fish can be accessed, anglers are having success with inline spinners (#5 Sims Spinners / single or double bladed models in orange and white), jerkbaits (Rapala X-raps & Bombers), shallow running crankbaits, swimbaits, and drifting live bait beneath a float. Fish up to 28 inches are being found, but majority are small in the 15 to 25 inch size. NOTE = smaller fish seem to be taking spinnerbaits while larger fish are going for everything else. Best areas are in Lake County, and all throughout Will County. Largemouth bass are scattered throughout the river, with the best fishing taking place starting at Burr Ridge and all the way downstream to three rivers. Some smallmouth bass are also in the mix. Fish are holding tight to shore in eddies, weedbeds, and near wood while some are out in the current and using the deeper holes, channels, and rocks. Fish up to 17″ are being found; Jig and plastics; Craw imitators such as tubes; Spinnerbaits (white/gold/firetiger); Crankbaits (shad). Channel Cats are being found everywhere and hitting everything. Few anglers have been out, so reports are scarce. While water levels are still receding, and clarity is improving, most fish species will be relating to shoreline areas, while some fish such as northern pike will already be using mid-river current and deeper channels to avoid the heat and keep cool. As conditions keep improving things will pick up once again. Meanwhile the creeks and tributaries are completely fishable and wadeable. Anglers fishing Salt Creek are finding a mixed bag of panfish (bluegills and crappies), and smaller largemouth bass. Find deeper pools with hard bottom, wood and some current.


Guide Ken Gortowski sent this:

You can’t beat being able to stop along the river on the way home after a long commute. The last couple of hours of the day have always been my favorite. Did you notice it’s staying light out till 9 PM? Throw on a pair of waders and wander down the river for a half mile or so. No one else around except for a couple floating down the river in a canoe. Catch a few fish and lose twice as many. Go home relaxed and a bit leg weary. Have a beer and a cheap cigar, before dinner. The river is wade-able, just a touch above normal. Dirty though, with barely a foot of clarity. The water was extremely warm. Lots of bug hatches with lots of carp sucking bugs off the surface. Perfect sight fishing opportunity for the fly guys. The cold front comes through Wednesday night and brings much more tolerable weather. Also some rain, but so far it doesn’t look that bad. Though one good localized storm can kick the water back up. We’ll see, I’ll take the cooler weather either way. Wednesday, a creek or two. They should be back to normal by now.

I’m not a cigar guy, cheap or otherwise, but Ken pretty much nailed fishing as a life feature.


River fell below flood stage, fishermen starting to get out again, according to Time on the Water Outdoors in Spring Valley.


The river is stained, but receding, though I doubt if it will be really wadeable until next week.

Ed Mullady sent this:

Not too many fishing. Some areas are again high, some murky. WALLEYE fair in both IN and IL. Try at banks where creeks, ditches enter main river. *Jig & Minnow *Jointed Plugs *jig and crawler*minnow shaped lures. CROPPIE improving….any in water brush, log jam or drift good. Mouths of Creeks. Also, where accessible, deeper portions along banks up in creeks. Love 3″ to 4″ minnows *nightcrawlers *Croppie sliders *Pinky Jigs * Small white spinners. ROCK BASS good now. Best on *worms or *minnows. Spinners, small streamer flies, small poppers good. CATFISH GOOD – – – best at dark or into night on *minnows *chicken liver *catfish cheese. Usually really moving right at dark in the evening. BOTH SMALLMOUTH & LARGEMOUTH BASS fair to good. Remember the smallmouth bass have to be released at once when caught from the Kankakee until after June 15. Reports will become better, once there are more fishermen fishing!

More fishermen will be hitting the rivers across the area this weekend.


Morris Wetlands is open for fishing that stretch of the Mazon. Hours will 6 a.m. to sunset.


Guide Mike Mladenik reported:

The last 3 days were excellent on the Menominee River. Spawning is complete and smallmouth are on the feed. Water temp is 70.


OREGON: Jan Prose at TJ’s Bait/Tackle & Canoe Rental sent this:

The river has dropped 2 feet or better in the last week. It’s a real nice level for canoeing, boating or shore fishing. Lots of catfish being caught on cheese baits, with green and orange dip worm colors the best. Shrimp and liver are working well too. A few nice flatheads in the 10 to 25 pound range caught last weekend on suckers or bluegill. Time to go fishin!


Tyler Harmon Facebooked “cats, sheephead, sturgeon(pier) rock bass, cats (river)”

The sturgeon report made me curious. So I asked about it and whether any steelhead showed yet, and he responded,

The st.joe river watershed has natural reproducing sturgeon. Not many but they have been catching a few. Two were poached a few weeks ago. DNR is looking for them. And its been one steelhead a day ( which can happen any other day of the year) You go out, sit all day you may catch one skam, or see one caught, but thats it.

I am fascinated by the sturgeon. I didn’t know that.


Guide Bill Stoeger said few are out, but good numbers of white bass are being caught; a few females still had eggs on Monday. Some walleye are being taken in the river.










Fishing Headquarters























The Latest
Kopech, 27, struck out five Cubs in first Cactus League outing
For the first time since Sept. 29, 2019, the Fire will be in their traditional color when they host FC Cincinnati.
“The idea that we put as much energy and resource into finding a facility of our own should be an indication that we understand what direction the league is going,” Sky CEO Adam Fox said. “We want to be involved in the movement.”
Dog toys in a drey, regular sandhill visitors in Orland Park and bowhunting harvest for turkeys in Illinois are among the notes from around Chicago outdoors and beyond.
After the Fire’s failed rebrand in 2019 that changed their primary color to blue, they’ll open their home schedule Saturday in a familiar kit.