Midwest Fishing Report: Rivers around Chicago fishing

SHARE Midwest Fishing Report: Rivers around Chicago fishing

Rivers return to some sense of low, but more normal, summer conditions for this rivers section of the Midwest Fishing Report.

Catfish, flatheads and smallmouth remain the top picks.

This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears on the Sun-Times outdoors page on Wednesdays. Well, it is the rivers section. The lakes section will be posted later.

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


For a general overview of nearby river conditions, click here.

To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, click here.


Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass sent this:

Chicago river fishing report ; South branch big blue gills on small jigs slow on bottom good numbers of bass on drop shot wacky worm . Main stem ; Nice large mouth at chump tower discharge Ogden slip large mouth under LSD on drop shot


Alex Kiscellus sent this:

Brief downpours have caused minor fluctuations in water levels, but enough to keep the water fresh & fish active, & fishing has remained very good. Weather patterns remain fairly stable, which definitely helps too. All of my fish up North have come from swift & shallow water, primarily that contain a combo of gravel, boulders, & chunk rock. Generally speaking, if weeds are present in any numbers, the Smallies are not. Happy hour is still the best time, by far, & has been well attended by some fairly large fish recently. Topwater is still my go to & can be downright explosive from about 7:30 – 8:30, but mainly where there are current breaks or narrow strips of slack water next to the bank before the current picks up. In wider, more open stretches of shallow water, shallow diving round bodied cranks produce better, with twisters a close second. Have tried deeper, well oxygenated pools with a myriad of baits, but my luck has been very limited, & with numbers of fish feeding shallow, no reason to waste my time. I’ll go back to those spots this fall.

Ken Gortowski of Fox River Guide Service sent this:

Got out on Saturday, more creek fishing. Took a bit to figure out what to use, but all hell finally broke loose when I switched to small YUMcrayfish. They actually look like a crayfish and not a parody. Largemouth, smallmouth, green sunfish and bluegills, they all love crayfish. Stopped paying attention after landing about 30 of them, caught many more. Missed twice that number. Since the creek was clear, I was much more fascinated watching the fish behavior. Not that I needed to learn any more, but the piranha like behavior of smallies is intriguing. Their fearless quality too. You’re going to spook the fish… Not when they come right up to your feet and attack.

BTW, click here for Sam Bennett’s “Getting Started Guide” for folks who are new to the Fox or river fishing in general.


Thom Matejewski of Time on the Water Outdoors in Spring Valley reported few trying, but catfish hitting (smaller ones on cheese bait or liver, cut bait for bigger ones), long-lining or slip-bobbering shallow (6 feet or less) is producing some sauger and walleye, spotty white bass.


Not much to report, though there have been brief shots of fresh fish in the past week.


Norm Minas sent this:

The flow rate is still less than a third of normal and dropping. That will change some,it depends on how much rain we get today. The water temps have dropped recently from the mid 80’s to the high 70’s. Thereare still weed clumps flowing but it’s manageable For the most part fish location hasn’t changed, faster water, channel areas, etc. Fishing low light times can still help. The last 5 days have been uneven catching wise, two of them throwing a rattlebait lead to over 100 fish caught. The other three throwing rattlebaits, crankbaits, topwaters, spinnerbaits, and jigs have resulted in single digit catches per day. On one of the good days, I met another fisherman using rattlebaits and he had got about 50 smallmouth. On the slow days, the other guys I fished with or met out there also reported catching on the slow side. I think an infusion of water will get them going again.

Ed Mullady sent this:

Need more water! Did you read the Journal article about the polluting system going close to the Iroquois River? The many slower water locations can have problems as far as nature is concerned. Oh. Also, did you read the Journal editorial on their week end, written(page 2)by Ron Jackson. I thought the title told people a lot! Let’s talk about nut control. Thought it was a great article about the results of taking guns from law abiding citizens. Now, how about our fishing report: KANKAKEE RIVER IS LOW ON WATER. THE KANKAKEE HAS APPROX- IMATELY 80 MILES IN INDIANA AND 59 1/2 MILES IN ILLINOIS. Fish are still being caught in both Indiana and Illinois areas. INDIANA: Catfish good! Try along mouths of creeks, ditches, bayous with supply of moving water. ILLINOIS: Catfish good. Nice one reported by Diana at the Kankakee River Trading Post(next to Kankakee River State Park)was a 9 lb. 11 oz. cat caught by veteran river fisherman, Bill Ramsey. He was having success on cut bait. Other good baits in both IN and IL include:live minnows *chicken liver *catfish cheese. NORTHERN PIKE Good: INDIANA: Penny Boisvert at Greenwood Bait Shop, near town of English Lake, reported a 30″, 10 lb. pike caught recently in the Point Area. ILLINOIS: Good places include fishing from shore near Momence, Aroma Park, below Kankakee Dam through Johnson’s Veterans-Fisherman’s Park *Wilmington Dam into DesPlaines Conservation Area. Good Baits include:Weedless Dr. Spoons *live 4-6″minnows *Mepps #5 Spinners * SMALLMOUTH BASS: INDIANA: Fair. Try any faster moving waters along shady shorelines *mouth of creeks *bridge piers. ILLINOIS: Good (try similar areas as in Indiana) Tim Mullady, Bourbonnais, wades out and catches some nice smallmouth Bass, using self-designed fishing flies. He is finding smallies hitting good in even short times of fishing! Finds them hitting just before dark into the night. Good baits include #2,#3 spinners *live minnows *jig and twister tails *minnow shaped plugs *top water baits in quiet water near faster moving water. ROCK BASS: Good also where ever faster waters near quiet waters–in Indiana and Illinois. Fly fishing good here, and both Tim and Matt Mullady have noticed good numbers of bigger rock bass, and they are also hitting on flies. *Small minnows *worms *top water baits are good. LARGEMOUTH BASS: ALSO IN INDIANA & ILLINIOIS: Fair in any bayou with clear water in them *mouths of ditches *around bridge piers *weed beds. Some good baits:live nightcrawlers *minnows *plastic worms*weedless Doctor Spoons *spinnerbaits. CROPPIE, BLUEGILL: Good, esp. in late evening into darkness throughout quieter parts of river. Try smaller live baits, rubber spiders *redworms. ==SPORTSMAN’S LETTER’S KANKAKEE RIVER WEEKLY FISHING TIP: A small gold or silver finish spinner with a single or double hook can produce some fine croppie aswell asmost other river fish! 2 to 3″ live minnows work well. Some fishermen use a small Little V Pork Rind on the hook! Try moving baits at different speeds and depths for croppie! Ed Mullady, Sportsman’s Letter


There is access at Morris Wetlands at the mouth.


Low, but Matejewski reported flatheads being taken in the holes with bluegill or bullheads.









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