Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes & rivers of Chicago fishing

SHARE Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes & rivers of Chicago fishing

It’s that time of the year when I go back to doing one Midwest Fishing Report, combining both the rivers and lakes sections; shoreline salmon on Lake Michigan is the obvious lead, and fall trout season opens in Illinois on Saturday.

I will usually post the sprawling, raw-file online version of the MFR, which appears condensed on the Sun-Times outdoors page, generally by Tuesday evening. 

If you have suggestions, tweet @BowmanOutside or email straycasts@sbcglobal.net.


CHICAGO:Park Bait reported eggs took one at Montrose on Tuesday, three at Diversey. Variable reports downtown and south. WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop reported decent fishing for kings on spoons, bait and spawn; a few steelhead on shrimp under a bobber harborside. INDIANA: Mik-Lurch staff reported a few kings in front, far more up the creeks. Some female Chinook are loose, so steelhead and browns should crash in soon. ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN: The Wisconsin DNR report on the Root River indicates most pressure downstream of weir with catches of kings and browns. Watch for any good rains, that will bring another crush of fresh fish. SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN: Tyler Harmon messaged that river fishing is slow with many salmon “done spawning and expiring,” with a few steelhead around. Piers are slow.


Here’s a short article I did for the Sun-Times tomorrow

Illinois’ fall trout season will be bigger when it opens Saturday with new waters added in Cook, McHenry and Will Counties. Open waters nearby include in Cook County: Axehead, Belleau, Busse Woods North Lake (new), Horsetail and Wolf Lake (new); DuPage: Silver, Pickerel and Grove; Kankakee: Bird Park Quarry; Kendall: Big Lake; Lake: Banana and Sand Pond; McHenry: Spring Grove Hatchery Pond (new); Will: Lake Strini (new) and Van Horn Woods (new). Those 16 and older generally need a trout stamp and a fishing license. Daily bag is five. Basic methods are light line (4-pound), small hooks (No. 12 or smaller) or ice jigs with small baits (prepared trout baits, corn, pinch of Velveeta cheese, small fatheads, red worms) under tiny floats.

Click here for the general release on the fall trout season statewide.


Snagging for salmon opened Tuesday on the Illinois lakefront. Here are the regs:

Snagging for chinook and coho salmon only is permitted from the following Lake Michigan shoreline areas from October 1 through December 31; however, no snagging is allowed at any time within 200 feet of a moored watercraft or as posted: — Lincoln Park Lagoon from the Fullerton Avenue Bridge to the southern end of the Lagoon, — Waukegan Harbor (in North Harbor basin only), — Winnetka Power Plant discharge area, — Jackson Harbor (Inner and Outer Harbors)


Crappie are going, but the main thing is fall trout opening Saturday. See above.


Go to http://water.weather.gov//ahps2/index.php?wfo=lot to check area water levels and projections.

To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to http://waterdata.usgs.gov/il/nwis/current/?type=flow


From Hooksetter’s Guide Service:

(Head): Musky, walleye and crappies hitting hard, with bow deer hunters seeing a lot of does and yearlings, along with some small bucks.; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin¹s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau). Cooler water temps are now in the mid 50 degree range in the central Wisconsin area, and all species are bulking up for the ensuing winter months. The musky bite in the central Wisconsin area has really turned up a notch with multiple fish days being the norm. A lot of activity on jerkbaits and rubber along with action from deep diving crankbaits. Fish off of weed edges or in and around weeds. The walleye bite in the central Wisconsin area is outstanding and it is only going to get better and better until ice-up. Most of the action is coming from the deep pools in the main Wisconsin River system, and along sharp break lines on main lakes. A lot of anglers are still targeting panfish in the central Wisconsin area, and the crappies have been responding well to small jigs tipped with a minnow under a slip bobber, suspended 4 to 7 feet down over deep water.


No update from Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass.


Arden Katzreported walleye picking up in 7-10 feet on Bluff and Marie, with white bass and crappie mixed in; more yellow bass, too. He trolls at .6-.9 mph, rip-jigging, a drop-shot with small minnows.

Check updates at http://www.foxwaterway.com/ or (847) 587-8540.

For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/


MAZONIA:  Fishing is closed, other than Monster Lake at Mazonia South stays open for fishing year round. BRAIDWOOD: Closed to fishing. LaSALLE: Closed to fishing.  HEIDECKE: Closed to fishing.


DELAVAN:Guide Dave Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake 10/15/13 through 10/31/13 Reading the internet, I saw quite a few complaints about the weed killing on Delavan Lake. The harbor master at Delavan Lake said that there was no such project undertaken in recent weeks on the lake. I believe that it’s just the time of year causing the fishing to be slow. For the last 10 days, there has been a heavy algae bloom on the lake making it tough for the fish to see the presented lures. Like everyone else, I’ve had a tough time having success on Delavan lately. Bluegills and Crappies remain suspended over the main lake basin. They are 12-15 ft down in 30-35 ft of water. This bite has been hit or miss. A few times that I’ve tried to catch them, I’ve only caught a few. Most of the success is coming on wax worm tipped jigging spoons or a leaf worm fished on a split shot rig. The two locations with the biggest schools are by 3 flags and just west of Browns Channel. You’ll know you are in the right spot when you see all the boats. Walleyes are slowly starting to pick up. They are being caught on chrome and blue jigging Rapalas fished straight beneath the boat. The best depth is 22 -26 ft of water. Look for the fish adjacent to main lake points. A good fishing graph is imperative to locating the fish tight to bottom. Largemouth bass fishing has been slow. I have fished them both shallow and deep without much success. I’ve caught a few on a split shot rigged nightcrawler but other than that, they don’t seem to be in a strong pattern. With the cooling water the northern pike action is starting to improve in the 10-12 ft depth range on the weed flats. Look for the fish by Lake Lawn Lodge or Highlands Channel. The best bait is white spinner baits or a chrome and blue rattle trap. This pattern will remain consistent throughout and after turnover. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

GENEVA: Duwe sent this:

Lake Geneva Fishing Report 10/15/13 through 10/31/13 With an extremely warm fall so far, Lake Geneva is far from turning over. The coldest I’ve seen the water this year is 66 degrees. Smallmouth bass fishing has been good. The fish remain on deep main lake points in 22-28 ft of water. The best approach is either drop shotting Berkeley Plastics or Lindy rigging extra large fat head minnows. It’s really easy with my Hummingbird fish graph to locate the active schools of fish. If I’m not marking any, I’ll move on until I find them. As a rule, once the water cools the mirror shiners of Lake Geneva start to get in tight schools and the smallmouth bass are typically right underneath feeding on them. You can catch smallmouth with top water lures this time of year if you find one of these pods of minnows. I had several times last week where I had actively feeding smallmouth bass on the surface in over 40 ft of water. I caught a few on small chrome and blue jerk baits. Northerns are starting to move shallower as the water cools. I’m starting to catch several fish in the 21-25 ft depth range. The best location has been by Gage Marine or by Yerkes Observatory. The best approach is medium lindy rigged suckers. I prefer a 2 ft leader on the lindy rig. As the fish move shallower, I will switch from lindy rigs to slip bobbers once the fish get under 15 ft of water. Walleyes are still being caught at night while trolling medium diving crank baits in 15 ft of water. The best location is by Abbey Springs and in front of the old Military Academy. Like summer, wind is the key to success. When there is a slight chop the fish seem to bite better. Yellow Perch action has been excellent in the 10-12 ft depth range. As always on Lake Geneva, you need to sort through a bunch to get the good size. The best location is by Conference Point, Black Point and Knollwood. Slip bobber rigged small fat head minnows are producing most of the success. The bite will be consistent throughout the fall. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050 Daily Reports 10/12/13 – Lake Geneva, cloudy, 60 degrees, S winds at 15 mph, water temp 67 degrees. Caught 10 smallmouth bass, 5 were legal and one largemouth. Compared to yesterday, today was slow. Some of the best spots from the previous day were unfishable due to the strong winds. Had to stay out for 5 hours to catch the 10 smallmouth. All fish were caught on fat head minnows. 10/11/13 – Lake Geneva, sunny, 65 degrees, light winds out of the SW, water temp 67 degrees. Caught 15 smallmouth bass, 2 were over 18 inches and a 33 inch northern pike. The fish were caught on lindy rigged fat head minnows in 22-28 ft of water. The best location was by Yerkes Observatory. 10/9/13 – Delavan Lake, sunny, 75 degrees, light winds out of the SW, water temp 68 degrees. Caught 2 largemouth bass and one crappie. I fished shallow, I fished deep and marked a whole bunch of fish but couldn’t get them to bite. The lake was covered in a huge algae bloom. 10/07/13- Lake Geneva,sunny,55 degrees, NW wind at 15 mph. Water temp 66 degrees. Caught 8 Smallmouth and 2 largemouth (small). Today the cold weather was a bit brutal. Fishing was rater slow. All fish were caught on extra large fathead minnows on lindy rigging. We caught a fish here and there. Best depth was 21-25 feet of water.


Marcus Beneschsent this wonderful tale:

Clarity much improved this week. The fall colors are really starting standout. I was able to talk the old man into getting out for the great scenery and hot pike bite. I left the kayaks at home and this time we floated in my little Coleman Jon. We fished all parts of the Catherine Woods and Schiller Woods throwing large minnow cranks like Thundersticks and F-18 Rapalas. Even the old man managed a dozen snakes. A couple of larger females were landed, but for the most part it was hammerhandle city. The attached photo is of my father, Arthur Benesch. I was able to hear of few stories about how his father and grandfather would take the bus out to Harlem Avenue at Irving Park from the city in the 1930’s, then walk to the Des Plaines River and fish for Pike. Marcus Benesch River Grove, Illinois


No report this week.


SS Minnows in South Elgin–(847) 289-0135–offers the opportunities of a local bait shop.

Check Fox updates near the Stratton Dam at http://foxwaterway.com/ or (847) 587-8540. For the area above the Montgomery dam, go to http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/closures/Pages/default.aspx

To join the Fox River Angler Diary Project, go to http://data.foxriverfishing.com I think it is one of the neater projects around.

Sam Bennetthas a getting-started guide for the Fox at http://www.foxriverfishing.com/tips/fox-river-getting-started-guide/


The Wisconsin DNR has a report, which is typically updated on Tuesdays, posted at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html


No update this week.


Mik-Lurchstaff reported lots of kings in the streams. With the female Chinook becoming loose, the steelhead and browns will soon be coming in too.

Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.


Norm Minassent this: 

Water levels a little over normal for this time of year but still very wadeable. Water temps in the low 60’s , some stain but visibility still more than I like. There are a lot of floating weeds in the water column but that is just a condition you have to learn to adapt to like any other. It is easier to fish with lures with single hooks like swim baits, flukes or sluggos, cigar type worms, spinnerbaits and straight shaft spinners with single hooks. There are times when the fish prefer lures like jointed minnows, rattlebaits and crankbaits, you just end up picking more weeds off in the course of a trip, minor detail when you are catching fish. Smallmouth bass, walleye, pike, gar, and rock bass are what I have been getting lately. Norm


The Ohio DNR has general Lake Erie info and a fishing report.


See top for shoreline salmon. Boaters are hitting the reefs for big lakers and clean kings.


Ken “Husker” O’Malley of Water Werks Fishing Team sent this:

Hey Dale, I had an extended weekend, so headed up to Lake Wisconsin for a couple of days. Sauger in the 15-18 inch range on floating jig heads kept us busy most of the time. Crappie in the 11-14 inch range in wood and smallmouth on humps using drop shot rigs finished of the days. Water temps were in the 58-62 range with very brisk mornings to start the day. Good trip altogether. TTYL Husker Outdoors Water Werks Fishing Team


Go to http://www.dsbait.com/ for information and reports from D&S Bait.


Mike Mladenikhas reports and info at his Mike Mladenik Guide Service site.


Did not see anything for Minocqua from Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop.

EAGLE RIVER: 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 Guide¹s Choice Pro Shop, Mat Hegy; and Eagle River hunting enthusiast, Dan Anderson

(Head): Smallmouth putting on an excellent bite, with walleye, northern and panfish action good to excellent, and musky good. Leaves have come off the brush, and birds are easier to flush and get a shot at, with wild turkeys and deer easier to spot; All in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. Water temps in the Eagle River area holding steady at around 60 degrees. Smallmouth bass in the Eagle River area are providing excellent action. Fish 10-25 feet of water, over hardbottom areas, and off of break edges. Use a plastic tube or crawfish, or a mand a minnow under a slip bobber,. All day bite. Walleye in the Eagle River area are in 10-25 feet of water off of break edges or over adjacent mud flats. Use a minnow on a jig or under a slip bobber. The walleye are tight to bottom. All day action. Bite is good to excellent. Northerrn are locating in 10 feet of water or less in and around weeds, in the Eagle River area. Use a bass style spinner bait, Mepps, a Husky Jerk(minnow or walleye pattern), or a northern sucker under a slip bobber. All day action. Bite is good to excellent. Panfish (crappies, bluegills and perch) are in 15 feet of water or less outside of weed edges or over adjacent hard bottom areas. Use a chunk of crawler or crappie minnow under a slip bobber or on a small jig. Perch are tight to bottom, with crappies and gills suspending (day and lake dependent always start deep and work your way up to determine the depth the fish are at on any particular day). All day action. Bite is good to excellent. Musky are putting on a good bite in the Eagle Rvier area. Fish 10 feet of water or less off of weed edges or in and around weeds. Use a bucktail, topwater, jerkbait, or twitch bait – -and live musky suckers (12-15 inches) are starting to work. Regular retrieve. Do a figure 8 as your lure nears the boat. All day bite, with peaks in the evening.


For salmon, see top. Mik-Lurch reported a few perch reports off Inland Shoals and by the green can in Cal Park. Capt. Ralph Steiger reported an outstanding run on smallmouth.


The Wisconsin DNR Root River Report is again being updates weekly, generally by 4 p.m. Tuesdays. Reads like big kings and some browns are in, especially on the lower portion.


For information and reports from Lakeside, go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.


The Wisconsin DNR posts a fishing report, generally updated on Tuesday at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html.


Tyler Harmon sent this:

River fishing is slow, many salmon are done spawning and expiring. Few steelhead are around, but not many. Pier fishing is slow, few steelhead and whitefish may be around in the next few weeks. Perch fisherman and guys trolling for Salmon out deep on Lake Michigan have been doing great. Inland lake fishing has been slow.


Click herefor reports from the Indiana DNR.


Check reports and info at River’s Edge.

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