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Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes around Chicago fishing

Shoreline salmon lead this lakes section of the Midwest Fishing Report.

I normally post the sprawling online version of the lakes section of the MFR, published in a condensed form Wednesdays on the Sun-Times outdoors page, by Wednesday morning. I am cutting it close to make it by morning.

I usually publish the rivers section of the MFR Tuesday evening.

If you have suggestions, let me know at straycasts@sbcglobal.net or @BowmanOutside.

SHORELINE SALMON

Kings are here; action varies greatly with wind and weather.

CHICAGO: Montrose and Jackson Park are the prime ones, but other harbors are giving up fish, too. Steve Palmisano at Henry’s said some trout are being seen and caught, too.

WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop reported those fishing with spoons are doing best.

INDIANA: Mik-Lurch reported creeks loaded with kings with some steelhead and a few coho. Kings be caught and jumping at East Chicago Marina and the Hole-in-the-Wall.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN: The Wisconsin DNR report indicates some browns and kings around Pike Creek Outlet; plenty of fish seen. Plenty of big kings seen and caught at Racine, too.

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN: Tyler Harmon messaged better bet rivers from Kalamazoo River north.

SNAGGING

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)

AREA LAKES

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

Let me start off by saying I love this time of year. Bow season is starting and fish are starting to put on their feed bags, especially the bass. Big bass on southern lakes are being caught on lipless crankbaits on sunny days. On post frontal days, finesse presentations are the key mid morning and e evening hours. Attached is a solid 7 pound bass. Can’t beat that action!!

CENTRAL WISCONSIN

From Hooksetter’s Guide Service:

(Head): Walleye, crappie, bass and musky all hitting strong; duck, goose, deer and bear seasons going well; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin¹s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau).

As we move from September into October, the water temperatures in the central Wisconsin area have dropped to the low 60s and in some areas the upper 50s.

The bite for walleyes in the central Wisconsin area has been very good and alot of nice fish are being taken. Most of the action is coming by anglers working the deeper areas of the Wisconsin River with jig and minnow combinations.

The crappie bite in the central Wisconsin area is as good as it has been all year long with nice catches of slab crappies being taken from 10 to 14 feet of water along the old Wisconsin River channel. Most of the fish are being caught by running slip bobbers rigged up with small crappie sized minnows set 2 to 4 feet off the bottom.

Bass anglers in the central Wisconsin area have been seeing their share of the action as well with nice catches of big bronzebacks. Most of the action for bass has been associated with finding submerged rocks. These rocks will warm up throughout the day and attract small baitfish and in turn attract the larger predator fish like the bass.

Anglers in the central Wisconsin area targeting the top predator of all have been having very good success with muskies. The musky bite has really turned on and baits like Suicks, Mantas, and Reef Hawgs are really coming into their own right now. Also another good bait is live suckers suspended a few feet below a big bobber.

CHAIN O’LAKES

Arden Katz reported crappie and white bass on Marie and Bluff on minnows on drop-shot, trolled at .7 mph around points in 7-9 feet; in the river, deep holes have good white and yellow bass.

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

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

COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS

MAZONIA: Last day of fishing at Mazonia, other than Monster Lake at Mazonia South (it stays open for fishing year round) is Tuesday.

BRAIDWOOD: Last day of fishing is Tuesday.

LaSALLE: Last day of fishing is Oct. 13.

HEIDECKE: Last day of fishing is Tuesday.

But just for those wanting one last report to excite them for Heidecke, David Brandes posted this on Facebook:

Sept 28, 2013…Report…Well, I had to go back again today after yesterdays success. Got out a little earlier and the action was very good again starting out. It stayed that way for about 3 hrs until the wind kicked up real good from the south west and made the zones I was catching fish in all muddied up. The little bit of visibility that we had which was around 4-8 inches went to zero and the fishing slowed way down to the point of only 2-4 fish an hour. The striper fishing was good again today with good whites, yellows and hybrids but numbers down some after the wind came up. 15 good whites, numerous small yellows and only 3 good hybrids today. Making up for that though today was a decent day on walleye. Wound up with 6 walleye all chunks from 15-20 inches with the one big guy 24+. Also managed a nice channel cat on a blade bait….nice size and fight, picture doesn’t do it justice…big head on that thing. Left around 330pm since I have to work tonight. I’m driving home going to rt 47 in morris then up to rt 6 to avoid that northbound I-55 traffic mess. I drive 55 south since I get on where the headache just about ends. More boats out early today counted at least twenty at one time but most left or took shelter when that wind came up. Shore lot had 11-12 cars when I arrived 7 when I was leaving. All fish still swimming…

DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES, WISCONSIN

DELAVAN: Guide Dave Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 9/30/13 through 10/7/13

Overall the fishing on Delavan has been very slow. The best bite has been bluegills and crappies in the deep water. I think the fish are in their fall transition period and have become harder to catch. After the lake turns over, fishing will improve. Turnover should happen within the next two to three weeks, depending on the weather.

Bluegills and crappies are stacked up in the deep water, 30-35 ft approximately 12-14 ft down. The best location is just west of Browns Channel or by the Yacht Club. A small jigging spoon tipped with a nightcrawler piece or wax worm are producing most of the fish. The jigging spoon I fish vertical straight beneath the boat. They don’t want an aggressive jigging motion, more of a steady up and down.

Northern Pike are moving into the shallows. The best depth is 8-12 ft of water. They can be caught on slip bobber rigged suckers about 2 ft above the weeds. Look for the fish by the gray condos or in Viewcrest Bay. Some of the larger fish are being caught on 8-9 inch suckers. As the water cools this bite will be improving greatly.

Largemouth bass fishing has been slow. The bass are scattered in the weedline in 8-12 ft. The best approach is Rattle Traps or medium diving crank baits. I prefer a perch pattern or chrome and blue. This time of year, there is no rhyme or reason for where the fish are located on the weedline so put your trolling motor down and go, the more casts the more fish.

Walleye fishing has started to improve. The best location is by Assembly Park or by Browns Channel. These are being caught in the evening or at night. You want to use husky jerks or Smithwick Rattling Rogues. The fish are suspended, typically 4-5 ft below the surface. The best evenings are the ones that have a slight chop on the water.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

GENEVA:

Lake Geneva Fishing Report 9/30/13 through 10/7/13

With the unseasonable warm weather fishing remains steady overall. Most of the fish are still in deeper water, over 20 ft. The best bite remains bluegills and smallmouth bass.

Smallmouth bass fishing has been great. They can be caught on anything from medium suckers, fat head minnows and nightcrawlers. The best approach is lindy rigging in 20-28 ft of water. The bigger fish seem to come off of the medium suckers. Look for the fish by Black Point, the Military Academy and by Fontana Beach. This bite will continue probably until mid-November.

Bluegill fishing has been very good. The best location has been by Knollwood and by Fontana Beach. The best action is coming off of leaf worms fished straight beneath the boat with a single hook split shot rig. I found the best depth to be between 18 and 22 ft of water. Occasionally I have been catching some as shallow as 15 ft of water. The overall size has been very good with Pumpkin Seeds being the larger of the two species.

Northern Pike are starting to show up in the mid depth range. I caught a couple nice fish last week in the 20 ft depth range on medium suckers and on fat head minnows. As the water cools, the pike will move shallower and be easier to catch on slip bobbers. The best locations I’ve found have been in Williams Bay or by the old Military Academy.

Largemouth bass fishing has been spotty. Most of the action is in 18-20 ft of water. I’ve been finding most of my fish on the weedline at Trinkes and to the west of Linn Pier. They can be caught while drop shotting small plastic worms or on nightcrawlers. The average size of the fish has been a bit small, about 13 inches.

Rock bass fishing has been slow. I’ve been getting them periodically in the deeper water with the smallmouth bass but this time of year I’m catching two to three smallmouth per rock bass. The best approach has been small fat head minnows.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

Daily Reports

9/28/13 – Lake Geneva, sunny, 65 degrees, S wind at 15 mph. Water temp 66 degrees. Caught 13 smallmouth, 5 largemouth and bluegills. Today the best bait was fat head minnows fished on a lindy rig. We were catching the fish from 18-22 ft of water. The best spot was by Yerkes Observatory.

9/27/13 – Lake Geneva, sunny, 63 degrees, SW winds at 5 mph. Water temp 68 degrees. Caught 15 smallmouth and 3 largemouth. The best bite was nightcrawlers fished on a split shot rig, the best depth was 20-25 ft of water. Fished the whole west side of the lake.

9/26/13 – Delavan Lake, sunny, 65 degrees, SW winds at 10 mph. Water temp 68 degrees. Caught 2 largemouth bass and 1 northern pike. Fishing was tough, I had a new customer who just wanted to learn the lake, but we still tried to catch fish but it was very limited success.

9/23/13 – Lake Geneva, sunny, 65 degrees, SE winds at 10 mph. Water temp 68 degrees. Caught 10 smallmouth and 3 largemouth. The best depth was 21 ft of water. Fished by the Military Academy. Fishing was rather slow, we went out mid-day which may have been part of the problem.

GREEN BAY

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

LAKE ERIE

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

LAKEFRONT

For shoreline salmon, see top. Starting to hear more pike and trout reports in Chicago and Waukegan.

MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN

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

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:

Last week’s cold, clear, calm nights followed by sunny warm days cancelled each other out keeping surface temps on average around 61-65 degrees. High winds over the weekend kept anglers off the water. Chance of rain this Thursday and Friday may do the same, but this is the week to be out there.

Pike: Very good. Filing up on bait fish in the shallows. Spinnerbaits fished in 3-5’ weeds scoring hard hits from chasing fish. Jigs with chubs, swimbaits good second choices.

Musky: Good-Improving. Bucktails, 7-8” twitch baits and topwater still best choices for casting. Sucker action picking up. Shallower water, 5-10’ best, use floats to keep suckers off weed tops. Good action starting Friday on suckers, will only pick up as water temps drop into the 50’s.

Largemouth Bass: Good. Not as many anglers targeting bass, but some big ones caught this week on spinnerbaits meant for pike. Fish to 20” – 5#’s.

Crappies: Good. Action slowed by weeks end but still decent catches of nice crappies to 13”. Slip-floats suspending medium fatheads as well as 2-3” twister grubs fished over mudflats in 12-14’.

Walleyes: Fair-Good. Action dropped off by weeks end, yet big walleyes (27-28”) showing up during heavy wind Saturday taking chubs on jigs moving up from deep to feed in 8-12’ weeds. Calmer days require deeper fishing, yet, not real deep – 15-22’ best.

Perch: Fair-Good. Wind making fishing tough. Big perch on medium or large fatheads on 1/32 to 1/16 oz jigs in 3-6’ weeds/wood. Half crawlers also working.

Smallies: Fair. Few reports.

Bluegills: Good. Not a lot of effort, but those fishing sunny afternoons catching limits on worms, tiny grubs in calm flats of 4-8’.

Keep casting blade baits (bucktails, spinnerbaits) and top water as surface teps of low to mid 60’s is not cool for this time of year. Muskies, pike and bass will chase at this time. Suckers have been useful for muskies with wind use bladed quickset rigs to improve odds.

Trees not peaking yet, but probably at 60-70%. Good time to take advantage of both beauty and fishing in the northwoods.

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): Panfish hitting strong, with a good bite for walleye, northern, and bass, while musky action is fair. Whitetails and grouse are moving out of their summer patterns, and the woodcock hatch was excellent this year. All in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.

Water temps in the Eagle River area are in the mid 60s, and dropping slowly but steadily.

Panfish (crappies, bluegills and perch) are putting on a good to excellent bite in the Eagle River area. Fish 15 feet of water or less off of weed edges and adjacent break edges. Perch are tight to bottom, with crappies and gills suspending up and down the water column (day dependent). Use a crappie minnow or chunk of crawler on a jig or under a slip bobber. All day action.

Walleye in the Eagle River area are in 10-25 feet of water off of weed edges or adjacent break edges. Use a jig and a minnow. The walleyes are tight to bottom. All day action. Bite is good.

Northern in the Eagle River area are in 10 feet of water or less in and around weeds. Use a small bucktail, bass style spinner bait, Husky Jerk in a minnow or walleye pattern, or a northern sucker under a slip bobber. All day action. Bite is good.

Smallmouth bass in the Eagle River area are in 8-30 feet of water over hardbottom areas. Use a jig and a minnow or jig and a half of a crawler, plastic crawfish, or a tube. All day action. Bite is good.

Largemouth bass in the Eagle River area have migrated mainly into heavy weed areas in 15 feet of water or less. Use a plastic rigged weedless, bass style spinner bait, or a jig and a minnow. All day action and the bite is good.

Musky in the Eagle River area are in 12 feet of water or less off of weed edges or over adjacent hardbottom areas. Use a bucktail, topwater or jerkbait (still a bit too warm for live suckers, but stay tuned and we’ll keep you posted). All day action with peaks in the evening. Bite is fair.

NORTHWEST INDIANA

For shoreline salmon, see top. People just starting to get back out at Willow Slough, which reopened this week.

SHABBONA LAKE

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

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN

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

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN

Tyler Harmon messaged:

Salmon fishing has been near none existent on the Saint Joseph River. Hoping cooler temperatures next week bring in a few fish, Kings I have seen on other rivers are dark and spawning already the end is near. Some walleyes, and smallies being caught on the river. Also anglers wanting salmon, as I said in last weeks report head to northern rivers from the Kalamazoo river on up the coast. Perch fishing has still been great on Lake Michigan.

WISCONSIN DELLS

Sturgeon season is underway. More details at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/sturgeon/sturgeoninlandfishery.html Check other reports and info from River’s Edge.