Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes and rivers around Chicago fishing

SHARE Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes and rivers around Chicago fishing

Hope that the rain will spark the Lake Michigan tributaries, crappie fishing and fall trout/salmon around southern Lake Michigan lead this Midwest Fishing Report.More and more I like the contributions from Marcus Benesch, even beyond his reports for the Des Plaines River. He did this off a muskie pattern, but tweaked it for pike, the great predator of his river.

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.


The new sites might be the best choice. Staff at Wolf Lake said plenty of trout are left, and I have heard similar things for other new sites.

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 herefor the general release on the fall trout season statewide.


Plenty of salmon being snagged, though fish are nearing that end period.

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)


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

Hey Dale, Area lakes are producing good numbers of bluegills. Ice jigs tipped with wax worms under a slip float have produced on sunny days midday along the inside weed lines. Good time to take the kids with since its the warmest part of the day. They don’t want to stay out long though, trust me. Bass have been very slow. X-raps fished as slow as possible have caught a few on the wind blow sides along the outer weed line. Have to really work for them if not using live bait. TTYL Husker Outdoors Water Werks Fishing Team


Go to http://water.weather.gov//ahps2/index.php?wfo=lot to check area water levels and projections. Probably a good week to do this again.

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


No report this week from Hooksetter’s Guide Service


No update from Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass.


Arden Katz reported outstanding white bass (to 14 inches, many 10s and 11s) in 11-13 feet on Marie and Bluff, backtrolling on windy days or trolling at 0.5 to 0.8 mph, rip-jigging; some crappie mixed in.

Staff at Triangle seconded the good white bass action, but said to also look for continued good crappie, especially shallow, early and late; walleye are picking up, around current; muskie fair, on large suckers.

NOTE: Drawndown begins Friday and the lock closes. 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: Brian Gates at Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle reported good walleye at night on Rogues; still bass on crawlers.

GENEVA: Smallmouth are best in 22-26 feet, moving toward winter patterns.


Marcus Beneschsent this:

Quick Report: Pike still feeding pretty heavily as seen in the attached photo. That particular pike already had a good sized shad in the hopper. Minnow style jerk baits worked best. Marcus Benesch River Grove, Illinois


Larry Dozardof larrysfishinghole.com sent this on Downstate closures during the fall and winter hunting seasons:

– ANDERSON LAKE is CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING for the season– BANNER MARSH IS CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING AND AS OF OCT. 31st, BANK FISHING ONLY ALLOWED AFTER 1PM but NO FISHING ALLOWED in EAST POINT ACCESS AREA , which is CLOSED TO ALL FISHING to provide a GOOSE REFUGE AREA during season till Feb. 1st– DOUBLE T STATE FISH and WILDLIFE AREA IS CLOSED TO FISHING for the season and remains Closed till APRIL 1st, 2014– EMIQUON PRESERVE during waterfowl hunting season fishing is allowed only between Noon and sunset.– EVERGREEN LAKE – A SOUTHERN PART OF Lake AROUND DEER ISLAND and ALL OF SIX-MILE CREEK BAY IS CLOSED TO GAS MOTORS from Oct. 15th through JAN. 1st to allow for resting areas for migratory waterfowl. YOU ARE ALLOWED TO STILL RUN A TROLLING MOTOR IN THESE AREAS ONLY. – Also, the ENTIRE lake and park, with the exception of the campground, is CLOSED to general use Nov. 22-24 and Dec. 5-8 for the Deer Management Program.– RICE LAKE is CLOSED to boat fishing till end of Duck & Goose season– SNAKEDEN HOLLOW including McMASTER LAKE IS CLOSED TO FISHING for the Season till Feb. 1st– SPRING LAKE (South & North) IS CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING in Waterfowl Hunting Area with BANK FISHING ALLOWED ONLY AFTER 1pm– And Closed to shore fishing in hunting areas on Oct. 26th.. AREAS THAT REMAIN OPEN TO BOATS ARE NORTH OF MAPLE ISLAND with ramp at north end at the Sky Ranch Road launch and IN PIKE HOLE with carry in boats -On December 25th boat fishing and shore fishing in the waterfowl hunting area will be allowed after 1:00 p.m. through the end of Canada Goose season.– CLINTON LAKE the easterly area of Clinton Lake between the DeWitt (CH14) and the 48 bridges is CLOSED FROM OCT. 10th through MARCH 31st to protect fish and wildlife. It will Re-OPEN April 1st..– POWERTON LAKE IS CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING and CLOSES TO SHORE FISHING and ALL FISHING ON OCT. 26th (Last day for Shore fishing is Oct. 25th) and REOPENS TO SHORE FISHING ONLY ON DEC. 23rd AND NO BOAT FISHING till FEB. 15th– SANGCHRIS LAKE THE WEST and EAST ARMS OF LAKE and Small AREA NEAR DAM Are CLOSED DURING WATERFOWL SEASONto boat traffic through Jan. 31, 2014 (during this time fishing boat traffic is permitted in the center hot arm only).And the Entire lake will be CLOSED Nov. 22-24 and Dec. 5-8th due to firearm deer hunting on adjacent properties.The exception will be for hunting programs with restricted usage during this time period.For more info, contact site office at 217/498-9208 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday.


No report this week.


Pete Lamar sent this:

Not sure if you can use this because the information is very limited, but feel free if it helps you with the river report: the last two Saturdays I hit some treatment plant discharges on the Fox before settling in to watch the Blackhawks’ games. Smallmouth were active, hitting any color of streamer I threw, but most were small. I also got a surprise largemouth and a pretty nice white bass. Very few other people out.

One of the keys there is where and the other is his final sentence, very few others out.

Ken Gortowski sent this, which is worth going to for the visual images alone:

If you can use something, I decided to get out and actually wrote something down about it. Unlike last week. http://waterdogjournal.com/2013/10/27/last-fishing-trip-year/ . . . It is chock full of info for those that know how to read between the lines. The river is low and clear. The water is cold. On a sunny day, get out the first few or last few hours of the day. The sun shuts down the fishing. Don’t fish the sunny side. I just didn’t feel like spelling it all out.

Ken G

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


Time on the Water Outdoorsreported sauger, though smaller ones, going best around Senachwine Lake; while white bare going around the clam beds and Hennepin.


Ed McCainat Mik-Lurch reported some fresh steelhead moved into the streams, rains could really spark that. Still plenty of dark kings in far corners of streams.

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


River is very low, but that likely will be changing over the next few days. For the past week or more, the walleye bite has been picking up in low-light periods, especially in the state park area, according to Nick Carr at Kankakee River Trading Post.


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


CHICAGO: Shoreline lakers should be in. Plenty of dark kings in harbors, catching is fair to slow. Should be steelhead and browns soon.

WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop reported trollers picking up kings, coho and lakers in 20-35 feet from Waukegan to Great Lakes. Shore action is dominated by snaggers.


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.


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

Another weekend of wind, cold, rain, sleet and snow. Big fall bites have just not developed well. Blame could be on conditions being rough for boat control, but, even then fish should be being caught. Musky: Fair. Not much for reports over the weekend. Pressure put on smaller lakes as large lakes extremely tough to fish Friday and Saturday with high winds. Suckers on quick-set rigs best. Suicks, Smity’s, Bobbie jerk baits moved most fish. Casting rubber baits out over open water also producing. Walleye: Fair. Deep water bite best. Chubs (if available) and suckers fished along transition breaks in 40-45’ producing larger fish (20-28). Use 3/8 oz to ½ oz jigs or Lindy rigs. Look for Flowage walleyes to be stacking in deepest holes taking large fatheads on 1/8 to 1/4oz jigs. Pike: Fair-Good. Few are targeting this species, yet nice pike in the low to mid 30 range taking baits (from suckers to suicks) meant for musky. Smallmouth: Fair. Deep water, big fish on chubs/suckers or Lindy rigs. No reports for other species. The wind had a big effect on angler participation. Surface temps this weekend ranged from 48 degrees (Trout, Fence), 46 degrees (Squirrel, Big Arbor Vitae) to as low as 40-41 degrees on the Turtle Flambeau Flowage. New moon period for coming weekend should help.

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): Walleye, northern and panfish putting on a good to excellent bite, with musky action good. Grouse hunting good. Increasing numbers of diving ducks seen on the bigger lakes; and bow deer hunters seeing more evidence of the rut coming on, with more deer seen during the day, and rubs and scrapes proliferating. All in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. Water temps in the Eagle River area are in the upper 40s and dropping steadily. Walleye in the Eagle River area are in the deeper holes in 15-35 feet of water, and holding tight to bottom. Use a jig and a minnow. All day bite. Action is good to excellent. Northern in the Eagle River area are in 10 feet of water or less in and around weeds. Use a Husky Jerk or other minnow baits, or northern suckers under a slip bobber. All day action. Bite is good to excellent. Panfish (crappies, bluegills and perch) in the Eagle River area are in 15 feet of water or less outside of weed edges or in and around weeds. Use a Mini Mite, or a chunk of crawler or crappies minnow under a slip bobber or on a jig. Perch are tight to bottom. The crappies and gills are suspending up and down the water column (day dependent – -start at the bottom and work your way up until you reach the depth the fish are at on that particular day). All day action. Bite is good to excellent. Musky in the Eagle River area are in 15 feet of water or less off of weed edges or adjacent hard bottom areas. Use a Suick, jerkbaits, glidebait, crankbait, or a live sucker (13-17 inches). Always do a figure 8 as your lure nears the boat. All day bite. Action is good.


Ed McCainat Mik-Lurch reported one perch limit in 58 feet east of Gary light Tuesday; some are being caught off Inland; traditionally there are Halloween perch at the 95th Street foghorn. Some kings are still around.


The Wisconsin DNR Root River Report is again being updates weekly, generally by 4 p.m. Tuesdays. I think the next few days may be prime, if the forecast rains come and spike the flow.


Lakeside closes on Thursday, but plans to reopen for ice fishing. Denny Sands said muskie guys are chasing muskies, but it has mainly been smaller ones. There’s some suspended crappie around.

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. As I mentioned in the Root River report, I suspect the tributaries could be prime in the next few days if the rains come and spike the flow.

Stream flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow


Tyler Harmon sent this:

Heard a few whitefish and Lake Trout were caught off the piers yesterday. Action should be increasingly better for the next few weeks. Steelhead action has been slow on the piers. Steelhead action has been decent on the river over the weekend. Also was few Lake Trout caught in the rivers. Spawn and swung flies taking majority of these fish. Walleye fishing has been slow on the rivers. Water levels on the river are still low, go slow and use caution if you are not familiar with the river you are on.


Click herefor reports from the Indiana DNR.


Check reports and info at River’s Edge.


Guide Bill Stoeger said walleye are doing well on a jig and minnow, from Fremont upstream. But he said more schools are coming in downstream. He said the hot bite for crappie came and went

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