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Midwest Fishing Report: Rivers around Chicago fishing (Two adds)

Smallmouth, gar, catfish and wading dominate this rivers section of the Midwest Fishing Report for the final holiday weekend of the summer.

Nick Doumel sent the photo above of a Des Plaines River smallmouth.

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

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

AREA WATER LEVELS

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

CHICAGO RIVER

No updated report this week. I need to bug Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass again.

DES PLAINES RIVER

Marcus Benesch sent this:

Had a chance to fish over the weekend with a young man you already know, George Watford from the NW side. We loaded the kayaks and headed up to Lincolnshire Saturday morning. River levels have been pretty consistent and we are at our normal August lows. Clarity is amazing, anything less than two feet deep is crystal clear. Makes floating the river so much more interesting with that clarity, game fish swam along side the boats along with bait fish in zillions.

We had a very successful pike spawn this year on the river, compared to last year in which I believe the low water and the early March heat wave destroyed the chances for the a successful spawn. This years conditions were the total opposite. Its always easy to tell for me how good the spawn was around this time of year. You start catching 7-8inch baby pike left and right. To give you an idea, last Thursday I got out for a 3 hour float and caught 12 pike that were under 10inches long. They’re very aggressive often times hitting a lure more than half their size.

I would say now is one of the best times to start throwing topwaters for pike, but you can’t go wrong with a large bright bucktail since most summer patterns are still holding. Large mouth bass are really popping up in numbers as well up north. Jigs and spinners deep in the laydowns have been producing good large mouth at 1-3lbs. Rock Bass, blue gill, and some crappie are still biting very well.

A nice DPR ‘Larry’

(aka Lrg Mouth Bass)

My bonus fish of the week, a hybrid stripper I found hanging out in Schiller Woods. Possibly a flooded lake escapee? Looked a little different from the white bass I often catch.

Marcus Benesch

River Grove, Illinois

It is quite encouraging to think that Geo (George) and Marc got together, two good urban fishermen.

Nick Doumel of brookfieldangler.com sent this:

Hey Dale,

I managed to get out twice this week. On Wednesday, I managed to head out for a couple of hours before sunset. Fishing started off rather slow until I found a stretch of slower water and noticed a ton of surface activity. These weren’t your typical pointless carp rises, though. These rises all seemed to have a purpose. Naturally, I tied on a popper fly and proceeded to land a dozen smallmouth in the next forty minutes. Unfortunately, the sun was almost behind the horizon which meant the gates to the forest preserve were about to be locked up for the evening.

Fast forward to Sunday afternoon to pick up where I left off. I started around 1:00pm and fished until 3:30. With a chartreuse over white clouser minnow, I hooked up with fish almost every single cast. If I went three casts without a strike, I moved fifty feet and started catching fish again. It’s easier to say where the fish weren’t rather than were they were. Fast and shallow water produced nothing – everywhere else had fish. There was really no “wrong” retrieval pattern but a slight upstream and across presentation did have a slightly higher success rate.

I never started counting fish that day but if I had to quantify the number of fish landed, I would say…a lot! The biggest of the day came in at 16″ and 17″. This river just keeps getting better!!

DuPAGE RIVER

No report this week.

FOX RIVER

Sam Bennett, just back from traveling, sent this:

Hey Dale-

Not sure I’m qualified to write a report with only one day on the water, but I did manage to make a few observations.

I spoke with quite a few folks and the bite has been tough. The shiners and bluegills that were plentiful in years past are not at the dams right now.

I saw very little minnow activity at all. The water was much cooler than I expected. One might draw conclusions about the dissolved oxygen levels and the need to hang out near the dams. (If one were so inclined.)

Superbly wadeable and a cool wet wade in the heat of the day. I found fish scattered in shallow riffles and both crank baits and jigs worked. Mostly smaller fish. One flathead.

I talked to Gary Pack who said the fishing has been so poor he’s taken some time off the water. That’s a statement right there.

A little bit of rain to stir things up wouldn’t hurt.

Flatheading has been steady, I’ve heard, but haven’t wet a line at night since May. Marty Jandura landed a 40-incher a few weeks ago and has had multiple fish trips.

I’m getting out for topwater smallies one night this week. Maybe that’s the key to bigger fish. The heat-of-the-day bite that was so hot at this time last year hasn’t materialized yet.

-Sam

Sam is dropping some classic names in Gary and Marty.

Ken Gortowski sent this, well, posted it on Facebook and suggested I pick it up, which I did:

Eight fish caught and 13 missed in a three hour stroll down the river this morning. Not sure why I was counting both. Didn’t take a single picture, nothing of real note. Maybe that’s why I was counting. Had a couple of nice jumpers that wanted nothing to do with being landed.

I use an average of 10 fish per hour, landed or just on briefly, to determine the quality of the fishing day. At 21 in three hours, that would be relatively slow. River is in perfect condition. The spike from the rain last week even improved the clarity a bit.

Did get to see the eagle again. This time about a half mile upstream from where I saw it last week. Nice treat.

Grab this Dale if no one else sends you anything this week. Only one venture out, kind of, and not sure I’ll have another chance.

His definition and mine (and that of many others) differ on success rates.

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

ILLINOIS RIVER

Staff at Time on the Water Outdoors reported river is in decent shape with recent rains and catfish are the top bite. Otherwise, it is carp and drum, with some largemouth bass in the marina.

INDIANA STREAMS

No new reports of a push of kings. The steelhead in the streams are lethargic with all the heat.

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

KANKAKEE RIVER

River is very low, very wadeable.

Norm Minas sent this:

the river remains low, below normal levels. some floating emergent vegetation. algae still on bottom but not floating in the most popular stretch. not much changed since last week, faster harder flows, neck downs, riffle areas and channel edges. pay attention to shade and effect of angle of sun on cover in the water.. emergent vegetation holds fish if enough current and depth.

still mostly fishing more aggressive techniques and staying above algae where it’s present.

Sunday, lots of folks out, decided to chase gar after getting my smallmouth jones fixed. I had 6 hits on a pop r, landed none, didn’t lose the lure. I called it a draw.

norm

I love the idea of switching to gar. Went after gar with Norm a few years ago.

MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN

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

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

The Wisconsin DNR Root River Report is generally updated during the prime seasons. But there is other information on the site. People are trying for kings.

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN RIVERS

Tyler Harmon messaged:

Rivers are getting to be quite low, and the temperatures in them have been rising fast, so no steelhead action in the rivers, few walleyes, and catfish.

WISCONSIN DELLS

I also put this in the lakes section. Sturgeon season starts on Sept. 7 (correction). Staff at River’s Edge reported top bites are smallmouth and crappie; walleye are an evening bite. Water is low.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

FREMONT: Guide Bill Stoeger said bluegill and smallmouth are good bites for those coming up for the holiday weekend; crappie are decent, but this is not the hot fall bite yet, and there’s a few walleye in the river.