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Midwest Fishing Report: Rivers around Chicago fishing

Rivers have summer, even fall, levels, barring too much rain overnight and Wednesday, for this rivers section of the Midwest Fishing Report.

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

As Sunday’s column on the Sun-Times page showed, there is a pretty good bite for bass going on the main steam of the river downtown right now on tube jigs or drop-shot rigs.

DES PLAINES RIVER

Marcus Benesch sent this:

To keep with your pike theme, feels more like the first week of October rather than the first week of August. That being said, over the weekend I invited my father to come join to me to throw some big baits for toothy critters on the Des Plaines. After losing about 2 or 3 of my lures, dad likes using a light setup, my father started getting into some pike. He had a couple violent shake offs before landing a nice one followed by a few hammerhandles. I was having a field day. I landed 6 pike and 3 large mouth bass in about 3 hours. One of those pike being an absolute beauty for the skinny, shallow, north section. Millions of bait fish were in the shallows, so we focused on the shallow water drop offs. Working every creek mouth, sand bar, and river bend. Afterwards I had to peal my 62 year old father from the kayak with a spatula and straighten him back out, he can only handle sitting in that little kayak once or twice a year.

That is Marc’s dad above before being peeled out.

DuPAGE RIVER

No report this week.

FOX RIVER

Ken Gortowski sent this report:

Not Really a Fishing Report

Average summer flow on the Fox is 750 cfs, give or take a few cfs.

So far this year, at least since March, the river has yet to hit that mark.

2005, like 2012, was a drought year. The pattern after 2005 that set up was much like what is happening now. A couple of times a year the river dipped down to 750, then immediately went up again. This went on for 5 years and that pattern finally broke in 2011. Anyone that thinks wading around when the water is at 1500 cfs is no big deal doesn’t go where I go. I can go quite a few places at that water speed, but even at that flow there are times when I know I made a big mistake. It’s not the depth, it’s the flow and when funneled right it will knock you down.

Right now there are massive bug hatches coming off the river. Eating those are huge schools of small bait fish, minnows I guess. Eating those are the smallies. It’s a smorgasbord out there right now.

And there you are, throwing a piece of plastic in the water and hoping a fish will hit it.

Fishing has been sporadic at best. Trick is to throw something out there and reel it in relatively quickly. If nothing results, crawl something painfully slow along the bottom. If you understand spots on spots, fish those.

If none of those things work, you better be fishing an area with some outstanding scenery cause now you’re just out for a stroll down the river.

That last sentence could apply across the rivers.

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

Time on the Water Outdoors reported catfish (cut bait) and drum are the bites. Sauger and walleye are slow. As of Tuesday, river levels were projected to remain stable.

INDIANA STREAMS

Staff at Mik-Lurch reported both Trail and Salt loaded with steelhead.

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

KANKAKEE RIVER

River has dropped rapidly and is closer to October low conditions than summer levels. It is in easy wading shape. I have been our several times in the past week, including with Matt Mullady and his son Mick on Monday. We caught smallmouth at every level: topwater (Chug Bug), middle (flukes) and bottom (purple craw). I see lots trying for catfish, especially toward evening, too.

MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN

Mike Mladenik emailed this:

On the Menominee River smallmouth are in their summer pattern and they are hitting a variety of plastics. The topwater bite has been sporadic and if the weather stabilizes the bite will be consistent. The topwater bite is typically great in August.

On High Falls Flowage the bite has been hot for smallmouth, largemouth and walleye.

He has reports and info at 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.

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN RIVERS

Tyler Harmon messaged:

Steelhead action has been great on the many rivers, inline spinners such as oslos in a wide variety of colors are taking fish, as well so are small plugs, spoons and spawn. . . . Walleye and small mouth still being caught in the river.