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Midwest Fishing Report: Rivers around Chicago fishing

The low warm waters of late summer factor greatly into this rivers section of the Midwest Fishing Report, but there is some very good fishing in places.Ken “Husker” O’Malley of Water Werks Fishing Team sent the photo from an outing on the Kankakee over the weekend.

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. Had a meeting last night and didn’t get home until late, so it is this morning.

The lakes section of the MFR is posted later Tuesday or Wednesday morning.

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


Go to to check area water levels and projections.

To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to


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


Marcus Benesch sent this:

Things have been great on the river. Especially up in the northern sections of Cook County and Lake County. Pike and large mouth have been very active with excellent numbers. Tapered river bends providing the most action. Also, you can’t be afraid to work the shallows on a stream. I have caught 4 pike over 30 inches in less than a foot of water this year. Top waters still producing many strikes as well.

I took a group of kayak fishermen out with me on Saturday. I lost count after catching a dozen pike, nothing major size wise. Lost many more. Quite a few bass being caught up north as well. Everyone out had a great day actually, the guy with least amount of action still landed 5 pike and 2 bass.

Marcus Benesch

River Grove


No report this week.


My regular contributors are moving or tied up in work and life. I could use another regular contributor for the Fox report.

Ken Gortowski has been getting out and doing OK.

Sam Bennett sent this:

With cooler nights the smallmouth bite should be getting better. There were a few more reports of decent catches this week. Those are still the exception. I got out for a float before dark and got blanked, but my partner picked up a few. The best was a largemouth in the 15″ range. Bigger fish have been tough to find.

I spoke with Marty Jandura, of the Fox Valley Flatheaders, and he’s just about ready to call it quits for the year. Salmon calling. That doesn’t mean that catfishing is done for the year. Water temps are still high enough to justify chasing river monsters.

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

Check Fox updates near the Stratton Dam at or (847) 587-8540. For the area above the Montgomery dam, go to

To join the Fox River Angler Diary Project, go to I think it is one of the neater projects around.

Sam Bennett has a getting-started guide for the Fox at


No update this week.


Mik-Lurch staff reported there are fish, steelhead and a few kings in the streams, but the low hot water has made it tough. Could check if we get a shot of cool rain and the weather change.

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


River is very low, very wadeable; in spots, the river almost feels lower than during the Drought of 2012 in spots. Of course, that could change if we get rain tonight, but I don’t think that much is forecast

Ken “Husker” O’Malley of Water Werks Fishing Team had this fairly representative report:

Hey Dale,

I had a great day on the Kankakee this morning. Water clarity was perfect with just a slight stain. Levels are still low, but not that bad. Top water bite was very brief. Did manage to catch a 31 inch gar on a Zara puppy. That was cool. I switched to a Erie darter on a 1/0 keeper hook. I did not have to change baits the rest of the day. I caught smallmouth in deep pools, current seems, and eddys. By mid morning, the deep pool bite shut down, but finding faster moving water kept the bite going.

Saw what a believe was an osprey with a 10 inch walleye in its talons. That was so cool. Just wish I could have gotten a pic of that!

That is very cool. Over the weekend, Matt Mullady told of watching an eagle steal a fish from the osprey.


There is fishing access near the mouth at Morris Wetlands. A map is at


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


The Wisconsin DNR Root River Report is generally updated during the prime seasons. usually by 4 p.m. on Tuesdays. However, it has not been updated yet this fall. But there is other information on the site.


Tyler Harmon messaged:

Rivers are still low, and no salmon or steelhead are being caught. Smallmouth action has still been great on the river.


Sturgeon season is open. More details at

River’s Edge reported a few small sturgeon caught, otherwise, the best bites from the dam down are smallmouth and crappie. Check other reports and info at River’s Edge.