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Midwest Fishing Report: Rivers around Chicago fishing

Fall patterns come 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.

The lakes section of the MFR is posted later Tuesday 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

Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass called today to say big smallmouth are going downtown, while the South Branch has good largemouth.

DES PLAINES RIVER

Marcus Benesch sent this:

The last few cold nights haven’t had any affect on the Pike bite. The northerns are super active right now and hitting everything thrown into a brush pile. Northern Cook County and Lake County offering the most abundant Pike fishing, most fish range between 21-30inches, with those occasional whoppers over 30inches. Thundersticks, larger bucktails, and big creatures baits doing very well.

My personal catch of the week was this old wagon wheel. Floated over a hole that just so happen to have perfect clarity with this low water and notice the shape of the wheel. Had to jump out of the kayak and wade into the hole to retrieve it. Probably weighs over 75lbs and it almost submerged my kayak. Its covered in an inch of rust and river barnacles. I’ve pulled turn of the century dairy bottles and prohibition pop bottles out of the river in the same section. I’m just doing my part of cleaning up the river, one relic at a time.

DuPAGE RIVER

No report this week.

FOX RIVER

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

Ken Gortowski sent this, for which I am grateful:

Some things Change Quickly

Friday morning, heading west on Route 30 to spend the weekend camping at Morrison Rockwood State Park, things were changing. The corn and soybean fields still had a fair amount of green in them, but the yellow was starting to show. West of the Rock River more yellows and browns with some fields gone completely brown already, but the predominant color was still green.

Friday night they said it was going to be 40 degrees out there. It felt a bit colder.

Sunday morning on the drive east you couldn’t help but notice that the green was pretty much gone. All the way to the Rock it seemed like everything went brown over night. A few fields were already being harvested. Soon the sunsets will turn a hazy pink as all the dust from all the harvesting lays low on the fields.

So, you ask, what the heck does that have to do with fishing the Fox River.

Got me, I didn’t get out the last few days.

Okay, I lie, I was out on Wednesday night for a sunset cruise and in an hour and a half I hooked into 11 fish. This is still below what I like to see, but then we also tied a 30 year old temperature record of 96 degrees the day before. The river was murky and warm and I felt lucky to tie into the eleven.

The temperatures are going to start dropping, both air and water. My own records show that this time of year is as good or better out on the Fox than even in the spring. For me anyway. Water temps should soon get down into the mid 50 range and that is an ideal temperature. Activity levels of smallies should increase, the bite should improve and if the stars align and the gods are with you, a fifty fish day is definitely within reach.

I won’t know this week. In my garage sits a tent and ground cloth. The tent filled with water, the ground cloth covered in mud and water. There’s nothing more pleasant while out camping then breaking down at 6 AM in a downpour. Before you get to drink a single cup of coffee. The next two days are going to be beautiful out. Perfect days for sunset cruises and the hopes of an increase in fish catching numbers.

Or drying out and cleaning out a tent.

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

No update this week.

INDIANA STREAMS

Mik-Lurch staff reported salmon coming into the streams (Little Cal, Trail, Salt). Moonshine spoons and spawn have been the hot ticket.

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

KANKAKEE RIVER

River is very low, very wadeable. Guide Matt Mullady reported some outstanding fly fishing for smallmouth in the state park.

MAZON RIVER

There is fishing access near the mouth at Morris Wetlands. A map is at http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/hunter_fact_sheet/R2Maps/MorrisWetlandsMap.pdf.

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 again being updates weekly, generally by 4 p.m. Tuesdays.

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN RIVERS

Tyler Harmon messaged:

Few steelhead and salmon being caught in the rivers now.

ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA

Tyler messaged that the Mishawaka section is on fire for steelhead.

WISCONSIN DELLS

Sturgeon season is open. More details at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/sturgeon/sturgeoninlandfishery.html River’s Edge reported a few small sturgeon caught. Check other reports and info at River’s Edge.