Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes around Chicago fishing

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Shoreline salmon lead this lakes section of the Midwest Fishing Report.

I normally post the sprawling online version of the lakes section of the MFR, published in a condensed form Wednesdays on the Sun-Times outdoors page, by Wednesday morning.

I usually publish the rivers section of the MFR Tuesday evening.

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


The kings are coming in.

CHICAGO: Mike Repaat Park Bait said glow-in-the-dark spoons remain the top choice at Montrose, where the biggest so far reported was 18 pounds. Fish are in at Burnham/Northerly Island and on the South Side, too, according to Ray Hinton.

INDIANA:Mike Starcevich at Mik-Lurch reported salmon all over: Ditch, Hole-in-the-wall, and up the creeks (Salt, Trail and Little Cal); should be going soon at the Pastrick and Hammond marinas. Best has been Moonshine spoons. See FOTW for how big the big ones are.

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN:Tyler Harmon messaged a “few steelhead and salmon being caught in the rivers now,” but “pier and near shore trolling on Lake Michigan has been slow but a few are being caught.”


Mik-Lurch and others report crappie beginning to pick up as fall starts to build. It is the season, though the warmer weather may slow that up.

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

Hey Dale, The area lakes out south are starting to heat up for big bass. BPS stik-o’s worked on wind blown shorelines have really produced some bigger bass. It’s key to pay attention to the winds each day. Weed mats on these shorelines are key ambush points. Heavy line up to 20lbs is needed to get these big bass out of that cover. Here are a few nice ones for you Husker Outdoors Water Werks Fishing Team


From Hooksetter’s Guide Service:

(Head): Walleye, panfish, bass, musky and catfish all hitting with bear hunters bagging some nice bears; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin¹s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau). Great walleye bite in the central Wisconsin area on the Wisconsin River system. A lot of fish caught long-line trolling the edges of the main river channel with crankbaits in 6 to 10 feet of water. The panfish bite continues to be very good in the central Wisconsin area with limit catches of bluegills and crappies along with some nice perch. Most of the action is coming by working weedless jigs, in the weeds and drowned wood and off of weed edges in 10-15 feet of water. Action for bass in the central Wisconsin is the best it has been all year long. Big bronzebacks are being caught with jigs and plastics by throwing top water baits and spinner baits near shoreline structure. The musky bite in the central Wisconsin area has picked up dramatically with action on every outing. We had several nice fish over 40 inches with a couple pushing the 50 inch mark (all immediately released!). Most of the action was on large bucktails and jerkbaits, but we are still seeing some top water action as well. A nice mix of catfish has ben the norm on recent outings in the central Wisconsin area, with some big cats over 30 inches showing up. Most of the fish are in deep holes in the main river channel and along steep shorelines.


Check updates at http://www.foxwaterway.com/ or (847) 587-8540.

For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/


MAZONIA:  Last day of fishing at Mazonia, other than Monster Lake at Mazonia South (it stays open for fishing year round) is Oct. 8.

BRAIDWOOD:Last day of fishing is Oct. 8.

LaSALLE: Be aware the road in and parking lot is being paved. There may be days when the ramps and/or site are closed. Call (815) 795-2448 to check on opening. Last day of fishing is Oct. 13.

HEIDECKE:Last day of fishing is Oct. 8.


DELAVAN: Guide Dave Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 9/16/13 through 9/23/13 With the cooler weather, the fall fishing patterns are starting to take shape. For live bait fishermen, it’s time to look to fat head minnows as the bait of choice over nightcrawlers. Last week, I caught all species in the lake on fat head minnows from crappies to northern pike. The fish have scattered from their tight summer schools and are now throughout the weedline and main lake points continue to produce most of the action. Largemouth bass are in the 15 ft depth range, in the weedline just off the main lake points. You can catch them on black and blue jigs or split shot rigged fat head minnows. The best location has been just west of Willow Point, west of the Yacht Club or by Assembly park. Bluegill action has been spotty. Most of the fish are in the deep main lake basin in 35-40 ft of water. I find them hard to catch when they are in that depth range. The best approach is straight lining leaf worms underneath the boat. As the water continues to cool, the deep water bite gets better. I have no idea why they suspend in the main lake basin, but it is a seasonal pattern for them. Look for the fish off the island and in front of the Yacht Club. Northern Pike are becoming more active as the water cools. The best depth range is 12-15 ft in the weedline. They are biting on chrome and blue Rattle Traps and white spinner baits. What I’ve been doing is just slowly trolling down the weedlines in 20 ft of water, casting towards shore. The best location has been from the Yacht Club to Willow Point. Walleye action has been rather slow. I tried last Saturday without success. I had leeches, fat head minnows and nightcrawlers and never got a hit. This is the right time of year to start trying for them. Rapala Husky jerks and Smithwick Rogues should work well, the best color is chrome and blue and chrome and black. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


Lake Geneva Fishing Report 9/16/13 through 9/23/13 The week started with unseasonably warm temperatures and by the end of the week we had a massive cold front. You would think that this would slow fishing down, but since the fish are still so deep it didn’t affect it at all. The boat traffic has been very light though which makes fishing much more pleasurable. Smallmouth bass are still relating to hard bottoms in deep water. The best depth has been 21-25 ft of water. The best locations are by Fontana Beach, Conference Point or by Black Point. I’ve been using nightcrawlers and fat head minnows with equal success. The bigger fish are coming out of slightly deeper water in the 25-28 ft depth range, but the majority are a few feet shallower. Largemouth bass fishing has been improving. The bass are starting to move into shallower water from their deep summer haunts. Look for the fish in Williams Bay or by Trinkes. The best depth currently is about 14 ft. Use drop shot rigs or Carolina rigged green pumpkin lizards. Northern Pike action has been almost non-existent this summer and that continues. There are a few fish being caught in the 25-30 ft depth range. Lindy rigs with medium suckers have been producing the most but it’s still not that great of a bite. The northern pike will continue to move shallower as the water cools and the fishing should improve significantly. Bluegills remain in the deep water locations. Some of the nicest fish I’ve caught in recent years are coming right now. The best depth is 22-25 ft of water. Look for the fish by Fontana Beach or by the Chicago Club. Straight lining leaf worms beneath the boat has been producing most of the fish. Lake Trout fishing has started to slow with the cooling water. The fish aren’t suspended as much and they are laying close to the bottom making them hard to catch. There are still some people trying for them in the main lake basin. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050 Daily Report 9/14/13 – Delavan Lake, sunny, light winds, air temp 60 degrees, water temp 73 degrees. Caught 24 largemouth bass and 4 northern pike. The overall size of the fish this week, were smaller than we’ve been seeing, only one legal fish. We used nightcrawlers, leeches and fat head minnows with similar success for all. 9/13/13 – Lake Geneva, sunny, north winds at 12 mph. Air temp, 65 degrees, water temp, 75 degrees. Caught 30 smallmouth bass and 6 largemouth bass. The cold front did not affect the deep water bite. The fish were caught in 21-24 ft of water. The best approach was a lindy rigged nightcrawler.


POWERTON:Lake is open again, 6 a.m.-8 p.m. daily.


The Wisconsin DNR has a report, which is typically updated on Tuesdays, posted at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html


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


For shoreline salmon, see top.


Go to http://www.dsbait.com/ for information and reports from D&S Bait.


MINOCQUA: Kurt Justiceof Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:

Finally some good early fall weather. Night time temps dipped to the low 30’s ((high 20’s in some low areas) and water temps are starting to drop along with air temp. Thursday’s forecast is for a high of 80 degrees, but after that we are back to the highs of 60’s. Crappies: Very good. Depending on barometer, crappies are being found high up over deep weed beds in 10-14’ taking Charlie Bee’s, Mini-mites, 1 and 2 twisters and small beetle spins on the natural lakes during cloudy days. Down at the weed bases, suspended 3-4’ off the bottom on high pressure days taking minnows. On the flowages, wood is key to holding big slabs, though traveling, suspended fish on slip-floats and minnows over 12-18’ mud. Perch: Very good. Shallow water of 4-7’ producing nice eater perch of 9-11. Half crawlers on 1/16oz weedless jigs best. Fish are scattered, so it takes some searching, but a nice mess of perch available for those willing to move around. Largemouth Bass: Very good. Active along deeper weeds on jig/pig, Carolina rigging 7 worms. Smaller, yet active bass are up in shallower water on 1/8oz jig and 4 Powerworms. Spinnerbaits and chatterbaits on cloudy days finding bass moving out from dock cover. Pike: Good. Most action on live bait with chubs/suckers of 4-6 length on jig/steel leaders to prevent bite off. Spinnerbaits as well as #3 and #4 Mepps also productive for fish to 32 this week. Only place pike action is slow is on the flowages. Smallmouth Bass: Good. Gravel humps holding sculpin producing good catches of nice smallies to 19 this past week. Drop-shotting 3 Senkos, 2 ½ Craw Papis, jigging creature baits all productive. Crawlers and frozen soft shells also doing well. Musky: Fair. Bite is still off. Some fish being caught, but not a lot of action. Recent drop in water temps should improve things once surface temps drop below mid 60’s mark. While bucktails and twitch baits are typically best at this time, don’t put away the top water until after turn-over. Temps in the low 60’s this week should get the sucker bite going. Walleye: Fair. Reports of scattered catches. Still best on crawlers. Dusk best time or after dark on lighted slip-floats. Bluegills: Fair-Good. Not as many anglers targeting bluegills, but some nice catches using small leeches, waxies in 8-10’ weeds. With most lakes seeing surface temps of 68-70 degrees over the weekend, the recent pair of cold nights should spark some activity, especially among the musky and walleye. Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop www.kurtsislandsports.com

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): Good to excellent action for northern and smallmouth bass, with a good bite for musky, walleye, largemouth bass and panfish. Hunting season in full swing with deer archery season, along with grouse season open, and other seasons opening very soon. All in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. Water temps hanging in the low 70s in the Eagle River area. Northern in the Eagle River area are in 10 feet of water or less in and around weeds. Use a small bucktail, Husky Jerk (minnow or walleye pattern), or a northern sucker under a slip bobber. All day action. Bite is good to excellent. Smallmouth bass are providing good to excellent action in the Eagle River area. Fish 8 to 30 feet of water off of break edges or over hardbottom areas. Use a tube, plastic crawfish, or a jig and a minnow. All day bite. Musky are in 12 feet of water or less off of break edges and adjacent weed edges, in the Eagle River area. Use a bucktail, topwater, crankbait, or jerkbait- – all are working. Regular retrieve, and make sure you do a figure 8 as the lure nears your boat. All day action, with peaks in the evening. Bite is good. Walleye in the Eagle River area are in 30 feet of water or less off of break edges or adjacent weed edges. The walleye are tight to bottom. Use a jig and a minnow or half of a crawler. All day action with peaks in the evening. Bite is good. Largemouth bass in the Eagle River area are in 10 feet of water or less in and around weeds and shoreline structure (docks, downed trees and brushpiles). Use a plastic rigged weedless during the day, and a topwater in the evening. All day action with peaks near sunset. Bite is good. Panfish — crappies, bluegills and perch – -are in 15 feet of water or less, holding near weed edges in the Eagle River area. Perch are tight to bottom, with crappies and gills suspending (depth is day and lake dependent). Use a chunk of crawler or crappie minnow on a small jig or under a slip bobber. All day action. Bite is good.


For shoreline salmon, see top. Staff at Mik-Lurch reported some walleye at Wolf. Willow Slough reopens to fishing on Monday.


Lakeside holds its popular Muskie Contest Weekend on Saturday and Sunday. Here is the info:

Next Up !!! – Muskie Contest Weekend Saturday, September 21st & Sunday, September 22nd Shabbona Lake Muskie Capitol Of Illinois Home Of 4 State Of Illinois Record Muskie Saturday, September 21st & 22nd will be the dates of the Annual Shabbona Lake Muskie Contest Weekend. The hours will be 6 AM – 6 PM. The winner will be determined by the longest Muskie caught on September 21st & 22nd at Shabbona Lake. Lakeside Bait, Tackle & Boat Rental will have a chase boat on the water to respond to every reported Muskie Catch. Please call 815-824-2581 to report catches. Do not bring Muskie catches into Lakeside, we will come to you. 2013 has been a very good year for Muskie at Shabbona Lake with two 50+ Inch Muskie being caught (July 18th & August 18th). With the improved spillway barrier system, many Muskie have been saved and returned to Shabbona Lake, increasing the Muskie population to the best ever. The winning fish will be determined by the longest Muskie of the weekend. There is a limit of one prize per angler. If you sign up on Saturday, you are also signed up forSunday, you do not need to reregister. You can reregister a longer fish, as the day goes on. Prizes: 1st Place – Choice of $100 gift certificate at Lakeside Bait, Tackle & Boat Rental or an all-day weekday Pontoon or all day weekday Bass Boat Rental 2nd Place – Choice of $50 gift certificate at Lakeside Bait, Tackle & Boat Rental or an all-day weekday Motor Boat Rental. 3rd Place – Choice of $25 gift certificate at Lakeside Bait, Tackle & Boat Rental or an all-day Weekday Kayak or Canoe Rental. Sign up at Lakeside Bait, Tackle & Boat Rental 1.You must sign up and donate $5 To the Walleye Restocking Fund Prior to Your Catch to Qualify. 2. All entrees must be caught at Shabbona Lake between 6 AM Saturday, September 21st & 22nd & and 6 PM Sunday, August 18th. 3. Fish must be alive when measured. We encourage catch & release, as soon as the fish is measured. 4. One witness must be present to verify your catch, when you enter your catch. 5. Determination of winning qualifying fish will be by lenght. Sponsored by Lakeside Bait, Tackle & Boat Rental www.shabbonalake.com 815-824-2581 Lakeside is now taking reservations for Bass Boat, Pontoon, Kayaks, Motor Boat or Row Boat!!! Go to http://www.shabbonalake.com/online.html or call 815-824-2581. $5.00 off on all day boat reservation at Lakeside, if made in advance 24+ hours. Shabbona Lake, located in Southern DeKalb County, 30 miles west of Aurora, Illinois, has a fishery with State Record potential Walleye, Hybrid Crappie and Muskie. 4 State Of Illinois Record Muskie and 2 State Of Illinois Record Hybrid Crappie already adorn Shabbona’s legacy. Help us top off a great 2013 fishing season at Shabbona Lake with a new State Of Illinois Record Muskie. It would be Shabbona Lake’s 5th State Record Muskie. The last State Record was caught on April 1st, 1997, by Chris Kim, 37 pounds, 13 ounces, 49 1/8 inches, caught on a 4″ sucker minnow on a snelled #4 hook under a bobber!!! For more 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.


Tyler Harmonmessaged:

Few steelhead and salmon being caught in the rivers now. I hear the summer steelhead fishing is on fire in the Mishawaka stretch of the Saint Joseph. Pier and near shore trolling on Lake Michigan has been slow but a few are being caught.


Sturgeon season started. More details at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/sturgeon/sturgeoninlandfishery.html

River’s Edge reported a few small sturgeon. Check other reports and info at River’s Edge.

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