Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes around Chicago fishing

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Shoreline salmon and the start to the fall crappie bite 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.


Henry’s 10th annual Fall Salmon Classic is Sunday at Northerly Island. And timing would seem to be good. Registration is 5:30-6 p.m.; fishing 6-9 p.m. Go to Henryssports.com or call (312) 225-8538.


The kings, big ones, are coming in. Mike Markese sent the photo of the 21-pound, 38-inch king he caught at Belmont Monday night.

How big?

After going 2-for-8 Saturday at Milwaukee, Arden Katz said, “So big, they are busting hooks and lines.”

Big kings like shoreline fishermen haven’t seen in years are coming in.

CHICAGO: Markese reported a 20-4 king from Belmont Saturday morning (and a 15-pound steelhead). Steve Palmisano at Henry’s said Montrose and Jackson Park are going best, fish starting to make the inner harbor at Jackson Park and some going deeper into Burnham; mostly on spoons, crankbaits and some spinners.

WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop reported Government Pier the best for shore fishermen; traditional spoons are best (Moonshine hottest).

INDIANA: Mik-Lurch reported good kings up the streams (spinners or spawn); a few being caught at the Hole-in-the-Wall and kings being seen at East Chicago. David Martin Repya messaged that he helped net five kings (all silver, biggest going 20 pounds) at Michigan City Monday night.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN: Katz said anything with a rattle in it is best and Milwaukee is loaded.

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN:Tyler Harmon messaged that a few salmon are around lower end, while rivers farther north (Grand, Kalamazoo) are going better and have some big coho coming in, too. He said lots of kings in 25- to 30-pound range have been caught up and down the coast.


Palmisano, Mik-Lurch and many others indicate crappie starting to go at many suburban lakes and forest preserves.


From Hooksetter’s Guide Service:

(Head): Strong fall musky bite, with walleye very good, crappies and bluegills hitting, and white bass showing up in record numbers. The 2013 bear season is going well and deer archery season is open; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin¹s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau). The big fall musky bite has begun in the central Wisconsin area, and some real trophy class fish are being taken. Jerkbaits and double bladed bucktails, along with large rubber baits are going to be the main pattern from now-on until freeze up. Look for muskies to be suspending near deeper water along drop-offs and roaming deep weed edges in search of prey. The walleye bite in the central Wisconsin area has been very good with some nice catches being made from the deeper sections of the Wisconsin River. Jigs tipped with fathead minnows are working the best but a few anglers are still picking up some nice fish by long line trolling. Activity for panfish in the central Wisconsin area has been very good with crappies really turning on. Most of these fish are suspended over deeper water and can be caught by running slip bobbers with small minnows suspended 5 to 7 feet below the surface. The bluegills have been consistent with nice catches of fish from deep submerged wood. Tiny jigs tipped with a piece of crawler or a red worm will do the trick for the gills. White bass have been showing up in record numbers in the central Wisconsin area. You find one, and you will find a dozen. A small white spinner tossed along shoreline structure will catch any white bass that swims and if you pick one up work the area thoroughly as there will be more for sure.


Greg Dickson at Triangle reported crappie are stellar, coming in shallow enough for even shore fishermen, minnows or jigs are working; bluegill are on shallow flats; catfish remain strong on shallow mud flats; for white bass, fish the river; bass are mostly on laydowns or shoreline structure; walleye are switching to minnow bite, try to work wind or current.

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. Jon’s Bait in South Wilmington reported some decent crappie at Monster and Ponderosa, and some nice bluegill at Ponderosa. The oddity is reports of improving walleye at some local pits.

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 9/23/13 through 9/30/13 Because Delavan Lake is a substantially shallower body of water than Lake Geneva, frontal patterns effect Delavan quite a bit more and cold fronts really make the fishing tough. This past weeks 30 degree cold front shut the fish off and made the bite very tough. With stable weather forecasted, we should see improvement throughout the next week. Largemouth bass are in small pockets. This past Saturday I fished multiple areas where they have been active recently with limited success. But once I found an area with biting fish, I ended up catching some nice fish. The bass are being caught on black and blue jigs or on fat head minnows. Look for the fish in 15-16 ft of water right on the weeds. Walleye fishing has started to improve. They are being caught best in the evening right at sun down. You want to cast chrome and blue and perch colored Rattle Traps or Rapala Husky Jerks. Look for the fish around the main lake points. The best depth right now is 20 ft of water. The fish are suspended in the water column. Northern Pike action has still been spotty. Like Lake Geneva, I’m catching one here and there but there doesn’t seem to be an active pattern. The best approach is slip bobbering medium suckers or lindy rigging them. The best location has been just west of Willow Point or down by the island. Bluegill action has been very slow for me. They have moved out of the medium depth range, 15-16 ft of water and are either shallower or suspended out in the main lake basin. The late fall pattern is usually suspended in 35-40 ft of water. I haven’t had time to go look for them, but I will as fall goes on. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


Lake Geneva 9/23/13 through 9/30/13 This past week we had some up and down weather, from hot and humid to unseasonably cold by the weekend. Fishing was also like a roller coaster, some days they bit well in every location and other days it was tough to get a bite anywhere. Overall fishing is still transitioning from a summer bite to a fall pattern. Some days, fat head minnows are the best presentation and other days nightcrawlers prevail. Before you head to the lake, make sure you have an ample supply of both. Smallmouth bass are still hanging on the deep water structures. They are in 21-25 ft of water. They can be caught either drop shotting small plastic worms or split shot rigging live bait, either nightcrawlers or fat head minnows. The best location has been by Fontana Beach, Yerkes Observatory or by the old Military Academy. With the cooling water, northern pike have moved shallow. The best depth for them is 15-20 ft of water. I caught a few fish last week by the Military Academy and Yerkes Observatory. They were caught on medium suckers fished on a lindy rig. The bite has been sporadic but should be improving as the water cools. Perch fishing has been excellent in the 10-12 foot depth range. They are biting on slip bobber small fat head minnows. For that presentation, I typically anchor the boat. The best location has been by Knollwood and by Belvidere Park. This pattern should continue throughout fall. Bluegill fishing was slower this week. They seem to have moved out of the deeper water and may be a bit shallower than I have been fishing. Try for them in 12-14 ft of water. Abbey Springs and Trinkes are good places to start. Leaf worms fished on a split shot rig should work. Largemouth bass have moved up on the weedline and are in shallower water than their summer locations. They are in the 12-14 ft depth range. Look for the fish by Trinkes, Knollwood and by Colemans Point. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050 Daily Reports 9/22/13 – Lake Geneva, sunny, SW winds at 5 mph. Air temp 56, water temp 69 degrees. Caught 17 smallmouth bass and a 30 inch pike. Fishing was a little tough today. We only caught fish in one area, by Yerkes Observatory. The best depth was 21-25 ft of water. The presentation was nightcrawlers fished on a split shot rig. 9/21/13 – Delavan Lake, sunny, NW winds at 10 mph. Air temp 55 and water temp 69 degrees. Caught 20 largemouth bass and 1 northern pike. Fishing was kind of slow due to the tremendous cold from that went through in the past few days. I was lucky to find an active school of fish. All fish were caught on a split shot rig with a fat head minnow. The best locations were main lake points.


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.

CHICAGO: Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters reported fair fish scattered from the wreck to Julian’s Reef.

WAUKEGAN: Ralph said early it is 40-60 feet from straight out and south; later to 100-120.

NORTH POINT: Poteshman reported decent fishing for steelhead, lakers, smaller kings and occasional brown; some days on the hill, some days in 200-250.


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


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

After a late week hiccup, water temps are finally being forced down just a bit. Water temps were dropping, but, Thursday’s high of 80 degrees rose surface temps back above the mid 60’s. Sunday morning had low temps of 28 degrees. Flowages and shallow lakes saw surface temps dip to 61-62 degrees, while larger lakes hover around 65 degrees. Crappies: Very good. Still the best bite going so far. Any drowned wood is worth probing with slip-floats and minnows, jig and minnow or twister combos. Continue as last week, working 2 twisters over weed tops or look for suspended crappie 3-5’ off bottom outside of 14-17’ coontail edges. Largemouth Bass: Good. Action changing with colder mornings. Working twitch baits (X-raps, Husky Jerks, Rattlin’ Rogues) over inside weed edges producing nice bass to 18 this week. Late mornings best. Spinnerbaits and shallow cranks also working. Walleye: Fair-Good. Catches improving with drop in water temps. Best results using chubs, but, large fats and crawlers also working. Musky: Fair-Good. Catches slowly improving. Just starting to get some decent reports on sucker fishing. Bucktails, gliders and twitches best among artificial use. Pike: Fair-Good. Spinnerbaits up in shallow weeds being used by schools of perch producing catches. Not a lot of size this week, but some nice 28-29 Smallmouth Bass: Fair-Good. Still work gravel humps of 17-25’, use sculpin imitation/colored jigs/plastic to pick up some nice smallies to 19 this week. Perch: Good-Fair. Bite slowed. Continue to fish shallow weeds of 4-7’. Bluegills: Fair. Few reports. Taking longer than expected, but low 60 degree temps showing up. A bump in the walleye and musky action at the end of this week, but, should only improve from here. Next three weeks are sucker time, best time for action musky fishing. Maple trees are suddenly showing good colors. Birch, Popal, Ash are on the verge. 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): Northern bite excellent, with walleye, smallmouth, and panfish hitting good to excellent, and musky and largemouth good. Ducks, woodcock, grouse and wild turkey providing great hunting opportunities. All in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. Water temps in the Eagle River area are hanging in the mid to upper 60s. Northern in the Eagle River area are locating in 10 feet of water or less in and around weeds. Use a small bucktail, bass style spinner bait, Husky Jerk (minnow or walleye pattern), or a northern sucker under a slip bobber. All day action. Bite is excellent. Walleye in the Eagle River area putting on a good to excellent bite. Fish 10-25 feet of water off of weed edges, break edges or adjacent mud flats. The walleye are tight to bottom. Use a jig and a minnow or jig and half of a crawler. All day action, with peaks in the evening. Bite is good to excellent. Smallmouth bass in the Eagle River area are in 8-25 feet of water off of hardbottom break edges. Use a plastic crawfish, a tube, or a jig and a minnow. All day bite. Action is good to excellent. Panfish (crappies, bluegills and perch) in the Eagle River area are outsidef weed edges in 6-15 feet of water. Perch are tight to bottom. Crappies and gills suspending up and down the water column (day and lake dependent). Use a crappie minnow or a chunk of crawler under a slip bobber or on a small jig. Mini Mites are also working very well. All day bite. Action is good to excellent. Musky are in 12 feet of water or less off of weed edges and adjacent hard bottom areas, in the Eagle River area. Use a bucktail, topwater, or jerkbait, with a standard retrieve (always do a figure 8 when the lure nears your boat). 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 or shoreline structure (docks, downed trees and brushpiles). Use a plastic rigged weedless, a topwater, or a bass style spinner bait. All day action. Bite is good.


For shoreline salmon, see top. People just starting to get back out at Willow Slough, which reopened this week.


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

Hey Dale, Hit Shabbona the other day. Water temps were 68- 69 with good clarity. Bass were active very early on buzz baits and swim baits. Fishing heavy weed cover was key as the bass were busting shad. Once that bite ended, drop shorting rock humps with finesse worms produced a few more bass. Crappie were active in brush piles on crappie minnows. Not spending too much time in one spot was key. You really can’t beat the scenery at Shab. It’s one of my favorite local lakes to fish. Bacon cheese burgers are a plus as well. Talk to you later Husker Outdoors Water Werks Fishing Team

Husker is right about the scenery at Shabbona. I have some stunning sunset photos there over the years. 

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:

A few salmon around in the lower rivers in my area, the areas farther up north have much more action going on. Rivers like the Grand, and the Kalamazoo have a ton of fish in them right now. Cohos are running thick, and averaging 8-9 pounds. Inland lake fishing has started to die off, look for fish starting to move to typical fall holding locations in the coming weeks. Lake Michigan trolling has been decent. As for your question yes fewer but bigger kings. Lots of 25-30 pounds been caught up and down the coast over here. Even heard of a 42 pound king caught trolling out of Grand Haven about 3-4 weeks ago. (I seen photos of it).


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

River’s Edge reported no legal sturgeon yet (60-inch minimum), but “lots of 40s and 50s.” Water needs to cool more. Otherwise, walleye and bluegill are the best bite. Check other reports and info at River’s Edge.

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