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Lollygagging, but stable: Chicago fishing

The weather settles into one of the most settled patterns in a long time, so if you find a pattern for fishing it should hold, for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

That includes some Chinook out on Lake Michigan–as this Facebook photo from Confusion Too shows Tuesday morning out of North Point.

SHORELINE SALMON

They are spread out and variable; and there seems to be more coho than Chinook.

CHICAGO: Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports & Bait said to open-water areas around 31st and 39th as well as the harbors. Stacey Greene at Park Bait said casters are catching kings, mainly with spoons, while minnows are taking coho. She suggested Diversey, Montrose and Belmont.

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN: Staff at Tackle Haven said some fish made it up to Berrien Springs; but the pier and river are slow.

NORTHWEST INDIANA:  Assistant Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Ben Dickinson posted on Facebook Tuesday afternoon:

Cohos are running in the St. Joe and Trail (probably in LC/SC too) ,with a bunch of nice sized ones too. Still not seeing many steelhead though. A handful of kings and browns in Trail as well

Staff at Mik-Lurch said there have been catches from East Chicago Marina (boat and shore), Portage Rivewalk and Michigan City pier.

MILWAUKEE:  Staff at Mik-Lurch said  this is still the hotspot on the lake.

WISCONSIN STURGEON NOTE

Hook-and-line sturgeon runs through Sept. 30 on select rivers in Wisconsin. Click here for info and some on the changes. WISCONSIN DELLS: Staff at River’s Edge Resort said no legals have been registered, but a guide caught and released a 62.5-incher. Lots of sturgeon being caught, though.

AREA LAKES (AND CREEKS)

Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports & Bait said the fall crappie bite is beginning on the forest preserve lakes.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:

Hey Dale,

Bass have been good on area lakes before Friday’s rains slowed things down. Top waters worked along weedlines and mats in the evening have produced. Pop R produced best. Follow up misses immediately with a senko

TTYL

Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Huskeroutdoors
Waterworks fishing team

AREA WATER LEVELS

Levels should be settling down this week. Go to http://water.weather.gov//ahps2/index.php?wfo=lot to check area water levels and projection. To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to http://waterdata.usgs.gov/il/nwis/current/?type=flow

CENTRAL WISCONSIN

Hooksetter’s Guide Service sent this via Creative Brilliance:

(Head): Musky, walleye and panfish hitting, with black bear season in high gear; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin’s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau).

It has been an extremely busy past couple of weeks here in central Wisconsin. With fall fishing in full swing, and the bear season opener, the action and excitement is beyond belief.

Fishing has been phenomenal this past week with great action from all species. The musky bite has been good with some nice fish being caught on jerkbaits and bucktails. The walleyes have been very aggressive with decent catches in area lakes and the mighty Wisconsin River. Most of the action has been by jigging 1/16th and 1/8th ounce jigs along current edges and break lines. The real key to success has been having a very sensitive rod. if you want to feel all those “subtle bites” this is definitely what you need.

If you want panfish now is the time to do it. With good numbers in the area lakes this is a great opportunity to introduce kids into fishing.

HUNTING REPORT:

Archery hunters are taking to the woods now that the 2015 bow season has started. Hunters looking to be successful at this time of the year should concentrate their efforts on travel corridors between bedding areas and feeding grounds.

Bear season opened with a bang and a good friend tagged out in the first couple of hours on a very nice boar. A nice clean kill with his bow and arrow over bait was all it took for him to be successful. Another successful hunter shot a trophy boar that tried sneaking in from behind him. The bear was not so lucky!

Along with those success stories we also had a few close encounters with hunters having bears come up close and personal. One hunter had a bear climb up the stairs of his box blind stand and look at him through the door. Another hunter in a ground blind had a sow and three cubs come over to his blind to investigate. The bears literally stuck their heads right in the open window. The hunter told us that he could have easily reached out and tapped the sow on the nose she was so close. All those hunts ended well and the excitement is still in full swing as we still have hunters out in the woods looking to fill their tags.

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Art Frisell at Triangle said that bluegill continue to be good around shallow weeds; for white bass, try down eight feet over 25 feet of water; catfishing continues good on crawlers, roaches or red worms, Bluff and Petite best; muskie are fair, it is a bucktail bite, but shallow-running crankbaits and small jerkbaits will work, too; for crappie, try moonlit shorelines. NOTE: As of Tuesday, a no-wake in effect in upper river (Stratton dam to mouth of Pistakee) and there is an open debris advisory in other zones. Updates are at foxwaterway.com or (847) 587-8540.

Check Chain updates at Fox Waterway Agency or by calling (847) 587-8540.

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

CHICAGO RIVER

No update.

COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS

LaSALLE: Hours are 6 a.m. to sunset daily. There is a concessionaire with bait and food options.

BRAIDWOOD: Still quality bluegill and numbers of catfish are being caught. Lake is open daily 6 a.m.-sunset. MAZONIA:  Lakes are open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.

HEIDECKE: Launch opens 6 a.m., shore fishing at 6:30 a.m.; close is sunset.

DELAVAN/LAKE GENEVA AREA, WISCONSIN

GENEVA: Arden Katz said that panfish “are on fire’’ in 15-18 feet on jigs and spikes or trout worms; there’s largemouth to be caught in 15 feet on the south shore; smallmouth are tough.

Mark O’Neill of Structure-Fishing sent this:

Hello all,

The busy summer has now spread into busy early Fall  with On the Water sessions as well as fishing.  Lake Geneva continues to produce, but we are still not having what I would call a typical year.  But as I have stated earlier, the key is to adjust and continue to catch fish.  We never really had a summer pattern and water temps are dropping with the cooler weather and nights we are having.  See my 09-19-2015 report for more information at: http://www.structure-fishing.com/Lake_Geneva_Fishing_.html

Dave Duwe of FishLakeGeneva.com sent this:

Lake Geneva Fishing Report 9/21/15 through 9/27/15

As the water has been cooling the fishing action has been improving almost daily. The fish that weren’t biting last week are starting to feed. The best bite on the lake remains smallmouth bass and rock bass.

Smallmouth bass are being caught in 22-25 ft of water. They are on deep water structure. The best bait has been extra large fat head minnows fished on a lindy rig or lindy rigged nightcrawlers. As the water cools, the nightcrawlers will become less of a factor and the smallmouth will almost exclusively feed on the minnows. Look for the fish by Yerkes Observatory, the South Shore club and between Elgin Club and Knollwood.

Largemouth bass fishing has been slow. The best action has been in the shallow weeds in 12-14 ft of water. The best location has been just west of Coleman’s Point and in Trinkes Bay. They can be caught on white spinner baits or drop shotting 4 inch finesse worms.

Rock Bass fishing has been very good. The average size of the rock bass is large, most of them are about 1 pound. They are mixed in with the smallmouth bass in 22-25 ft of water. The best success is coming on extra large fat head minnows fished on a lindy rig. Although Rock bass aren’t considered game fish, when they get to be over a pound, they are fun to catch for any angler.

The walleye bite remains constant. The best approach is trolling at night with large Rapallas or Wally Divers. Concentrate in the 14-17 ft depth range for the best action. Abbey Springs or the flat by Coleman’s point have been producing quite a few fish.

Bluegill and Sunfish action remains very good in the 18-20 ft depth range. The greatest concentration of fish have been by Knollwood or by Gage Marine. I’ve been catching most of mine on split shot rigged nightcrawlers straight beneath the boat slowly back trolled.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

DELAVAN: Dave Duwe of FishLakeGeneva.com sent this:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 9/21/15 through 9/27/15

With the cooler water, the fishing is slowly starting to improve. As we head toward fall, the fishing should improve weekly. This past week was a challenge, but expected better catches are on the way. The fall patterns are starting to form.

Northern Pike are starting to aggressively hit large suckers. I’m catching them on two different methods. The first is Thill Big Fish slip bobbers and the other is lindy rigs about 1 foot off bottom. For the slip bobbers, I’ve been catching the fish in the weed flats in 10-12 ft of water. The only problem with the shallow weed bite is that the fish have a tendency to be on the smaller side. The lindy rig bite is occurring in 15-17 ft of water around the main lake points. These fish are averaging 30+ inches in size.

Largemouth bass are starting their fall migration from the weedline into the shallower weeds. The best location has been by Lake Lawn Lodge and the west end in Viewcrest and Highland Bay. They can be caught on chrome and blue Rattle Traps and medium suckers fished on a split shot rig.

Bluegill fishing has been slow. The best bite has been 12-14 ft of water. Look for the fish by Assembly Park hump or just west of Willow Point. The best approach is giant red worms or wax worms fished on an ice jig. You want to fish them with a straight line and small sinker. The fish are suspended about 2-3 ft off bottom.

Walleyes are starting to show up again. They are feeding on extra large fat head minnows or small suckers. The best depth has been 22-25 ft of water. The best spot has been the hump by Assembly Park or just off the Village point. As the water starts to cool, this bite should improve greatly.

Crappie fishing is getting better. They are starting to aggressively bite on the weedline in 12-15 ft of water. Small purple and chartreuse plastics fished on a 1/32 oz jig head have been producing most of the action. Look for them by Belvidere Park or west of the Yacht Club by the gray boat house.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

DES PLAINES RIVER

No update.

DOWNSTATE NOTES

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Sunday is the final day for fishing this year. Big things coming next year. SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide ServiceSOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing  EVERGREEN: I need to check the post-Labor Day bait shop and boat rental times. POWERTON: Both shore and boat fishing are open. Hours are 6 a.m.-8 p.m. EMIQUON: Call (309) 547-2730.

DuPAGE RIVER

No update.

FOX RIVER

No update.

GREEN BAY

No update this week from Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay.

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

ILLINOIS RIVER

Thom Matejewski at Illinois Valley Outdoors said the river came up significantly, but is going down. The tributaries are clearing quickly; so fish them or the mud line area where they meet the river for white bass. Some sauger and walleye still being caught. Catfish continue good, mainly on cut Asian carp.

Illinois Valley Outdoors is open in Spring Valley.  The phone is (815) 663-1000.

INDIANA STREAMS

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

KANKAKEE RIVER

River came up quickly by Sunday, but should be settling down by the weekend. Iroquois is rolling mud, so plan accordingly.

LAKE ERIE

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

LAKE KOSHKONONG, WISCONSIN

No update.

LAKEFRONT

For shoreline salmon, see top.

CHICAGO: Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said that lakers are good by the R4 and out; a few steelhead and kings, too.

WAUKEGAN: Ted Boska sent this:

Hello  Dale.Middle  of last week  fishing  continues  to be good  on both reefs.Nothing between. No sign of big 4 year’s old kings  and coho yet.Difficult fishing  on south  reef due to very  strong  under  water current. After  Saturday  Gail storm  keeping  everyone  in the harbor.Sunday was beautiful  day for fishing, but fish was scared  all over Julian reef, mostly lake’s  way deep on the bottom.

Thanks  Capt Ted ( diehard angler ) BOSKA

NORTH POINT: Poteshman said that kings are around from hill to 200 feet mornings; a few steelhead and coho, too.

MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN

Check reports from Gene Dellinger at D&S Bait.

No update from Scott Hill of Fishingthrills Guide Service.

MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN

Check with Mike Mladenik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:

While still a bit warm for mid-September, temps are cooling a bit on area lakes. Once again, wind was the biggest hindrance to anglers this past week, with bouts of high pressure also making things a bit difficult. Overall though, fishing has been good.

Walleyes: Very good. Casting 1/16 oz. weedless jigs tipped with redtails or large fatheads best along wind-blown shorelines of smaller, shallower lakes and flowages. Larger, deeper lakes seeing best action in 28-34’ using larger chubs on Lindy rigs or ¼ oz jigs. Night time walleyes on glow jigs or lighted slip-floats with large fatheads.

Pike: Very good. Cast spinnerbaits, swimbaits or #3 or #4 Mepps Aglia spinners over weedy flats of 5-9’. Live suckers or chubs jigged in same areas have also been effective. Lots of numbers, but also some nice pike of 27-32’ caught this week.

Musky: Good. Haven’t gotten reports of big fish like last week, mostly fish of 34-42” on bucktails, Rizzo Tails and Spinnerbaits. Some fast moving twitch baits and gliders also moving fish.

Crappies: Good. Reports are improving. High winds are the biggest draw-back to fishing deep wood. On natural lakes, key in on green weeds that remain in 8-12’. Thumper jigs tipped with minnows, crawlers as well as just jig/shaking minnows along deep weed edges producing slabs to 14”.

Largemouth Bass: Good. As water slowly cools, top water action has slowed, but sub surface twitch baits and shallow running lipless cranks are producing. Plastics still a good choice as wacky worming still working.

Smallmouth Bass: Good. Big smallies being caught on flowages. Shallow in 2-6’. X-raps, spinnerbaits and 3 ½-4” swimbaits working. Natural lakes rig for deeper water (22-34’) using 4-6” suckers on Lindy rigs.

Perch: Fair-Good. Pieces of frozen soft shell craws or ½ night crawlers dragged around drowned wood or cribs working best.

Bluegills: Fair. Few reports. Not a lot of anglers targeting this species.

Water temps that crested 70 degrees early last week due to a couple of 80 degree days have seen temps drop back into the mid 60’s. Cold, clear nights in the 40’s being checked by daytime highs in the 70’s. Sucker bite for musky just getting started, but, with above average temps, we are still a ways away from the hot “meat” bite.

Trees showing little color, maybe 5-8%.

Kurt Justice
Kurt’s Island Sport Shop

EAGLE RIVER: This report came the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce, based on Creative Brilliance interviews with Eagle River guide “Muskie Matt” and legendary George Langley of Eagle Sports Center and hunting enthusiast Dan Anderson:

(Head): Very good action for smallies, with walleye, northern and panfish good, and musky and largemouth fair to good ; all in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.

Water temps in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area running from 70-72 degrees. Anglers can expect those temps to plummet as cold fronts begin moving through the Eagle River area.

SMALLMOUTH BASS: Good to very good action for smallies. Fish rocks and secondary rock points (underwater points that are below the surface and jut out from the shore. You need a locator find them) in 10-15 feet of water. Use a jig and a minnow.

WALLEYE: Good bite for walleye on deeper rock humps in 15-25 feet of water. Use a jig and a minnow or crawler. The walleye are tight to bottom. All day action.

NORTHERN: Fish weeds in 5-12 feet of water. Sunny days are best. Use a #4 or #5 Mepps, or a safety pin style spinner bait. Anglers going to walleye or panfish are also getting ancillary hits from the aggressive northerns. All day action and the bite is good.

PANFISH: Crappies are suspending 8-20 feet over soft and hardbottom areas. Use a gold Aberdeen hook under a slip bobber with a crappie minnow or you can use a slip bobber or small jig tipped with a small plastic. Good all day action. Bluegills are in the weeds in 5-10 feet of water. Red worms are working best. The bite is good. Perch are either off of deep weed edges in 8-12 feet of water, or on rocks in 10-20 feet. Perch location is lake dependent. The perch are tight to bottom or a foot off the bottom. The bite is fair to good.

MUSKY: Mornings and evening use topwaters over the weeds in 6-12 feet of water. During the day fish bucktails (use the Buchertail 700 series as a size reference) in 8-12 feet of water over the weeds. Feeding windows vary widely and are lake dependent. The bite is fair to good. And you will increase your chances for a strike by always doing a “figure 8″ as your lure nears the boat.

FLY FISHING:  With untold numbers of rushing streams, brooks and rivers, Eagle River provides wonderful opportunities for fly anglers of every ilk.  And for the adventure of a lifetime go for gamefish with a fly rod on one of the Eagle River area’s hundreds of lakes. Eagle River guide guru, and 35 year avid fly angler for musky, George Langley, tells us that it’s a memorable experience for fly anglers, but realistically you must be able to double-haul cast and attain distances of 70-90 feet on your cast.

NORTHWEST INDIANA

For shoreline salmon, see top. Staff at Mik-Lurch said bluegill are good on Pine Lake in 12-16 feet on weed lines.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

The Wisconsin DNR Root River Report is generally posted on Tuesday.

ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN

For shoreline salmon, see top. Staff at Tackle Haven said fishing and fish are scattered on Lake Michigan with kings, steelhead and coho in 200-300 feet; a bit closer at 100 fett, there’s trout and coho, very few kings; perch are hit and miss.

ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA

Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.

SHABBONA LAKE

Clint Sands at Lakeside said muskie were just outstanding, including three 45 inches or longer; almost all came on bucktails. Crappie are also steady.

Lakeside is open 6 a.m.-6:30 p.m. For more information and reports from Lakeside, go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN

The Wisconsin DNR posts a report at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html. It is usually posted by Tuesday afternoon. Stream flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow.

WOLF LAKE

No update.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

Guide Bill Stoeger said there is good white bass from the Rat River to mouth of Poygan; river rigs with minnows are best, but plastics and flies work, too. He expects to hold and some to move upstream with the good flow; water is in the mid-60s.