Summer of fall fishing: Chicago fishing
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Weather feels more like late summer than November for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.
A lot of it is waiting on winter or late-fall bites, waiting on perch on southern Lake Michigan; waiting on colder water and a better muskie bite and, dare we mention, ice fishing.
The MFR appears in a condensed form Wednesdays on the Sun-Times outdoors page.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent the fall photo above from a weekend trip to Shabbona Lake.
Weather certainly has been an inducement for fall fishing on neighborhood ponds and lakes.
That brings hope after what the Halloween weekend was like, as Ken “Husker” O’Malley noted when he sent this (it also includes a report for Shabbona Lake):
As for area lakes, bite shutdown over the weekend with the passing front. Should get better with a consistent weather pattern the next few days.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Waterworks fishing team
TROUT NOTE: Still some leftover trout around on local lakes. Daily bag is five, inland trout stamps and fishing licenses are required for those 16 and older. Here is the list of nearby sites, including the ones not on the state list: Axehead, Belleau, Busse North, Horsetail, Green, Wolf (Cook County); Silver Pickerel, Grove (DuPage); Bird Park Quarry, Rock Creek (Kankakee); Big Lake at Silver Springs SFWA (Kendall); Sand Lake at Illinois Beach SP and Banana (Lake); Spring Grove Hatchery Pond (McHenry): Lake Strini, Van Horn Woods (Will). Click here for the statewide press release on the fall trout season.
AREA WATER LEVELS
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
Hooksetter’s Guide Service, via Creative Brilliance, sent this:
(Head): Walleyes and big muskies hitting. Some nice bucks taken by bow hunters; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin’s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau).
What an outstanding week it has been. Big muskies, lots of walleyes and a few nice bucks. All taken right here in central Wisconsin.
This past week we have soon an abundance of walleyes on our trips. Most of the fish have been in the 14 to 16 inch range but we have picked up a few nice fish in the mid to upper 20’s. The best action is taking place in 10 to 14 feet of water working sharp drop-offs and break lines with lead head jigs tipped with fathead minnows. The key to consistency this past week has been color. The interesting thing about color is not that is a particular color but a combination of colors. We are seeing better action on jigs that have two colors on them or jigs that are two toned instead of single colored jigs. Green and orange are still some of the best colors to use, but when combined together in a green/orange two tone jig they are outstanding!
The musky bite this past week has really come alive and big fish are on the prowl. A lot of the action is now centered on running live bait but we are seeing quite a bit of action on Suick’s, Reef Hawgs and Bulldawg’s. Most of the fish have been in 6 to 10 feet of water associated with rocks and gravel, yes gravel. At this time of the year gravel soaks up the suns heat and if you know of any areas that have some depth and a gravel bottom look for those areas to hold fish. I know it doesn’t sound right but give it a try, it works!
Deer hunting is coming into full swing, and with the best part of bow hunting coming on strong, hunters are seeing the signs of what the fall rut is all about. Ripped up trees and torn up areas of ground where big bucks are making their scrapes are all indications of the rut. A few big bucks have been taken already.
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA
Art Frisell at Triangle Sports & Marine said bluegill are still good shallow; catfish remain surprisingly strong on crawlers; some nice walleye (one to 30 inches), mainly on wind-blown points; muskie are fair on sucker, which could improve with colder water.
Check Chain updates at Fox Waterway Agency or by calling (847) 587-8540.
For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
MAZONIA: Closed for season, except Monster Lake at Mazonia South, which is open year-round. Lakes are open daily 6 a.m.-sunset. HEIDECKE: Closed for season. BRAIDWOOD: Closed for season. LaSALLE: Closed for the season.
DELAVAN/LAKE GENEVA AREA, WISCONSIN
Brain Gates at Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle said that on Delavan, largemouth with a few walleye and pike mixed in are good on small suckers; on Geneva; perch are good in 3-9 feet; on Como, some pike and largemouth.
DES PLAINES RIVER
Kayakers on Facebook indicated some nice pike action.
HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season. Will reopen to fishing in 2016 with a much expanded format. Also, there should be at least one day of ice fishing this winter. EMIQUON: Because of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s shutdown, fishing and boating permits will be done at the launch. Call (309) 547-2730. SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing POWERTON LAKE: Closed to fishing. Shore fishing on Dec. 21. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15. McMASTER LAKE at SNAKEDEN HOLLOW: Closed to fishing until Feb. 1.
EVERGREEN: Bait shop is closed. Larry Dozard of larrysfishinghole.com sent this:
A SOUTHERN PART OF EVERGREEN LAKE – AROUND DEER ISLAND and ALL OF SIX-MILE CREEK BAY IS CLOSED TO GAS MOTORS from Oct. 15th through JAN. 1st to allow resting areas for migratory waterfowl. YOU ARE ALLOWED TO STILL RUN A TROLLING MOTOR IN THESE AREAS ONLY.-
SPRING LAKE: Larry Dozard of larrysfishinghole.com sent this:
SPRING LAKE (South & North) –* THIS AREA WILL BE CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING in Hunting Area ON OCT. 17th with Last Day to Boat Fish being Oct. 16th – with BANK FISHING ALLOWED ONLY AFTER 1pm–AREAS THAT REMAIN OPEN TO BOATS ARE NORTH OF MAPLE ISLAND with ramp at north end at the Sky Ranch Road launch and IN PIKE HOLE with carry in boats –
Larry Dozard of larrysfishinghole.com sent this on some closures Downstate:
SANGCHRIS LAKE –* THE WEST and EAST ARMS OF LAKE and Small AREA NEAR DAM ARE CLOSED DURING WATERFOWL SEASON to boat traffic effective Oct. 14th (last day to boat fish will be Oct. 13th) through Jan. 31, 2016 (during this time fishing boat traffic is permitted in the center hot arm only).
ANDERSON LAKE – – – THIS AREA IS CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING in Main Lake from Oct. 16th through Dec. 22nd during waterfowl season with bank fishing Only allowed.
BANNER MARSH – ** THIS AREA WILL CLOSE TO BOAT FISHING Oct. 14th (last day to boat fish will be Oct. 13th) –AND BANK FISHING ONLY ALLOWED AFTER 1PM but NO FISHING ALLOWED in EAST POINT ACCESS AREA, which is CLOSED TO ALL FISHING to provide a GOOSE REFUGE AREA during season till Feb. 1st – –
PRAIRIE LAKE in Jim Edgar/ Panther Creek State F&W Area – – Lake is CLOSED to Fishing from Nov. 1st – Jan. 15th until After 12:01 PM on Wednesdays and Saturday.
CLINTON LAKE – REMEMBER an easterly area of Clinton Lake between the DeWitt (CH14) and the 48 bridges is CLOSED FROM OCT. 10th through MARCH 31st to protect fish and wildlife…
NEWTON LAKE – As written in the fishing regs booklet : ** The cold arm of Newton Lake shall be Closed daily from one-half hour before sunrise until 1:00 pm to all fishing and boat traffic except for legal waterfowl hunters during waterfowl season commencing with regular duck season through the close of the Canada goose and regular duck season.
* For here – Regular South Waterfowl Season: Nov. 14 – Jan. 31
Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay sent this:
Good Morning everyone….
Here is what I have as far as fishing is concerned
The Bass fishing, when the wind allows it has been going quite good for some really giant sized Smallies especially when you can find a schooling pod of fish. We have had some really good reports from all different areas up and down the Door County peninsula. Some of those areas include…the Snake Island and Larson’s Reef area, Sherwood Point, Monument Shoals along with the vast structure to the north including the world famous Washington Island. Generally the key to successful “Fall” fishing is to search the deeper shoreline drops, deeper structure and deeper channel cuts with your electronics and locate schooling Bass. Then basically set up on them and throw a wide variety of baits like tubes, blade baits, drop shot plastics and of course dragging suckers is a very effective way to boat some big ones. Also, when you have a wind-blown point or shoreline throw some white or chartreuse spinner blades on those breaks to entice feeding bass.
The night Walleye bite has been going quite good when you can get out there. Basically, concentrate your efforts around all of those rocky shore line drop-offs and slow troll suspending crank baits like Husky Jerks and Smithwick Rogues. Areas to fish include…Henderson’s Point, Sherwood Point, the top of Larson’s Reef and the shoreline to the north of the Old Stone Quarry.
Perch fishing has been holding pretty strong in recent weeks. Sawyer Harbor, the Flats, Little Sturgeon, Riley’s Bay and Chaudoir’s Dock are all good areas to try. Fathead minnows have been the best live bait for the Perch
1309 Green Bay Rd
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
The Wisconsin DNR posts a report, typically updated on Tuesdays at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html
Thom Matejewski at Illinois Valley Outdoors said crappie at barge tie-ups in the river, and around snags in the Vermilion and DePue are the surprisingly good bite; some white bass around bridges and tributary mouths; sauger/walleye are good up and down the river, but best around Hennepin.
Illinois Valley Outdoors is open in Spring Valley. The phone is (815) 663-1000.
Maybe the rains on Thursday will finally bring in significant numbers of steelhead. Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.
River is in the best shape of the year, but at this lower level, fish can be just about anywhere and it is time to work all over the water.
LAKE KOSHKONONG, WISCONSIN
A few steelhead are around the shoreline; very few Chinook. Everyone is asking about perch. No real reports yet. Staff at Park Bait said the surprising thing remains pike around Montrose. SALMON SNAGGING: A few being reported. Snagging for Chinook and coho is open only at Lincoln Park lagoon south of Fullerton, Waukegan Harbor north basin, Winnetka Power Plant discharge, and Jackson Park inner and outer harbors.
MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN
Check reports from Gene Dellinger at D&S Bait.
MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN
Check with Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service.
MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:
Minocqua Area Fishing Report 11/2/2015
Cool and wet! While the threat of an early snow was on last week’s forecast, few people saw the little snow we did get as it melted before dawn. Water temps have dropped this past week, low surface temps at 45 degrees to as high as 52 degrees. Could actually climb a little as forecast for low 60’s scheduled for Mon thru Wed. of this week.
Musky: Good – Very Good. Most reports from angler’s still working suckers have been very good. Most of fish from 40-48” this past week. Multi fish trips with enough action on slow working gliders and jointed cranks to keep casting a viable option.
Walleyes: Good – fair. Action slowing a bit as waters cools. Shallow bite on jigs w / chubs- muds getting slower as shallows cool. Deep water all about being able to hover over fish during windows of activity. Larger chubs and suckers on Lindy style rigs best.
Crappies: Fair. Fewer anglers still out. Slow fishing med. Fat heads on slips around deep wood. Not easy with some windy days, but with good boat control on the light to moderate days decent catches of nice slabs (11-14”) still available.
Most Smallmouth bass and Northern Pike have been incidental catches. Same with Yellow Perch.
No reports on Largemouth Bass or Bluegill.
Weather not bad when not windy. Still plenty of time to try and boat that big Musky of the year or add a Walleye or two to the freezer.
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): Walleye and perch action good, with musky, northern and smallmouth fair to good; all in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.
Water temps in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area are in the low 50s. Our sources tell us that on windy, chilly days the number of anglers on the water drops considerably.
WALLEYE: The walleye are tight to bottom over deep flats in 20-30 feet of water. Your best chance for maximum action is to find depressions or “holes” in these flats. That’s where you’re going to catch fish. If you miss these depressions, your chances for success drop markedly. Use a jig and up to four inch redtail chub (best choice), or an XL fathead. All day bite, and the action is good.
PERCH: The perch in the Eagle River area are right there with the walleyes in the deep flats and are tight to bottom in 20-30 feet of water. Use a smaller fathead (medium size) or a crawler on a jig. All day bite and the action is good.
MUSKY: Fish deep weed edges in 12-15 feet of water. Use a sucker, ranging in size from 14-18 inches. You can also successfully toss a large jerkbait while dragging suckers. Always do a figure 8 as your bait nears the boat. All day bite and the action is fair to good.
NORTHERN: The northern in the Eagle River area are still in the deep weeds in 8-12 feet of water. Use a number 4 or 5 Mepps or a spoon. All day action and the bite is fair to good.
SMALLMOUTH: Still hanging in the rocks in 10-15 feet of water. Jig and a minnow working best, but plastics will also get hit, albeit slower than with live bait. All day action, and the bite is fair to good.
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.
Staff at Mik-Lurch said a few have been trying to find perch; otherwise there are a few Chinook around.
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
The Wisconsin DNR Root River Report is generally posted on Tuesday.
ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN
Waiting on the steelhead run to hit the rivers. Staff at Tackle Haven said a few people were out trying for perch on Tuesday.
ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA
Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.
Staff at Lakeside said crappie in the fish cribs and muskie are the top bites. 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.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:
With baseball over, I was able to get out and spend the day at Shabbona last week for some Muskie action. Water temps were in the 52-54 degree range. Water clarity was about a foot. I focused mainly on drop offs, dam area, and no motor zone where abundant bait fish were present. Crankbaits, twin 10 buck tails, and various jerk baits were used casting and trolling. Managed 2 follows to the boat ( both upper 30′s), but just couldn’t deal the deal with a figure 8 on the twin 10′s.
Falls colors are past their peak, but still enjoyed the scenery. Attached are a few pics.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Waterworks fishing team
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 RIVER, WISCONSIN
Guide Bill Stoeger said the double bite on walleye and white bass continues on. This is one of the top bites going.