I probably should have been doing this a couple months ago, but here is the first posting of an extended online Midwest Fishing Report, which normally appears in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays. If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It's catfishing time. Michael Bader, 20 of Hegewisch on the Southeast Side, caught these from the Kankakee River. He said it has been one of his best fishing years.
The expanded report follows.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT
Bullfrog season closes in Illinois on Sunday.
Tom Palmisano at Henry's Sports, Bait & Marine said catalpa worms, those seasonal favorites especially for catfisherman on the Kankakee River, are available again.
Primary sources: Kolar Bait, Henry's Sports, Bait & Marine
Many reports of largemouth on smaller lakes and ponds across the area. For bluegills with the family, focus on outside weed edges or shaded structure. In DuPage, Kolar Bait said there's a good weed line bite for walleye and pike on Mallard and Deep Quarry.
BIG GREEN LAKE, WIS.
Primary source: Guide Mike Norton.
Go to www.biggreenlakefishing.com, then click on fishing, then lake report.
CHAIN O'LAKES AREA
Primary source: Triangle Sports & Marine or Capt. Darrell Baker
Triangle reports top bites are white or yellow bass (wind-blown shorelines with Mepps spinners, pinkie jigs or live bait under small floats) or bluegill (shallower on waxies or ice jigs in 8 feet or less). Surprise bite on many lakes are pike on large roaches around creek mouths. Muskie are fair, look for fish to start feeding throughout the day. Catfish are fair, crawlers are top bait again. Walleye are fair, focus on current areas.
More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
Site staff said the lake is cooling, but remains in the 90s. A few big catfish being caught at Braidwood, and lots of smaller largemouth on the north end. Last day of fishing is Oct. 14.
Last day of fishing is Oct. 15. Pete Riedesel reports decent bass action.
Fishing ends Oct. 7.
DELAVAN LAKE, WIS.
Primary source: Guide Dave Duwe
Regular reader Arden Katz continues to make the journey from the Northwest Side and bang good bluegill in 18-20 feet.
Duwe sent this extended report:
``Delavan Lake continues to have some great fishing and the good news is that it only gets better as we head into fall. Several species are active right now, so you can choose exactly what you want to fish for.
Crappies are suspending in 20-25 ft of water about 10-15 ft down. They can be readily caught on small plastics. I use a 1/32 oz Arkie jig in Chartreuse tipped with a small purple plastic. I put a small split shot above it to make longer casts. You want to count down the bait about 5 counts and then a small drag, pause, retrieve works the best. It hasn't been much work to catch a limit of fish. Look for them near Browns Channel or by Willow Point.
Largemouth bass have been slower than recent weeks; however they can still be caught on the main lake weed points. The best depth is 17-20 ft of water. Drop shotting green pumpkin finesse worms or nightcrawlers seem to be producing most of the action. Look for the fish by Willow Point, Browns Channel or by Three Flags.
Walleye fishing has been a bit slow. I did catch a few on nightcrawlers fished on a lindy rig in 21 ft of water. Also I have caught a few while trolling deep diving bass crankbaits in pearl color. The pearl color will mimic the crappie forage base of the walleye. Look for the fish by Assembly Park or by Browns Channel.
Bluegill fishing has been awesome. It's the same old story; 18-20 ft of water, use leaf worms fished on either a Willospoon or a Hali jig tipped with wax worms. The best location is by the gray condo point or by the old Marina on the north shore (orange building). It's a great time to take a kid fishing with the fish being so aggressive. Last Sunday, my son caught 20 keepers in less than ½ hour.
Good luck and have a great Labor Day Weekend. Remember that after Labor Day the boat traffic will slow down tremendously, the last few weeks have been extreme even at 5 a.m. - typically it's me and Steve the park superintendant. With cooler water the fishing for trophies will increase.''
Army Corps reports boat ramps are slowly being cleaned from north and south, all ramps should be open by Friday, Aug. 29. Lake remains 9 feet above normal pool. Crappie are in 8-12 feet around standing timber. White bass are best early and late. For more, call (217) 774-2020.
The latest fishing report is posted here. Crappie (mostly smaller), catfish and bluegill are best. After Monday, boat rentals are closed weekdays.
The Corps reports Bluegill and catfish are good.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
Primary sources: Kolar Bait and wading guide Ken Gortowski
River is low, and getting lower. Kolar reported decent catfish. Gortowski reported better smallmouth action (though small fish), key was finding current. Read more at http://www.wadauwant.com/wd_journal/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=172
GENEVA LAKE, WIS.
Primary source: Duwe
Here's Duwe's report:
``Fishing on Lake Geneva remains tough. Something is really weird with the lake or weather this year. Stick with it though, it should improve throughout the fall.''
Northern pike fishing has been all right but nothing like it normally is this time of year. The pike are in 30-38 ft of water. They are being caught on lindy rigged medium suckers. Look for the fish by Fontana Beach, the north shore in the Narrows or by Linn Pier. You really have to fish for them this year, a good day on the water would be 10 fish in 6 hours, last year I was averaging 10 fish in 4 hours. Keep moving to find the active fish.
With the cooler water, the perch are starting to move into the shallows. The best location is by Knollwood or by Belvidere Park in Fontana. They are in 10-12 ft of water and can be caught on leaf worms or small fat head minnows fished on a slip bobber. The average size is kind of small so you need to sort through a lot of fish to get a limit.
Some smallmouth bass are being caught between 27 and 33 ft of water. They are not as abundant as recent years so patience is a virtue. I've caught some lindy rigging nightcrawlers or lindy rigging yellow perch that I've caught in the lake. Remember, the smaller the weight, the better. The wind will dictate my weight size. As a rule, I will use a ¼ oz walking sinker, if there is no wind, you can get by with 1/8 oz. Look for the fish by Fontana Beach or by Elgin Club by the big slide.
Some lake trout are being caught in the main lake basin. They are being caught at first light in 115 ft of water, 70-90 ft down. Nickle/Blue or Nickle/green spoons are always the best bait.
Largemouth bass are being caught on the weedline. The best approach is Carolina rigging green pumpkin lizards or drop shotting Gulp finesse worms, also in green pumpkin. Good locations are Trinkes or by Belvidere Park. I like working a depth of 20-25 ft of water. Some of the fish caught last week were the 3-4 lb fish that we like to see.
ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA
Primary source: Guide Buster Culjan or Cajun's Bait
White bass continue good up and down the river very early on bladebaits. Cajun's also reported decent catfish and drum. Waders are taking good smallmouth in the Vermilion. Both rivers are very low.
Primary sources: Ed Mullady, ``Catfish'' Dave Bradigan
From Mullady: ``The Kankakee River is low,clear and fish keep on hitting!
INDIANA: Point north of English Lake....Some pike on big minnows *spoons *spinners. Catfishing good on *minnows *chicken liver *cheesebait. Croppie on *pinkie jig and minnows.
Rt. 55 to Rt. 41--Bluegill, Croppie along quieter shorelines, mouths of ditches and bayous.
ILLINOIS: Smallmouth Bass good along rocky riffles, Carly and Monica Islands at State Park. Catfishing good throughout river. Fly fishermen doing well on *smallmouth and largemouth bass *rock bass *croppie!''
Mullady also sent this note:
``[Son] Matt Mullady will be presenting a Casting demonstration including fly fishing, bait casting and spinning on Saturday, Aug.30 and Sun. Aug. 31 at the Annual Kankakee River Power Boat Races.
The Fishing info as well as other activities will be on the south side of the Kankakee River at Kankakee Community College, from 11 am-noon of each day. There is a $15 to $20 motor vehicle admission to the races and other events each day.
The College is just at the south edge of Kankakee about a mile east of Rt. 45..Among many other events there will be Cardboard Boat Races on Saturday at 5 p.m.
It is a very popular area event.''
Primary source: Harborside Bait & Tackle and Capt. Bob Poteshman
There was a brief spike of fish at the mouth of the Pike after the rain last week. Watch the weather, as Dave Wamboldt at Harborside put it, ``If it looks rain, it would be good to fish the next day.'' Otherwise, trollers are taking some on the hill when weather allows. There's the occasional brown or rainbow in the harbor.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
Primary source: Rickard's and Ohio DNR
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
Primary sources: Henry's Sports, Bait & Marine, Park Bait, Capt. Bill Kelly and Capt. Bob Poteshman
Weather has limited access and piled up warm water, but if it blows out the kings should come in like they already are on the Michigan side. Best is trying panfish in the harbors until cooler water comes on shore. When boaters get out, Kelly said there's bands of fish in 70-80 feet south and east of the R4, in 100-140 feet east of the Wilson crib and east of Burnham in 70-120.
Primary sources: Poteshman and Salmon Stop
Salmon Stop reported a few kings off the pier, should only improve time. For boaters, very early remains the best for kings out of North Point. North and east winds have limited access.
MADISON LAKES, WIS.
Primary source: D&S Bait at dsbait.com
Primary sources: Eagle River Sports, Pastika's and Minocqua guide Kurt Justice
Justice posted this report:
``Early fall like weather,cool almost cold nights followed by warm days. Water temps just falling below 70's only to rise again on beautiful sunny afternoons.
Largemouth Bass-- Very Good. Early thru mid-morning ply weed beds. 1/8 oz jigs and 4" plastic worms, jig and pig, sweet beavers, wacky style worms. By afternoon work spinnerbaits, silver minnows with pork trailers over taller weeds. Evenings very productive after warming afternoons working Jitterbugs , Hulapoppers, spooks in shallower weeds. Best lakes-Minocqua,Kawageusaga,Tomahawk,Flambeau and Gunlock.
Smallmouth Bass--Very good. Work off shore humps with spider grubs (carolina rigs) tube jigs and large leeches. Casting lipless cranks over sand grass flats. ( countdowns to 1-2' over tops) Very effective for smallies and some walleyes. Best lakes-Tomahawk, Fence and Katherine.
Bluegills--Good. Suspended fish best for size and action. Work outside weed edges with 1/2 of a crawler, small to medium leech, tiny jigs below small slip floats. Suspend 8-14' down over 12-22' coontail edges. Good popper action in the evenings up in the shallows. BEst lakes. Tomahawk, Ballard and Minocqua.
Northern Pike--Good. Best action by mid mornings. Fish active and chasing Boonie Baits, #3 Mepps, Chatter baits. Soaking Large chubs and suckers also productive. Fish deeper cabbage of 10-14 feet if available. Other wise deepest weeds. Best lakes. Pickeral, Gilmore, Pokegama.
Walleye-- Fair. Should start seeeing move to deeper gravel humps. Flowages dropping. Fish not reacting well to the cold mornings. Best to use leechees along outside weed edges and any deeper wood in 12-15'. Crawlers, fatheads in that order. Late afternoon evenings. Lighted slip-bobbers after dark have been working on Minocqua Chain. Best Lakes. Fence, Dam, Squirrel and Forest.
Yellow perch--Fair. Catches are running decent in numbers but good on size. 8 to 10 inches on Kawageusaga, Big Arb, Minocqua. Medium Leeches, Medium fatheads fished around cabbage edges and pocketsof 8-12 '.
Muskie-- Fair. But improving. Bucktails (Dreamcatchers, Screamers, Sneaky Petes) and twitch baits ( cranes, Grandmas) worked over weeds of 6-12'. Surface action picking up fish in the evenings.
Crappies--Fair to imrpoving. Crappies relating to tall cabbage cast 1-2 Twister tails, small minnows on 1/32 oz jigs. Work through top foot of the weed beds. a few anglers reporting schools of supended crappies out from coontail egdes down 12-18' over 15-24 ' of water. Fish slip-bobbers to hold small jigs tipped with crappie minnows.
Despite some weather due on wednesday. Looks like nice weather for the weekend. If your favorite lake had an algea bloom those ae starting to clear up . Due to the cold nights. Surface temps are running 69-72 degrees on average.''
Primary sources: Mik-Lurch Tackle Outlet, Capt. Chuck Weis and Capt. Ralph Steiger
Best is Willow Slouth for largemouth and bluegill; Wolf Lake is decent for walleye and bass. Salmon are all the way out in 145-155, none on shore.
ROCK RIVER: OREGON
Primary source: TJ's Bait/Tackle & Canoe Rental
TJ's said channel catfish are good on cheese baits, small suckers or roaches; flatheads (many in mid-30s) are taking bluegills or suckers; more walleye on leeches or minnows. River is nearer normal.
ST. JOSEPH AREA, MICH.
Primary sources: BJ Sports and Michigan DNR
BJ Sports reported water cooling rapidly to mid-60s by midday Tuesday and the kings are being caught off the piers. Steelhead are staging at the creek mouths. The river (which is low so be warned if boating) is producing walleye on crawlers on the bottom and flatheads on bluegills or rock bass,
Primary sources: Lakeside and guide Jay Angel
Catfish continue good, and bluegill and bass are being taken on the weed lines.
Angel sent this report:
``Water temperatures are hovering around 75 degrees.
Crappies: Crappie fishing is good, but you will have to look for them. They are deep in the east bay deep trees. Look for them 20 feet down right down to the bottom of the lake.
Crappies are also being caught in the deeper structures like the three fish cribs that are located on the northern part of the road bed.
Use crappie minnows, Aberdeen hooks and slip bobbers for best results.''
WISCONSIN RIVER, WIS.: DELLS
Primary source: River's Edge
River's Edge reported near normal river with good bluegill, walleye and smallmouth. Sturgeon season opens Sept. 6.