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Midwest Fishing Report 9-17-08

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This is the extended online version of the Midwest Fishing Report, which appears in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays. Normally, I will have the MFR posted about midnight on Tuesday.

If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at



There's no mystery here for anybody who survived 6 to 11 inches of rain last weekend. One of my favorite fishing spots, the old dam at Aroma Park on the Kankakee, is under several feet of water, and likely to stay that way for awhile.


Primary sources: Kolar Bait and Henry's Sports, Bait & Marine

The high water can prove to be good for fish feeding up in flooded plants and brush. The big water also can wash in bait at culverts and such, and make the eddies there very good options.


For an overview of nearby river conditions, go to NWS site.

Key is that we are talking about high-water fishing, but at the receding side. In other words, tough fishing. I decided to include the individual river reports in their usual spots.


Primary source: Guide Mike Norton.

Go to, then click on fishing, then lake report.


Primary sources: Triangle Sports & Marine or Capt. Darrell Baker

For a change, this area was not swamped, but just enough rain to kick up the fishing. Or, aas Greg Dickson at Triangle put it, ``People are coming out of the woodwork to fish walleye.'' He suggested walleye fishermen focus on bridges or bottleneck areas with current. With cooler water, minnows are best, either on jigs or Lindy rigs. White bass are good, either fish the river or main lake areas that have some moving water; drift fish with minnows or spikes. Bluegill remain tight to shore, and good with spikes or waxies. For crappie, try drift fishing in main lake areas or tight to shore in main channels with laydowns or brush, with minnows or spikes. For bass, stay shallow and find weeds.
Muskie are improving, going toward jerk or glide baits.

More Chain info at As of Tuesday, the upper river and the Chain was open to usual boating and not expected to change.



As of Tuesday, the north unit was closed because of flooding. Otherwise, Braidwood is 78 degrees at the north end, 86 at the south. On Sunday, Sept. 21, closing time is 6:30 p.m. and stays that until the last day of fishing on Oct. 14. Monster Lake in the south unit remains open for fishing year-round.


Last day of fishing is Oct. 15.


Fishing ends Oct. 7. Concessionaire Steve Anderson said at least the rains refilled the lake. However, few have been fishing so far.


Primary source: Guide Dave Duwe

Duwe sent this report:

``Fish are starting to come into their fall pattern. The water temperatures are hovering around 68-70 degrees and falling with the cool nights. It has been very pleasant to fish without all the boat traffic and pleasure craft. The only issue right now has been the steady rain. Hopefully, we'll get a few nice days for fishing this week.
The walleyes are starting to come up from the deep water (30-36 feet) and position on the shallow shelves or shallow rock points. I have been working 12-15 feet of water. The best baits have been night crawlers and leeches. With the cooling waters, minnows are starting to pick up a few fish. Try working weed jigs or a small weight lindy-rig. The Oriental boat house and the gray condo's are always good bets. Look for the crank bait bite start to heat up. Try Smithwick suspending rogues or suspending Wally Divers. The best colors have been silver/black or silver/blue/orange belly.
Largemouth and smallmouth bass are located on the 11-12 foot break. The fall has been one of my best times for large fish. With guiding, I have been catching them on night crawlers or leeches; crawler harnesses and the single hook split-shot rig. For artificial lure fishermen, now is the perfect time for medium diving crank baits. I like using the Excalibur fat free shad in blue shad or fire tiger. If that doesn't work try the split-shot rig with small lizards or centipedes. I like a 2/0 worm hook and 1/8 oz weight, with an 18-30 inch leader.
With the cooling waters Northern Pike have become scattered. A lot of the fish are using the shallow bays along with the weed line breaks. I have been catching the best fish in 15-18 feet of water. I like the free swimming suckers 9-12 inches with a small egg weight and swivels. Later in the year, I start using bigger and bigger suckers on quick strike rigs. Some fish are being caught on large perch colored jerk baits and deep divers.
The pan fish I have been catching are right in the weeds in 10-12 feet of water. I have been working slip-bobbers and leaf worms. The best luck has been near the Yacht club point or the Delavan Marina dock. The pan fish should be improving daily. Winters are long so fish and fish often.



For more lake conditions, call (217) 774-2020.


The latest fishing report is posted here. Boat rental are open weekends only now. Bait shop and boat rental close for the season on Sunday, Sept. 21.


Primary sources: Kolar Bait and wading guide Ken Gortowski

Note: The river is no wake from McHenry to Algonquin as of Tuesday. Check the lastest at

Gortowski posted an extended post-flood entry at

For fishermen, here is the gist:

``I just checked the gauge in Montgomery. After peaking at almost 20,000 cubic feet per second, it's already down to around 9,600 cfs and coming down fast. That tends to happen this time of year. It's the spring when the river takes it's sweet time in draining. I have a feeling that by this weekend the river may come down to almost normal levels.

``The creeks for sure will be back to normal and pretty clear. That always happens that way.

``Not sure at this point if I'll be making it out this weekend. I tend not to go fishing when I have my daughter for the weekend, but we do go exploring.

``And if, by chance, I do happen to get out, there's this little creek that had this big log jam. It's either moved or got bigger. I have no choice but to go find out.

``One of these days my fascination with these things will probably kill me.''


Primary source: Duwe

From Duwe:

``We've had a week of rainy and cool weather. The fish are available if you can make it out on the water. This weekend was almost a complete washout but the weather forecasters say that sunshine should be seen for a few days this week.
Large mouth bass fishing has been spotty - some of the bass are cruising the shallows around piers and weed flats, while others are still in their mid- summer weed line pattern. Earlier in the week, the fish were very active in the 10-12 ft range. All of the fish I have been catching are still being caught on night crawlers fished on the split shot rig. When the fish are shallow a purple or black pre-rigged worm can be very effective. Some of the best locations include Geneva Bay, Coleman's Point and Trinkes.
Northern Pike fishing has also been sporadic. The fish are still transitioning from their summer thermo cline pattern to the shallow weeds. On the locator the fish seemed very scattered. The water temperature is now at 68 degrees, once it drops to 63 degrees, all of the northerns will move shallow. Some other fall spots to try (before they go shallow) are Covenant Harbor and Maytag Point.
Smallmouth bass fishing has been pretty good. Most of the bass are in the 21-28 ft depth range. They are being caught on either nightcrawlers or small yellow perch that are caught on the lake. Good locations are by the Military Academy or by Fontana Beach.
Pan fishing continues to be exceptional. Large numbers with quality size can be caught. The best bite has been the yellow perch. They have moved into the shallows and are in their fall pattern. They are positioning in about 8-10 ft. of water over hard sand bottoms with scattered weeds. For the most success, try anchor fishing with slip bobbers. This seems to produce the most action. Use small minnows or leaf worms for the best action.
I have been catching rock bass while drifting for largemouth bass in 12-15 ft. of water. The size on some of them are in excess of one pound. They have been producing a lot of action when the bass fishing has been off.''


Primary source: Guide Buster Culjan or Cajun's Bait

At record flood stage. Nothing else to say.


Primary sources: Ed Mullady, ``Catfish'' Dave Bradigan

From Mullady:

``Some of the Kankakee's finer catches have been made at high water
times such as this. IF you can find a road to take you to the river, try fishing in areas where the water has covered the bank! Big minnows for pike, walleye, catfish can produce. So can fluorescent colored spoons, spinners, lures! For catfish, add Catfish cheese, crawlers.
``Bass will hit spinners, worms, minnows fishing during high water situations. The biggest problem is you need to know where the shorelines are normally at so you don't step into a deep water shoreline. Shoreline fishing will be the safest and often the most productive.
``Call ahead to Bait Shops, F&W Areas, State Parks for suggestions as each day changes as to where a safe and protective fishing location can be!
``Creeks are often the first to recede to near normal when river begins to drop...and many good sized fish will be there!''


Primary source: Harborside Bait & Tackle and Capt. Bob Poteshman

Harborside reported kings are on and off, Friday and Saturday were good. The Pike was flowing good Tuesday morning, but a dry forecast is in. Browns were being taken in the harbor Tuesday morning. Around daybreak, best are glow spoons, otherwise it is spoons.


Primary source: Rickard's and Ohio DNR

Weather riled the lake. Rickard's said the lake should settle within the next couple days. For Ohio DNR report go to and or call (888) HOOKFISH.


With better weather, shore fishermen are out again for incoming kings.


Primary sources: Henry's Sports, Bait & Marine, Park Bait, Capt. Bill Kelly and Capt. Bob Poteshman

Park Bait reported some kings from shore at Montrose and Belmont, best on glow spoons early or the usual spoons otherwise. Kelly said there's browns, kings, coho and lakers being taken at the R4; browns and kings at Gumby's Reef and some jumbo perch in 70 feet last week by the R4. Mik-Lurch reported some kings being taken at 63rd too.


Primary source: Salmon Stop

Salmon Stop reported decent action for kings in the 7-14-pound class from the piers.


Primary source: Poteshman

Poteshman said, ``Best is to get out in 200-300 feet for anything reputable. We caught som 130-140, but not many, over the weekend.''


Primary source: D&S Bait at


Primary sources: Eagle River Sports, Pastika's and Minocqua guide Kurt Justice

From Justice:

``Fall continues to work its way through the Northwoods. Water temps dipping into the low to mid 60's. 59 degrees on flowages asw high as 65 degrees on larger lakes.

``Largemouth Bass--good. Stick to the weeds. Cold mornings have required slow presentations to induce pick ups. Jig and pig, Wacky Worms. Best action mid -morning through early afternoon. 1/8 oz jig or 4" worm jigged over and along deep coontail edges. Beaver type baits out in deeper weed pockets. Some spinnerbaits on warmer afternoons.

``Crappie--Good. Crappies relating to sparse weeds in 8-14' of water. Jigging 2" plastics on 1/32-1/16 oz jigs. Lighted slip-bobbersbaited with minnows after dark around piers with lights.

``Musky-- Good. Just getting into the sucker bait right now. Use smaller 10-12" suckers on small spinner quick set harness. Twitch baits still tops. 7 inch baits worked over weeds tops. Cranes, Big game and Grandmas. Bucktails and top water still working well. Will be until the turn over.( weeks away)

``Smallies--Good. Deep gravel humps 20-40' tops. Slow crawl football jigs with chompers skirteed grub to minic sculpins, crayfish. Drop-shot 2-3" realistik powerminnows to replecate minic shiners and young of the year Perch that smallies are also feeding on. On lakes with little or no gravel humps find smallies staging outside weed edges in 14-18'. Wacky style senkos and Yum worms.

``Walleyes --Fair to Good. Bite slowed from previous week. Some areas walleyes moved out. Shallow water eyes taking leeches and Redtails. Deep water gravel and mud walleyes on Fatheads and 1/2 of crawlers verticle jigging. Good bite after dark on lighted slip bobbers with Large fat heads. Two 27 inchers caught over the weekend by local boys on Public pier.

``Norther Pike--Good. Most reports from muskie anglers casting twitch baits, Smalll bucktails. Pike like this cool weather getting very aggressive. Keep Casting.

``Yellow Perch--Good. Stacking up outside coontail edges. Slip-bobber med Fatheads along 12-17 edges.

``Bluegill--Fair. Fishing pressure lighter for gills this week.

``Slow cooling temps bode well for this fall fishing. Treees starting to turn only about 5%. Look for good sucker season.''


Primary sources: Mik-Lurch Tackle Outlet, Capt. Chuck Weis and Capt. Ralph Steiger

Ed McCain at Mik-Lurch said lots of salmon were porpoising at the Hole in the Wall and a few being caught. Trollers should do well there and at the shipping channel. Frenzy lures were working best.

At Amoco from shore, best has been midnight to 6 a.m. with the usual spoons. McCain said Michigan City and Port of Indiana are high and stained with muddy water flowing out. With the record water levels, look for salmon in streams where they have never been before McCain suggested.

Wolf Lake came up about 10 inches, with reports of some good crappie, including a 14-incher, at the corn channel on the Indiana side.


Primary sources: TJ's Bait/Tackle & Canoe Rental at

From Jan Prose at TJ's:

``The river has come up a few feet, but it's not in too bad a shape, and going down by the weekend.

``The walleye are biting, a lot of small ones, but they seem to be moving up closer to the dam. One guy caught a 8 pounder fishing with blue gil for flathead! Several nice flathead being caught on suckers, gils, and I weighed a 24.5 pound caught on a nitro worm!

``Carp are pooling by the shoreline at Carnation park near the discharge
(city water treatment plant).

``Catfish are still hitting on about anything you throw at them! Looks
like a great weekend for fishing coming up!''


Primary sources: BJ Sports and Michigan DNR


Primary sources: Lakeside and guide Jay Angel

The lake went crazy over the weekend with all the rain, rising 34 inches and shuting down the road to the park. But by Tuesday, the lake was only up a few inches and the lake should be near normal over the next couple days and definitely by the weekend. Expect crappie to be decent to good.

For more reports, click here.


Primary sources: River's Edge

Botch Leonhardt said walleye are good, but it takes sorting to find keepers. There's lots of smallmouth and largemouth being taken, from about half a pound to 4.5 pounds. Sturgeon are being caught, but he has heard of nothing over 50 inches. Remmber, under the new regs, the season ends Sept. 30 and the minimum is 60 inches. The river is low.






MICHIGAN DNR REPORT,1607,7-153-10364-34956--,00.html






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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on September 16, 2008 8:44 PM.

Illinois Hunting Report 9-16-08 (teal updated) was the previous entry in this blog.

Fish of the Week: First for 1-year-old is the next entry in this blog.

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