This is the extended online version of the Midwest Fishing Report, which appears in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays. Originally, I was trying to post the online version by midnight Tuesday. It's going to be more like Wednesday morning most weeks.
If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The cooling lakes are only open a couple more weeks, but the final weeks at Heidecke can be good, as Katie Subject shows with her best walleye of the year, caught with spoonplugger Mike Lynch.
Fox River wading guide Ken Gortowski had an unbelievable Saturday trip for smallmouth. See that in the Fox River report and more below.
Primary sources: Kolar Bait and Henry's Sports, Bait & Marine
Trout note: Fall trout opens Oct. 18 statewide. In Cook County, the three stocked lakes will be Axehead Belleau and Horsetail. In DuPage, the three lakes are Silver in Blackwell FP, Deep Quarry at West Branch FP and Grove at Wood Dale Grove FP. The three DuPage lakes will be closed to all fishing from next Wednesday, Oct. 1 until trout opens Oct. 18.
For an overview of nearby river conditions, go to this NWS site.
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 sources: Triangle Sports & Marine or Capt. Darrell Baker
Triangle reports walleye are the best bet, look in current areas, such as bottlenecks of the bridges, and use large fatheads or crawlers. White bass remain good on Petite, Marie and Bluff on small spinners, work wind-blown shorelines. Muskie are consistent on bucktails or jerkbaits around main lake points; others being taken near current areas. Crappie are good, moving into channel areas, try small jigs tipped with small fatheads or spikes. Bluegill (some good ones) remain good around weed areas in 6-9 feet on small ice jigs tipped with waxies or spikes.
More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
Closing time is 6:30 p.m. until the last day of fishing on Oct. 14. Monster Lake in the south unit remains open for fishing year-round, conditions permitting.
Last day of fishing is Oct. 15.
Fishing ends Oct. 7. Traditionally, this can be an outstanding time, the last couple weeks as young spoonplugging guide Mike Lynch points out in this report from the weekend:
``The water temp was around 70 and the water is up the highest i have seen it all year, no problem launching/loading.
``Fishing was a bit slow but we started at noon with a east wind and caught nothing in 4 hours. Around 5pm a storm came in from no where and the wind swithched to the sw and in 20 minutes we landed the only three fish of the day.
The next two weeks should bring some decent fishing as long as the east winds stay away. All fish were caught trolling spoonolugs on the southside. the 2 eyes were in about 12fow and the bass was caught up in the riprap. We were getting alot of hits, but the fish just seemed lazy with the east wind but they were at least there a bit beter then the last two times out with the shad hatch.''
DELAVAN LAKE, WIS.
Primary source: Guide Dave Duwe
``Even though it's been rather warm the past week, with the shorter days and the cool nights the water temperatures are cooling. The start of the fall feeding frenzy should be here soon.
Northern Pike have really started to bite on suckers. The best depth is 20-25 ft of water. Some of the biggest fish of the year were caught last week. Some of the best spots were by Willow Point and Belvidere Park. Don't hesitate to look for pike in deeper water because the small panfish are starting to move out over the main lake basin. I'm still using the single hook lindy rig. As fall progresses, I will be switching over to bigger bait and a quick strike rig.
Bluegills have moved off the deep weedline and are located in the medium weeds. The best depth is 12-15 ft of water. Look for them by the gray condos or by Browns Channel. Most of the success is coming off of leaf worms fished on a slip bobber. Another good approach is a gold or fire tiger Hali jig.
With the cooling water, Walleyes are starting to become active again. A lot of success is coming off of nightcrawlers or trolling crank baits. The best color has been fire tiger. Look for the fish by Willow Point or the Oriental boat house. The walleyes I've been catching are off the weedline in 25-35 ft of water. The best approach to catching them for me has been the lindy rig with an orange or pink hook.
Largemouth bass are still available on the deep weedlines. Most of my action has come off my sucker poles. I think the bass are a little ahead of the other fish for the fall feed bag. Crank baits would also be a great idea. I prefer Bandit 300 series in sour grape or fire tiger.
Crappies are suspended over the main lake basin. The best depth has been in about 35 ft of water, 25 ft down. The best approach has been straight lining cubby jigs or small fat head minnows beneath the boat.''
``The level has really dropped after very high lake levels a little over a week ago. The fishing is doing pretty good as well. The crappie, saugeye, bass, and catfish are all biting decently. Most of the crappie and bass are small, but some decent sized saugeye and catfish being caught. The crappies are fairly shallow around brush and structure and are being caught on small jig tipped with or without minnows. The bass are caught mostly on plastics or spinner baits, again, fairly shallow around structure. The saugeye are being caught on jig/crawler combo or trolling diving crankbaits around drops, humps, and mouths of coves. The catfish are still being caught on cutbaits and nightcrawlers around feeder creeks and around Swimming Beach and Boat Rental areas. Muskies have slowed back down. I haven't heard much here.''
If the report updates, it will be posted here.
Boat rental and bait shop are closed for the season, some bait and leftover tackle is for sale at the visitor's center.
Friday and Saturday, Sept. 26-27, are the last public fishing days. Next Wednesday, Oct. 1 is the final day of fishing for members. Site super Rick Seibert said bass have been good.
Boat fishing ends Oct. 17; bank fishing on Oct. 24. Bank fishing reopens on Dec. 24, the day after central zone waterfowl closes.
Lake crested Friday, nine feet above normal pool. For more, call (217) 774-2020.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
Primary sources: Kolar Bait and wading guide Ken Gortowski
There is an awful lot of good fishing story and good fishing teaching in this post from Gortowski's outing Saturday. I reprinted the story below, the complete shebang with photos and text is posted at http://www.wadauwant.com/wd_journal/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=184&p=354#p354
``To recap Saturday mornings fishing . . .
``Four hours of fishing starting at sunrise.
``Montgomery, high water, crap plant fishing.
``Yes, I can wade in water at 3200 cfs cause I know this stretch like the back of my hand.
``First hour, 45 smallies landed.
``Four hours later, 124 smallies landed.
``Figure missing one for every two landed, probably more.
``I needed it that morning.
``The Fox is basically a minnow fishery. I've gone years without seeing a crayfish. Unlike the Kankakee, where you have to quit looking down while walking through shallows so you don't start feeling guilty about all the crayfish you're killing by stepping on them.
``Sure enough, on Saturday, in spite of near record flood levels the minnows were schooled everywhere in the slack water.
``Add to that . . . Years ago I noticed that from end of September through October there was a phenomonal bite on anything that resembled baby blue gills. Better yet if you had the patience to catch baby blue gills. I mentioned this to fisheries biologist Pat Kirmse and he said that at that time of year the blue gills are making a run up the river and its tributaries.
``Sure enough, on Saturday I saw hundreds of baby blue gills in the shallows along the shores.
``For the 124 smallies caught that day I used one 1/16th ounce jig till it literally fell apart and then tied on another one that lasted the rest of the day. Minnow colored looking twisters by Bass Assasin and Producto. The colors were pearl, pearl/gray speckled, and smoke. I went through a lot of them.
``I'm not sure a lot of guys will ever get used to just casting something out there, DOWNSTREAM, and then just letting the lure swim around in the water till something comes along and hits it. Don't reel, just move the lure up down and sideways to make it look like a swimming minnow. If they're not reeling, they're not happy, so I guess they'll just miss most of the fish.
``With virtually no rain in the forecast the river should be down to normal by this weekend. It's low enough now to be wandering the edges, as long as you know the depth. Lots of sunshine this week will keep things warmed up. If I had the schedule I used to have, instead of having to work all the time now, I would be out there every day for the next 10 days. That's as far as the forecast says it's going to be perfect.''
GENEVA LAKE, WIS.
Primary source: Duwe
``Fishing on Lake Geneva is consistent for this time of year. The water temperature has been cooling slowly due to the warmer days the last few days. The best bite on the lake remains the Smallmouth bass.
Smallmouth bass are on the deep weed points associated with hard sand bottom. The best depth has been 25-30 ft of water. Two approaches have been working either drop shotting a small four inch finesse worm in green pumpkin or lindy rigging nightcrawlers. Look for them by the Military Academy or by Fontana Beach.
Lake Trout are still available trolling nickel and blue or nickel and green spoons, 55 to 75 ft down in 108-115 ft of water. I've been trolling mostly in front of Cedar Point and Conference Point.
The panfish have moved into the shallows. There are loads of perch and rock bass in 10-14 ft of water. The best bait is leaf worms or small fathead minnows. I would either use a split shot rig or a slip bobber rig for the best action. Look for the fish by Knollwood or by Linn Pier.
With the cooler nights, the northern pike have started to move shallow. They can be caught on the weedlines in 15-20 ft of water. The best approach is trolling deep diving crank baits or large 1 oz white spinner baits. The best location is Trinkes Bay or by Linn Piers weedline.''
ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA
Primary source: Guide Buster Culjan or Cajun's Bait
At flood stage and forecast to stay at flood stage at LaSalle into next week.
Primary sources: Ed Mullady, ``Catfish'' Dave Bradigan
Considering the Momence area is his spot, an area like the Indiana waters forecast to stay at flood stage until Thursday or Friday, Sept. 25 or 26, Bradigan sent this:
``To put it mildly Dale .Nobody should be on the river either wading or boating. Flat out dangerous. My buddy lives on Eagle island road and it is still shut down due to high water across the road.''
Mullady noted this:
``River high, but is going down in many areas where some nice gamefish can be caught at!
Anyone going fishing shold first call fish and game sites, bait shops in areas fishermen is planning on fishing at..
In Illinois, some smallmouth bass are being caught around Momence Island Park * Ryan's Pier Area, Aroma Park *Below Kankakee Dam and at area of Johnson's Fisherman's Park *Islands at Kankakee river State Park
*Wilmington Island Park Area.
Catfishing good on flooded shorelines, mostly on *minnows *c rawlers *cheese bait!''
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
Shoreline salmon are variable. Friday night when I was at Montrose, action was spotty. Then on Monday, Park Bait reported at least 21 salmon and a few steelhead at Montrose and Belmont, then slower on Tuesday. Capt. Bill Kelly reported fair action for a mixed bag by the R4 and east of Burnham.
Primary source: Salmon Stop
Kelly said lakers are starting on Julian's Reef. Salmon Stop said glow spoons are taking decent kings from the piers. Perch (take sorting) are in 40-45 feet from Great Lakes south to Lake Forest.
MADISON LAKES, WIS.
Primary source: D&S Bait at dsbait.com
Primary sources: Eagle River Sports, Pastika's and Minocqua guide Kurt Justice
``Following a typical fall warm up. That slowed action down last week. A drop in the air temp over the weekend brought about. Water surface temps into the low 60's. It also improved the bite.
Largemouth Bass--Very Good. Lots of action on plastics this weekend. Plung in beaver type baits into thick coves as well as wacky rigging yum and senko worms. Even a good spinnerbait bite in 6-8' weeds.
Walleye--Good-Very Good. After a slow down mid-week due to a warming trend. The cold nights over the weekend brought back a hot bite. On some of the better know fall walleye spots. Walleyes have reappeared on the deep gravel humps. Fish large fatheads small redtails or a half of crawler. On 1/8 or 1/4 oz jigs. The Flambeau Chain, Squirrel, Big are the Best bites. The flowages have picked up with a bit of cool weather.
Musky--Good and Improving. SUcker action is starting. Some multi-fish days using Smity quick strikes with blades. Surface lures(Pacemakers)good at dawn and dusk. Twitch Baits action still tops over weeds beds(Cranes 7"). Bucktails in the same areas providing good action. Even one Musky on a Manta. Most fish mid 30's to low 40's and one 46 this week.
Smallmouth Bass--Good. Ten fish limit weighing in 30lbs won the Wisconsin Bass Classic from Lake Tomahawk. 2nd place 10 LMB weighed 26lbs from Mincoqua. Best smallies deep. Crayfish, Sculpins imatations. Drop shotting 2-3" power minnows also effective.
Northern Pike--Good-Very Good. Nice fish this week ( we've released four 31-35" pike while fishing for musky with Cranes. Release is the only way we'll ever get a 40"er) Good weed action. Use large chubs on a jig with a wire leader in 8-12' weeds. Spinnerbaits (Boonies) also catching fish.
Crappies--Good. Best twitching medium Fatheads on a 1/16 oz jig. Finding drowned wood best areas. The deeper the wood the bigger the fish. Some anglers retrieving road runners tipped with minnows, 1/2 of a crawler also good.
Yellow Perch--Good. Nice fish of 8-10"on the chains. Flowages are not so hot as of right now. Use med. Fatheads.
Bluegills--Fair. Not many reports as of right now.
Warm is usually not good for fall. Surface temps dropping again. Some very green water on lakes slowing fish (Little Arb,Big ST. germain) Cold nights would clear up the water.Watch for lakes to start turning over at low 50 degree range.''
Primary sources: Mik-Lurch Tackle Outlet, Capt. Chuck Weis and Capt. Ralph Steiger
Willow Slough reopened to fishing on Monday and i was out with my neighbor Norm Kostner. The bass were exploding on frogs and spinner baits, bluegills were OK. There is boat rental there.
Otherwise, action is fair. Mik-Lurch reports shoreline salmon are slow. There's some salmon up the creeks. Boaters continue to do well in 110 feet. Crappie are decent in the corn channel at Wolf Lake.
ST. JOSEPH AREA, MICH.
Primary sources: BJ Sports and Michigan DNR
Berrien Springs is where it is at now, according to BJ Sports. There's decent kings and some steelhead below the dam as the river levels receded. Best have been orange Oslo spinners or spawn under float. The mouth of the Paw Paw continues decent too. Pier action is spotty. No perch reports.
Primary sources: Lakeside and guide Jay Angel
Angel sent this report:
``Water temperatures were in the high 60's. Water clarity is improving.
I was out on Shabbona Lake on Sunday, September 21. We caught several smallmouth bass over the rock piles in 8 - 10 feet of water. The smallmouth bass ran in size from 10 - 14 inches long. No larger smallies were caught.
Perch were caught on the weedlines near the rockpiles in 6 - 8 feet of water. Perch ranged in size from 7 - 10 inches long. Perch fishing was slow.
Crappies were caught over the north roadbed fish cribs. Crappie fishing was fair.''
For more reports, click here.
WISCONSIN RIVER, WIS.: DELLS
Primary source: River's Edge
River's Edge reports decent fishing for all species in a low river. No keeper sturgeon (minimum 60 inches) so far, but decent action for sturgeon, whose season ends early on Tuesday, Sept. 30.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT