This is the second posting of an extended online Midwest Fishing Report, which 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.
Change is coming today in terms of a cold, wet front. Unfortunately, some of the change is several days of north and northeast winds, likely to pile up warm water on the Illinois shoreline again and hamper the fall rush of kings.
John Hochberg lands a smallmouth on an outing with Bob Long Jr. on the Fox River Saturday. Rivers--Apple, DuPage, Fox, Kankakee, Vermilion--are in good late summer/early fall wading shape, some are even very low, unless the remnants of Gustav dump on us.
With school underway, far fewer are fishing until the shoreline salmon run begins.
The report follows.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT
Primary sources: Kolar Bait, Henry's Sports, Bait & Marine
Changing: Everything will change with the dramatic weather shift.
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
Decent: Triangle reports best bite on small minnows, Petite or Marie are best in 8-15 feet. Bluegill are good, but fish shallow (8 feet or less). Some crappie are being caught on Swedish pimples tipped with minnows, Marie is best. Walleye are fair, mornings and evenings, around bridges or main lake points with split-bobber rigs or Lindy rigs with crawlers or minnows. Catfish are fair on stinkbait or crawlers. Muskie are fair, morning and evening, on bucktails or topwaters. (A lot of this could change with a hard cold rain.)
More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
Forecast of several cloudy/rainy days could make the Mazonia lakes a good pick. Last day of fishing is Oct. 14.
Last day of fishing is Oct. 15.
Fishing ends Oct. 7.
DELAVAN LAKE, WIS.
Primary source: Guide Dave Duwe
Decent: Regular reader Arden Katz continues to make the journey from the Northwest Side and bang good bluegill. On Tuesday afternoon, he called from the lake and reported outstanding bluegill (many in the 9-inch range) in 15 feet. Hellgrammites are best.
Duwe said the other good bite is crappie suspended in 25 feet, down 10 feet. Other fish are slow. Fishing should improve with the cold snap.
Army Corps reports ramps are cleaned and open.Lake remains 6 feet above normal pool. Crappie are in 8-12 feet around standing timber. For more, call (217) 774-2020.
The latest fishing report is posted here. Boat rental are open weekends only now. The bait shop is open 8-4 daily. Both close for the season on Sept. 21. (Those are corrected slightly from the original posting.)
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
Primary sources: Kolar Bait and wading guide Ken Gortowski
Decent: River is low, and catfish are decent. Gortowski wondered if maybe the high water this summer prevented the usual algae blooms and is a reason for the good clarity. Sounds reasonable.
Two extended reports: First Gortowski, then from fly fisherman Long. Both are slightly edited.
``Got out to Orchard Road at sunrise Sunday for a couple of hours. Hit the upstream side of the bridge, haven't done that in a couple of years. . . . Did catch 18 smallies. All small again, but who cares. For the last day of August, the water was surprisingly clear for the Fox. A good 2 foot visibility. I think the high water into August kept the algae blooms from the chain and the pools above the dams from occuring. Moving water doesn't get those kinds of blooms.
``Saw about a half dozen guys working the downstream side of Orchard on Saturday. Saw a few more in downtown Oswego. That's the first time I've seen anyone in the water on a weekend in almost 2 years. Except for dams of course. Veritable traffic jam of anglers at Yorkville. Even the usual mopes that fish from on top of the 47 bridge. Twenty three miles of open water between there and Dayton dam and they can't figure out where else to go.
``Hit Little Rock Creek Monday at sunrise in Plano. I'm getting too old to do the bush whacking I used to do. Caught a half dozen smallies and a couple of rock bass in an hour and a half and called it quits. Quite beautiful and you can bet no one went where I did.
``Strange, the creek was only 60 degrees. That means it's spring fed. I guess I'll have to go find them.''
And from Long:
``Saturday: Fox River, Les Arends area
``Fishing with Rich Delaney (Mayor Daley's Fish`N Kids Fishing Instructor) and John Hochberg, friend.
``Rich used spinning gear and a small, silver bladed "cicada" lure. John and I used fly rods with jigheads and plastics.
``50+ smallmouth for the three of us. 1 big white bass (rich), 1 carp and two small walleye (me). The majority of the smallies were with Rich and his blade lure.
``Water: low, stained, 9" or so viz, 770cps, very wadable. Water temp: 75 on my digital thermometer. Cooler than I expected.
``We parked, walked upstream about 1/2 mile from the cars, got in and waded , casted and fished going downstream only. Rich could make the long casts, while John and I did the 30 feet or less thing I recommend for fly guys.
``Fish were spotty at first, but where you would expect; at the end of riffles, heads of pools, along current seams with a bubble line, and in sections of rocky bottom with a broken surface (I call these "haystacks". Most fish were in water knee to crotch, deep 18" - 30."
``95% of the fish were 12 - 15"; cookie cutters. Healthy fish.
``Rich employed a slow retrieve: just enough to get the blade softly vibrating, which is easier to do when bringing it upstream, using the current. He never got hung up or lost the lure.
``For John and I the trick was to cast down and do nothing, other than allow our lures to sit in one spot. We'd move it 6"to a foot, left to right, right ot left, lift and drop. Very slow fishing. No drifting or stripping or any of that fly fishing b.s. The fish would hit with good takes. All the fish hit as if they were a little larger.
``They spit up nothing that we could see, and I didn't want to kill any to get a stomach contents reading. I could feel there stomachs with my fingers. Felt more like minnows than crayfish in there.
``By a wide margin, our best producers: Berkley 2" and 3" Power Grubs (smoke, black glitter) and Producto 3" Spring Grubs (smoke). I am sure Kalin, 3" grubs in smoke (salt/pepper flake would have worked too). I always carry these on the river (no matter how dark the water, these really look "minnowy" on a jighead and fish manage to find them.
``If I could only get today's fly guys to realize how effective these are with the fly rod, and get over their, late-20th century, 'lures and the fly rod are heresy" issues.
``One of the nice things about having three guys fish together, besides the marvelously wicked chatter and conversations, is the ability to cover water and try various lures, retrieves and presentations. Sooner or later, if you are observant and not bullheaded about what you "want to use", you will hit upon the fish's preferences for the day. It feels really gratifying to be able to figure out where the fish are, what they are willing to hit, and, in general, just put the pieces of the puzzle together, as opposed to just casting and hoping for luck.
``Once again, hardly anyone out. I saw four other guys. They didn't do very well. Other than by the dams, the K3, Fox, Dupage, and Milwaukee are grossly under fished and appreciated for smallmouth.
``It was a marvelous day, and after four hours we hit Micky D's, exhausted, red-eyed, fish-sated and happy.''
GENEVA LAKE, WIS.
Primary source: Duwe
Fair: Short report with fair fishing. Smallmouth are being caught in 20-25 feet, not in big schools typical this time of year, by drop-shotting 4-inch worms or Lindy-rigging crawlers.
ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA
Primary source: Guide Buster Culjan or Cajun's Bait
Decent: Culjan said crappie are the surprise around pilings and stumps in 4-5 feet. Otherwise, it is white bass very early on bladebaits or catfish on stinkbait or crawlers. Waders are taking good smallmouth in the Vermilion. Both rivers are very low.
Primary sources: Ed Mullady, ``Catfish'' Dave Bradigan
Good: River is low, clear and very wadeable. The fly fishermen are descending on the river, yes, like flies. And those chasing catfish are lining the banks.
``Kankakee River fishing keeps getting better! In Indiana, catfish hitting good around Point, north of English Lake, and nice croppies being caught around brush piles. Illinois: Smallmouth Bass continue good both upstream and downstream from Momence. *Aroma Park through Kankakee to Nature Island for *smallmouth bass, croppie, catfish.
``Rex island through Christine Island at Kankakee State Park for *rock bass
*smallmouth bass and catfish. Wilmington Island Park into DesPlaines F&W Area also good.''
Primary source: Harborside Bait & Tackle and Capt. Bob Poteshman
Waiting: Harborside said kings are staging at the mouth of the Pike. Once the rains come, the rush will be on.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
Primary source: Rickard's and Ohio DNR
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
Starting: Early kings are coming. However, the forecast for several days of northeast or north winds will change everything.
Primary sources: Henry's Sports, Bait & Marine, Park Bait, Capt. Bill Kelly and Capt. Bob Poteshman
Park Bait said several kings have been caught at Montrose the past few days on spoons and glow spoons. Kelly said browns and kings are being caught on both sides of the R4. Poteshman said there's some perch by the R4, but they take sorting. No shoreline perch.
Primary sources: Poteshman and Salmon Stop
Salmon Stop said sporadic action (night by night) for kings off the piers. A few perch by the green can, but it takes sorting. Boaters are fishing 90-100 feet for mixed bag of salmon and trout.
Primary source: Poteshman
Poteshman said the early bite on the hill has been OK, the afternoon bite is as deep as 200 feet for mixed steelhead, kings, lakers, and coho.
MADISON LAKES, WIS.
Primary source: D&S Bait at dsbait.com
Primary sources: Eagle River Sports, Pastika's and Minocqua guide Kurt Justice
Improved: More fall-like weather has greatly improved fishing, as evidenced by Justice's report:
``Had a gorgeous Labor Day weekend. Filled with sunshine and almost no wind till sunday morning. Lots of heat in the afternoon. Water temps climbedback into the low 70's. Fish were active with good reports from anglers fishing most species. Many of which look to be moving into early fall feeding patterns.
``Largemouth Bass--Very good. Cool mornings fish the weeds with 1/2 jig and pig combos or on texas rigs. Wooly bugs or skirted grubs. Mid-mornings on twich 1/8 oz jig with 4" plastic worms such as Slurpie Ring worms or Berkley Power worms over and along deep weeds. Hot weather brought in good surface action on Jitterbugs, Hula Poppers and Buzz Baits.
``Muskie--Very good. Fish active along deep weed edges. Twitch baits (cranes Big game, Grandmas) best this past week. Cranes caught 6 out of the 9 fish this week. Work over and along deep weededges. Surfaceaction also good at dusk on Pacemakers, Tallywackers.
``Smallmouth Bass-- Very Good. Fish relating to offshore gravel humps. Drop shot small flukes, power minnows 3" worms. Also sandgrass flats of 14-22' holding fish feeding on craws. carolina rig skirted grubs or cast and countdown lipless crankbaits such as rattle traps. Rattlin raps over grass tubes also working good.
``Walleyes--Good. Bite improving on the lakes and flowages. Leeches best bet this week. Also crawlers close second. Had some anglers on flowages catching eyes on redtails. But hard to keep alive on hot days. Lake eyes relating to 15-17' weed edges ( Minocqua Kawagesaga Big Arb) or gravel humpsof 15-28' ( Squirrel, Big Arb Lake Tomahawk) Lighted Slip-bobbers/ leeches after dark along shallower weed edges.
``Crappie--Good. Weeds or wood as long as there is aleast 8-14' of water. Small twister grubs worked over weed tops. Slip Bobbers and minnows best. Look for tall curly leaf cabbage or drowned wood or cribs.
``Bluegill--Good. Still relating to deep weed edges nice gills of 7-9". Suspended 6-12' down over 12-18' of water. Small pinkie jigs tipped with small leeches or pieces of night crawler.
``Yellow Perch-- Good. Fish 8-10' weeds or work drowned wood on the flowages. Nice perch 9-11" this week. Few 12ers. Mediumfatheads, Leeches , 1/2 crawler on 1/16 oz jig, slip-bobber.
``Northern Pike-- Good. Best action casting spinnerbaits (boonies) chatterbaits, #3 and 4 Mepps comets. Fish are active and willing to chase. Chub or sucker on a Slip-float works for the more relaxed approach.
``Despite high pressure lack of wind. Fishing improving for most all species.
Primary sources: Mik-Lurch Tackle Outlet, Capt. Chuck Weis and Capt. Ralph Steiger
Decent/waiting: Steiger reported one his best weeks in August for big kings in 75-90 feet (best in 80-85); meat rigs are good, or use glow Stinger or Moonshine (Happy Meal) spoons near the bottom. Fish are staging (more seen than caught) at the mouth of the Ditch, in the Shipping Channel and along Inland Wall. Creeks are slow, forecast cold rain could really help. Willow Slough is steady for largemouth and bluegill.
ROCK RIVER: OREGON
Primary source: TJ's Bait/Tackle & Canoe Rental
ST. JOSEPH AREA, MICH.
Primary sources: BJ Sports and Michigan DNR
Variable: BJ Sports said warm water has moved kings back out, ones in the river are lethargic. To find kings and steelhead in, work creek mouths. Boaters going out to 70 feet and deeper are taking a good mixed bag of salmon and trout. Perch improved, catching as shallow as 10 feet out to 25 off Jean Klok Park. Some kings are at the mouth of the Paw Paw. Fishermen on the piers very early (2-5 a.m.) are taking kings with glow spoons.
Primary sources: Lakeside and guide Jay Angel
Changing: Cooling weather should improve the bite. Lakeside said panfish are decent deep (15-20 feet), while bass (deep weed lines) and catfish (barn foundation) are fair.
WISCONSIN RIVER, WIS.: DELLS
Primary source: River's Edge
Decent: River's Edge reported the river is low, but fishing for all species is good. Sturgeon season opens Saturday, Sept. 6. Remember, sturgeon was shortened to end Sept. 30 and the minimum length upped to 60 inches.