While the number fishing dropped, there has been some outstanding catches, such as this 6-12 largemouth on the Chain O'Lakes.
C.J. Smith Bait Shop and Resort reported Rich Bonow, while fishing with his son Rick, caught it Thursday, Oct. 23, on a crawler, and released it.
And the Fish of the Week was an 8-4 caught by Mark Alaimo at Plainfield Fishing Resort.
Wind and weather truly limited effort around Lake Michigan.
This is the extended online Midwest Fishing Report, which appears in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays. I try to post the MFR here by Wednesday morning.
If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Primary sources: Kolar Bait and Henry's Sports, Bait & Marine
The main focus is crappie, especially on areas warmed late in the day.
TROUT: Daily bag is five. Those 16 and older must have a fishing license and inland trout stamp. Here are the stocked lakes in northeast Illinois: Axehead, Belleau and Horsetail (Cook County); Silver, Deep Quarry and Grove (DuPage); Bird Park Quarry (Kankakee); Big Lake at Silver Springs SP (Kendall), Banana and Sand (Lake).
For an overview of nearby river conditions, go to this NWS site.
BIG GREEN LAKE, WISCONSIN
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
Arden Katz reported excellent white bass in 13-14 feet on Marie with walleye and crappie mixed in. Depending on the wind, he drifts or trolls with minnows on a drop-shot rig. Bluff has good fish too, but they take sorting. Katz's basic setup is touch bottom then lift slightly so the bottom hook is about a foot off for walleye and white bass, then the second hook about 2 1/2 feet higher for crappie.
Several fishermen reported good bluegill in channels where ice fishing will go in a month or so. And Bonow had his big largemouth.
Ten muskies were measured in the 62-boat Fall Challunge on the Chain on Saturday.
More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
Monster Lake at Mazonia South is open year-round, otherwise the cooling lakes and strip pits are closed in northeast Illinois.
DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN
Primary source: Guide Dave Duwe
Duwe sent this:
``Fishing remains pretty slow on Delavan Lake. I haven't been out on Delavan lately, however last week while driving by everyday there were only 4-5 trailers their each day. If the fish were on, the launch would be busier. The wind was pretty brutal this past week, which also helped to keep fishermen off the lake.
Walleyes are being caught in 20-25 ft of water off the break near the main lake basin. They are being caught vertically jigging with minnows and crawler halves. The best location is by the Yacht Club or by Browns Channel. Once the lake water gets cooler, they will start to suspend during the night, and that's when I will use Rapala husky jerks. Chrome/Blue and Chrome/Black are the colors that always work best for me.
Crappies are spotty but can be caught in 12-15 ft range. Small plastics usually work well, chartreuse or purple are the best colors. I fish them on a 1/32nd oz jig head. The slower the retrieve the more success I have. Good locations are by the Oriental boat house or by the Island.
Northern Pike have been biting on crank baits fished along the dying weed lines. The best depth is 14-16 ft. I use perch or fire tiger colored Wally divers. A few fish are being caught on suckers, fished about 2-3 ft off bottom. The northerns tend to follow the crank baits and then eat the suckers.
Bluegills have returned to the shallows. They are in their normal late fall locations. They are in Viewcrest Bay, the Highland Bay and by Willow Point. The best depth is 6-8 ft. The best presentation is slip bobbers fished with ice jigs tipped with wax worms.''
For lake info and fishing report, call (217) 774-2020.
The latest fishing report is posted here.
Fishing is closed. Bank fishing reopens on Dec. 24, the day after central zone duck ends.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
Primary sources: Kolar Bait and wading guide Ken Gortowski
Gortowski sent this along with a warning for waders to use care as flow spiked again:
``Go with what you went with last week. North Aurora, Indian Trail, some parts of Batavia should be good. Especially walleye and white bass.
Either no one is going or no one wants to share the info. Can't tell which.''
Here is last week's extended post for the Fox.
At http://www.wadauwant.com/wd_journal/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=199, Gortowski has extended fall suggestions.
Here's the gist:
``With the temps the way they are, the fishing could be nothing short of excellent if you are in the right spot at the right time. There are always going to be key spots to hit at certain times of the year. The ones below are the ones I relied on for years. They've never let me down.
My choices would be Indian Trail Road, west side north of the road, east side south of the road. On the east side, be careful under the bridge. You don't want to be walking around directly under it. Cross the river from the island to the east shore about 200 feet upstream of the bridge. You want to stay on the east side all the way to the riffles far down stream. When going under the bridge, you can walk right along the wall of the bridge pier. There's a pylon in the water about knee deep under the water. It's like walking on an eighteen inch wide side walk. As you get to the down stream side of the pylon, stick your rod in the water about two feet out. Should be about four feet deep. Tells you where you should have been casting.
As you go further down, when you get to the low limestone wall, you want to be out in the middle. Fish from the low wall to the concrete wall, all along both and in front of the concrete wall, fish all over the place. If you don't catch anything in this whole stretch, you may want to take up knitting. You sure don't know how to fish.
Montgomery, starting at the railroad tracks, fish all the way down the west shore to the treatment plant outflow. Of course, fish the outflow. Then continue fishing all the way down the west shore to where the channel meets back up with the rest of the river. You want to be about 30 feet from shore casting toward shore, casting into the fast water, letting your lure swing down stream in front of you and reeling back nice and slow. Hell, let it just swim around out there without reeling at all.
When you get to the end of the channel, you'll see an area we've named "The Flats", why will become self evident. You should still see the clear water of the outflow. You want to be out in the river, out from the flats, casting up onto the flats, down stream in front of you and into the faster stuff on your left. Slow is the goal. As you wade down stream move in a little toward shore, but the fish should still be pretty much everywhere, so cast everywhere.
If you're really feeling daring, zigzag over to the east shore a couple of times. You'll understand why I say daring if you give this a try. Was worth it, kind of, when I've done it.
Otherwise, keep following the treatment plant outflow tight to shore all the way down to the electric wires crossing the river. Now that I think about it, from the wires all the way down to Troy Park, a good mile away, is pretty good this time of year. Especially this one boulder strewn shore just down stream from Violet Patch Park. But that's a lot of water.
If someone wants to explore, start a couple of hundred yards north of the bike path over the river at Violet Patch Park, fish the west side all the way down to the old broken dam. Get out there on the east side and walk back to your car on the bike path. Don't forget the boulders on the shore as you go down stream. Putting any more detail into explaining this stretch would take forever. You'll figure it out as you go.
Orchard Road, half mile up stream to 1 and 1/2 miles down stream. Maybe further either direction. The north side is the more productive side, but some zigzagging wouldn't hurt. Heading down stream from Orchard Road, fish from the road down for a couple of hundred years pretty much right down the middle. There are rock bars that create some pretty good water both in front and behind them. To the side too now that I think about it. The north shore can be pretty good. The south shore starting where the houses start is all pretty good.
I prefer to head to the north side behind the islands as I get further down stream. There' s just more water and more fish. You can continue fishing the north shore well beyond the canoe launch at Saw Wee Kee Park. The south side of the river once you get past the houses tends to be pretty shallow. That's true for almost a mile down stream from the canoe launch too. Stay on the north side and there's no reason you shouldn't do well.
North Aurora was another place where I used to concentrate a lot of my time in the fall. With the river levels the way they are, there is no reason I can think of to not be tying into white bass, especially at the dam. I used to get out on the rock bar out in front of the dam and just walk back and forth across the river casting all the way into the boil of the dam itself. It didn't seem to matter what you had on, but small pearl twisters on jigs did pretty well. The best were minnows three feet under a bobber.
Heading down from there, all around under the bridge should be good. Especially fish tight along the bridge pylons. If you're more than six inches from the concrete, that could be too far.
On the down stream side of the bridge is another rock bar. This creates a great pool that goes from one shore to the other. Down stream from there all the way to the end of the island, the river bottom goes up and down and the fish should be there. Follow the flow around to the east and keep going all the way down to the end of the second island and I'll bet you'll tie into something. Other than Yorkville, this area is where I have come across the most musky in the river.
But then there's Batavia from the dam that won't go away all the way down to just beyond the mouth of Mill Creek. This wade can be difficult, but when you find the fish, you'll find a lot.''
GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN
Primary source: Duwe
``My fishing season is rapidly coming to a close. The late fall winds have arrived making it hard to plan any guide trips. The good news is that the fishing is still decent and you don't have to deal with any boat traffic.
Northern Pike are in the shallows in about 8-10 ft of water. They are being readily caught on white spinner baits. The best location has been Trinkes and Williams Bay. Another approach that is having some success is slip bobbering large golden shiners. I prefer casting that way you can cover more water.
Smallmouth bass are in the shallows. They are concentrating on the main lake points in 4-10 ft of water. Conference Point, Black Point and Cedar Point are great locations this time of year. The best approach is Carolina rigging Arkie Crawlin Grubs or casting darter heads with small smoke colored twister tails. With the water being so cold, slow retrieves are the best.
Perch are now schooled up in the 8-10 ft depth range. Look for the fish by Knollwood or by Rainbow Point. It is not very hard to catch a limit of fish but some sorting is required. The best approach is slip bobbering small fathead minnows or fishing ice jigs tipped with wax worms. Purple or chartreuse are my favorite colors.
Walleyes can be caught at night while trolling large stick baits. I like the Walleye Bandit or large Rapalas. Look for the fish in 12-15 ft of water by Trinkes or by Fontana.
Bluegills are again shallow. They are being caught on small leaf worms or on ice jigs tipped with wax worms. Good locations are Geneva Bay by the Riviera Pier or by Knollwood. I've been fishing them in 6-8 ft of water.''
ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA
Primary source: Guide Buster Culjan or Cajun's Bait
Guide Jay Angel sent this:
``Water temps are in the low 50's.
White bass fishing is good. The river has risen since last week but the water clarity remains good. Best fishing is up by the Starved Rock dam in 4 - 8 feet of water. Look for the sea gulls to show where the schools of shad are hiding.
Use blade baits or 3.5 inch long Berkley Alive Minnow Grubs on jig heads for best results.''
The sauger were starting toward Henry. And this is the time of year when the crappie start around the bridge pilings.
Primary sources: Ed Mullady, ``Catfish'' Dave Bradigan
Mullady sent this:
``Fishing in the river overall is good.
In Indiana, many catfish are being caught on worms. Especially at the Point and Horseshoe Bend areas. Smallmouth Bass showing up, mostly on crawlers. Bluegill good on worms, rubber spiders in ditches.
In Illinois, smallmouth bass continue to be caught in main part of rivers. Good on *minnows *Rattlin' Rogues *Chug Bugs
streamer flies. Catfish and rock bass also good.''
Primary source: Harborside Bait & Tackle and Capt. Bob Poteshman
Harborside reported good browns in the harbor on spawn or tube jigs with waxies. The Pike is open, but fishing is slow.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
Primary source: Rickard's and Ohio DNR
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
Probably the steadiest action on the lakefront. Snagging for coho and chinook is permitted only at Waukegan's north harbor basin, Winnetka power plant discharge area, Lincoln Park lagoon from Fullerton bridge south and Jackson Park's inner and outer harbors.
Primary sources: Henry's Sports, Bait & Marine, Park Bait, Capt. Bill Kelly and Capt. Bob Poteshman
Few trying in the recent weather, salmon and steelhead have been slow. Action should improve with the winds finally dying today. No perch.
Primary source: Salmon Stop
The Salmon Stop reports those using spawn sacks on steelhead jigs on slip bobbers are taking some small steelhead and coho, best spot varies by the day. A few kings coming on spoons. No recent perch reports from boat.
The pier passes for legal winter access to designated piers at Chicago harbors should be available at Henry's Sports/Marine shortly.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
Primary source: D&S Bait at dsbait.com
D&S reports decent panfish on Waubesa. Lakes are nearly done turning over. Muskie are slow.
Primary sources: Eagle River Sports, Pastika's and Minocqua guide Kurt Justice
Justice sent this;
``We have snow on the ground this am. Cold temps have pushed lake temps below the 50 degree mark on nearly all lakes. Many running 47-48 degrees. This cold temp has slowed the activity but hasn't slowed the bite.
Musky: Good. Not seeing as many fish... or having as many hits, but sucker bite continues to be good as is a action on glide bait (Mantas, Hellhounds)
jerk baits (Smity, Suicks) and slow pulled twitch baits (cranes). Could have been east wind Friday, but action finally back to snuff Saturday when wind moved back west. Weeds and edges still best.
Walleye: Good. Wind also affecting bite. Deep bite best on large fats - but big walleyes taking redtails. Hit weed edges with redtails from mid-morning till noon.
Northern Pike: Good. Large chubs, small musky suckers - twitch baits over 6-12 weed flats.
Few reports on other species due to lack of participation by anglers, probably the same till ice up.
Cold temps will drop lake temps a degree or two thru Tuesday. Looks like warmer weather for last of October, first of November. Piers starting to disappear at landings, bring your knee boots to launch.''
Primary sources: Mik-Lurch Tackle Outlet, Capt. Chuck Weis and Capt. Ralph Steiger
Mik-Lurch said when winds die and water clears, the perch bite should come back on the shoals. Otherwise, there is some steelhead and coho, and a few kings in the creeks.
Primary sources: TJ's Bait/Tackle & Canoe Rental
From Jan Prose at TJ's:
``Catfish are still biting pretty good, but most are fishing for walleye.
They seemed to shut down with this cold snap, but a few have been
caught in the last day or so.
Got a report of one fisherman in a boat fishing at Carnation park area
for walleye, and got into some flathead. He said he caught a 32#, 28#
and 14#, no walleye there!''
ST. JOSEPH AREA, MICHIGAN
Primary sources: BJ Sports and Michigan DNR
BJ Sports reported a few steelhead off the piers, though the run hasn't really started. Decent walleye and smallmouth in the river.
Primary sources: Lakeside and guide Jay Angel
Angel sent this:
``Water temps are in the low 50's. This is the time to get out to Shabbona for big muskies. Crappies have been caught recently using minnows over the fish cribs.''
For more reports, click here.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN:
Primary source: Guide Bill Stoeger
Stoeger said the best walleye bite is from Boom Island to the mouth at Poygan. White bass continue good in or on the edges of the deeper holes. Crappie are nearing the end, best is from Fremont upstream.
Primary source: Mik-Lurch
Mik-Lurch reports good crappie, but it takes sorting (pink and white jigs are hot). ``This is the best crappie fishing in many years,'' Mike Starcevich said. ``Most of them are 6-9 inches, a couple to 11 inches. That lake never ceases to amaze me. That is where I grew up fishing.'' There's some big walleye taken in the corn channel.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT