(Northwest Indiana added Thursday morning, had a brain cramp and missed it earlier)
The Richard J. Daley Memorial Sportfishing Derby, which ran May through September, gives an annual snapshot of Chicago fishing.
Steve Palmisano of Henry's Sports/Marine called this coho ``the most notable fish for the entire season'' in the Daley Derby.
Kathyrn Maher, 12, caught the 12-pound, 7-ounce coho on an outing with her grandfather Capt. Bob White on Kingfisherman charters on July 9.
It was a wonderful fish, but I favored the 2-10 crappie caught from Lake Calumet by Edward Buckley on Aug. 25.
Other top catches were perch (Ray Felt, 1-10, June 11, Montrose); chinook (Robert Quintana, 15-12, June 22); catfish, (Dwayne Armstrong, 14 pounds, Lake Calumet); steelhead (Linda Motyka, 8-8, July 10, Jim Buoy charters); and carp (Michael Jasick, 29-2, Chicago River, Aug. 13).
Otherwise, we are into fall crappie, sporadic perch in the Indiana shoals, sauger starting on the Illinois river and the Wolf River going crazy for big walleye, white bass and crappie in Wisconsin.
This is the extended online version of the Midwest Fishing Report, which appears in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays. Normally, I post the MFR 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
Crappie bite improves. Mik-Lurch recommended Monee Reservoir. Henry's Sports/Marine added Skokie Lagoons and Saganashkee.
Otherwise, fall trout is the main story. It opened Saturday. 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
Last week, Baker put us on good bluegill and crappie around piers on Mini-Mites and waxies, and decent walleye at current neckdowns on jig and minnow or crawler.
Arden Katz reported good white bass in 12-14 feet on minnows on Marie, with crappie mixed in; same pattern on Bluff. Walleye were shallower, and will keep improving as the water cools through the 50s.
More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
Heidecke, LaSalle and Mazonia/Braidwood are closed, except Monster Lake at Mazonia South is open year-round.
Lake is up 3 feet, according to the Army Corps. Crappie and bass are decent. For more, call (217) 774-2020.
The latest fishing report is posted here. '
More proof came Monday the lake is the state's top saugeye spot: Don Topolski of Streator caught a 7-14 saugeye, 27 inches long. Crappie are decent.
Boat fishing ended. Bank fishing ends Friday, Oct. 24. Bank fishing reopens on Dec. 24, the day after central zone waterfowl closes. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
Primary sources: Kolar Bait and wading guide Ken Gortowski
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.''
ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA
Primary source: Guide Buster Culjan or Cajun's Bait
The report from the Illinois Walleye Trail tournament out of Henry nailed the sauger bite well:
``The teams arrived and found that the river was in good condition with surface temps around 60 and water clarity around 1 foot. Everybody found that the saugers was in full swing for the fall feedbag and talked about how many fish were caught prefishing. The main problem was finding the 14 inch legal fish. Some teams were catching 40 to 50 fish a day with a lot of this years spawners in the 8-10 inch range. That is a real plus and says we will have a good class of fish for the next couple of years. On Sunday the field brought 21 6 fish limits to the scales weighing 232 pounds, with a total of 145 fish being scaled. Big fish of the tournament was a 3.02 pound Sauger.''
Primary sources: Ed Mullady, ``Catfish'' Dave Bradigan
River is in good shape, more stable cool weather should set up fall patterns. Remember to watch sites with waterfowlers as seasons are open in both states now.
Mullady sent this:
``The Kankakee is in good fishing condition. In Indiana, try for bluegill and croppie in The Point, north of English Lake on red worms, minnows, pinkie jigs, rubber spiders. Pike fishing improving at mouths of ditches that are still available for fishing during hunting seasons.
``In Illinois, smallmouth bass continue to hit good on top as well as along shore lines, islands, in the water logs, creek mouths. Try *minnows *streamer flies *spinners *crankbaits*top water baits.
``Catfishing good throughout river''
Primary source: Harborside Bait & Tackle and Capt. Bob Poteshman
Harborside reported browns (several bigger than 15 pounds) in the harbor on tube jigs and spawn sacs, or black flies. A few salmon in the Pike, if you look in the holes.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
Primary source: Rickard's and Ohio DNR
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
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
Henry's reports fair trout on spawn sacs and slip-bobbers. Park Bait reported very spotty salmon at Montrose, no perch.
MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN/MICHIGAN
Primary source: Guide Mike Mladenik
Mladenik sent this:
``Smallmouths are stacking up and we are catching lots of big fish in small areas. Most have been caught with red tail chubs but some are hitting plastics.
This will be the last fishing report since I will be cutting my season short this year. I will be going in for my first Knee replacement on Nov 4 and the second one on Dec 16th.''
Primary sources: Eagle River Sports, Pastika's and Minocqua guide Kurt Justice
Justice sent this:
``Typical fall like weather, cool mornings, afternoons in mid 50's. A little cloud cover, some fog at times, some wind. Good musky weather!
Lakes holding surface temps of 49-52 degrees, fall patterns in full swing, fishing pressure dropping as more sportsmen turning to deer, grouse hunting as leaves are dropping.
Musky: Very good. Much of the action has been on suckers on quick-set rigs, though twitch, jerk and glide baits also doing well. Weeds have held most fish as of this report though as water falls into the 40's start searching deeper grass flats in 15-25'.
Walleyes: Improving to good. Deep water walleyes on lakes with over 25' max depth working mud-gravel transition zones of 22-40' of water. Large fatheads, 1/2 crawler on heavy vertical jigs - Lindy rigging redtailed chubs for bigger fish. On lakes with less than 25' max depth, jig small redtails in weeds of 6-10'. Work slow due to cold water.
Pike: Good. Best bet use large chubs under slip-float in 8-12' weeds. #12 and #14 husky jerks worked slowly also working.
Crappie: Good. Wood is key. Deep drowned wood holding nice crappies (tops 14 1/2" this week). Medium fatheads under slip-floats, light 1/32oz jig for slow descent.
Perch: Good. Nice fish to 11+" in weeds along with walleyes, bigger perch will take small redtails but a medium fathead will work just as well and cost less.
Few reports on Bass and Bluegill.
Should continue to be a good fall. Piers still in, but bring tall boots just in case.''
Primary sources: Mik-Lurch Tackle Outlet, Capt. Chuck Weis and Capt. Ralph Steiger
Weis reported drifting/dragging is producing scattered perch on the shoals, but he noted, ``Winds are the biggest problem.''
Mik-Lurch said lakers are being taken on clown or silver Dodgers and clown or green Spin N Glo's on top of the reef at the Port, some in 42 feet outside of Michigan City. Some salmon trolling in 70-90 feet. Shoreline salmon are spotty, early and late. Some steelhead are showing in the creeks.
Primary sources: TJ's Bait/Tackle & Canoe Rental
From Jan Prose at TJ's:
``It's hunting season!
The walleye are coming in pretty good. I took a pix of a 30" last week
caught on a minnow and white twister tail. Several others in the
keeper range. Rapalas are working as well. I have had good reports of
smallmouth from the guys fishing the east side down river in boats. They are fishing along the rock bluffs.
Catfish are still hitting dip bait and minnows. The guys fishing with
trot lines got several nice fish, but no big flatheads reported.
It's slowing down. It's getting colder. Sure went by fast this year,
river conditions earlier made it a short season. There's always next
ST. JOSEPH AREA, MICHIGAN
Primary sources: BJ Sports and Michigan DNR
BJ Sports reported some walleye (a few good ones by Berrien Springs) in the river. Pier fishing drew much effort Tuesday with spawn, steelhead should go at any time. Big lake is at 60, when the water hits mid-50s action should explode. Inland lakes have outstanding bluegill going.
Primary sources: Lakeside and guide Jay Angel
Lakeside reports good crappie, but they moved deeper, in 14-15 feet around wood. Bluegill are in fish cribs. Muskie should keep improving as water cools through the 50s.
For more reports, click here.
Mik-Lurch said crappie are going; largemouth and catfish are decent on the Illinois side; walleye, spotty. The muskie guys have been trying.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN:
Primary source: Guide Bill Stoeger
River was at 51 degrees.
After the weekend Red Banks walleye tournament, Stoeger reported
``I never ever seen so many big sows caught. It was 20-28 inches, numbers of them. Bumper to bumper of boats at the mouth of the river. Everybody was catching big ones.
I fished this river for many years and have never that many big fish come in a school like that this early. Boom Island to the mouth was real good. It was jig and minnows. I don't think I saw a fish under 17 inches on Saturday.
Crappie are holding good, white bass are holding good. It is really good.''
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT