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Midwest Fishing Report: Kings and bass

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Shoreline kings, hit and miss as they have been, are becoming steadier in southern Lake Michigan and lead the Midwest Fishing Report. But don't forget bass in local ponds.

barbs fish

Believe it or not, this big largemouth came from Tampier Lake last week, and a customer sent the photo to Henry's.

This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays. Normally, I post the online MFR by Wednesday morning.

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


Spotty and variable, and the full moon a few days ago didn't help, but kings are coming to shore and, as expected, running larger this year.

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN: BJ Sports reported some kings mixed with coho off the piers, and others are going up the Berrien Springs dam.

NORTHWEST INDIANA: Mik-Lurch reported the hot bites were off the Michigan City piers, where several pushed 20 pounds; some are up the Salt and Little Cal, just a few in Trail. Some are starting at Burns Ditch and the Hole-in-the-Wall. Glen Gajewski did best at Michigan City on the discontinued chartreuse Frenzy.

CHICAGO: Park Bait reported the best bite has been at night at Belmont and Montrose, but ``one night they catch them, one night they don't,'' Mike Repa said. Henry's reported spotty action at Burnham.

WAUKEGAN: The Salmon Stop reported action off the piers improving on slider rigs and spoons.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN: The Wisconsin DNR reports some kings near the mouth of Pike at Kenosha, and a few coming off the Racine piers. The Root is very low and no signs of fish upstream.


Bass remain the top bite, especially early and late, but there's plenty of bluegill and such things as the channel catfish Sam Schwager caught for Fish of the Week in Crest Hill.


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


For guide Mike Norton's report, go to, then click on fishing, then lake report.


Triangle reported bluegill are the top bite, fish channel mouths and inside. Muskie are very good, bucktails are preferred, otherwise try deeper running jerkbaits. White bass are excellent on wind-blown shorelines with small minnows or small Mepps. Walleye are good on large fatheads or crawlers on slip-bobbers or Lindy rigs. Catfishing is slow, but stay persistent for larger fish on crawlers or stinkbait.

For more reports, see

More Chain info at

McHENRY LOCK: Because of funding issues, the IDNR will have the Stratton lock closed on Mondays and Tuesdays (with the exception of holidays). Hours of operation on Wednesdays and Sundays will be from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The lock will be open from 10 a.m. to midnight on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Holiday hours will be from 10 a.m. to midnight.


LaSALLE: Final day of fishing is Oct. 15. In October, lake is open Wednesdays through Sundays.

BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Final day of fishing is Oct. 13. Monster Lake at Mazonia South remains open year round.

HEIDECKE: Final day of fishing is Oct. 6.


From Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament

With the typical ?dog days? of summer, the fishing on the DesPlaines River and its tributaries has been a hit or a miss, with early or late in the day by far being the best times for a multitude of species.

Northern Pike are still been providing anglers with the most action and this will stand until end of November. However, size has been tremendously lacking with most fish running in the 15 to 25 inch range - skinny, and without much weight, I might add.

Small bucktails, red/white/chartreuse/yellow spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, chatterbaits, jig and plastic grubs, and live bait under a float have been getting the most response. At this time, majority of the fish are relating to mid-river structure whether it be deep pools with current, weed-beds, and fallen timber; and if baitfish are around then it's even better. Boat and wading access best for catching numbers.

Very few Walleye and Sauger reports right now. I am predicting that within a month, or once water temperatures fall down to 60-degrees and below, these fish will be a nightly ritual for us at places on the river with deeper water+hard bottom+current. But for now, if necessary, I would go after dark with minnowbaits and smaller swimbaits and hope for a bite at best.

Largemouth Bass up to 16? are also being found in places along with the Pike, and hitting the same lures.

Channel Catfish are still providing trying anglers with excitement with smaller 2-3lb fish being the normal catch. Live bait under a float, bottom rigs, and cut bait are the standard fare with evenings right before sunset being the best times.

As for the smaller DPR creeks and tributaries (Salt), they as well have been a hit or a miss with the fish being few and far in between in both the Cook and DuPage co. forest preserves. I attribute this to the low water levels and lack of current in some of the deeper pools that I am usually accustomed to fishing and having success at. However, evenings and night have been the best for some action with small Pike, Largemouth Bass, and the occasional Walleye being caught on minnow imitators. Besides that, I wouldn't spend much time on the creeks at this time: It's all on the river.

Water temperatures running in the low 70-degree range with safe wading levels present all throughout the system.


HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Site super Rick Seibert reported bass fishing has really improved in the past week, though few are trying. Site is open to public fishing on Fridays and Saturdays. Final day is Oct. 1.

EMIQUON: Emiquon Preserve near Lewistown is open to fishing. Interested parties may request a permit and list of rules between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown. There is no fee. No gas powered motors are permitted, and bank fishing is not allowed. For more, call (309) 547-2730.

SHELBYVILLE: For more, call (217) 774-2020.

EVERGREEN: Here is the staff report from Tuesday:

Fishing over the Labor Day weekend all in all was pretty good. Many reports of crappie being caught. A lot of sorting was done in order to find the keepers, but they were being caught. Most of the larger fish were caught in 10-15 ft. of water, many smaller fish caught in shallower water. Bass were doing well over the weekend. Many fish were being caught early morning on top water baits. There was an 8 lb. 4 oz. lunker caught near the dam by a submerged tree in 6 ft. of water on a red and white spinnerbait around 9 a.m. Monday morning. I have heard of several reports of small Muskie being caught by anglers fishing for bass with top water baits. There have been several follows by Musky and a few being landed in recent weeks. Bluegill are also still doing well along weed edges. Not many reports of catfish this weekend.
Good Luck, Brad

The fishing report is posted here.

POWERTON: Is closed to fishing Sept. 21-23 for levee repair.


River levels are manageable, and catfishing remains the top bite. Though Ken Gortowski sent this explanation of improving smallmouth bite:

Got out today, labor day, and the potential was around 20 to 30 fish. I lost track. But I did land 10 or 11 of them. I lost track of that too.
So, the potential for better fishing trips on the Fox has started. The last two months have been tough. Been telling everyone to wait till September.

It's like clock work how it worked out.


From Wednesday's report by the Wisconsin DNR:

Green Bay Fishing Report: September 3, 2009
West Shore Water temperatures at the landings are at the 70 degree mark with excellent water clarity. Fishing pressure has been moderate to heavy due to the fact the perch bite has started.
Oconto Co.
The blue gill bite at Stiles Dam remains good with some nice fish being taken on leaf worms and crawlers. Slip bobbering or free floating is the technique that has been working the best. Pensaukee landing, Oconto Breakwater, and Oconto Park II are all reporting some real quality catches of perch. Minnows suspended near bottom in 9 to 12 feet of water is working well at this time. Oconto Breakwater Park is producing some nice chinook and brown trout fishing with spoons, early morning and evenings are the ticket.
Marinette Co.
The Peshtigo River mouth is seeing a flurry of activity for smallmouth using small spoons and spinners. The salmon are biting in the Little River area around dusk. Anglers are fishing on the bottom with spawn sacks and casting cleos. The Menominee River is giving up a mixed bag of walleye and smallmouth from the dam to the turn basin. Live bait and lures have both been working well. Both the Light House Pier and the Government Pier have been fishing well for salmon and trout. Spoons are the preferred lures.


River is in good shape and Cajun's reported boaters taking white bass by the dam and Peru. White bass from shore is probably a week or so away, otherwise there's sheepshead and catfish from shore.


River is in good shape, and catfishing remains the top bite as ``Catfish Dave'' Bradigan showed with this report:

Hey Dale went down to the river Sunday morning from 7 to 11. River is in real good shape and is no longer toe deep. Within the first hour I caught three cats . Two were four pounds and the other one was five pounds. Nice fish! Then for the next two hours we did not even get as much as a bite. Finally as we entered the big hole I like to work. I seen a few cats come up to the surface and boil the water. Within the next minute my line took off with three nice runs and I knew Mr. Whisker was there. A really nice Eight pounder. My brother Scott and buddy Mark at this point were wondering what the hell I was doing because this fish exploded right next to them when I set the hook. To sum it up that was all the fish for the four hours of river walking.

Ed Mullady pretty much agreed and sent this:
In Indiana, catfish, smallmouth bass being caught around the Point, north of English Lake.
Bluegill, croppie good along quieter running shoreline waters. In Illinois, Catfish good in all areas. Smallmouth Bass best at edges of riffles, Good locations include: State Line through Momence * Kankakee,IL Dam through Sawmill Creek *Kankakee River state Park: *Altorf area *Nature island *Carly Island. ..
*Wilmington Area: *Wilmington Dam area through Island Park:
Good baits include: *minnows *jig & twister *#2 or #3 Mepps Spinners *crankbaits.


From Wednesday's southern Lake Michigan report from the Wisconsin DNR:

Kenosha Co.
In Kenosha shore fishing in the harbor for browns has been hit-or-miss. When the browns are biting, spawn sacs and white tube jigs have been taking the most fish. A few chinooks are still being caught on spoons near the mouth of the Pike River. Kenosha trollers have also been catching chinooks in shallow water near the mouth of the Pike.
Racine Co.
Shore anglers fishing off the Racine piers have been catching a few chinooks, and in the harbor a few browns have been hitting silver spoons fished high in the water column. Trollers out of Racine have been finding chinooks, rainbows, and browns east of the reef marker in 70 to 90 feet of water. Glow-in-the-dark or green spoons and pearl J-plugs have been producing. Water levels on the Root River are very low, and there have been no signs of fish in upstream stretches.
Milwaukee Co.
In Milwaukee McKinley pier and the shoreline behind the Summerfest grounds have produced some chinooks and browns, and most fish have been taken on spoons. Trollers out of Milwaukee have been catching a few chinooks and rainbows 25 to 50 feet down in 120 to 130 feet of water; and a few browns have also been taken by boaters in the harbor and around the gaps. Fishing on the Milwaukee and Menomonee Rivers and Oak Creek has been slow, and water levels are low in all area tributaries.

Check the latest at Harborside.


Rickard's said most are focusing on perch (Green, Rattlesnake or bigger ones northeast of Kelleys shoal in 42 feet), though trollers are taking walleye northeast of Kelleys by the C Can.

For Ohio DNR report go to and or call (888) HOOKFISH.


For shoreline salmon, see top.

CHICAGO: Park Bait also reported some coho and steelhead mixed in. Perch are non-existent. Capt. Bill Kelly reported improved fishing with a pack of boaters east of Burnham in 80-90 feet close to Illinois-Indiana line for lakers and kings; northeast of the car ferry in 80-130 feet there's kings, lakers and rainbows; and northeast of the R4 in 70-120 there jacks, kings, rainbows and a few lakers. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters reported decent action mainly in 100-150 feet, north and south.

WAUKEGAN: Salmon Stop reported a few perch off the government pier. With warmer water on shore, boaters are working 90-120 feet, down 50-60, for kings and a mixed bag.

NORTH POINT: Poteshman said it is a deep bite, 150-200 and beyond, for more lakers with the kings and steelhead. He suggested it is best cover the whole ``spectrum'' of the water column.

RICHARD J. DALEY MEMORIAL FISHING TOURNAMENT: Fish may be weighed at Henry's, Park Bait or Vet's.

CHICAGO'S FISHERMAN'S PARKING: The $10 parking passes for the small fishermen's lots at Burnham and DuSable harbors are available at Henry's.


For D&S Bait, go to


Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports sent this:

All sunshine, no wind. It's been a beautiful weather week. Mid day fishing has been a bit tough with all this sun, but early mornings and evenings have been very good.

Northern Pike: Good. Best early in day or late afternoons or when the rare wind blows. Spinnerbaits, #4 and #5 Mepps have been best worked over weed tops.

Walleye: Good. Deep lakes have fish stacking along breaks in 36-40' vertical jig with a 1/4-3/8 oz jig baited with a crawler or large chub. Bites very light. Small to mid sized lakes seeing fish relating to weed edges. Leeches and crawlers still tops (water temps in low 70's by evening).

Smallmouth Bass: Good. Sandgrass flats in 14-22' best. Large leeches, crawlers on 1/8 oz jig. Chompers fished Carolina style picking up these fish as they are feeding heavily on crayfish. Rattle Traps in red hues also effective.

Largemouth Bass: Good. Best early and late in day. Early, pitch piers with plastics (senkos), jig and pig combos, pre-rigged plastics. Evenings, good topwater on jitterbugs as water warms.

Musky: Good. Bucktails, top water (Pacemaker, Tallywackers) and fast moving smaller jerk baits. Nice fish to 47" this week. As with other game fish early and late best.

Bluegills: Good. Leeches, crawlers intended for gamefish along deep weed edges catching fish to 9". Fish deep for bigger gills.

Perch: Good. Medium fatheads along 8-10' cabbage producing good catches of perch to 11" on Minocqua Chain.

Crappie: Fair to Good. Surprisingly shallow. Medium fatheads, 2" twister tails best.

If we can believe the weather forecast, a cool front with clouds and rain may be here by the weekend. Otherwise, starting out to be a good fall season.


For salmon see top. Mik-Lurch reported a few perch off the Inland shoals. There's a piece of bad news for shore fishermen, the Amoco discharge is now off-limits to shore fishermen.


OREGON: Jan Prose at TJ's Bait/Tackle & Canoe Rental sent this:

Several nice flatheads are being caught this past week, north and south of the dam, mostly on suckers.
Catfish numbers are lower it seems, but they're biting. Some small mouth and walleye on worms and crank baits. Large numbers of carp hitting the surface early morning.


Lakeside said crappie are doing well, out of deeper trees and into the cribs around the points down 8-10 feet. Lots of catfish on the weed lines over the holiday weekend. Lake warmed into the low 70s. Pete Riedesel reported smaller muskie are aggressive and taking small muskie baits and bass plugs; those throwing bigger muskie baits caught ``nada.''

For more reports, click here.


River's Edge reported a decent opening weekend for sturgeon but no legals (60 inches or longer), but one group caught a 57-incher. Walleye and crappie are improving, smallmouth are doing decent. River is normal.


Guide Bill Stoeger reported limits of crappie starting to come last week upriver; then the water warmed, so focus on mornings for best action (he did OK Tuesday morning). Some nice bluegill mixed in. White bass are spotty.


There's still the usual largemouth of other lakes, and fair walleye action, according to Mik-Lurch.



Fishing Headquarters



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






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That would be a real pretty Bass if it was not hung from a stringer. Be a good steward of the fisheries and please practice C&R with the bass. They don't taste very good anyways.

Nice bass from Tampier. The reason you don't see many bass like that from Tampier is they end up on stringers. The other fish looks like a undersized bass that I bet isn't the legal limit.

Mr John Jock...sure practicing Catch, Photo & Release is great, but anyone who fishes has the right to keep their catch for the table too...besides, bass taste great! I keep a few bass every year for the table, and it hasn't hurt the population whatsoever.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on September 9, 2009 10:35 AM.

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