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Midwest Fishing Report: Waiting on salmon

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It's a bit of an in-between time as we wait for the weather to come back toward more normal fall patterns, otherwise, a couple Illinois shoreline fishing events headline the Midwest Fishing Report.

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

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


The sixth annual Salmon Classic is at Northerly Island from 6-9 p.m. Sunday. Registration begins at 5:30. There's free parking, prizes and medals. Call Henry's at (312) 225-8538 or go to


Salmon Unlimited of Illinois is holding a unique shore fishing tournament and kid's fishing derby on Saturday at Waukegan harbor. A bunch of the high school fishing teams are expected. Because of family stuff (coaching kiddy soccer) I can't make it, but it sure ;looks interesting, especially if fish are coming in.

Applications may be downloaded at


Somewhat unusual setups for late September, but with there is still a bit of early and late largemouth bite. Starting to hear more multiple species catches at places like Skokie Lagoons.


For an overview of nearby river conditions, go to this NWS site. Wasn't sure what the rains would do, and that still could, why yes, muddy the waters for weekend fishing. But as of right now, the rains should only help increase flows and make for better fishing.


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


Triangle reports fair fishing, but the rain should kick up current and help. Largemouth are decent on edges of weeds and points with tubes, jigs or plastic worms. Muskie are starting, mainly deeper. Panfish are shallow. If you find current (Route 12 bridge for instance), you can find walleye.

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 Wednesday through Sunday. 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.


DELAVAN: Guide Dave Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake 9/20/09 through 9/28/09
Fishing this past week has been rather spotty. There are some nice catches of pan fish and a few game fish, however, the numbers of game fish have been reduced by about ½. I have no idea if this is due to the water temperature or the 20 days of stable weather.
Bluegills are in 16 ft of water. I have been getting some of the biggest fish of the year. I've been using nightcrawlers and small leaf worms. The best location is by Assembly Park or by the island. The best presentation is anchoring and fishing right beneath the boat. Some of the bluegills that we've been catching are 9-10 inches.
Some legal walleyes are starting to show up however, there just aren't that many. They can be caught on leeches or on nightcrawlers. I've tried trolling crankbaits a few different times, but with only limited success. The best depth is 18-20 ft of water. Most of my fish have been caught by the Yacht Club or just west of the Village Supper Club. The best presentation is either Lindy rigging the fish with a ¼ oz walking sinker and a painted green hook or by split shotting a leech.
Largemouth bass can be caught using two different methods. The first is early morning when it's flat calm. The fish can be caught on white buzz baits or other surface lures right around the north shore piers. The best depth is about 6 ft of water. The other is a live bait presentation with Lindy rigged nightcrawlers in 16 ft of water. The best location is by the island or the point by the gray condos.
Northern Pike have been almost non-existent. I've been catching one here and there. I actually caught one legal fish this week. I've dragged suckers around for hours and hours with very little success. I think the fish may be more shallow than where I've been fishing. If I were to fish exclusively for them, I would be casting white spinner baits in the 8-10 ft depth range. Look for the fish by Lake Lawn Lodge or Viewcrest and Highland Bay.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

GENEVA: Duwe sent this:
Lake Geneva 9/20/09 through 9/28/09
Lake Geneva continues to be an extreme challenge for fishermen. One thing I truly enjoy is the lack of heavy boat traffic after Labor Day. It makes for a peaceful and beautiful time to fish the lake. Now if the fish would only cooperate.
Yellow perch have been biting in the 10-12 ft depth range. On Sunday, I caught several 9-10 inch fish, with the biggest being 12 inches. I caught very few small fish on this trip. Conservatively, I could have kept 15-20 nice fish. The best location was by Knollwood. I caught the fish on a split shot rigged nightcrawler. I think if I would have had some fat head minnows, it would have been even better. This bite should last a good month or so. If the fish aren't be Knollwood, look for them by Rainbow Point or Belvidere Park.
Largemouth bass are in the 8-10 ft depth range. Look for them in the scattered weeds outside of most of the piers. Some fish are being caught on wacky rigged senkos- the best color is green pumpkin - or live nightcrawlers fished on a split shot rig. The best location is east of Cedar point or by the Military Academy.
Smallmouth bass have been very spotty. I've tried deep and shallow, the best depth I have found is 14 ft of water. Look for the fish by Fontana Beach, Knollwood or over by Linn Pier. Some fish are being caught on lindy rigged suckers and nightcrawlers also fished on a lindy rig. Most of the fish are positioned about 1-2 ft off bottom.
Rock bass are biting in about 12-14 ft of water. They are aggressively taking nightcrawlers. Some of the fish I caught this week were way over 1 lb. The best location was by Knollwood or by the Military Academy.
Northern fishing has been very slow. The only success is coming in the 10-12 ft range. The best lures have been the shallow diving walleye bandits or white spinner baits. They are in the weed flats such as Fontana Beach or by Trinkes. With the water cooling, the fish should be moving in within the next few weeks.


Bill Anderson reported on boat fishing the discharges on the lower end with mixed results for bass with a few surprises such as a flathead and a huge catfish he lost. Check this: And i loved this from Bill,

``I also hooked a giant Gar on a Countdown Minnow but I had the smaller net out and he wouldn't fit in it. I was lucky to get the Flathead in there so from now on...I get out the bigger net.'

Any story that involves a bigger net is my kind of story.

From Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament

We finally got that much-needed rainfall that I predicted last week and water levels are finally back to normal, or close to it, as evidenced by the USGS in Riverside - flowing at 380/ under 440.

Water temperatures are still in the 70-degree range and the fishing remains to be a hit or a miss for most species.

However, Pike, Channel Catfish, Largemouth Bass, and Crappies remain to be the most active at this point.

Pike anglers have been both wading and working the shores with 15 to 25 inch fish being the most common catch. Water clarity is brown since the recent rainfall and anything in the way of giving off vibration or larger profile should be used. Spinnerbaits - bucktails - minnowbaits - rattle shads - jerkbaits are the most notable things used now. Contrasting colors would be a safe bet.

In addition, Channel Cats are also somewhat active and this may be their final push of the season before it all shuts down. Bottom rigs with some meat or live bait being drifted through current with depth are yielding best results.

Largemouth Bass are being found mostly on the southern sections of the river in Will co. Backwaters, log jams, mid-river weed beds, rip-rap, and slackwater areas holding most fish.

Lastly, Crappies are finally showing themselves for a change. Slackwater areas and eddies have been holding small schools of fish. Minnows under a float, or jig and small plastics have been working as of late.

It's almost that time of season for the Walleyes and Sauger, but still very few reports to be found and not many are trying as of yet (including myself). Give it a few cold spells and by first or second week of October we should be at the start of the beginning stages of the fall run. (60-degrees or colder is my magic number).


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: Boat rentals are closed for the season, but the bait shop is open. The fishing report is posted here. This is Tuesday's:

Reports have been good for fishing the past few weeks. Crappie are doing well with the cooler weather. Some are being caught in the shallows, but most are still in deeper water 10-15 ft. We had several reports of Saugeye in the 12-16" range being caught on crawlers off of points this past weekend. Catfish in the past week have been caught on crawlers and chicken livers. Bluegill have been doing well on small pieces of crawler or wax worms along weed edges and around rip rap areas. Muskie seem to be doing well in recent weeks. We have had many reports of both Muskie and Bass anglers getting Musky follows. There was a 43" Muskie reported at the end of last week. Seems like the fishing has really started to pick back up here at Evergreen Lake.
Good Luck, Brad

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Friday and Saturday are the last public days of the year. Oct. 1 is the final day for members, then it will reopen for members when and if ice fishing is safe.

POWERTON: Lake is closed for levee repair, scheduled to reopen Thursday. Final day for boat fishing is Oct. 23. Final day for shore fishing is Oct. 30. Shore fishing reopens Dec. 28. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15, 2010.


Ken Gortowski sent this:

Got out Friday evening and quit counting after 20 missed hits. Only landed 3.
Sundays Monster Quest became a Dink Fest, but everyone was catching fish and now I have witnesses to attest to the fact that I can't set a hook.

The little known Fox Valley Native American tribe "Sucksatfishing" have made me an Honorary Member and given me the name "Cantsetahook."


From the Wisconsin DNR report on Tuesday:

Door Co.
In Sturgeon bay perch fishing has been fair over the last week with some limits being reported. Most perch, though, are running on the smaller side with fish averaging about 7 inches. Smallmouth bass fishing has been spotty over the last week. Most anglers have been trolling for musky and pike over the last week with limited success. In Little Sturgeon Bay fishing has been slow over the last week due to bad weather, but anglers that have been out are catching some very nice bass. The perch and the walleye fishing has been on the slow side. From Chaudiors Dock the perch fishing continues to be very productive with lots of very nice fish being caught. Some walleye are also being caught in this area by fisherman trolling for them.
Brown Co.
In Dyckesville the perch fishing has slowed down over the last week. Anglers are spending a lot of time targeting them but with limited success. Walleye fishing has been hit or miss over the last week with most anglers heading north of town to find fish.


A good shot of rain hit the area, so Cajun's staff wasn't sure how things would go for the weekend. But, as of Tuesday, white bass were going for boaters at the dam, by Peru and around the Vermilion; even a few being caught from shore at the state park. There's been some walleye and sauger on bladebaits.


While helping with Saturday's clean-up, the big catches were of smaller catfish and some better sized pike around Aroma Park.

Ed Mullady sent this:

Indiana: Point north of English Lake. Some nice smallmouth bass on *minnows*spinners.
Croppie good in main river and mouths of tributaries.
LaSalle F& W Area(includingBlack Oak Bayou open to fishing now until waterfowl season opens again}. Largemouth Bass good in Bayous *smallmouth bass good in main river.

ILLINOIS: East of Momence good for smallmouth and largemouth bass.
In Kankakee River State Park, smallmouth bass good around Carly, Rex and Gordon Island.
Try on streamer flies*nymphs*imitation crawfish on fly rod. *Minnows, crankbaits, spinners, even some top water baits on fly rod or spinning.
Smallmouth Bass fair around Wilmington Island Park.


From the Wisconsin DNR report on Tuesday:

Kenosha Co.
In Kenosha shore fishing and trolling have both been generally slow. A few chinooks and browns have been taken in the harbor on spawn sacs and white tube jigs, and other chinooks have been taken on spoons near the mouth of the Pike River. A few chinooks have been caught by trollers off the mouth of the Pike as well.
Racine Co.
Shore anglers fishing off the Racine piers and shoreline have been catching a few chinooks. Most fish have been taken before dawn on spoons. Trollers out of Racine have been finding some mature chinooks and a few coho in front of the harbor, and J-plugs and crankbaits have produced the most fish. Trollers working offshore have been taking chinooks and lake trout 50 to 100 feet down in 100 to 140 feet of water. Cracked ice spoons or flasher & fly combinations have taken the most fish. Water levels on the Root River are very low, and there have been no signs of fish in upstream stretches.
Milwaukee Co.
In Milwaukee nearshore waters remain warm, and shore fishing has been generally slow. Trollers out of Milwaukee have been catching a few chinooks, coho, and lake trout 60 to 80 feet down in 100 to 160 feet of water; and a few browns have also been taken by boaters in the harbor and around the gaps. A few chinooks and rainbows have been taken out of Oak Creek, but fishing on the Milwaukee and Menomonee Rivers has been slow. Water levels remain low in all area tributaries.

Check the latest at Harborside.


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


CHICAGO: Shoreline salmon have been spotty. Steve Palmisano of Henry's summed it up this way: ``A little quiet with the warmer water. Hopefully the west winds will cool things down and restart the bite again.'' Park Bait reported a few at Belmont on Tuesday and Mik-Lurch some at 63rd. Capt. Bill Kelly reported mixed lakers and smaller kings 60 degree out of Diversey in 90-130 feet, out of Montrose in 160 feet and straight east of the R4 in 150-160.

WAUKEGAN: Salmon Stop reported some kings (most are silver) on spoons off south rocks and the government pier or steelhead on shrimp on a bobber. Boaters can hug the shore for kings and trout, but better fish are far deeper, as far out as 220.

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:

Three weeks of warm days and lots of sun. Getting kind of used to it.

Walleyes: Good. Due to warm surface temps (68-74 degrees), young perch, bait fish shallow, walleyes following. Fish shallower than usual. Flowages 2-5', natural lakes 8-12' weeds. All live bait working with minnows and crawlers outproducing leeches. Shallow running crank baits also good during low light.

Largemouth Bass: Good. Fish active. Best on spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, even some top water. During mid day highs, go plunk sendos, plastics in weed pockets.

Musky: Good. Nice fish from high 30's to mid 40's this week on bucktails worked over weed tops of 6-10'. Surface lures working as well as fast moving twitch baits.

Crappie: Good. Haven't moved deep yet. Work weed beds of 8-14'. Cast small Mr. Twister, Charlie Brewer Crappie Bees over weed tops. Come back with minnows once found.

Pike: Good. Chasing spinnerbaits, chatterbaits also hammering x-raps and Husky Jerks over weed tops of 6-10'. A float with a big chub can't be beat.

Perch: Good. Nice perch to 12" along weed edges of 12' being fished for walleyes. Jig 1/2 crawler or medium fathead.

Smallmouth Bass: Fair-Good. Overall a bit tough to find this past week. Best action along drowned wood in 12-14'. Chompers Carolina rigged and tubes in brown colors best.

Bluegills: Fair. Not a lot of effort on gills this time of year, but enough being caught to warrant effort.

This week may see some rain (we hope) but temps remain consistent with lows in 50's to high 70's with no major changes.

A little bit of color in the trees, but we are behind a week or two. Bear hunting good. Archery and Grouse, too many leaves.


Mik-Lurch reported a few perch off the point of Inland, some kings, big coho (up to 14 pounds) and a few steelhead inside Salt and Trail, some good kings in front of Michigan City and Burns Ditch and a few in front of Amoco. Kings are being marked and seen around the Inland and the Hole-in-the-Wall, so it should go soon.


BJ Sports reported that, like a lot of places, warm water slowed action.


Lakeside reported 10 muskie caught at the open on Saturday. The winner was 31 inches and caught on a bucktail in the northeast bay. Crappie and catfish remain decent, water is 67 degrees. Crappie moved somewhat shallower from the deep trees into the cribs.

For more reports, click here.


River's Edge reported no new legal sturgeon, but plenty of action on smaller ones. The season runs through September. Crappie and smallmouth are improving, rain should help levels.


Guide Bill Stoeger reported bluegill (worms) and crappie (minnows) continue good, mostly upriver, while down at the mouth there's a few hit and miss white bass.


Mik-Lurch reported walleye improving again.



Fishing Headquarters



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






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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on September 22, 2009 10:55 PM.

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