Chicago Sun-Times
Stray Casts will intelligently report and observe, hopefully with a touch of wit, on daily occurrences, reports and releases related to Chicago-area outdoors from bucks to bass to birds to bugs

Midwest Fishing Report: Warming to flies and more

| 1 Comment | No TrackBacks

Warmer water has slowed the shoreline salmon fishing, but the late warmth has also made for some fine late summer early fall river fishing.

smallmouth 091109 foxriver

Fly fishermen have been plying their trades with good success on both the Kankakee and Fox rivers. One of the Chicago area's better all-around outdoorsman, Chuck Roberts, sent this about the photo above:

Caught this 16.5 inch beauty in the Fox River on 9/11/09 on a grasshopper pattern with my 4 wt flyrod.

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


For an overview of nearby river conditions, go to this NWS site. We are solidly into fall patterns with dropping and low water levels concentrating fish in the holes. Individual reports are below.


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


Pick days and weather to help with variable fishing success. Triangle reported best bite is white bass, look for schools over main lake basins in 8-12 feet on small minnows or spikes. Bluegill are excellent, look around piers and laydowns. Walleye are good on large fatheads or crawlers on Lindy rigs or floating jigs; Marie is best. Crappie are best small minnows under slip-bobbers, try around channel mouths or move deeper. Muskie are fair.

For more reports, see On Sunday, holds its second tournament of the year. Click here.

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.


With the warm-up, fishing has been on the tough side and sporadic. 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 9/13/09 through 9/21/09
Delavan fishing remains really good. The pike action has actually increased tremendously over the last couple of weeks. The boat traffic is still intense even after Labor Day. Better days will be coming soon, this past week there was an abundance of floating weeds which made trolling and casting troublesome.
Northern Pike has been very good, they are biting on suckers in the 20 ft depth range. The biggest problem I had last week was that most of the pike were on the small side. The biggest was 31 inches last week. The best location was by Browns Channel and just west of the Yacht Club. I refuse to by the $2 each suckers, so I've been using the smaller bait and therefore catching the smaller fish. However, with the smaller bait, I've also been catching some walleye on them.
Largemouth bass are still on the weedline in 12-14 ft of water. They can be caught on Wacky rigged Senkos or All Terrain Stiks. The best location has been by the island or west of the Yacht club. This time of year, you need to keep moving to find the active fish. They aren't as schooled up as they were two weeks ago. In the next couple of weeks, they will switch their appetite to fat head minnows. It's advantageous to start bringing the fat heads so you don't miss the bite.
Bluegills are really biting in 14-16 ft depth range. The bluegills I've been catching have been on leaf worms straight lined beneath the boat. I've been catching some of the biggest bluegills of the year. My clients have been amazed at how big they are. The best location has been by Village Point, the island or by the gray condos.
Walleyes have been spotty. I'm still catching a few here and there but nothing too consistent. The bigger fish are starting to show up however. The best presentation is either nightcrawlers or leeches. The trolling bite has yet to begin. Once the lake cools a bit, the trolling bite will start up.
Some of the best fishing is yet to come once the lake turns over. Don't go hunting just yet. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

Lake Geneva 9/13/09 through 9/21/09
Well there's good news and bad news on Lake Geneva. Since Labor Day has come and gone, the pleasure boat traffic has dropped off a lot. There is plenty of room for the fishing boats. The bad news of course, is that the fishing is just not that great.
The largemouth bass are in small schools. Once you hit a school you can catch a few but then you'll have to keep moving to find the next schools. The majority of fish seem to be in the 1 ½ to 2 lb range, so there not huge either. Look for them in 20 ft of water. Try drop shotting or Lindy rigging live nightcrawlers. For the drop shot rig, use a 4 inch green pumpkin worm or pearl and black sassy shads. The best location is by Trinkes Bay or by Knollwood.
The northern pike bite is still miserable. That disease they had last year must have knocked the population way down. There are few being caught in deep water and a few in the shallows. The best fish have been caught while casting white spinner baits in 10-12 ft of water over weeds. Try for the fish in Fontana or Williams Bay. Pike fishing should improve once all the fish move shallow. Fall is the time to slip bobber fish for them in the shallow weeds.
Smallmouth bass can be caught in about 14-16 ft of water, sometimes deeper. They have not really schooled up as they usually do this time of year. The water temperature has been a challenge this year. Some big fish have been caught, in excess of 20 inches, but it's search and find. The best bait is Lindy rigging nightcrawlers. Depending on the wind I use a ¼ oz to ½ oz weight, with a 24 inch leader. The best location has been by the Military Academy or Elgin Club.
Perch have been all over the 8-12 ft range. As usual, you need to do a lot of sorting to catch a decent limit. Slip bobbers fished with fat head minnows are producing most of the action. Look for the fish by Rainbow point or by Knollwood.
Rock bass are literally everywhere. There's no problem catching them, sometimes the problem is keeping them off your line while you're fishing for other species.


For boaters, the discharges on the lower end are producing well for largemouth, smallmouth and a mixed bag of white bass, catfish, etc. I did very well with Anderson on Friday, then he did even better by himself on Monday.

For shore fishermen and waders, Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament, sent this:

Fishing has been poor as of late and this includes the creeks and smaller tributaries as well. Warm sunny weather mixed with season-low water levels lead to some not-so-good fishing, which is typical of early September.

Very few reports of anything have been coming from the river. We just need some rainfall and more water flowing through the system to get these fish moving again.

If anything, I would try deep pools with immediate current. Small Pike and a rough fish or two should be expected.

Water temperatures still sitting in the 70-75 degree range and water is flowing at a cubic rate of 198/ under 470 in Riverside.

If new to the Des Plaines River, right now would be the perfect time (and safe) to explore the river by wading (know your holes!) or even making a paddle by canoe. You might even be lucky and find a few fish then.


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: The fishing report is posted here. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Site is open to public fishing on Fridays and Saturdays. Oct. 1 is the last day. POWERTON: Final day for boat fishing is Oct. 23. Final day for shore fishing is Oct. 30.


Among those breaking out their fly rods beside Roberts was Ken Gortowski, who sent these links:


From the Wisconsin DNR report: on Monday:

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


Guide ``Buster'' Culjan said crappie are biting along the rip-rap, pilings and snags; white bass are going at the Starved Rock dam and pulling crankbaits in 6-10 feet is producing smaller sauger. He also said smallmouth are good in the holes of both the Big and Little Vermilion.


``Catfish Dave'' Bradigan sent this:

Dale rive still has excellent depth with just enough stain to keep the fish from getting spooked. Sunday at 1:30 PM with sunshine a plenty my brother and I decided to wade fro a few hours. We caught seven fish . Scott caught three really pretty greenish colored cats . All had good length and weighed from 5 to six pounds. I caught four .One was small and still had the spots on it. The other three were just as nice as brother Scott. Funny thing was there was a couple fishing from shore by the power lines and I told my brother lets put on a show. Well after a half hour the guy from shore had seen enough and was out in the water wading after he made a trip to the store for some liver. I told him what we were doing but as we slowly moved down the river he still did not have a bite. This time of year I feel you need the warmer day and sunshine. The cats like the warmer water and weather. All of the bites were really aggressive as the took the line free spooling like a runaway fright train.

Ed Mullady sent this:
Mike Lee of Frank's Bait, Momence, IL sent you a photo of the Kankakee River's "Catch of the Week"...that 9 lb. walleye caught just outside of Momence by Jon Gilbert, of Momence. A very nice fish! Jon caught it on a X-Rap Bait. Fish was released after weighing.

In Indiana, at the Point, near English Lake has been giving up catfish, bluegill and croppie on the main river and some of the tributaries. Smallmouth bass hitting there also on *minnows *crankbaits *streamer flies.

In Illinois, East of Momence has been good for both smallmouth and largemouth bass, as well as catfish.

At Kankakee River state Park, smallmouth bass has been fair to good. Andy Wilkins caught several croppie ranging from around 11" to 14,15 and 16" on minnows

As of today, river is low, and good fishing taking place! Fly fishing is going on now in many parts of the Kankakee..


Check the latest at Harborside.

Otherwise, this is from the Wisconsin DNR's report on Monday:

Kenosha Co. In Kenosha shore fishing and trolling have both been generally slow. A few browns and coho have been taken in the harbor on spawn sacs and white tube jigs. A few chinooks have been caught on by trollers off the mouth of the Pike River.
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 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 in 100 to 140 feet of water as well as chinooks and rainbows in 275 to 325 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.


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


With the warmer water piled up on shore, shoreline salmon have slowed.

CHICAGO: Despite slower shoreline action, there was a good night at Casino Pier last week. Capt. Bill Kelly reported variable action. There's lots of jacks around the R4, otherwise straight east of Montrose in 140 and deeper has a mixed bag with some bigger lakers. Otherwise, boaters are targeting Michigan waters east of Burnham.

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:

With consistent weather patterns, fishing has remained constant. With no major change of cool nights, warm afternoons, lack of wind and clouds fish have actually gotten into a pattern.

Walleyes have been good early and late especially on flowages. Flowage temps and small lakes in the low 70's with bigger lakes by mid afternoon climbing to 69-74 degrees.

As there is no major change in patterns, please see last weeks post.


Mik-Lurch reported best for boaters has been out in about 120. Capt. Ralph Steiger said the key is meat rigs. Shoreline action has been spotty, as have the creeks been; need different winds and cooler water.


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

A few walleye and small mouth. Flatheads are doing pretty good. Someone caught a 60 pounder out of the Byron pit, and a couple near 50 pounds caught in Oregon area. Suckers are working well.


For the report from BJ Sports click here reported


Lakeside has its muskie open on Saturday. Call (815) 824-2581 or go to Otherwise, there's still decent crappie.


River's Edge reported decent smallmouth, walleye and crappie. One keeper sturgeon (62 inches) was caught over the weekend. Overall, sturgeon have been good for action on smaller fish.


Guide Bill Stoeger said he was still catching crappie limits in the brush piles, primarily on minnows. When the bigger schools come in, then plastics will work better. There's a few white bass downriver, but the river warmed into the low 70s again.



Fishing Headquarters



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






No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL:

1 Comment

Thanks for the report!! :)

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on September 16, 2009 6:13 AM.

Fishes of the Week: ``Like father like son'' was the previous entry in this blog.

All wet in northern Illinois: ``It's Our River Day'' is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.