We are on the cusp of the change to fall fishing, if it was a couple days later this week the Midwest Fishing Report would be different. Or as northern Wisconsin guide Kurt Justice put it, ``Well, summer is over.''
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 email@example.com.
We lead with the opening of salmon snagging season. Unfortunately, salmon snagging season is usually the most lawless period on the lakefront.
Here are the regulations for salmon snagging on the lakefront, both so snaggers may know and those who wish to report violations will know what is legal.
On Thursday, snagging for chinook and coho salmon opens at these select areas only on the lakefront: inner and outer harbors at Jackson Park, Lincoln Park Lagoon from the Fullerton Avenue Bridge to the southern end of the Lagoon, Winnetka power plant discharge area and Waukegan Harbor (in North Harbor basin only). No snagging is allowed at any time within 200 feet of a moored watercraft or as posted. Salmon snagging season ends Dec. 31.
The fall change is coming, and so will the fall feeding frenzy. With that comes the reminders that fall trout season opens at select spots around Illinois on Oct. 17. DUPAGE NOTE: Because of fall trout, three lakes in the FPD of DuPage County--Silver, Deep Quarry and Grove--are closed to fishing from Thursday through Oct. 16.
For an overview of nearby river conditions, go to this NWS site.
BIG GREEN LAKE, WISCONSIN
For guide Mike Norton's report, go to
www.nortonsfishingandhuntingadventures.com, then click on fishing, then lake report.
CHAIN O'LAKES AREA
Triangle reported walleye are excellent, including some bigger fish, on fatheads on Lindy rigs throughout. Bluegill remain good, start in 8 feet or less. The fall crappie bite is starting, first look around channel mouths. Muskie are good on big jerkbaits or bucktails. White bass are good on wind-blown shorelines, Petite is best.
For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/
More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.
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.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
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 Tuesday, Oct. 6.
DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES AREA, WISCONSIN
DELAVAN: Guide Dave Duwe sent this:
Delavan Lake 9/28/09 through 10/5/09
Delavan Lake has become pretty spotty. One day you can catch a good bunch of fish and the next day you may struggle. The bright spot is the pike fishing which has been improving.
The best presentation for walleye pike has been deep diving crankbaits. 300 series Bandits in the color pearl have been producing most of the action. The key to this presentation is the wind. You need to fish the windy shoreline. The pearl color imitates the small crappies and you will aggressively get hit. I've been catching some walleyes split shot rigging nightcrawlers and leeches in 16-18 ft of water. Look for the fish by the concrete point or by Browns Channel.
Largemouth bass remain on the weedline. They are not schooled up anymore so you need to move around to catch a bunch of fish. The best depth I've found is the 15-18 ft range. The best presentation has been split shot rigged nightcrawler or drop shotting a 4 inch worm. The best color is green pumpkin. Look for the fish by the Oriental boat house or by the old Delavan Lake Marina. The big fish are still around, this past Sunday I caught 3 over 5 lbs.
Northern Pike fishing has been improving. The best depth is 16-22 ft. You need to lindy rig 6-9 inch suckers about 2 ft off bottom for the best success. Look for the fish from the Yacht Club down to Willow Point and by Browns Channel. The leader length I'm using on my lindy rig is 24 inches.
Bluegill fishing has been very good. The best depth is 16-18 ft. Using a small ice jig fished about 6 inches off bottom has been producing most of the action. The best success has come off of Assembly Point or by the island.
Crappie fishing has been improving. They are over the medium depth weeds in 12-14 ft of water. They are biting on cubby jigs in purple and chartreuse. The key to the presentation is putting a small split shot 12-18 inches above the jig. It is hard to tell if you have a weed or a fish so I always set the hook when the bait feels different. Look for the fish by 3 flags and Belvidere Park.
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 9/28/09 through 10/5/09
I don't want to seem like a broken record but Lake Geneva fishing is just not that great. You can catch some fish but the size and quantity that we are all used to is just not happening.
Yellow Perch have been biting very well in the 9-10 ft range. Look for the fish by Rainbow Point, Belvidere Park and by Knollwood. They are being caught on leaf worms on a split shot rig or a slip bobber rig. The average size has been very good over the last week, although there is some sorting to be done. Even with the sorting, you should be able to catch a good limit.
There are two depth ranges for smallmouth bass. The more plentiful smallmouth have been in the 21-24 ft depth range. There is a secondary bite in the 14-16 ft depth range. Look for the fish by Elgin Club, Linn Pier or by the Military Academy. The best presentation is small yellow perch fished on a lindy rig or a nightcrawler fished on a ¼ oz lindy sinker with a 24 inch leader.
Northern Pike can be caught on crankbaits such as the shallow diving Walleye Bandit. Fire Tiger or natural perch are the best colors. They can also be caught on large spinner baits. The best location is Trinkes Bay or in front of the beach in Fontana. Work a depth of 10-12 ft for the best success.
Rock bass can be caught in a depth range of 14-16 ft of water. They are aggressively hitting split shot rigged nightcrawlers. Most of the success comes while drifting over the break line. The bigger fish have come by the Military Academy or by Elgin Club.
Largemouth bass remain in the shallows. They can be caught in 6-8 ft of water. Look for the fish by Trinkes or in Williams Bay. The top water pattern is still going on. Chug bugs and Pop-R's are the best choice. You can still drop shot 4 inch plastic worms in 12-16 ft of water with good success. The fish haven't schooled up yet so you need to spend some time to find the active fish.
DES PLAINES RIVER
From Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament www.fishing-headquarters.com:
I'd like to say that this week marks the beginning of our fall season.
The fishing is now starting to get a lot better on the Des Plaines
River and its main tributaries. Last week, the rainfall came, this
week the fish started moving again, and the cooling off in weather and
water temperatures is finally signaling a good period of change for both the fish and fisherman.
Pike and Bass are providing anglers with the most consistent catches throughout the wooded forest preserves in Lake, Cook, and Will counties. Time of
day does not appear to be a factor but rather location and presentation.
Pike up to 30" (long but skinny) are responding well to smaller
bucktails, swimbaits, spinnerbaits, jig and big plastics, and roaches
worked through mid-river pools and shoreline cover such as wood and
weedbeds. Most fish averaging around "action size" up to 25 inches, and white/silver seems to be the hot color of late.
Likewise, Largemouth Bass are relating to similar areas as the Pike,
but are being more frequently found in slackwater areas and deeper
pools. Swimbaits, white/gold or chartreuse Spinnerbaits, minnowbaits,
and anything resembling the forage species of fish are providing
anglers with the best results.
Few catfish and rough fish reports.
Lastly, Walleyes and Sauger will be soon to follow. It's still not
their time as water temperatures are in the 65-70 degree range and few
reports have been coming in with not many trying either. Give it at least another week before things become more predictable.
As for the creeks and tributaries, with Salt Creek being one notable to name, Northern Pike are quite active in the Cook and DuPage co. preserves. Use thin wire leaders with your offerings, because I had three quick bite-offs on an assortment of jig & plastics in a span of 15-minutes of fishing over the weekend. Two of them appeared to have size.
Water levels are safe for wading, and temperatures are dropping at an almost-daily rate. As a result, the fish are responding.
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: Fishing report from site staff:
Evergreen Lake Fishing Report - 9/29/09
Water Clarity: 1-2 ft.
Water Level: 3 ft. down
Water Temps: 70's
Report this week is much like last weeks. Crappie are doing well on tube jigs and minnows. Several keepers being caught, with a lot of sorting. Fish still seem to be holding in 10-15 ft. of water around brush. Saugeye are really turning on. Many reports of Saugeye in the 10-16" range. Anglers reporting catches around the Pump House, point by the Boat Rental/Bait Shop, and other main points around the lake. Saugeye are being caught on crawlers, minnows, and gulp artificial minnows. Bass reports have been pretty good lately. One angler reported he and another caught about 20 in an outing, with a couple of them being keepers. Another gentleman caught a 20" Lunker on a buzz bait. Many anglers have been out trying their luck with the Muskies lately with the cooler weather. Many follows and a few being caught. A 42" muskie was caught last week by a gentleman crappie fishing. Haven't heard to many reports on how the catfishing has been in the last week. Bluegill continue to be caught with very little size to them, mostly on wax worms and crawler pieces.
Good Luck, Brad
JUST A REMINDER ARCHERY DEER HUNTING STARTS OCTOBER 1 AND RUNS TILL NOVEMBER 11. MANY AREAS WILL BE CLOSED TO ALLOW FOR THE DEER MANAGEMENT PROGRAM. ALL RESTRICTED AREAS HAVE BEEN CLEARLY MARKED.
HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Site closes to members on Thursday, then a decision will be made on what measures will be taken to address the carp issue.
POWERTON: Final day for boat fishing is Oct. 23. Final day for shore fishing is Oct. 30. Shore fishing reopens Dec. 28.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
Ken Gortowski suggested some incredible fall fishing up some creeks, while others remain dead. He has not figured out why the difference yet.
CLEAN-UP: Rescue River Clean-up in St. Charles is 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. Contact Jay Schmid at (630) 485-5103 or Jenni Kempf (815) 356-6605.
ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA
River is low and clean. Guide ``Buster'' Culjan'' said sauger are being caught pulling or jigging in 8-10 along the channels; Leadcore with Shad Raps has been good. White bass are hit and miss, good at the dam when it is generating, but Culjan expects that bite to improve with the cooler water.
Norm Minas said walleye are taking rattlebaits in 3 feet on Monday.
Ed Mullady sent this:
Kankakee River fishing good overall. In Indiana, Point, n. of English Lake: *Smallmouth Bass good,esp.in ditches on Jumbo Redworms. *Catfish good on crawlers *some walleye on jig and minnow. **Horseshoe Bend Good for croppie and bluegill.
LaSalle Area good.for largemouth, smallmouth bass, croppie, bluegill. Entire LaSalle Area will be closed to fishing from Oct. 10 through Jan. 17 (hunting going on).
Illinois: Largemouth Bass good State Line thru Momence on *plastic worms *#3 Spinners *imitation crawfish *top water baits. Smallmouth Bass good throughout river. Catfish continues good also in both Indiana and Illinois on *minnows *cheesebaits *crawfish *crawlers.
*Fishing continues good through Kankakee River State Park and in Wilmington Area, esp. on catfish, smallmouth bass and some walleye.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
CHICAGO: Lakefront has been spotty at best for shoreline salmon, cold snap might help. Before Monday's blow, Capt. Bill Kelly said they were catching 2- and 3-year-old kings and bigger lakers in 120-150 feet 60 degrees out of Diversey while Julian's Reef had small lakers and 2- and 3-year-old kings and the occasional steelhead.
WAUKEGAN: Bruce Zolna sent a different report on an outing with Capt. Ed Landmichl:
Capt Ed and I did our first fun trip on his boat this season last Sat afternoon from 1:30 pm till 7:30 pm (with 2 hrs of running time included) out of Waukegan Harbor where he now slips his boat. My last trip on my own boat this year was the first week of July. Busy at the law firm.
After bad reports from guys fishing in the morning out to 180' of water, we decided to burn fuel and go where we have NEVER gone before. 23 miles East of Waukegan to 360' of water. A 1- hr ride each way in his fast Bertram. Burned about 70 gals of fuel, but at least at prices ($2.89/gal) which are $1/gal less than in Chicago's harbors.
We marked bait and fish as soon as we stopped. Surface temp was 66 degrees, broke sharply about 75' down and at 100' was 48 degrees. Amazingly, we caught small cohos and jacks at or near surface on yellow birds and on short dipseys in all that hot water. The chunkier fish were caught on long dipseys and downriggers down to about 100'. There was a lot of bait out there.
We landed 3 nice Rainbows (up to 7 lbs), one King of about 8-9 lbs and a mixed bag of 16 small cohos (2-2 1/2 lbs) and Kings (3-5 lbs) and missed 12-15 others. ALL were SILVER. These are the kind of fish we used to catch in late October or early November about 15 miles out from Chicago harbors in 120-160' once the water gets much cooler on the surface (when it does) and when weather permits you to get out there where they are.
Otherwise, boats (before Monday's blow) were hugging the shoreline. Salmon Stop reported shore action has been decent off government pier with spoons for kings and bait for browns and steelhead. The south rocks are closed for a boat dock to go in.
SNAGGING: See top.
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.
LAKE MICHIGAN, SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN
The hotspot for kings has been Milwaukee harbor for small boats, according to North Sider Arden Katz who has been catching them up to 20 pounds. The parking, the ramp and security is good and there's a fish cleaning station. He's catching them on Rat-l-traps and K-O Wobblers.
``The facility makes Chicago look like a joke. You got the ramp, you got the parking, you got the bathroom and the cleaning station right there. It puts Chicago to shame.''
For latest on Kenosha area, check Harborside.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
For D&S Bait, go to dsbait.com
MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN/MICHIGAN
Guide Mike Mladenik of BigSmallmouthBass.com sent this:
September fishing has been excellent. Lots of numbers and big fish!! Smallmouth are scattered and you need to keep on the move. Plastics are catching the most smallmouth but a few are being caught with chubs.
Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports sent this:
Well, summer is over. Didn't arrive until late August and left late September. It was wonderful, but short.
Largemouth Bass: Fair-Good. Early in the week bass actively chasing down spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, shallow cranks over 6-8' weeds in the afternoons, even surface lures on the warmest days. Now with the temps dropping, fish hunkering down a bit. Work chompers, wooly bugs in thick cover, chose afternoons if you can.
Musky: Fair-Good. Lots of lookers, short bitters. Surface lures will be hot until turnover, bucktails best. Some action on suckers, should really pick up the next tow weeks with this drop in temps. 30#er on Pike/Round chain this past weekend. Lots of reports of low to mid 40" fish.
Walleye: Fair-Good. The good daytime action has fallen off as water temps are dropping and bait fish are leaving the shallows. Look to deeper weed edges, drowned wood. Redtails see to be the preferred bait during this light bite time.
Smallmouth Bass: Fair-Good. Hot lipless crankbait action (Rattlin Raps, Rattle Traps) and surface bait bite from last week in shallows (4-8') has quieted with the cold. While the crankbait bite may return, try tubes, 2-3" power minnows, twister tails on next break past shorelines.
Crappie: Fair-Good. Bite slowed for now as fish moved out from shallows. Work deep weed edges of 14-18', slow drift floats with small minnows.
Perch: Fair-Good. As with walleyes, bite thrown off by recent front. Deeper weeds, mud flats best bet.
Bluegill: Poor. Few reports.
We are still a ways from turn over. The recent cold snap, once it settles in, should only improve the musky, walleye bite. Surface temps that ranged from 67-73 degrees last week are dropping to the low 60's by now. The next three weeks should be tops for sucker fishing musky.
Trees turning colors quickly now, should peak in a week to 10 days.
Mik-Lurch reported trollers are taking good numbers of salmon at Michigan City and Burns Ditch, closer action has been tough from shore and in close. There's still the strong deep bite for salmon. There have been reports of shore fishing again at Amoco. Creeks have been good with Salt better than Trail for big cohos, steelhead and a few kings. There was a few perch reports in 33 feet before the blow. Those fighting through the vegetation continue to marvel at the redear and bluegill at Willow Slough.
OREGON: Jan Prose at TJ's Bait/Tackle & Canoe Rental sent this:
Some decent catfish on night crawlers. I weighed a 6 pound 12 ounce walleye Mon caught at the dam, and heard of a few other nice ones in the 5 pound range caught last week. Black and chartreuse are good colors with a minnow. Flatheads are good yet on suckers. A picture of a 55 pounder was brought in a few weeks ago. Nice fish!
ST. JOSEPH AREA, MICHIGAN
For BJ Sports, go here.
Guide Jay Angel sent this:
Water temps were in the high 60's.
Crappie fishing was fair. Most of the fish we caught were caught over the deeper brushpiles using minnows under bobbers. You need to have the minnow just ticking the top of the brush in order to catch fish.
The larger crappies were caught over the rockpiles on the roadbed using minnows.
This time of the year you need to move around a bit in order to put numbers of fish in the boat
For more reports, click here.
Sturgeon season ends today.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN:
Guide Bill Stoeger reported the best bite remains crappie in brush piles on minnows. As colder water comes, plastics will begin to produce too. White bass are slow, but expected to improve as water cools from the 62 degrees it was Monday morning.
Mik-Lurch reported walleye improving with cooler water. That should only continue to pick up.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT