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Midwest Fishing Report: ``We're where we thought we are!?''

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In describing the fall period, Minocqua, Wisc. guide Kurt Justice summoned the spirit of Dennis Green: ``We're where we thought we are!?''


And, as befits fall, it is muskie time all over the upper Midwest. This is one of 10 that Pete Riedesel and I caught from Spring Lake on Sunday.

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


Snagging for chinook and coho salmon is open at select areas 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.


Fall trout season opened Saturday, even with the decent weekend weather there are still some left.

Stocked area lakes include Axehead, Belleau and Horsetail (Cook County), Silver, Deep Quarry and Grove (DuPage); Bird Park Quarry (Kankakee); Big lake at Silver Springs SP (Kendall); and Sand Lake at Illinois Beach SP and Banana (Lake).

Anglers must have a fishing license and an inland trout stamp, unless they are under the age of 16, blind or disabled, or are an Illinois resident on leave from active duty in the Armed Forces. The daily bag is five.


Beside the fall trout season (above), the other top bite is crappie. Most lakes and ponds are settling in the fall crappie bite. Steve Palmisano at Henry's said the best reports have come from the west end of Saganashkee by the wall, near Willow Road at Skokie Lagoons and on Busse Lake.


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.


Arden Katz reported incredible bluegill action on Catherine Tuesday, though keepers took sorting. Best was Mine-Mites or ice jigs with white tails.

Triangle reported crappie are also good, start in and around channel mouths. Muskie are decent on big jerkbaits or suckers, Channel is best. White bass are fair on wind-blown shorelines. Perch are decent, Marie best. Walleye are decent, Marie is best.

For more reports, see

More Chain info at


Only Monster Lake at Mazonia South is open to fishing.


From Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament

We've been out on the river and its creeks for just about every afternoon and evening/night since my last report. The fishing has been about the same as previously mentioned, if not somewhat slower, but is beginning to show some signs of inconsistency thanks to the weather.

In general, water temperatures are settled in the 55-degree range, won't be dropping anytime soon, and flow rates are safe for wading. No matter how anglers are fishing whether it is from shore, by wading, or floating in boat, the results are there.

Northern Pike and Largemouth Bass are presently taking advantage of the current conditions on the Des Plaines River. Excellent catches of both species are being made by anglers fishing all over the river right now, from up north in Lake county all the way down south to Will county.

Pike are responding well on jerkbaits in the X-Rap style, swimbaits, spinnerbaits, and bucktails worked through the remaining green weedbeds, backwater areas, log jams, fallen timber, deeper shorelines, and pools.

Fish up to 30-inches are being caught, like the fish caught by one of my readers, Dan Cahill, of Chicago, IL. Over the weekend, he took his small boat out with friend, James Flannery, and two enjoyed a day filled with Largemouth Bass up to 17?, and Pike up to 30?. Both species were found relating to the same areas of the river, with jerkbaits catching the most impressive fish. Congratulations to Dan for joining his desired ?30-inch club?.

Meanwhile, Walleye and Sauger continue to be the most active at night. Anglers braving the cold, while bundled up with headlamps on their heads, are scoring up some Walleyes and Sauger from hard-bottom and deeper pool areas of the river with mid-gradient current. Jig and plastics (grubs & shads) in the 4-5 inch variation are producing as are the usual standby minnow baits - Rapala Floaters, Husky Jerks, X-Raps, Rebel Minnows, Rogues.

Walleyes up to 20-inches are being caught and Sauger are not that far behind in size with the largest topping out at 17-18 inches. The fishing at best, remains inconsistent for them, but the fish are most definitely around right now. Keep plugging away!

Very little to report on at the DPR tributaries and creeks such as Salt Creek, which has been nicknamed by many as ?ANDREWS River? at a few Chicagoland area websites where I have a presence at - and that cracks me up!


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 bait shop is closed. The fishing report is posted here.

POWERTON: Final day for boat fishing is Friday. Final day for shore fishing is Oct. 30. Shore fishing reopens Dec. 28.

SPRING: The main launch closes Friday, but the Sky Ranch Road launch, on the far end, remains open, as does much shore fishing. Muskie fishing, at least for numbers, is ungodly.


Ken Gortowski sent this on Monday:

Found myself with the afternoon off so hit Montgomery for a couple of hours.
Missed a couple of big ones of course, but did get to land 6 smallies.
This could go on till the end of November if the weather doesn't get worse than it was this month.

I meant to go to North Aurora, a reliable spot for white bass, but kept blowing it off.
You would think they're loving this, but I have not heard a thing from anyone else about them.

He also some some extended accounts (you need to log in), posted at and


From the Wisconsin DNR report:

East Shore
Door Co.
: The perch fishing has slowed over the last week with fewer (but larger) perch being reported. The weather has played a big factor at Chaudiors over the last week, not allowing many people out. Little Sturgeon Bay: Perch fishing has been fair over the last week with most fish being found inside the bay in 10 feet of water. Also, smallmouth bass fishing has improved over the last week with some nice fish being caught. Sturgeon Bay: Anglers have been targeting bass and pike with limited success over the last week. They have been getting a few perch as well.
Brown Co.
Fox River:
Walleye action has been good over the last week with some nice walleye caught in the river and in the lower bay. Most anglers have been trolling for walleye with crank baits. Many anglers are targeting musky as well, with limited success. Anglers have also been catching a few walleye from shore at the metro landing. Bayshore: Perch fishing has been slow, but there have still been some people out trying to find them. Best action for perch has been south of the park. Walleye anglers have been doing well out of Bayshore, weather permitting. Most anglers fishing walleye have been jigging or trolling cranks.


River is in excellent fall shape with a good sauger and white bass. The white bass are better downstream around the Big Vermilion, the Peru flats and Spring Valley, while Plum Island slowed.


Ed Mullady sent this:

Kankakee River looking good right now. Can change depending upon rainfall being forecast.
In Indiana, some nice sized bluegill and croppie in quieter waters on *minnows *worms. Pike improved on *minnows *spoons. Catfish continue esp. at Point, north of English Lake, quieter waters at Grand Kankakee Marsh Park.
In Illinois: Nice croppie in Momence, State Park, Wilmington area on *worms *smaller minnows *pinkie jigs. Smallmouth bass fair on *minnows *Jig & Twister tail *fly rod nymphs *poppers*streamer flies.
Angelo's Sports, Wilmington, reporting big catfish in the 20 pound range being caught.


Here's the Wisconsin DNR report:

Kenosha Co. In Kenosha a few chinooks and browns have been taken in the harbor on skein under a slip bobber, but fishing has been slow overall.
Racine Co.
Shore anglers fishing in the Racine harbor have been catching a few browns on spawn. Trollers fishing off Racine have been catching lake trout and a few coho 20 to 40 feet down in water 100 feet deep. On the Root River good numbers of chinooks, along with a few steelhead and coho, can be found below the Root River Steelhead Facility all the way down to the Main Street bridge. Large black flies and yarn have both been productive. In Colonial and Quarry Lake Parks, fish have been scattered and more difficult to locate, but there is a small concentration of chinooks below the Horlick dam. Fish were processed at the Root River Steelhead Facility on Saturday, October 17. A total of 648 chinooks, 19 coho, 3 steelhead, and 2 browns have been passed upstream. The next processing day is tentatively Thursday, October 22.
Milwaukee Co.
In Milwaukee trollers fishing in the harbor and around the gaps have been catching a few chinooks and browns. Milwaukee shore anglers have been catching browns on spawn in the lagoon at Lakeshore State Park, and anglers fishing near the Milwaukee Yacht Club have been catching chinooks. Fishing has been slow in the Menomonee River, but some chinooks have been caught in the Milwaukee River in Kletzsch and Estabrook Parks. Black flies and spawn have both been productive. In Oak Creek, anglers have been catching a few chinooks on yarn in orange, green, or red.

Check the latest at Harborside.


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


CHICAGO: Shoreline salmon slowed. Park Bait reported a few kings and steelhead at Belmont, and one laker inside Montrose. Henry's said the salmon and trout bite is more finesse now with white crappie jigs with spawn under a slip float on light line inside the harbors.

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said lakers are slow on the reefs, but there is a smattering of everything, kings, steelhead and lakers, in 180-250 feet. Winds are making things tougher.

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 Mike Mladenik of sent this: October smallmouth on the river are scattered but active. Some smallmouth are shallow and others are deep. Red tail chubs are catching the most fish.


Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports sent this:

We are about where we should be for mid-October (to paraphrase Dennis Green, "we're where we thought we are!?") Water temps holding about 47 to 48*, turnovers are done - they didn't seem very pronounced this year, possibly due to the cool summer and shallower thermocline.

Musky: Good - Very good. With last weeks cold and snow, afternoons best. With more consistent cool weather morning through evening good. It's prime sucker time with meat getting the bulk of attention. Smity quick set rigs with blades on windy days, without blades on calm. 14-16" suckers best. Also some action on big gliders (Smity, Smuttly dogs, Mantas) and slow retrieved plastic (Bulldawgs, Medussa). Lots of low 40" fish being reported.

Walleye: Good. Fish deep! Anglers fishing the deep lakes catching fish in 40-50' using chubs on Lindy rigs or 1/4oz jigs. Lots of action fish, but plenty of 22-26" fish to keep things interesting. On shallow lakes stick to large fats and small chubs in existing green weed beds. Lighted bobbers at night in same areas picking up eaters of 15-19".

Crappie: Good. Concentrated on deep weedlines, deep mud/gravel transition zones. Medium fatheads best.

Pike: Good. Few anglers targeting Pike, but good sized fish taking big chubs.
Also musky anglers working 6-7" twitch baits scoring on pike of 28-33".

With few if any reports on other species that's as far as we go this week. Still plenty of time to fish and temps should hold pretty constant this week, keeping water temps steady if dropping very slowly.

Lots of leaves still on trees, but peak colors is past.

Report for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce based on Creative Brilliance
interviews with Eagle River guides ``Muskie Matt'' of Wild Eagle Lodge, and Mat Hegy:
Walleye action good, with muskie, northern, crappie and perch bite
fair to good, and hunters seeing lots of grouse along with some nice bucks
in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.

Water temps dropping into the low 40s in the Eagle River area.

Walleye action is good in the Eagle River area. There are two different
patterns: On the Eagle River Chain of 28 lakes (largest freshwater chain of
lakes in the world), the walleyes are hanging just outside of the weeds in 6
to 8 feet of water. On the deep, clear lakes like North Twin, the walleye
are on the mud flats and break edges in 203-5 feet of water. Use a jig and
an XL fathead.

The muskie bite is fair to good in the Eagle River area. Anglers are using
crankbaits and glidebaits, with action coming also on 12-15 inch suckers
hooked up to quick set rigs. Fish 15 feet of water or less over hardbottom
areas just outside of weed edges.

Northern are in and around weeds in 15 feet of water or less in the Eagle
River area. Use a walleye sucker under a slip bobber, or a Husky Jerk in a
minnow or perch pattern. Minnow baits are also working.

Crappies and perch are providing some action on the Eagle River Chain of 28
lakes. Fish 6-8 feet of water in and around weeds or structure. The
crappies and perch are in the same areas as the walleyes, with the perch
near the bottom and the crappies suspending up and down the water column.
Use a small minnow under a slip-bobber.

Hunters in the Eagle River area reporting seeing lots of grouse, along with
the some nice bucks.


Mik-Lurch reported a few lakers at the Port and some perch at the Hole in Wall. Shore salmon fishing slowed, a few at Amoco. Salt is best of the creeks for salmon and trout running upstream.


Go to BJ Sports.


For reports, click here.


Mik-Lurch reported crappie started in the corn channel, but it varies greatly day to day. There are restrictions on the Illinois side during hunting season.


Guide Bill Stoeger reported crappie are slowing some, but walleye are improving, a few in Fremont and on up to Red Banks. Water cooled to low 40s.



Fishing Headquarters



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






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My last memory of Pete recalls far less gray hair. I'm certain he's younger than me too. It's comforting to see guys younger than me with far more gray hair.

Next time just go up the Fox River toward the Dayton Dam for muskie. Years ago saw a guy pick up three in a row, all much larger than what you two got. Been telling muskie fishermen I know about this for years. As far as I know, nobody has ever gone.

Since they are in Dayton, they must be in the Illinois. They are river fish afterall. The numbers could be staggering. I somehow doubt it's a fluke.

Response to Ken:
Those fish come out of the Fox Chain.
Savy anglers have been fishing the Fox for years.
About a good ten years ago, one angler would capture about 40 from shore each year.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on October 20, 2009 8:50 PM.

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