This is the rivers post for the Midwest Fishing Report.
I normally post this extended online version of the MFR, which appears in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays, by Wednesday morning. I'm cutting it close today.
If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For an overview of nearby river conditions, click here.
Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass sent this:
slow all week until Monday 3 Bridgeportbass boats went out at 4pm blue gills hitting beetle spins large and small mouth hitting small white spinners near origins park 1 catfish hit gulp goby near Halsted power plant.................
DES PLAINES RIVER
From Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament www.fishing-headquarters.com:
Not much has changed since last week, condition-wise. River remains
flowing at a great level (252cfs/ gauge 3.12), water clarity moderate,
and temperatures are on average between 60-65 degrees.
A lot of reports have been coming in as of late, but only for
Largemouth Bass, with some Smallmouth Bass to boot, and Northern Pike.
On the warmer days, best activity is during the morning hours; On the
colder days, best activity is during mid-afternoons and evenings.
Anglers such as Dan Sims (the wader), and Dan Cahill (the boater) are
reporting strong activity for Bass and it seems that everything is on
a shad bite right now. Both Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass are being
found along rock shorelines with moderate depth, log-jams and wood,
and near current breaks. Average fish size is 12 to 16 inches but some
bigger ones are being found throughout the river. In-line spinners in
the following gold/yellow/silver/white patterns, spinnerbaits in
white/silver and black, and crankbaits are scoring fish.
Meanwhile, Northern Pike up to 28" are being caught on the same
aforementioned set-ups as the Bass are, but with the addition of live
bait (shiners and suckers). However, more fish are coming from
mid-river areas, as well as shoreline wood and the weed beds, and even
Dan Sims, the in-line spinner technician, had this to say from an
outing a few days ago:
"Dave Mannion and I met up with Jacob Saylor a few minutes before 7am
last Thursday morning. We fished for a little over 90 minutes. I set
both of them up with 1/3oz gold/yellow in-line spinners with doubled
bladed #3 Colorado blades. Now this spinner is a totally new concept
to me, and probably also to this river. We fished the first hole we
and had no takers. I moved upstream to an area that was near waist
deep with a shallow run of rock just before and after it. This is
where I caught the first fish of the day, a hammerhandle Pike. Casts
later I had a bigger hit. I thought Northern for sure. After a few
short runs it leaped out of the water, Largie.. Nice fish. He must not
have liked being hooked all that much. He jumped one more time near my
feet and that was it. For the Largies from the River lately, I think
they are feasting on the endless amounts of shad in this system. I
seems this late summer/early fall, nothing but nice sized bass are
Other than the above, there is nothing much else to report on. As for
the creeks, they aren't kicking out as many fish as the river is now.
From Frank Macikas:
I made it out and floated around a 5 mile section from Shorewood to Channahon on Saturday and the river was in pretty good shape. Water was a little stained but not bad; flow was just right and levels close to normal. Didn't get a actual water temp but it seemed warmer than the air. Both smallies and rockies were biting on plastics close to shore; wacky rigged stickworms producing best again this weekend. Anything else was very difficult to fish as there is alot of grass floating in the river and its starting to pile up in the slack water areas making them difficult to fish effectively. Heard some reports of some really nice fish around 18" coming from the Plainfield area as well on Sunday. Now is the time to be out.
My effort and motivation dropped significantly about half way through the trip when my anchor rope snapped sending it to the bottom of a 7 foot deep hole, and shortly later realizing my bag with just about every plastic I own, somehow fell off the pontoon somewhere along the river. What I have left is just a few packs I keep in my wade pouch and everything else went to the river gods. It was hard to keep motivated after that. I did explore some new areas that I would like to put some more time into including a backwater lake area that should hold some nice fish.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
Haven't heard from Ken Gortowski yet, if I do, I will add.
ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA
Thom Matejewski at Time on the Water Outdoors reported crappie are the top bite, work the pilings. Good numbers of sauger and bass are being caught, but it takes sorting for bigger ones.
Norm Minas sent this:
I was out tossing rattlebaits[yeah big surprise] caught 1 and missed one in the channel twixt two islands. I saw a shad skittering across the surface only to end up being eaten. I changed from the rattlebait to a Spittin Image Shad[using a snap helps] and tossed out in the general area. I was doing my best to imitate that skittering movement but with all the weeds flowing, I caught weed clumps the first 5 or 6 casts. I finally got a fish that hit within seconds of the lure landing. After that it was either weeds[mostly] or get a fish while skittering on the surface. Luckily it lasted long enough for me to land 8 smallies and pick enough green stuff off my lure to qualify for a UFW card. The biggest smallie on this pattern was 18.5 inches.
After a timeout on the shore to make a call and change up some lure choices, I went out to some riffles with the rattlebait. I got some but not as many as I had in the past at this particular area of multiple riffles. While casting downstream, I noticed an eagle circling above the area where I had the topwater action. It went down and grabbed a shad and went into the trees, I would presume to eat the shad. I was thinking that maybe I should head back down with the topwater but decided that I had my turn and it was the eagles. I figured it might come back looking for more and if I was there it wouldn't come back. About 20 minutes or so later, I saw an eagle circling again[same one?] but it never went down after a fish as long as I watched.
On the way out from the riffle area, I hit a pretty small deeper slot on the main channel side of another island. I switched to a weighted keeper hook and a 4 inch Jack's worm. I ended up with 3 small fish and figured the bigger fish weren't using that area yet although they will later in the year.
I decided to fish a spot with some substantial overhead shade before I called it a day. I got two quick fish on the Jacks worm and switched back to a rattlebait. I got 4 more on the rattlebait before heading home for dinner.
Water temps low 60's, about 2 ft visibility, normal flow about 990 CFS. Lots of long stringy weed[vallisanera?] broke loose of flowing on the surface. Still too much algae on the bottom for effective crankbaiting, lord knows I gave it a try. Lots of carp rolling and sticking their noses up out of the water. Seems like shad balls are forming, saw lots of small 1 to 2 inch minnows in the shallows, crawdads, what crawdads? Also saw a couple deer swimming from the mainland to an island, wonder if they know deer season starts shortly?
8 on topwater, 5 on Jack's worm and 12 on rattlebaits, mostly in the 10 to 15 inch range.
Ed Mullady sent this:
IN INDIANA...HERE IS INFO from Joe and Penny Boisvert at Greenwood Bait Shop, off Toto RD: "Bass Fishing has been good around Horseshoe Bend **Hanna Ditch: Catfish good, with some croppie, and bullheads...on crawlers **Also at the Point, bluegill on croppie minnows and redworms!
CONSERVATION: If you haven't already read the article titled "More Flooding on the Flood Plain" in the Sportsman's Letter, check it out....page 27 of latest issue....the building of a limestone quarry a mile south of Indiana Rt. 2....estimate is over 15,000 gallons a minute of groundwater will be sent into Singleton Ditch...which just cannot hold that much water. Opposition in Indiana is growing...remember what goes into Singleton in Indiana will end up in Illinois.
? AGAIN...IN ANY state or county fishing areas, check with the offices there as to when fishing is closed on the river and in the area as to whether and when fishing will be allowed during various hunting seasons!
Rt. 55 area has some shore fishing and a boat launch here...if you have the Sportsman's Letter Atlas of maps check maps in that area. We have been out of Indiana Atlas Fishing Maps, but are working on them. It takes time to go over some 80 miles of the river and some of its tributaries.
? AROMA PARK - KANKAKEE AREA: Smallmouth Bass fair on jig & twister tails *Mepps #3 spinners *live minnows *live and artificial crawfish. Croppie fair at creek mouths on *pinkie jigs *redworms *rubber spiders *small spinners.
KANKAKEE RIVER TRADING POST, IN ALTORF RIGHT NEXT TO THE STATE PARK (OUR WKAN BIG OUTDOORS SPONSOR) can keep you informed up to the minute as to what is going on at the State Park.
Smallmouth Bass good *Catfish good at low light hours *try for croppie, rock bass, bluegill along weed bed shorelines!
WILMINGTON TO DES PLAINES CONS. AREA: Smallmouth Bass good above, in and below riffles. Try spinners * live and artificial crawfish *crankbaits * jig and twister tails AND YOUR FAVORITE SMALLMOUTH BASS BAIT! Rock Bass good throughout. Some walleye beginning to hit good now...on *jig and minnow *yellow bucktails*jointed lures *Silver spoons.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT