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Midwest Fishing Report: Kings of Chicago fishing

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The return of shoreline kings on southern Lake Michigan highlight this 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 MFR by Wednesday morning.

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


Winds have been the limiting factor, but the fall return of kings to shore is beginning. CHICAGO: (See the Fish of the Week story.) It should only get better. Steve Palmisano at Henry's said it was going in the harbors and should only get better. Mike Repa at Park Bait reported a few steelhead too. WAUKEGAN: Augie Ralph at the Salmon Stop said shore guys started doing well on Thursday with the usual spoons (Cleos, Krocs, Kastmasters) and a couple browns on spawn. INDIANA: Mik-Lurch reported some kings being seen at Amoco and the Hole-in-the-Wall and at least one caught at Hammond. KENOSHA, WIS.: Harborside reported some kings in already. North Sider Arden Katz reported latching into multiple big kings from shore on back-to-back nights. The biggest he landed went 18 pounds. ``They're not jumping on shore, but it is beginning,'' he said. Key is night fishing.


We are settling well into fall patterns. Water has cooled about 15-20 degrees on most lakes and ponds. And weather forecast looks like water temps should hold in the 60s. I would expect more guys to start concentrating on or trying for crappie again, more than just bass and bluegill.


For an overview of nearby river conditions, click here.


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


Phil Schweik of Hooksetters Guide Service:

The best thing going right now in the central Wisconsin area are crappies and bluegills. Both are stacked up in low/no current areas, with heavy wood and brush, in 2-10 feet of water. Use a chunk of crawler or worm for the gills and a 1/16 ounce jig and a minnow for the crappies. Limits are common.

Musky action in the central Wisconsin area is decent, and will pick up markedly in the coming time period as the fall fishing patterns stabilize. Fish break edges in 3 to 10 feet of water. Bulldawgs are working real well, with bucktails getting their share of hits, also.

Walleye are slow in the central Wisconsin area, but a few big fish have been taken on large plastics. Generally, fish sunken wood in 6-8 feet of water, using a jig and a minnow.

Northern are hitting off-and-on in the central Wisconsin area. Fish weeds in 2-6 feet of water, using a spoon, small bucktail or 3-4 inch sucker minnow.

Smallmouth bass have slowed down somewhat in the central Wisconsin area, but can be picked up in shallow drowned wood areas, using tube jigs, or a jig and a minnow.


Triangle Sports reported bluegill are good on small worms along shoreline areas; walleye are picking up steadily on fatheads or crawlers, try bridge areas or main lake points and look for fish moving shallow during feeding periods; crappie are moving toward channel mouths evenings; catfish slowed; and muskie are improving with cooler water, but fish them according to weather.

For more reports, see

More Chain info at


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 info from the Corps, call (217) 774-2020.

EVERGREEN: Any updated fishing report will be posted here.


From Frank Macikas:

I had a four day weekend this weekend and never made it fishing due to being sick and then family commitments today. With the rains late last week the river did come up quite a bit on Friday and Saturday. I managed to take a ride out to two spots on Saturday just to get a little air and see for myself how bad it was. The river was up around 12-18 inches and had about 6" of visibility moving very quickly but the gauges and reports from friends today say the river should be close to normal once again. I think the gauges showed it running around 800 on Saturday and at the time that I'm sending you this they are just under 400 and are still dropping quickly. The reports that I have heard are fishing was still a light bite on plastics and another was smaller fish were being taken on top water flies.


Ken Gortowski sent this:

Not much to report this week other than the Fox is in excellent shape at the moment. With no real rain in the forecast I would imagine it will only get better over the next week. The river was almost normal and had good clarity when out on Labor Day, but that was my only time on the water. Not sure when the next opportunity will come up.

I did get to explore a stretch of the Fox that is easily one of the most beautiful stretches I've ever waded. Time and water levels have not coincided for over 3 years and this exploration has been put off numerous times.

The river along Hoover Forest Preserve is not the easiest to get to. Because of construction at the preserve the hike to the river was easily a half mile. Without construction the hike would have been half that, still a bit of a hike. I think I covered about a half mile of river and another half mile back to the car.

For the beauty of the hike it was well worth the effort. There is so much water here that it would probably take me 4 separate trips just to explore each channel between the islands. At least 3 trips down each channel may get me close to learning the details of where to fish. That would be an amazing amount of time to spend to learn about a half mile of river. Once upon a time I had the time, but time has become a rare commodity for me. Hopefully someone with more time will take the time to go explore this stretch.

The added benefit was the solitude. I'm my most relaxed while out fishing, but the isolation of this area takes you beyond physical relaxation to a mental level I think we all need at times.

The stretch I fished was along the south shore between the shore and a large island. Water was the usual riffle pool setup, but the pools were big and had depths of more than 3 feet for long distances. I threw a wide variety of lures that combed the water column from top to bottom. For all this work only one smallie was had, but I didn't care.

Virtually over night the lush greens of the soybean and corn fields have started to turn gold and brown. Fall is here whether we like it or not and the next month or so can be some of the best fishing. Past experience tells me to concentrate on 3 of my favorite past fall spots. North Aurora from the dam to I-88. Indian Trail Road both sides of Gregory Island from the north tip to the south (west side north of ITR, east side south of ITR). Orchard Road from the bridge down for a mile and a half, once you get to the islands you want to be on the north side.

As for me, I've done all those spots hundreds of times. I believe if the time becomes available I'll be exploring another channel along Hoover. Don't care about catching fish anymore, it's no longer why I go fishing. I guess I'll just continue to give away my old spots with step-by-step directions while I go do some exploring.


Thom Matejewski at Time on the Water Outdoors reported lots of sauger and walleye (take sorting) near the flats on crankbaits, good catfish on cut bait, some bass on spinner baits and some white bass on bladebaits or minnows.


Ed Mullady sent this:

POINT, north of English lake: Catfish good on *minnows *worms *cheesebait. **Pike...try with 4" up minnows *Mepps #5 spinners near shorelines. Weedless Doctor Spoons good. Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass: Fair

KANKAKEE STATE F& AREA: Rt. 8 is closed while new bridge is being replaced. Call ahead to Area to see if fishing is still available.


MOMENCE AREA: DAVID ZACH, Momence Conservancy District, reports good catches of bass and pike from State Line to Momence. Try around Lake Alexander RV Camp *Glorydale *4th Ave Boat Launch. Pike good here on big spinners *spoons *minnows. CATFISH GOOD.

KANKAKEE AREA: Smallmouth Bass Fair from Kankakee Dam downstream.
River Guide Matt Mullady and clients doing good on smallmouth bass. Catfish good on *cheesebaits *hamburger

KANKAKEE RIVER STATE PARK: Smallmouth Bass good along shorelines *try Carly and Rex islands *Mickey Island on *Wtd.Keeper Hook & Twister tail *live minnows *imitation hellgrammites *imitation or real crawfish. *Catfish good on *minnows *crawlers *chicken liver.

WILMINGTON DAM AND DES PLAINES AREA: Smallmouth Bass good on *minnow shaped plugs *spinners *imitation hellgrammites. Some walleye on *jig and minnow *yellow bucktail and jig *jointed plugs!

TIM MULLADY has been out using his fly rod and having good catches of smallmouth bass! I am seeing more and more people interested in fly fishing...and catching fish!

I would agree. There are many more out fly fishing on the Kankakee. I think some of it is the idyllic nature of the setting in the state park.

``Catfish Dave'' Bradigan sent this:

Now on to the KKR I did not go but my buddy (OD. Dennis Odendwald) made it down to the river Sunday and caught 14 cats anywhere from 3lb to 9.5 lb. River came up about a half a foot and that is all it took.


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


For shoreline salmon, see top.

CHICAGO: Mac's reported some panfish and catfish (a 16-pound catfish at Jackson Park) in South Side harbors. Park Bait reported a few perch off the south rocks at Montrose. When weather allowed, Capt. Bill Kelly of Leprechaun Charters reported small kings in 40-50 from Diversey to Evanston and a mixed bag of small kings, lakers and browns at the R4, and bigger kings out to 90.

WAUKEGAN: Salmon Stop suggested boaters troll the shoreline for fall salmon or work in 90 feet, when weather allows.

RICHARD J. DALEY MEMORIAL FISHING TOURNAMENT: Fish may be weighed at Henry's, Park Bait or Vet's. In September, it is kings and carp.

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


EAGLE RIVER: Creative Brilliance sent this report for the Chamber of Commerce:

Action slowing down for musky, walleye and bass, with a decent bite for northern, and panfish in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.

(Lead): Water temps are starting to drop in the Eagle River, Wisconsin
area. Temps are in the mid 60s.

It's that time of year again - -fall fishing patterns coming on, and action
has generally slowed down somewhat due to the dropping water temperatures
and basic weather changes, but the action will pick up quickly as the
patterns stabilize.

Musky action in the Eagle River area is picking up with the fish scattered,
but mainly holding in and around weed edges in 3-9 feet of water. A black
bucktail with a silver blade has been working well, with surface baits
getting hits early and late in the day. The muskies are chasing and nipping
at baits, versus hitting them real hard, so the bite can be tentative. As
the fall transition settles in the musky bite will be increasing quickly,
providing some of the best action of the year- - particularly trophies.

Walleye action is fair in the Eagle River area. Fish deeper weeds, in 15-30
feet of water. Use a crawler or minnow under a slip bobber or jig, and fish
about a foot-and-a-half off the bottom.

Northern are still hitting in the Eagle River area. Fish in and around the
weeds in 10-15 feet of water. Use anything bright and flashy, or hook up a
northern sucker minnow underneath a float. Don't forget that the bigger
northerns are usually deeper, albeit not as much action as fishing for the
smaller ones which are shallower.

Smallmouth bass have slowed down, in the Eagle River area, which is to be
expected as fall approaches. Fish 10-20 feet of water in and around weeds.
Use a tube, minnow, or spinner bait (the smallies have generally stopped
hitting crayfish style lures).

Largemouth bass in the Eagle River area are hitting just fair- - again, this
is expected as fall comes on. Fish thick weeds in 10 feet of water or less,
which relate to structure (docks, stumps, drowned wood and brush piles).
Use a Texas Rig and Senko, or a topwater like a frog or rat.

There are some real nice slab crappies being caught in the Eagle River area,
but the action is not consistent. Fish weeds in 10-12 feet of water and use
a crappie minnow. Don't forget, crappies only bite "up," never "down."

Bluegills are doing OK in the Eagle River area. Fish shallower weeds (4-10
feet generally depending on the lake) and use about any type of live bait,
with a worm or chunk of crawler working best.

Perch in the Eagle River area are being found in fairly shallow weeds near
the bottom. Use a chunk of crawler, worm, or small minnow. There really
isn't a specific "great spot" for perch - -some will hang out with the
walleyes, real deep. Some are hanging in the same weed areas as the
crappies, but a bit shallower. Some over mud flats. You'll do some sorting,
but the action is worthwhile.

(Report for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce based on Creative Brilliance
interviews with Eagle River guides "Muskie Matt" of Wild Eagle Lodge,
"Ranger Rick" Krueger of Guide's Choice Pro Shop, and Mat Hegy).
Contact info for Eagle River:
* Eagle River Chamber of Commerce; 800-359-6315; 715-479-6400; e-mail:; web:
* "Muskie Matt", 715-891-5980; e-mail:
* Mat Hegy, 715-571-7544, e-mail:
* Guide's Choice Pro Shop, guide/owner "Ranger Rick" Krueger 715-477-2248
* George Langley, Eagle River Fishing Guides Association, 715-479-8804.

MINOCQUA: Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports sent this:

cold and windy Labor Day weekend kept lots of anglers off the lakes. High winds Friday and Saturday plus cold nights (low 35 degrees Sunday morning) dropped lake temps into the mid 60's. High pressure system till Monday didn't help. Things changing for mid week though with milder temps, clouds and some rain forecasted.

Largemouth: Good. Back in the forefront. Fish being found shallow at times. Outside weed edge fish taking 4" worms on shaky head grubs, 3" twisters on 1/8 oz jigs and 4" worms fished wacky style. Inside weed lines seem to be holding more fish (some as shallow as 1 foot) hitting shallow running cranks (shallow shad raps), lipless cranks (Rattle Traps) and Spinnerbaits (Boonie Baits 1/8 to 1/4oz). Some anglers still reporting success on top water (frogs, Jitterbugs) while plunking beaver style plastics and pork frogs still effective in pockets.

Musky: Fair-Good. Action just starting to pick up late this weekend. Bucktails along deep weed edges best (probably why Largemouth taking up inside edges). Topwater still moving fish during low light periods. With water cooling, live baiting with suckers has been more successful.

Smallmouth: Fair-Good. Seem scattered for smallies. Finding some on deep rocks, some on sandgrass flats and others along coontail edges of 12-16'. Carolina rigging skirted grubs tops.

Northern: Fair. Better in this cool down. Casting Boonie Baits over weed tops and jigging 4-5" chubs on 1/16oz slo-poke jigs best. This species will likely pick up action if water temps stay in low 60's.

Perch: Fair. Not a lot of anglers targeting this fish during the past weekend, but a few nice perch taken using 1/2 crawlers on jigs meant for walleyes.

Walleye: Fair. Like smallmouth bass, this species scattered. Showing up on rock humps, still some along weed edges. Jig and minnow/crawler combo accounting for most fish. Anglers drifting mud flats of 18-30' with Lindy rigs/spinner rigs also catching fish.

Crappie; Fair. Fish deep wood, pilings with small minnows. Piers after dark, cast 1-2" twister tails on 1/32 - 1/16 oz jigs.

Bluegill: Fair. Stable weather will bring back the catches. Worms best.


Mik-Lurch reported Trail and Salt both have some steelhead, coho and kings in already. Perch are slow. Smallmouth are doing well on Lake Michigan. Walleye are improving on Wolf Lake on Husky Jerks. Willow Slough was doing well for panfish and bass, however, teal season has it closed to boaters. {CORRECTION, ADD ON LAST SENTENCE}


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

Water temps are in the 70's, river is steady, fishing is picking up! Several nice channel cat have been caught. I weighed a 7 pound 1 oz Sat. And he had a nice stringer of fish, one other weighing over 3 pounds. Liver, dip baits and worms for channel cat. Early morning has been a good time. A few walleye, being caught on minnows, and several nice stripe bass have been caught this past week.


BJ Sports reported weather made it tough. Check again toward the weekend. Kings should start coming in.


Lakeside reported lake cooled to 67 degrees by Tuesday, which should bring bass out of the weeds. Catfish were the top weekend bite on weed lines and in the weeds on liver. Crappie are back in the cribs, down 6-8 feet. Bluegill are on the weed lines, from shore on the inside, boat from outside. Perch continue good.

For more reports, click here.


River's Edge reported a few walleye trolling crankbaits by the dam and crappie are good by Hawk's Beak. NOTE: Hook and line sturgeon season opened Saturday. Minimum is 60 inches. A tag is required. Click here for more. River's Edge had not checked in any legals by Tuesday afternoon.



Fishing Headquarters



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






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1 Comment

Word to the wise on the Northwest Indiana report: Willow Slough always closes this time of year for early teal/goose season, so I'm not sure how accurate that report is? There should be no fishing going on down there right now on the lake.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on September 8, 2010 6:22 AM.

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