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Midwest Fishing Report: Waiting on ice

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Out of the fall doldrums comes the first mention of the ice fishing in the Midwest Fishing Report.


Above is the scene setter for Chicago fishing.

This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears on the outdoors page of 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


The Fox River Valley's chapter of Muskies Inc.'s annual fall ``Challunge cq on the Chain'' is Saturday. Go to


More of the salmon are dark. Snagging for chinook and coho salmon is open only at these spots: 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.


Doubt that many are left, but stocked area lakes include Axehead, Belleau and Horsetail (Cook County), Silver, Pickerel 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.


For an overview of nearby river conditions, click here.


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


From licensed guide and trapper Phil Schweik and guide Glenn Moberg of Hooksetters Guide Service:

(Lead): Excellent "two-fer" opportunities right now in the central Wisconsin area: Great fishing, and deer bow hunting.

Muskies in the central Wisconsin area have been very active mid day and late
in the afternoon. With the warming sunny days, we have been seeing an
increased late day bite as opposed to an early morning bite. Areas with
deep water and wood, along rocky shorelines have been the best areas for
success. Bobbies, Suicks and Bucher baits have been the most consistent

With the cooler water temps the walleyes in the central Wisconsin area are
on the prowl and be located holding in deep water. Look for areas with wood
in 12-16 feet of water along sharp contour lines. Jigs tipped with minnows
will work all day long.

Crappies anglers in the central Wisconsin area are getting a real treat.
The crappie bite is really "on" in deeper water. Fish 14-18 feet of water,
with the crappies suspended and holding 5 to 7 feet down. Jigs tipped with
small plastics, and/or minnows set up on slip bobbers will catch more than
your share of these tasty scrappers.

The rut is nearly here in the central Wisconsin area, and bow deer hunters
taking to the woods should be looking for bedding areas and routes to and
from them to traditional feeding grounds. Set up near, NOT in the bedding
areas and be patient as the big bucks are now starting to become less
nocturnal, and running around during daytime hours

I know this is a fishing report, but I enjoy reading the deer paragraph.


Triangle Sports reported crappie are the top bite, work in or around the channel mouths. Walleye are decent early and late around bridges or main lake points. For bluegill, start in 8 feet. Muskie are fair.

For more reports, see

More Chain info at


Only Monster Lake at Mazonia South is open for fishing.


And here comes the mention of ``first ice.''

DELAVAN: Guide Dave Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 10/24/10 through first ice:
With the kids back to school and all of their activities, and the shorter days, and the hunting dog begging to get out, it's time to say goodbye to the 2010 fishing season.
Fishing for walleyes and northern pike will still continue and be improving over the next few weeks as we get closer to first ice. Walleyes can be caught either trolling medium diving crankbaits, such as the Walleye Bandits or Wally Divers or casting Smithwick Rogues. The best color is chrome/blue or chrome/black. This time of year, I will always fish in the wind. I prefer the main lake points. As a rule, the fish will suspend 5-6 ft down over 20 ft of water. Fishing at night is the most productive, however, it can be miserable as the temperatures drop.
Northern Pike fishing is some of the best of the year. You want to fish larger suckers on quick strike rigs in 12-15 ft of water. This will be accomplished a little easier once the weeds die back. Look for the fish on the west end or by The Village Supper Club. Casting large crank baits also produces a lot of fish. I'll position the boat in 15-20 ft and cast into 8-10 ft of water. With the nature of northern pike following lures, this is a good way to draw the pike back into your suckers on the quick strike rigs.
Largemouth and Smallmouth bass become very lethargic as the water cools. The best locations I fish are the shallow rock flats. I will use large fat head minnows or drag football head jigs. The fat head minnows I typically fish on a split shot rig. The best depth is 10-12 ft of water. Look for the fish by the Oriental Boat house or by Browns Channel.
Good luck and I'll see you on the ice! For ice or spring guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

GENEVA: Duwe sent this:

Lake Geneva Fishing Report 10/24/10 through first ice:
Now that fall has officially arrived, it's very difficult to get out on the water. The short days, cold temps, kids activities and hunting season all add up to close my 2010 fishing season.
Northern Pike are in the shallows in about 8-10 ft of water. They are being readily caught on white spinner baits. The best location has been Trinkes and Williams Bay. Another approach that is having some success is slip bobbering large golden shiners. I prefer casting that way you can cover more water.
Smallmouth bass are in the shallows. They are concentrating on the main lake points in 4-10 ft of water. Conference Point, Black Point and Cedar Point are great locations this time of year. The best approach is Carolina rigging Arkie Crawlin Grubs or casting darter heads with small smoke colored twister tails. With the water being so cold, slow retrieves are the best.
Perch are now schooled up in the 8-10 ft depth range. Look for the fish by Knollwood or by Rainbow Point. It is not very hard to catch a limit of fish but some sorting is required. The best approach is slip bobbering small fathead minnows or fishing ice jigs tipped with wax worms. Purple or chartreuse are my favorite colors.
Walleyes can be caught at night while trolling large stick baits. I like the Walleye Bandit or large Rapalas. Look for the fish in 12-15 ft of water by Trinkes or by Fontana.
Bluegills are again shallow. They are being caught on small leaf worms or on ice jigs tipped with wax worms. Good locations are Geneva Bay by the Riviera Pier or by Knollwood. I've been fishing them in 6-8 ft of water.
Good Luck and I'll see you on the ice, for ice and spring guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


From Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament

Before Tuesday morning's very interesting storm, the fishing was good,
and everything was predictable and consistent. Now with the gauge
having risen to a 3.5, and an increased flow of 500, the fishing could
be either a feast or famine. All it might take is a simple adjustment
in approach, and the same success from the previous weeks could be had
with these changed river conditions.

Thankfully, we have gotten our much-needed rainfall. Wading is still
safe to moderately safe, but I would be careful if exploring and
venturing off to new-found waters as water clarity is now reduced very

Northern Pike, Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, and Walleyes have been
making headlines over the course of this past week.

Pike up to 31-inches are being caught by anglers who are wading, and
fishing by boat. Dan Sims, David Mannion, and I were lucky enough to
tie into one fish apiece like this on a wade outing last week. Fish
were extremely active and most commonly found in deeper holes, log
jams and laydowns, and pools with flowing water. Now that the river is
filled up to some degree and back to normal levels, they will be all
over the place, and still relating to the same areas. Crankbaits, 5
and 6 inch Jerkbaits, Spinnerbaits (black with oversized orange blades
/ white & gold), In-line spinners (Sims Spinners) and Bucktails
(Mepps) with #4, #5, #6 blades. Colors vary on a daily basis but those
that contrast well with the water clarity, and produce a vibration and
flash are proving to be most effective. Afternoon and early evening
hours are offering the best opportunities at fish.

In addition, Bass anglers have been getting lots of enjoyment from
this river. Largemouth up to 18 inches, and Smallmouth up to 16 inches
are being caught from the lower stretches of river. Best areas have
been log jams, rock piles, channel edges, arms and points, and deeper
holes. Fish are feeding heavily at the moment and crankbaits,
spinnerbaits, in-line spinners, and rattlebaits all in shad patterns
have been catching the most fish.

Dan Sims, my frequent wade partner and owner of Sims-Spinners,
recently enjoyed a 20-fish outing with our attorney, Brian Toth, and
he had this to say about the Bass fishing success:

"Brian and I fished new water on Sunday morning (October 24th) through
the afternoon. I have scouted this area on aerial maps before as it is
full of pools and current areas, and with some Walleyes being on the
move lately, I thought it was worth a try. We met at 10am and fished
until 4pm. We were really on the hunt for some DPR Pike action with a
bonus Eye if we could get lucky. At the time of our wade, the water
was still SUPER LOW even after the little rain we received on
Saturday. Gauge was at 305. We put in and started upstream. It was
chute after chute after chute. Looks perfect for some Walleye action
with a little higher water. For the most part, the water was no deeper
than 2-feet anywhere we went. We fished 3/4 of a mile upstream coming
to an area where the river widened very nicely. We walked up on this
area with stealth to ensure we didn't scare any fish from this pool.
We were casting into this hole for maybe 3-4 minutes when I began to
think, 'Man! I hope this isn't one of those days...' Just then a TANK
takes pass at my #5 spinner. WOW! I had this fish on for 15 seconds. I
couldn't believe my own eyes! It was a HUGE Bass! Four-pounder, no
doubt! Brian and I looked at each other and said, 'AWWW MAN!!!!!' I
have lost big fish before, but never a tank like this from the DPR of
all places. With nothing to show on our wade up, this was it. Go big
or go home. After that it was on! We fished this hole and others
nearby for the next 2 hours with non-stop action. They were simply
crushing our Sims In-Lines, fish-after-fish, and all Largemouth Bass.
If I could put together 20+ fish days like this every outing."

Lastly, Walleyes and Sauger are being found in decent number on the
river and its tributaries. When not out on daytime wades and floats
for Pike and Bass, we've been wading during the nighttime and
low-light hours in pursuit of these fish; Often starting at sunset and
staying past 9pm. Walleye up to 24 inches, and Sauger up to 18 inches
are being found right now. Areas to look for are hard bottomed pools
(rock and gravel) and holes with moderate flowing water. Dams are good
choices also, but the deeper holes and eddies leading up to them and
several hundred yards downstream from them are even better. Fish are
not heavily concentrated as most spots are yielding three to four fish
at most, so it would be best to cover water, stay patient, and "hole
hop". However, five fish outings are possible right now, and the best
results are coming on larger sized plastics fished on 1/8oz jigs
(Lindy Munchies, YUM Grubs, and Walleye Assassin Shads) and three to
six inch minnowbaits (Rapala X-Raps, Husky Jerks, F-11's, Smithwick
Rogues and Rebel Minnows). Color combinations vary, but mix and match
until the magic color is found. As long as the lure is producing
vibration and fish can see a large profile swimming in the water,
that's all that really matters.

Water temperatures are holding at 55 degrees right now. The fishing is
good, but with the receding water and changed conditions, it can be a
feast or famine type of outing.


EMIQUON: Remember there are changes with waterfowl hunting opening Saturday. Click here. 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.

POWERTON: Shore fishing ends Friday.

SPRING: Shore fishing in the waterfowl area continues through Friday, then is limited to after 1 p.m. during waterfowl hunting.


Click here for an extended rumination by Ken Gortowski on fishing the Fox.


Guide Jay Angel ( sent this:

Water temperatures were in the high 50's, water clarity is as good as it gets for this river and the Illinois is still very low.

Launched out of Henry today and went upstream to the mouth of Lake Senachwine. The mouth of the lake was crowded with tournament anglers competing in the Illinois Walleye Trail.

Sauger fishing was good with most fish were caught by anglers trolling upstream using three way rigs and stickbaits or floating jigheads. Best fishing was in 10 -14 feet of water. Saugers ranged in size from 10 - 18 inches.

Sauger fishing will continue to improve as the water cools.


River is extremely low, so use caution when wading so not to spook fish. Remember waterfowl hunting opens Saturday in Illinois' central zone. Walleye fishing below the dams and in the state park should improve as water cools.


Check the latest at Harborside.

From the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report:

Southern Lake Michigan Fishing Report: October 25, 2010
Kenosha Co.

Shore anglers in Kenosha continue to catch occasional chinooks and browns in the harbor near the Best Western, and fresh skein, white tube jigs, and silver crank baits have taken the most fish. The majority of fishing pressure in Kenosha has been concentrated around the hotel, but a few anglers have been fishing near the mouth of the Pike River also. Water levels are up on the Pike, but fishing pressure there has been low.


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


Action and effort has been spotty. Salmon are being seen in the harbors, but a lot of them are looking scruffy and dark. 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:

(Lead): Water temps on the Eagle River Chain of 28 lakes (largest freshwater
chain of lakes in the world) hovering around 50 degrees, and on rivers going
as low as 46 degrees.

Musky are hitting artificial baits in the Eagle River area. The larger "big
girls" have been somewhat shy, with some lazy follows. Smaller fish, up to
36 inches are more aggressive. Glide baits, dive/rise baits, crankbaits and
plastics are the choices right now. Some anglers are tossing an occasional
Crane thinking smaller may trigger a bigger fish not so. The smaller fish
are still the ones that are hitting. Interesting that the artificial baits
are bringing the musky in where they then hit live suckers. Fish weed break
edges and remaining green weed areas, 6-8 feet of water, with some muskies
hitting off deeper break edges. All around musky action is pretty good.

Northern are putting on a good bite in the Eagle River area. Fish 15 feet of
water or less in and around weeds. Use a northern sucker under a slip
bobber, a Husky Jerk, or a flashy spinner bait.

The walleye bite in the Eagle River area is fair. Fish two places: Weeds
in 8-15 feet of water, or deep holes in 20-35 feet of water. Use a jig and
a fathead.

Crappie in the Eagle River area are putting on a good bite, and they are
hanging with the walleyes in two places. Fish weeds in 8-15 feet of water,
where the crappies will be suspending up and down the water column. Fish
deep holes in 20-35 feet of water, where the crappie will be close to the
bottom. Use a crappie minnow under a slip bobber.

Perch are putting on a good bite in the Eagle River area, and are hanging
out with the walleye. Fish weeds in 8-15 feet of water, or deep holes in
20-35 feet of water. In both areas, the perch will be hugging the bottom.
Use a crappie minnow on a jig or under a slip bobber.

Remember depths that are stated are always lake dependent. On some lakes the
deepest hole will be 20 feet, and on other lakes the deepest hole will go 35

(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:

The headline of the week continues to be the lack of availability of musky suckers. High water continues to keep supplies very low. Low pressure system with rain improving musky and walleye situation.

Musky: Good-improving. Best action occurring from 10am-3pm. Having suckers (if you can find them) helps, but if you can't, artificials are still moving fish. Twitch baits (Cranes, Big Game, Grandmas) gliders (Mantas, Warlocks, Smitys) and jerks (Suick, Bobbie) as well as soft plastics (Medussa, Big D's) all accounted for fish this past week. Reports include fish to 51", with most being in mid 30" to low 40" range being caught along existing green weed edges hanging out in 10-14' depths.

Walleye: Fair-Good. Mostly deep water. Vertical fishing 1/8 to 1/4oz jigs in 20-40' depths. Drifting lindy rigs with chubs accounting for larger fish and some big smallmouth bass.

Water temps vary from lows of 45-highs of 52 (larger lakes). No drastic cold to drop further in forecast (guess). No reports on other species - not enough info.


Mik-Lurch reported a few salmon in the marinas on spawn and a few fish far up the streams. Mainly it is waiting on the weather to settle, and the late fall perch bite to go.


From the WDNR's Root River Report:

Root River Fishing Report for October 25, 2010
Water and flow conditions

Fishing on the Root River was good over the weekend. Some much needed rain brought a good push of salmon up river especially for Coho salmon. Weekend catches were very mixed between Coho and Chinook salmon with the best fishing near sunrise and sunset. A couple steelhead and few brown trout were also caught over the weekend. The rain brought the river up a some areas while increasing the flow rate slightly to make fishing more favorable. Water clarity was still good and water temperature held around 55-56 degrees Fahrenheit
. . .
Fishing Report
Fishing in Lincoln Park was best Saturday morning when many anglers landed some nice sized salmon. Anglers were fly-fishing with wet flies with effort spread out through the entire park. Harvested Chinook salmon ranged from 7-14 pounds and Coho salmon ranged from 4-8 pounds. On Sunday despite the large push of Coho salmon in the river catch rates slowed down. However just before sunset a few anglers were able to land some very nice brightly colored Coho salmon.
In Island Park fishing was a little slow over the weekend with successful catches limited. On Saturday morning one angler picked up a large male Chinook salmon weighing 15 pounds and a brown trout that weighed 5 pounds. Fishing on the popular southeast corner was pretty slow all weekend. A few angler moved downstream fishing along Horlick drive which produced some Chinook salmon and a few Coho salmon.
In Washington Park fishing was much better at morning bite compared to late afternoon fishing. Anglers were concentrating in the deeper water holes near the cable bridge. On Saturday morning one fly-fisherman landed a very nice female steelhead that weighted 8 pounds. Catches of Coho salmon were common on Sunday with most averaging around 6 pounds.
Upstream fishing from the weir was a little hit or miss although fishing pressure was extremely low over the entire weekend. On Saturday morning a group of anglers were fishing upstream from Quarry Lake Park and picked up one large male Chinook salmon and two very nicely colored steelhead. The steelhead weighted 5 and 7 pounds and were caught on a wet red and white fly. On Sunday afternoon a couple angler were fishing under the Horlick dam but only picked up one Chinook salmon. A couple of salmon were active near the dam, but the number of fish here seemed relatively low.


Lakeside reported some hybrids on the dam fish, some largemouth on the road bed with crawlers; a few crappie in the cribs; some catfish on dying weed lines; lots of smaller perch, and a few muskie.

For more reports, click here.


Mik-Lurch reported some crappie and bass in the corn channel, not many trying for the walleye.



Fishing Headquarters



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






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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on October 27, 2010 6:24 AM.

Ramble with Gortowski: Scratching Fox River itch was the previous entry in this blog.

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