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Midwest Fishing Report: Fall heat

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The near-record warmth gives us a break and has people out fishing again, if only to enjoy the respite, and that leads this Midwest Fishing Report.


Similar icy scenes to the one above at Belmont Harbor five years ago is not that far away again. I noticed water temperatures in northern Wisconsin have already dipped to the 30s.

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


There are hints of a beginning of the favorite in fall Chicago fishing. Park Bait reported lots of tiny perch inside Montrose; a few keepers afternoons. Henry's reported a few trying at Navy Pier with low success, same is true other places along the lakefront. For boaters around the Indiana line, Mik-Lurch reported some perch at the Hole-in-Wall; some should go again at Gary Light when water clarity improves again and there's reported a few at Cal Park. We /are close to it busting loose, especially for boaters around the state line.


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.


Warm weather brought people out. Why not? We may not see a stretch of weather like this again until March or April. Enjoy. Best bite has been crappie at usual places like Skokie Lagoons, Busse, Maple, Tampier and Monee.


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): Water temps in the central Wisconsin area are in the upper 30s to
low 40s.

The musky bite in the central Wisconsin area is strong. Very nice sized
fish are being taken with suckers on quick set rigs, along with some being
caught on traditional tackle like Suicks, Reef Hawgs, and Bulldawgs. The
key is to work 10-15 deep water (that¹s considered deep on the Wisconsin
River and backwaters), going slow, using a large presentation.

The walleye are hitting well in the central Wisconsin area, with nice
catches being made on a daily basis. Jigs tipped with fathead minnows or
walleye sized sucker minnow have been producing best; but during low light
periods shallow running crankbaits tossed right up into the rocks (1 to 3
feet of water) are accounting for nice sized fish.

Crappies are staged over deep water in the central Wisconsin area, and can
be taken by anglers drifting along with the current or wind, running slip
bobbers and long line rods (spider rigging) right off the side of the boat.
Set up several different presentations at different levels to determine what
depth is best and what presentation the crappies want for that particular
day. Lately the best bite has been 5 to 7 feet down over 14 to 18 feet of
water running small blue or purple jigs tipped with white or yellow twister

The rut is in full swing in the central Wisconsin area, and the big bucks
are running wild. Some nice bucks have been registered and it looks like it
is only going to get better before it ends. For bow hunters looking to
target rutting bucks, set up along creek banks, field edges or food plots,
basically anywhere a big buck is going to cruise searching for a doe.
Feeding areas or stream crossings are very good locations to start.

I like that ``big bucks are running wild.''


Because of drawdown, use care if launching. Triangle Sports suggested crappie around channel mouths or main lake points, walleye on main lake points, fair muskie (lack of suckers hurts) and bluegill improving with warm-up (try shallow first).

For more reports, see

More Chain info at


Ed Bohn called late Tuesday and reported good bass action in the river downtown.

Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass sent this:

South branch, Bubbly creek great numbers of bass hitting beetle spins 3 to 5 ft deep right under the orange line/I 55 bridges ,8 and 9 in blue gills plus 12 and 14 in bass hitting chrome and fire tiger fat raps under Ashland bridge also good numbers, shore fisherman report good catfish on chicken livers at origins park water temp 63 to 68 degrees bet 1 hour before/after dusk, morning and midday very slow

I would particularly take note of his mention of fishing around dusk, when the water has had the day to warm.

Nolan sent this add late Tuesday:

Just back in Tuesday 11;30am South Branch at Ashland , a few small bass hit on rattlin raps; Larry reports big15/19 in stripers hitting chicken livers at Western boat ramp.


Only Monster Lake at Mazonia South is open for fishing.


From Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament

Fishing is very slow right now, and conditions are poor to fair.
Strange, considering the great fall season we've had up to this point.
Water levels are still very low as the gauge in Riverside is
registering a 3.0 with a flow of 219. Likewise, water clarity remains
excellent at 2-3 feet (great for wading), and temperatures are
currently in the 45 to 48 degree range.

We've been wading and floating the river by boat all over the place
from Cook to Will County, and the fishing has been the same old story
for all of those who are involved. Mixed results: Some people are
still catching regularly, most are struggling, and some aren't
catching at all. It's time to slow down the approach everywhere you
go, be more patient, fish during the mid-afternoon hours while the sun
warms things up, and possibly get yourself some minnows or shiners if
really desperate.

Pike are still providing semi-decent action with some fish to
30-inches, but very few overall in number. However, most are running
24 to 26 inches at the moment. More and more fish are beginning to
utilize the mid-river channel areas (and edges) and deep pools and
slackwater areas. Some of the best areas we've found as of late are
depths of 4 to 6 feet with a mixture of wood and rock. Overall, fish
are very lethargic and more seem to be lazily following lures rather
than eating. However, best responses have been coming from larger
baits such as 4 to 8 inch jerkbaits (X-Rap 10's and 12's, Bomber
Long-A's, Grandmas) swimbaits of similar sizes, and live bait. If
fishing jerkbaits, it is important to make long jerks with painfully
long pauses on the retrieve as most strikes are occurring while on the
pause. On warm sunny days, more fish are active and the best results
are occurring. Whereas on colder overcast days, the fishing is
correspondingly slower. Feeding windows are very short now.

Largemouth Bass and Smallmouth Bass are still being found, but without
much consistency. Fish in the 12 to 16 inch range are relating to deep
channel areas, downed wood near deep water, and slackwater pools.
Jerkbaits such as X-Rap 10's, and crankbaits fished with a slower
retrieve are producing. Warmer sunny days are a must for any action.

A few Walleye and Sauger are being found here and there but the low
water levels we have had for the last two months has taken its toll on
these fish as they have no place to go or migrate to. Areas with
current are at a minimum now, therefore best odds are to find the
deepest hard-bottomed holes that can be found. Afternoons and
nighttime hours are offering the best results as fish up to 19 inches
(both species) are being caught. Minnowbaits, and jigs bounced along
the bottom with live bait and plastics, are working.

Feeding windows are very short and sweet right now for all species of
fish. In the past week, the magic hour appears to be sometime between
3-4pm. If one particular area of the river is not producing, it would
be wise to cover water (spot hop) and head elsewhere to better improve
the odds of catching something.


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.


Click here for the report, rumination and ramble with Ken Gortowski.


River is extremely low, about as low as I have seen, so adjust accordingly.

Ed Mullady sent this:

Indiana: Pike improving on *minnows *spoons*#5 Mepps Spinners. Try around Point, north of English Lake and Rt. 55 (in Indiana). Some nice catches of croppie here also.
Illinois: Smallmouth Bass good in Momence area on Wtd. Keeper Hook & Twister tail *Rattlin' Rogue *Rapalas.
Kankakee area: Rock Bass, Croppie good on *jig and crawler *#2 Mepps Gold spinners *jig and minnow. Some small walleye on *jig and minnow *jointed plugs.
Wilmington Dam Island Park area:: Walleye improving on *jig and minnow *crankbaits . ,*Croppie, Rock Bass good on *minnows *pinkie jigs *small spinners.
Enjoyed your "hour of duck hunting article". It was the way it happens at times!
River extremely low and very clear. Need to walk quietly when you fish!


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


For perch, see top. For salmon snagging, see top. There's a smattering of scruffy salmon. Park Bait said the good bluegill bite has not started yet at Diversey, it should shortly.

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:

(Head): Solid action for musky, walleye, northern, crappies and perch in the
Eagle River, Wisconsin area.

(Lead): Water temps in the high 30s to low 40s in the Eagle River area.

There¹s good all around solid fishing action right now in the Eagle River

Musky are in 8-15 feet of water outside of break edges in the Eagle River
area. Use a 12-15 inch sucker (if you can find them - -and afford them!),
a jerkbait or crankbait in white or chartreuse. One of our in-the-know
Eagle River musky guides, ³Muskie Matt² had this candid comment: ³Smaller
muskies are very active, with bigger fish still shy, but taking suckers
when you can find them. I just don¹t bother using the 6-8 inch suckers,
they¹re calling Œmedium,¹ for 5-6 bucks each.²

Walleye are in 10-35 feet of water (lake dependent) in the Eagle River area.
The walleye are about a foot off the bottom. Fish hardbottom, just at the
edge of where the hardbottom joins mud. But stay over hardbottom only. Most
anglers are using an XL fathead on a jig, but there are walleye hunters who
are targeting big walleye only - -albeit with slower action! - -and are
using a big chub, dragged on the bottom, with an 18 inch leader-line,
weighted with split shot.

Northern are in 15 feet of water or less in and around weed areas in the
Eagle River area. Use a northern sucker minnow under a slip bobber, or the
tried and true Husky Jerk in a minnow or walleye pattern.

Crappie in the Eagle River area are holding tight to bottom in 20-30 feet of
water (lake dependent). Use a crappie minnow under a slip bobber.

Perch are hanging in the same area as the crappie in the Eagle River area,
and are about a foot off the bottom in 20-30 feet of water. Use a small
fathead on a jig, or a crappie minnow under a slip bobber.

(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:

Water is cooling down. Big lakes holding 42-44 degrees, small lakes and flowages 38-39 degrees. Its cold, so don't expect a fast bite. Most action this past week on live bait.

Musky: Fair-Good. Most reported action on suckers and smity quick set rigs. Slow pull (glide) baits bringing follows to the boat, but it's meat that puts them in the net!

Walleye: Fair. Some anglers fishing DEEP (45-60') with 1/2 oz jigs and big redtails. Slow, methodical vertical fishing with precise boat control needed. Bigger fish to 28" this way.

Early to mid week looks fairly constant. The weekend looks (if the weather guessers are right) to turn colder with rain turning to snow from Fri to Sun.

That snow report made to pull up the report for Minocqua and there is a chance of some accumulation this weekend. Oh, that time comes.


Mik-Lurch reported steelhead in the creeks. Water clarity is limiting laker catches outside of the Port, that should rebound later this week.


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

I'm closed for the season> I talked to one fisherman today and he said it was pretty slow. Another has been out almost every day the past week or so, and has gotten several nice sized walleye, but said yesterday he only had a couple keeper size. He did state that he's caught quite a few smaller walleye this fall.


From the WDNR's Root River Report:

Root River Fishing Report for November 8, 2010
Water and flow conditions

Fishing on the Root River this weekend was fairly good. Water temperatures were around 44-45 degrees Fahrenheit with good water clarity favorable for trout and salmon anglers. Water flow was low over the weekend. Fishing was best on Friday and Saturday while air temperature was cooler and winds were gusty. Fishing slowed down a little bit over Sunday while temperatures increased and skies were sunny. . . .
Fishing Report
Upstream from the weir fishing effort was steady over the weekend but not very busy. Effort was spread out from upstream Colonial Park all the way to the Horlick dam. Fishing near the dam was slow at times but anglers were able to land some large Chinook salmon. Anglers that fished further downstream also faired pretty good landing Chinook salmon. The larger harvested Chinook salmon ranged from 13-16 pounds. On Sunday mid afternoon a fly-fisherman fishing here landed a nice steelhead measuring 30 inches and 7.25 pounds. Fin clippings on the steelhead indicated a Skamania strain rainbow trout from the 2007 year class.
In Lincoln Park angler success was spread out through the park. Most successful anglers were fly-fishing with the most action reported on medium sized bright colored flies. On Friday afternoon a couple anglers fishing just before sunset landed a couple of nice spawning Coho salmon and one big Seeforellen brown trout. The Coho ranged from 4-8 pounds and the brown trout measured 28 inches and 9.5 pounds.
At Island Park fishing was fair, but catches were limited to fishermen that covered a lot of ground fishing near sunrise and sunset. On Saturday a group of fly-fishermen picked up one brown trout and one nice steelhead. The brown trout weighted 7 pounds and the steelhead was a 6 pound Arlee from the 2007 year class.
Fishing around Washington Park was the most consistent with nice catches of Coho salmon, some big brown trout, and few Chinook salmon and an occasional steelhead. Angler effort was concentrated under the cable bridge and downstream to the large river bend. Success was split between fly-fishing and spawn sacs rigged with a bobber. The larger brown trout ranged from 13-18 pounds and were well mixed between males and females. On Sunday afternoon one fisherman landed a very nice spawning steelhead that measured 8.25 pounds and 29.5 inches.


For reports, click here.


Click here for the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report


Guide Bill Stoeger reported good walleye continuing, earlier has been better than later. Some are drifting with jig and minnows, Stoeger has been anchoring. Any of the holes from Poygan upstream are producing fish. Plenty of fish in the river.


Mik-Lurch reported a few more walleye. With this weather, there will be plenty of others out trying to other species, especially crappie.



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 November 10, 2010 5:30 AM.

Ramble with Gortowski: Fox River fall heat was the previous entry in this blog.

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