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Midwest Fishing Report: Wolf River walleye & lakefront lakers

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Wolf River walleye in Wisconsin, lakefront lakers in Chicago and a smattering of perch reports in southern Lake Michigan lead this Midwest Fishing Report.


Chicagoan Bruce Zolna sent the photo above from a trip to the Wolf River over the weekend.

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


Guide Bill Stoeger reported outstanding walleye fishing from Fremont to New London. He said it has been so good that he has been anchoring. With the river conditions, he expects the top bite to hold until ice up. Zolna echoed that outstanding report from his weekend trip.


There's sporadic inklings of perch to come, what is usually the top fall bite in Chicago fishing. Park Bait reported some perch, including keepers, inside Montrose harbor Monday, then the bite disappeared. Mik-Lurch reported a boater found some at 92nd on Tuesday; and others in Indiana drifting with minnows in 44-48 feet taking perch between East Chicago and Gary Light. Weather conditions have limited efforts to search around Cal Harbor, but the time is close for the fall schools.


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.


With stable cooler weather, crappie are picking up and should keep improving on lakes and ponds and be the top bite until ice up.


For an overview of nearby river conditions, click here.


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


The drawdown is underway, so use caution when boating or launching. Arden Katz reported bluegill scattered and he had to keep moving to catch them. On Marie, he found some walleye and white bass. Use care when launching because of the drawdown.

For more reports, see

More Chain info at


Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass sent this:

Late Tuesday report( just got back) large mouth bass still hitting strong no keepers but good numbers more 8 and 9 inch blue gills slamming small spinners all around origins park and power plant at Halsted, shore fisherman with lots and lots of catfish on their stringers at origins park.


Only Monster Lake at Mazonia South is open for fishing.


From Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament

Like with the flip of a switch, the river suddenly shut itself down
for any good, productive fishing. Compared with the past four weeks,
the fishing has actually turned ?Poor?. Hard to believe, I know.

Since the last writing, our crew of anglers consisting of Dan Sims,
myself, and friends, have experienced difficulty in catching fish.
Others whom we have ran into on the water and conversed with express
the same sentiments as well.

With the colder air from the past week, water temperatures have fallen
into the 48 to 52 degree range. Water clarity is crystal clear in most
areas of the river, and in comparison with the usually-turbid water
conditions and brown clarity, this too is hard to believe and
extremely unusual. We've brought up points as if a complete ?turnover?
has occurred, but these events seldom take place in rivers like they
do in lakes. But with the water and lack of fish activity, something
has indeed turned. Even we can't figure it out for ourselves. Given
the conditions, this may call for drastic changes in approach as
slower presentations are required, and it might even be wise to resume
fishing with live bait again.

Northern Pike have slowed, as have both species of Bass, and Walleye &
Sauger are inconsistent. Some days the fish are around in the
predictable ?high percentage? areas while other days they are nowhere
to be found.

Pike anglers are predominantly catching fish in the 24 to 28 inch
range. Most fish are relating to main channels and edges, creek
mouths, submerged wood, and along deeper shorelines. Minnow and shad
profiled lures are producing best results: X-Raps, Jerkbaits,
Rattlebaits (chrome & gold), and shallow running crankbaits. Likewise,
bucktails and inline spinners (Sims Spinners) retrieved slow are still
catching a few. With the improved water clarity, neutral colors
(non-bright) are working best at this time. Mid-afternoons and early
evening hours are offering best feeding windows.

Of all desired fish species, Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass have
slowed the most. It won't be too long before they get into their
wintering holes for the season. Expect to find fish holding tight to
deeper shorelines with wood (eddies), as well as rock piles, the main
river channel, and any deeper holes that may be found. Slow-rolling
spinnerbaits, shallow running crankbaits, jigs, and rattlebaits are
catching some fish up to 18-inches. Fish are still feeding on shad, so
use the typical imitators. Sunny days, afternoons, and evenings are
best times.

Lastly, Walleye and Sauger are stumbling most anglers right now. A few
fish can be had here or there from both the river and its tributaries
(Salt Creek), but the key to any success it seems as of late is to
stay mobile by hole hopping, have patience, and be persistent.
Walleyes up to 20-inches, and Sauger up to 16-inches can be found from
the deepest holes with some current if you can find them. For waders,
these areas can be as deep as five to six feet while for boat anglers,
these holes can be the main river channel, and any deep pools that
drop down to as much as 14 to 16-feet (channel is 7 to 10 feet in most
places on river). Deeper water areas with current and hard bottom
(rocks) are offering the best chance at some fish right now. Likewise,
don't neglect areas with downed wood either. With the low water
levels, be happy if just one or two fish might be caught because it's
really tough out there. Low-light conditions and nighttime hours are
offering the best feeding windows, if any.

Last week's rainfall didn't do a whole lot to improve the situation as
gauge is at 3.0, and current flow is 225. Water level is still very
low; Great for wading, difficult for boating and navigating through
shallow areas. Angling pressure is very light to almost non-existent
in some areas. As things get colder over the course of next week,
hopefully a pattern or two will begin to materialize for those who are
still out there.


EMIQUON: Remember there are changes with waterfowl hunting open. 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.

SPRING: Shore fishing in the waterfowl area is limited to after 1 p.m. during waterfowl hunting.


Ken Gortowski, who has more info posted here relevant to this report, sent this:

I checked the Fox River gauge to find it flowing at 860 cubic feet per second. With not enough recent rain to cause such a spike, that means the Fox Chain is being drawn down for the winter. One of the anglers on WindyCity verified that.

In the past this has been a good thing. The rush of water tends to turn on the fish and I recall this almost like ringing a dinner bell for the walleye. My own goal was to get out to a spot for the last few hours on Tuesday. Only, with how I do things, I never take the easy route. I don't think there is an easy route now with the increase in flow. What I want to do requires crossing the river in a spot that has a wash out on one side that you can't walk through even at low water and on the other side there is a fast chute of water that can knock you on your butt at low water.

I need to be on both sides at some point.

There's an easier way to accomplish what I want to do, but it adds considerable time to the venture. This time of year toward sunset, time is a precious commodity. I'd rather be walking and casting rather than walking and looking from a distance to where I could have been casting. Knowing me, I won't take the easier route. I already know how to get around the wash out, I just may not challenge the chute.

Who am I kidding.

I guess in a way the following historical record, with the locations I mention, may be of use after all. They are the places I would have gone if the Chain wasn't being drawn down. Since these are also the places I fished in years past during the drawdown, the combination of a great season with the drawdown could make for some interesting fishing.

Or not.

It could make for an interesting walk in or along the river regardless.

Ken G

History shows that we had a fall like this back in 2002. This one is actually better. Things have been slow for me, but I don't get out like I used to. I'm still catching fish, but no big deal.

I used to keep much more meticulous records and in November of 2002 they show that I caught 318 smallies out of the Fox. Apparently I also caught over 150 white bass and apparently over 250 walleye, but some of those were being caught at the end of October.

The majority of those fall fish were caught on river shiners I used to seine out of a ditch, and large fatheads all on a simple set up of a small octopus hook with a small split shot about 12 to 18 inches up.

Locations that did the best were North Aurora and where the old Funway dam used to be. Not sure the old dam spot will hold them like that anymore, so I would move upstream into Batavia. Then there's that spot between Montgomery and Oswego.

Good part of the walleye came from Yorkville, dam down and into Blackberry Creek. No real surprise there, though I don't think the creek will produce like it did then.

So if there are any hard core anglers out there willing to put in the time, I can't any more, might still be worth your efforts.

Someone leave a report, I'm curious if the pattern repeats itself.


Ed Mullady sent this:

The weather has definitely made some changes along our river! Number one: Very few fishermen! Things should open up now to a more definite natural fall fishing situation. Deer Hunters should find deer moving more and with many wide open fields. Here are some suggested areas:
INDIANA...Many places are still closed to fishing during hunting seasons. Check with area F&W Areas, Parks and other allowable hunting areas.
POINT AREA: A real variety of fishing available here. Pike fishing have started to be hitting more on the usual *big minnows *jig and crawlers *Mepps #5 Black spinners * Weedless Dr. Spoons.
Both smallmouth and largemouth bass running good on Mepps #3 Spinners *Rattlin' Rogue *Mr. Twister Wtd., Keeper Hook & Double Twister Tail * Minnows.
Rt. 55 Area: Pike improving now on *minnows *Johnson Spoon & Pork Rind *Dardevles. Croppie good around
Shorelines *in water logs.
ILLINOIS: Momence Area: Pike improving at creek and ditch mouths on above baits *Try Yellowbanks area for walleye on *Rattlin' Rogue *jointed plugs *Silver spoons *jig and minnow *jig and crawler.
Kankakee Area: Bass fair *Mepps 2,3 Spinners *jig and minnow *jointed plugs.*
Kankakee State Park: Rock bass, croppie good along edges of bank, in water logs. Smallmouth bass fair in pockets near in water rocks, logs. Still may be . some heavy weed and algae movement.
Wilmington Area: Walleye fair on *jig and minnow *jig and crawler *Rattlin' Rogue **Rapala * yellow jigs.

Next week we'll be able to get back to many different programs.....on the natural area more hunting.

It is not an enjoyable task to sort out those who are for our river system and those who are not. I hope that the river will be given better consideration by more elected officials. Thank goodness we will still have some who really care about our remaining resources!


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


The best news has been the spotty perch at Montrose and the lakers, such as the FOTW, being taken along the South Side lakefront, primarily with white crankbaits. The salmon being caught are scruffy at best. NORTH POINT: Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters, who will be in for about another week, reported some phenomenal fall kings in 100-150 feet. 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


MINOCQUA: Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports sent this:

Sort of a short week with high winds (40-50 mph) keeping anglers off the lakes for a couple of days. Cold and wind really stirred water up. Lakes temps dropped, most running 42-45 degrees (with the TFF reading 40-41 degrees on Friday). Sucker shortage hasn't changed. Small batches showing up at some bait shops, usually gone by Friday afternoons. Most anglers targeting Musky and Walleye. Only species on this weeks report.

Musky: Fair - Good. Having suckers has really helped those who have them. Artificials still scoring though. Work large, slow moving baits. Gliders such as Mantas, Warlocks. Large twitch baits (9-12") such as Big Game, Grandmas worked slow have produced nice fish to 46" this week. Start watching for signs of whitefish, cisco staging out from fall spawning beds.

Walleye: Fair (plus). Bites slow due to colder water. Catches on shallow lakes (less than 25') coming from 8-12' weed edges using medium redtails dragged slowly on 1/16 oz jigs. Deeper lakes seeing some movement back up to weed edges. Deep water fish on 1/4oz jigs, large fats, redtails in 22-40' depths. Slow drift redtails, walleye suckers on Lindy style rigs over long gravel flats.

We saw a little snow, lots and lots of wind. Forecast is for a milder week. Watch for moon rise/set as the bites have been coincided with these time periods well this past week.


For perch reports, see top. Mik-Lurch reported decent smallmouth on Lake Michigan when weather allows. There was some lakers caught on the reef outside of the Port. Might be a bite to watch if weather allows.


From the WDNR's Root River Report:

Root River Fishing Report for November 1, 2010
Water and flow conditions

Over this past weekend, fishing was fairly good on the Root River. Cooler weather dropped water temperatures down to around 46-47 degrees Fahrenheit. The river remained low but rain from a week ago has kept water depth and flow higher than earlier in the month allowing anglers to better pursue trout and salmon.
. . .
Fishing Report
In Lincoln Park anglers had the most success fishing downstream from the refuge as well as on the two large river bends. Most anglers were fly-fishing or fishing with small spawn sacs. Some larger harvested Chinook salmon weighted 12-15 pounds and Coho were averaging 4-7 pounds. The Coho's were looking very good with bright red colors on their sides. Catches of brown trout were also steadier compared to last weekend. On Saturday evening one fly-fisherman landed a nice male brown trout that weighted 13 pounds. An adipose and right ventricle fin clip suggested a Seaforellen strain brown trout from the 2006 year class stocked in the Root River.
In Island Park fishing has still been hit or miss. Pressure was relatively low all weekend with only a few anglers concentrating on the northern stretches. Catches were mostly of Coho salmon mixed with a few brown trout. Successful anglers were using spawn sacs or small inline spinners. The Cohos were ranging from 3-5 pounds and browns were 6-7 pounds. On Saturday afternoon a couple anglers fishing off the bottom with spawn landed two nice Cohos and one brown trout.
Fishing in Washington Park was good especially near sunrise and sunset. Anglers were able to catch a real mixed bag with Chinooks, Cohos, and brown trout remaining very active. There was a spurt of time on Sunday around 5-6 pm where the brown trout were very active. Some very large browns were harvested. A couple of fishermen were able to land three nice browns that ranged from 9-13 pounds. Another fly-fisherman had a great day landing two huge browns. One male weighted 16 pounds and a female that weighed 19.5 pounds! He was using a small wet fly with a red body and black and white head.
In Quarry Lake Park fishing was slow at times, but some anglers were able to make some large catches of Chinook salmon. Angler pressure was concentrated upstream from the parking lot all the way to the northern end of quarry. Anglers were mostly fly-fishing. Harvested Chinook salmon had a large range in size from 5-12 pounds.
Fishing near the Horlick dam was also fair, but slow at times. Fishing pressure was high on Saturday but tapered off by Sunday afternoon. On Saturday a couple of fly-fishermen were fishing downstream from the Northwestern (Cty K) bridge and laded a very nice steelhead that measured 31 inches and 7.5 pounds. The steelhead was caught on a small bright green fly.


For more reports, click here.


Mik-Lurch reported some more walleye coming as water cools.



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 3, 2010 2:00 PM.

Stray Cast: Brandy, Foxtrot & Illinois' big bucks was the previous entry in this blog.

Spence Petros: Fishing update & thoughts is the next entry in this blog.

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