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Midwest Fishing Report: Rivers

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Rivers are in wonderful shape, and there is even some talk of possible shift toward fall patterns for this rivers section of the Midwest Fishing Report.

I would take to heart this nugget from river wanderer/ponderer and now ChicagoNow blogger Ken Gortowski in the Fox River report:

The weather for the next 10 days should be nothing short of outstanding. The sunsets have been absolutely beautiful and I highly recommend getting out for the last 2 or 3 hours of the day.

That's the truth.

This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears on the Sun-Times outdoors page on Wednesdays.

Well, this is the rivers section for rivers around Chicago fishing. The lakes and areas MFR will follow shortly.

Normally, I post the online MFR, both the rivers and lakes/areas sections, by Wednesday morning.

I will probably separate out the rivers section like this until the fall.

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


For an overview of nearby river conditions, click here.


Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass sent this:

Chicago river fishing report; south branch , gills and small bass hitting Mr. twisters and small cranks ( rebel craw ) in new structure temp 81 Ogden slip (from shore) ; small bass hitting Mr. Twisters down low . Note ; beavers still hard at work , water level high , branches on trees hanging very low many broken creating new structure

My all-time piece of cover on the North Shore Channel was when a shopping cart rolled into the river when K-Mart used to be in the shopping center off Devon.


Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament, is off wandering around somewhere else. But levels are settling.


Gortowski sent this:

Was able to get out on the Fox a couple of times in the last week. The river is in excellent shape and the rains had no real effect, other that to turn on the fish.

The smallies have been hitting hard and fighting hard. They're sitting in all the classic smallie spots; eddies, current seams, behind obstructions and some adventurous ones out in the current.

The most productive approach has been to leave 10 feet of line out, letting the lure swim around in the water, while I try to light a cigar or take a picture of something that caught my eye. I'm not kidding. They move into the current break you're creating if you stand there for a few minutes. Couldn't believe how many hits I was getting doing that.

I've been fishing one stretch for about 10 years. I've caught smallies of course and the occasional carp, catfish and quillback. A largemouth now and then. I've got to know a few of the homeowners along the river and a conversation was had the other day.

He claims to have been catching walleye and has been seeing pike feeding at sunset. There's no reason why they shouldn't be here, but you would think I would have tied into one by now.

Was out that night with friend David Price, he hasn't been out on the river in a couple of years. Almost on cue he catches another species never seen along here, a white bass. Again, there's no reason for them not to be here, I've caught them a few miles upstream, but never in this stretch.

The weather for the next 10 days should be nothing short of outstanding. The sunsets have been absolutely beautiful and I highly recommend getting out for the last 2 or 3 hours of the day.

When we finished the other day, Dave and I were hanging out on the rivers' edge talking about meteor showers, religion (he's a preacher), admiring the brightness of the stars, watching the full moon rise on one side and the last of the sunlight disappear on the other. We had been the only ones out on the river and talked about that.

Then the International Space Station went across the sky at a nice clip, from west to east. We kept moving as it would get behind a tree, we wanted to watch it for as long as possible.

Nice picture that, a couple of scraggly guys in their mid 50's acting like kids and watching the sky.

We're so easily entertained.


Time on the Water Outdoors reported white bass picking up from Starved Rock to Hennepin, while catfish are slowing.


Indiana's Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert reported: Good news, steelhead have moved into Trail creek and some have begun moving into the St. Joe. All of this really began on 8/11 and 8/12. Creeks are a little high right now and muddy but will be clearing throughout the week. No major rain predicted until the weekend. Harbor temperature is 71 and the creek is running around the middle 60's. Also a few browns in Trail.

Mik-Lurch reported anglers seeing fish oddly moving back downstream.


Take your pick on catfish or smallmouth, both are going.

Norm Minas sent this extended report, extended enough that I thought about pulling it out as a separate:

Monday flow a little over 1900 cfs, water temp 75 degrees, Tuesday flow a little under 1900 cfs, water temp 73 degrees. average flow this time of year a bit under 1500 cfs. water clarity so/so, greenish stain, pieces of weeds flowing, no algae on bottom to speak of. overnight temps much lower than water temps which is why the water temps are dropping, daytime air temps into low 80's very few clouds in sky, not much breeze either. Monday watched an eagle catching fish, Tuesday saw the eagle searching but didn't dive on anything. Tuesday watched about a 15 inch channel cat covered in brown splotches floating listlessly just under the surface, when I grabbed it by the tail it didn't hardly twitch. It's prolly turtle food now. Monday caught about a 36 inch channel cat on a Bandit 200 worked slowly up the bottom of a riffle. By the time I landed it the front of the crank was just about completely ripped off and over a foot of line was severely abraded.

Monday, I fished around bridge abutments, mid stream humps, riffles, current seams, eddies and cobblestone flats in depths from a few inches to about 3.5 to 4 ft. I fished all day with bandit 200's either quarter cast downstream, straight downstream or straight across the front and back of riffles. I never felt the need to try anything else as the bass bite was consistent enough on the crank to keep me satisfied. Besides, I love fishing crankbaits. The biggest bass of the day was an 18.5 incher off a cobblestone flat that tailwalked all the way in. Awesome display. Most of the bass were in the 12 to 15 inch range, a handful smaller and larger. I ended up with 33 fish including the one cat, not a bad day for this river anymore.

Tuesday, I went upstream of Monday's stretch, working a channel between the shore and a series of waterwillow islands that cover the middle of the river. I made my way up to a large cobblestone/clam heavy flat that gets down to about 4 ft or so.

I started with the Bandit 200 again, picking up some fish working it upstream on seams. I got one more on the downstream side of a riffle working the crank across the base of the riffle. I worked the topside of the riffle and some pockets and points along one of the waterwillow islands and got nothing. As I worked my way up to the flat, I was going to cast down and across to let the crank swing along the front of the riffle to see if a change in direction would work. as it drifted on the surface toward the spot I wanted to strat the swin at a bass took three swipes at it and got it the third time. I did get the swing thing going after that but it didn't produce so I set out to the flat. When I got up there I saw a bug hatch going on and figured I'd switch to a rattlebait after a few casts with the crank. On the first cast with the crank it got smashed as it hit the water, After landing the fish, I switched to a Skitter Prop and got 5 more fish before the topwater bite died. I tried the Subwalk, a hard jerk bait and a sluggo to see if any fish would still come part up in the water column. None did but the bug hatch was still kinda sporadic so I went with a rattlebait, to no avail. When I made the switch back to the Bandit 200, I picked up a couple more.

I switched to a jig/pig, one just heavy enough to hit bottom every 2-3 ft as the current took it downstream. That turned out to be what the biggest fish wanted as the were all 16 to 17 inches on the jig.

24 bass, 7 on top, 8 on the crank and 9 on the jig, not a bad day either.

Back at it tomorrow.

Ed Mullady reported this:

Smallmouth Bass hitting good on the Kankakee. Dave Zack, Momence' IL Conservancy District reports fishing good in that area. Live bait(minnows, crawlers) as well as *spinners
(#3 Mepps good),* Rattlin' Rogue, *.minnow shaped baits.
Fly fishermen are catching smallmouth on *nymphs *streamers *poppers.
Diana at The Trading Post next to the Kankakee River State Park IL reports smallmouth bass good. Good sized croppie also being caught on minnows.
*Linda at Angelo's Outdoor Sports reports both catfish and smallmouth bass hitting good
in the Wilmington Area.
*Penny at Greenwood Bait, off Toto Rd., near English Lake, IN reports some *largemouth bass, a 10 lb. northern pike and catfish being caught in that area.

``Catfish'' Dave Bradigan sent this:

I made it to the river this weekend and the Cats are still going strong all though it did slow just a bit Sunday with rain and colder weather but the bit is still good on liver. . . . I took 12 year old [Dimitr Piperas] for his very first time wading and he managed to land a 8 pound cat and two four pounders wading with myself and brother. He was so excited he knows calls himself King Kat.


Morris Wetlands is open for fishing that stretch of the Mazon. Hours are 6 a.m. to sunset.


Breidert said some steelhead are moving into the St. Joe.

Tyler Harmon Facebooked,

I fished the river hard yesterday and came up empty beside the one pike. There are alot of Summer steelhead moving and a very limited amount of Kings. My advice would be head to the Mishawaka dam as these fish are not holding up, they are on the move.


Time on the Water Outdoors reported smallmouth are improving for both boaters and shore fishermen/waders.



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 August 17, 2011 5:41 AM.

Stray Cast: Quade & chum was the previous entry in this blog.

Midwest Fishing Report: Areas/lakes is the next entry in this blog.

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