The good fall run of salmon around southern Lake Michigan goes on, but there are signs of the darkening end for the salmon run, that leads this lakes/areas section of the Midwest Fishing Report.
This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears on the Sun-Times outdoors page on Wednesdays. Well, it is the lakes and areas section.
If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at email@example.com.
On Saturday, snagging for chinook and coho opens on the Illinois lakefront at four locations only: Lincoln Park Lagoon south of Fullerton Avenue, Waukegan Harbor (North Harbor Basin only); Winnetka Power Plant discharge area and Jackson Park Harbor (inner and outer harbors). No snagging is allowed at any time within 200 feet of a moored watercraft or as posted. I suspect the snagging will be outstanding. There are a lot of fish in the harbors.
I keep expecting water temperatures to drop and crappie fishing kick in, but I noticed I have suggested that the last two weeks. We shall see.
BIG GREEN LAKE, WISCONSIN
For guide Mike Norton's report, go to www.nortonsfishingandhuntingadventures.com, then click on fishing, then lake report.
From licensed guide and trapper Phil Schweik and guide Glenn Moberg of Hooksetters Guide Service:
(Lead): Fall patterns are emerging in the central Wisconsin area as water
temperatures cool down.
Walleyes have been especially active in the central Wisconsin area, with
nice limits of great eating sized fish in the 16-20 inch range being taken.
Jigs tipped with minnow (preferably red tail chubs or small walleye sized
suckers) have been producing the best when worked in 12-16 feet of water.
Quite a few really big fish in the mid to upper 20 inch range are mixed in
with the eater sized fish.
For anglers targeting the largest predators, now is the time to fish the
central Wisconsin area. Big muskies and northerns are bulking up for
winter, and this is the time of the year when they are putting on the feed
bag. Run large crankbaits like Jakes and Tyrants, super sized plastics like
Bulldawgs, and magnum bucktails like the Cowgirl of Sumo Sam. Natural
patterns will work, but in central Wisconsin's stained water try running
baits with orange or chartreuse in them for added visibility. Work deeper
water and non-current areas for best action. Don't forget to try running
some "meat" behind your boat in the form of a large sucker or two on
quick-set rigs as this is a favorite for big muskies and some very large
If you're looking for action, the panfish bite is outstanding in the central
Wisconsin area. Both crappies and bluegills have been very active and
catching them is easy right now. A simple jig tipped with a crawler for
gills, or a small minnow or plastic tail for crappies is all you need. Work
these baits along deep weed edges or in 8-10 feet of water around submerged
timer and get ready for some fast action.
The bass action has really picked up in the central Wisconsin area. The top
water bite that we've seen has stopped cold. Most of the action has been
coming on crankbaits like Rapalas and Rattle Traps run in and around shallow
rocky shorelines during mid to late afternoon hours.
The archery deer season is in full swing in the central Wisconsin area with
hunters reporting seeing a lot of deer in the woods. Most activity has been
taking place early and late in the day along field edges and bedding areas.
To be successful set up in-between bedding and feeding areas along travel
routes and neck-down areas.
I know this is a fishing report, but I love the hunting graph at the end.
CHAIN O'LAKES AREA
Triangle reported walleye are excellent, the current is flowing nicely; look in the current around bridge areas, main lake points or the river. Muskie are best on bucktails or jerkbaits; try Petite or Bluff. White bass continues to be good; try small minnows or spikes; marie or Bluff best. Bluegill are fair, look a bit deeper. Catfishing and crappie are fair.
For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/
More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Final day of fishing will be Tuesday, but Monster Lake at Mazonia South remains open year round.
HEIDECKE:Final day of fishing is Tuesday.
LaSALLE:Lake is open Wednesday through Sunday only. Lake closes Oct. 15 and in October hours are reduced to 6 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES, WISCONSIN
DELAVAN: Guide Dave Duwe sent this:
Delavan Lake 9/26/11 through 10/3/11
The cool nights and mornings have been dropping the water temperature a couple degrees every few days. The fish are in a transition period from late summer to their fall patterns. Once they get into their fall patterns, they will switch almost exclusively to either a sucker or fat head minnow.
Walleye pike can be caught in several different ways. They are on the weed line at first light and at dusk. During the day, they are in the main lake basin suspended 2-3 ft off bottom in 30-35 ft of water. The best approach is either jigging 3/8 oz jig in the deeper water or fishing a jig and Rapala in chrome/blue. I have found the best approach for legal fish is trolling deep diving crankbaits in the 20 ft range. The best location has been by Delavan Lake Marina or by the Yacht Club point.
Largemouth bass have moved off the deep weedline and are anywhere between 6 and 12 ft of water. The best approach has been slip bobbering medium suckers or casting ½ oz chrome/blue Rattle traps. Look for the fish near the Yacht Club or by Browns Channel. One of the keys is that they've been cruising around so if you catch a few, you should wait a few minutes and then you may catch more.
Bluegills and Crappies are suspending in the main lake basin in 35-40 ft of water approximately 25 ft down. The key to finding them is a good fish locator. The best approach is straight lining beneath the boat with a Lindy Genz bug tipped with a red worm or wax worm. Fishing small plastics can also work, the best color is red.
Northern Pike fishing has been improving. They can be caught in two depths. One is the 12-15 ft depth range and the other is over 20 ft deep. The deeper fish have been concentrating around the schools of crappies and bluegills. With the fall approaching, the bigger bait has been producing bigger fish. Lakeside Bait and Tackle has a great selection of large suckers. I've been either quick strike rigging my suckers or putting them on a large circle hook on a lindy rig.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
9/25/11 Delavan Lake, 45 degrees, cloudy and rainy, winds N at 5 mph. Water temp 63 degrees. Caught 16 largemouth - 1 was legal. Unlike the day before, we had equal success on nightcrawlers and medium suckers. We worked a depth of 8-10 ft of water.
9/24/11 Delavan Lake, 45 degrees, cloudy, winds N at 10 mph. Water temp 64 degrees. Caught 2 northern pike, 2 walleyes and 5 largemouth bass. The walleyes were caught trolling crank baits in 20 ft of water. Chartreuse was the best color. The northern pike were caught on medium suckers fished on a split shot rig. The bass were caught on the same method as the northern. The most success was fishing main lake points.
9/23/11 Delavan Lake, sunny, 39 degrees, winds N at 5 mph. Water temp 64 degrees. Caught 18 largemouth, 3 were legal. the fish were caught in 6-8 ft of water. The best approach was either split shot rigging nightcrawlers or slip bobber fishing medium suckers about 1 ft above the weeds. The key was to find holes in the weed mat.
GENEVA: Duwe sent this:
Lake Geneva 9/26/11 through 10/3/11
With the cooler weather, the boat traffic is almost non-existent. The fishing remains overall very good. Keep in mind that Williams Bay boat launch is closed for the year due to road construction.
The smallmouth bass are in 20-25 ft of water. They can be lindy rigged with small yellow perch or nightcrawlers. Look for the fish by the Military Academy or by the Fontana Beach. With a good fish locator you will be able to see the suspended fish about 2-3 ft above bottom. With the cooler temperatures, as the fall progresses, the fish will be moving to the main lake points.
Rock bass have been biting in the 12-15 ft depth range. They can be caught on small hair jigs. The best hair jig color is white with a pink head or orange with a brown body which imitates a crayfish. Look for the fish by Linn Pier and by Maytag Point. If you aren't getting fish in the shallows, slide out a little deeper and check for them there.
Bluegill fishing has been alright. However, finding the bigger fish has been the trick. The best location has been in Geneva Bay or by Elgin Club. You can catch smaller bluegills in the 5-6 ft range, however, the bigger fish have been found in the 20-25 ft range. The best approach has been fishing leaf worms straight lined beneath the boat.
Largemouth bass fishing has been very good. With the cooler water temperature, the fish have moved shallow and are around the boat docks. They can be caught flipping All Terrain flipping jigs with a crayfish trailer. Most of the piers I like to fish are on the north shore between Knollwood and the Narrows. Nightcrawlers fished on a split shot is still a good approach. You want to drag them in about 10-12 ft of water. Look for the fish by Trinkes or by Belvidere Park.
Northern Pike fishing has been improving with the colder water. They have again moved shallow. They can be caught on slip bobber rigged large golden shiners. You want to position the boat on the outside weed edge in about 17 ft of water and cast to the shallows. I've been positioning the bait about 1-2 ft above the weed tops.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
I thought it interesting what guide Jason Johns of Todd Gessner Outdoors said, "All the lakes in southern Illinois are a week or two away from the best fishing of the year."
SHELBYVILLE: Guide Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service reported white bass are phenomenal on main lake flats on Roostertails or jigs. There are some crappie in 10-12 feet on main lake laydowns, just starting to move back into the coves.
REND: Johns reported crappie are improving; on the edge of going well; keep moving. Catfish are excellent; bass are shallow, hitting small crankbaits.
LAKE OF EGYPT: Johns said there's a good bite for bass shallow on about your choice of baits; crappie are spotty.
EVERGREEN: Bait shop is now closed. Any updated fishing report will be posted here.
EMIQUON: Emiquon Preserve near Lewistown is open to fishing. Interested parties may request a permit (remember you need the new one for 2011) 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.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
CHICAGO:: Park Bait reported a few salmon from shore at Montrose. Steve Palmisano at Henry's reported some fishermen are starting to switch or add a rod with a spawn sacs under slip bobbers on lighter line (8-pound) for steelhead, smaller kings and coho; but also throwing crankbaits or spoons for big kings. Capt. Bill Kelly of Leprechaun Charters reported a mixed bag, mostly smaller kings, in 60-70 feet west of the Car Ferry.
WAUKEGAN: Talmadge Hargraves III at the Salmon Stop reported some bigger kings in the harbor. ``When the moon comes out, it is a bonanza,'' he said. It's glow spoons, Shad Raps. Some huge salmon have been landed.
NORTH POINT: Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters reported good fishing, but weather has been tough. He said it is mostly 1- and 2-year-old kings, browns and lakers, near the hill in 60-100 feet.
CHICAGO NOTE: The fisherman's parking pass--$10 for two months and available at Henry's Sports & Bait--is needed to park south of the main building at Northerly Island.
CHICAGO'S FISHERMAN'S PARKING: The $10 parking passes for the small fishermen's lots at Burnham and DuSable harbors and now the south side at Northerly Island are available at Henry's.
RICHARD J. DALEY SPORTFISHING DERBY: Runs through Friday. The species for September are carp and kings. There's some big kings, up to 26 pounds, going up on the board. Go to henryssports.com or call (312) 225-8538.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
Click here for D&S Bait.
Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament www.fishing-headquarters.com, sent this:
Just got back from a weekend of power fishing for muskies. 17 fish
seen in four days and six fish boated up to 40". The weekend cool-down
with windy, overcast, and rainy weather triggered a good bite for
fish, and it even began the turnover period as it is now occurring on
smaller sub-300 acre lakes. Water temperatures consistently the same
everywhere at 54 to 59 degrees.
Mid-size lakes holding most consistent action at this time with glide
baits (softail phantoms, mantas, slammers), crankbaits (jakes &
grandmas), and bulldawgs and similar rubber baits rounding up most fish.
Little action on suckers but with the days getting colder action will
pick up. Most fish still playing with the suckers rather than eating
them. Prices for suckers expensive this year as average cost for 4 of
medium size is around $25. If you plan to fish them often, it might be
wise to take out a small bank loan this fall.
EAGLE RIVER: Creative Brilliance sent this report for the Chamber of Commerce:
(Head): Good walleye, northern and panfish action, with musky and bass fair,
in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.
Water temps are holding in the low to mid 60s in the Eagle River, Wisconsin
Walleye are putting on a good all day bite in the Eagle River area. Fish 12
feet of water or less outside of weed or break edges. Use a jig and a
Northern are hitting well in the Eagle River area. Fish 10 feet of water or
less in and around weeds. Use a Husky Jerk in a minnow or walleye pattern,
a small Mepps or a northern minnow under a slip bobber. All day bite.
Panfish (crappies, bluegills and perch) are lumped together in the Eagle
River area. Fish 10 feet of water or less in and just off of the weeds. Use
a chunk or crawler or a crappie minnow under a slip bobber. The perch will
be tight to bottom, with the crappies and gills a foot or two off the
bottom. Good all day action.
Musky action in the Eagle River area is fair. Anglers are getting fish, but
they're working for them. Fish ten feet of water or less, generally in and
around weeds. Use a glidebait or crankbait for best chances of success,
with bucktails and topwaters providing some action. Also, some anglers are
just starting to use 10-14 inch live suckers, although the water is just a
bit too warm for most anglers. Baits should be 6-9 inches with a medium to
slow retrieve. Always do a "figure 8" as your lure nears your boat, as the
muskies do follow these baits to the boat.
Both largemouth and smallmouth bass are providing incidental catches for
anglers going for walleyes on the Eagle River Chain of 28 lakes (largest
freshwater chain of lakes in the world). Action is fair. Anglers who are
fishing deeper, clearer lakes in the Eagle River area have been provided
with some good action for smallmouth bass by fishing breakedges over
hardbottom areas in 10-20 feet of water. Use a 3 inch tube on a jig, or a
jig and a minnow.
(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:
firstname.lastname@example.org; web: www.eagleriver.org
* "Muskie Matt", 715-891-5980; e-mail: email@example.com
* Mat Hegy, 715-571-7544, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
* 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 Kurt's Island Sport Shop sent this:
Looking like a typical fall. Water temps hovering around that turn-over point (54-56 degrees). Clouds, rain, wind and the trees are changing color. Low pressure may have been too low this weekend, action not as good as you'd think, but overall looks like a nice fall.
Walleye: Good. Pick your style. Deep, clear lakes, fish gravel/rocks with 1/8 - 1/4oz jigs or Lindy rigs baited with redtailed, black chubs or suckers. Work depth of 22-40'. Small lakes without depth work remaining live weeds with 1/16oz weedless jigs and small to medium sized redtails. Flowage walleye relating to wood. 1/16oz Jack's weedless jigs with a medium redtail or slip floats to hold large fats or a full crawler above the wood.
Crappies: Good. On lakes look to deep weedlines of 16-25'. Fish 2-3' off bottom with small minnows, small plastic tails below sip-floats. Flowages: medium to large fatheads under floats in 12-14' depths.
Musky: Good (but not great). Despite what looked like excellent musky weather action has been so-so. Fish relatively shallow in and along weeds. Twitch baits (Cranes, Grandmas), Sebiles, Majic Swimmer, bucktails and topwater all moving fish. Sucker action ok, but improving. The sucker bite will be best over the next 2-3 weeks. Sucker supplies are fair, larger suckers harder to get.
Pike: Good. Weeds of 6-12'. Jigging chubs best bet, but casting spinnerbaits, lipless cranks and twitch baits also scoring. Several nicer pike (26-34") reported on 7" Cranes meant for musky.
Perch: Good. Medium fatheads or 1/2 crawlers on 1/16oz jigs best. Fish ANY green cabbage or drowned timber.
Smallmouth Bass. Fair-Good. Not being fished as much, but still nice fish being caught on tubes, creature baits. Shallower than a couple weeks ago. Gravel humps 15-22', but check out weedlines of 8-12' also.
Largemouth Bass: Fair-Good. Fish heavy weeds with jig/pig combos, crawfish imitation plastics.
Bluegill: Fair. Not good weather for gills (cool, cloudy, windy) but nice fish 8-9" coming off flooded wood/cribs.
Mik-Lurch reported boaters taking good kings at the Hole-in-the-Wall and Buffington; shore fishermen are doing best by East Chicago or Hammond marinas, Amoco or the walkway by Burns Ditch (some coho mixed in there). Spoons (5/8th-ounce Moonshine is the hot one) or crankbaits are best. Creeks are loaded with chinook with a few coho and steelhead are mixed in; best on spinners or roe. Smallmouth are decent on Lake Michigan; perch slow. Willow Slough has decent bluegill fishing; boat fishing ends Oct. 6. . . . Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert said,
Weather conditions with the rain may make it a little tougher fishing but overall there should be some good action. Reports of some boats taking fish around East Chicago and burns ditch. Water temperatures have dropped which is good. The runs continue to and the fish are big. In my opinion we are having a good fall with regards to coho and Chinook size and the numbers initially look to be very good. Water levels are up and creeks are now stained with 2 days of rain.
For reports, click here.
Arden Katz reported continued good action for boaters on kings in Milwaukee.
From the Wisconsin DNR's Lake Michigan Report:
Shore fishing in Kenosha has been fair, with Chinooks, browns, and rainbows taken in the harbor. Most fish were caught on fresh skein. The mouth of the Pike River is open, but fishing has been slow and flows are now fairly high. Salmon fishing in the Pike should improve as the water levels begin to drop.
Trolling near the harbor mouth in Racine has slowed, although fish can still be seen jumping near the boat launch. Shore anglers have been able to catch a few Chinooks on spawn and crank baits. When trollers have been able to get offshore, fishing has been good in 70 to 150 feet of water. Spoons and flashers and flies have been productive for coho and immature Chinooks. Blues, greens, and whites have been the best colors. Water levels on the Root River are starting to rise, and a few Chinooks have started to show up. Some have been taken near the Steelhead Facility and at other spots throughout the river. A variety of baits have been used. An Open House will be held at the Root River Steelhead Facility on Saturday, October 8 from 9 AM until 3 PM. Guided tours will be held with spawning demonstrations, and local fishing clubs will sponsor kids casting, knot tying, fly tying, fly fishing techniques, and more. Be sure to bring your family and friends to the
facility on Saturday, October 8.
Trollers fishing off Milwaukee have been catching mature Chinooks and coho just outside the harbor. Fishing remains generally slow in the harbor, although shore anglers have taken a few Chinooks behind the Summerfest grounds on crank baits. A few brown trout have been seen swimming around McKinley pier, but fishing there has been relatively slow. Water levels have increased on the Milwaukee and Menomonee Rivers and Oak Creek. Fishing on Oak Creek and the Menomonee remains relatively slow, but some Chinooks have been caught from the Milwaukee River in Estabrook Park.
Port Washington Ramps: Trollers have had the most success fishing in 120 to 200 feet of water. Spoons have been the most productive lure, but no specific color has been best. Chinooks have been predominantly caught, but a few coho have also been taken. Port Washington Harbor/Shore: Fishing pressure has been high, and anglers have been catching mostly Chinooks with a few browns and rainbows mixed in. Spawn has been the most productive, followed by crank baits. The harbor temperature has been between 54 and 58 degrees. Port Washington Pier: A few smaller rainbows have been caught off the pier on spawn. The water temperature has been around 62F. Port Washington Power Plant: Anglers fishing near the power plant have been catching mostly Chinooks along with a few browns and rainbows. Most fish have been caught on spawn. Sauk Creek: Sauk Creek is about 56 degrees, and flows have been increasing. Fish should be moving upstream now that there is enough water in
Sheboygan Ramps: Fishing pressure has been light, and most trollers have been concentrating in the harbor due to rough boating conditions. A few Chinooks were caught, and spoons and crankbaits have been the most successful lures. Sheboygan Piers/Shore: Some Chinooks have been taken off the piers, and most have been hitting spawn fished off the bottom and with a few taking spoons. The water temperature off the piers was around 60 F. Sheboygan River: Fish have been spotted in the Sheboygan River as far up as the Kohler dam, although in relatively few numbers. The water level has increased with the recent rainfall, and the river is muddy. Anglers have been casting spoons, but flies have remained the most successful for catching Chinooks. Some brown trout have also been reported in lower stretches of the river. The water temperature is 58 degrees. Pigeon River: The water temperature was at 56F, and the flows have risen. As of Sunday, fishing pressure has
remained minimal, but that should change soon.
Mik-Lurch reported leeches are taking some walleye; crappie should start being better with the forecast cold snap.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
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MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
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