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Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes/areas section

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Shoreline salmon and several weekend events highlight 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


I think Steve Palmisano at Henry's put the state of shoreline salmon well, ``It is still getting better, better, better. A nice cold front coming through.'' It has the makings of a good fall run of salmon. CHICAGO: Montrose has been most consistent; with coho mixed with kings. Mike Repa at Park Bait reported at least 11 again Tuesday morning, most mornings are producing; Belmont (pay to park or walk far) is also good. Palmisano said Burnham is solid. He said crankbaits are best days, glow-in-the-dark spoons in the dark. A 15-1 leads the Richard J. Daley Sportfishing Derby. WAUKEGAN: Capt. Augie Ralph at the Salmon Stop reported a good weekend on basics like Cleos, Krocodiles and Moonshines; or try firetiger J-13 Rapala. INDIANA: Mik-Lurch reported fish everywhere: Hole-in-the-Wall (see Fish of the Week), East Chicago Marina and Portage. KENOSHA: WIS.: DNR reported some browns and a few kings (south pier) in the harbor. RACINE, WIS.: DNR reported kings being caught near the harbor mouth and in the basin near the Pershing Park launch; Root is very low, slow fishing. ST. JOSEPH, MICH.: Tyler Harmon Facebooked that salmon are good in the river and off the piers.


One of the great events of the year on the Chicago lakefront. I think timing is perfect for the eighth Salmon Classic at Northerly Island on Sunday. Registration begins 6 p.m. Fishing is 6:30-9 p.m. For info, call Henry's at (312) 225-8538.


Water temperatures will drop significantly by the weekend. I would expect the hardcore crappie fishermen to be out by Friday or the weekend.


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:

(Head): Walleye, musky, bass, crappies and bluegills all hitting, with
hopeful bear hunters trekking the woods, in and amidst the lakes and the
Wisconsin River of Wisconsin's Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee
and Wausau).

Cooler nighttime temperatures are triggering fish into fall patterns in the
central Wisconsin area.

Walleyes are very active in the central Wisconsin area, with good numbers of
nice fish being caught in the deeper pools of the main Wisconsin River
channel, along with backwater areas that have little or no current. The
walleyes are moving into their traditional fall staging areas. Jigs tipped
with minnows (the larger the minnow the better), and crankbaits like
Rapalas, Shad Raps in both #5 or #7, and the #9 or #11 straight model are
proving very effective.

The musky bite in the central Wisconsin area has really turned on. Fish in
the low to mid 40 inch range are being taken with regularity (all muskies
should be released!), with some going into the upper 40s. Large jerkbaits
have been the best lure, with a few fish being taken on large bladed
bucktails in orange and yellow. Deep weeds along the main Wisconsin River
channel have been holding most of the fish, but the key to success is
getting your bait down towards the bottom. It has made a big difference in
seeing and catching fish.

Both largemouth and smallmouth bass have been very aggressive in the central
Wisconsin area. Several fish in the upper teens have been caught. Large
crankbaits and top water baits worked along rocky shorelines and around
heavy wood have been the best bet for action.

Panfish in the central Wisconsin area have been steadily moving into thicker
cover (the thicker the better - -and the more wood in the water, even
better!). Both crappies and bluegills are now moving into downed timber and
heavy weeds looking for warmer water as the temperatures start to cool off.
The afternoon bite is definitely better than the morning bite as the daytime
sun has had time to warm up the water making the fish more aggressive.
Small jigs tipped with a worm of a chunk of crawler for the gills, and the
same jigs tipped with plastics or minnows for the crappies, is all you need.
Work the jig right down in the wood and pluck the awaiting crappies and
gills out as they take your offering.

The 2011 bear season is under way in the central Wisconsin area, and hopeful
hunters are taking to the woods in search of bagging a big bruin. One of
the best bits of advice to first time hunters is now that the season is
under way don't limit yourself to the one most productive bait that you have
set out. If something changes, or the bear that you have been targeting is
taken by another hunter, or the bear realizes that you are in the area, that
bear may blow out of the neighborhood, and that stand location will be
ineffective. Keep several active bait stations going until you have tagged
your bear.


Arden Katz reported good white bass, mainly smaller, shallow (5-6 feet) on wind-blown shores of Marie; good channel catfish and walleye on minnows in 10-12. Triangle reported the fall bite is starting; bluegill are picking up around shallow shoreline (weeds or cover); for muskie, try shallower than 7 feet (in chasing panfish).

For more reports, see

More Chain info at


BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Final day of fishing will be Oct. 4 (correct), but Monster Lake at Mazonia South remains open year round.

HEIDECKE:Final day of fishing is Oct. 4.

LaSALLE:Through Sept. 30, the lake is open Wednesday through Sunday.


DELAVAN: Guide Dave Duwe went this:

Delavan Lake 9/12/11 through 9/19/11
Delavan Lake has been on fire! Even though the water temperatures have been dropping almost daily, the fish continue to bite.
Walleye fishing has started to improve. They are positioned in the 12-15 ft depth range on the weedline. The best lures are the chrome/blue and chrome/black jerk baits. Look for the fish around the main lake points like the Village Supper Club and Willow Point. You can catch some fish on live bait by lindy rigging nightcrawlers. This has been working during the day.
Northern pike are starting to put the feed bag on for winter. They are in the medium depth weeds in 12-15 ft of water. The best presentation is casting white spinner baits or using ½ oz rattle traps in chrome/blue. The best location has been by the gray condos or down by the island.
Largemouth bass fishing has been excellent. Most of my success has been coming in under 10 ft of water. The key to the presentation is finding the sandy holes in the weeds and flipping a split shot rigged nightcrawler or an All Terrain Stik fished Wacky rigged. The best color is watermelon seed or green pumpkin. Lakeside Bait and Tackle has an ample supply. For minnow fishermen, there is some success fishing small or medium suckers under a slip float in the shallow weeds. I position the bait a foot above the weeds.
Crappie fishing is starting to improve with the cooler water. They are located in the 15 ft weeds. Cast a small 1/32 oz cubby jig with a split shot position 1 ft above it. They split shot will allow you to cast much further and also let it sink faster into the fishable water. The best location is by Browns Channel or the Delavan Lake Marina.
Bluegill fishing has been slow for me. I haven't fished for them much. I believe most of the bigger fish are suspended over the main lake basin 10-15 ft down in 40 ft of water. Look for the fish off of the Yacht Club or by Willow Point.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

GENEVA: Duwe sent this:

Lake Geneva 9/12/11 through 9/19/11
What a difference a week makes! It's like a light switch, once Labor day hits, the Lake Geneva area goes quiet. The boat launch in Williams Bay has an average of 4 or 5 boats in the water. Just a note, the Williams Bay boat launch will close for the season September 19th, they are going to be raising the road and repaving.
Largemouth bass fishing has been up and down. There are some days that you can get them really good and then the next day in the same spot, they vanish. It appears that the key to the bite is some wind. When the lake is dead calm, they have a tendency not to bite. The best location has been by Trinkes or by Linn Pier. A lot of success has been coming on split shot rigged nightcrawlers or casting medium diving crankbaits in chrome/blue color.
Perch fishing has been improving by the day. There is some sorting that needs to be done, however the average size has increased quite a bit in recent years. This bite will be improving as the water cools even more. Look for the fish by Rainbow Point or by Belvidere Park. The best depth is 10-12 ft of water. Slip bobbers with small fathead minnows are producing most of the action. Position the minnow about 1 ft off bottom.
Rock bass fishing has been excellent. The bigger fish seem to be in 15-20 ft of water. However, for better action, the 12 ft range seems to always produce. No need to get fancy, the old split shot rig and a single hook works fine.
Smallmouth bass are just off the weedline in 18-22 ft of water. They can be caught on a lindy rigged nightcrawler or a lindy rigged yellow perch. The best location is by the Military Academy or off of Black Point. With cooling water temperatures, the smallmouth bass are starting to school up and within the next couple of weeks with start moving to the main lake points.
Bluegills are being caught in 12-15 ft of water by Chapin Road. They can be caught on slip bobber rigged leaf worms positioned 6 inches to 1 ft off bottom. Some of the bluegills last week were in excess of 9 inches.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
Daily Reports
9/10/11 Delavan lake, sunny, 69 degrees, winds light out of the SE. Water temp 69 degrees. Caught 15 largemouth and 1 smallmouth bass. The best depth was 5-6 ft of water. I was fishing the sand pockets around thick weed clumps. The best bait was a split shot rigged nightcrawler. The bite seemed to slow as the sun came up in the sky.
9/6/11 Lake Geneva, sunny, 70 degrees, winds SE at 10 mph. Water temp 69 degrees. Caught 8 largemouth bass, 2 were legal, 3 smallmouth and a bunch of perch. Fished 12 ft of water by Linn Pier. The best bait was a split shot rigged nightcrawler. The little breeze helped the fishing and made for a good drift.


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.

EVERGREEN: Any updated fishing report will be posted here.


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


For shoreline salmon, see top.

CHICAGO:: Capt. Bill Kelly of Leprechaun Charters reported smaller kings, big coho and lakers in 120-160 feet from east of Diversey to the R4. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters seconded that good mix in 120-180, and noted how many big coho (such as the FOTW) are being caught.

WAUKEGAN: Ralph reported boaters can try for mature kings in 20-40 or else work from 125 out to 250, down 90-140, for big coho, younger kings and some steelhead.

NORTH POINT: Poteshman reported ``ridiculously good'' fishing for big coho, younger kings, steelhead and a few lakers from 120-170.

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 Sept. 30. The species for September are carp and kings. There's some big kings going up on the board. Go to or call (312) 225-8538.


Click here for D&S Bait.


EAGLE RIVER: Creative Brilliance sent this report for the Chamber of Commerce:

(Head): Good action for walleye, northern, bass and panfish, with musky
fair, in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.

Water temps are in the upper 60s in the Eagle River area.

Walleye are hitting in two places in the Eagle River area. Fish 12-14 feet,
or 4-5 feet in and around weeds. Use a jig and a minnow. Good action, with
peaks in the early morning and later afternoon into evening.

Northern are putting on a good bite in the Eagle River area. Fish 6 feet of
water or less in and around weeds. Use a Husky Jerk, a #3 or #4 Mepps, or a
bass style spinner bait. All day bite.

Both species of bass are hanging with other species of fish on the Eagle
River Chain of 28 lakes (largest freshwater chain of lakes in the world) in
the Eagle River area. Good action, but usually the bass bites are
incidental for anglers going after other species. Fish 5 feet of water or
less in and around weeds. Use a jig and a minnow. On the deeper, clearer
lakes in the Eagle River area, the smallmouth bass are locating on break
edges, over hardbottom areas in 10-20 feet of water. Use a 3-4 inch tube on
a 1/8th ounce jig, or a jig and a fathead minnow. Good action.

Panfish (crappies, bluegills and perch) are locating in the same spot in the
Eagle River area. Fish 5 feet of water or less in and around weeds. The
crappies and bluegills will be a foot or so off the bottom, and the perch
will be tight to bottom. Use a crappie minnow or chunk of crawler under a
slip bobber. Good all day action.

The musky bite is fair in the Eagle River area. Fish 6 feet of water or less
in and around weeds. Use a spinner bait, bucktail, crank bait or glide bait
in the 6-7 inch size range. Use a medium retrieve, and make sure you always
do a "figure 8" as your lure nears the boat. All day bite, with peaks in
the early morning or late afternoon. Anglers are getting muskies, but are
having to work for them.

(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 Kurt's Island Sport Shop sent this:

Beautiful weather has hung around the northwoods for over a week. High, cloudless skies, very little if any wind (until today) and afternoon temps in the 80's. This has made for some tough fishing.

Musky: Fair-Good. With water temps back into low 70's, bucktails have been best over and along weed beds of 7-12'. Topwater also effective, anything worked quickly has been getting good looks. Not much on suckers due to the warm weather, but that should change this week.

Largemouth Bass: Fair-Good. Decent numbers but not as much size. Weeds of 7-10' holding lots of bass. Pitching plastics via wacky style or Carolina rigging worms, creatures, sweet beaver best.

Smallmouth Bass: Fair-Good. Scattered on humps. Need to be finessed by Carolina rigging or drop-shotting small plastic worms, craws, minnow imitations. Crawlers on Lindy rigs also effective, they don't seem to like jigs much right now.

Pike: Fair-Good. Spinnerbaits (Boonie Baits), #4 Mepps, small spoons as well as jigging 4-5" black chubs catching some pike, but few noteworthy, coming cold snap may help.

Crappies: Fair. Look for deeper drowned wood to get big slabs (12-13"). Use slip-floats and medium or large fatheads. Be patient, not large numbers, but very good size.

Bluegills/Perch: Fair. Best in afternoons. Worms, 1/2 crawlers, small 1" plastics best. Big gills and Perch from Flowages on 1/2 crawlers, 1/32oz jigs among wood piles.

Walleye: Poor-Fair. Calm, bright skies not helping stronger on crawlers, starting on minnows. Not set up well on deep gravel yet, look for switch with cold.

Lows into the 30's, highs to 58-60 this week will see water temps fall again. Should trigger fall bite. Water temps rising did not help walleye bite. Looks like little in the way of cloud cover till the weekend, but cold and some wind should stir up some action.


For shoreline salmon, see top. Mik-Lurch reported steelhead and kings in the creeks, some to Johnson Road on Trail; Little Cal is the one slow spot.


Lakeside holds its Muskie Open on Saturday. Call (815) 824-2581. . . . For reports, click here.


The Wisconsin DNR's Lake Michigan Report posted this:

Southern Lake Michigan Fishing Report: September 12, 2011
Kenosha Co.
In Kenosha trollers have had success catching coho, rainbows, and Chinooks offshore in 160 to 200 feet of water. Both flashers and flies as well as spoons have taken fish. A few brown trout in the five to seven pound range have been caught in the harbor, but those have been spotty. Most browns have been taken on small white tubes jigged vertically along the wall. A few Chinooks have also been reported taken after dark near the end of the south pier.
Racine Co.
In Racine decent numbers of mature Chinook salmon have been caught by trollers working outside the harbor and up into the river. Spoons in white and orange have taken fish, as well as J-plugs in white and silver. Others trolling further offshore have been catching good numbers of immature Chinooks, coho, and a few rainbows in 180 to 240 feet of water. Most fish have been 70 to 140 feet down. White and aqua flies have produced out deep, as have green or cracked ice spoons. Shore anglers in Racine have been catching Chinooks near the mouth of the harbor and in the basin near the Pershing Park boat launch. Spawn, spoons, and crank baits have all been productive at times, and the majority of fish have been taken before sunrise or after dark. Water levels on the Root River remain very low, and fishing is slow.
Milwaukee Co.
Trollers fishing off Milwaukee have been catching mature Chinooks and coho just outside the harbor. Further offshore, trollers have also been catching smaller Chinooks, coho, and rainbows. The most success has been 30 to 60 feet down in water 150 to 300 feet deep, and baits in blues and greens have produced. 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 also been taken off McKinley pier around daybreak. Water levels on the Milwaukee and Menomonee Rivers and Oak Creek are very low, and we need more rain in the area to draw the fish in. Some anglers have been fishing the Milwaukee River in Estabrook and Kletzsch Parks, and they have reported very little action thus far.
Ozaukee Co.
Port Washington Ramps: Trollers off Port Washington have been catching a mixed bag of Chinooks, rainbows, coho, and lake trout in 300 to 400 feet water. Spoons have been the most consistent lure, but with no specific pattern or color. Port Washington Harbor/Shore: Both brown trout and Chinooks have been taken at the power plant on spawn, but fishing has been hit-or-miss. A few rainbows have been occasionally caught elsewhere along the shore, and they have been hitting spoons and spawn. Port Washington Pier: The water temperature off the pier was 64 degrees, and fishing has been slow. Most anglers have been casting spoons. Sauk Creek: The water temperature was at 60F, and the water flow has been very low. No fishing pressure has been spotted yet.
Sheboygan Co.
Sheboygan Ramps: Fishing pressure has been moderate, and trollers have been averaging 1-5 fish per trip. The water depths most fishermen have been fishing in were 150-250F, but the best depth has been 300-400F. Kings, Cohos, and Rainbows have been the main catch. Sheboygan Piers/Shore: Most fishermen have been using spoons and alewives, with alewives being the best. Cohos have been the main catch, but success has been hit-or-miss. The water temperature was around 60 F. Sheboygan River: The water temperature was at 68F, and the fishing pressure has been light. Most anglers have been using spawn, and some have been casting spoons, with no luck. Pigeon River: The water temperature was at 64F. There was no fishing pressure as of yet. The water flow is very slow.



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 September 14, 2011 8:05 AM.

Midwest Fishing Report: Rivers section (Des Plaines add) was the previous entry in this blog.

Chicago fishing: Ruminations on the lakefront is the next entry in this blog.

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