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Midwest Fishing Report: Rivers & Ripple

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Wading rivers is my pick for the week for this rivers section of the Midwest Fishing Report, good enough that one faithful contributor swooned into his favorite Dead tune ("Ripple") at the end a day.

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 some time this fall.

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


For an overview of nearby river conditions, click here.


Just be aware, there has been a rash of vandalism again at the Western Avenue launch. It is just disappointing as all hell.

ADD: Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass sent this as a comment and I added it as a report:

Chicago river fishing report : Got in so late this weeks report appears here , south branch; cold front shut down any numbers yet some big bass hitting slow moving cranks at dusk along shore.... the bite is tentative , Ogden slip and main branch , fished on Tuesday hard GOOSE EGG !


Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament, sent this:

Reports are scarce, unless you're fishing at dams the pressure is
light, and fishing has been inconsistent for most species. Water
levels are possibly the lowest they've been all year long with a gauge
reading at 3.07. Water temperatures are in the high 70's and slowly

With the cooling temperatures, northern pike and panfish are most
active. Smaller pike are especially active with smaller fish in the
20-25 inch range being the norm. Feeding windows are lasting longer
now with the best times taking place during mid to late mornings
throughout the afternoons. Most catches taking place in Lake County,
with top lures being white/gold spinnerbaits, Sims inline spinners,
and jerkbaits such as Husky Jerks and X-Raps. Since pike are
responding well to the cooldown and being more aggressive, always
always always fish with leaders! Areas worth trying are deeper pools
and holes around bridges, logjams, deeper weedlines, and the
downstream pools of riffles.

Panfish such as rock bass, bluegills and the occasional crappie most
active around jog jams and deep rocks. Live bait as well as jig &
plastics are catching numbers of fish but little size.

Largemouth bass and smallmouth bass few, but are being found from
deeper pools with rocks and wood. It's a midday bite. In addition,
some largemouths are using weedlines and shallow cover throughout the
entire system.

Few catfish & carp, and walleyes and sauger haven't moved into their
usual areas yet. But once water temperatures drop into the 60's
they'll begin showing up.

Don't bother fishing the creeks as water levels are even lower. There
appears to be an algae and moss explosion occurring on the Salt Creek,
so unless you want to remove big globs of moss every-other cast, I'd
stay away.


River wanderer/ponderer and now ChicagoNow blogger Ken Gortowski sent this:

Was able to get out on the Fox after work on Friday for a couple of hours. Got out a couple more hours on Saturday before the fear of being fried by lightning chased me off the water. Four more hours on Sunday, fishing till sunset.

Doesn't seem like much when you add up the hours. Nothing like the marathons I had in past years.

Managed to land 34 smallies in that 8 hours of fishing. Sad part is I missed another 50. A friend reminded me of the Indian name I was given last year, Cantsetahook.

Looks like I'm living up to that name again this year.

Memory tells me that Labor Day weekends in past years were always a busy time on the river.

This year I saw one other angler out there. Drove up and down the river a couple of times from Montgomery to the far west end of Silver Springs State Park.

One other angler.

More river for me I guess.

The weather is looking pretty stable, in the 70s, for the next 10 days. A short rain now and then, which is a fish turn on.

Hopefully someone other than me will go out and enjoy what's turning out to be some pretty wonderful fishing.

Oh wait, that's right, fishing guys don't say wonderful fishing.

It's awesome fishing.

And they're going to miss it.

It's point that should be taken.


Time on the Water Outdoors reported crappie (around pilings) and smallmouth as the better bites; white bass are decent around the mouth of the Vermilion; catfish are fair; sauger, take sorting, are being caught trolling and jigging.


Mik-Lurch reported the first kings arriving in Trail and Salt, there's still some steelhead, too. Orange or red spinners have been best.


Smallmouth have been outstanding. I plan to do it big time later this week.

Norm Minas sent this:

Utterly fantastic day, I don't know what I did to deserve this, but I'll take it anyhow.

flow about 890, water still off color, weeds still breaking off and flowing, water temp 73 degrees. much cooler, brisk wind, partly cloudy. lots of wildlife activity of all sorts, especially in the very early part of the day. I saw eagles in a couple different locations, geese seemed unusually cranky today. Crawdads all over the shallows, seeing more dead ones. Carp rolling all over. In some places there were so many bugs over the water it looked like a cloud had descended. it seemed like everything was in high gear today out in the woods, water and sky.

I started out the day on one of my dependable topwater flats and was not disappointed. The rattling Spook was all I needed, twitch-twitch-twitch, drift a bit and repeat. Most of the hits came on the twitch after a drift. I also got some on a seam, drifting the spook down with an occasional twitch. same deal most of the hits on twitch after drift. 27 fish on top, never had a day like that in my life. Absolutely, freaking amazing. Most in the 12 to 15 inch range, several 16-17 inchers. When the sun came over the tree tops, it stopped.

I switched to a Bandit 200 cast down stream and worked back up a seam, got some with that. Next to the bottom of some neckdowns twixt water willow islands only got one. I tried jigs and rattlebait still no more fish, so I moved.

Bandit 200 fished parallel to the front face of bridge abutments brought a nice fish from all four i fished. I got more along the sides of most of them. I went below the abutments, nothing with the Bandit. i switched to a rattlebait, scratched up some smaller fish. Tried a jig, fish even smaller so I made a move up river.

I went to another of my dependable topwater spots, sloping deeper flat/pool above an island and below a big riffle. I threw the spook, the Bandit, rattlebait and plastics and didn't get a sniff.

i moved to another riffle and started tossing a buzzbait but soon had a bunch of holiday company before I got a fish. Adios amigos.

I took a short break to give the knees, ankle, back and shoulder a rest. while listening to some Dead. When rejuvenated by Jerry and company, i went back downstream to fish around a small island.

I went with the rattlebait on a gut instinct and got 1 really good fish and 5 small to medium fish. One in the slack pocket below the island the rest off bars on either side of the island.

Once the knee started on me again, i called it a day. Kinda weird number wise, 27 on top, 27 subsurface. 54 years old, 54 fish caught. Prolly some sort of symbolism in there for the numerologist.

Back in the car, switched Dead tapes and first tune on the other tape was my favorite Dead tune, Ripple. Grooving, the gods/goddesses did right by me today.

I've had one topwater evening like that myself, in a piece of the main part of the state park, about 10 years ago.

As to his Dead choice, that would not be mine, though it is a quality choice. But then I lean more to The Pretenders or Janis Joplin when coming out of the woods.

Ed Mullady reported this:

In Indiana, catfishing good on *minnows *cheesebaits *chicken liver*raw hamburger.
Pike good along mouths of ditches, bayous on *big minnows *#5 Mepps Spinner #weedless
Doctor Spoons. Largemouth Bass good at *Point, north of English Lake *Kankakee F&W
near Rt. 39 & 8 on *crankbaits *minnows *spinnerbaits*plastic worms.

Illinois: Dave Zack, Momence Conservancy District, reports good catches of catfish in river near Momence.
Smallmouth Bass good throughout river in riffles *quiet shorelines *in water
logs Smallmouth Bass good around Kankakee River State Park., *Spinners, Rattlin' Rogue, jointed plugs,*minnows *Mepps #2 or #3 spinners are good. Try around Rex, Carly Islands also Monica and Gary Islands in Kankakee River State Park. Fly fishermen having success with streamer flies, nymphs, popping bugs.
Wilmington Island Park through DesPlaines Area also good.
River continues to be low.


Morris Wetlands is open for fishing that stretch of the Mazon. Hours are 6 a.m. to sunset. It should run through September for fishermen.


The Wisconsin DNR will begin the Root River report shortly. Check here.


Tyler Harmon Facebooked:

Small, but fishable numbers of kings in the rivers. Oslos and spoons have been working well.


River's Edge reported decent walleye, a few bass. No legal sturgeon (60 inches) reported.



Fishing Headquarters



MICHIGAN DNR REPORT,1607,7-153-10364-34956--,00.html






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Chicago river fishing report : Got in so late this weeks report appears here , south branch; cold front shut down any numbers yet some big bass hitting slow moving cranks at dusk along shore.... the bite is tentative , Ogden slip and main branch , fished on Tuesday hard GOOSE EGG !

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on September 7, 2011 10:15 AM.

Fish of the Week: Back to school was the previous entry in this blog.

Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes/areas is the next entry in this blog.

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