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Midwest Fishing Report: Chicago fishing/Rivers

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Some areas had enough rain to impact rivers, others did not, and that drives this rivers 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 rivers section. The lakes section will be posted later.

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


For an overview of nearby river conditions, click here. This might be more of a week than most this spring to check.


Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass sent this:

Chicago river fishing report; South branch bass and gills hitting dragons wet noodle worms rigged wacky Main stem; bass and crappie hitting drop shot wacky worm. note: You could have left the crank baits at home this week.


Marcus Benesch sent this report:

DPR Report-April--O'Hare Corridor
By: Marcus Benesch
River levels were under normal levels for this time of year before last weekends rains. Fishing has steadily increased since March. Small to medium size northern pike are plentiful right now. Majority of the northern pike are being found along fallen trees, creek mouths, and slack water adjacent to the current in 2-3 FOW. Most fish running in the 14-22in range, trophies running in the 30in range. Best Baits: inline spinners and shallow cranks in bright colors preferably white.

The month of April brought some of the Chicago norms back. Cold nights and windy days is what I am used to in the spring and I got a feeling it's what the fish are used to as well. While it seemed every lake and pond in the area was on fire during the month of March, things were definitely slow on the DPR even with the great weather, so April brought a welcome change. The lack of saturation in the soil from the light winter, mixed with the lack of rain so far has created a very calm river with dare I say great water clarity for the DPR. Those factors made fishing the first two weeks of April the best two weeks of the year so far on the DPR. However, the much needed rains from the weekend will slow the bite down for a few days until the river recedes here and visibility increases again. During high water pike still can be had on low flood plains and the small creeks that increase depth during the swell.


Sam Bennett sent this:

Here's my report for the Geneva to South Elgin pools of the Fox:

I've been fishing the dams this week since the water's been low. I haven't bothered to wet the waders, there's ample shore access for the fish I'm targeting. My trips have been brief and productive. I've been catching good numbers of white bass, some smallmouth and a bonus largemouth. Not sure what he was doing up there in the boil but I was happy to meet him. I'm still in my spring crayfish mode and it's been paying off. I prefer a crankbait, but I expect a cray-colored jig would do the trick too. I'm still at least a week away from contemplating a move to minnow-ish baits. As soon as I see the shiners schooling I'll start experimenting. The shiners are out in force down in Indy, so we're close.

I've yet to take another flathead trip due to water temps. I may get out tonight just to shake the rust off, but I don't expect very much.

We're due to get some cold nights and more rain this week. We'll see what happens. I'll be out there either way.

For downstream, Adam Micaletti sent this:

With little time to fish this week again due to work I had taken some info on a write up by Sam that reports from the north stretch and applied it down by me. Typically from my experience its two different animals but this day it wasn't. Was an easy day with a good group of fish pushed up to a road block, with small mouth hitting just about anything if you could put it in front of them. Water was flowing at about 800 cfs and in the low to mid 50s. Clarity was getting better but that's all out the window with the storms. River is now chocolate milk and idle at just under 1800 cfs.
12 smallies caught on the day of pre storms and a coupe of nice ones in that collection. My short outing post storm produced me a big ol goose egg. Just when you build some confidence your quickly put back in check.


Norm Minas sent this:

The conditions Monday were pretty much the same as Sunday except windier. I decided to concentrate on current seams with rattlebaits. Initially that proved to be a bit slow but I felt the fish were there so I changed my presentation. I rigged with an A-Just-Bubble, a hook and a centipede [ french fry type plastic] . The depth was set to stay just off the bottom, while as much as could be expected given the uneven nature of river beds. That proved to be what it took, the catch rate went up enough to put a smile on my face. Nothing huge size wise but consistent enough action to keep at it.

I think using any type of float would have worked but the A-Just-Bubble does no line damage and changing depth is a simple matter of untwisting, moving and retwisting which made things much easier in the wind. The older I get the more I appreciate things being easier to operate.

Capt. Bob Santangelo sent this:

The Kankakee River is really starting to heat up and the small mouths are aggressively slamming baits hard in open water 9 for 13 today and some beauties. Using 8 pound test, but the water temps dropped these last few days down to 57 degrees. Swimming crank baits, jigs, and a variety of plastics expecting some bruts soon as long as the rains don't blow out the river this up coming week. Don't like to tell fish stories with out photos, video, or both see the attached? [This is the video posted above.]

Ed Mullady sent this:

Plenty of room to fish at on the Kankakee with more like fall than spring!
Good places include in Indiana: Point, north of English Lake *Rt. 55 to IL
State Line.
In Illinois, good areas east of Momence * Kankakee Dam to Soldier Creek *Kankakee River State Park *Wilmington Island Park.
Northern pike good - catfish improving - some walleye. Rock bass improving.


From the Wisconsin DNR's Root River Report:

Root River Fishing Report for April 16, 2012
Water and flow conditions
Clearing water and steadying flow rates had the river at a very fishable level. Water temperatures were around the 52 degree range. These readings were taken before the rainfall over the weekend.
. . .
Fishing Information
Upstream of the facility:
The fishing pressure has dropped to less than 4 anglers a day during the weekend and results have been very slim with no reports of any anglers catching any fish.

Downstream of the facility:
Only two anglers were spotted on Saturday fishing for steelhead. No reports of success trips were collected either.



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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on April 18, 2012 5:51 AM.

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