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Midwest Fishing Report: Chicago fishing/rivers

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Cooling and generally receding or low waters define the rivers section of this 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.


Marcus Benesch of River Grove sent this report:

River flow was up this week spilling the banks in some of the low flats. Too dangerous for kayak float earlier in the week. Water receding daily and fairly quickly bringing back the bite in the Schiller Woods section of the DPR. Patiently found out carp and catfish are biting in the high flowing tributaries and creeks on nightcrawlers, and from what I can tell a lot of guys are using can corn. Small to medium northern pike are still plentiful in the main stream along flooded tree roots. Inline spinners were the lure of the week with the river being so stirred up and very much on the murky side.

Nick Doumel of the sent this:

Fishing the last week has been tough on the DPR, but not completely unproductive. With the water levels high, most fish were found in flooded areas that were out of the current. Spinners have been the hot ticket for pike lately and even an aggressive channel cat here and there. The occasional bass is also being caught on the south end of river. With the river back down to almost normal levels, fishing should pick back up soon.


Sam Bennett sent this:

Here's the report from last week's trips:

I did well up until Friday, with fish holding in slower pools adjacent to faster water. All my hookups came very tight to structure, seemed like they were actually wedged back in big rock piles. On Friday the colder weather slowed them down dramatically. I only managed 1 dink in the same areas that had been holding plenty of fish. I don't believe they moved, just not active at all. I'm still fishing crayfish baits, and fishing them against conventional wisdom, casting up-river instead of down. All I can say is that it works for me.

I wasn't on the Fox this weekend - we took a run to central Indiana to hit a few small lakes for largemouth. Not that you need it for your report, but the pre-spawn bite was on in force, even in the high winds Sunday and Monday. We hit on a diving crankbait pattern that produced on steep drops in 14-18' of water. Took me back to my childhood in Guntersville.

Flatheading is still stalled pending water temps. As soon as we're holding steady 60s I'll have more to report.

I left the middle graph in because I thought it gave a nice glimpse into what makes a lot of us fish--our history.


Time on the Water Outdoors reported crappie are good. I keep meaning to try this some day. White bass will go if we ever string together a couple warm days and nights. They had some nice sauger brought in, too.


Norm Minas sent this:

water levels still below normal flow, water temps dropping into mid 50's. algae not as bad but fishing a crankbait is still more picking green than lipping fish. Jigs/plastics on seams and faster water taking fish as are rattlebaits. overall the plastic bite has been a bit more consistent.

I went out exploring a stretch of a creek I hadn't fished before, it's now county property. From the road it looks good, lots of wood cover, riffles, rock humps, water willow beds, multiple channels around islets, etc. I did not see any evidence of fishing pressure, no paths, litter and fishing line/lures in trees/snags, all signs of an unpressured fishery. Unfortunately I didn't see any signs of aquatic life either. No minnows, suckers, carp, bass, panfish, crawdads or macro inverts. Usually in a situation like that it's not hard to catch fish that have seen few if any lures. I've been doing small waters long enough to know how they work and what the prime areas are. There was not a bump, bite, follow or silt cloud from a spooked fish. No suckers feeding in the shallow runs, no panfish even pecking at plastic in even the heaviest cover. It was disappointing as I have caught a variety of species from other stretches of this creek, no it's not like there are no fish in it at all. I'll try it again later when things warm up before I write it off though.

Other than the lack of fish it was enjoyable, nice rural area, friendly folks who wave as they drive by, part on the way in on gravel and narrower country blacktop. The kind of drive where you just naturally slow down because that's just how life is there. Lots of avian activity including some raptor. I also heard but did not see pheasant and turkey. It's nice to get back to slower , simpler solitude.

I am trying to think what creek he means.

Ed Mullady sent this:

Kankakee River: Indiana: Rt. 39 & 8 and the Point for pike on *big minnows *weedless Doctor
Spoons *Spinnerbaits.
Grand Kankakee Marsh Area Pike as above. Walleye on *jig and minnow *jointed minnow shaped plugs.

Illinois: State Line to Momence: Good on Walleye *northern pike...baits as above.
Catfishing good throughout river on *4-5"minnows *cheesebaits *crawlers.

Kankakee River State Park: Good for rock bass in creek mouths *bridge piers *islands
(where reachable)on rubber spiders *minnows *nightcrawlers *redworms.

Wilmington Area same as above from Dam through Island Park Area.


The access at Morris Wetlands is open for fishermen at the mouth.


Guide Bill Stoeger said high cold water has slowed things. White bass are in the river, if we get a couple warm days in a row, it will trigger the white bass.



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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on April 25, 2012 5:42 AM.

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