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Midwest Fishing Report: Rivers section

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Things settled back into more of a spring pattern, though without all the usual excess water, for this Midwest Fishing Report.


Chris Giglio caught and released this 25-inch walleye on the Des Plaines River, one of the good fish caught in recent weeks from our rivers.

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.


Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass sent this Tuesday night:

Chicago river fishing report: South branch very good large mouth numbers in the 10--13 inch range on small cranks , Main stem Bass Small and large mouth slamming Dragon baits noodle worm on drop shot near chump tower discharge, Ogden slip; tried for bass but could not keep the crappie off my line (a few large mouth) Tuesday was a fantastic day with 35+bass

I love that chump tower reference. I had a lot of history at the building that was there before the tower.


Chris Giglio's dad Jim gave these details on Chris' catch: 3/29/12 Crankbait { flicker shad } on point in 12' of water within I/2 mile of I-80


From the upper end, Sam Bennett sent this:

I've been down in Dixie for the last ten days, but did manage to get out last night for a short trip. Hopefully someone who's been on the water more than myself will chime in as well.

Water temps are down to 53 and the flow has subsided since my last report. I would classify the river as wadeable in most spots. The smallmouth seem to have scattered out a bit. I managed two small fish on boulders at current edges with a floating Rapala.

Adam Micaletti sent this for downstream:

Conditions as of 3/30/12
Usgs 11.80
1810 cfs
Water temps in the low 50's
Visibility 6" at best

I was able to wade 3 times this week for about an hour each after work and fishing was mediocre at best. I was only able to catch 2 to 3 fish per outing. I worked a mighty bug jig with twister most of the time and that's the only thing that drew hits for me. Cranks, spinners, and more fast presentations were not making the fish budge for me. Slow working jigs and bouncing the bottom was the only chance of enticing a bite. Long pauses were also the key for the hits I did get. Any slow moving water around dead falls, wing dams, and large boulders is where I found bites. The faster the water was not the area to fish this week as where last week that's where the big bite was a good opportunity. My last outing of the week was at a favorite spot of mine. As I pulled up to park low and behold it a Ken G sighting. He had just finished up on his wade. Had my fingers crossed that he would tell me he had worked up and not down river but I was not so lucky. He told me he had tagged all the fish on that shore and hard headed me figured ill go nab all the hits he missed. Well that didn't pan out to well for me only catching 2 fish from piled up timber that happened to be the only part of the stretch he did not bother to pick apart. I know he had success landing 5 or so fish and missing a few more than he caught. With the flow of the river dropping I am looking forward to next week and being able to access some more areas if rain does not kill that idea.


Time on the Water Outdoors reported most sauger fishermen are heading downstream from Spring Valley. White bass are hit and miss, with the cool down I would expect that to remain that way.


Norm Minas sent this:

river still dropping, water temps in mid 50's . one trip every fish was tight to cover and not chasing. I had to put the jig/plastic as tight as possible to cover, let it sit, jiggle a little and set the hook at a mush feeling. 7 smallmouth and 1 rock bass. another trip the smallmouth were on current seams taking crank baits and jig/pig. also made a trip to some backwaters, got a couple pike on single spins.

Ed Mullady sent this:

River somewhat low with fishing going well.
In Indiana, Northern Pike continue good around ditch and bayou mouths on *jig and large
minnow *weedless Doctor Spoons *Big Spinners.
Walleye fair in same areas near pike on *jig and minnow *jointed minnow shaped plugs *weedless bright Doctor Spoons.
Catfish in low light hours on *big minnows *nightcrawlers *cheesebaits.
Good fishing for all above around Kankakee F&W Area *Point, north of English Lake
*Grand Kankakee Marsh Area *LaSalle F&W.

Illinois: Pike good around Momence to State Line *Aroma Park area *Kankakee Dam thru
Johnson fisherman's Park. Wilmington Dam through Island Park.
Walleye fair *east of Momence *Kankakee Dam through Soldier Creek *Wilmington Dam
down to Des Plaines Area.
Catfish good throughout river.
Croppie improving along shorelines *islands *creek mouths on *pinkie jigs *small spinners
*small spoon with pork strip.
All Baits working in Illinois part as shown in Indiana. Parts of Illinois section reported with
problems of getting around algae floating down. A good rain should help!
All fishermen should check state regulations on limits, sizes and other fishing laws to be
sure they are correct in 'catching", "keeping" "not keeping", etc.


From the Wisconsin DNR's Root River Report:

Water and flow conditions
Clearing water and steadying flow rates had the river at a very fishable level. Water temperatures had dropped into the 45-48 degree range.

For up to date river conditions, check out the USGS web site of stream flow conditions . . . in Wisconsin.
Fishing Information
Upstream of the facility:
Lots of anglers, approximately 20, fished this area hard but didn't have near the amount of success that they were having in the past days and weeks. However, fish were still being caught on smaller flies and floating spawn sacs.

Downstream of the facility:
Not as many anglers were fishing this stretch of the river, numbering only around 10 on the weekends. The success rate of the anglers was very slow as well with very few fish being caught. However using smaller flies and spawn sacs seemed increase the odds of landing a fish.


Tyler Harmon messaged that ``steelhead are about done now, headed back out to the big lake or finishing up spawning. Suckers are still running good.''


Last week, guide Pete Riedesel said he found white bass going. Cold weather will likely set that back.


Guide Bill Stoeger said there was still a few walleye coming down river, they are coming out of the marshes. Fishing slowed with cooler water. ``I think all the people who planned their white bass fishing for May will have it work out,'' he said. A couple weeks ago, it looked like the white bass run would be a month early.



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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on April 4, 2012 5:46 AM.

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