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Midwest Fishing Report: Chicago fishing/rivers

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As I type this rivers section of the Midwest Fishing Report, most of our rivers are in good shape with better flows from recent rains; the trick will be areas with locally heavier rains.

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 was posted earlier.

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 levels on the Des Plaines have been fairly steady. Great flow rate for a kayak or canoe float. Even with water temps slightly dropping, Northern Pike continue to be aggressive on just about any hard flashing artificial bait out there. Fished with a four inch husky jerk all week in hopes of finding a larger fish, but more of the same results, small to medium pike, biggest being 26 inches, smaller ones around 12 inches. Even the hammer handle size pike are not intimidated by a larger bait. Plant life along shore is really coming to life, pleasantly it is still too chilly for the mosquitoes. I think we can all wait for their return.

Nick Doumel of the sent this:
I made it out to the river this past weekend in search of slower moving water and was rewarded with the best 4 hour fishing outings I've had in a long time. Largemouth were in shallow and chasing small crayfish and leech patterns. Two of those bass were definitely prespawn and full of eggs. Carp were also readily sucking in the same smaller patterns making for fantastic fun on the river.


Sam Bennett sent this:

It's been a frustrating week. I went on a long wade Saturday and hit a lot of different types of water, but got the ol' skunk. I haven't been able to find a fish. I've heard reports of others getting a few here and there, but the bite has been slow.

This week's warm rain should shoot the water temps up quickly. I'll start flatheading in earnest very soon. I'll still be fishing smallies, but for all intents and purposes, once flatcat season begins that's my primary target.

There's been some conspiratorial talk about 5/5, which is a full moon, and what that will bring. I have no clue, but I will be fishing.

I think Sam will get his wish about flathead fishing beginning in earnest.


Time on the Water Outdoors reported white bass beginning at the creek mouths and flats. This should be the week for white bass on the river.


Norm Minas sent this:

the river remains well under normal flow rates, water temps dipping below 55 degrees. There was about a foot of visibility before the rains came, emergent vegetation coming up, water willow shoots short and green and a lot of algae remaining on the bottom. Weather varied from overcast to rain, windy, and cool.

There still has been no sign of bass spawning activity in the river or it's tributaries. There are catfish and some walleye coming to hand on jig/plastics. The smallmouth are mostly relating to current seams and riffle areas with feeding forays onto the flats. Topwaters have produced about a third of the bass landed. Wake baits have accounted for a handful but rattlebaits have been the most successful option.
When feeding on the flats some of the better quality fish have shown an affinity for the emergent vegetation.

One of the days out there, I ran into a fisherman who is pretty good and he related that in line spinners such as Mepps and Vibrax were working well for him. I think any lure that can be presented above the algae on the bottom would be a viable option.

Ed Mullady sent this:

Catfish catching continues in both Indiana and Illinois. Especially good before sunrise and from near sunset into the night! Some also in daylight. Best on 3 o 5 inch minnows *nightcrawlers *cheesebaits *chicken liver.
Northern Pike fishing good in the Kankakee, esp. along shorelines, in- water trees, at mouths of *ditches *creeks*bayous on 4 to 5" minnows * weedless Doctor Spoons *No.5 Spinners.
Largemouth Bass good in Indiana along the 10 mile road.
Horseshoe Bend in Indiana good for bluegill and croppie. Croppie hitting well along quieter
waters in Illinois as well. Try 3-4"minnows *croppie sliders *smaller spinners *pinkie jigs.


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


From the Wisconsin DNR's Root River Report:

Root River Fishing Report for April 30, 2012
Water and flow conditions
Recent rainfalls have the water at a moderate to dirty water clarity along with water temperatures hovering between 52-54 degrees. Though the water level is still at a fishable level.

For up to date river conditions, check out the USGS web site of stream flow conditions in Wisconsin.
Fishing Information
Upstream of the facility:
About half a dozen anglers were seen fishing for steelhead with a few fish even being landed but success is still low. A few smallmouth bass were being reported caught in some of the deeper holes in the river as well.

Downstream of the facility:
About half a dozen anglers were seen fishing for steelhead over the weekend. Most of the anglers were catching lots of trout but nearly all were below the length minimum of 10 inches. The small brown and rainbow trout were being caught on spawn sacs and leaf worms below a float.


Guide Bill Stoeger said it's been slow around Fremont. Some warm weather could make a difference. Chicagoan Gary Bloom, who fishes Winneconne nearly weekly, said its been slow there, too.



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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on May 2, 2012 9:11 AM.

Fish of the Week: Big brown at Navy Pier was the previous entry in this blog.

Turkey of the Week: Big tom for first is the next entry in this blog.

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