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Midwest Fishing Report: Rivers around Chicago fishing

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Receding waters and a good spring bite lead this rivers section of the Midwest Fishing Report.


Capt. Bob Santangelo of Kankakee River Valley Guide Service latched into some fine topwater action that resulted in a wonderful day, including this smallmouth.

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, and it is late Tuesday not early Wednesday. The lakes section will be posted later.

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


In Fremont, Wis., guide Bill Stoeger said this should be the peak week for white bass; numbers are picking up every day. Best has been jigs and minnows, but spinners and even flies are working. Most fishermen are coming in with dozens or more. Good-sized fish running 12-14 inches on females, 10-12 on males with a few huge ones.


For an overview of nearby river conditions, click here.


Tony Klancnik of Bridgeport Bass reported:

Jeff [Nolan] and I report south branch of the river crappy with the exception of a few crappie caught. Nice large mouth bass caught at Ogden slip and by the locks. with drop shots and noodle worms.


Marcus Benesch of River Grove sent this report:

Dam No. 2-  Pike are biting 20 yards under the dam behind current breaks.  Dan Kiska reported a photo of a healthy 33inch northern pike from that section during the weekend rains.  Downtown Des Plaines- Large schools of baitfish hanging out in creek mouths and slack water,  northern pike and carp were had in good numbers all through the week here.  Also Rock Bass seemed to have ended there spawn and have been active as well giving us anglers an occasional surprise in the northern half of the river.


Sam Bennett sent this:

I did well for smallmouth in the high water fishing boulders close to the shoreline and slow spots adjacent to rock walls. Anything that provided a decent current break seemed to hold fish on the slow side. As the water recedes this week I'll be looking for fish to spread out and hold to current again, depending on how fast the water drops. It may take another week. The spawn has probably started. I'm no expert, but I did pull a post-spawn fish. With fish going off of the beds there should be great opportunity to find feeding fish. Flatheading has been slow. We're still blanked since the first fish in March, although there have been reports of catches from shore. We're really just getting started. It's up to the fish to get moving and feeding. I did manage to pick up an accidental flattie on a crankbait while going for smallmouth. Beautiful fish, but about 20 lbs. shy of picture-worthy:


River is dropping off flood stage. Catfish are the surest bite.


Norm Minas sent this:

The water levels have come down but I still wouldn't advise wading. The current is still flowing to hard to be safe. Forget visibility as well.
 There are still a lot of fish relating to shoreline features so that folks that are willing to do a lot of walking thru the brush and such can still got on fish. There is no need to cast halfway across the river, most of the time a quick underhand pitch or flip will do. Cover the area from the shore to the first seam. With a lot of the grasses and brush still under water and fish holding in waterwillow stubble, spinnerbaits, jigs and tubes are the way to go for smallmouth. For channel cats, I'd drift cut bait either under a float or on a split shot rig. Gar are still a good option for those that like teeth.
 I went out after dinner for an hour or so after grilling up some chicken for the family because my wife said I stunk of charcoal. I am smart enough not to argue with her. It turned out to be a better wildlife viewing opportunity than fishing. I got a handful of bass on a spinnerbait but quit fishing to watch a family of beavers dealing with the high water. Very entertaining, it was one of the few times I wished I had a video camera with me. I also saw about a dozen turkeys, a couple coyotes and a skunk. I gave the skunk a lot of leeway as I didn't feel up to possibly sleeping on the porch..
 Other than that, it's been the usual highwater type fishing lately.

Ed Mullady sent this:

Kankakee River is turning clearer and at a good fishing condition.
        Catfishing good in both IN and IL. IN: at the Point, north of English Lake *Grand Kankakee Marsh. In Illinois: Good State Line through Momence * Johnson Fisherman's Park in Kankakee down to Kankakee River State Park *Wilmington Area. Good on 3" to 5" minnows *chicken liver *cheesebaits.  Some caught on artificial spinners!
        Pike good in IN around Kingsbury F&W through Rt. 39 &8 In IL: Quieter areas State Line
thru Momence * Mouth of Iroquois River downstream through Johnson's Fisherman's Park.
Good baits are: *Mepps #5 Spinners *4-6" minnows *Weedless Doctor Spoons *Jointed minnow plugs.
        Walleye Fair throughout with early morning and late evening fishing on *jig and minnow
*jig and crawler * Jointed plugs shaped like minnows *Yellow bucktails.
        Rock Bass, Croppie good...mostly around in water tree roots *in-water tree roots.

Santangelo sent this with the photo at the top today:

Two twenties and This twenty-one inch pig with a 15.75 inch girth all in the same day! Along with 18 another fish all caught on top Water. I also capture it all on video as it unfolded on Kankakee River.


There is access at Morris Wetlands at the mouth.


No new Wisconsin DNR's Root River Report. Maybe later this week.



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On Sunday, the creeks feeding the Fox didn't come down so much, but did clear up. Pretty much devoid of fish, but thousands of bass fry hanging around the edges in the slack water. Got pictures, might put them up at some point.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on May 15, 2012 9:53 PM.

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