Chicago Sun-Times
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Midwest Fishing Report: Rivers around Chicago fishing

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Low water (in most areas), reopening of the Indiana streams and summer patterns lead this rivers section of the Midwest Fishing Report.

BTW, Ed Mullady has a nifty little tip for this time of year. He had it for the Kankakee River, but it applies more broadly.

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 a general overview of nearby river conditions, click here. Everything is near normal or low.

To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, click here.


Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass sent this:

Chicago river fishing report Bike week 2012 ; South branch, big catfish/carp hitting stink bait at boat ramp and Origins park .Main stem; Bass hitting drop shot at State street (south bank) Ogden slip very good bass bite on Mr. Twisters/drop shot.


Marcus Benesch sent this:

River levels are very low in the north sections of Cook County. Slow current has created lake like conditions bringing out Large Mouth Bass and Blue Gill to roam more water in good numbers. Caught 3 Large Mouth Bass in River Grove and a handful of small Blue gills all on a Rooster Tail in 90 minutes Sunday afternoon. First time in a while I had an outing with out getting into any Northern Pike. South of Hoffman Dam Channel Cats are really waking up and they can be had on inline spinners and spoons or live bait. The channel cats seem to be hanging in current, riffles, or under the Dams.


Alex Kiscellus sent this:

Here's the link to my most recent WCF post that goes in greater detail on one of my most successful happy hours in recent memory:
                Hot & humid weather & stable, albeit, very low water levels have kept my preferred tactics verbatim to last week's report.  Though we did receive a little rain over the weekend up my way, it was far from a drought buster & a fraction compared to the deluge they saw much further south.  Levels had dropped even lower & the rain merely restored the flow to exactly where it was at this time last week.  As I previously stated, my hot streak continued this past week as I experienced the finest topwater bite on the river I can ever remember, landing around 15 fish in a 25-30 minute stretch one warm evening last week during happy hour.  The average size has been all over the place as the smaller females & pig females are eating side by side.
                Locating feeding fish in & adjacent to what current is available is key to success right now.  Late afternoon to early evening has me still getting most bites on the deeper side of mid-river gravel bars on aggressively fished medium diving crankbaits.  Overall fish activity remains high as I even nabbed a MONSTER carp that inhaled my KVD flatbill crank straight up inches away from where I stuck that nice Kitty last week --- not what I was targeting, but a 15 minute battle on lighter gear is hard to not get excited about.  As the sun drops towards the horizon, I have been focusing my efforts on my favorite bar that I have written about before, which sits below a long, shallow riffle that is as oxygen rich as I can find nowadays.  Started happy hour nailing three quick ones on the crank before switching up to a Skitter Pop & that's when things got out of hand.  Had a hook-up or blow-up on almost every cast for the next 30 minutes, highlighted by a true River Fatty that went a little over 19" with signs of obesity setting in.  The pace of my rip & pop retrieve was once again frantic, but I even had a few hits while my bait sat motionless as I swatted at the drones of insects swarming around me, including the biggest of the evening.  Every time I told myself "last cast" as darkness drew closer, I would get another fish or another blow-up that I couldn't resist throwing back at, finally calling it quits as I landed a very green 15" smallie, knowing full well I could've probably stayed until midnight catching fish.
                It would appear my glass slipper still fits, but I'll be pressing my luck again later this week to see if the carriage has turned back to a pumpkin.  With this heat & low water, I would advise would be anglers to limit their outings to very early & very late in the day focusing on topwater & aggressively fished cranks until the fish begin telling me otherwise. 
                By the way, I still haven't mowed the lawn...


River rose 3 feet with the influx of water from the Kankakee's rise, but still only came to near normal pool and is dropping again. Time on the Water Outdoors reported catfish are the top bite on cheesebait, cut bait or crawlers in the deep holes.


The closed portions reopened on Saturday and just in time for steelhead to start arriving and being caught Monday and Sunday, according to Mik-Lurch. Not sure what impact the dryness will have.


Considering parts of Kankakee County received more than 7 inches of rain Saturday night, the river is dropping back rapidly. I suspect many of the usual spots will be wadeable by the weekend.

Norm Minas sent this Tuesday night:

The rain over the weekend saw the flow rates on the river increase 10 times in less than 24 hours. Of course it hadn't been so low, so early since the late 80's. Two days later the level has fallen to half of what is was Sunday. It's just a little over normal flow for this time of year. The river is still very murky, no debris really flowing except some weed pieces. I didn't bother with water temps today.

Just as the water is dropping quickly, so the fish are moving off the shoreline slack stuff and back to the usual haunts. Today was crankbaits all day, Bandit 200's and 300's mostly quarter cast up and downstream. I also mixed in some straight upstream retrieves. The most successful method was stop and go, most hits after starting up again.

The fish were on midstream humps, on channel edges, riffle areas inflows[out toward the end of the confluence] and bridge pilings. It took some careful wading and longer casts than I like to make to reach some of the areas.

I did try a jig/plastic but all that got me was three clams so I quit that.

Not a bad day 19 smallmouth, a few really good ones, mostly medium sized fish.

I had one dude tell me I shouldn't leave fish to find fish. I told him that if I could find these fish, I should be able to find others. You have to believe in your abilities

If it keeps dropping like this, should be in good shape for the weekend.

Ed Mullady sent this:

The Kankakee River has considerably more water running through it right now.  Fishing:
       Greenwood Bait, Toto Rd. reports: Smallmouth Bass good around 10-mile road *minnows *plastic worms *live jig and crawlers .minnows
*Catfish good using 3" to 5" minnows *goldfish and cut bait,
        Smallmouth Bass  around Lake Alexander RV Park, Glorydale through Momence IL *Aroma Park area *River Road Park through Cobb Park *Johnson's Veteran Fisherman's Park, Kankakee through Rock Creek mouth *Wilmington Dam through DesPlaines F&W Area. Best on *minnows *crawfish *#2 or #3 Mepps Silver Blade spinners *Weedless Doctor Spoons *Mr. Twister Keeper Hooks & Double Twisters.
         Walleye fair and northern pike fair throughout river systems.
          Rock Bass very good on *2-3"minnows *redworms *#2 Mepps spinner *fly rod poppers *streamers.

-----Many parts of  the Kankakee River have overhanging trees from the shore out over the river. Fish of all kinds like to stay under this cover. This is especially true when the shoreline holds insects and minnows among the intertwined roots, as well as frogs and a few crawfish! Good places to find Kankakee River fish!------


There is access at Morris Wetlands at the mouth.



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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on June 20, 2012 6:40 AM.

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