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Midwest Fishing Report: Rivers around Chicago fishing

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The big question for this rivers section of the Midwest Fishing is whether or not the remnants of Hurricane Isaac will impact the weekend or not.

I don't know the answer to that, but God do I love watching weather, live, video or photos, I don't care.

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, posted a big earlier than usual because I plan to be on the water by daybreak or near to it tomorrow. The lakes section will be posted later.

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


The best news continues to come out of the Indiana streams for steelhead and even a handful of Chinook.

Mik-Lurch reported Trail Creek and Deep River as the best; but there are fish up Salt and the Little Cal, too. Should make for a good holiday weekend.


For a general overview of nearby river conditions, click here.

To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, click here. Depending what the remnants of Isaac do, it might be good to be checking these.


Marcus Benesch sent this:

The weekends rain filled up the river nicely in Cook County and more so in the south ,  most of the northern stretches in Lake County received little or no rain at all. 
    Rockdale- Channel Cats have been aggressive early in the afternoon till dusk.  Best baits have been minnows and night crawlers.  Large mouth bass and the occasional small mouth still chasing small cranks and spinners in deeper pools between and along current seams.   
     River Grove-  River crested late Sunday night/early Monday morning after Sundays rain.  Being as low as the river was, the rain did not cause any flooding along the river or on the trails.  Viaducts in Chicago, that's a whole other story.
   The Northern Pike have had more fight with cooler temps in the evenings as of late.  There is a pike or two in almost ever lay down in this section.  Seem to be having better luck with bright buck tails and three inch or larger cranks.


Ken Gortowski sent this:

It was like flushing the toilet. In less than 24 hours, the Fox River went from just under 300 cubic feet per second, to 1800 and back down to 425. Took a good chunk of all that matted algae/weeds and dumped it on all the gravel bars. Lot less to clean off the hook today.

Fishing wasn't bad either. 20 smallies from dinks to 16 inches in about 3 hours, but missed double that. I kind of get in a zone and don't really care or pay much attention to setting the hook. Getting the hits was good enough. Proved to me in the stretch that I fished well below Montgomery that the fish liked all the fresh water. The big ones were sitting in the fastest water and the dinks were all over the place.

The water did look good. Had about 12 inches of clarity, which surprised me. I thought it would be a lot muddier.

Father upstream, Sam Bennett sent this report:

Flatheads are going good. I wrote up an experiential piece for Fox River Fishing.

Smallmouth have been quite good, as long as you can find a stretch to fish. I've gotten out mostly before first light or at noon on week days. Can't say one works better than the other. Weeds are still a big problem in lots of areas. That acts to concentrate the fisherman in the open spots. Anything shad shaped continues to produce. In fact, I retired a Rapala Shallow Rap last week. It finally got beat up so badly that the throughwire pulled out. I purchased it in July. That's the best illustration I can give you of how the bite has been for me.

BTW, click here for Sam Bennett's ``Getting Started Guide'' for folks who are new to the Fox or river fishing in general.


Around Spring Valley, Time on the Water Outdoors reported catfish the best bite, but some white bass are now being caught around the mouth of Big Vermilion. Launches, levels and clarity are OK to good.


River has been up and down with the rains, but still remains very low.

Ed Mullady sent this:

This weekend should be a good time to catch some Kankakee River fish!
   *SMALLMOUTH BASS....Improved! Good in Indiana at edges of fairly good moving  water in ditches *logs along river
banks, bridge piers. Good areas include Grand Marsh park area *Rt. 55 shorelines through LaSalle F&W river areas. Some good baits:Mepps #3 Aglia Spinners *Jig and minnows*Weedless Doctor Spoons
    ILLINOIS: State Line through Momence also improved  around any river bend *areas similar to those on the Indiana side. Try any rocky areas *. Edges and pockets in weedbeds. Also catches made in  Aroma Park location  through Cobb Park in Kankakee,IL* Kankakee, IL Dam through Johnson's  Veterans-Fisherman's Park *Kankakee River State Park *Wilmington Dam on downstream. All baits listed above
work good in Illinois, and add fly rod streamers *plastic frogs.
NORTHERN PIKE: Fair to Good now. Good time is early morning or from 4 pm until dark. A few good places include: *INDIANA; Point area north of English Lake (Town) *RT. 39 &8 *Thayer to IL State Line.
ILLINOIS In-water trees, weeds from state line through Momence *Mouth of Iroquois River through Cobb
Park *Some around Wilmington Island area.
Good baits: 4-6" minnows *Weedless Dr. Spoons *Jointed minnow artificials*Spinnerbaits.*4-6" live minnows *Double Blade Spinnerbaits.
WALLEYE: Slow right now. Best times from before sun shows in the east and from late evening into the
night.  Some best places: INDIANA: Grand Marsh Park * Rt. 49 to Davis Ditch *RT. 41 THRU TO IL STATE LINE.   ILLINOIS: *Yellowbanks to Glorydale *Remains old Aroma Park Dam *Kankakee Dam thru Soldier Creek *Islands along Kankakee River State Park *Wilmington Dam through Rt. 55 bridge. Good on
*Jig and Minnow *Rattlin' Rogues *Jig and nightcrawler *jointed plugs *Weedless Doctor Spoons.
LARGEMOUTH BASS: Fair IN QUIETER AREAS in both IN and Ill with enough movement for quiet shorelines.. Good baits include *top water baits *snagpruf Frog *Weedless Dr. Spoons *minnows.
CROPPIE, BLUEGILL  * INDIANA:Good in  at Miller's River Bend *Kankakee F&W*Ditches going into  Grand Kankakee Marsh Park *Any on or off bayous where fishing allowed. ILLINOIS: At Momence:* Try Yelllowbanks thru Glorydale *Lake Alexander RV Park*Kankakee River State Park *Wilmington areas.
ROCK BASS: Good in most locations along shorelines, even up in fairly fast moving ditches, creeks. Good
on *worms *spinners *small minnows *rubber or plastic spiders while fly fishing.
CATFISH: Good: iN BOTH I.NDIANA AND ILLINOIS throughout river, esp. good at dark. Cheese baits *live
minnows *chicken liver * nightcrawlers.
   Note that in some places river is too shallow for boats. Much fishing is being done fishing from the
shore. Some who know area, use Kayak or Canoe, Many .fish being caught by those who fish from the
shore .
                     Best to you from Ed Mullady, Sportsman's Letter

Norm Minas sent this:

There are times when you fish so much that the trips all start to blur together. Especially when the conditions, types of water fished and techniques are pretty much the same every trip. The recent rains and the flow rate jumping up and down like spit on a griddle really didn't make that much difference in the long run. The only difference is a slight one, with the lessening of the photo period the fish are starting to ease out of their summer patterns. If you pay attention other signs of the changes are there as well. There were a lot of leaves down after the last round of wind and rain, the aggregations of geese are getting larger and the birds at the feeders are really starting to pig out. The days growing shorter and the evenings somewhat cooler are also easy signs to spot. It won't be long before the sunflower patches are calling in the doves and the squirrels and the deer are feeding on the acorns.
 I guess I should talk a little about fishing while I'm at it. Today was not the day for more aggressive techniques, at least for me and where I was fishing. That is unless you want to count all the green stuff both single and multi celled I cleaned off the lures. Total weight would have put me in the to money in any tourney.
 The only technique that worked for me today was swimming a 1/0 weighted keeper hook with an Eire Darter just off the bottom above the algae. I was fishing channel areas and the associated flats. Not many big fish but a lot of the 12to 15 inch sized smalmouth that is the most prevalent size range. When I ran into the more numerous groups of fish the hits were much more pronounced due to the competition for food. When I found the solitary or very small groups the take was extremely light.
 Back at it again tomorrow and the day after and the day after that and after that..........................................................

I don't know what to say to that, except I expect it is true.


There is access at Morris Wetlands at the mouth.


Some rain arrived earlier this week, so that might help. Otherwise, Tyler Harmon messaged that it is the same as last week:

A few summer steelhead have started to come up the rivers. Low water and still over all high river temperatures have made catching them a task in its own. I have seen very few fish hooked, let alone landed.


River's Edge crappie (all day) and smallmouth (mornings and evenings) and some walleye trolling at the dam; water is little low.



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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on August 28, 2012 7:33 PM.

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