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Midwest Fishing Report: Rivers and lakes of Chicago fishing

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Shoreline salmon again lead the Midwest Fishing Report, and we have the closing dates for the cooling lakes, crappie on the Wolf River and pike on the Des Plaines River.


This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears on the Sun-Times outdoors page on Wednesdays. I think until next spring I will go back to combining the rivers and lakes sections again.

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


CHICAGO: Mike Repa at Park Bait said at least nine kings (four on the Montrose, horseshoe, four at Belmont and one at the Montrose mouth) were caught Tuesday morning; spoons and crankbaits are working. Henry's reported fish being seen in all the harbors, decent catches at Montrose, Burnham and 63rd.

WAUKEGAN: Capt. Augie Ralph of the Salmon Stop said shore fishermen were catching kings off the pier with bodybaits (jointed Rapalas, ThunderSticks or Rat-l-traps) or smaller spoons; fishermen using smelt strips, squid or spawn are picking up an occasional brown. Shallow boaters are using classics (Rapalas or J-plugs).

NORTHWEST INDIANA: Mike Starcevich at Mik-Lurch reported casters (Frenzies are best) outcatching trollers, best in front of the Ditch, but also good in the shipping channel, at the Hole-in-the-Wall, some at Hammond Marina, East Chicago Marina and at Buffington.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN: Arden Katz reported good shore and boat fishing at Milwaukee. He fished Rat-l-traps while his buddy caught three on consecutive casts with a Red Eye Shad. The Wisconsin DNR reported Chinook being caught off the north and south piers at Racine in pre-dawn hours using glow spoons; a few browns on spoons mornings and evenings.

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN: Tyler Harmon messaged that fish are moving in the rivers in good numbers; he expects a good week.


More crappie fishermen are out. This is a good time to fish local ponds and lakes, the fishing is picking up and far fewer try this time of the year than in the summer.


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

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


For guide Mike Norton's report, go to, then click on fishing, then lake report.


From licensed guide and trapper Phil Schweik and guide Glenn Moberg of Hooksetters Guide Service:

(Head):  Musky, walleye, crappie, smallmouth and catfish all hitting well,
with bear and archery deer season both providing good hunting action; all in
and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin¹s Marathon and
Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau).

Cooler temperatures has fishing in the central Wisconsin area heating up.
Musky action has picked up and we are seeing a lot of really nice fish
coming on jerk baits like Reef Hawgs and Suicks.  Now that the water is
cooler we are also seeing some guys starting to use suckers.  When it comes
to running suckers, run one close behind the boat, set below a slip bobber
about 3 to 5 feet down.  The second sucker line is a free running flat line
that has no bobber on it, and is set out about 25 to 50 feet behind the
boat.  More times than not this is the one that gets a hit.

For those targeting walleyes in the central Wisconsin area, now is the time
to start looking at the deeper pools in the main Wisconsin River section and
low current areas.  Deeper pools in 12 to 16 feet of water and back water
eddies are holding the majority of the fish right now, and they can be
targeted by simply using 1/8 or 1/4 ounce jigs tipped with fathead minnows.
With the stained root beer colored water in the Wisconsin River system, the
best colors we have found for jigs are orange, chartreuse and pink.

The crappie bite in the central Wisconsin area is very good.  We are
catching a lot of very nice fish suspended 3 to 5 feet down over anywhere
from 8 to 165 feet of water.  These are not your typical 8 inch crappies,
either.  These are the 12 to 14 inch slabs that are suspended in the water
column feeding on schools of bait fish.  To target these crappies we are
using slip bobbers and suspending our baits in front of the fish at the
appropriate depth.  Most of the time our baits consist of 1/16 and 1/32
ounce jigs in pink, or white, tipped with either a small plastic like a
Mini-Mite or a lively crappie minnow.

The action for smallmouth bass in the central Wisconsin area has really
taken off.  With the cooler water temps these fish are searching out and
locating submerged rock humps and rocky riprap shorelines.  These areas are
especially good in the afternoon periods once the sun has been out all day
and has heated up the water surrounding the rocks.  We are casting crank
baits in and around these rocky areas and picking off feeding smalls.

Another species of fish we've been seeing consistent action from in the
central Wisconsin area is catfish.  A lot of these fish are coming while we
are targeting walleyes in the deeper pools.  If you're going to specifically
target catfish try running flat lines rigged up with either a small sucker
minnow or a smelly chicken liver.  The nice things is if you're using the
small sucker minnows you may pick up some decent walleyes as well.


Arden Katz reported fair walleye on Monday in 11-12 feet off points of Lake Marie, white bass and crappie mixed in; and good bluegill shallow on Catherine. Triangle staff reported white bass are stronger, drift in 10-12 feet. Walleye are improving with cooler weather, transitioning to minnows. Bass improved for numbers in shallow. Muskie bite is just beginning to step up.

For more reports, see

More Chain info at


MAZONIA/BRAIDWOOD: Final day of fishing is Oct. 9; however, Monster Lake at Mazonia South remains open year round. Braidwood is still 84 degrees on the south end, 80 on the north, according to site staff.

HEIDECKE: Final day of fishing is Oct. 9.

LaSALLE: Final day of fishing is Oct. 14. In October, the lake is open Wednesday through Sunday (6 a.m. to sunset).


DELAVAN: Guide Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake 9/24/12 through 10/1/12
The water temperature has been dropping rapidly causing the fish to be in a transition period. They could be deep or shallow at this point depending on the day. They will all be shallow as the water temp continues to drop. The fishing will probably be spotty until the lake turnover. The fish have switched from nightcrawlers and worms and are now biting on minnows. After the lake turns over, crank baits will be the primary presentation. One of the keys to success this time of year is to make sure you are fishing in live green weeds. The fish don't associate with the dying weeds.
Largemouth bass have been biting on medium suckers and extra large fat heads. The fish are in 12-13 ft of water in scattered weeds. The best location has been by Viewcrest or by the Yacht Club. If there isn't a lot of wind, fishing has been okay, with wind it gets mighty tough to present the bait.
Bluegill fishing has been average. Most of the fish are in the 30-40 ft depth range, suspended 10 ft off bottom. The best approach has been a split shot and an ice jig fished straight beneath the boat. Look for the fish by Willow Point or by the Yacht Club.
Walleye fishing has been spotty. Most of the fish are being caught at dusk or dawn. The best location has been by the Yacht Club or by the Marina on the north shore. The best depth has been 22-26 ft of water. The best bait has been extra large fat heads fished on a lindy rig. You want to fish the lindy rig with at least a 24 inch leader, a lot of times I've been going up to 36 inches. You want to slowing back troll into the wind.
Northern Pike action has started to pick up. The fish are in the weed flats in 12-15 ft of water. The best approach has been Thill slip bobbers with medium suckers. The best location has been the buoy line on the west end or by Assembly park.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
Daily Reports
9/23/12 Delavan Lake, sunny, 40 degrees, winds were switching from west to north at 15 mph.  Water temp 63 degrees.  Caught 7 largemouth bass, the biggest was 18 inches and 1- 20" smallmouth.  With the cooler water, all the fish were caught on split shot rigged extra large fat head minnows.  I caught most of the fish by 3 flags and by the Yacht Club.  No fish were caught on medium suckers or nightcrawlers.
9/22/12 Lake Geneva, cloudy, 50 degrees, NW winds at 25 mph.  Water temp 65 degrees.  Caught 7 largemouth bass and 3 smallmouth plus a load of rock bass and bluegills.  Due to the inclement weather, the guide party canceled, I went out for a couple hours anyway.  Most of the fish were caught in 13-20 ft of water.  The water temperature is such that the fish are still biting on nightcrawlers fished on a split shot rig.  The best location was Elgin Club or Belvidere Park.
9/20/12 Delavan Lake, sunny, 65 degrees, west winds at 15-20 mph.  Water temp 65 degrees.  Caught 8 largemouth bass, 2 were legal, and 15 bluegills.  Again, the wind was a big issue.  Most of the fish were caught 12-13 ft of water.  Nightcrawlers worked the best but lindy rigged medium suckers also produced.  The best location was by Viewcrest or the Yacht club.
9/19/12 Delavan Lake, sunny, 65 degrees, winds W at 30-40 mph.  Water temp 66 degrees.  Caught 1 - 6 lb Largemouth bass and a few pan fish.  Due to the wind, most of the lake was un-fishable.  The fish were caught in 6-7 ft of water.

GENEVA: Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 9/24/12 through 10/1/12
Recently with the high winds and cooler temperatures the fishing pressure on Lake Geneva has been almost non-existent. Remember that Lake Trout fishing concludes at the end of September until winter.
Lake Trout have been biting in 70-100 ft of water. They are being caught vertical jigging large Swedish pimples or Buzz Bombs. Chartreuse or chrome have been producing the most. Look for the fish by Yerkes Observatory or by Black Point. The fish are right on bottom.
Largemouth bass have been biting on nightcrawlers on a split shot rig in 13-15 ft of water. Look for the fish by Trinkes or by the Military Academy. I've been slowly drifting with the wind to find the active fish. Most of the fish have been on the small side, but if you keep moving you can catch numbers.
Smallmouth bass have moved shallower. They are now in the 15-17 ft depth range. They are aggressively hitting extra large fat heads, perch that are caught in the lake or nightcrawlers. The best approach has been lindy rigs with a 24 inch leader. I prefer using the smallest walking sinker that you can get away with. My "go to" weight is 1/8 oz.
Yellow perch with the cooling waters have moved shallow. They can be caught by Knollwood, Rainbow Point or Belvidere Park. I prefer anchoring in 10-12 ft of water. You want to use Thill slip bobbers tipped with crappie minnows. Position the bait about 1 ft off bottom. I've been fishing scattered weeds and sand. You will need to sort through a lot of fish to keep the bigger ones, but it is possible to catch a nice limit.
Bluegill fishing has been all right, the fish are starting to move shallow. The best location is by the Military Academy or in Williams Bay. They are biting on bobbers and leaf worms on a single hook. If you aren't catching anything you need to move quite a bit to catch the active fish. Presently with the water temperature, the lake is fishing like it does in late April.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


Marcus Benesch sent this:
Northern Pike are really starting to heat up on the river.  Fall always produces a great bite for pike and it seems it has already begun.  Large minnow type cranks in silver or white are out performing the rest.  Work all fallen trees,  especially the ones creating slack pools.  Landed over 30 pike in two days of river fishing most running between 17-20 inches, with a few around the 25 inch mark.  By far it's been the most productive pike fishing since last fall.


EVERGREEN: Bait shop/boat rental is over for the year. Any updated fishing report from site staff will be posted here.

EMIQUON: One of my regrets is that the year is getting away from me and I have not fished it once. The 2012 permits are available for fishing at Emiquon from Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown.

DOUBLE T SFWA: Larry Dozard of reported Sunday is the final day of fishing.

SNAKEDEN HOLLOW SFWA: Final day of fishing is Oct. 14.

HENNEPIN-HOPPER LAKES: They will be closed again for 2012 as work on common carp removal continues.


Sam Bennett sent this:

I got out twice this week and the fishing was fairly slow. I picked up a handful of smallmouth each outing but only one better fish. From what I've read on the boards that seems to be the general consensus.

Water temps have dropped a bit, probably upper 50s.

I've been finding them in the natural spots, at the head or tails of riffles near deeper water. Deeper being relative in the Fox, of course.

I've been sticking to minnow baits and the occasional jig when it gets really slow.

Ken Gortowski sent this update Tuesday evening:

Got out Tuesday for the last couple hours of daylight and fished a stretch I haven't touched in a decade. Couldn't think of a good reason why I've skipped this half mile stretch.

Wound up going 6/13 and on my catch/self-release scale. Couldn't set a hook to save my life. I expected better, but then I heard years ago that the average smallie catch on the Fox should be 10 fish an hour. I just about did that even if the majority were self released.

I also don't agree with that average. Too many variables to be consistent.

No real pattern tonight. Fast water, slack water and everything in between. Hanging something in the current that looked like a bait fish was the way to go. Nothing seemed all that interested in a chase tonight. They were being lazy and just hitting while the lure was close to standing still.

I'm hoping my time frees up this weekend. Now is the time for a 50 fish day. The fishing window is going to slam shut soon. I'd hate to miss it.

That is a good point, the way the weather is going, the window could close quickly.

He originally sent this report:

The wife is recovering nicely from rotator cuff surgery and insists on doing most things for herself. So, got out for the last hour and a half on Thursday to the stretch of the Fox River below my house. Takes me a whopping two minute walk, but I seem to hardly ever do it. The fishing is always better further away, isn't it?

17 fish were caught and another 21 self released. Odd thing was, only 3 were smallies. The bulk were largemouth. Couple of crappie, a blue gill and a few green sunfish. Based on how the others hit, I doubt if any were smallies. Yes, I can tell the difference. One big crappie that came to the top to throw the hook. That would have been a nice one to land. A certain outdoor writer I know doubts the Fox has the ability to produce a crappie close to 14 inches. All I can say to that is, HA!.

All fish were sitting in areas where there were bait fish dimpling the surface. Lots of fish chasing them down.

I have caught more largemouth out of the river this year than any other year. They are everywhere. Nothing big, but pretty good numbers. Big ones do live in the Fox, biggest I've seen caught was 20 inches, but that seems very rare. The largemouth numbers do make sense. There are areas where there is usually current flowing. Those areas have been cut off this year with the low water to barely a trickle, but the pools of water still get over waist deep. These now slower pools are also loaded with weeds, another result of the lower water levels. Perfect set up for the smallies hillbilly cousins and they have been cooperating. Not quite the fight of a smallie, but they'll do.

A tree across the river from me is a roost for egrets. Well over 20 of them were hanging out. Looked like a Christmas tree. Stood out nicely in the waning light.

I should add a clarification to that crack about a ``certain outdoor writer.'' The one in question was questioning the crappie size being shown during storytelling by one Mr. Gortowski when his hands were 18 inches or more apart in describing said crappie.

BTW, Sam Bennett has a getting started guide for the Fox posted here.


From the Wisconsin DNR fishing report:

Green Bay Fishing Report: September 24, 2012
Brown Co.
Green Bay: Walleye fishing is very slow at all places.
Fox River: In the Fox River, boat fishermen were casting and trolling for Musky; a few were caught.
Suamico: At Suamico, boat fishermen were casting and trolling for Musky, some were caught, but it still a little slow. Shore fishermen were also catching some Bluegill and Perch using minnows and night crawlers.
East Shore
Dropping temperatures and wind made fishing conditions unfavorable on the Bay. Fishing pressure was low again this week across Bayshore Park, Chaudoir's Dock and Sawyer Harbor. Little Sturgeon Bay had a little more activity with fishermen pre-fishing for a Walleye tournament. Water temperatures at Bayshore Park and Chaudoir's Dock was around 64 degrees, while in Sawyer Harbor and in Little Sturgeon Bay it was about 61 degrees.
Bayshore Park: At Bayshore Park, it was very quiet. Only a few fishermen were looking for Walleye, and none were caught.
Chaudoir's Dock: At Chaudoir's Dock, it was quiet. Fishermen were targeting Walleye and Perch. No Perch were caught this week. Only a couple of Walleye were caught and released on crank baits (various colors) in about 20-30 feet of water. Some Sheepshead, Gobies, and White Bass were caught as well.
Sawyer Harbor: In Sawyer Harbor, it was quiet. A few fishermen were targeting Walleye and Smallmouth Bass. Nothing was caught.
Little Sturgeon Bay: On Little Sturgeon Bay, the fishing pressure picked up a little bit. Fishermen were targeting Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, and Musky. Smallmouth Bass numbers were very low this week; they were caught on tube baits (chrome and pumpkin in color). Walleye numbers were very low this week as well. A few were caught on crank baits (perch pattern) and crawler harnesses (chartreuse, pink, blue) in about 18-24 feet of water. Some Northern Pike were also caught. One was kept, measuring at 33 3/4 inches and 10.2 pounds. No Musky were caught. Fishermen were also catching some Gobies, Sheepshead, and Catfish.
Oconto Co.
Low water, wind, rain, and cool temperatures kept fishing pressure extremely low this past week. The boat landing at Pensaukee is closed due to low water levels. The boat launch at the Peshtigo Harbor and at Klingsborn Landing have very low water levels making launching boats very difficult. The boat launch at Little River is high and dry. Bluegill and crappie continue to bite below the dam at Stiles. Fishermen are using worms or minnows, either drifting or in conjunction with a float to catch these fish. A few perch are being caught at Oconto Breakwater Park in the boat slip area using minnows and wax worms. Early morning has been producing the best bite.
Marinette Co.
Low water, wind, rain, and cool temperatures kept fishing pressure extremely low this past week. The boat landing at Pensaukee is closed due to low water levels. The boat launch at the Peshtigo Harbor and at Klingsborn Landing have very low water levels making launching boats very difficult. The boat launch at Little River is high and dry. A few sturgeon are being caught and released by the Hattie Street Dam using crawlers. A few trout and salmon are also being caught from Stephenson Island to the Hattie Street Dam casting spoons and stick baits.


Around Spring Valley, Time on the Water Outdoors reported sauger and walleye much improved, both pulling or jigging. White bass are decent, being caught around rip-rap and creek mouths.


It is worth note the walleye note included by Norm Minas in his report:

the river is still below normal flow, clear, weeds in the usual areas, water temps low to mid 60's. I have split my time between the weedy stretches and the non weedy stretches, bass biting in both. Riffles, channel areas and associated flats still producing. Crankbaits, rattlebaits, spinnerbaits, flukes and jig/plastic all have produced.
 I'd guess the news that many want to hear is that the walleyes have been taking billed minnow baits, tail dancers, minnow shads, wally divers, bomber long a , rogues, etc., on channel edges and associated flats. I have got some really good fish in the mid 20 inch range, biggest lately was 27 inches. If you have any the size 9 rapala tail dancer has been the best lure for me.

Ed Mullady sent this:

Kankakee River Fishing Report:
SMALLMOUTH BASS: Fair in Indiana and Illinois. More "Indian Summer" conditions will probably bring out
more bass fisherman while weather is good.  Try edges of *Bridge Piers *edges of log jams *mouths of ditches, other rivers *below dams and spillways. Good on *jig and minnow *Spinners *streamer flies*Jointed
plugs*weedless Doctor Spoons. 
LARGEMOUTH BASS. Improving throughout river along quieter waters in or near bayous in both Indiana and
Illinois.*live crawlers, live minnows, plastic worms, Spinner Baits.
NORTHERN PIKE: Good,throughout river especially around remaining weedbeds *islands *in-water logs,
underwater shoreline tree roots*mouths of ditches. Good on *4-6" live minnows *minnow shaped plugs *all
types of spinners *Dardevle spoons * Weedless Doctor Spoons;
CATFISH: Continues good with best time being low light hours into the night where possible. Good baits
include *live minnows * chicken liver *catfish cheese baits *raw hamburger. Watch for feeding movement
along shorelines...either right at edge of shoreline or areas 15 or 20' out.
WALLEYE: Slow. Best throughout very early in morning before sunrise *late afternoon into night. Try
around in water logs *shorelines *bridge piers * below dams and spillways. Good on jig and minnow *jig and
crawlers *jointed(or double jointed)plugs shaped like minnows *Weedless Doctor Spoons *Silver spoon
with pork rind strip.
ROCK BASS, BLUEGILL, CROPPIE: All good on smaller minnows *nightcrawlers*redworms*small
spinners *streamer flies*smaller popping bugs *imitation sponge spiders. Try near weedbeds *logs *mouths
of ditches, bayous, rocky areas.
                                                                     Best to you,
                                                                  Ed Mullady


For Ohio DNR report go to and or call (888) HOOKFISH.


For shoreline salmon, see top. Nobody is trying for perch. For deeper salmon and trout, Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters reported slow fishing off Chicago, though there's some lakers and kings around the R4; but he said they are picking up some decent catches off the hill out of North Point. Capt. Augie Ralph of the Salmon Stop at Waukegan said he is setting up in 100 feet, then going out to 150-160 with glow Moonshine spoons (Happy Meal, Bloody Nose), later in the day switching up to things like Hey Baby spoons.

CHICAGO FISHERMAN'S PARKING: The fisherman's parking pass--$10 for two months and available at Henry's Sports & Bait--is needed to park south of the main building at Northerly Island. . . . That's the same pass good for the small fishermen's lots at Burnham and DuSable harbors.

DALEY DERBY: In September, the species are Chinook and perch for the Richard J. Daley Memorial Sport Fishing Derby. Check fish in at Henry's Sports & Bait. Derby runs through September with cash prizes for the heaviest three fish from selected species caught around Chicago each month.


Click here for D&S Bait.


Sunday is the last day for fishing at Morris Wetlands.


EAGLE RIVER: Creative Brilliance sent this report for the Chamber of Commerce on Sunday:

(Head):  Good to excellent action for walleye, northern, and panfish, with a
good bite for musky and smallmouth bass. Archery deer season and duck and
woodcock seasons have opened; all in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.

Water temps have dropped into the low 60s in the Eagle River, Wisconsin
area.  Fishing action has been good to excellent, with the best chances for
success coming on the Eagle River Chain of 28 lakes (largest freshwater
chain of lakes in the world), except for smallmouth bass who are favoring
the deeper, clearer lakes in the Eagle River area.

Walleye in the Eagle River area are locating in 15-30 feet of water off of
break edges.  The walleye are tight to bottom.  Use a jig and a minnow.  All
day bite, with peaks in the evening. Action is good to excellent.

Northern are in 15 feet of water or less in and around weeds in the Eagle
River area.  Use a Husky Jerk in a minnow or walleye pattern, a small
bucktail or a northern sucker under a slip bobber.  The larger northerns
will be deeper, albeit the action will not be as good.  All day bite.
Action is good to excellent.

Panfish (crappies, bluegills and perch) are in 15 feet of water or less off
of weed edges.  The perch are tight to bottom, with the crappies and gills
suspending up and down the water column.  Use a chunk or crawler or a small
crappie minnow under a slip bobber.  All day bite, with action good to

Musky in the Eagle River area are locating in and around weeds in 15 feet of
water or less, or off of break edges.  Use a medium sized bait, with
bucktails, topwaters and crankbaits all working.  Do a standard retrieve,
with a "figure 8" as the lure nears your boat.  Good all day bite, with
peaks early and late.

Smallmouth bass in the Eagle River area are in the deeper, clearer lakes in
10-25 feet of water.  Fish break edges over hardbottom areas (gravel, rocks
and sand).  Use a jig and a minnow, a 3 inch plastic tube, or a plastic
crawfish.  Good all day bite.

(Report for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce based on Creative Brilliance
interviews with Eagle River guides "Muskie Matt" of Wild Eagle Lodge,
"Ranger Rick" Krueger of Guide's Choice Pro Shop, and Mat Hegy).
Contact info for Eagle River:
* Eagle River Chamber of Commerce; 800-359-6315; 715-479-6400; e-mail:; web:
* "Muskie Matt", 715-891-5980; e-mail:
* Mat Hegy, 715-571-7544, e-mail:
* Guide's Choice Pro Shop, guide/owner "Ranger Rick" Krueger 715-477-2248
* George Langley, Eagle River Fishing Guides Association, 715-479-8804.

MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt's Island Sport Shop sent this:

Big cool down this last week with air temps in the low 30's some mornings, water temps dropped drastically and this bodes well for the coming week.
High winds and rain stirred up the water which brought some surface temps down to 50 degrees, though most lakes are holding at about 56-59 degrees.
Smallmouth Bass:  Good.  Holding to deep gravel humps. Targeting sculpin and crayfish. Use heavy jigs (football style) to work rocks with creature baits.
Perch:  Good. Weeds of 7-9' and wood holding perch. Cast 1/16 oz jigs with a ½ crawler or medium fathead. Crayfish tail meat on jig hard to resist.
Bluegills:  Good. Wind kept effort down but anglers working surprisingly shallow weeds (4-6') catching nice gills to 8" using wax worms, pieces of crawler or small leeches. Some crappies and perch mixed in. 
Crappies:  Very Good.  Fish in a variety of locations. Some in weeds as shallow as 5-7' others along deeper weed edges of 14-18' 3-4' off bottom. Deep drowned wood of 9-15' also holding big slabs of 14"+. Slip-bobbers and small to medium fatheads best- though some anglers using mini-mites, 1-2" Gulp Alive Minnows and Charlie Bees have produced nice catches. 
Largemouth Bass:  Good.  Weeds holding fish relating to panfish. Swimbaits, spinnerbaits and shallow running cranks over 5-9' weeds. Jig& pig combos as well as creature baits in thick stuff when not coming to weed tops.
Pike:  Good.  Jigging chubs has produced very well this past week in shallow weedy lakes. Spinnerbaits (Boonies) Chatterbaits and shallow Raps (#7's, #9's) also scoring.
Walleye:  Good, improving.  Cold helped this bite. Fish working deep gravel bars, mud transition zones. Use 1/8-1/4 oz jigs or Lindy style rigs baited with red tail chubs (hard to get) black tailed chubs (hard to get) suckers, big fatheads or even ½ crawlers. Night bite on lighted slips good. Also, in drowned wood on cloudy days in 9-15' of water.
Musky:  Good.  Wind the past week hampered boat control. Cold snap stirring fish to action. Best bets using small jerks, 7" twitch baits and large bladed bucktails. Fairly shallow fish over weeds of 5-9'. Sucker action picking up and should improve during next 2-3 weeks, typically peaking 1st to 2nd week of October. Sucker supplies good so far.
Finally feels like fall. Trees are changing colors quickly. With water temps in 50's some lakes prime for turn-over. This week's high in mid/upper 60's should delay bite. Good time for top water musky before turn-over.


For shoreline salmon, see top. Mik-Lurch reported spinners doing best in Salt, Little Cal and Trail, but shrimp and skein also taking a mixed bag of fish. NOTE: Mik-Lurch is holding a perch round-up (no entry or registration needed) from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. Whoever brings in the largest perch from Lake Michigan picks up $100.


The new Root River Report is going. There was no updated report, probably because we need rain.


Denny Sands at Lakeside reported reported bluegill are the best bite, try along the weed line with bigger ones on the rock piles; muskie are more active; crappie are spotty. For the hybrids, watch for feeding activity: Can be shallow or deep.

Click here for info and reports.


For shoreline salmon, see top.

From the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan report:

Southern Lake Michigan Fishing Report: September 24, 2012
Kenosha Co.
No report.
Racine Co.
Lakefront: Shore anglers were primarily targeting Chinooks from the pier and in the harbor. Chinooks were caught off both the north and south piers in pre-dawn hours using glow spoons. A few brown trout have also been caught using spoons, and those fish have been caught during morning and evening hours. Trollers have had success with dipsey divers and flies along with trolling spoons 30-70 feet down in 50-100 feet of water. Anglers were focusing mainly on Chinooks and browns in shallower water including the river channel, but strong winds and fish being very scattered have kept their success at a minimum.
Root River: Water levels on the Root River came up a bit late last week, but have already dropped back down to very low levels. The water temperature is in the low-60s. There has been very little salmonid activity, however, a few anglers were seen fly fishing for smallmouth bass upstream of the Root River Steelhead Facility, and they were catching some small ones in the deeper holes. The 4th Annual Root River Steelhead Facility Open House will take place on Saturday, October 13 from 9AM - 3PM. At the Open House, DNR staff will provide guided tours and spawning demonstrations. Volunteers from Salmon Unlimited of Wisconsin will conduct Lake Michigan fishing seminars, kids casting, knot tying, display a trolling boat, and provide salmon cooking tips, techniques, and samples. Members of Trout Unlimited conduct fly casting and fly tying. The Kenosha Sportfishing and Conservation Club will demonstrate tying both stream and trolling flies, and other local organizations will have informative displays. Plan to stop by the Open House at the facility in Lincoln Park on October 13; it is a fun-filled, family oriented event! For more information, call 414-750-8382.
Milwaukee Co.
North Shore: Cold weather brought in by major cold fronts has moved fish into the harbor. Trollers looking for Chinooks have moved to trolling the gaps and the river channel. There were Chinooks being caught, though more fish were still out in deeper water, and some have already moved up into the rivers. Other trollers have been focusing in 50-110 feet of water. The best baits have been spoons of various colors and crank baits. Fishing on McKinley pier has resulted in a few brown trout and Chinooks being caught. The browns were taken mostly on alewives, and the Chinooks were caught on glow spoons or soft plastics fished in the pre-light hours. The shoreline along Summerfest is producing a few browns and Chinooks with most success on live bait rigs or throwing spoons. There wasn't anyone seen having successful perch fishing in the area.
South Shore: Cold weather and strong west winds have moved fish into shallower water. Trollers looking for Chinooks have moved to trolling the gaps and the river channel. There were a few Chinooks being caught though most fish were still out in deeper water. Other trollers have been focusing in 50-110 feet of water. The best baits have been spoons of various colors and crank baits. Fishing under the Hoan Bridge has produced a few brown trout and Chinooks that were caught on spoons or alewives on the bottom. Grant Park has produced Rainbows and Chinooks caught at daybreak on spoons of various colors; also, a few trout and salmon have begun to move up into Oak Creek. Fishing off of the Oak Creek pier has resulted in Chinooks and rainbows being caught on spoons and crank baits with spawn sacs producing the best. There wasn't anyone seen having successful perch fishing in the area.
Milwaukee River: Recent rains have raised the level of the river, but it's still lower than normal with the drought over the past summer. The overall water clarity is relatively clear with temperatures around 58-60 degrees. Fishermen were seen fishing for trout or salmon all along the river, but the only Chinooks being caught were close to the North Avenue dam on crank baits and spoons.
Menomonee River: Recent rains have raised the level of the river to a more fishable level in the shallows. The overall water clarity has improved to a relatively clear state along with temperatures around 58-60 degrees. No fishermen were seen fishing for trout or salmon, though a few fish have been seen moving upriver.
Ozaukee Co.
Port Washington Ramp: : Low angler activity. Anglers having successful harvest of Chinook salmon using flies. Fish were harvested in 100-110 feet of water.
Port Washington Harbor/Shore: High recorded angler activity. Anglers harvesting Chinook salmon and a few coho salmon using spoons, crankbaits and spawn.
Port Washington Pier: Low recorded angler activity.
Port Washington Power Plant: High recorded angler activity. Anglers harvesting Chinook salmon using spawn.
Sauk Creek: Both water levels and flow velocity are extremely low. In some areas flow is obstructed by exposed creek bottom across the width of the creek. The small waterfall at Sauk Creek Nature Preserve bridge is almost all exposed stone with minimal water flow. Vegetation is taking advantage of the low water levels and encroaching into the areas that were once small pools of water. Average water temperature of 46 degrees.
Sheboygan Co.
Sheboygan Ramps: Low angler activity. Anglers successfully harvested Chinook salmon on variety of baits, including: spoons, j-plugs, thundersticks, rapalas and flies.
Sheboygan North Pier: Low recorded angler activity.
Sheboygan South Pier: Low angler activity. Anglers harvesting Chinook salmon and rainbow trout using spawn.
Sheboygan River: Low angler activity. Both water levels and flow velocity are low. Average water temperature of 48 degrees. Boating, canoeing and kayaking are discouraged from Esslingen Park to the Sheboygan Harbor due to the high volume of dredging and habitat restoration projects underway to benefit anglers in coming years. Contaminated sediment is being removed and fish habitat restored to boost fish and wildlife populations and reduce contaminant levels in fish in the river so people can safely eat them. Anglers are now advised "do not eat" resident fish from the river due to high levels of environmental contaminants. Dredging is being conducted from the Sheboygan Harbor to Wildwood Island, and habitat restoration projects are being conducted at Kiwanis Park, Wildwood Park and Esslingen Park. Anglers should be aware that these projects will limit and sometimes prevent access to those areas of the river.
Pigeon River: Very low angler activity. Both water level and flow velocity are very low. Can see large parts of exposed river bottom, especially along the shoreline. Average water temperature of 50 degrees.
Weedens Creek: No recorded angler activity. Both water level and flow velocity are extremely low. Creek narrowed encroaching grass.
Edgewater Power Plant: No recorded angler activity.


For shoreline salmon, see top.


Guide Bill Stoeger said crappie ``are dying to jump in the boat.'' He said size is improving daily (fish to 13 inches; best is upstream working any wood in deep water with light current. White bass are best downriver (Rat River to the lake), but scattered, so fish until found, then anchor.



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"I should add a clarification to that crack about a ``certain outdoor writer.'' The one in question was questioning the crappie size being shown during storytelling by one Mr. Gortowski when his hands were 18 inches or more apart in describing said crappie."

Due to my long standing career in the graphic arts, I have this ability to judge size down to the quarter inch. The span of said hands were held at exactly 13.75 inches while that story was being told. So I was actually underestimating it's size by a quarter inch for the average fisherman who, over the years, has proven to me endlessly that they have real problems comprehending simple things like the truth and facts...

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on September 26, 2012 6:32 AM.

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