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Midwest Fishing Report: Rivers around Chicago fishing (Fox tweak)

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Well, water is here, probably too much of it in the next 36 hours, all the same here is the rivers section of the Midwest Fishing Report.


Well, that photo above is from low water last July on the Kankakee. Low water is not an issue. Qhite the opposity this spring.

With this high water, the key is to fish quieter shoreline areas--eddies, near-shore pockets, flooded brush. Ken Gortowski outlines one of the specifics on the Fox River, which applies more generally.

This is the extended online version of the rivers report of the MFR, which appears on the Sun-Times outdoors page on Wednesdays.

Normally, I post Wednesday mornings.

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


For a general overview of nearby river conditions, click here. The next few days, it will be a really good idea to check this.

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


Marcus Benesch pretty much captured it with this report:

Water levels were racing up this week again.  In Lake and most of Cook County the river is around flood stage, leaving any bit of fishing to mostly southern sections of the river - where the rise isn't as drastic as it is up here.  The river has taken on a coffee with cream appearance and has engulfed some of the usual floating debris from its swell. Fishing will probably remain limited in Cook County through the remainder of the week.
Marcus Benesch
River Grove, Illinois


Last week, three reports for the DuPage, this week none. Such is spring.


CHANGED: There's no-wake restrictions from the Algonquin dam to the Wisconsin line. Check updates at the Fox Waterway Agency.

To join the Fox River Angler Diary Project, click here.

Sam Bennett sent this report:

Hey Dale-

Well, the Fox is blown out. The river is high and muddy. I've only been out for a few short trips with not much to show.

On Sunday I drove up and down the river in my old beater F250 with the windows down. Beautiful day. I stopped off to people watch and enjoy the sunshine. The crappie were biting good in slack areas tight to the bank. For the river being in the shape it is there were lots of people out there trying.

I stopped up at the new bait shop in South Elgin. It's called SS Minnows. Nice group of guys. They stock fatheads, shiners, suckers, leeches and an assortment of live worms. They carry a few artificial baits as well. They're located on 31 north of the bridge, east side of the street. They're open from 6 to 6 every day. I suggest calling ahead during the week until it gets a bit warmer and business is steady. Their number is 847-289-0135.

I know the live bait fishers will be happy to have a shop nearby again. Good to see someone making a go of it.


I am glad to hear a bait shop is going there. I think bait shops help with the idea of fishing as much as the mechanics of it.

Ken Gortowski sent this topper with his first report immediately below:

The Fox is flowing at 4600 cfs, much too high to even consider wading unless you really know what you're doing.

A smart fisherman would go to Geneva and walk the wall. If you're lure is more than a foot away from the wall, it's too far.

This kind of high water fishing can be done anywhere on the river right now, but it doesn't get any easier than walking that wall.

Here is his initial report with a focus on creeks:

This should do. All creeks feed the Fox, so I guess it's a Fox report.

Amazing difference between the three creeks.

It's spelled out okay here.

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


River is right around flood stage at Ottawa and LaSalle. It's spring.


Remember, roughly 7.5 miles of some sections of Trail Creek and the East Branch of the Little Calumet river are closed to angling to protect newly stocked steelhead yearlings through June 15.

Click here for the Indiana DNR's map of Trail Creek access.


Norm Minas sent this on Monday:

The flow was under 11,000 CFS and dropping. Chocolate milk was clearer than the river, didn't bother with water temps. There is still floating debris and foam piles in eddies and slackwater areas. The weather got better as the day went on, it was tough to pull the waders off and go to work. What can you do, trains needed dispatching.
 More road kill showing up every morning, scavengers are eating well. The geese are getting cranky about territory. Gnats abound, ticks not as bad as last year, at least not yet.
 I decided to fish shoreline related eddies and slackwater spots, bopping from spot to spot. I put the waders on to allow better casting angles where needed and when it was safe to do so. Many of the spots I planned to fish have water willow stubble and others had partially flooded shoreline grasses and brush. I opted for a single spin spinner because it was simply the most efficient lure for those conditions. I modified it by going up a couple blade sizes and tipping it with a 5 inch twister tail.
 Just about all the fish came from spots within spots, the head of an eddy, foam piles over bottom cover like waterwillow stubble or flooded shoreline, the intersection of a smaller eddy within a larger one and the back corner of the eddy. Spots where the bottom transitioned from rock to soft bottom or where woody debris was piled on the bottom also produced. At times they hit the spinnerbait on the drop when I pitched or flipped it to a sweet spot, the rest of the time a slow, steady retrieve did the trick.
 I had to cover a lot of water but it was worth it, eleven smallmouth twixt 14 and 17 inches.


There is no updated Root River Report from the Wisconsin DNR. Considering the weather, I do not expect one shortly. However, click here just in case there is one.


Tyler Harmon messaged:

All rivers in the area are very high and murky. Use caution if fishing them from a boat or wading from shore. Sucker run is still under way, and more and more will be showing up in the coming weeks. Still a few steelhead around.



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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on April 17, 2013 6:00 AM.

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