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Midwest Fishing Report: Rivers around Chicago fishing

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Rivers remains high, but fishermen are out fishing many with good ideas for this rivers section of the Midwest Fishing Report.


Daniel Sala messaged this photo from an outing with his father Phil on the Fox River.

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. Probably a good idea to check this as levels are changing and vary widely.

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


Hitting it today, might add a report later.


Dropping. No report.


Dropping. No report.


Boating is closed from the Wisconsin line to the Montgomery dam. Check updates at the Fox Waterway Agency.

There's a bait shop open in South Elgin 7 days a week: SS MINNOWS, ROUTE 31, (847) 289-0135.

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

Daniel Sala messaged and had the photo at the top:

Went out to the Fox Sunday with my dad phil sala at Batavia Dam and had a good day with the Hybrid strippers on minnow and slip bobber and also on Pinky Jigs.... Water was extremely high but found good water breaks by the dam and the Fish where built up in there. Especially carp. Also heard of some gentlemen catching Northerns at Montgomery.

Sam Bennett sent this:

Hey Dale-

Fishing has been good from shore in the high, muddy water. The smallmouth are ready to eat. Fishing territory can be hard to come by at times - the no-brainer spots fill up pretty fast. Lots of pressure doesn't seem to have had any adverse effect. I'm still picking up a handful on my short trips out which I consider a successful trip given the conditions.

My waders are still on the hook on the back porch and will remain there for a while. I'm keeping a close eye on the forecast later this week. We don't really need any more rain. Hoping it will be a non-event. The river is going down really slowly. All of us river rats are itching to get in the water, but it's just not safe in most areas.

I posted this report this morning:

Beetlespins have been working well. I expect a jig or a small hard bait would get them too. I'd put my money on a small floating Rapala or Rebel Crankin' Craw. I'll be giving the craw a shot today at lunch.


Ken Gortowski sent this:

Well, I found out that if a creek didn't have any fish in it a day or two before the floods, there are definitely none in there afterward. Only one creek down my way had fish in it before the deluge and that saved my weekend. All in 45 minutes of fishing.

Will have to hit the Fox soon. I've been waiting for it to come down below 5000 cubic feet per second. Even I have my limits for putting my toes in that river and over 5000 cfs is it.

Ed Schmitt sent this:

Nick Doumel and myself fished Waubonsee creek and a small section of the Fox River Sunday evening with decent results. Waubonsee creek right now is chock full of river redhorse running up the creek to spawn I presume. So much so in fact that every pool with slack water was impossible to fish for anything but the redhorse. I attached a picture of one of them, they fight great on light tackle and appear to be exhibiting signs of spawning colors.
The section of the Fox we fished is near another creek mouth, and had fish concentrated to where the two currents met, the seam. A few walleye a little over 20", a few smallmouth from 10" to 16", and even a bonus largemouth bass were taken on jig and twister or by Nick Doumel on one of his hand tied flies. I caught all my fish on the Ken G. jig n' grub or a Case Hellgrammite on a jig.
Nick put up a lil blurb on his blog:
Fox river water levels are still rather high and coming down slowly, but the tributaries and creeks feeding the main river are looking extremely wade-able. According to the Fox Waterway Agency, history shows that 2 weeks of dry weather will allow the Fox river and the Fox Chain of Lakes to come back down to normal levels after the recent flood event.
Hopefully by then some of those rough fish will have moved out of the creeks and we'll start seeing some smallmouth bass spawning activity.
Ed Schmitt
The Four Season Angler

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


River is projected to be in flood stage at LaSalle into next week.

Army Corps of Engineers sent this:

Navigation restrictions remain in place at Marseilles, Starved Rock and Dresden Locks

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District, in coordination with the U.S. Coast Guard, out of an abundance of caution is maintaining navigation restrictions at Marseilles, Starved Rock and Dresden Island locks on the Illinois Waterway.

Public safety is the top priority for the Army Corps of Engineers at Marseilles Lock and Dam following the recent barge incident. Although there are no indications of structural concerns that would result in a catastrophic failure of the dam, navigation restrictions will remain in place until further underwater engineering assessments are completed to ensure the safety of the dam.

Effective immediately the following lock restrictions will be in place until further notice: Dresden Island Lock will not lock down-bound traffic; Marseilles Lock will not lock traffic in either direction; and Starved Rock Lock will not lock up-bound traffic.

Exceptions to these lock restrictions are limited to those vessels required to assist with sunken barge or dam recovery efforts at Marseilles Dam. Additional exceptions may be approved by contacting the lock staff; requests will be forwarded to applicable approving officials.

All other Illinois Waterway locks are open to vessel traffic.

Visit us on the Web @


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.


The Kankakee is in the best shape of local rivers, but still high and dirty.

Norm Minas sent this:

The river is dropping but still in a highwater state at over 10,000 CFS. Visibility in the river is nil, in tribs it's a couple inches. Water temps in mid 50's.
 Today the smallmouth were on a feeding binge, if you got a lure near them, it got bit. It didn't matter, crankbait, rattlebait, single spin, fluke, jig/pig, weighted keeper hook and any type of plastic they all produced. If you fished current seams, eddies, inflows, slack spots, big or little it mattered not, they were on the bite. I quit counting at 50 smallmouth, it was a bunch more after that but total numbers don't really matter on a day like this. Not only was it the best day of the year so far, but I'd bet I caught more today than I did the rest of April and all of March combined.
 Get on down and talk to Nick at the Trading Post in Altorf.

Norm is talking about Nick Carr at the Kankakee River Trading Post just to the east of the entrance of the state park.


Root River Report from the Wisconsin DNR had this:

Root River Fishing Report for April 29, 2013
A nice stretch of sunny weather with temperatures in the 60's brought plenty of anglers to the Root River this weekend. The flow rate at the Horlick Dam dropped to 300 cfs on Saturday and the water level was down to 3.5 feet. The water was still cloudy from the recent rainstorms with the river bottom visible at 6-8 inches.
For up to date river conditions, check out the USGS web site of stream flow conditions  in Wisconsin.
Fishing Information
Above the weir: Once again, most of the fishing pressure this week was concentrated near the Horlick Dam. Nice catches of steelhead were reported on Saturday. One angler landed several nice size steelhead working the seams below the dam with a small caddis fly. The largest steelhead measured on Saturday tipped the scale at 10 pounds and was caught on a pink and white yarn fly. Earlier in the week, anglers casting dark colored wooly buggers had good luck landing steelhead from the gravel bar under the bridge. The river is filled with white suckers and some anglers reported catching more than 20 in a day. At Quarry Park, one angler landed several steelhead using a polar shrimp steelhead fly. Fishing pressure was light at Colonial Park as a local ecology group spent the day planting trees and removing invasive species from the park.
Below the weir: Lincoln Park saw very little fishing pressure again this week as anglers reported catching only suckers and carp. According to the few anglers seen at Island Park, the water was too cloudy and they moved to other parts of the river. The water temperature averaged 51-52F over the weekend. Some of the local anglers are looking forward to a little warmer water temperature, thinking that the steelhead fishing is best when the temperature reaches 54-56F.


Tyler Harmon messaged:

Well Fishing was great over the weekend. Crawlers accounted for allot of big Brown Trout. But spinners and flies still took some fish. Inland lakes provided good action for panfish and bass. Live minnows and jigs were best for Crappies that were pushed shallow and are currently spawning. Action on Lake Michigan is starting to push out deeper for cohos and other species.



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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on May 1, 2013 6:45 AM.

Stray Cast: Robinson & perch was the previous entry in this blog.

Fish of the Week: Forest preserve largemouth is the next entry in this blog.

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