Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Crappie bite builds, wait is on for perch, fall is trophy time

Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Crappie bite builds, wait is on for perch, fall is trophy time

Guide Mike Norris, as he shows, focuses on trophy smallmouth bass on Big Green Lake this time of the year. | Provided

With fall finally setting in, trophy time is here, the crappie bite is picking up, and anglers are antsy for perch bite on southern Lake Michigan to start; those threads lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

With fall finally setting in, trophy time is here, the crappie bite is picking up, and anglers are antsy for perch bite on southern Lake Michigan to start; those threads lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

As Mike Norris shows in the top photo, the time for hunting trophy fish is on, right now.

TROUT SEASON

Jason “Special One” Le texted the YouTube video above and this:

We still smoke em stocked trout lol

That surprises me a little, a week and a half into the fall season, but he is the “Special One.”

For Illinois’ inland trout season, daily bag is five; those 16 and older need a fishing license and an inland trout stamp. Nearby sites include in Cook County (Axehead, Belleau, Busse North, Green, Horsetail, Sag Quarry East, Wolf), DuPage (Grove, Pickerel, Silver); Kankakee (Bird Park Quarry, Rock Creek); Kendall (Big Lake at Silver Springs SFWA); Lake (Sand Lake at Illinois Beach SP); McHenry (Spring Grove Hatchery Pond); Will (Lake Strini, Van Horn Woods).

Click here for the statewide release.

LAKEFRONT PARKING

Chicago Park District’s parking passes for the fisherman’s parking lots at DuSable and Burnham harbors are on sale at Henry’s Sports and Bait in Bridgeport and Park Bait at Montrose Harbor.

Readers suggest SpotHero app downtown. Otherwise, here are some basics: Foster (free street parking or pay lot); Montrose (now a mix of metered and free street parking); Belmont (pay lots on north and south sides); Diversey (pay lot or street parking); DuSable Harbor (pay lot or fisherman’s lot); Northerly Island/Burnham Harbor (meters, pay lot or fisherman’s lot); 31st/Burnham (meter parking between McCormick Place and 31st Street Harbor); Oakwood/39th (meters); 63rd Street/Casino Pier (pay lot); Steelworkers Park (free street parking at east end of 87th); Cal Park (free parking).

AREA LAKES

Ken “Husker” O’Malley caught this fall largemouth bass. Provided photo Provided
Ken “Husker” O’Malley caught this fall largemouth bass.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed the photos above and below, and this:

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing.

Area lakes-unseasonably warm temps have had fish in a holding pattern. Floating moss has made presentations difficult on some lakes. The recent rains will help water levels on many lakes as they have been down. Water temps need to get into the 50’s for the fall bite to take off. The upcoming forecast will do that.

The most consistent bait has been a twitch minnow. A few bass, bluegill, and crappie can be taken working it over weed flats.

. . .

Here is the nature pic of the week. Closing time.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team

A fall photo at the end of fishing. Credit: Ken “Husker” O’Malley Ken “Husker” O’Malley
A fall photo at the end of fishing.

Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait said that crappie are picking up pretty nicely, all around the area. “That is the bright side, especially Wolf Lake and a lot of the forest preserve lakes.” . . . “Good time to fish.”

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Roger Jackson emailed the photo below and this:

Dale,

So many yellow bass on the chain, Arden Katz is catching two at a time, we were trying for walleye, way too many yellows!

Katz said that they probably caught 200 yellow and white bass in 10-14 feet near the mouths of Marie and Bluff with either minnow rigs or Rippin’ Raps.

Arden Katz with a double on yellow bass from the Chain O’Lakes on a Rippin’ Rap. Provided by Roger Jackson Provided by Roger Jackson
Arden Katz with a double on yellow bass from the Chain O’Lakes on a Rippin’ Rap.

Art Frisell at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said white bass and yellow bass are “striperlicious” on small minnows or Mepps spinners, Marie and Bluff best; walleye good, better on minnows recently or try trolling; bluegill fair, try in 8-12 feet with waxies and small ice jigs under a slip-bobber; muskie fair, try suckers on Fox or Pistakee on points; crappie fair, look in 8-15.

NOTE: Check updates on water conditions at foxwaterway.com or (847) 587-8540.

NOTE 2: The Stratton Lock and Dam is closed from Monday, Nov. 1, on. Through Sunday, Oct. 31, it is open 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

CHICAGO RIVER

Jeffrey Williams with a good perch from the Chicago River. Provided photo Provided
Jeffrey Williams with a good perch from the Chicago River.

Jeffrey Williams messaged the photo above and this:

Slab alert

More like “Jumbo alert.”

He also added the photo below and this:

also caught this big beauty 1 lb 6 oz 15 in

Jeffrey Williams with a largemouth bass from the Chicago River. Provided photo Provided
Jeffrey Williams with a largemouth bass from the Chicago River.

COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS

Braidwood, Heidecke, Mazonia (except Monster stays open all year) and LaSalle are closed for the season.

DES PLAINES RIVER

Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed:

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing.

. . .

DesPlaines River-bass have been good on slower baits as they seem not to be chasing faster moving baits. Senkos, skakey head, and jigs with a craw trailer have been best. Water temps are still in the lower 60’s.

. . .

Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team

DOWNSTATE

Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait said that there are lots of report Downstate of crappie on Sara and Rend. “Good time to fish.”

POWERTON: Winter hours—8 a.m.-4 p.m.—are back. Boat fishing is closed. Bank fishing runs through Friday, Oct. 29.

SPRING LAKE: Boat fishing is closed on the main lake; boat fishing is allowed from the Sky Ranch Road ramp to Maple Island buoy during waterfowl seasons. Bank fishing along South Lake Road is not allowed until after 1 p.m. during waterfowl season.

EMIQUON PRESERVE: During waterfowl seasons (Emiquon is in the central zone, where duck and Canada goose seasons open Saturday, Oct. 30), non-waterfowl hunting boating (which includes fishing) is not allowed until noon. Access permits and liability waivers are required. They are available Tuesday to Saturday at Dickson Mounts Museum, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season. Check regulations at http://www.wetlands-initiative.org/dixon-paddling-fishing.

FOX RIVER

Dicky’s Bait Shop in Montgomery reported good reports of crappie on the river, especially in fallen trees and other cover, such as bridge pilings, with fathead minnows.

GREEN LAKE AREA, WISCONSIN

Guide Mike Norris emailed the photo at the very top and this report:

Fishing Report – 10/25/2021

Mike Norris

Big Green Lake – Nighttime temperatures finally fell into the low thirties and the surface temperature of Big Green is dropping about a degree a day. Last Saturday I recorded a surface temperature of 59 degrees as expected, smallmouth bass are starting to group up. Last week I caught smallies anywhere from 7 to 24 feet deep. My bait of choice is a sucker minnow dragged behind a Lindy sinker. I am also finding packs of bluegills under piers in Big Green’s shallow bays. Perch running up to eleven inches are biting red worms beneath a float in 1 to 2 feet of water where gravel shorelines exist. Northern pike are also on the move. I am catching them in the same areas I am catching smallmouth bass.

Fox Lake – Water temperature is dropping, but bass fishing is still good in shallow areas like The Jug and Government Area. With most sportsmen hunting right now it like a ghost town on the water. Try fishing around rocky shorelines and shallow bays with Senko’s or Bitsy Bug jigs with a trailer.

I am focusing on guiding for trophy smallmouth bass right now. To book a guide trip reach out to me via my Facebook page at mike.norris.7773 or email me through my website at www.comecatchsmallmouth.com

GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WISCONSIN

Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.

ILLINOIS RIVER

The river is forecast to be in flood stage around Starved Rock until early next week.

KANKAKEE RIVER

The river crested at Momence and Wilmington under flood stage; the Iroquois is forecast to crest under flood stage Wednesday/Thursday at Chebanse.

Bob Johnson with a big fall smallmouth bass caught and released on the Kankakee River. Provided photo Provided
Bob Johnson with a big fall smallmouth bass caught and released on the Kankakee River.

Bob Johnson emailed the photo above and this (note, this came before the heavy rains hit the basin):

Hi Dale – Fall fishing has picked up and the Smallmouth are getting fat for winter! Had a day to remember for sure. Several baits worked including jerk baits, bladed jigs (White) and finesse in dark colors. Water temp was 59 and water clarity was good to clouded in some areas. The morning bite is always good however the Bass continue to feed later in day this time of year. I did try surface lures but quickly found out this bite is done. Nothing to report about Walleye yet. Walleye fishing was slow.

LAKE ERIE

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

LAKEFRONT

At least it wasn’t a skunk on the lakefront. Provided by Jason “Special One” Le Provided by Jason “Special One” Le
At least it wasn’t a skunk on the lakefront.

Jason “Special One” Le sent the photo above and this:

Just one lol

No skunk

Yes, one better than skunk.

Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait said, “Guys are looking for perch earlier and earlier.” (That would be nice if some showed up already.) There’s trout fishing in the harbors with tube jigs or spawn. . . . “Good time to fish.”

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

Good morning Dale,

Few reports of a lot of salmon swimming in the harbor but not hitting. Steelhead starting to be caught around the area. Wax worms and tinsel jigs are flies, larger minnows, nightcrawlers Etc. Those winds were pretty wicked yesterday lake got all stirred up so it may take a few days to come back to normal. A few Northerns have been caught by guys casting spoons or crankbaits. No reports on anything else.

Our hours now are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. 7 days a week.

Have a great week..

Capt. Dan Leslie at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan said things are continuing as was; snaggers are doing best for Chinook (a 35-pounder weighed last week).

SALMON SNAGGING: Here are the details from the IDNR:

4) Snagging for chinook and coho salmon only is permitted from the following Lake Michigan shoreline areas from October 1 through December 31; however, no snagging is allowed at any time within 200 feet of a moored watercraft or as posted: A) Lincoln Park Lagoon from the Fullerton Avenue Bridge to the southern end of the Lagoon. B) Waukegan Harbor (in North Harbor basin only). C) Winnetka Power Plant discharge area. D) Jackson Harbor (Inner and Outer Harbors).

d) Disposition of Snagged Salmon and Paddlefish. All snagged salmon and paddlefish must be removed from the area from which they are taken and disposed of properly, in accordance with Article 5, Section 5-5 of the Fish and Aquatic Life Code.

MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN

Click here for the update from D&S Bait.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

Kurt Justice at Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua emailed:

Cold temps have pushed many area lakes into the dreaded “Turn Over” period (insert spooky sound effects). Surface temps on most lakes running 51 – 56 degrees. Fishing reports have been off by the weekend with lots of grumbling from anglers finding fishing tough.

Smallmouth Bass: Good-Very Good – Thanks to a recent report (didn’t get your name) anglers finding Smallies stacking up along gravel/mud transitions in 22-26’. Live black chubs were this angler’s choice for lots of nice Smallies. Asking around, other anglers are finding similar success using drop-shot rigs to present 3” Gulp-Alive minnows and Walleye suckers. Larger lakes that haven’t experienced turn-over best!

Walleye: Good-Fair – Finding the right group of fish willing to bite has been tough. Even the deep fish have been tight lipped. Locating smaller lakes that have turned (under 600 acres, but at least 30’ depth) and slow dragging 1/2 crawlers on 1/8 oz jigs in 17-22’ worked for our boat on Sunday. Most anglers using chubs and large fats with success.

Musky: Fair – Luckily, most of my hair is gone, so unlike some of the more well-maned guides, I know I have little left to pull out. Mid-week was good with anglers scoring very well on Smity Jerks working green weeds, some in as little as 3-5’. But as weekend came, things got tough and little action, the best on suckers. With continued cold mornings (upper 20’s to low 30’s) and high barely cresting 50 most days, look for post turn-over action on gliders, jerks and live suckers to be best from here on out.

Northern Pike: Fair – No reports from targeted fish, just incidentals.

Largemouth Bass, Crappies, Perch & Gills – No Reports

Kurt Justice
Kurt’s Island Sport Shop – Like us on Facebook

NORTHWEST INDIANA

Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted:

Been kinda quiet last few days with all the rain.

Lots of groups waiting on the perch bite to start in the cal park area.

Christina Petrites at Stan’s Bait & Tackle Center in Hammond emailed:

Hi, Dale! Here’s what we have for the week:

Fishing has slowed down on Lake Michigan due to rough seas; pier guys are starting to pick up some Steelhead when they are able to get out on the piers.

River fishing for Steelhead was good until all the rains blew out the rivers.

Inland lakes for Bluegill remains good on beemoth & red worms.

The Perch bite has begun. It’s had a slow start, but is getting better every day, with the consistently cooler weather. Smaller minnows & spinners are working best.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

Click here for the Wisconsin DNR’s report, usually on Tuesday or Wednesday.

SHABBONA LAKE

Final day for concessions is Sunday, Oct. 31.

Site hours through Sunday, Oct. 31 are 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. On Monday, Nov. 1, site hours go to 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT

Click here for the southern Lake Michigan reports from the Wisconsin DNR.

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN

Between the heavy rains and high water on the rivers, and the blow on Lake Michigan, not much.

Paddle and Pole hosts the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder Camera.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted on Tuesday:

Water temp was 48 degrees yesterday. White bass were biting good near the Rat River all week, and up river sand bars. Walleye action is picking up with limits coming in. Bluegill and crappie in the backwaters, on crawlers and minnows

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