Lakefront salmon and trout lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report, but there is also early catch-and-release inland trout in Illinois beginning Saturday, and fall truly arrives this week.

Noble Horvath

(UPDATE 1) Ken O’Malley’s lakes and Kankakee River reports added) Lakefront salmon and trout continue to lead the sprawling raw-fie Midwest Fishing Report, but with fall truly arriving this week so does fall fishing around Chicago and early catch-and-release fall trout season opens Saturday at a few spots in Illinois. […]

(UPDATE 1) Ken O’Malley’s lakes and Kankakee River reports added)

Lakefront salmon and trout continue to lead the sprawling raw-fie Midwest Fishing Report, but with fall truly arriving this week so does fall fishing around Chicago and early catch-and-release fall trout season opens Saturday at a few spots in Illinois.

SHORELINE SALMON/TROUT

See the Fish of the Week for some examples for shoreline salmon and trout in Illinois.

A.J. Cwiok messaged the photo at the top Wednesday night and this:

There’s still silver to be found in Waukegan.

A mixed bag of reports, both for action and types of fish, including kings, coho and browns come around the southern end of the lake.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

Some nice Kings being caught ,mostly dusk to dawn so predominantly glow spoons & crankbaits. The few caught during the day on anything shiny. Coho & Trout on spoons and various baits. Spawn, Med roaches, crawlers & shrimp.

Capt. Scott Wolfe of School of Fish Charters out of Waukegan emailed:

Waukegan harbor fishing involved greatly this week with many catches of surprisingly relatively silver fish that aren’t yet rotting zombies. The fish have been there for weeks but really inactive. The cooler air and water temperatures the past week likely account for greater activity. Glow cranks in the dark took most fish. Anglers casting during the day did better on smaller spoons. Skein floated under a bobber took some too. Kings, coho and browns were all caught this week casting.

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

Some coho and a few kings being caught in area tributaries #3 and #4 spinners and floating spawn sacks best things to try

Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor. Mich. said a couple kings have been caught jigging in the St. Joseph River.

Arden Katz said that Milwaukee Harbor was loaded with jumping salmon Saturday. He lost two kings and his boat went 0-for-5 of them. “One jumped as high as eye level and another snapped the line,” Katz said. They were using rattle baits; some were trolling with Reef Runners inside the harbor and catching fish. “Lots more fish than last week,” he said. “They are in there. They are jumping like mad.”

INLAND TROUT

Early catch-and-release trout season opens Saturday, Oct. 3, at nine sites statewide. In northern Illinois, those are Rock Creek at Kankakee River State Park, Pine Creek at White Pines Forest SP and Apple River at Apple River SP. A fishing license and an inland trout stamp are required for those 16 and older.

Regular season, with some changes and remaining questions, opens Oct. 17. Click here for details.

SALMON SNAGGING

Salmon snagging on the Illinois shoreline of Lake Michigan begins Thursday, Oct. 1, and runs through Dec. 31.

Here are the key 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).

ILLINOIS FROGGING

Bullfrog-only season runs through Oct. 15 in Illinois. Daily bag is eight.

A couple key notes from the Illinois DNR:

A sport fishing license is required to harvest bullfrogs. Bullfrogs may be taken by hook and line, gig, pitchfork, spear, bow and arrow, hand, or landing net.

No person shall harvest bullfrogs or any other reptile or amphibian by commercial fishing devices, including, hoop nets, traps or seines or by the use of firearms, air guns or gas guns or during bowfishing tournaments.

CHICAGO FISHING PARKING PASSES

The parking passes for the fisherman’s parking lots are not being sold while the lakefront remains officially closed.

ILLINOIS RIVER LOCKS

Closures are on for the Dresden Island, Marseilles, Starved Rock, Peoria and LaGrange locks on the Illinois River to facilitate major repairs.

Here are the two lead paragraphs from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois – Beginning July 1, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District is temporarily closing the Dresden Island, Marseilles, Starved Rock, Peoria and LaGrange locks on the Illinois Waterway to facilitate needed repairs and maintenance. The closures, which will be conducted simultaneously to limit impacts to navigation, are scheduled to last through late October.

During the closures, no vessels will be able to pass through the closed locks. Navigation on the rest of the river, between the locks, will be able to continue without impact as water levels will be maintained at a normal level throughout the season.

Click here for details on the timing and other details on the closures.

AREA LAKES

Big changes coming with fall truly arriving. But most anglers are waiting on the Oct. 17 opener for inland trout.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed:

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing.

Area lakes-with the warm up, bass, crappie, and bluegill were very active midday and evening hours. Crappie and bluegill could be taken working plastics under a slip float along deep weedlines. Bass were good on senkos worked in the same area.

. . .

TTYL

Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team

BRAIDWOOD LAKE

The cooling lake in Will County is open daily 6 a.m. to sunset. Final day of fishing is Oct. 13.

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Brad Irving at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said crappie are starting to move in, live bait is better than plastics; catfish are doing well on cutbait, stinkbait and crawlers; white bass and a few yellows are being caught on bladebaits and small crankbaits; for walleye, try trolling in 4-8 feet on Marie; for muskies, some are being caught by those trolling lures (Triangle does have muskie suckers).

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

NOTE 2: The Stratton Lock and Dam is closed for the season.

DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN

Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake 9/28/20 through 10/5/20

Overall fishing is slow. It’s the in-between time when the lake turns over and the fall bite is almost here. Last week was a struggle to catch any kind of decent fish. We need some stable weather without so many fronts so the fish can get into their patterns better.

Northern Pike have been sporadic. Some good catches of fish have come in the shallows in 10-12 ft. Either on bobbered suckers or casting large white spinner baits or perch colored jerk baits. The fish I caught last week were all large- over 32 inches. With stable weather we should have some awesome pike fishing within the next week or so. The best location is by the Belvidere condos or by Willow Point. I’ve been lindy rigging off the weed line in 18-25 ft. The fishing however has been quite slow.

Bluegills with the cooler temperatures are again shallow. The best depth is 10 ft. The best approach is slip bobbers with small red worms or wax worms and ice jigs. Look for the fish by Delavan Lake Marina or by the gray condos.

Largemouth bass have been slow. They can be caught most often in the weeds. Look for them under the boat docks or in the 8-10 ft weed flats. They are starting to switch from nightcrawlers to small fat head minnows or suckers. I’ve been casting them in the shallow weeds with very light weight. The larger fish I caught last week were off the weed lines in 16-18 ft. I have been lindy rigging them beneath the boat. Look for the fish by the Village Supper Club or by the Delavan Lake Marina.

Walleye fishing remains very slow. Most of the fish are being caught on small suckers or fat head minnows. The best depth is about 14-16 ft of water. The key seems to be using painted hooks, either chartreuse or orange. Most of the success has come from lindy rigging, however a large split shot rig also produces fish. In the next few weeks, the fish should start suspending and will readily hit jerk baits but for now they are elusive.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

DES PLAINES RIVER

From what Jonny Pitelka told me while I was doing a column on him for tomorrow, the pike and bass are going on the river around cover, such as sunken logs.

DOWNSTATE

POWERTON: Final day of regular fishing is Oct. 16.

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the year.

EMIQUON: Basically, go to the launch. General information at http://experienceemiquon.com/sites/default/files/LakeAccessRules.pdf.

SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing.

FOX RIVER

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

I fished a little bit over the weekend, all close to home.

. . .

In preparation for the upcoming salmon/steelhead/brown trout runs-any significant rain in the coming days will probably push them upstream-I went to the Fox to practice some casting. The water was as low as I’ve ever seen it, which made wading simple. I talked to another angler as he was leaving and he said he was using a shallow running crankbait and still hanging up on the bottom. He also saw a kayak hit a rock in the middle of the river, a rock that is usually under several feet of water. We did get some rain last night, so all of this could’ve changed since I was there.

Pete

GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN

Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 9/28/20 through 10/5/20

Fishing season is coming to a rapid close, hurry there’s not much time until the water gets very hard! The most consistent bite on the lake are the perch. They can be found anywhere between 8 and 16 ft of water. You want to look for the fish outside the heavy weeds in the light scattered weeds. The best approach has been small fat head minnows fished on slip bobbers. I’ve been anchoring while fishing for them. There is a lot of small fish, so to get a limit you need to sort quite a bit.

Northern Pike fishing has been good in the shallow water. The best depth has been 10-12 ft. The best approach has been anchor fishing them and fishing slip bobbers. The best bait is medium or large golden shiners. The general size of the fish are smaller than the fish found on the thermocline. Look for the fish in Fontana Beach, Rainbow Point and in Geneva Bay.

Largemouth bass are in the shallow waters in the 8-10 ft range in the heavy weeds. I’m getting the fish by drop shotting small finesse worms or sassy shads. Green Pumpkin or White pearl have been producing most of the action. You can catch an occasional fish if the wind cooperates on top water lures. Use either Zara Spooks or Chug bugs.

Bluegills are biting on red worms or leaf worms. The best depth is 20-27 ft. look for the fish by Elgin Club or by Knollwood. Some of the bluegills are in excess of 10 inches.

Smallmouth bass have been caught in 22-24 ft of water. The best bait is lindy rigged nightcrawlers. The leader length should be 18-24 inches fished behind an 1/8 oz or ¼ oz walking sinker depending on the wind. The numbers aren’t all that good however if you put the time in you should catch a few. Look for the fish by Fontana Beach or by Elgin Club.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

GREEN LAKE AREA, WISCONSIN

Mark Tieman, from Winter Garden, Florida, with a nice Green Lake smallmouth caught last Monday with guide Mike Norris. Provided photo

Mark Tieman, from Winter Garden, Florida, with a nice Green Lake smallmouth caught last Monday with guide Mike Norris.
Provided

Guide Mike Norris texted the photo above and emailed this:

Fishing Report 09/26/2020

Mike Norris

Big Green Lake – Fishing normally is a hit or miss proposition this time of year. Falling water temperature spreads fish out and they can be difficult to locate. The good news is lake trout remains excellent. Anglers are jigging them up with Rattling Spoons and Jigging Raps. The bad news is fishing for lake trout closes at the end of the day on Wednesday, September 30th and does not open again until next January. Fishing for both large and smallmouth bass remains mixed. This past weekend I caught both species anywhere from 2 to 24-feet of water with wacky-rigged Senko’s and with drop shot rigs. I am finding more smallmouth relating to weeds than I am rock, but that will change when the water drops beneath 60 degrees. Right now, I am getting readings of 64 degrees. The big perch bite has slowed with the passing of a cold front last weekend and should resume when the weather warms up again.

Little Green Lake – Muskie anglers are out now that the water is cooling down and I have heard of several 36 to 40-inch muskie being caught. I have also heard of one 47-inch muskie which fell to a minnow bait worked over one the rock pile at the north end of the lake. Walleyes are slow but crappies are still biting on a minnow weighted by a split shot while drifting across the lake basin.

Beaver Dam Lake – The north end of the lake and shoreline neckdown areas on both the east and west shorelines remain good for crappies, perch, and a few walleyes. This bite will continue to improve from now to end of year. Anglers are crappie and perch casting from the shoreline with minnows suspended below slip floats.

Fox Lake – Fishing is starting to pick up. Some nice walleyes and bass have been caught this past week. Anglers are still trolling the lake’s basin for walleye but several bass fisherman has also reported catching walleyes near shorelines with jig and plastics.

Phone me at 630-842-8199 to book a guided fishing trip or contact me through my website at www.comecatchsmallmouth.com

GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WISCONSIN

Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.

HEIDECKE LAKE

The former cooling lake near Morris is open daily 6 a.m. to sunset. Final day of fishing is Tuesday, Oct. 6.

ILLINOIS RIVER

Like other rivers, remains low. Remember the lock closures.

KANKAKEE RIVER

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a Kankakee River smallmouth bass. Provided photo

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a Kankakee River smallmouth bass.
Provided

Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed the photo above and this:

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing.

. . .

Kankakee River- smallmouth were good working TRD rigs along current seams in faster moving water. River is very clear and is still low. The flow rate however was better than what it has been.

TTYL

Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team

River remains low, as George Peters emailed:

Hi Dale, Kankakee river still low and this weeks rain won’t do much. Colder days and less sunlight will cause weed break up with floating weeds a problem on your line. Fish will still bite in areas not fished too hard. G. Peters

LAKE ERIE

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

The walleye bounty of Lake Erie. Provided by Joe McCartin

The walleye bounty of Lake Erie.
Provided by Joe McCartin

Joe McCartin texted the photo above over the weekend and this:

Averaging 16 5lbs per day A lot coming in buttoned

Deep fish 50’fow 35-40 feet down

Bandits with snap weights

LAKEFRONT

See Lakefront Salmon/Trout and Snagging notes at the top.

The lakefront remains officially closed, but people are doing a lot of things on the lakefront, including fishing by walking or biking in. Fisherman’s parking passes are not being sold while the lakefront remains officially closed.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

Some nice Kings being caught ,mostly dusk to dawn so predominantly glow spoons & crankbaits. The few caught during the day on anything shiny. Coho & Trout on spoons and various baits. Spawn, Med roaches, crawlers & shrimp. Nice Smallmouth and some Northerns caught while targeting Salmon.

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said the good lake trout off Chicago appear to be edging north, spread out in 110 to 160 feet.

“In my opinion, farther north, more to outside of the R4,” Poteshman said. “There’s plenty of fish, little ones and big. Most of the fish coming off the bottom on big flashers and Spin-N-Glos.”

Out of North Point, best bite is from state line south in 160-200 feet for mostly with a few small coho and kings. Some of the big lakers are working toward the reefs.

“If we get some more light north winds and stable weather, we would see more [small salmon], but we keep getting this wild swings from all directions,” Poteshman said.

Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed:

Hi Dale

Waukegan harbor fishing involved greatly this week with many catches of surprisingly relatively silver fish that aren’t yet rotting zombies. The fish have been there for weeks but really inactive. The cooler air and water temperatures the past week likely account for greater activity. Glow cranks in the dark took most fish. Anglers casting during the day did better on smaller spoons. Skein floated under a bobber took some too. Kings, coho and browns were all caught this week casting. A few northern pike and bass were also caught. If anglers want to target those, spinner baits are better for avoiding the salmon and trout but will work on bass and pike.

Offshore fishing was great this week. For boats targeting lake trout limit catches are coming in 125-145 feet. They are concentrating on the humps and reefs off shore as they are about to spawn. Most of the trout are taken 110 feet to the bottom. Jimmy Fly Mo Rigs in Orange Guy, Gold Goby and Kaitlyn Jenner patterns worked. A few came on Magnum Warrior UV Spoons in blue/green and purple trolled below 90 feet.

For offshore mixed species catches going out to over 200 feet of water yielded some boats good catches of steelhead, lake trout, 3 year old kings, and little 2 year old kings and coho. Smaller size UV spoons like the Warrior XL series 45 to 100 down worked.

Capt. Scott Wolfe

School Of Fish Charters
schooloffishcharters.com
630-341-0550

LaSALLE LAKE

The cooling lake, south of Seneca, is open daily 6 a.m. to sunset. Final day of fishing is Oct. 15.

MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN

Click here for the update from D&S Bait.

MAZONIA

Lakes are open daily for fishing 6 a.m. to sunset. Final day is Oct. 13, but Monster Lake at Mazonia South stays open year-round.

MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN

Menominee River smallmouth bass. Provided by Mike Mladenik

Menominee River smallmouth bass.
Provided by Mike Mladenik

Guide Mike Mladenik of bigsmallmouthbass.com emailed the photo above and this:

The water temp on the Menominee River is 58 degrees and smallmouth are starting to bunch up. A few days ago we hammered the smallmouth with Case Lil Magic Swimbaits. The fall bite is on!!!

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

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

As September comes to a close, with plenty of previews of October like weather, anglers’ sights move primarily to Musky, Walleye and Crappies. Cool, windy weather is not always the easiest to fish and we typically see Bass, Bluegill and Perch anglers participate less as the fall progresses.

Musky: Very Good-Good – With surface temps holding in the low 60’s, Musky action remains very good in shallow water. Top-water lures, tailed gliders, twitch baits, spinner baits and jerk baits all producing. Big fish this week caught by some of our guided clients in the upper 40” range weighing in the upper 30# class! This bite should remain hot as temps, though cool, continue to not spike up or down much. Sucker (and Trout) bite also good on quick sets.

Walleye: Good-Fair – Deep gravel humps and mud transition lines of 22-30’ using jig minnow, Lindy rig sucker combos or vertical jigging Raps and shiver minnows. On Flowages edges of river channels best in 14-20’ using small chubs on 1/16 – 1/8 oz weedless jigs to reduce snags in wood.

Northern Pike: Good – As usual, weed based areas producing best with spinner baits and spoons. Musky anglers report being “bothered” by Pike using twitch baits and bucktails meant for “Skies”!

Crappie: Good-Fair – Most reports from Flowages as wind making it hard to hold on the lakes. Even the Flowage bite not as “hot” as it should be. Medium fats over 12-18’ drowned wood. Some fish suspended 8-10’ down, but tough to get bite from.

Largemouth Bass: Good – As mentioned earlier, not as much participation. Bass tucked into heavy weed cover, jig/creature combos, Wacky worming and Texas rigging best.

Smallmouth Bass: Good-Fair – Most on off shore gravel/rock humps of 20-28’. Wind has been big hindrance. A few BIG Smallies on top-water meant for Muskies in shallows.

Bluegill: Fair – Few reports. Best on Flowages where large Gills occasionally being caught by Crappie & Walleye anglers.

Yellow Perch: Fair – Same as with Gills.

With highs in the low 40’s to mid 50’s this week (lows in low to upper 30’s), water temps may slip a little, but we’ve been getting similar weather with little change.

Should be a good October. Shortages on Musky Suckers and red-tailed chubs evident. Redtails almost none coming in, suckers limited and prices rising again due to low supply. Call ahead of your trip to check supplies at your favorite shops.

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
Like us on FaceBook

NORTHWEST INDIANA

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

Some coho and a few kings being caught in area tributaries #3 and #4 spinners and floating spawn sacks best things to try

Crappie in the evening around the bridges at lake George in Hobart has started it only gets better thru October. C rap pie minnows under a bobber best

All last week perch action was good east of Michigan city in 20 to 35 ft of water in front of the condos xl fatheads best

Slezs bait shop has Rosie red minnows and musky suckers in for the fall season

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

~Perch: fair; when the lake is calm anglers are catching. Fishing out of the port of St Joseph still remains good; anglers are catching limits in 36-42 FOW north of the harbor.

~Crappie: excellent; most are limiting out with large & jumbos in 2-3 hours or less. Lake George has particularly good action.

~Trout: Trolling has slowed down some in general, w/ good numbers of the catches mainly being lake trout.

~Catfish: great bite; beemoths, stinkbait, weed grubs, & cutbait working very well. Oak Ridge Prairie in Griffith recent local hotspot. Enormous, near-record breakers have been caught recently; definitely worth your time if you’re “Cat Crazy”.

~Salmon: River fishing has picked up with a few salmon being caught in the creek mouths, the lakefront, & at Berrien Springs dam. There are a lot of coho heading to shore on the lakefront & up the St. Joseph River along w/ a few kings. Anglers are using cut salmon, spawn saks & skein.

~Walleye: still a few coming on Nightcrawlers & small crank baits; Wolf Lake remains the go-to spot.

~Bass: a lot of smallmouth are still being caught on small plugs & night crawlers.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

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

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN

Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said they were getting perch last week in 42 feet, but then the winds came. A couple kings have been caught jigging in the river, which also has some good smallmouth and a few walleye. It is low at Berrien Springs.

SHABBONA LAKE

Staff at Lakeside said with the water in the mid-60s the best bites are largemouth, crappie and catfish.

Site hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Lakeside (6 a.m.-6:30 p.m.) is open with boat rentals. Pokanoka’s Cafe is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the weekends. The camp store is open Friday through Sunday.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT

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

Arden Katz said that Milwaukee Harbor was loaded with jumping salmon Saturday. He lost two kings and his boat went 0-for-5 of them. “One jumped as high as eye level and another snapped the line,” Katz said. They were using rattle baits; some were trolling with Reef Runners inside the harbor and catching fish. “Lots more fish than last week,” he said. “They are in there. They are jumping like mad.”

WISCONSIN DELLS

Hook-and-line sturgeon season, below the Dells dam (and other spots across Wisconsin), ends Wednesday, Sept. 30. A permit is needed if you plan to keep fish, minimum length is 60 inches. For details, go to https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Fishing/sturgeon/SturgeonInlandFishery.html

Erik Brztowski with a beautiful late-season sturgeon on the Wisconsin River.

Erik Brztowski with a beautiful late-season sturgeon on the Wisconsin River.
Provided

Erik Brztowski messaged the photo above and this:

Lots of fish over 40 in, a few over 50. Also got on a good midday bite. Was super fun getting towed around in a rental boat.

WOLF LAKE

Christina Petrites at Stan’s Bait & Tackle Center in Hammond, Ind. emailed that Wolf is still the go-to spot for walleye on crawlers and small crankbaits.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:

Cold front just came in yesterday. Water temp was 63.5 . Going to take a few cold nights, maybe by the weekend. Fished yesterday afternoon, 6 crappie, 5 white bass in 1 1/2 hrs. Should get better soon

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