Midwest fishing report
Written by Chicago Sun-Times   
Thursday, 13 October 2005 07:25
The season opens Saturday. Cooler weather should help keep the stocked fish livelier. Cook County stocked its three lakes on Monday. Because they are stocked fish, they tend to hang in schools, so keep moving around until you find fish. These are hatchery-raised fish, so things like a pinch of PowerBait, cheese, corn, wax worms or a crawler piece on a small bait hook under a small float work well. The season opens at sunrise in Cook County.

Generally across the state, it is 5 a.m.; however, check local regulations. Area stocked lakes are Axehead, Belleau and, new this year, Horsetail (Cook County), Silver, Deep Quarry and Grove (DuPage), Bird Park Quarry (Kankakee), Big Lake at Silver Springs State Park (Kendall) and Sand at Illinois Beach State Park and Banana (Lake). Trout fishing in the stocked lakes is prohibited until the opener; in the three DuPage lakes, all fishing is prohibited until Saturday. Trout anglers must have a fishing license and an inland trout stamp, unless younger than 16, blind or disabled, or are a resident on leave from active duty in the armed forces. The daily bag is five trout.

Area lakes: Spotty: For trout, see above. Crappie will keep schooling better as fall settles in. JJ's reports fair crappie at Papoose, Tampier and Bullfrog in the south; Ed Shirley's reports best at Skokie Lagoons.

Chain O'Lakes area: Decent: Crappie are biting on wind-blown shorelines of Bluff and Petite on slip-bobbers and small spinners. A sign of change: Suckers are taking muskies; big jerkbaits also are working. Bluegill and catfish are fair. Guide Rich "Big Goomba" Gallagher reported water temperatures dropped rapidly from 70 to 62; some lakes are turning over or will be.

Cooling lakes/strip pits: Ending: LaSalle closes Saturday; Heidecke and Braidwood/Mazonia close Tuesday. Monster at Mazonia South remains open year-round except during periods of unsafe ice.

Delavan Lake, Wisconsin: Decent: Guide "Jimmy T." Templin reports good pike (up to 38 inches) on suckers in 20 feet. That should hold for a few weeks; some big largemouth the same way. Water is in the 50s.

Downstate: Changing: Shelbyville: White bass on the flats are the most consistent bite, according to MFR reader Jim Giglio, but those are mostly small. Powerton: Oct. 21 is the final day to boat fish; bank fishing ends Oct. 28.

Fox River: western suburbs: Fair: Riverside reports fair smallmouth below the dam, mostly on live bait; some white bass right at the dams. River looks better with less of a bloom.

Illinois River: Starved Rock area: Fair: Cajun's reports spotty white bass; they are not schooled up as much as the spring, so keep moving. Trolling crankbaits is taking some sauger downstream by Hennepin and Henry. Sonny's remains best for catfish, surprisingly strong. Note: The Illinois Governor's Cup -- a team walleye tournament -- is Saturday and Sunday out of Henry. For information, go to prairielandeyes.com or contact Bob Kidd at (309) 527-6328.

Kankakee River: Fair: Ed Mullady reports catfish remain the steadiest bite in the post-frontal conditions on minnows, cheesebaits or crawfish. Rock bass are good around bridge piers and in-water logs. Smallmouth and largemouth are fair.

Kenosha/Racine, Wisconsin: Decent: Water levels remain very low, slowing the influx of fish, and no major storms are forecast; all the same, it is the area's best salmon bite. At the Root weir, it's mainly been kings going through so far, very few steelhead. Flies and spawn are taking decent kings on the Root. Spawn is taking some at the mouth of the Pike.

Lakefront: Fair: Weather limited boat access. In Chicago, Henry's reports spawn, down five feet, is starting to take more fish at the mouth of Burnham, Belmont and Montrose, mainly kings with a few coho; lures such as Frenzies or Reefrunners continue to pick up some fish. Salmon Stop reports glow spoons continue to take kings, some browns (spawn sacs on the bottom) and a few steelhead off the south rocks and government pier, depending on the wind, at Waukegan; some perch off the end of government pier. Snagging: The daily snagging bag is five coho or chinook combined. Snagging is permitted only at Jackson Park's inner and outer harbors, the Lincoln Park lagoon south of the Fullerton bridge, Winnetka's power plant discharge and Waukegan's north harbor basin. The Lincoln Park lagoon turned on Sunday.

Northern Wisconsin: Expectant: Lakes are cooling rapidly into the 40s, and many areas received a much needed influx of water. Minocqua: Guide Kurt Justice reports a sure sign of better fishing: Muskies are taking suckers, especially on smaller lakes. Walleye and bass are fair. As things settle into the fall patterns, the next two weeks should be peak.

Northwest Indiana: Decent: Mik-Lurch reports good kings for boaters at Pastrick, hole-in-the-wall and shipping channel; shore anglers are doing well, too. Capt. Chuck Weis reports once the northeast winds die down later this week or early next, perch should start setting up in Cal harbor for the winter. Creeks have plenty of kings and coho (and anglers); the bigger steelhead run probably is a week or so away in the creeks.

Shabbona Lake: Decent: Lakeside reported the lake cooled to 60 Tuesday, and with the overcast days should be perfect for muskies. At least a dozen muskie (nothing bigger than 39 inches) were caught over the weekend on topwaters. There are some walleye on the road bed. Crappie are moving shallow in 4-6 feet. Boaters continue to take catfish while looking for walleye. Some good perch in the east bay. Bluegill and bass are fair, weed lines are almost gone.

Wisconsin River, Wisconsin Dells: Decent: River's Edge reports decent walleye with the river near normal and cooling. Sturgeon season ends at midnight Saturday.

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