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Northern Illinois Fishing Report – September 21st, 2012


The walleye action is picking up. Fishermen have been reporting good catches in the river channels and mouths of the creeks in the early morning or late evening. Jig and minnows or jig and leaches have done well. The flats are also holding fish as well. Drift crawler harnesses over the flats. White is a good color with chartreuse doing the best. Bass are deep in the slop on most lakes. Pitch the pockets with jigs or run a frog across the top to entice a bite. Some larger fish are being found on the outside edges of the weeds on Channel Lake near the deeper water. Panfish are still being caught on smaller presentations. Live bait is working well, however plastics are getting some of the larger fish to bite.
Muskies have been slow on the lower lakes, but some big fish are showing themselves on Channel and Petite in the deeper water areas. Big bucktails and jerkbaits are moving fish.


Crappies can be found over deeper fishing cribs with minnows or hugging bottom of tree lines in about 25 feet of water. Bass slow but can be caught using scum frogs in the evening in thicker emerging weeds. Muskies slow. Walleye bite in evening on leeches around rock piles in steeper drop-offs.

Lake Zurich

There has been a really good topwater bite for bass over the last few weeks. Poppers or zara spooks worked near the shallow weedbeds have been offering some fishermen some quick and explosive action.

Forest Preserve Lakes

Crappies and bluegills both slow. Channel cats biting on stinkbaits, nightcrawlers and chicken livers. Flatheads biting on big roaches, bluegills, sucker minnows and carp. Bass fishing steady using medium roach minnows, soft plastics, lizards and worms. Pike biting in good numbers on roach minnows.

Lake Michigan (Chicago area)

Fishing remains slow up and down the lakefront. Coho and king salmon are being found in the 120-160 feet of water range. Water surface temperatures are about 75 degrees but it drops into the mid-50s when you get down 70 feet in the water column. Magnum glow spoons as well as larger flasher and flies have been taking most of the fish. Downriggers and copper have been doing best, with dipseys and leadcore coming in a close second.

Reports of staging kings have been trickling in up and down the harbors. The 4-year-olds are being found in 50 feet of water with a few making their ways into the harbors to spawn. There should be a good push of fish. Glow spoons working near the bottom with a pause and reel retrieve are best.

Lake Michigan (Waukegan)

Kings and coho slow, but being caught in 50-90 feet, depending on time of day, on spoons, Dodgers or flies. 

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