Northern Illinois Fishing Report – September 20th, 2013
Chain: The panfish bite is very consistent. Fish small jigs tipped with spikes or waxies under a slip float. Fish the weedbeds and set your depth to just above the weeds. The shallow portions of the bays seem to be producing quite well as well as the channel areas found between lakes. Find the thick weedbeds in 8 feet of water or less and the gills will be there, but look for deeper water for the white bass and crappies. The channel cats are really active with the warm weather. Fish have been taken on spinners as well as live bait fished on the bottom. The very active fish have been found up in the shallower water and have really started to feed well. With the warm water, the largemouths have moved into the channels and the heavy mats of weeds. Fishing a scum frog or other weedless bait have been producing some good bass as well as northern pike. The muskie fishing has been hit or miss with some real monsters being boated recently. Look for the breaklines associated with decent weed growth. Troll or cast these edges working parallel to them with glide baits or cranks. Bucktails with large blades can really be productive at this time as well. Trolling will allow you to cover a lot of water and increase your chances of hooking up with a nice trophy.
Shabbona: Crappies are biting but numbers are greatly reduced. Crappies can be found over deeper fishing cribs with minnows or hugging the bottom of tree lines in about 20 feet of water. The bass bite is slow, but they can be caught using scum frogs in the evening in thicker emerging weeds. The muskie bite is slow. Walleyes are biting in the evening on leechers around rock piles in steeper dropoffs.
Braidwood: Catfish are good on shrimp and cheese bait. Bluegills very good on waxworms and red worms at Mazonia. Good bass fishing at Mazonia, but clear water can make for tough fishing.
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.
Heidecke: Walleye fishing good on crawlers and jigs. Catfish fair, with several from 4 to 6 pounds reported on stinkbait or crawlers.
Lake Michigan (Chicago Area): Chinook salmon have started their annual fall run into the harbors for their spawn. The changing water has brought the fish in early, and fish are being caught casting glow spoons worked near the bottom or crankbaits fished very slowly. Waukegan has reported sporadic good catches of coho and kings with the downtown harbors reporting sporadic catches of fish. Trolling for kings has really started to slow down. The fish have spread out into several depths of water. The best bite is early mornings or dusk to a few hours after sunset. Trolling glow spoons or glow flasher/dodger and fly combinations has been doing well. The fish are moving around quite a bit so some searching will need to be done. Trolling in the 100-130 feet of water range seems to be the broad area as of late. Magnum spoons on full and half cores (5 and 10 colors of leadcore line) or large flasher/fly combos on dipsey divers are producing a mixed bag of kings and steelhead. Also J-Plugs are starting to produce some sizable fish. Vary your speeds up to trigger the fish. The best speeds have been around 2.8 mph SOG. Some popular combinations for the kings and cohos have been Smoke dodger and Green fly. Fishlander “hey-Baby” Spoon on leadcore, NBK flasher and Green/Black fly.