As Indian summer tries to sneak in for a few days here and there, for most of us the number of days left of open-water fishing grows shorter.

Friends are all asking when I’m going to winterize my boat – that’s their signal that winter is at hand. Well, it’s not winterized yet, but soon.

 The autumn colors have really popped these past days, and fishing on area lakes has become really spectacular on sunny afternoons whether on a boat or shore fishing. 

The reports from area waters have been good in spite of the rainy weather. The only exception to this has been the Illinois River, which has risen 7 to 9 feet in the past weeks and turned the river to “chocolate milk.”

The increased water in the Skokie Lagoons has finally produced some activity for the walleye fisherman, and the Chain-O-Lakes has been producing limits of panfish, both bluegills and crappies all over the lakes, from Pistakee to Catherine and Channel Lakes.

The fish have moved up from the deep weed edge and are being caught next to shore around any available cover with a slip bobber rig, 1/64 oz jig and a 1”action tail or spike. Without a boat, try CJ Smith’s on the Spring Lake channel, at the Lagoons work any down wood with the slip bobber.

This is also the final weekend for Evanston’s fishing program at Lovelace Park. The City of Evanston’s Park/Recreation Department has really done a great job of providing a great opportunity for the community’s young people and their families to enjoy being outdoors, learning to catch fish, enriching their lives. This is truly a unique program that only Evanston offers. 

Do take advantage of this last opportunity this year – you’ll be marking your calendar for next year when you get home.

Got to start planning the winterization of my boat. I can’t believe I’m there already. Until next time … keep a tight line.