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As summer slowly departs and fall sneaks around the corner, the local fishing is starting to head into fall patterns. The late summer bite on Lake Michigan, for those who fish near shore, has been pretty much non-existent after the long hot spell this summer that drove water temperatures in the lake up to 80 degrees. That heat wave, in turn, drove the perch and bass populations into deeper, cooler water, where they will probably now winter. The good near-shore fishing right now is for salmon – they are being caught coming into the harbors up and down the western shore, from Waukegan down to 95th Street.

Area inland lakes are pretty much a mixed bag, due to the changing water levels created by the lack of rain and the summer heat having driven water temperatures all over the charts. The Skokie Lagoons and Beck Lake, two of the better area lakes, have had a really slow summer bite. The regulars who fish these lakes are just now starting to see stronger patterns and more consistent bites for bass and northern pikes.

The lakes in southern Wisconsin are showing better, more consistent, bites than local lakes. Lake Geneva has cooled down a lot, with surface temperatures this past week down to 65 degrees. Fish were biting in 25 to 45 feet of water on minnows and the bite was largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, perch and bluegills. The lake is easier to fish this time of year; the boat traffic is very light. Lake Delevan has been producing a steady bite on all species the past few weeks and the word from the fishermen is “quantity is OK, quality is outstanding” – and that translates into fewer bites, bigger fish.

Next week fishermen should start getting some gear ready for winter. It’s time to start looking at reorganizing and inventorying for the cold season. The fish are still biting at Lovelace Park: The weather couldn’t get much more comfortable, the kids will have a great time … and it’s free. Until next time, keep a tight line.

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