The fishing has not gotten much better in the past couple of weeks. Water levels are really low on most lakes and rivers in the area, water temps are in the mid 50s and the bigger lakes such as Lake Geneva are about to go into fall turnover, which will really slow things down.
Some fishermen are having a little luck on Geneva getting Northern Pike and large live bait rigs. The Kankakee River south of I-55 is shallow, clear and producing some fair catches of smallmouth bass. In contrast, the Illinois River level is down, making launches very difficult and there is not much action once one is out there.
Out at the edge of the state, on the Mississippi Pool 9 at Genoa, though the river is down, there is a good walleye/sauger bite on jig and minnows along the wing dams. The best pattern for late-fall fishing is live bait – large live bait. The best to get when heading out are the largest minnows available at the bait store; large fathead or mud minnows are the most durable. The jig size will need to be stepped up to accommodate the larger bait. In spring smaller baits are used because the minnows have just hatched. By fall those that have survived have grown up; thus the larger baits.
Those who believe they are done fishing for the year (which is too bad) should start “winterizing” their tackle for the off-season. The place to start is with the fishing reel. Spool off about 2/3 of the line and dispose of it properly; then back off the drag system to save the gears and magnets. Fishing rods should be wiped with a rag sprayed with WD-40 to keep the wraps from drying out. The tackle box should be wiped down, too, to remove as much moisture as possible, and a packet of 3 and 1 Drying Agent dropped in to keep lures from rusting over the winter. Most tackle stores and some hardware stores carry them.
I’m still hoping for some more fishing days, so until next week, keep a tight line.
Contact Dick at hookedonfishing@comcast.net.