This is one of the best times of the year for family fishing.  The trees are in full color – or really close – if you head south of Chicago, birds are migrating in numbers and the fish are schooling up for the cold water. It is a great time to take the family on a weekend “fall color/fishing” trip and take it all in.  The lakes and rivers to the north are approaching full fall colors, too, and are spectacular; the traffic on the lakes for fishing is light and motel/resort rates are off-season now. … It does not get a lot better than this.

The fishing reports are very strong for the area. The Mississippi River is a favorite spot at this time of year, especially Pool 9 near Genoa. The fall colors there are breathtaking and the trip is worth it for that alone. The fishing for all species is good: Walleyes/sauger is a hot bite, and so are crappies and sheepheads.  The eagles are migrating into the area so it should not be a surprise if an eagle swoops down and snatches out of the water a thrown-back gut-hooked sheephead. 

The Wisconsin River near the Dells is beautiful this time of year, and the fishing for crappies and white bass has been exceptional, even from shore. Lake Delevan has been reporting a strong northern pike bite in shallow water (4-10 feet) on crankbaits. Closer to home, the Skokie Lagoons report is for a very active largemouth bass bite around any structure one can cast to, and the Illinois River at Starved Rock has been having one of the best walleye/sauger bites of the year. There, the autumn colors are just beginning to reach their full glory.

New this season, the Cook County Forest Preserve District has added Busse Lake to its trout-stocking program. Starting Oct. 19, those interested can fish for fresh rainbow trout in the North Pool of Busse Lake for these stocked fish. One does need an inland trout stamp on the fishing license to do this, however.

Everyone ought to take advantage of the great autumn colors and fishing, and take the family out there and enjoy all this area has to offer. Until next time…keep a tight line.

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