Lake Michigan Corner


As I am writing this article, we are undergoing the big transition along the southern shores of Lake Michigan. Most Chinook have moved in close to shore and are doing their thing, the brown trout and steelhead are close at hand and the perch are on the way. Every fish in the lake is putting on the feedbag, getting ready for the upcoming winter.

In Wisconsin, the Chinook have been cooperating in Milwaukee Harbor for anglers trolling and casting 3/4-ounce Rat-L-Traps. Shore fishing has been on the slow side along Veteran’s Park, the Summerfest grounds, near the lighthouse, under the Hoan Bridge and Lakeshore State Park, McKinley Ramp and Pier have been on the slow side, but there have been a few Chinook taken.

Trollers out of Racine have been picking up Chinook and a few coho in 100 to 150 feet of water. Pier and shoreline fishermen have been picking up some kings with a few brown trout mixed in on casting spoons. Little Cleos and K-O Wobblers have been doing well. The Root River has been slow.

Options for Illinois

Down into Illinois, off Northpoint, although it’s been on the slow side, good catches of Chinook and lake trout have been taken out in 150 to 250 feet, with nice steelhead up near the surface.

In Waukegan, some Chinook have moved into the harbor and have been hitting on glow Moonshine spoons and phosphorescent (Glow-in-the-dark) and Glow crankbaits. Trollers have been picking up a few coho in 50 to 90 feet on Warrior Spoons and 0 dodgers and Eddie Fly combinations.

In Chicago, harbor action for Chinook has been decent at Montrose and 63rd Street—mostly on phosphorescent (Glow-in-the-dark) Moonshine spoons.

Offshore trollers are finding lake trout action out in 130 to 160 feet, while Chinook, coho and steelhead have been hitting in 90 to 140 feet. Mostly magnum Dreamweaver spoons in Monkey Puke, Bloody Nose, Super Glow Hot Lemon and Green Cow have been working on seven to ten inches of lead. Large Eddie Flies behind Dreamweaver Spin Doctors on Dipsies have been working for the Chinook and the coho. The steelhead have been taking standard-size Dreamweavers in Orange Crush, Steelie Cane and Killer Bee.

Hail to the chief!

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has announced Mike McCelland has been named to replace Dan Stephenson who retired this past summer as Chief of Fisheries. McClelland had previously been Manager of the Rivers, Reservoirs and Inland Waters Program.

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Good options for Indiana

Indiana fishing has been decent in Trail Creek and Salt Creek for Chinook on Hammond Spinners, Tawnter Spinners and raw spawn and sacs.

Some Chinook are still around at the mouth of Burns Ditch, the Portage Riverwalk and the Michigan City Pier on Glow DW-Plugs and Glow Spoons.

The talk around the Michigan City Pier is a 36- to 38-inch muskie, caught and released by Ryan Henry while casting for salmon. The fish was estimated to weigh in the 15- to 18-pound range.

On a sad note, Captain Jeffery Michael “Mike” Tapper Sr. passed away recently. Capt. Mike was one of the top charter captains operating off Indiana. N’ Pursuit Charters, in addition to salmon charters, also ran dive charters over area wrecks.

Another old shore fishing hotspot from the past is scheduled to meet its demise by 2028. Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) announced its coal-fired generator in Michigan City is scheduled to be retired. NIPSCO retired the two coal-fire generators at its Baily Station along Lake Michigan (The Donut) earlier this year in a plan to reduce coal-fired generators by half by 2023.

No determination was made regarding future use of the plants. Looks like another old hotspot bites the dust.

Many options in Michigan

On the Michigan side, the coho are going at Berrien Springs, smallmouths are in the St. Joseph River and perch fishing has been good along the shoreline in 42 to 52 feet of water off St. Joseph.

Look for the perch fishing to get nothing but better all along our southern shores. Maybe Jay Wallenberg will get together a few of his stupid umbrella rigs and pry me off the couch after I have my turkey.