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Chicago Parks District offers listings for every stocked park lagoon and pond within the city’s borders. The website also offers information on where to fish along the river, over 22 miles of Lake Michigan, and access to nine harbors. While the district touts year-round finishing, the Chinook (King) salmon are running bring out fishing enthusiasts, according to the Chicago Sun-Times on Sept. 8, 2021.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources reports 124,035 advanced fingerling Chinook (4-7 inches) were released into Lake Michigan for the fall fishing season. Another 685 fingerlings (1-3 inches) were stocked at the Southern Illinois University research center.
Jason Le explains that catching a Chinook in Chicago is difficult, but it is worth the effort. His friend caught one off Lake Michigan’s shoreline. Some accounts indicate the salmon was at least 14 pounds. However, Henry’s Sports and Bait weighed in the first Chinook of the season on September 3. The lucky fisherman, Jesus Maya, caught a 13-pounder using a 1-ounce Moonshine lure.
While 13 and 14-pound salmons might be the norm, in August 1976, Marge Landeen broke the Illinois state record while fishing in Lake Michigan. She landed a 37-pound Chinook.
In 2020, 10 fishing tournaments were held on Lake Michigan — overall, only one Chinook and 40 Coho salmon. Smallmouth bass was the most caught species during the tourneys; 285.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
Chicago Sun-Times: Hours of the kings: Hopes for big Chinook on, with varied success in Chicago fishing, plus Stray Cast; by Dale Bowman
Chicago Sun-Times: The woman who would catch The King: Some details on Marge Landeen’s 1976 Illinois-record Chinook; by Dale Bowman
Chicago Park District: Fishing Areas
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Ken Mattison’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Terry Ross’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License