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Targeting walleye in downtown Chicago at night

In the last couple of summer months, Nick Winstead caught walleye while night-fishing downtown. Not many, but one here and one there. Enough to spark interest.

‘‘I caught a small walleye on a [drop-shot rig] for bass by the pumping station at DuSable,’’ he messaged. ‘‘Since then, I’ve been throwing deep-diving, bright-colored crankbaits and jerkbaits for them and luckily have been getting on some bigger ones.’’

The crowning moment came Aug. 22, when he caught one weighing 7.67 pounds on a hand-held scale, one of the heaviest walleye recorded in Chicago.

After Sunday night, his friend Anthony Johnson messaged: ‘‘Kid struck again tonight. Same lure, too.’’

The magic generally has come on a chartreuse-and-white deep Fat Free Shad crankbait.

Winstead often is fishing in the area around DuSable Harbor.

Significant walleye catches around Chicago happen often enough to keep the embers of hope in anglers burning.

Toni Pellegrino caught the most famous walleye in Chicago in the wee hours of Oct. 8, 2007, on the Chicago River near DuSable Harbor, roughly the same area as Winstead. It weighed 6.75 pounds on the certified scale at Henry’s Sports and Bait.

Her unofficial record of the heaviest modern Chicago walleye weighed on a certified scale lasted less than a year. Mike Osuch surpassed it in September 2008 with one caught off the point of Northerly Island. It weighed 7 pounds, 5.5 ounces at Henry’s.

Most recently, there was the 11-pound, 2-ounce walleye caught by Kayden Monterestelli in the Indiana waters of Calumet Harbor last September.

Jim Zimmerman caught the Illinois-record walleye of 15.08 pounds on March 11, 2012, from the Pecatonica River.

What do the walleye catches by Winstead mean? I don’t know for certain, but I want to think, like Johnson, that it means a breeding population.

At least I wish it means more than transitory walleye in Chicago waters.

Camping note

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources reopened Kankakee River State Park’s Chippewa campground Monday, just in time for the Labor Day weekend. The popular site had been closed since 2015.

Illinois hunting

Thursday is the final day to apply for the free upland-game permits, the coolest hunting program in the state, and for the first round of duck/goose blind draws. . . . Dove and the early Canada goose seasons open Friday.

Wild things

A week ago, Rob Abouchar in Island Lake spotted migrating nighthawks. I’m still waiting and looking at the evening sky. . . . I spotted my first cicada husk of the year Friday as I left the Y after a workout.

Stray cast

FYI to Audacy: I identify with the DJs on WXRT. Using pieces of automated announcers to intro songs is like the difference between canned salmon and wild-caught.



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