It looks like we will settle into the most stable stretch of weather so far this summer for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report and with that into summer patterns of chasing big kings on Lake Michigan and bluegill, catfish and bass on local ponds and lakes. Also the first Des Plaines River report since the flooding from Marcus Benesch.

Luis Gonzalez and his cousin James caught some blues at Braidwood last week, including the 34-pound brute in the photo above.

MFR for Chicago fishing appears in a condensed form Wednesdays on the Sun-Times newspaper outdoors page. The sprawling raw-file report is posted here online on the Sun-Times outdoors page.

LAKEFRONT PERCH

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN: Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said there were good catches in 30-40 feet off The Chalets to the south and a mile north of the pier.

NORTHWEST INDIANA: Capt. Rich Sleziak  at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind., texted:

Perch day to day 20 to45ft of water dune state park to Michigan city baby roachs best bait drifting seems better to catch the perch

CHICAGO: Slow, a few mornings at Montrose.

FROGGING IN ILLINOIS

Bullfrog season in Illinois is open. Daily bag is eight. Bullfrogs may be taken by hook and line, gig, pitchfork, spear, bow and arrow, hand, or landing net.

AREA LAKES

It’s the middle of summer, fish the weed pockets or outside weed lines for bluegill or play around with bass early and late. Or go catfishing.

Larry Green tweeted Saturday about catfishing at a Chicago lagoon:

took advantage of the stock and catch catfish program at my local park. I’m sun protected

I was curious about his sun-protection gear and Green responded:

The brand is Coolibar sun protection clothing

Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of the past week’s fishing.
Area Lakes- bass have been good on Berkley power worms Texas rigged. Best presentation has been pitching the bait into weed pockets. Bluegill have been excellent on ice jigs tipped with waxies under a slip float. Work the bait along the outside weed lines.
Area Rivers- still waiting for the high waters to recede. Creeks should be in good shape later in the week provided we don’t get much rain.
TTYL
Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Husker Outdoors
Waterworks fishing team

Pete Lamar sent this:

Hi Dale,

I-belatedly-took Ken G.’s advice and went to a local lake in the Kane County Forest Preserves last night.  I don’t do much rifle hunting, but I’d think after lugging a .308 around for a week in pursuit of elk or mule deer, a person might want to pick up a .22 or an air rifle and plink a few cans.  After using nothing but my eight weight and a sink tip line, I wanted to go a little lighter.  So I took the two weight and went after bluegills last night.   Clouds of mosquitoes everywhere, but the good thing is that it activated the food chain.  Dragonflies, birds, frogs, all were out chasing the mosquitoes.  There was a lot of surface activity taking place in the water.  Bluegills were feeding aggressively-my foam hopper was hit on all but a few casts.  I didn’t hook even half the fish that hit, but some nice bluegills were landed.  Conditions looked pretty stable and this should continue for awhile.

Pete

AREA WATER LEVELS

Click here to find river closures listed by the Illinois DNR. Go to http://water.weather.gov//ahps2/index.php?wfo=lot to check area water levels and projection. To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to http://waterdata.usgs.gov/il/nwis/current/?type=flow

BRAIDWOOD LAKE

From a week ago, Luis Gonzalez sent the photo at the top of the big blue along with this report:

That was from Braidwood today. That fish was absolutely flawless and it was milking everywhere.
Me and my cousin James made our way over there fearing that the river might be a little bit of a challenge still
We pulled in 10 total fish all ranging from 8 lb all the way up to this big 34 we had nine blue cats and one very surprising common carp to seal the day

On Monday, he indicated another good outing.

BoRabb Williams said they found blues tough, but were catching some small channel catfish, bluegill and bass.

Site staff said water was on Sunday was 98 on the south end (hot side) and 91 on north (cold side).

Braidwood is open daily. Hours through Aug. 13, close is 8 p.m.; from Aug. 14-Sept. 10, close is 7:30 p.m.; from Sept. 11-24, close is 7 p.m.; from Sept. 25-Oct. 7, close is 6:30 p.m.

CALUMET SYSTEM

BoRabb Williams said it is going for everything.

CHAIN O’LAKES

The entire system remained closed to boating as of Tuesday afternoon. For more info and lake updates, go to Fox Waterway Agency or call (847) 587-8540.

CHICAGO RIVER

Capt. Pat Harrison of Pat Harrison Outdoors sent this:

Chicago River and Lake Front Report

Last  week I was only out 2 times Surface temps in the mid 70’s weather was not kind. The water was high and stained and dirty on the river. Fishing was tough panfish a bit smaller than normal and a few Bass where caught but Bass were 12” to 15” and only a few caught. Weather has been an issue this year it needs stabilize a bit so the fish get a bit more active. The end of the week and weekend I was in Kirkwood Mo.  to take my Grand kids fishing for a couple days we went to the Merrimac river which is near their house that we fished last year to find out since the Mississippi river floods last year the Asian Carp have made it home. Weather was even hotter out there so the fishing was cut shore and we spend time doing other things enjoy your week Fish On I hope.

DELAVAN/LAKE GENEVA AREA, WISCONSIN

GENEVA: Arden Katz said bluegill, pumpkinseeds, perch and rock bass were outstanding in 15-20 feet in Geneva Bay.

Dave Duwe emailed this:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 7/30/17 through 8/6/17

As the lake warms up after the significant rains fishing has been improving back to normal patterns.  With stable weather the fishing has been improving every day.

Bluegill fishing has been rather spotty.  The best success has come east of Browns Channel in 15 ft of water.  As the water depth decreases, this bite shall continue to improve.  You can catch them either on slip bobber rigged trout worms or a split shot rigged trout or leaf worm.  You want to place the bait about 1 ft off bottom.  Other action has been found throughout the lake but continuing to work the weed lines you should have some success.

Largemouth bass have returned to their summer pattern.  Most of the larger fish are on the deep weed lines.  My best success has come near the Yacht Club, 3 flags or Willow Point.  You can use 4 inch finesse worms in green pumpkin with metal flake or a split shot rigged nightcrawler.  There has been a secondary bite on the lake.  If you fish by North shore or by the boat launch channel, the slop bite has been improving with the warmer weather.  Black or yellow frogs fished on top of the vegetation mat have been producing a lot of big fish.  You want to use fire line or some super line so you are able to horse the big fish out of the heavy weeds.  The best days to fish the weed mats are high skies with abundant sunshine.

Crappie action has been good on calm mornings.  The fish are suspending in 20-25 ft of water.   Good locations are in front of the marina, the middle of the lake and west of the Yacht Club.  The best way to locate the fish is when the water is calm and they are breaching the surface of the water looking for insects.  The best approach is casting a small purple or chartreuse twister tail on a 1/32 oz jig head.

Walleye fishing has been okay.  I typically can catch one or two while fishing for largemouth if 17-20 ft of water.  I’ve been catching my fish by 3 flags, by the old Boy Scout camp or on the point in Assembly Park. The best approach is either lindy rigging a leech or nightcrawler fished on a chartreuse hook.

Northern Pike fishing has been average overall.  I’m catching a lot of fish but they’ve been in the 20-30 inch range.  They are coming out of 17-20 ft of water.  Lindy rigged medium suckers have been producing most of the action.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water.  For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063

DELAVAN: Dave Duwe sent this before the update above:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 7/30/17 through 8/6/17

As the lake warms up after the significant rains fishing has been improving back to normal patterns.  With stable weather the fishing has been improving every day.

Bluegill fishing has been rather spotty.  The best success has come east of Browns Channel in 15 ft of water.  As the water depth decreases, this bite shall continue to improve.  You can catch them either on slip bobber rigged trout worms or a split shot rigged trout or leaf worm.  You want to place the bait about 1 ft off bottom.  Other action has been found throughout the lake but continuing to work the weed lines you should have some success.

Largemouth bass have returned to their summer pattern.  Most of the larger fish are on the deep weed lines.  My best success has come near the Yacht Club, 3 flags or Willow Point.  You can use 4 inch finesse worms in green pumpkin with metal flake or a split shot rigged nightcrawler.  There has been a secondary bite on the lake.  If you fish by North shore or by the boat launch channel, the slop bite has been improving with the warmer weather.  Black or yellow frogs fished on top of the vegetation mat have been producing a lot of big fish.  You want to use fire line or some super line so you are able to horse the big fish out of the heavy weeds.  The best days to fish the weed mats are high skies with abundant sunshine.

Crappie action has been good on calm mornings.  The fish are suspending in 20-25 ft of water.   Good locations are in front of the marina, the middle of the lake and west of the Yacht Club.  The best way to locate the fish is when the water is calm and they are breaching the surface of the water looking for insects.  The best approach is casting a small purple or chartreuse twister tail on a 1/32 oz jig head.

Walleye fishing has been okay.  I typically can catch one or two while fishing for largemouth if 17-20 ft of water.  I’ve been catching my fish by 3 flags, by the old Boy Scout camp or on the point in Assembly Park. The best approach is either lindy rigging a leech or nightcrawler fished on a chartreuse hook.

Northern Pike fishing has been average overall.  I’m catching a lot of fish but they’ve been in the 20-30 inch range.  They are coming out of 17-20 ft of water.  Lindy rigged medium suckers have been producing most of the action.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water.  For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063

DES PLAINES RIVER

A sign of the receding river, Marcus Benesch sent this report:

River levels getting closer to normal in most sections.  Witnessed a large fish kill from the flooding up near the Wisconsin state line (my new home stretch).  Fish hanging from trees, stuck in River banks,  beached way up on shore.  The smells and maggot piles were horrendous. Mostly carp,  but bowfin, pike, and every panfish in the river could be spotted in mess.  Not dozens, closer to a thousand or so dead fish.  Time will tell if any fishing will be affected.  That particular morning only ran into a few dogfish.
Marcus Benesch
Gurnee, Illinois

Guess I am not completely surprised by the dead fish report, considering the record or near-record levels of flooding.

DOWNSTATE NOTES

LAKE SHELBYVILLE:  Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide ServiceHENNEPIN-HOPPER: The lakes are open through Labor Day, Sept. 4. Fishing is closed on Mondays other than Labor Day. Click here for complete list of regs and details. EVERGREEN LAKE: Larry Dozard of larrysfishinghole.com sent this:

 Evergreen Lake BAIT SHOP and BOAT RENTAL Hours:  6:00 am to 6:00 pm Daily
NOTE – During the weekdays staff is not present, please press buzzer on the front of the building 
   for assistance or call the Visitor Center at (309) 434-6770.

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard FishingPOWERTON: Boat and shore fishing is open. Hours are 6 a.m.-8 p.m. 

FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS

Water is receding, but slowly and is still listed as closed to boating from Montgomery up. Click here for closure updates.

Pete Lamar sent this report, though it is mainly about tributaries:

Hi Dale,

I’ve only been out once recently, so here’s what I found: I went to a feeder creek north of Aurora late Saturday afternoon.  It usually runs so clear that I don’t begin fishing until the sun has dropped behind the trees.  It wasn’t clear this time.  It was high, off-color and there was almost no current to speak of.  The Fox, which was just a few hundred yards downstream was dropping, but still high.  I’d guess with the main river backing up into the creeks, it lessened the gradient to the point that that the creek velocity was lowered-nowhere for the water to go, so it just kind of sat there.  It made it difficult to find smallmouths-this time of year, it’s usually just a matter of finding current breaks near faster, well-oxygenated water.  But with no current I never could locate any smallmouths.  I did get a nice channel catfish, just under 18 inches, from a deep slow pool.  Cats aren’t usually considered a fly rod fish, but this one aggressively took a dark streamer and put a nice bend in the five weight.  I wish I’d had more time to explore:  I’m curious as to how the other tributaries look, both near the mouths and farther upstream.

Pete

I like his hunting-fishing analogy.

FOX RIVER: WISCONSIN

No update.

GREEN BAY/STURGEON BAY

No update this week from Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay.

Wisconsin DNR report is usually posted Tuesdays and includes reports from both the bay and lake sides.

HEIDECKE LAKE

Lake is open daily 6 a.m. (6:30 shore side) to sunset.

ILLINOIS RIVER

B & B Live Bait–(815) 433-0432–in Ottawa is open.

INDIANA STREAMS (LAKE MICHIGAN TRIBUTARIES)

Capt. Rich Sleziak  at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind., texted:

Good batch of skamina steelhead in trail creek spinners spawn and shrimp best baits

Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map. Access points for Little Cal and Salt Creek, which are closer to Chicago than Trail Creek, may be found at littlecal_saltcreek_access.

KANKAKEE RIVER

Water levels are coming down closer to manageable wadeable levels, catfish, evening walleye and smallmouth are the main draws.

Norm Minas sent this:

The river is dropping but on all gauges it more than twice it’s normal flow . Clearing a little near shore and in slower water , visibilty still not great . 3 to 4 inches of tops of water willows currently sticking out of water , although still some fish holding on outside edges of beds with some depth next to them .

Weather has been nice the last couple days and I have been feeling better so why not do some fishing . 

Some fish on a single spin run on outside edge of water willow beds with some depth to them . I treid fishing in the beds and dropping into holes with no takers .

I switched to fishing cobblestone flats with crankbaits and rattlebaits, ran up Pepe’s flag . I switched to a jig/pig in the same areas quartercast upstream and bounced down . That got me what I was after, some solid thunks but more light hits , still smallmouth were eating the jig/pig . 

I stayed with that pattern for the rest of the trip and all of the next one, it kept producing . Not huge numbers of fish or really huge fish but enough to keep the interest up and a smile on my face . 

I likely could have caught more but when my body started telling it was done , I quit fishing . 

Peace

Norm

LAKE ERIE

Click here for the Ohio DNR’s annual fishing prospects. The Ohio DNR has general Lake Erie info and a fishing report.

LAKEFRONT

CHICAGO: Staff at Henry’s Sports and Bait  and Park Bait report some drum on the outside (lakeside) of harbors, especially at Montrose. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said lakers are pretty good in 90-110 feet; out deeper (130-150 feet and beyond) there is a fair amount of a mixed bag.

WAUKEGAN: Capt. Scott Wolfe of School of Fish Charters sent this report:

Out of Waukegan the North winds and big currents and waves changed the fishing pattern dramatically.  Before the winds that came Thursday night into Saturday, there were fish in very shallow, 40 feet or less, with another, more consistent area the 90 to 130 foot range.

Now, after the blow you have to work deeper water for numbers of fish.  160 feet and deeper was the ticket this weekend, with the best fishing around 250 feet for us.  Great catches of steelhead, coho and lake trout. Most fish are holding 60 to 100 feet deep.  Downriggers and long copper lines took all the fish this past weekend.  Regular size glow Warrior and Moonshine spoons were the ticket. They didn’t want flies or magnum spoons.

If anglers want to specifically target big kings the program is totally different.  Staging 4 year old kings are holding in 120 to 130 in the bottom 25 feet of the water column.  Multiple boats took fish over 20 pounds but the most I heard of was 4 fish, with some boats getting skunked (0 fish) trying for them.  It’s really nice to even be talking about staging kings again.  For the past 2 years there have been none.  I think this will be the best August in many years for trollers and best king run in many years for the shore fishermen.

NORTH POINT:  Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said it is very strange, in close to shore, they are marking bait and fish, but catching few, but “way off shore [in 300 feet] it is about as good as it gets” with mainly coho, but some steelhead, lakers and 4-year-old kings. The coho are mostly 6 to 8 pounds, or as he put it, “Beautiful, fat-assed fish.”

LaSALLE LAKE

BoRabb Williams said big blues were slow, with some small channel catfish, bluegills and bass. The cooling lake south of Seneca is open daily, 6 a.m. to sunset. Also, boaters should be aware that there will be no launching if wind is 14 mph or higher.

MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN

Check the latest from D & S Bait on Facebook.

MAZONIA

BoRabb Williams said Monster was good for catfish and everything.

Check with Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington. Lakes now close at 8 p.m.

MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN

Check with Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service sent this:

MILWAUKEE HARBOR

Check the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report, which generally comes out Tuesdays for updates.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

MINOCQUA:  Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua, Wis. sent this:

Summertime patterns forming, late, but better late than never.

Largemouth Bass:  Very Good-Excellent – Action, size and lots of variety for fishing style.  Square lipped and lipless cranks as well as spinnerbaits over weed tops.  Pre-rigged plastic, chatterbaits and 3” swimbaits also working in same areas.  Heat has increased top-water activity with very good plastic frog action as well as tail baits (sm. Whopper Ploppers) and prop baits.  Wacky Worming, Dingers and Senkos also doing well.

Smallmouth Bass:  Very Good – Summer haunts, deep gravel/rock humps and deep coontail edges.  Tube jigs, drop-shotting and Carolina rigging creature baits.  Some very nice fish in the 19-21” range.

Yellow Perch:  Very Good – Loving the heat.  Sand grass flats and drowned wood.  ½ crawlers, medium leeches and medium fatheads.

Crappie:  Good –  Weed tops of narrow leaf cabbage in 10 – 12’.  Two inch twisters on 1/32 oz jigs, small beetle spins, #0 Mepps worked just at weed tops.

Bluegill:  Very Good – Work suspended Gills along deep coontail edges using tiny 1” tubes, Mini-Mites or just a small leech or worm.  Nice Gills with reports of 7 – 9” common.

Northern Pike:  Good-Very Good – Fast moving blade baits (Boonies, Booyah) as well as chatterbaits.  Swimbaits worked quickly in the 4 – 4 1/2 “ size.

Walleye:  Fair-Improving  –  Deep bites best at dusk on humps of 18 – 28’ using big crawlers and leeches.  Lighted slip-bobbers after dark with the biggest leeches you can find.

Musky:  Fair-Good – Mixed reports on top-water baits as well as big bladed bucktails.

With surface water temps cracking 80 degrees (84+ on some Flowages) metabolism on fish high.  Fish will chase now, so don’t be afraid to fish fast!

Kurt Justice
Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
www.kurtsislandsports.com
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EAGLE RIVER: B+L, from reports from Colin Crawford of Colin Crawford Guide Service for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce, sent this:

Fishing Report

Panfish: Thee are still perch in the weeds and you can find some moving into the rock piles using a slip bobber tipped with minnows or tossing a 1/8th oz. jig with a small minnow seems to be doing the job. Crappies are in the deeper weeds and around structure. Slip bobber rigs with a hook and minnow or a jig and plastic should do the trick. Bluegills are up in the shallows on the warmer lakes; slip bobber rigs baited with red worms or waxies will catch these. Remember we do have panfish regulations on a few of our lakes in the area.

Bass: Largemouth can be found in the shallow weeds and around docks; and they will be caught using top water and spinnerbaits. Smallies are in and around the rocks and can be caught by using small crankbaits and jerkbaits.

Northern: These fish will be found in and around weeds, so pitching jig and minnows or small spinnerbaits and spoons will get their attention.

Walleye: We are casting 1/8th oz. jigs tipped with live bait. Depending on the depth that you are fishing is when you might need to go heavier with your jig.

Muskies: Bucktails and jerkbaits are working, along with top water. These are your go to baits for a while now.

NORTHWEST INDIANA

Perch report at top. Capt. Rich Sleziak  at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind., texted:

90 to 110 straight out of portage good for mix bag fishing 50ft to the bottom spoons and spin doctor and flys best meat rigs doing ok also Perch day to day 20 to45ft of water dune state park to Michigan city baby roachs best bait drifting seems better to catch the perch Good batch of skamina steelhead in trail creek spinners spawn and shrimp best baits

Remember he is at summer hours (5 a.m.-8 p.m.) until Labor Day.

LAKER REMINDER: Indiana now has a daily bag of three lake trout on Lake Michigan, to match Michigan. Illinois’ daily bag remains at two.ROCK RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

The Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report is generally posted on Tuesday and includes a Root river section. Click here for the stream flow update, which can be really important for how good the fishing is.

ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN

Perch report at the top. Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said there was some skamania early and late off the pier on shrimp; otherwise, boaters trolling for salmon, steelhead and lakers are doing best in 80-125 feet.

ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA

Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.

SHABBONA LAKE

Pete Riedesel is catching some quality muskie. Staff at Lakeside said bass are being caught on a variety of presentations along weed lines or the dam face; some crappie are being caught off the fish cribs. Aaron Sands is doing well on good walleye on weed lines; bluegill and catfish are steady.

Park is open 6 a.m.-10 p.m.

Here are the hours for Lakeside for the next few months:

Shabbona Lakeside is now OPEN for the SEASON

Lakeside will be open everyday, 7 days a week,

April 11th to September 5th 6 AM to 7 PM

September 6th to September 30th 6 AM to 6:30 PM

October 1st to October 10th 6:30 AM to 6 PM

October 11th to October 31st 7 AM to 5PM

For more information and reports from Lakeside, go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT

The Wisconsin DNR posts a report during open water at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html. It is usually posted by Tuesday afternoon. Streadsm flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow.

WOLF LAKE

No update.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.