Perch reopens & water, water, water: Chicago fishing (updated)

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Perch fishing in the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan reopened Tuesday, that and water everywhere from all the rain lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

The MFR appears in a much condensed form Wednesdays on the Sun-Times outdoors page.

Marcus Benesch sent the bowfin (dogfish) photo at the top from the Des Plaines River, before the river really got out of hand.


Perch season reopened Tuesday in the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan with fair reports. I saw some caught at 31st Street Harbor. Staff at Mik-Lurch said Belmont was the best spot was shorefishermen. Stacey Greene at Park Bait said there were some caught early (5-6 a.m.). Be aware if headed to Montrose today that there is the big concert there tonight and access may be impacted.Capt. Bob PoteshmanofConfusion Charters said he there were only only perch caught off of Navy Pier that he saw from his boat and one other. Lori Ralph at the Salmon in Waukegan said no one had been in for perch bait. Other reports around southern Lake Michigan were spotty or poor.


NOTE: SKAMANIA MANIA has been postponed because of the high water. Check updates at or call (219) 221-1340or771-2201.


Remember whatPhil SchumanatTackle Haven gave me a heads up about on a significant reg change in Michigan. Now there is a year-round, statewide catch-and-immediate release on bass, except on waters completely closed to fishing.

Marty Lakatosthought there should be this clarification would help prevent any confusion:

PLEASE NOTE – the season to keep largemouth and smallmouth bass will stillopen on the Saturday before Memorial Day on the inland waters and the GreatLakes or the third Saturday in June on Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair River, and theDetroit River. All possession seasons for bass will close on December 31. Theregulation change allows for catch-and-release fishing all year.


We have enough water coming in that even many lakes and ponds are being impacted. Otherwise, bedding bluegill remain the top target on many lakes or largemouth bass.


Once again, this is a week when it is essential to check on water levels and flow. Go to to check area water levels and projection. To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to


Hooksetter’s Guide Service sent this:

(Head): Musky, smallmouth, walleye and panfish hitting very well; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin’s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau). There was an outstanding musky bite this past week with action on many varieties of baits. Top water baits were doing surprisingly well for this early in the season and the action was very good. In addition to the top water baits doing so well, traditional bucktails, twitchbaits and jerkbaits all executed just as well. Most action was in shallow weed related areas with less than 5 feet of water. Smallmouth bass action continues to be very good with consistent action all day long. Most of our fish have been caught by running small crankbaits or jigs with tubes or beaver tails in less than 3 feet of water. The walleye bite has been about as good as it can get. We are not only seeing good numbers of fish but the size of some of the walleyes has been outstanding. With measurable fish in the mid to upper 20 inch range and some walleyes pushing that 30 inch mark why would you go anywhere else? One thing that we found that really helped us to be more successful with catching the walleyes was having colored line. A bright yellow or orange line really helped by being able to see the line and watch for the light biters. Panfish action this past week has been very good for both crappies and bluegills. These are the bread and butter of the angler and always a delight to get kids introduced into fishing. Most of these fish are still associated with the weeds to a point. Working either a minnow or worm on a hood below a bobber will catch fish all day long.


Members of Chicagoland Muskie Hunters chapter of Muskies Inc. found muskies very active at a weekend outing. Staff at Triangle said that bluegill are the best bite, bedding shallow; catfish are good on crawlers or stinkbait; trolling crankbaits for walleye is productive around bridges or current areas; white bass are good on Marie; bass are post-spawn. NOTE: No restrictions were in place as of late Tuesday, but I would keep checkingupdates from at theFox Waterway Agency or by calling (847) 587-8540.

For more reports, see


No update this week, other than even this river was flooding.


HEIDECKE:Launch opens 6 a.m., shore fishing at 6:30 a.m.; close is sunset.LaSALLE:Remember the new regs that the wind must be 12 mph or less and often a late opener for boaters on the weekend (many complaints). Hours are 6 a.m. to sunset daily. There is a concessionaire with bait and food options. BRAIDWOOD:Lake is open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.MAZONIA: Lakes are open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.


GENEVA:Dave sent this:

Lake Geneva Fishing Report 6/14/15 through 6/21/15 Fishing on Lake Geneva has been fantastic. Both largemouth and smallmouth bass are in the shallows and biting aggressively. When you include the pan fish, it has been fairly common to catch over 100 fish in a 4 hour trip. This is the time of year where going through 10 dozen nightcrawlers in a trip occurs frequently. Smallmouth bass fishing has been great. The fish are done spawning and aggressively feeding. They remain on their spawning flats and are just starting to move deeper. The best location last week was by Linn Pier and Knollwood working depths of 10-12 ft of water. They can be caught drop shotting a small 4 inch finesse worm in green pumpkin or dragging a nightcrawler fished on a split shot rig. Over the next week with the warmer water temperatures, the fish will move deeper so watch for the fish to be sliding down the break line as the days go on. Perch fishing has been good. The bigger perch have been in 8-10 ft of water by Knollwood and Belvidere Park. They can be caught on split shot rigged leaf worms or using Thill slip bobber rigs. You want to position the bait about 1 foot off bottom. Largemouth bass fishing has been excellent. The fish are currently spawning in 6-12 ft of water. The best locations I’ve found are in Williams Bay and Trinkes. The best approach is either a green pumpkin Senko or a Texas rigged plastic worm, preferably black in color. This action should be consistent over the next week. Rock bass fishing has been unbelievably good. You can literally catch rock bass every cast. I’ve been finding most of them in 10-12 ft of water. They will bite on almost anything you throw. Most of my success has come on split shot rigged nightcrawlers. Bluegills and Sun fish are very close to their spawn. The biggest fish I’ve been catching is in 8-10 ft of water. The larger fish I’ve been catching has been by Trinkes and by the South Shore club. They are biting on a slip bobber rig or a small split shot rigged nightcrawler. Lake Trout fishing has started for the year. The best time to catch them is at first light. They have been 5 ft off bottom in the main lake basin. The best depth seems to be about 130 ft of water. Most of the fish are coming off of chrome Doctor spoons. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

DELAVAN:Dave sent this:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 6/14/15 through 6/21/15 Fishing on Delavan Lake has been outstanding. Most of the fish have moved to the outside weed line giving anglers the opportunity to fish without dealing with the green slimy weeds. The fishing pressure has been a bit below average as well. Northern pike are being caught while slowly back trolling medium suckers in 17-19 ft of water. The best location is from the yacht club to the west. The average size of the fish has been 26-28 inches. I position the medium sucker about 2 foot off bottom. Largemouth bass fishing is all about the main lake points. The bass are positioned on the tips of the weed points in 15-18 ft of water. The main lake points I concentrate on are Willow Point, Browns Channel and the Yacht Club. The best approach is casting a Chatter Bait or drop shotting a 4 inch finesse worm. Live bait fishermen are also having great success fishing a split shot rigged nightcrawler. There are two patterns to catch bluegills currently. One is the weed line bite in 10-12 ft of water, but they are also tight to shore spawning on the sand pockets in the weeds. They are being caught on hellgrammites and red worms fished beneath a bobber. My favorite location is just west of willow point and on the weed line by Assembly Park. Walleye fishing has been spotty. I’ve been catching an occasional fish in 15-18 ft of water. The best method is lindy rigging nightcrawlers or jumbo leeches. The best success is come by Assembly Park. Crappie action has been improving. The fish are in the 10-12 ft weeds. The best location has been by the Village Supper Club or by Belvidere Park. Try casting small 1/32 oz jigs with purple or chartreuse plastics. A slow retrieve with pauses seems to entice the most bites. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


Marcus Benesch sent this:

Dale, Well river is up just about every where now. Nothing crazy, no major flooding, just some flood plains filled in and a few banks spilled over. Before the big rains Saturday night I fished all morning and afternoon up in Lake County. Concentrating on backwaters and creeks with better clarity I caught a variety of specie, catfish, largemouth, pike, and bowfin. Really cleaned up on the dogfish with a homemade bucktail. Landed over a dozen and lost a few more. Have seen many bowfin in large numbers surfacing and swimming around, but have never had caught so many in one outing. They were all good size, some of the bigger ones were around 10lbs. A really tough fish to handle, solid as a rock, mouth full of teeth, and an armored gill plate that offers no handle to grip. They call them dogs, but they sure fight like cats. And as you know that is no snub, because cats fight like hell. Marcus Benesch River Grove, Illinois


EVERGREEN:Thom MatejewskiatIllinois Valley Outdoors said

Mike Steffasent a note that the road is completely open now. He also sent this basic info:

Bait Shop: Monday – Thursday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. & Friday – Sunday from 6 a.m. – 4 p.m. Boat Rental: Open ONLY Friday – Sunday from 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Expanded Hours Beginning Memorial Day Weekend! Thank you, Mike

SHELBYVILLE:Joe Sanderson, who with Justin Triswonthe carpenter’s tournament, said there was a toal 537 bass caught on a wide variety of baits. Otherwise, check withKen WilsonofKen Wilson Guide Service.LAKE OF EGYPT/REND LAKE:Check withJason JohnsofBoneyard Fishing.POWERTON:Both shore and boat fishing are open. Hours are 6 a.m.-8 p.m.HENNEPIN-HOPPER:Lakes will reopen this year at an undecided date.EMIQUON:Call (309)547-2730.


No report this week, some areas in significant flood.


No update this week, other than Ken Gortowski posted this late last night:

The Fox River topped out just shy of 12,000 cfs last night and has already dropped down to 8,000. For comparison, 750 is normal. Even I have my limits. Looked a little mean as I drove along it today.


Lance LaVineatHowie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay sent this;

Good Morning everyone…here is the updated fishing report as of Sunday June 14, 2015 Fishing out on Lake Michigan has been going pretty well so far early this season. We have had some pretty positive reports coming in from the Algoma area, Sturgeon Bay and the Bailey’s Harbor area. Fishermen are catching a nice mix of Kings, Rainbows and some Lake Trout. We have had some fair reports of mostly Kings being caught in the shallower water, say from 75 ft out to 125 feet, with the average catch being in that 3 to 10 fish day. The fishermen that have been willing to venture a bit deeper and burn a little more gas, say the action has been better out in that 200 to 400 foot range on a really nice mix of Kings, Rainbows and Lake Trout. The boats that reported in from out there have been averaging 10 plus fish per trip and some boats had limit catches of 20 fish. And as most fishermen know, especially this time of year out on Lake Michigan, things can change in a matter of a day until the lake sets up and the weather stabilizes a bit more. The best baits for the Kings have been Howie Flies behind Hot Spot and Pro-Troll Flashers. The better colors have been Aqua and Green pattern flies and chrome, white and chrome and green flashers. A few fly names to look for are…the new Cookie Monster and Jump’in Donkey, 57 Special, Obsession, Double Aqua, Mistake, Super Frog and The Boss fly just to name a few. The best baits for the high flying Rainbows have been…some assorted flies, but mainly bright colored spoons like Mauler spoons, Pro-King spoons and Moonshines. Copper, gold and silver spoons with different orange, pink and yellow tape variations have been the best. And fishing those baits in the top 30 foot of the water column. Walleye fishing during the day can still be classed as good, especially from the Chaudoir’s Dock area and south. 15 to 23 feet has been the primary depth then moving a bit shallower towards dusk and into evening like normal. Flicker shads, Flicker minnows, Reef Runners, Smash shads and crawler harnesses have been the best baits. The evening bite is also still going quite well throughout the Door County Peninsula. Basically from Henderson’s Point north to Sister Bay, fishing any of those primary, rocky shoreline drop-offs in 8 to 18 feet of water with suspending crank baits has been the best. Bass fishing action continues to get better as the water warms up. It has been a very odd year up until this point as far as the Bass fishing is concerned. The weather has played a significant role in the Set-UP of the water and made the pattern a bit unpredictable, very different than other years. When we have stable weather for a couple days in a row, the Bass fishing is on fire…then a front moves through and throws everyone for a loop, but that’s fishing. The best depth still up until this point has been in water less than 12 feet. Look for any type of bottom transition areas and throw ultra-long casts into those areas. With our clear water, being able to throw long casts is a must. And that’s why using some type of a Super line as your main line and tying on a fluorocarbon leader really increases your chances of having an O.K. day on the water to having and excellent day fishing. Shorty tubes, grubs, paddle tails, flukes, senko’s, some drop shot plastics and spinner baits all have been working quite well as of late Perch fishing has been a struggle so far this season. There have been some O.K. reports that came in from the deeper water mud areas off of Chaudoir’s Dock and north to Henderson’s point, but the reports have been very few and far between. Also, in the shallower bays like in Little Sturgeon, Sawyer Harbor and even right in downtown Sturgeon Bay where you can find some weed growth, there have been some fish caught, but smaller fish. As the summer moves on, we hope the reports get significantly better or we may have to come up with a delicious recipe for Sheep Head. Thanks; Lance LaVine Howie’s Tackle 1309 Green Bay Rd Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235 Ph: 920-746-9916

The Wisconsin DNR posts a report, typically updated on Tuesdays at


River is near major flood.

Illinois Valley Outdoors  is open in Spring Valley with basics, including bait, crankbaits and plastics.  The phone is (815) 663-1000.


Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.


The Kankakee is in flood, fish near-shore fish or fish in flooded vegetation are best, especially catfish.

Norm Minas’latest advice considering the high flood conditions:

Stay on shore. 37,800 cfs and rising, more rain forecast . I combined a couple set lines with casting for smallmouth today, both produced in this turbid mess. I targeted two breaks in the flooded shoreline cover that allow access to the flooded grassy areas teeming with worms. I used crawlers in one spot and stink bait in the other. It didn’t take long to switch both to crawlers. Catfish, carp and freshwater drum were interested in eating the worms. Why not, plentiful and easy to catch. I started with a tandem spin with a twister trailer, worked ok . I switched to weighted keeper hook with a paddle tail fluke rigged sideways, worked much better. Smallmouth off flooded picnic tables, grills and parking blocks. Smallmouth off trees, weed beds and debris piles Stay on shore, no need to even think about getting in the water . Peace Norm

He sent this one a couple days earlier when the real flooding was just beginning:

The river remains well out of it’s banks and it keeps raining. Stay on shore, fish the flooded areas and expect to get wet. You can choose between getting rained on or sweating under a rain suit. Lures like spinnerbaits, swim jigs or swimbaits are all good choices. Crawlers, mud leeches, stinkbait or mulberries for cats, carp and suckers. Keep it simple and keep moving. Peace Norm


Prospects look good for walleye and perch this year; smallmouth fair but improving. Click here for update. The Ohio DNR has general Lake Erie info and a fishing report.


No update.


For perch see, top.CHICAGO: John Saban said they were catching smallmouth to 4 pounds over the weekend and even a 2-pound white bass in fair fishing under the variable conditions.Stacey GreeneatPark Bait said there were real nice rock bass being caught inside of Montrose Harbor and some good drum off the horseshoe. Capt. Bob PoteshmanofConfusion Charters said boaters and charters were catching good lake trout off Chicago.NORTH POINT/WAUKEGAN:Poteshman said there were scattered fish, but they were there, some in 40-50, others out deep as 250 feet.


Scott HillfromFishing Thrills Guide Service sent this:

Recent rain and has heated things up on the Madison Chain! The small mouth bass action are just finishing up spawning on Lake Mendota and have put on the feed bag. We’re finding them in water depth from 10′ to 14′ of water around mid lake structure been catching on Texas rigged plastic worms and when the bite is tough night crawlers or leeches. The most action from fish and fishermen going is pan fish on Lake Monona as the bluegill have moved in and around shallow weeds 2′- 6′ of water. We are catching them on Berkeley Gulp or red wigglers suspended below a rocket bobber. We found largemouth bass and musky in the same weedy areas as the gills. Lake Waubesa bluegill and crappie action has slowed down as they have or about to finish spawning and begin to suspend over deeper water. It’s time to use your electronics to locate fish suspended or fish relating to weedy points and or rock bars! Scott Hill Fishingthrills Guide Service 5920 S. Emerson Rd Beloit, WI 53511 608-921-8980

Gene Dellingeralso has reports atD&S Bait.


Check withMike MladenikatMike Mladenik Guide Service.


Ken “Husker” O’Malleysent this:

Hey Dale, Fishing and the weather continued to be good in NW Wisconsin. Walleye have been very good on slip bobber rigs with leeches drifted over emerging weed beds. Pike have also been good in the same areas casting mepp spinners. Smallmouth have been going on topwater baits in the evening on rock points and bars. Largemouth casting to shoreline structure with senkos have been ticket. Only bad part of the trip is that I had to come home last night. TTYL — Ken Husker O’Malley Huskeroutdoors Waterworks fishing team

MINOCQUA:Kurt JusticeofKurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:

Wind shifts and the random down pour have thrown a few curves at anglers this past week. Steady temps though have brought some stability to our fishing. Smallmouth Bass: Good-Very good. Post spawn action has increased. Exceptional fish being caught and released as smallies putting on the feed bag after going without during spawn. Deeper running, crayfish patterned cranks during the day, as well as tubes and creature baits. We released a 21 7/8 fish along with several others in the 19 ½ to 21 ½ range the other day. It’s been a great time for big fish. Largemouth Bass: Good-Very good. Many bigger bodies of water still not seeing bedding Largemouth. On these waters, pre-spawn bass on plastic craws, creature baits and jig/pig combos. On small to mid-sized lakes, use top water when calm enough. Chug bugs, Skitter Pops and X-rap pops have been working. Walleye: Good. While weeds still key on many lakes, rock and wood are also showing signs of holding fish, especially on days of changing weather (from cloudy to clear). Crawlers and leeches are providing the best action, though minnows are still working up along shallow, wind blown weeds. Bluegill: Good-very good. They are setting up to spawn soon. Small leeches and worms have been effective. Fly fisherman are having good success on Bimbo Skunk flys and poppers on warmer quieter evenings. Perch: Good. Search out deep wood for the best sized perch. The crayfish molt is going on in many lakes and perch are feeding heavily on crayfish. Medium leeches, ½ crawlers, Gulp Alive leeches on 1/8 oz jigs on slip bobbers. Northern pike: Good-very good. Action from larger fish is evident in reports of 32-43 pike being caught. Jig and chub combos accounting for most fish, but, swimbaits and #3 Mepps also working. Musky: Good-very good. Still shallow as evidence of a 51 caught earlier in the week in 2-3’ of water. Twitch baits, gliders and bucktails are working best. Crappies: Good. The best fishing has been around deep wood and boathouse pilings. Mini-mites, Tattle Tails tipped with small minnows or wax worm working best. On shallow lakes cast smallest Beetle Spin or Charlie Bee over weed tops. For those targeting walleyes, keep your eyes open for mayfly hatches. Turtle Flambeau Flowage had a big one on 6/14. Current surface temps are 64-68 degrees. Kurt Island Sportshop Minocqua, Wi. 54548

EAGLE RIVER:This report came theEagle River Chamber of Commerce, based on Creative Brilliance interviews with Eagle River guides“Muskie Matt”of Wild Eagle Lodge,“Ranger Rick” Kruegerof Guide’s Choice Pro Shop,Mat Hegy; and Eagle River hunting enthusiast,Dan Anderson:

(Head): Panfish putting on a good to excellent bite, with walleye, northern, smallmouth bass and largemouth bass good, and musky fair ; all in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. Surface water temps are in the upper 60s in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. The weather has been quirky, and that causes peaks and valleys in the fishing action. That should not dissuade anyone from coming up to Eagle River and experiencing its legendary fishing action. One of the Eagle River area’s excellent guides will put you on fish – -and you’ll have a real fun time while enjoying the unmatched scenic beauty, and the sounds of silence. PANFISH: Crappies, bluegills and perch are putting on a good to excellent all day bite in the Eagle River area. Fish break edges and weed beds in 15 feet of water or less. The perch will be tight to bottom, with the crappies suspending up and down the water column. On a lot of lakes the gills are in the shallows spawning. Use a chunk of crawler or a crappie minnow under a slip bobber (right now, those two baits are the ones that are working). WALLEYE: Fish break edges and weed edges in 15 feet of water or less. Use a 1/8th ounce jig and a fathead minnow. The walleye are tight to bottom. All day action with peaks in the evening. The bite is good. NORTHERN: Fish 10 feet of water or less in and around weeds. Use a bass style spinner bait, small Mepps spinner bait, a minnow bait, or northern sucker under a slip bobber. All day action and the bite is good. SMALLMOUTH BASS: Fish hardbottom areas in 15 feet of water or less. Use a three inch tube or craw, jig and a minnow or leech, and a topwater in the evening. All day action and the bite is good. Smallies are strictly catch and release in the Eagle River area until the harvest season opens on June 20th. LARGEMOUTH BASS: The largemouth’s are hanging near structure in 10 feet of water or less. Look for docks, drowned trees, or heavy weeds. Use a plastic rigged weedless, jig and a minnow or leech, or a bass style spinner bait. In the evening go to a topwater. All day action with peaks in the evening. The bite is good. MUSKY: With the quirky weather the muskie bite has slowed down a bit – -but, that can and will change in a hot second as soon as things settle down. Fish break edges and weed edges in 15 feet of water or less. Use a small to medium size bucktail, crankbait, jerkbait, or topwater. Use a regular retrieve and don’t forget to do a figure 8 with your lure as it nears the boat. All day action, with peaks in the evening. The bite is fair.


Staff at Mik-Lurch said coho and some lakers were being caught at the Gong. NOTE: At inland waters, be aware that the high water and flooding is impacting access, such as Patrol Road is shut at Willow Slough.


The Wisconsin DNR Root River Report is generally posted on Tuesday.


AtTackle Haven,Capt. Eric ConderofBig Bird Charters said the steelhead run should come soon; otherwise boaters are working in 80-250 feet for lakers, lots of steelhead and coho, and a few kings; river is high.


Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.


Lakeside is open 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.For more information and reports from Lakeside, or call (815) 824-2581.


The Wisconsin DNR report is at They are generally posted by Tuesday afternoon. Stream flow info is at


No update this week.

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