Perch, angry beaver & floods: Chicago fishing

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Improving perch fishing and water high enough to inspire an angry beaver dominate this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

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


CHICAGO:Staff at Park Bait said perch were best on the outside of Montrose, soft shells working better than minnows. Steve Palmisano at Henry’s said the two best spots are the north side of Navy Pier and the weed bed at Burnham Harbor; early is better than later; soft shells better than minnows.Staff atMik-Lurch said Belmont has been most consistent for harbor for shore fishermen. WAUKEGAN:Lori Ralphat the Salmon Stop said no perch reports, shore or boat. INDIANA: Assistant Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Ben Dickinsonposted Tuesday morning:

Just talked to the Ball State crew that is performing perch assessments… they had a decent catch of perch this morning off Gary, but only in their deeper nets out in 40-50 feet of water. Not much happening in shallow apparently


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.


Bluegill bedding or coming off it, lead the fishing on area lakes. Or there is bass fishing, asKen “Husker” O’Malleynoted when he sent this:

Hey Dale, With most lake levels above normal and water clarity being an issue, top water has produced good numbers of smaller bass along shoreline cover and weed pockets. Best bait has been a rebel pop r. It’s a classic baitand it still produces. Hopefully we can get out of this weather pattern soon so our area rivers can come down. Really want to hit theKankakee for smallmouth. — Ken Husker O’Malley Huskeroutdoors Waterworks fishing team


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, walleye, smallmouth bass and panfish all hitting strong, and take a kid fishing – -as we just did; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin’s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau). Water temperatures in central Wisconsin continue to stay in that low 70 degree range which is making for great fishing opportunities. Musky action continues to top out the week with excellent catches being made by area anglers. There were some real giants caught this past week too, like the monster 52 inch fish that was landed by my good friend Bob Charlier of Wausau Wisconsin. Most of the action has been by running bucktails or top water baits in shallow weed related areas with less than 5 feet of water. Smallmouth anglers are seeing great action continue with good catches of nice fish all day long. Most of the action has still been casting small crankbaits or working jigs with tubes or beaver tails in less than 3 feet of water. The walleye bite has been very good this past week. Most of the action has been by anglers throwing crankbaits up in shallow water around shoreline structure like wood and weeds. Panfish action this past week has been very good for both crappies and bluegills. To take advantage of these feisty fish try working either a minnow or worm on a hook suspended below a bobber and it will catch fish all day long. I spent an evening last week assisting with the Prime Water Anglers annual Kids Fishing Event held on The Stevens Point Flowage out of Bukolt Park. There were about 40 kids in attendance ready and waiting to fish for an evening with a guide/fisherperson. Before the fishing began the Wisconsin DNR had a member give a small speech and demonstration on boating and water safety. Many kids were able to go out in boats brought and attended by participating anglers like myself while other children wanted to fish from shore. Lots of nice fish were caught by the kids during the event and after the fishing was done everyone got together to go over fishing stories and receive prizes while enjoying root beer provided by the Stevens Point Brewery and cheese and sausage provided by Ski’s Market. Also huge thanks to Jerry Clinton of Amherst Marine for helping sponsor the event.

Another reason to like Stevens Point Brewery.


Art Frisell at Triangle said bluegill, shallow, remain the “No. 1 fun” throughout the Chain; walleye are good (limits to be caught) around the many current areas on leeches or crawlers; catfish are good shallow on crawlers or stinkbait; muskie are most active evenings; white bass are fair on Marie, Bluff and Petite.

Check Chain updates at Fox Waterway Agency or by calling (847) 587-8540.

For more reports, see


No update.


LaSALLE: Ray Thompson forwarded this from Jim Hartley over the weekend:

Another good day on LaSalle Lake. Kept 5 of these big boys, and let many smaller ones go . Sheephead were a pain as had to get a dozen, some really big ones. Few small channels and small yellow bass. NO stripes this outing?

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. HEIDECKE:Launch opens 6 a.m., shore fishing at 6:30 a.m.; close is sunset.BRAIDWOOD:Lake is open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.MAZONIA: Lakes are open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.


GENEVA:Arden Katz said that everything is biting in that 12-15 range, especially bluegill and rock bass

Dave sent this:

Lake Geneva fishing report 6/21/15 through 6/28/15 Fishing on Lake Geneva remains fantastic. It has been the best it has been in 5-6 years. Both numbers and large fish are being caught. Usually the smallmouth bass have been long gone by this time of year, however they remain available for the catch in shallower water. Smallmouth bass fishing has been outstanding. The fish have been in two patterns, one has been on the flats in 10-12 ft of water, the other has been on the break line in 14-17 ft of water. The weed line fish are being caught while Carolina rigging green pumpkin craws. With the Carolina rig, you want to use a ¾ oz weight with a 36 inch leader. The best location has been Maytag Point. The smallmouth bass fishing on the flats has been best by the Duck hold and by Knollwood. They can be caught on a split shot rigged nightcrawler or a split shot rigged 4 inch finesse worm. Largemouth bass fishing has been above average. The best bass locations have been in Williams Bay, Knollwood or in Geneva Bay near the buoys. Like the smallmouth, they can be caught on split shot rigged nightcrawlers or split shot rigged 4 inch finesse worms. The best depth has been 8-12 ft of water. Bluegills and Sunfish remain active. The best location has been Knollwood or in Trinkes Bay. The best depth has been 8-10 ft of water. The method of choice is Thill slip bobbers fished with a leaf worm. You want to position the bait one foot above the weeds. The average size is about 9 inches. The rock bass have mellowed a bit and are not biting as aggressively as they had been. You will still catch plenty of them however, you’ll get more desirable fish as well. They are positioned in 10-12 ft of water and will bite on anything. Northern pike fishing has been slow. With the cooler water temperature, they fish are scattered on the weed flats. The best approach has been trolling large spinner baits or casting chrome and blue Rattle traps. 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 6/21/15 through 6/28/15 Fishing on Delavan Lake is still very good. The fish are starting to move deeper and settle into their normal summer patterns. With the up and down weather, the boat traffic hasn’t been that crazy this past week. It’s good to see that the smallmouth population is increasing year over year. Walleye fishing has been okay. There are a few fish on the weed lines that are being caught on lindy rigged nightcrawlers and leeches in 15-17 ft of water. There is a secondary pattern too, use veritical jigs in 30-35 ft of water. Look for the fish near the main lake points. Smallmouth bass fishing has been above average. The fish are being caught on medium suckers fished on a lindy rig or split shot rigged nightcrawlers. The fish are positioned off the weedline in 22-24 ft of water. The average size of the fish are 14 inches. My largest smallmouth this year has been 19 inches. Bluegill fishing has been excellent. The fish are in 13 ft of water in the deeper weeds. I noticed this year that the average size is larger than previous years, with the average being 8 inches. Very few small fish are being caught. I’ve been using a leaf worm on a single hook with a small split shot fished directly beneath the boat. The best location has been by the Yacht Club and just west of willow Point. Largemouth bass fishing has been fantastic. Both numbers and large fish are being caught on the outside of the weedline in 15-17 ft of water. They are being caught on either a jig and pig, split shot rigged nightcrawler or drop shot rigged 4 inch finesse worm in green pumpkin color. The best location is by Assembly Park or the island on the west end. Northern pike fishing has been okay. I’m catching a few fish every trip out. The fish are being caught on a lindy rigged medium sucker. I’ve been trolling the weedlines in 20-22 ft of water. Look for the fish by Willow Point and Belvidere Park. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


No report this week.


EVERGREEN: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: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 update.


Ken Gortowski sent this just as the storms arrived Monday evening:

I’m actually not getting out fishing much. I’m enjoying wandering around taking lame pictures and the fishing isgetting in the way. But for those that are interested… The Fox was trying valiantly to come down quickly, but the sporadicrains keep screwing things up. As of right now, Monday night, the Fox is flowing along at just over3300 cfs, but I don’t think that’s going to last. More rain as I sithere typing. That level is good for those that know what they’re doing to wade alongthe edges, the rest should stay on shore and cast parallel to the shore. Fish tight. The creeks are a high, muddy mess. Might be fish in them, but I don’tlike the way they look, so I won’t bother.


No update this week fromLance LaVineatHowie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay.

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


River remains in flood, significant flood in spots, and will be for awhile.

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


Assistant Lake Michigan fisheries biologistBen Dickinsonposted Tuesday morning that some fish were in Trail. They passed four skamania and two brown trout at the barrier that morning.

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


The river is in flood, likely to remain that way.

Norm Minas’latest advice considering the flood conditions:

First trip the river was dropping under 6.0 height and around 26,000 cfs flow. No visibility, have not bothered with temps. I fished an area with a lot of flooded natural cover bordering an inflow. The water was about 75 feet beyond the bank of the river. The path that folks usually use was 3 ft deep in places. I used a weighted keeper hook rigged on a jig spinner and tipped with Power Pulse worms. Pitching the combo tight to flooded trees, letting it hit bottom and giving it a nice pop produced fish. Fishing any cuts in the flooded weeds where the water came in produced. Fishing the points and pockets on the edges of flooded weeds produced. Fishing thru the flooded weeds produced . Debris piles produced. Fishing the open areas produced but only gar . The biggest key to fishing the flooded weeds was making contact with the weeds . 11 smallmouth including three very large ones, 5 rock bass all above average size and 4 gar landed out of 9 hooked. Lost one lure to gar bite off . Second trip overnight rains thru the drainage area had the river rising again about 6.6 height and 33,000 cfs and still going up. No visibility, no temps taken . The water level was about 15 feet back further in the weeds from the river bank. Other than open areas not producing the same types of cover options produced . Three exceptions were shade mattered more than the first trip , the fish were extremely tight to cover and would not chase. and they wanted no part of the jig spinner, straight jig/plastic. For example dropping tight to trees, popping the lure was ignored, it had to sit and was a light pickup. In the flooded weeds a much slower retrieve was need as well. 9 smallmouth , a couple very large ones , 4 walleye, mid teens to low twenties, 4 above average rock bass, 2 small channel cats, 2 small gar and 1 carp. Day 2 saw me enjoying the company of a very large, angry beaver. It swam 6 circles out in front of me, slapping it’s tail when it was right in front of me. After I ignored it, it moved downstream. When I moved downstream it only did the circle/ tail slap thing 4 times before moving upstream. I guess it got tired of the fugly thing quicker 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:Lots of quality drum around harbors.Capt. Bob PoteshmanofConfusion Charters said that lakers have been best bite in 100-130 feet, and there is a good pod of coho off downtown in 30-50; best on Dodgers and flies. WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralphat the Salmon Stop said boaters are working in 70-90, depending on the day, north or south of harbor. NORTH POINT: Poteshman said Wisconsin waters have been better, but it changes every day, most action for mixed bag near the hill in 50-100.


Scott HillfromFishing Thrills Guide Service sent this:

Madison Chain of Lakes Report Smallmouth Bass: has been good they are post spawn and located in or along weeds with scattered rocky areas on mid lake bars and points. Exceptional fish are being caught and released as smallmouth bass are putting on the feed bag.. It’s been a great time for big fish. Largemouth Bass: Good-Very good many bedding largemouth on plastic worms or live bait. Walleye: Good weed lines are still key, sandy to rocky transition areas were also holding fish. Night crawlers and leeches are providing the best action while pitching jigs or under a slip bobber. Bluegill: Good to very good they are spawning or have spawned. 1′ gulp fry minnow, small leeches and worms have been my baits of choice under a rocket bobber. 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.


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

Despite it being the beginning of summer (so says the calendar), weather conditions have not been very summer like. Constantly changing weather, wind direction and some cold nights (one morning launched at 38 degrees) have made coming up with any type of productive pattern difficult. Musky: Good-Very good. Best in afternoons and evenings. Good numbers of fish being raised and caught. Still fairly shallow due to waiting for the bluegills to move in for spawn (I’m guessing). Small bucktails, 6 &7 twitch baits and smaller topwater baits have been best. Northern: Good-very good. Like their larger cousins, these fish have not been as affected by the crazy weather as other species. At times, it’s been tough to get bites, but, if casting square-lipped shallow running crankbaits and double bladed spinner baits don’t produce, return with a jig and chub combo. Crappies: Good. Best if you can find deep wood (12-160) to float small minnows on ½ crawlers to fish suspending 3-5’ off the bottom. On lakes with good stands of northern milfoil, fish over weed tops with Gapen Freshwater Shrimp or Charlie Bees. Nice fish of 10-12 with a few 13-14ers being caught. Walleyes: Fair-Good. Weather and scattered mayfly hatches are making this species tough to nail down. On lakes with hatches, target mud flats using ½ crawlers on 1/8 oz jigs in depths of 14-30’. Weed fish (pre or post hatches) have been giving up fish on chubs or leeches. Smallmouth: Fair-Good. Target 12-14’ rocky breaks either banging the rocky bottoms with crank baits in crawfish patterns or by working jig and worm or plastic crawls along the same areas. Largemouth Bass: Fair-Good. On many lakes, spawning has not fully started due to lake temps not breaking into the 70’s. Weeds of 12’ and less have been holding staging fish willing to hit jigs and grubs as well as jig and creature baits. Casting wacky worms into pockets in weed flats also working. Perch: Fair-Good. Wood in depths of 12-16’ holding perch that are feeding heavily on small crayfish. Use ½ crawler on 1/8 oz jigs or below slip-floats can’t be beat. Thunderbugs are like pizza to a teenager for this species. Bluegills: Fair-Good. This species should be at the top of the list, but, waters need to crest the 70 degree mark to see better spawning activity. Small leeches, thunderbugs and tiny jigs tipped with waxies. Fly anglers have done well with nymphs, but, not enough warm, flat afternoon and evenings for popper fishing. All we can do is hope for a warmer July to stabilize things here in the Lakeland area. While fishing has not been as easy as would all like – it’s still fishing and it hasn’t been all that bad. Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop

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): Northern, smallmouth bass and panfish providing a good to excellent bite, with musky, walleye and largemouth bass good. Fly fishing anglers enjoying a wide variety of opportunities; all in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. Water temps in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area are in the 70 degree range. Note that we’re going to start talking about fly fishing, which is gaining fast popularity in the Eagle River area – -and rightly so! If you’re a fly angler you’re in for a real treat, whether it be going for trout, or monster gamefish. Eagle River has it all, and that’s bottom line fact. NORTHERN: Fish in and around weeds in 10 feet of water or less. Use a small bucktail (not a misprint!), bass style spinner bait, minnow bait, or a northern sucker under a slip bobber. All day action, and the bite is good to excellent. SMALLMOUTH BASS: Fish hardbottom areas, such as rock piles, and off of break edges in 20 feet of water or less. Use a plastic tube or crawfish, Senko rigged wacky, a small Mepps spinner, or a jig and a minnow or leech. All day action and the bite is good to excellent. PANFISH: Crappies, bluegills and perch. Fish break and weed edges in 15 feet of water or less. The perch are tight to bottom, with the crappies and gills suspending up and down the water column (start deep and work your way up until you hit them). Use a crappie minnow, chunk of crawler, or a small leech on a jig or under a slip bobber. All day action and the bite is good to excellent. MUSKY: Fish 10 feet of water or less off of break edges or weed edges. Use a small to medium sized bucktail, topwater, crankbaits, or glide bait. They’re all working. Regular retrieve, and don’t forget to do a figure 8 as your lure nears the boat. All day action with peaks in the evening. The bite is good. WALLEYE: Fish break edges in 20 feet of water or less. The walleye are tight to bottom. Use a jig and a minnow, leech, or half of a crawler. All day action with peaks in the evening. The bite is good. LARGEMOUTH BASS: Largemouth’s are locating and holding near structure – -docks, brush piles, heavy weeds, and drowned wood – -in 10 feet of water or less. Use a plastic worm rigged weedless, a Bass Rap or Scum Frog, or a spinner bait. All day action with some peaking near and into evening. The bite is good. FLY FISHING: With untold numbers of rushing streams, brooks and rivers, Eagle River provides wonderful opportunities for fly anglers of every ilk. And for the adventure of a lifetime go for gamefish with a fly rod on one of the Eagle River area’s hundreds of lakes- – like in musky and northern. The Eagle River Chamber of Commerce (contact information below) can put you in touch with guides who specialize in fly fishing and those guides will provide you with one of the great memories you’ll ever have.


For perch, see top. Staff at Mik-Lurch said coho with some kings and lakers are being caught from the Gong to the Wreck. Some quality bluegill are coming out of Willow Slough, Lake George stocked with catfish. 


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


Staff at Tackle Havensaid there are some salmon and lakers on Lake Michigan; just a few steelhead off the piers, more drum; river is high. Steelhead run should be coming soon.


Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.


Clint Sands at Lakeside said athick 49-inch muskie was caught Tuesday, and 45- and 41-inchers were caught over the weekend; wacky-worms are producing largemouth; channel catfish (including a 30-inch, 15-pounder) are good on chicken liver or stinkbait; smaller bluegill are near shore; it is near normal pool with 2-3 ft. of clarity.

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


Staff at Mik-Lurch said that leeches are taking walleye on the Indiana side.


No update this week.

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