Bedding bluegill & summer: Chicago fishing

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Summer fishing, including bedding bluegill in many places, sets up around Chicago fishing; oh, and there is some high water on the rivers, at least some of them; and the wait for the reopening of perch fishing on Lake Michigan is down to its final week.

While waiting on perch fishing to reopen, the bite for freshwater drum (sheephead) has picked up, as Carl Vizzone showed today on Facebook.

This is the sprawling, raw-file Midwest Fishing Report, which appears in a much condensed form Wednesdays on the Sun-Times outdoors page.


Perch season reopens Tuesday in the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan. In Michigan, staff at Tackle Haven said there is only scattered reports around St. Joseph; while staff at Captain Cook’s said there are no reports yet around New Buffalo and they suspect it is related to cold water.


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.


North to south, east to west, the main story is bedding bluegill or stages of bedding bluegill are the biggest story in local fishing. Tom Albright said there are good walleye going (fish to 22 inches) on Busse South on a yellow jig and crawler.


This is probably a good week 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; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin’s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau). It has been another great week in central Wisconsin with very good fishing for all species. Water temperatures are in the mid to upper 60 degree range and with this upcoming weeks forecasted warmer temperatures we should start seeing water temperatures well into the 70s. The musky bite has been very good with action coming on bucktails, topwater baits and gliders. Most of the action has been in shallow water areas with weeds and rock but we did pull a few fish from some deeper water locations running crankbaits. Walleyes have been feeding aggressively this past week and the best bite has been early and late in the day by running a jig and minnow in 4 to 8 feet of water near wood and weeds. We have also been catching a few nice walleyes on crankbaits like Rapalas while casting shallower shoreline areas as well. The smallmouth bass have been extremely active this past week and with warming water temperatures look for the topwater bite to pick up. Panfish like crappies and bluegills have been very consistent this past week. The crappies are done spawning and have moved back to their deeper water haunts. They can be caught by slip drifting areas in 12 to 18 feet of water with small jigs or minnows suspended below a slip bobber. The bluegills on the other hand are in the midst of their spawn and they can be found up shallow in less than 5 feet of water. A tiny worm on a hook suspended below a bobber is all you need to catch these feisty little panfish.


Art Frisell at Triangle said bluegill remain good throughout the stormy weather, try fishing around gravel shorelines and overhanging trees with small bobbers and wax or red worms; crappie also remain good mornings and evenings, try spikes or small minnows; walleye are fair, fish around current areas such as bridges and main lake points; catfish are good on stinkbait or crawlers are beset.

For more reports, see

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


No update this week.


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 6/1/15 through 6/7/15 The weather remains inconsistent so there hasn’t been much of a warm up in the water temperatures. The fishing is above average for these temps, but we’re still waiting for the great improvement to occur. The water temperature is hovering between 55 and 60 depending on location. Some smallmouth bass are starting to spawn and the largemouth are making their nests. Smallmouth bass are spawning. The best locations are by Buttons Bay, Elgin Club and the South Shore club. The most active fish are being caught in 10 ft of water. The best presentation is drop shot rigging 4 inch black finesse worms or 3 inch Sassy Shads in pearl and black. Most of the action is occurring while sight fishing since the fish are tight on their beds. For live bait fishermen, the best bet remains extra large fat head minnows fished on a split shot rig. Largemouth bass fishing is starting to improve with the warmer water. The best success has come in Trinkes Bay or by the tour boats near the Riviera Docks. Work a depth between 6 and 8 ft of water. The best success is coming off of 4 inch green Senkos or Texas rigged 4 inch finesse worms in green pumpkin color. For live bait fishermen, the best choice has been split shot rigged nightcrawlers. With the warming water temperature, the rock bass are starting to bite aggressively. The best success has been by Linn Pier or by the South Shore Club. They are being caught on white hair jigs or large fat head minnows. The best depth has been 12 ft of water. Bluegill action remains the best in the Abbey Harbor or Trinke Harbor. You want to try for them in 3-4 ft of water. The best approach is bobbers fished with leaf worms. Crappie fishing has been sporadic. The best success has been by Covenant Harbor or the east shore of Williams Bay. The best approach is smoke colored tube baits or slip bobber rigged small fat head minnows. Work a depth of 6-8 ft of water for the most action. Northern Pike action has been very slow. The only success has come while trolling crank baits or large spinner baits in Trinkes Bay. The depth range should be 10-12 ft ofwater. 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 6.1.15 through 6.7.15 The weather patterns remain a constant battle. The best bite on the lake is Northern Pike and largemouth bass. The shallow bite is still the way to go. The boat traffic on the warm days is increasing by the day. The best day last week was Thursday and there were in excess of 150 boats on the water. The key to fishing right now is to fish around the slimy green weeds that are pretty much everywhere in the shallow waters. Largemouth bass are being caught in Viewcrest Bay and the Highlands Bay. They can be caught on Texas rigged Senkos or a drop shot rigged 4 inch green pumpkin finesse worm. They key to the presentation is finding the areas of fishable water that are away from the green slimy weeds. With the warming water, the bluegills are getting close to spawning. The best location is by Willow Point and by Browns Channel. The bigger fish I’ve been finding are in the depth range of 6-8 ft. They can be caught on slip bobbers fished with hellgrammites or red worms. Like the largemouth bass, you want to find the pockets of sand without the green slimy weeds. Northern pike action has been very good. They are in the depth range of 10-12 ft of water. The fish are located adjacent to the weedline. They are being caught on Thill big fish sliders and medium suckers. You want to fish the baits about 1-2 ft above the weeds. The only way to fish the slip bobber rig is to anchor your boat in a likely area. My favorite spots last week were by the old Boy Scout camp and by Browns Channel. Crappie action is starting to improve. The fish are coming out of the shallow water and positioning in the weeds in 10-12 ft of water. The best location is by Belvidere condos or by Browns Channel. They are readily being caught on a 1/32 oz jig tipped with a purple or smoke plastic twister tail. I’m fishing the jigs on 4 lb test and casting out with a slow, stop and pause retrieve. Most of the time the fish are hitting when the retrieve is paused. Walleye action has been slow. The only success is coming deep in 22-24 ft of water. The best approach is either Lindy rigging extra large fat head minnows or nightcrawlers. Look for the fish by Willow point or by the Marina on the north shore. As the weather stabilizes, the fishing should improve dramatically. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


No update this week.


EVERGREEN:Thom MatejewskiatIllinois Valley Outdoors said crappie remain good but are pulling out deeper. Remember that there are new saugeye regulations with a daily bag of three with a minimum of 18 inches. 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 report this week.


No update this week.


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

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


Thom MatejewskiatIllinois Valley Outdoors said the river came up 3 feet Monday night and fishing was knocked back, but he expects conditions to stabilize by the weekend. Before the rapid rise, catfishing was very good and there were some white bass, sauger and walleye being caught.

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 near flood stage, nearer in some areas than others.

With that in mind, here is the report from Norm Minas:

After the water started receding from the last high water episode the fish started pulling away from shore as they usually do. the levels got down to about 8,000 cfs and the visibility never improved. Despite trying a multitude of lures a rattlebait out on the seam was the only success I had. Numbers were not all that impressive, 11 fish was the best day, the rest none to single digits. The rains returned in a big way, over the entire drainage area of the river. It currently is at 20,000 cfs and still rising. The water was past the top of one boat ramp I fished around. the visibility was nil. Ma was rearranging the furniture again, all sorts of stuff huge and little flowing along. Rattlebaits over the tops of waterwillows got some fish, but they were better on a seam when I could find one that wasn’t inches off the flooded shorelines. The rattlebaits did get a couple fish off the flooded boat ramp. Today the chatterbait was ignored, I had to go in and dig the fish out of the waterwillows for the most part. To do this I used a Berkley Heavyweight worm t-rigged . The way this thing sinks makes a senko look likes it floating .I get the worm hit the tops of the willows and moved it slowly with the rod tip, just like worming largemouth in a lake . For the most part the hits were not heavy, just a change in the feel of the rig. At a creekmouth I fished there was no mudline. The creek was muddy and way out of it’s banks. Twixt the junction of the creek flow, the river flow and the shore a nice sized slack area had set up. The most productive spot was a band of slick topped flow between the two converging flows . It really got going whenever the wind put a chop on the surface. I had to use a squarebill crank designed to work 8-10 ft to get bit. The 5 biggest bass of the day came from this area. Just shy of 30 smallmouth, no other species cooperating with the program 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.


Scott HillfromFishing Thrills Guide Service sent this:

Lake Koshkonong’s walleye, pike, catfish and white bass action have been good! Scott Hill at


CHICAGO:Carl Vizzone noted today that “sheephead” (freshwater drum) were active for shore fishermen. Capt. Bob Poteshmanof Confusion Charters said coho and browns are in 30-40 feet, but they take work; lots of lakers, kings, coho and steelhead around the Wreck. NORTH POINT/WAUKEGAN: Poteshman said some coho are right on the beach; but just about everything is on the hill; and there are also bands of big fish deep (past 200 feet).


Scott HillfromFishing Thrills Guide Service sent this:

Good Morning Dale! The pan fish and bass action remains good on the Madison Chain of Lakes. Locate the warmest water near shorelines two to five feet of water casting plastics gulp minnow or leaf worms. The bass bite was good, still some crappie action casting plastics in scattered weeds. Lake Koshkonong’s walleye, pike, catfish and white bass action have been good! Scott Hill at Hope to see you on the water! 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, Weather so far in NW Wisconsin has been awesome. So has the fishing. Water temps are still on the cool side in the lower 60’s. Largemouth Bass have been very good on senkos pitched to shoreline cover. Smallmouth have been very good on Erie darters and shadow raps on rock points. Top water in the evening for smallmouths have been fabulous. A strike king sexy dawg with the walk the dog action has been the bait of choice. TTYL — Ken Husker O’Malley Huskeroutdoors Waterworks fishing team

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

There has been a slow, gradual warm up of our lakes. Most surface temps are running between 64 and 68 degrees. Easterly winds, uncommon for up here, could be part of the reason the fishing has been spotty. Pike: Good. Best bets using chubs or suckers on 1/16 to 1/8 oz jigs or jigs on a light wire leader. Swim baits and #3 Mepps are also working. Bluegills: Good. Warmer days are best. Small leeches, thunderbugs and worms are best for live bait choices. As the gills come into the shallows on warm days, take advantage of insect hatches using small nymph flies. Bluegill fishing should only get better from here. Largemouth Bass: Good. There are some signs of bedding on smaller, warmer lakes, but, for the most part we are pre-spawn. Large leeches are the best live bait choice for this species. As for artificial bait, try plastic worms, and craws in the mornings, shallow cranks during mid-day and hard top water baits towards evening. Not a lot of reports of big fish this week, but, lots of catches. Crappies: Good. Try around deeper wood or weeds of 12-15’. Minnows below slip-floats are working. Walleye: Good. Could be the east winds or small mayfly hatches (not Hexagemas) slowing things down a bit. Switch to crawlers or leeches when chubs aren’t doing the trick. A variety of depths are working depending on the day. Some days walleyes are being found in 6-8’ weeds, some in 15-16’ wood and other days 20’ rocks. Smallmouth Bass: Fair. Crayfish cranks working best over breaks from shorelines with rocks/gravel. Jig and craw imitations also producing some post-spawn fish. Musky: Fair. Smaller bucktails are working best in bays where bait fish and pre-spawn bluegills are congregating. Perch: Fair. A few very nice fish over 10 have been caught along deep weed edges on bars protruding to deeper water. Warmer temperatures will improve this bite. Kurt Island Sport Shop 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): Eagle River fishing picking up strongly, with musky, walleye, northern and panfish action good to excellent, and smallmouth bass, good; all in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. Surface water temps in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area still hanging in the upper 50s. Our guide sources are telling us that fishing action continues to pick up rapidly, with almost all species hitting well. Now’s the time to get up to Eagle River, hire one of its excellent guides, and enjoy some of the legendary fishing and natural Northwoods beauty that Eagle River has been famous for, for over 150 years. MUSKY: Fish 10 feet of water or less off of break edges and adjacent weed edges. Use smaller baits, including bucktails, twitch baits, crankbaits and topwaters. They’re all working. Use a regular retrieve. All day action with peaks around sunset. The bite is good to excellent. Don’t forget the old musky axiom: ALWAYS do a figure eight when your lure nears the boat. Lots of hits occur when that happens. WALLEYE: Fish break edges in 15 feet of water or less – -and the walleyes will move somewhat shallower in the evening. The walleyes are tight to bottom. Use a 1/8th or 1/16th ounce jig tipped with a fathead minnow. All day action with peaks in the evening, and the bite is good to excellent. NORTHERN: Fish 10 feet of water or less in and around weeds. Use a northern sucker under a slip bobber, a Husky Jerk in a minnow or walleye pattern, or a small inline spinner. All day action and the bite is good to excellent. PANFISH: Fish crappies, bluegills and perch in 10 feet of water or less, off of break edges or on adjacent weed beds. The perch are tight to bottom, with the crappies and gills suspending in the weeds. Use a crappie minnow, chunk of crawler, or micro-plastic, under a slip bobber or on a small jig, or try a Frizzy jig which has been working well. All day action and the bite is good to excellent. SMALLMOUTH BASS: Fish hardbottom areas in 15 feet of water or less. There are still some smallies on their beds, but not that many. Use a minnow under a slip bobber or on a jig, a Mepps #3 spinner, a 3 inch tube, or a Senko rigged wacky. All day action and the bite is good. Remember: Smallmouth bass are strictly catch-and-release until the harvest season begins on June 20th.


Staff at Mik-Lurch said some lakers are around and there is a few salmon in 70, but they are heading north; some catfish and drum are being caught at Amoco. Willow Slough is variable for panfish.


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


AtTackle Haven,Capt. Eric Conder of Big Bird Charters said some walleye are being caught in the river, jigging or trolling; there’s fair action on Lake Michigan with schools of coho, steelhead and lake trout through the water column 10-15 miles out; there’s catfish and drum off the piers.


Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.


Staff at Lakeside said muskie are so active they’re stealing crappie; walleye are good (including some 5-pounders) on leeches and jigheads in the shallow trees; largemouth are on outside weed lines; hybrids are best on chicken livers; water clear (8 feet).

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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