Summer patterns (really, kinda): Chicago fishing

SHARE Summer patterns (really, kinda): Chicago fishing

Some summer patterns establish in what has been and remains an odd summer for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; oh, one hopeful report from Indiana on perch.

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

Top photo is Todd Hatfield with winning fish in Skamania Mania last weekend at Michigan City, Ind. Yeah, some steelhead are in.


CHICAGO:Soft shells remain the bait of choice. Staff at Park Bait said some are being caught at Montrose, more inside the harbor. Staff at Henry’s Sports and Bait said just a few. INDIANA: Staff at Mik-Lurch said just a handful reported at Cal Harbor and off Michigan City. Speaking of Michigan City, Indiana’s assistant Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Ben Dickinson posted this hopeful note today:

Ball State perch assessment update: for the first time this season, they got a decent number of perch in their 15 foot net off Michigan City

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN:Capt. Eric Condor of Big Bird Charters at Tackle Haven said reports are steadying for perch in 35-45 feet, north and south of St. Joseph.


The Festival of the Lakes Fishing Derby is 8 a.m.-noon Saturday at Wolf Lake in Hammond, Ind. The first 275 kids (15 and younger) receive free rod and reel. There’s just lots of goodness.


High water and all, the rescheduled Kankakee River Fishing Derby runs through Sunday. Click here for details and updates.


Weather is messing with patterning the bite some, but bluegill and largemouth remain the two top bites.

Johnny “Sunshine” Pajak sent this on Sunday:

out in the bellyboat friday night. I managed to pick up 6 bass on sinkos. worked on the outside edges of the weeds on a local DuPage area pond. If the Mrs allows I may even be able to get out again tonight.


Another week when it is good 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 Servicesent this:

(Head): Smallmouth bass, musky, walleye 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). There’s a good smallmouth bite with consistent action by casting crankbaits and top water baits in heavy current areas with rocks and timber, as well as working shoreline structure and rock humps in main lake sections. The musky bite is still going strong with a great early morning and evening bite going on right now. Another giant fish came in this past week by good friend Brad Wirt of Wausau with another 50+ inch fish from the central Wisconsin area. Walleyes have been very consistent with consistent action by working a jig and minnow in submerged wood in 4 to 8 feet of water. The Panfish bite was extremely good this past week with lots of nice crappies and bluegills being caught. The bluegills are still holding in the weeds but the crappie’s can be found either suspended out over deeper water or holding in tight to submerged wood structure in 4 to 8 feet of water.


Art Frisell at Triangle said walleye are good around current (main lake points, bridge areas, connecting channels) on leeches or crawlers, though fatheads will work; bluegill are also good in 8 feet or less; catfish are very good, many caught while walleye fishing with leeches, also try crawlers or stinkbait.

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

For more reports, see


No update.


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. 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 smallmouth are “real good’’ in 13-18 feet on points and secondary points; also largemouth and rock bass too at night.

Dave Duweof sent this:

Lake Geneva Fishing Report 7/13/15 through 7/19/15 With the warmer weather, the patterns are starting to change. The fish are starting to move to deeper water. The thermocline is starting to form, however, the weather is cooler than normal so it may take some time to fully form. Northern Pike fishing has been spotty. Most of the pike are being caught in 20-23 ft of water sporadically outside the weedline. They are being caught on medium suckers and yellow perch. The best location has been by Fontana Beach or outside of Trinkes. Smallmouth bass are moving deeper. They can be caught in 13-15 ft of water. The best approach has been split shot rigged nightcrawlers or lindy rigged jumbo leeches. The best locations are by the Yacht Club or by Knollwood. With the warming weather, the bigger bluegills are also moving deeper. The biggest fish are being caught in 15-18 ft of water. The best location has been between Elgin Club and Knollwood. The best success has come while straight lining leaf worms beneath the boat. The fish are positioned about 1 foot off bottom. Lake Trout fishing remains very good. With the excessive boat traffic, there are a lot more floating weeds so you will have to clean your baits off more frequently. The fish are biting on chrome spoons or blue and chrome spoons. The best time to fish for them is the first hour of daylight or at dusk. The fish will be suspended up the water column in 65-75 ft down in 108-120 ft of water. Rock bass fishing has been a bit slower. Most of the fish are being caught in a deeper water depth than normal. Look for them in about 15 ft of water. They can be caught on split shot rigged nightcrawlers. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

DELAVAN: Dave Duweof sent this:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 7/13/15 through 7/19/15 Delavan Lake fishing has been very good. With the holiday weekend and the nice weather, the fishing pressure has been extreme. For the best success, you want to fish early in the day or after about 4 p.m. The walleye fishing has been awesome which is unusual for this late in the summer. Walleye fishing has been excellent in 20-24 ft of water. They can be caught on nightcrawlers on a split shot rig however, the best approach is lindy rigged leeches. You want to fish the main lake points at low light conditions. Largemouth bass are on the deep weed points in 15-20 ft of water. Look for the fish by Willow Point and the Village Supper Club. The biggest fish are right on the weedlines. Fish for them on a drop shot rig or a split shot rigged nightcrawler. Crappie fishing has been spotty. Most of the action has come just off the weedline in 17-20 ft of water. The fish are usually suspended 5-8 ft down. The best location has been by Belvidere Park or just west of willow point. Northern Pike action has been decent. Most of the fish are coming out of 20-22 ft of water. Look for them by the gray condos just east of the Yacht Club. Lindy rigged medium suckers have been producing the most action. Bluegills have been okay. Most of the success has been coming out of 12-13 ft of water. Most of the fish are coming by the buoy line in Viewcrest Bay. The bluegills are biting on leaf worms on a split shot fished straight beneath the boat. Smallmouth have been hit or miss. Most of the smallmouth I’m catching are in 22-24 ft of water. They are being caught on lindy rigged nightcrawlers or split shot rigged chubs. Look for them by Belvidere Park or just west of Willow Point. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


No update.


SHELBYVILLE:Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide ServiceLAKE OF EGYPT/REND LAKE: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard FishingEVERGREEN: Mike Steffa sent 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

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.


In terms of water levels, best shape of local rivers.


Lance LaVineat Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay sent this:

Good morning folks Here is the updated fishing report for Monday July 13th. We have been super busy so this will be a short and sweet update Salmon fishing in Door County continues to stay HOT pretty much from every Lake Michigan port along the Door Peninsula. The best depths hae been as shallow as 60 feet all the way out to that 150 foot mark and fishing the top 60 foot of the water column. Flasher and Howie fly combinations along with an assortment of spoons like Maulers, Moonshine, Pro Kings and Silver Streak spoons in both the glow and regular colors Walleye fishing can be classes as good down around the Chaudoir’s Dock area. The best depths have been in that 25 to 30 foot range. The best baits have been Husky jerks, Flicker Shads, Reef Runners and crawler harnesses Perch fishing has been upgraded from POOR to OK. It’s definitely not the fishing like the old days, but we are now hearing of some fair catches from some folks. The best areas to try are….downtown sturgeon bay, Sawyer Harbor, Little Sturgeon and some of the deeper water off Chaudoirs Dock. Fathead minnows and crawler pieces have been the best live baits 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


The flooding continues.

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


There’s steelhead in and coming in.

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


River is back in flood stage in many areas.

Norm Minassent this:

Between family stuff, volunteering for shocking day for the K3 derby and visits to various medical facilities for routine stuff , fishing time was a little more limited . That’s life and I still likely get out more than the average bear . From lows of12,500 cfs to over 30,000 cfs, it’s been what has become fishing as usual . I’m more than tired of the rain but all you can do is play the hand you’re dealt . I feel for those who are dealing with serious disruptions to their lives , for their sake, I pray that this ends soon . I’ve been catching fish , pretty much in the same kinds of areas I’ve been reporting for what seems like forever . I have been thinking about different techniques and types of current conditions to try and will report as time goes by . I did get two real nice smallmouth by tossing a doubled bladed topwater prop lure behind flooded weed clumps. I let it sit for a bit and as soon as I started the retrieve it got smashed . Nice to see big smallmouth going airborne , especially at close quarters . 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 Poteshman of Confusion Charters said lakers are steady deeper than 100 ft; some coho, steelhead and kings in 50-90 ft. “Find the bait, find the fish.’’ NORTH POINT: Poteshman said that lakers were good out deep; occasional king (best before sun comes up), coho and steelhead on the hill.


Scott Hill of Fishingthrills Guide Service sent this:

Madison Chain Report Bluegill: Very good still the best bite going, they are along the weed lines in 10 – 12 feet of water and are beginning to suspended over deeper water. Berkeley 1′ gulp fry minnow on a jigging spoon, or big red worms have been my baits of choice under a slip bobber. Smallmouth Bass: Fair they are located along weed edges or scattered rocky areas on mid lake bars and points. Largemouth Bass: Good caught largemouth on Texas Rigged 10 inch power worms Purples/Pumpkin and split shot hooked night crawlers. Walleye: Good along the weed lines and off first breaks, sandy to rocky transition areas were also holding fish the best action are slip bobber with live bait or trolling crank baits. Scott Hill Fishingthrills Guide Service 5920 S. Emerson Rd Beloit, WI 53511 608-921-8980

Also check reports from Gene Dellinger at D&S Bait.


Check with Mike Mladenik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service.


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

It is shaping up to be a regular summer, finally. Water temps are in the mid to upper 70’s (saw one lake hit 80 degrees on a warm Saturday). The higher water temps are pushing some fish deeper, while making others more active. Largemouth Bass: Very good. The largemouth population continues to grow here in the Northwoods. With high populations, these bass are covering a large area and hitting a wide variety of live bait and lures. While large leeches and crawlers on 1/16 oz. weedless jig are hard for these bass to resist, don’t rule out artificial bait as well. Try working 3 Power Bait Ripple Shads and pre-rigged 6 worms over cabbage tops of 6-10’. Flukes and Breakin’ Shads are also hot right now. Yamamoto DH/T Grubs and Chompers skirted grubs rigged Carolina style as well as wacky worming Yum Dingers and Senkos when necessary to get into the weeds. With the hotter weather top-water action has picked up on both hard (Jitterbugs, Hula Poppers and Skitter Pops) as well as soft baits (Lunker Hunter Combat Frogs). The top-water action is best at dawn or dusk. Bluegills: Very good. They can be found suspending around deep weed edges and on top of broad leaf cabbage in some areas. It’s a great time for poppers and dry flies as bluegills have been seen taking small insects off the surface in many locales. Small leeches, thunderbugs and worms can’t be passes up, even catching some larger gills on small minnows. Smallmouth Bass: Good. Action is improving as the water warms up. While off-shore rock/gravel holding some fish, deep coontail edges providing better action to anglers drop-shotting Yum Crawbugs and Jackall crosstail shads. Look to 14-18’ edges for best action. Musky: Good. Blades are working best. Bucktails and spinnerbaits over weeds in 8-12’, and despite movement deeper, don’t leave out shallow inside weed edges in as little as 3-5’ Topwater action is good with tail-type baits such as Pacemakers and Top Raiders scoring for evening anglers. Walleye: Good. Got to play the sun and wind, but, walleyes relating to cabbage. Anglers working low light times using shallow running cranks to tic weed tops coming up with jarring strikes. The traditional jig and crawler or XL leech doing well as is slip bobbering the same baits into pockets of weeds. Deep rocks just starting to give up some fish. Use big leeches or crawlers on 1/8-1/4 oz. jigs. Crappie: Good. Working deep curly leafed cabbage tops with small, flashy jigs such as Gapen’s Freshwater Shrimp, VMC’s Boottail or Curltail grubs or a jig/blade combo such as Northland’s Crappie Thumpers, Charlie Bees or Road Runners. Use these to locate crappies then relax with some small minnows and floats. Perch: Good. Best sized fish deep over sandgrass flats of 14-22’. Try Lindy rig or slip-float with a frozen soft shell craw. Half a crawler will work when soft shells not available. Nice eaters of 10-12 with some near 13 caught this week. With the exception of storms and occasionally too much wind, summer patterns are setting up nice. Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop

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

(Head): Smallmouth bass and panfish putting on a good to excellent bite, with walleye, northern, and largemouth bass good. The musky bite is fair; all in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. Water temps in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area range from around 70-72 degrees. SMALLMOUTH BASS: Fish hardbottom areas, break edges and mid-lake humps in 25 feet of water or less. Use a small Mepps, bass style spinner bait, plastic tube, plastic crawfish or a leech on a jig. All day action and the bite is good to excellent. PANFISH: Crappies, bluegills and perch. Fish break edges and adjacent weeds in 15 feet of water or less. Perch are tight to bottom, with crappies and gills suspending up and down the water column (start deep and work your way up until you hit the crappies and gills). Use a crappie minnow, waxie, or a chunk of crawler, on a jig or under a slip bobber. A Frizzy jig is also working very well. All the day action and the bite is good to excellent. WALLEYE: Fish break edges in 25 feet of water or less. The walleye are tight to bottom. Use a 1/8th ounce jig tipped with a fathead minnow, leech or half of a crawler. All day action with peaks early and late in the day. The bite is good. NORTHERN: Fish weed edges and adjacent weeds in 10 feet of water or less. Use a bass style spinner bait, a small Mepps or Rapala, or a northern sucker under a slip bobber. All day action and the bite is good. LARGEMOUTH BASS: The largemouth’s are locating in and around weeds and shoreline structure- – docks, brush piles, and downed trees, in 10 feet of water or less. Use a plastic worm rigged weedless, miscellaneous topwaters (all working), a jig tipped with a leech or half of a crawler. All day action and the bite is good. MUSKY: Fish 15 feet of water or less off of break edges and adjacent weed edges. Use a small to medium sized lure – -bucktail, topwater, crankbait, or jerkbait. Regular retrieve, and don’t forget to do a figure 8″ as your lure nears the boat. All day action with peaks early and late in the day. The bite is fair. 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 some salmon are being caught by the Wreck and Gong; steelhead best at Michigan City; bluegill reports are variable as weather at Willow Slough. KIDS NOTE: See derby note at top.


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


For perch, see top. Capt. Eric Condor of Big Bird Charters at Tackle Haven said there were decent kings, a few coho and lots of lakers in 90-140 feet, and steelhead in 40-60 feet; pier fishing for steelhead “fizzled.’’


Click herefor reports from the Indiana DNR.


Staff at Lakeside said that muskies continue to be the top story; otherwise it is largemouth in the weeds; bluegill are shallow on weed lines; walleye picking up for the summer bite off rock piles.

Lakeside is open 6:30  a.m.-6:30 p.m. For more information and reports from Lakeside, go to 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 there were some crappie on the Illinois, some bass in both states and only a few walleye on the Indiana side.


No update this week.

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