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Heart of the summer: Chicago fishing

Seems like a pure week of summer fishing for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

The MFR 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.

Photo is from the weekend with Confusion Charters.


INDIANA: Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station said perch are day-to-day from east of “The Doughnut” to just west of the Black Ditch in 18-30 feet. MICHIGAN: Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said perch are on and off, south 3-5 miles in 35-45 feet. CHICAGO: Spotty reports. WAUKEGAN: No report.


The season is open in Illinois for bullfrogs (sport fishing license required, may be taken by hook and line, gig, pitchfork, spear, bow and arrow, hand or landing net) and bullfrog or green frogs in Indiana.


Panfish or summer bass, take your pick on local ponds and lakes.

Here’s how Ken “Husker” O’Malley put it in the report he sent:

Hey Dale,

Larger bass have been good on area lakes. Focus on the outside weedlines utilizing a drop shot rig. A 4 inch bass pro shops tri-color worm is the bait of choice.On the Calumet River, bass have been good pitching Texas rigged Berkley quad craws to shoreline wood. Key was focusing on the shaded shorelines. Pitching to outside weedlines also produced good numbers.TTYL

Ken “Husker” O’Malley


Waterworks fishing team


Go to to check area water levels and projection. To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to


Check with Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington. Lake is open daily, 6 a.m.-sunset.


Staff at Triangle said bluegill are the best bite, shallow (look for shade); largemouth are on the weed lines; catfish are best nights; muskie are hit and miss, trolling or casting.

For updates, check with Fox Waterway Agency or call (847) 587-8540.


Capt. Pat Harrison (click here for his site) messaged:

Good Morning River and lake temps are up with the warm weather fish have moved a bit. lake temps in the 70’s and the river is near high 70’s near the locks and low 80’s near Wolf point and climb from there do to being darker and more stained. Trips last week brought Bass, White Bass, Crappie, Bluegill and Catfish. All fishing this year have come on plastic’s creature baits, worms, grubs on jig heads. With these water temps I am going to start to implement some live bait. Minnows on a modified drop shot rig and maybe some shrimp and minnows Clients are still getting fish and enjoying the scenery but we need to up our chances. I will let you know how it works. Thanks Pat.


DELAVAN: Dave Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 7/11/16 through 7/18/16

Delavan Lake fishing has been great. The algae bloom that was all encompassing the lake subsided with last weeks rain. The water clarity is above average for this time of year.

Walleye fishing has slowed with the warmer water temperatures. The walleyes I’ve been catching have been while fishing for something else in 15-16 ft of water. They have bitten on jumbo leeches or nightcrawlers. The more consistent walleye bite has been in deeper water 25-30 ft. You can catch them with bottom bouncers and nightcrawlers or snap weight crank baits. The best locations have been from the Yacht Club point to Willow Point or by Belvidere Park.

Bluegill fishing has been fantastic. The best depth has been 14-16 ft of water. Most of my success has been by 3 flags or the concrete point. The presentation is very simple; a split shot rigged leaf worm fished straight beneath the boat.

Yellow perch have been congregating around piers in 10-12 ft of water. The problem is that there are a lot of small fish so you need to sort to get some legitimate keepers. The best location has been 10 piers west of the Yacht Club or by Browns Channel. I’ve been catching them on split shot nightcrawlers or leaf worms.

Largemouth bass fishing has been good overall. There have been some problems with catching larger fish. I don’t know if it’s the algae bloom or the above normal water temperatures but the bigger fish bite has been slower than average. Most of my fish are coming in 14-16 ft of water, either using a drop shot rigged finesse worm or a split shot rigged nightcrawler.

Northern Pike have been biting but its been somewhat sporadic. Most of the success has been coming by the gray condos or Belvidere Park. The fish have been in 20-22 ft of water. The best approach is lindy rigging medium suckers about 1 foot off bottom or the weed growth. For the lindy rig make sure that the leader length is 18-24 inches.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

GENEVA: Duwe sent this:

Lake Geneva Fishing Report 7/11/16 through 7/18/16

Lake Geneva fishing has been very good. The fish still remain in relatively shallow water. The best bite is in 12-16 ft of water. The thermocline is forming but is not yet complete.

Northern Pike action has been good in the 30-32 ft depth range. Look for them near the Fontana Beach or in Williams Bay. The best bait is medium suckers fished on a lindy rig. The leader length should be 18-24 inches.

Bluegill fishing has been good. The fish are starting to slide out on the deeper edge of the weedline. Look for the fish in 15-17 ft of water. The best location has been by Elgin club or the weed line in Trinkes Bay. The best approach is straight lining small leaf worms beneath the boat. You could use a small lindy rig, however the lighter weight goes into the weeds a lot easier.

Lake Trout fishing has been fantastic. The fish are in the main lake basin in the early mornings in 70-80 ft of water. They are being caught on peanut flies or nickel spoons. The best trolling speed is 1.2 to 1.5 mph. The biggest hassle has been the floating weeds from the water skiers. The weeds will follow your line all the way to the lure making the presentation off for catching fish.

Largemouth bass have not moved to the deep water yet. The most productive depth has been 12-14 ft of water. The best success has been by Lake Geneva Golf course or in Geneva Bay by piers 10-20. You can either drop shot green pumpkin finesse worms or use a small split shot rig with a 4 inch green pumpkin lizard.

Smallmouth bass fishing remains in fairly shallow water. The best depth is 14 ft. Look for the fish by Belvidere Park or by Elgin Club. They can be caught on 1/8 oz hair jigs in pink and white or fishing a split shot rigged nightcrawler on the bottom. As the water warms, the smallmouth bass will start to school around the pods of minnows.

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:


Starting to really turn the corner here into a good summer bite, pike wise. Some bigger females let their guards down late last week and I got into 3 nice fish at 28, 30, and 31 inches respectively. Buzz baits have been my go to baits lately, but I did take some time to toss swimbaits and they seem to be working quite well in the high sun. River levels are great even after the bit of rain early last week.

Marcus Beneach

River Grove, Illinois


LAKE OF EGYPT/REND/KINKAID: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: The Wetlands Initiative will have the fishing season at the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge (Hennepin-Hopper) through Sept 5, except closed Mondays (open on holidays). Regulations will be the same as last year, with an emphasis on reminding fishermen there may be no large motors on boats. Click here for detailed information. POWERTON: Summer hours are 6 a.m.-8 p.m. EMIQUON: Because of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s shutdown, fishing and boating permits will be done at the launch. Call (309) 547-2730. SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide Service.

EVERGREEN: Mike Steffa sent this earlier and I did not get the hours update yet:




No update.


No update.


No update.


Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay sent this:

Hey fellas…here is a quick update on the fishing

Fishing out on Lake Michigan has been super as of late basically from Washington Island and south towards Algoma. 70 to 120 feet of water has been the best depths and the fish have been scattered throughout the water column. Flasher and flies along with an assortment of spoons working well right now

Bass fishing is a bit tougher right now as those fish are in that transition stage of the game. Some are still shallow, some are mid-depths and some are deep…there are still fish being caught, it’s just not as easy right now. Tubes, flukes, drop shot baits and spinner baits have been good

Walleye fishing is also a bit tougher right now as there are lots of alewives still around in the bay. It is getting better than it was just not lights out. Trolling flicker shads and minnows, deep husky jerks, deep smithwick rogues around the reefs and shoals has been the best bet. Also rip jigging with Moonshine shiver minnow, rippin raps, blades and paddle tails around those same areas

Perch fishing is getting better as summer moves along and the weeds keep getting more and more. Areas to fish are…downtown Sturgeon Bay, the Flats, Sawyer Harbor, Little Sturgeon and out in the deeper mud areas around Chaudoirs Dock. Fathead minnows and crawler pieces the best live baits right now


Lance LaVine

Howie’s Tackle

1309 Green Bay Rd

Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235

Ph: 920-746-9916

The Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report is typically updated on Tuesdays and includes reports from both the bay and lake sides.


Fishing hours are 6 a.m.-sunset.


River is at good levels with a slow drop predicted.

Illinois Valley Outdoors is open in Spring Valley.


Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station said some steelhead are being caught in Trail with casting spinners or using shrimp. Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.


River is at wadeable levels. Notable catches from the Kankakee River Valley Fishing Derby include a 14-11 catfish and a 11-10 northern pike. The awards dinner is the night of Wednesday, July 13.

NOTE: The bridge over Rock Creek on Route 102 is being worked on. Access to the state park and Warner Bridge will require some driving around.


The Ohio DNR has general Lake Erie info and a fishing report.


Poor perch reports.

CHICAGO: Staff at Park Bait said some big drum are being caught off the Montrose horseshoe. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said there was a mix of fish in 50-110 feet, basically from the R4 to “The Wreck,’’ best speeds vary daily and are vital.

WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop texted on Sunday that fishing was “nuts” just north of Waukegan by the power plan for big kings, nice steelhead and some nice coho in 50-60 feet.

Ted Boska sent this:

Hello and good morning Dale.Most of last week (not Saturday because of wavy conditions ),coho fishing wad very good over 110 feet of water and on the hill,mixed with rainbows and very occasional king.On two trips I go very far from shore and fish over 300 feet, mostly Lakers deep between 80 to 120′ down and big steelhead in top 40 feet only.We got only 1 king between those two trips. Thanks Ted ( diehard angler ) BOSKA

NORTH POINT: Posteshman said early is best, but decent catches, including fair number of kings, are being made in 40-100 feet.


No update.


No report this week from Jarek Wujkowski of Rodsbent Guide Service sent this:


The cooling lake south of Seneca is open daily, 6 a.m.-sunset.


Go to Facebook for the latest updates from Gene Dellinger at D & S Bait.


Check with Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington. Open daily, 6 a.m.-sunset.


Check with Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service.


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


MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:

Things quieted down traffic wise after the big 4th weekend. Cool mornings haven’t helped the early risers this past week. Late morning through evenings have been best as waters warm back up. Temps forecasted for the 80‘s for the first part of the week. It should bring water temps up. Hopefully action to follow.Largemouth Bass: Very good. Dominating many weedbeds of 7-12’. Anglers using spinnerbaits (Boonies), Chatterbaits and lipless cranks scoring active hits. Using swim jigs or 1/8 oz jig/twister combos as well as large leeches accounting for a lot of daytime bass. Topwater action good in the evenings, frogs, Jitterbugs, prop baits.Crappies: Very good. Crappies actively taking 1/32 oz jigs tipped with small to medium fatheads, Gapen Freshwater Shrimp, mini-mites and pinkies fished 1-2’ into the tops of cabbage weeds in 6-12’. Small spinners (#0 and #1) and Rooster tails also producing. A 1/32 oz to 1/16 oz jig tipped with a 1-2” twister tail also good search bait.Perch: Good. On windy days nice perch of 9-12” being caught on 1/16 oz jigs tipped with small chubs, ½ crawlers in windward blown weeds of 3-6’. With less wind or clear water lakes, target sandrass flats of 18-26’ using frozen soft shells, ½ crawlers or Lindy style rigs.Smallmouth Bass: Very good. Shallow morning bites are off due to the cold. Concentrate on off-shore humps or coontail edges using tube jigs or drop-shotting Jackall split tails.Bluegills: Very good. Small baits, worms, waxies on small jigs. Small plastic tubes, twisters and mini-mite jigs. Most action in 6-10’ weeds. Some reports on deep clear lakes have fish suspending 6-8’ down along 18’ coontail edges.Walleye: Fair-Good. Bite improving some. Best towards evening. Big XL leeches on lighted slip-bobbers over off-shore humps. Daytime flowage bites shallow on windy days, taking crawlers and chubs.Pike: Fair to good. Lack of action as of late. Best on live bait (chubs/suckers). Some action twitching Shadow Raps and X-Raps over weeds.

Musky: Fair. Best reports from fishing deeper water – 20-28’ using rubber baits. Some evening top water action.

Weather means everything to us anglers and the very uncertain up and down temps, wind direction throwing certain mid-summer patterns for a loop.

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop

EAGLE RIVER: B+L, from interviews with guides George Langley, Muskie Matt and Colin Crawford, sent this for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce:

Muskie: Weeds, rocks, break lines, and mid-lake humps, depending on the lake, and don’t forget to bring an arsenal of baits to cover a lot of water. Remember that the proper equipment is needed to use certain baits to make your fishing experience enjoyable.

Northern Pike: Fishing near the weeds for pike with spinnerbaits and weedless spoons, such as Johnson Silver Minnows, should get you in a tussle with these water wolves. Jig and minnow combos fishing near weeds for walleyes will catch a few also.

Walleye: This is the time you should have a lot of options ready to go to for rigging, jigging, and slip bobbers with a selection of minnows, leeches, and crawlers. This should get you a fish fry.

Bass: (Largemouth) Bass spinnerbaits (safety pin style) and crankbaits are working well. If fishing weeds, don’t forget to bring top water baits like a Scum Frog or a Zara Spook; adding this approach will add to your success. Texas and Carolina rigging plastics will also entice that fish to bite. (Smallmouth) Basic live bait rig is always a go to presentation along with plastics and crankbaits will work.

Panfish: For Bluegills, slip bobber rigs are the way to go baited up with a good selection of live bait such as waxies, small leeches and red worms. Plastics are working under bobbers also; you just have to twitch your rod to make sure they have actions. Crappies will be looking for cover in the weeds, downed trees or around cribs and a slip bobber rigged with small minnow or plastics; work them the same way as with Bluegills. Perch are in the weeds too, and using a selection of small leeches, red worms and small minnows on slip bobbers are the ticket for them.


Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station said early in the week that it was good trolling for steelhead and salmon in 90-110 feet straight out of Burns Ditch on magnum spoons.


No update.


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.


Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said trollers are working best in 90-110 feet; some steelhead are being caught ver early off the pier; catfish are strong in river.


Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.


Staff at Lakeside said catfish are doing well (21.95-pounder caught in last week); walleye are good (including a 29-incher) on the rock piles or off the weed lines; bass are going in the weeds.

The restaurant is open every day. Lakeside is now open 6 a.m.-7 p.m. For more information and reports from Lakeside, go to or call (815) 824-2581.


The Wisconsin DNR posts a report at It is usually posted by Tuesday afternoon. Stream flow info is at


No update.


No update.


No update.