NOTE: Chicago River report added.
Time to be on the water, in the water or by the water as some of the hottest weather in a couple years builds 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.
I would note that cold water on shore Monday (66 degrees at Montrose according to staff at Park Bait) sparked better shoreline fishing.
Photo is Frank Macikas on an outing on DuPage River over the weekend.
INDIANA: Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted that on Friday and Sunday (Saturday was too rough) perch were decent in 18-30 feet on baby roaches and glow white perch flies near Michigan City.
SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN: Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said perch were being caught in 35-40 feet from an 1/8th to a few miles south of St. Joseph.
CHICAGO: Staff at Park Bait reported some good catches Monday with water upwelling at 66 degrees, best on west jetty of Montrose.
WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop texted that some were being caught off the pier, but also boaters were working in 60 feet in front of Great Lakes with minnows or crayfish.
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:
The bass bite on area lakes is very good. Pitching chatterbaits into open weed pockets have produced larger bass. Switching the standard tail out with a strike king rage craw gives the bait a different profile.On post frontal days, a 4 inch BPS stik-o worked along outside weedlines has produced good numbers of smaller bass. Using an o ring provides multiple fish on the same bait.TTYL
Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Waterworks fishing team
AREA WATER LEVELS
Go to http://water.weather.gov//ahps2/index.php?wfo=lot to check area water levels and projection. To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to http://waterdata.usgs.gov/il/nwis/current/?type=flow
Site staff sent this on Monday about water temperatures: “North 91 South 98” This is something I would keep an eye on as heat builds this week.
Check with Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington. Lake is open daily, 6 a.m.-sunset.
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA
Staff at Triangle said catfish are good on crawlers or stinkbait; bluegill are shallow, work shade as heat builds; bass are on the weed lines; try for white bass down 8-12 feet over deeper water and adjust slip-bobber rigs as catches indicate; walleye are good mornings on leeches (No. 1 bait) and Lindy rigs.
For updates, check with Fox Waterway Agency or call (847) 587-8540.
(ADDED) CHICAGO RIVER
Capt. Pat Harrison (click here for his site) sent this:
Chicago River we caught a lot of fish this past week Large and Small mouth from 8″ to 18″ crappie from 6″ to 14″ gills from 6″ to fat 9″ Catfish from 12″ to 18″ White Bass and a couple carp. I had the pleasure of sharing the decks of my Princecraft with a 10 year old boy and his dad from Kentucky Saturday on my 2nd trip to finish the week off. He was a fishing machine he caught over 60 fish in 4 hours including the biggest Catfish of the week. It was awesome to watch him Jim the bottom and set the hook time after time. I told him to hold the line with his index finger while slowly jigging up and down on a right line and he got it perfect. It was a Good week.
DELAVAN/LAKE GENEVA AREA, WISCONSIN
DELAVAN: Dave Duwe sent this:
Delavan Lake Fishing report 7/18/16 through 7/25/16
With the high water temperatures and algae bloom, Delavan Lake has been rather difficult to fish. The big schools of largemouth have been few and far between. The best action on the lake remains the bluegills, which have been above average in size this summer.
Largemouth bass fishing has been best in 15-17 ft of water. I’ve been catching them on split shot rigged nightcrawlers or occasionally on a medium sucker. Most of the success is coming at first light until about 9:30 a.m.
Northern Pike action has been improving with the warmer weather. The fish are located in 19-22 ft of water. The best location is by the gray condos, west of the Village Supper club or by Belvidere condos. The best approach is lindy rigging medium suckers about 1 foot off bottom.
The perch population has exploded this summer. I’m catching nice perch every trip out. The best water depth is 10-12 ft. The fish have been near weeds and dock structures. I’ve been fishing with leaf worms and a small split shot with single hook rig. Some of my best success has been coming off of the Yacht Club docks.
Walleye fishing has been hit or miss. The fish have been scattered on the outside of the weed lines. Most of the fish I’ve been catching have been caught on accident while fishing for largemouth bass. The best presentation has been a lindy rigged leech. Look for the fish in 19-22 feet of water. Browns Channel or Assembly Park Point have both shown consistent fish.
Bluegill fishing has been fantastic. The fish still remain in the weedline in 14-15 ft of water. The best presentation has been a single hook with a leaf worm or trout worm fished in and amongst the weeds. The schools have been rather large so if you catch a big fish, there are likely more to follow. If you aren’t catching the bigger fish, move around until you find them as they are readily available once you find the school.
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 7/18/16 through 7/25/16
Lake Geneva has been mediocre for fishing. The lake continues to be in the regular summer pattern. The most consistent bite has been northern pike or largemouth bass. The bigger fish are moving off the weedline to their deep summer haunts.
Northern Pike action has been best in Fontana on the break line in 27-31 ft of water. The best approach has been the standard lindy rig, ¾ oz walking sinker, 24 inch leader and a 1/0 hook. I’ve been trolling with the electric motor for the best success.
Largemouth bass fishing has been good by Abbey Springs or by Knollwood. The fish have been in the weeds in 12-14 ft of water or 22-24 ft of water outside the weedline. The best approach for the shallow fish has been Wacky rigging 4 inch green pumpkin Senkos or nightcrawlers. The deep fish can be caught while drop shotting 4 inch green pumpkin finesse worms or lindy rigging nightcrawlers. As the summer warms the fish will be more consistent in the deeper waters.
Smallmouth bass fishing has been difficult. The fish are actively chasing the pods of bait fish in the main lake basin. The best concentration of fish that I’ve found have been by Gage Marine or off of Black Point. The fish I’ve been catching have been in 14-16 ft of water. I’ve been either catching them on split shot rigged nightcrawlers or lindy rigs with a 1/8 oz. walking sinker and a 2 foot leader.
Bluegills have been pretty much everywhere in the 14-18 ft depth range. The biggest problem is that most of the fish are 3-4 inches and there are very few large fish to keep. The best bait has been ½ nightcrawler fished on a split shot rig.
Rock bass fishing has slowed a bit. The most success I’ve had catching them has been by Elgin Club or by Colemans Point. I’m fishing them off the weed flats in 15-17 ft of water. The best bait has been nightcrawlers fished on bottom.
Lake Trout action has been pretty consistent in the early morning hours in the main lake basin. The nickel/green or nickel/blue spoons fished on down riggers works the best. Use your depth finder to locate the aggressive fish.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
DES PLAINES RIVER
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:
EXPANDED HOURS BEGINNING MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND!
QUESTIONS? CALL THE COMLARA PARK VISITOR CENTER AT (309) 434-6770.
Nice to have a DuPage report again. Frank Macikas sent this Saturday:
I don’t get out very often but I was able to head over to a kid friendly spot on the Dupage with a park that the kids could play at, and I could get some time wet wading in. River is perfect summer conditions caught two nice fish and lost probably four or five more, all good size. Fish were super tight to shoreline rocks in a small eddie next to fast, deeper current. All fish were on a jig and 3″ plastic craw. Had to basically cast onto the rocks and drag back super slow. It was a great day to get out!
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
FOX RIVER: WISCONSIN
GREEN BAY/STURGEON BAY
No update this week from Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay.
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 projected to crest under flood stage Wednesday.
Illinois Valley Outdoors is open in Spring Valley.
Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.
After the storms Sunday night, Norm Minas sent this update:
The river was and still is rising , visibility zero . The waterwillows were half submerged by the time the humidity had me saying enough this afternoon .
A singlespin with a 5 inch twister for a trailer was all I used. I fished nothing but waterwillow beds and the fish were everywhere in them . In a many off them there was a foot off water a couple steps off the shore. If there was enough room to work the spinnerbait, I did. That took a while to do so I didn’t cover as much water as I did the other day but I didn’t need too . Minnows all over the place and the smallmouth were in there hunting them .
Twice I took the waders off , went to the car and chugged water while the AC did it’s job and the Dead rocked . I wish I could still wet wade on days like this , even with breathables the humidity was a real bummer .peacenorm
Minas first sent this Saturday:
I got up early and looked at the gauges this morning . The high muddy water downstream was due to the flow from the biggest tributary on this river on the Illinois side of the border. I decided to fish the lower, clearer water upstream of that tributary . Three hours and two smallmouth later, that came on a crankbait off a current seam , I decided to go fish the higher , muddier water .
No visibility to speak of, about twice the normal flow although it had peaked . There was enough water next to many of the water willow beds to make it worth trying. If not I could check out from the willows to the current seam . I started with a 3/8 oz swim jig tipped with a 5 inch twister tail figuring to cover water quickly at the onset. I was picking up smallmouth off the points and cuts along the willows and out toward the current seam . After working a longish stretch of river that had a lot of waterwillow beds . I decided to hike back to the car and suck down a bottle of water.
While drinking the water, I got to wondering how I would have done with a spinnerbait along that stretch. What the heck, no particular place to be so I refished it with the spinnerbait , a 1/2 oz singlespin with a size 5 Colorado blade. I got more fish along and into the willows, less fish on the seam but a bunch of smallmouth slow rolling the spinnerbait just above bottom in the slower water twixt the willows and the seam. I didn’t get any fish in that kind of water with the swimjig. Back to the car for more water.
Yep, fished a good chunk of that stretch again this time with a lite action rod, ultralight reel, 6 lb Trilene XL , 1/16 oz jigs and 2 and 3 inch twisters. Mostly rockbass and sunfish, a few real small smallmouth and three nice sized crappie peace norm
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.
See perch reports at top. The upwelling of cooler water sparked some better fishing.
CHICAGO: Staff at Park Bait said quality drum continue to be caught, especially on the Montrose horseshoe.
Howard Bass emailed the photo above and this note:
Caught nice steelhead on same home tied fly that I got my brown on earlier this year. Smallmouth,largemouth and steelhead all biting around harbors inside and lakeside!
Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said there was “great fishing’’ Monday by The Wreck and R4 for steelhead, coho, lakers and some kings, early morning best, work whole water column.
WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop texted that nice browns and coho were being caught off the pier with spoons; some perch and panfish, too, off pier; boaters were fishing in 50-80 feet north in front of ComEd.
Ted Boska sent this:
Hello and good morning Dale.Midweek coho fishing was good around 50-70 feet of water, mixed with big kings very, very early morning. For the weekend north wind makes fishing difficult.Only few boat’s on the water close to the shore for coho only. Because of gale force wind, nobody fishing. Thanks Ted ( diehard angler ) BOSKA
NORTH POINT: Posteshman said that big kings and coho, some shallow inside the hill, some on the hill, early morning is best; work everything throughout the water column.
LAKE KOSHKONONG, WISCONSIN
LAKE VERMILION, MINNESOTA
Jarek Wujkowski of Rodsbent Guide Service sent this:
LAKE VERMILION FISHING REPORT – 7/19/2016Walleye – Fishing has been day to day. Finding large concentrations of fish now is very difficult. There is a lot of food in the water, and plenty competition which is causing the fish to scatter across large sand and mud flats. Slip bobber fishing reefs in low-light periods has put fish in the boat. The best reefs for me have been those with plenty of mud encompassing them nearby. The most productive bite for me has been in 24-36ft of water on sand and mud transitional lines. Using your Humminbird’s side imaging to quickly find where fish are on these breaks is crucial. With fish scattering, covering a lot of water is crucial and vertical jigging efforts should be put on hold; this should change in the coming weeks, however.
Musky – Muskies have been very active as of late. Casting deep weed edges and rock structure has been key. With the smallmouth transitioning to deeper rock, the muskies are not far behind. Midlake structure and islands have seen plenty of fish lately. Don’t be afraid to try new areas adjacent to deeper water to try and avoid heavily pressured areas. Many of the same reefs are being hit day-in and day-out by fisherman; don’t fear trying less pressured areas. Casting rubber is always a go-to, but deep diving crank baits are always worth a try to give the fish something they haven’t seen before. Mag 8’s and top waters have also produced fish in shallower areas and during low-light.Bass – Smallmouth fishing has been great. Fish are moving onto deeper gravel and rock structure. Using side-imaging to find submergent wood has also been extremely productive. Casting crayfish pattern jerk baits and drop-shotting creature and crayfish type plastics in 8-17ft has produced many fish and some big ones at that. Bobber fishing with leeches is also a easy way to put beginners on fish.Tight lines!
The cooling lake south of Seneca is open daily, 6 a.m.-sunset.
MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN
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.
MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN
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:
Minocqua Area Fishing Report 07/18/16
Mid-Summer has not been typical. Morning temps in the 40’s put the early bite off. Heat coming in this week should light a fire under a few species as was noted by the afternoon and evening anglers as of late.
Smallmouth Bass: Very Good. Good numbers and big fish. Several cracking 21” this weekend, moving the interest in these battlers. Deep humps of 18-28’ holding smallies, from the looks of what they are regurgitating, feeding heavy on crayfish. Drop-shotting JackALL cover craws, Yum Christy Craws as well as 3-4” wacky/dropshot worms from yum, Jackall and Chompers. Skirted grubs (chompers and Yamamoto) on ¼ – 3/8 oz. football jigs are also effective. If all else fails- a big leech or crawler is hard to resist for these fish.
Northern Pike: Very Good. Actively chasing again. Chatterbaits, Boonie Baits, Booyah spinnerbaits as well as 4” swimbaits and 4” twistertails on a 1/8 oz. jig scoring well. Lots of mid 20” fish with enough 29-32”ers to make it interesting. Casting a jig/chub on a 9” wine leader is a good bet. Weedless spoons such as Johnson Silver Minnows on Northland Jaw Breakers also working.
Crappies: Good. Work weeds of 8-14’ of water. Crappies holding in top 2; of the weeds taking small minnows below floats as well as small 1-2” Mr. Twisters on 1/32 – 1/16 oz. jigs. In the flowages, search out deep wood (14-18’) using medium fatheads.
Bluegills: Good. Better towards afternoon/evening as water warms. Work weeds of 7-12’. Worms, small leeches, mini-mite jigs tipped with waxies.
Largemouth Bass: Good. Mornings slow, evenings are best on top-water frogs, buzz baits. During the day, work weed pockets with 4” and 5” wacky worms. Clouds bring bass up to weed tops taking spinnerbaits, 3 ½ swimbaits.
Walleyes: Fair-Good. Play the wind. Windward shallows pre-front providing nice catches on redtailed chubs. Sun forcing bite deep on off-shore humps on crawlers, X-large leeches using 1/8- ¼ oz. jigs or Lindy rigs.
Yellow Perch: Fair-Good. Was better the previous week. This species seems to respond to warm weather. ½ crawlers, soft shells, medium fats in 4-8’ weeds or out over 22’ sand grass on the big clear lakes.
Musky: Fair. While reports just so-so, this week’s forecast for heat (possible 90’s) could bring on the top-water bite we’ve been missing.
The upcoming heat wave should help spike some activity for smallies (humps), largemouth and muskies (evenings, top-water) yellow perch and off shore humps for walleye. Early mornings and evenings are best, as the heat will also bring out the pleasure boaters and jet skiers!
Muskie: Weeds, rocks, break lines, and mid-lake humps is where these fish congregate, depending on the lake. 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 good action. Jig and minnow combos fishing near weeds for walleyes will catch a few also.
Walleye: This is the time that 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 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 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. A slip bobber rigged with small minnow or plastics get bites; 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.
See perch at the top. Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted that salmon and trout were still good in 90-100 feet on spoons on copper; catfish are good on cutbait and Sonny’s in Burns Ditch at the Riverwalk in Portage. NOTE: The Festival of the Lake Fishing Derby (festivalofthelakes.com) is 8 a.m.-noon Saturday with free rods and reels for kids on Wolf Lake.
ROCK RIVER, WISCONSIN
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
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.
ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN
For perch, see top. Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said lakers were being caught in 90-110 feet with some kings and steelhead in the top of the water column; some walleye, bass and catfish going in the river.
ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA
Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.
Staff at Lakeside said walleye are taking a jig and leech on the rock piles; catfish are OK; some smallmouth on dam face; muskie active.
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 shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.
The Wisconsin DNR posts a report at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html. It is usually posted by Tuesday afternoon. Stream flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN