clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Fishing conditions look more stable: Chicago fishing

We are solidly in the dog days of summer for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

I suspect the dog days and the heat last week have something to do with the cold water coming near shore on our side of Lake Michigan and making for good salmon and trout fishing.

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.

Ted Boska sent the photo above and this explanation from the Waukegan area:

Hi again. I forget attached this picture for you.I love to fish with my family. On this picture my son Waldemar is holding pair of very nice king’s Saturday morning. We tried new setup and thing’s to improve our fishing strategy for incoming trips. Few pay off very good. Still few king’s left,but all empty stomach and this is scary thing. Many king’s we caught very deep in the water column.Thanks Ted ( diehard angler ) BOSKA

LAKEFRONT PERCH

INDIANA: Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station said, “Perch galore, some days really good,’’ particularly from the Dunes SP to Michigan City in 15-30 feet on baby roaches or extra-large fatheads.

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN: Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said perch were good to the south in 25-35 feet, from half mile south to “The Chalets’’ on minnows. Sleziak said some of his customers were crossing the state line and perch fishing out of New Buffalo.

CHICAGO: Stacey Greene at Park Bait reported that on Monday, some were being caught on the outside of Montrose early, Tuesday it was more inside of the harbor, minnows preferred over soft shells so far.

FROG HUNTING

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.

AREA LAKES

Bluegill are on the outside weed lines or burrowed inside of them.

As to bass, here’s how Ken “Husker” O’Malley put it in the report he sent:

Hey Dale,

Despite the recent heat, bass continue to be good on area lakes. Cast chatterbaits parallel to the shoreline at first light. This presentation is especially effective with the recent heavy rains. Pay special attention to areas with current to pick off a few extra bass. As the morning goes on, working weed mats in deeper water with a Texas rigged Berkley chigger craw will continue to produce bass. Using at least a 3/4 weight is needed to punch through the mats.

TTYL

Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Huskeroutdoors

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

BRAIDWOOD

Apparently no significant fish kill, but water is hotter than 100 in spots.

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

Greg Dickson at Triangle said that bluegill are holding well, work shaded areas or find them burrowed in the weeds; catfish also holding good on Sonny’s or crawlers; bass are being caught over deep weed edges, a lot under piers, too; rain brought up current and should improve walleye fishing.

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

CHICAGO RIVER

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

Chicago River Report. The water temps are up on the River and the lake and the couple storms raised water levels a bit. The storm drains were opened a couple times which is a shame as it runs garbage into the main branch like bottles tree limbs plastic bags and much more. This slowly makes its way down stream Luckily away from downtown main branch and lake michigan. It realky makes a mess of the North Branch for about a week after a big storm. I really wish something could be done better to protect our river system. With that being said last week was still a goid week of fishing I stayed on the main branch in the heart of downtown along the river walk area and out around Navy pier fishing water 14′ to 20′. We caught sime nice Small and Large mouth Bass 12″ to 19″ a lot of Crappie up to 12″ some Gills and sunnies largest going about 10″ and they are beautiful and not to leave the out the Cats 12″ to about 18″. It is different this season to be getting these multi species days and all the fish are healthy. Its been fun I have had Moms and sons, Dads and sons, fishing buddies but havent had the Daddy daughter Mommy Daughter combo out yet Comeb on lets get some girls fishing. I’m really enjoying watching these younger anglers I show them a few techniques and tricks and that just catch fish and smile b igger and bigger. Having Fun on the River and every trip when I get to Wolf Point I say Thank You Richard J. Daley I’m living your Dream and sharing it with others.

Good point about getting moms and daughters out; glad our daughter enjoys fishing.

DELAVAN/LAKE GENEVA AREA, WISCONSIN

GENEVA: Arden Katz said bluegill were “every cast” Tuesday in 15 feet, he uses double jigs (white or chartreuse tails) on a drop shot.

Dave Duwe sent this:

Lake Geneva Fishing Report 7/25/16 through 8/1/16

The dog days of summer have hit early. We have had excessive heat and high humidity. The fishing has been rather slow. The biggest problem on the lake has been the 3 inch bluegills that seem to be everywhere throughout the water column. The most consistent bite remains the largemouth bass.

The largemouth bass have been concentrating in the 10-11 ft depth range. The best locations have been in Geneva Bay or Williams Bay weed flats. In early mornings with low winds, the top water bite has been very effective. Chug Bugs and Pop-R’s have been producing the most action, the best color choice has been chrome and blue. As the sun gets higher in the sky, I switch to live bait; split shot rigged nightcrawlers slowly trolled with electric trolling motor or drifiting over the weed tops.

Bluegills have been biting pretty much anywhere you stop on the lake. The only problem is that the average size has been 3-4 inches. It has been a struggle to catch the keeper size fish. The best location for the larger fish has been in 20-22 ft of water by Elgin Club. The best approach is straight lining leaf worms with a small split shot and a single hook directly beneath the boat.

Lake trout fishing remains consistent. The fish are in the main lake basin between Conference Point and Cedar Point. The early morning bite is still the best. You want to keep your down riggers between 75 and 85 feet down in 110 ft of water.

Smallmouth bass fishing has been very inconsistent. I have looked for them in 15 feet all the way down to 28 ft of water with limited success. With warmer than average water temperatures the fish are suspended over deeper water chasing the pods of bait fish. In the next few weeks, the smallmouth should be pushing up on the deep water rock structure near South Shore Club or George Williams College.

Northern Pike have been scattered on the thermocline. Most of the fish I’ve caught have come out of 33 ft of water. I’ve been fishing in front of the beach in Fontana or in Williams Bay on the bar. The best presentation is medium suckers on a lindy rig straight beneath the boat. I use a ¾ oz walking sinker to assist with the vertical presentation.

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

DELAVAN: Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 7/25/16 through 8/1/16

Delavan lake fishing has been slower than recent years for this particular time of year. The best bite on the lake remains the bluegills. They are starting to go deeper off the weedline.

Bluegill action has been fantastic in 15-20 ft of water. The bigger fish have been located off the main lake points, such as the Yacht Club or the concrete point. The best presentation is fishing a split shot rigged leaf worm vertically beneath the boat. The average size has been 7-9 inches.

Walleye fishing has been spotty. I have been catching one here and there on the weedlines in 17-19 ft of water. If you can get larger leeches, they are producing the best action. The best location has been by Rockford colony or by the Village Supper Club. I fish the leeches on lindy rigs or a painted chartreuse hook and large split shot.

Largemouth bass fishing has been sporadic. There are three distinct bites right now. In the early a.m. when there is no wind the top water bite around shore and piers has been successful, but as the sun rises further the bite shuts down. They are in 4-6 ft of water and buzz baits and chug bugs have been working the best. The second pattern has been the dock bite, this is successful when the sun is high and bright. The best docks are on the north shore from the Yacht Club to Willow Point. You can either cast jigs or a split shot rigged nightcrawler for the most success. The third pattern has been the deep water weedline which has been hit or miss. The big schools are few and far between at this time. Some days, I can catch 4-5 from a school and other days its only 1-2. The best location has been by 3 flags or by the marina on the north shore. For this bite a split shot rigged nightcrawler has been the most effective.

Northern Pike action has been average. If you put your time in you can catch some decent fish. The best depth I have found is 24-26 ft of water. The best location has been by the gray condos or the Village Supper Club. The best bait has been large suckers fished about 1 foot off bottom.

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

No update.

DOWNSTATE NOTES

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.

DuPAGE RIVER

No update.

FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS

No update.

FOX RIVER: WISCONSIN

No update.

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.

HEIDECKE LAKE

Fishing hours are 6 a.m.-sunset daily.

ILLINOIS RIVER

River crested under flood and is on a steady fall.

Illinois Valley Outdoors is open in Spring Valley.

INDIANA STREAMS

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

KANKAKEE RIVER

River is high and dirty, but receding. 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.

LAKE ERIE

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

LAKEFRONT

See perch reports at top. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters noted the current is “really ripping,’’ so speed and direction is vital for boaters.

CHICAGO: Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait said there are scattered smallmouth around harbors and breakwalls. Stacey Greene at Park Bait said that they are seeing lots of drum, catching is fair. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said steelhead, kings and coho are being caught off “The Wreck’’ in 80-100 feet, shallower mornings, with just about anything and everything working, down 30 feet to the bottom.

WAUKEGAN: Ted Boska sent this:

Hello and good evening Dale.Hot weather makes fishing hot on the hill.Last few days fishing for really good for big rainbows mixed up with big coho as well. Many big kings and Lakers as well.All fish we caught -lake Michigan natural reproduction. I checked every single one. We found very cold water only 54 degrees 70 feet down with very strong under water current.

Thanks Ted ( diehard angler ) BOSKA

NORTH POINT: Posteshman said that it was really strong for kings and coho from the hill to 200; key, as of Chicago, is playing the current with trolling speed and direction.

LAKE KOSHKONONG, WISCONSIN

No update.

LAKE VERMILION, MINNESOTA

No update from Jarek Wujkowski of Rodsbent Guide Service.

LaSALLE LAKE

Apparently no significant fish kills, but water is mid-90s and hotter.

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.

MAZONIA

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.

MILWAUKEE HARBOR

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

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

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

Minocqua Area Fishing Report 07/24/16

A good week of true summer has helped holster the success of anglers in the Lakeland area for those willing to fish early and late.

Temps in the upper 80’s brought the surface temps into the upper 70’s, even on the bigger lakes. Warm water means higher metabolism for fish, the shallows (during low light conditions) filled up with schools of small perch for all kinds of predator fish to hunt.

Walleyes: Very Good. Moved into weedy flats following the perch; hitting well on X-Large leeches, crawlers and redtailed chubs. Some anglers reporting nice catches on #5 and #6 Shad Raps in Yellow Perch, Silver and Purpledescent. Early and late are the key, wind and clouds help, too much sun and the bite stops till dusk. After dark with lighted slip-floats and big leeches!

Smallmouth Bass: Very Good. Responding well to the heat. Overcast on early mornings- work just outside weed points with X-Raps, Husky Jerks, as well as crawlers or leeches. Late morning through late afternoon head out to off shore humps of 18-28’. Drop shot 2 ½ “Jackall split tails, 2 ½” Gulp Minnows, 3” Wacky worms.

Largemouth Bass: Very Good. Cashing in on the influx of minnows in the weeds (8-12’_. From the looks of what both Largemouth and Smallmouth have been spitting up, 2” perch and 1-1 ½ mimic shiners are being gobbled up. Spinnerbaits (Boonies, Booyahs) #3 Mepps Comets, pre-rigged plastic worms (The Worm) and Chatterbaits. Come evening Buzz Baits and top water frogs have been HO in the slop. Great time to fish surface with Jitterbugs, Hula Poppers, Torpedos, Spooks and Pompadours.

Northern Pike: Very Good. By the weekend, great reports of anglers working Boonie Baits in weedy bays of 6-9’ towards evening are catching pike of 28-32”. Johnson Silver Minnows dressed with pork skirts or plastic twister tails, 3-4” swimbaits, chatterbaits and stick baits (X-Raps) worked quickly and erratically, eliciting strike!

Bluegills: Very Good. Morning till late afternoons- work outside weed edges of coontail in 12-18’ for nice gills on small leeches, pieces of crawlers. Towards dusk switch to poppers on dry flies on surface.

Crappies: Good-Very Good. Deep wood on flowages using medium fatheads. On lakes- target narrow leaf cabbage in 10-14’ of water, fish the top two feet of the weeds using Gapen freshwater shrimp, mini-mites, 1-2” twistertails.

Yellow Perch: Good-Very Good. Good #’s in weeds of 6-12’ using medium fats, ½ crawlers. Big perch out over sandgrass of 18-26’ using ½ crawlers or softshells.

Musky: Good. Heat has fish up and moving in bays, chasing big bladed bucktails and spinnerbaits as well as topwater towards and after dusk.

Heat in our area almost always is followed by storms. Keep an eye on the forecast and target pre-front conditions for the hottest bite.

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

Rising lake levels and the hot sun has affected fishing in the Eagle River area. Most fish are settling several feet deeper than they normally do at this time of year to escape warmer surface water. For a more detailed fishing report on where specific fish species are and how to catch them, read below.

Fishing Report

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

Northern Pike: Fishing near the weeds for pike with spinnerbaits and weedless spoons, such as Johnson Silver Minnows, should get 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.

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; twitch the rod to make sure they have action. Crappies will be looking for cover in the weeds, downed trees or around cribs. A slip bobber rigged with small minnow or plastics with good rod twitch should get them caught. 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.

NORTHWEST INDIANA

See perch at the top. Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station said that boaters are doing excellent for salmon and trout, including big kings, straight out of the Ditch, then working west toward Chicago, mostly spoons, key is faster tolling than usual (2.8-3.0). Catfish continue to do very well at the Riverwalk in Portage. Willow Slough is spotty.

ROCK RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.

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 salmon and trout are being caught in 90-110 feet, that includes some kings of 16-19 pounds; river is OK for smallmouth walleye and catfish.

ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA

Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.

SHABBONA LAKE

Staff at Lakeside said catfish are consistent; walleye are being caught by the rock piles; bass are on the weed lines; and hybrids picking up above rock piles. There was rain last week but water conditions are good.

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.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN

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.

WISCONSIN DELLS

No update.

WOLF LAKE

No update.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.