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Settling into unsettled week: Summer in Chicago fishing

Looks like a week with variable weather, all the same, summer settles in 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.

The arty photo is from Ken Gortowski while stream fishing off the Fox River.


INDIANA: Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station said that on Monday good reports came from Dunes State Park to the Black Ditch in 25-30 feet. MICHIGAN: Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said that good perch were being caught south around the pumping station area in 35 feet. CHICAGO: Spotty reports. WAUKEGAN: No report.


The Northern Illinois Anglers Association’s 33rd annual derby with tagged fish and the Big Board runs through Sunday, July 10. It is the usual $20 entry for family or individual. Click here for more info.


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.


Summer bass.

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

Hey Dale,

Bass have been good on area lakes. Work a baby one minus along inside weed lines at first light. As sun gets higher, work senkos along the outside weedlines for numbers.

Area rivers north of I-80 are low and clear. Moss covers the bottom, so work a Z-Man TDR rigged on a 1/0 keeper hook for smallmouth. The light rig keeps the bait from getting caught up in the moss. Current seams below riffles are best areas.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.

Jason Fox sent this and the photo to the right from an outing on Loon:

Hi Dale. Happy Independence day. I had the luxury of taking my buddy and his son out this morning on loon lake. His sons first time in a motor boat and we slayed the gills and picked up this bad boy on a roach. He was pretty fired up. What was even better was his empathy for the bait. It’s a great honor trying to pass down our passion to the next generation enjoy. PS sorry for run on sentences and lack of punctuation

Staff at Triangle said catfish are good on crawlers; bluegill are back and forth with the weather; largemouth picked up on weed lines on Texas- or wacky-rigged Senkos; walleye are best on Marie; a few muskie being caught.

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


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

Dale I was out last friday we caught a few White Bass 2 smallies and the usual Crappie and Bluegill the Carp are going away finally. Havent been out this week had a trip cancel today.


DELAVAN: Dave Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 7/3/16 through 7/10/16

Even though you’ve read reports about the blue-green algae, the fishing remains very good. All the species are in their summer patterns and biting aggressively. Because of the algae, pleasure boat traffic has been substantially less than normal this time of year. I’m not an expert on the algae, but I don’t think I’ve seen any on the lake.

Bluegill fishing has been very good in 13-14 ft of water. The best location has been by Browns Channel or by Willow Point. The best presentation I’ve found has been a small split shot and a leaf worm. I’ve been fishing right beneath the boat. If you aren’t catching keeper sized fish, move to a new location as the fish have been schooling up in size classes.

Largemouth bass fishing has been very good. You want to concentrate on the main lake weed points in 15-17 ft of water. A lot of success has come just east of the Yacht club or by Browns Channel. The fish can be caught by drop shotting green pumpkin finesse worms or on a split shot rigged nightcrawler. With the warmer water temperatures the frog bite will start to improve by north shore drive and by the boat launch channel. The best colors are black or white frogs. You want to fish the frogs on fire line. The key to frog fishing is not setting the hook until you feel the fish on your line.

The northern pike have moved off the weedline into deeper water due to the warming water temperatures. The fish have been in 20-22 ft of water. The best success has been by the gray condos or on the weedline by Browns Channel. You want to fish medium suckers on lindy rigs about 1 foot off bottom. The best presentation is slowly back trolling with the electric trolling motor.

Smallmouth bass action has been very good. The fish are off the weed line in 16-17 ft of water. The best bait has been nightcrawlers fished on a split shot rig. There have been pockets of fish near willow point or by the Village Supper club. The average size has been relatively small, but if you keep after it, you’ll catch some decent sized fish.

Yellow Perch have been biting around the piers by Assembly Park or by the channel by the golf course. The best approach has been hellgrammites or small leaf worms. Try for them with slip bobbers about 1 ft off the weeds.

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

GENEVA: Arden Katz said that good largemouth and smallmouth were caught drop-shotting in 15 feet, plenty of rock bass mixed in.

Duwe sent this:

Lake Geneva Fishing Report 7/3/16 through 7/10/16

Fishing on Lake Geneva remains excellent. The best success remains in the 12-14 ft water depth. The fish have been very active with the warmer water.

Largemouth bass action has been very good by Trinkes and by piers 1-20. The best approach is Senkos fished Wacky style or split shot rigged nightcrawlers. The fish appear to bite better when there is a SW wind compared to an E wind. The best depth has been 12-14 ft in the scattered weeds.

Rock bass have been aggressively biting by Linn Pier or Elgin Club. The best approach has been with nightcrawlers or small plastics. The best color of plastics has been white with a 1/32 oz pink jig head. You want a slow stop and go retrieve for the best success. I’ve been fishing suspended fish about 1-2 ft off bottom.

With the warmer weather, Lake trout action has been improving. The fish are between Conference Point and Cedar Point about 70 ft down in 110-120 ft of water. You want to fish early in the morning or late afternoon for the best success. Spoons or flies have been producing the most action.

Smallmouth bass have been sliding out into deeper water. The best depth has been 16-20 ft of water. The fish have been chasing the pods of minnows. They’ve been caught either drop shotting small 4 inch finesse worms or fishing medium diving crank baits in chrome/blue or chrome/black. The best location has been by Linn Pier or by Gage Marine. The best success has been coming early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

Northern Pike action has yet to pick up. The thermocline is just starting to form. Once the thermocline is consistent, the fishing will improve. Some fish are being caught in 22-24 ft of water. The best location has been by Cedar Point or by the boat channel in Fontana.

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


No update.


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.


Ken Gortowski sent this:

What’s that you say? You don’t fish any more.

I went out specifically to get a shot of a fish like what I’ve attached, but I had to catch one first. Maybe you could call this Artistic Fish Shot of the Week.

Years past I would have already given up on Fox River creeks by July, but I knew it would be low and clear and though the bulk of the fish would be gone, I knew there would be some around.

Wound up catching six smallies, same amount of Rock Bass and a handful of creek chubs. Pretty much what I expected. Played with the fish in the shallow pools. If I had bothered to scale way down I could have caught 50 or so of these species. Took a number of photo’s of my surroundings, which was the other goal.

Coming around a bend, a doe and two fawns were standing in the creek. The doe and one of the fawns took off for the woods, but the other fawn decided to check me out. When it got bored I thought it would just leave, but it hopped down into the creek and then started hopping around and playing in the water. I heard a grunt off in the woods and saw the doe and other fawn starting to go further into the woods. I guess that was the message to the straggler to quit playing and come along. Which it did.

The goal is to go back to all the creeks I’ve fished over the years with just the camera, no rod. We’ll see how that goes. Not sure I’m willing to give up my sunset chases to go wander creeks, but there’s nothing like a creek in the fall.

Ken G


No update.


No update 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.


Illinois Valley Outdoors is open in Spring Valley.


Some steelhead are up in the streams. Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.


Remember the derby runs through Sunday.

Norm Minas sent this:

After almost a week of non stop crap, I finally got out on the water. It was much needed and enjoyed .

The river is well below normal flow, fairly clear, water temps low 70’s, lots of emergent vegetation, algae not an issue where I fished .

Today was one of those days where everything worked except a jig/plastic and that doesn’t really bring tears to my eyes . Spooks, buzzbaits, tandem spinnerbaits bulged below the surface, single spins throughout the water column, rattlebaits, crankbaits and flukes on unweighted ewg hooks . Around waterwillows with some depth next to them, any emeregent vegetation, riffle areas , cobblestone flats, channels, mid stream humps and dumps, current seams, eddies they all produced fish of one kind or another .

Smallmouth bass, hybrid stripers, largemouth bass, rock bass, walleyes, gar, channel cats, one flathead cat, drum and a couple of very nice crappie . I didn’t bother counting how many, the exact number doesn’t matter when it’s a hell of a lot more than any single day in years . Lots of fish , a fair amount of good sized ones and multiple species on multiple lures/ techniques, retrieves, cover/current situations on a major holiday without running across anything but pleasant folk . The low water allowed the fish to be wherever they want and I could get to them. PeaceNorm

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 drum are going. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said boat fishing is good with good lakers, lots of steelhead, some coho and kings, mornings, as in before daybreak, are best. Find the alewives, catch the fish. Andy Mikos said that from three days on his boat over the holiday, of the 35 fish boated, nine were kings and only eight were lakers.

WAUKEGAN: Ted Boska sent this:

Hello and good evening Dale.Weather and fishing how I expected was good this week.So happy to see how people celebrate our national holiday day and also enjoyed fishing as well. Coho mixed with king’s very early morning before sunrise was really good close to shore in 40 to 70 feet of water, but later on 185 to 240 for very nice rainbows mixed with Lakers dominated and few big king’s. Coho are really big now.Because of many day’s with east component of winds, we found very cold water over 185 of water. Comes back to harbor with 4 different species of fish.thanks ted Boska.

NORTH POINT: Posteshman said fishing is between great and good for nice kings, lots of coho and steelhead, mostly on the hill, early morning is best, right at first light. Hitting about everything.


No update.


Jarek Wujkowski of Rodsbent Guide Service sent this:

LAKE VERMILION FISHING REPORT – 7/5/2016Walleye – The past week has provided very consistent walleye fishing. The fish don’t seem to be very effected by the light mayfly hatch, while most have setup in their summer patterns. The bite, however, has been very light. I have had fish up to 31.5’ in my boat in the last week that strike no differently than a 15” fish. Downsizing your presentation is crucial. Rigging in sand to rock transitional zones of 17 to 28 feet has been the ticket as of late. Your depth range will vary based on light penetration, time of day, and the weather conditions. I always start my day by using my Humminbird’s side imaging to locate where the fish are holding. As long as one has an area that meets the criteria of wind blown, sand to rock transition nearby, and depth zone of 17-28ft with deeper water in the mix, there should be walleyes in that area. I say it every week, the key to day-in day-out success on Vermilion is to be mobile and use your locator to its full capabilities.Musky – With water temps in the low 70s, fish are transitioning to their typical summer areas. Deep weed edges, mid lake rock structure, as well as casting or trolling at suspended fish has seen fish. Casting big blades has seen a lot of action in the past week. There are plenty of anglers trolling over bait and structure adjacent to deep water. With trolling lures, I like to “match the hatch” so to speak. If smaller ciscoes are seen surfacing, downsize. If larger ciscoes or whitefish are seen, upsize. With water temps rising, top water action should heat up soon as well.Bass – Smallmouth fishing has been excellent. Fish are moving off of their beds and currently in their transitional period of moving between spewing areas and deeper late summer playgrounds. Casting crayfish patterned plastics or crank baits at fish suspending near deep structure has produced the most fish in the last week.Tight lines!


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:

Nice days, but, cold mornings have been the past week’s biggest drawback. Morning temps in the 40’s dropping surface temps on some lakes back into the 60’s. Afternoons and evening have been the best times to fish overall.

Largemouth Bass: Good – Very good. Even this species has been affected by the cold nights. Getting down into the weeds, using heavy jigs with Sweet Beavers, Wacky worming with added weight or just a big leech on a heavy weedless jig has been needed for morning bass anglers. As waters warming, fish are becoming more active during the day. Try pre-rigged plastic worms over weed tops. By warm evenings, top-water action on plastic frogs picking up.

Bluegills: Good-Very Good. As with the largemouth fishing has been best during afternoons/evenings. Poppers during evenings on top! Small leeches, worms, mini-mite jigs and 1” tubes tipped with waxies in 6-10’ weeds.

Smallmouth Bass: Good. Off-shore humps, some sand grass flats. Drop-shotting Berkley Gulp minnows (2 ½”), Jackall Crosstaill shads/clone fry, Yum Craws as well as big leeches or soft shells best. Tube jigs working when smallies found shallower along 12-16’ weed lines.

Perch: Fair-Good. Try In cabbage of 5-9’ using ½ crawlers, medium leeches or medium fatheads. Work sand grass flats of 18-26’ using frozen soft shells on Lindy style rigs or slip-float rigs.

Pike: Fair-Good. Cold mornings have even hampered this bite. Clear skies and little winds has not helped. Soaking live chubs/suckers of 4-6” best when bite slows. Swimbaits (4”) worked over weeds, slower retrieved blade baits (Boonies, Chatterbaits) picking up fish later in the day. Comet minnows (#4), Daredevles also a good choice over 6-10’ weed beds.

Crappies: Fair. Live bait best with cooler temps. Small/medium fatheads in tall cabbage of 8-12’ fished 1-2’ down from weed tops.

Musky: Fair. Weed related fish tough to come by, especially early in the day. Ripping plastic baits over 20-28’ sand grass and spending more time later in the day best.

Walleye: Fair. Cold mornings is hurting early risers. Evenings, after dark has been best this past week. Work outside weed lines of 14-18’ using crawlers, redtails and XL leeches. Try deep humps topping at 22-26’ Lindy rigging crawlers. After dark, move up into 8-14’ weeds using lighted slip-floats to suspend XL leeches.

If we can believe the forecast, night-time temps should improve. Daytime highs into the 80’s should bring water temps solidly into the 70’s improving the bites all across the board….believe it as we see it, been fooled before.

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop

EAGLE RIVER: No update from B+L, from interviews with guides George Langley, Muskie Matt and Colin Crawford, for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce.


Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station said that lakers, coho and Chinook were “great’’ in 90-110 feet out of the Ditch, mostly on 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 that skamania are being caught occasionally off the pier; lakers are being caught in 100 feet; some walleye, river.


Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.


Staff at Lakeside said that walleye are being caught off the weed lines on crawlers or leeches; catfish are doing well; bluegill and bass are OK; some muskie being caught in the no-motor zone.

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.