Early salmon early: Late summer in Chicago fishing

SHARE Early salmon early: Late summer in Chicago fishing

The kings keep coming in to shore around southern Lake Michigan to highlight this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report, even more sprawling than usual going into the Labor Day weekend.

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.

Bruce Zolna emailed this explanation for the photo above:

52 lbs of Kings and one coho, 4hrs@ mouth of Burns Waterway. Ed Landmichl III dressed as Groucho Marx and 2 of his friends. Ed II set lines and netted fish. I drove them to the fish.


CHICAGO: Stacey Greene at Park Bait said they continue to get some kings and the occasional steelhead and coho at Montrose; a few at Belmont, too. WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop texted that spoons and Flicker Shads were catching salmon and trout, including some good kings Tuesday morning and evening. INDIANA: Capt. Rich Sleziak  at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted kings being caught out of Burns Ditch in 45 feet on Ace-Hi Plugs on copper line. SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN: The Wisconsin DNR report Tuesday indicated some kings have started to show at Kenosha with a few browns, rainbows and coho; just a few more kings at Racine. SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN: Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said some kings started to show up at the St. Joe pier, best right around dawn.


Hook-and-line season opens Saturday for sturgeon in Wisconsin; on rivers allowing keeping there is a 60-inch limit. Click here for general info.

Here are the catch-and-release rivers added this year:

New catch and release opportunities for this year include:

  • Mississippi River: upstream of the Red Wing Dam until March 1, 2017 and downstream of the Red Wing Dam until April 14, 2017.
  • St. Croix River from Prescott to Gordon Flowage: until March 1, 2017.
  • St. Louis and Nemadji rivers: until April 14, 2017.
  • St. Croix River(Wisconsin/Minnesota boundary water): from October 1 to October 15.


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.


Bluegill in or around the weeds, or near shade with this continued heat, are the top bite.

Pete Lamar sent this:

Hi Dale, . . . I did go to my local forest preserve the other night. Shorter days and cooler temperatures have gotten the largemouths going again. Right after sunset, they were feeding aggressively in close to shore (unfortunately, so were the mosquitoes and blackflies); poppers were very effective. Pete


If fishing rivers south or southeast of Chicago, good week to check beforehand. 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


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 white bass are good in the river, coming up evenings on the lakes; bass and bluegill are around the weed lines; catfish remain good. Water remains hot, but that should change this week.

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


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

Chicago River Fishing Report: Last week was a tough week with rain and weather changes almost every day. Water temps are dropping surface temps are down but there is no stability yet. I didn’t fish much most clients didn’t want to be out in the weather. Marked and saw fish along the break walls but could not get them to go could hit them in the head with jigs and they would just move over no real takers a few tiny guys. We should be on some good fishing very soon as all the temps air and water are coming down so catching fish should go up. I am out a few times this week I will post a small report this week on my Facebook page Pat Harrison Outdoors – Fishing Adventures. I am planning on doing some Trout and Salmon trolling and Blade bait fishing Saturday hoping for good results. Next week I will be sharing the decks of my Princecraft with Dale Bowman and then Capital Outdoors should be some good fun and interesting conversations. Thanks Capt. Pat

That’s right, I plan to get out with Pat.


GENEVA: Dave Duwe sent this:

Lake Geneva Fishing Reports 8/29/16 through 9/5/16 With the cooler temperatures the fishing has been improving. The boat traffic has been substantially less as the back to school rush happens. This reduction in boat traffic gives anglers opportunities to fish throughout the day. Largemouth bass fishing has been excellent on the hard bottom locations throughout the lake. My favorite spots recently have been by Covenant Harbor, Maytag point and the 700 club. I’ve been drop shot rigging root beer with purple flake drop shot worms with an 8-10 inch dropper. The fish have been aggressively eating the plastic worms. I prefer 8 lb test line and 6’6 pole. If you aren’t getting bit immediately start moving around because the fish are aggressively hitting if you are in the right location. Bluegill action has been very good in 20-22 ft of water. The best location has been Gage Marine or by the Elgin Club. You want to fish trout worms about 1 foot off bottom on a split shot rig. The fish appear to be bigger in the deeper water. If you are catching small fish, slide out a bit deeper. I’ve caught some of the biggest fish in 30-35 ft of water. Trust your fish locator to find the aggressive schools of fish. Smallmouth bass fishing has been decent off the hard rock structure in the deeper water. The best depth has been 22-26 ft of water. The fish have been associating on the outside edge of the structure. The best method has been lindy rigging nightcrawlers or large fat head minnows. The best location has been by the Yacht Club, Maytag Point or by Linn Pier. Northern Pike fishing has been good in 33-35 ft of water. The thermocline is still present but will dissipate soon with the cooling water temperatures. The best bait are medium suckers fished on a lindy rig on a 24 inch leader. Look for the fish near Fontana Beach or the narrows on the north shore. When you are fishing deep water fish, trust you locator to find the active fish. 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 8/29/16 through 9/5/16 The end of the summer is growing near and any nice weather day is a great opportunity to catch some fish. The fishing has been great overall. The water has started to cool with the lower temps at night and the fish are biting better than when the water temperature was 80+ degrees. Largemouth bass fishing has been very production in 13-17 ft of water. You want to use Chomper 4 inch drop shot worms. The best color is root beer with purple and red flake. The best location has been by 3 flags or just west of the Yacht Club. I’ve been getting a lot of bass ranging in size from 10-18 inches. The larger fish are a bit harder to catch as they bite more subtle. Bluegill fishing has been very good in 15-17 ft of water right on the weedline. The best location has been by Assembly Park or just west of Willow Point. The best approach has been fishing a small split shot and a leaf worm straight beneath the boat. The key is to constantly move around if you aren’t catching the larger fish. The larger fish seem to school with the larger fish and the smaller fish are with the smaller fish. Walleye fishing has been slow. The water temperature is still too high for them to get really active. There are a few fish being caught on nightcrawlers on a lindy rig in 22 ft of water, however the success is few and far between. As the water continues to cool, the walleye fishing will improve greatly. Northern pike action has been spotty. The fish I’ve been catching have come in 22-26 ft of water. Most of the success has been coming off of lindy rigged suckers with a 24 inch leader. Look for the fish by the gray condos or by Belvidere Park. Crappie fishing has also been spotty. The fish are in the weedline in 13-15 ft of water. The best success has been coming off of slip bobbered small fat head minnows about 1 ft above the weeds. The best locations have been by Browns Channel or Willow Point. The crappie fishing will improve as the water temperature cools. 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: Jason Johnsof Boneyard Fishing said largemouth are schooled, outstanding (100-fish days) when found. REND: Johns said catfish are “amazing” on Sonny’s; crappie are OK on a cork and minnows or jigs. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Fishing ends Monday for the season at the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge (Hennepin-Hopper). 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 ServiceEVERGREEN: Will update fall hours and such when I receive them.


Best water levels of local rivers.

Pete Lamar sent this:

Hi Dale, At long last, I finally made it out to some of the Fox tribs southwest of Aurora. . . . As far as the Fox watershed, there were a lot of people fishing the Fox yesterday afternoon between Montgomery and Oswego (no idea how they were doing as I was just driving past). Water levels were surprisingly low for all the rain we’ve had; color and clarity were normal for this time of year. I drove over Blackberry Creek and found it to be a muddy mess. Big and Little Rock Creeks were in much better shape: low, clear and cool. I started with a white streamer and never needed to change. Some nice smallmouths, but they were vastly outnumbered by rock bass of all sizes: some were tiny, there were a lot of average-sized too and even a couple of unusually large ones. Pete


No update.


No update this week from Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay.

 The Wisconsin DNR report is usually posted Tuesdays and includes reports from both the bay and lake sides.


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


Flood crest is projected for Saturday at LaSalle. Parking is expected to be impacted by the high water for the Labor Day weekend.

Illinois Valley Outdoorsis open in Spring Valley.


Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map. Considering kings and a few steelhead have started, good info to have.


Again time to shore flooded shorelines and tight to shore. The river is near flood stage at Momence and projected to remain at flood stage in Shelby, Ind. through the holiday weekend. NOTE: The bridge over Rock Creek on Route 102 is being worked on, but it is expected to be open for Labor Day weekend.


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


See shoreline salmon reports at top.

CHICAGO: Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said that lakers pretty good in 80-100 feet around the R4; mixed bag around the R2.

WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop texted that some perch were being caught in the harbor, some quality fish.

Ted Boska sent this:

Hello and good morning Dale.Last few weeks good rainbows and coho continues inside the hill,mix with nice lakers.very early morning from 60 to 90 feet only many rainbows are really big pushing 15 lbs.For the weekend like always fishing slow down because of weather and fish were in not feeding mood. Very limited catches, not many bites. Going to 240 feet in foggy day is not really good idea. On my special trip to my secret location on Wednesday we caught 8 king’s over 280 feet of water. Lot of distance to cover up. We got nice ,healthy fish,but nothing really big,no 4 year’s old kings. All lake Michigan reproduction. Thanks Ted ( diehard angler ) BOSKA

NORTH POINT: Posteshman said it is “Really good” for steelhead, coho, lakers and some kings in 130-300 feet; but he thinks some fish should be on the beach, too; Leadcore line is best.


No update.


No update from Jarek Wujkowski of Rodsbent Guide Service.


Reports just keep coming of big blue catfish. 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.


Bill Lanham sent this:

Dale, ya know that old wives tale of the teeth of northern pike falling out in August?Some don’t and we found that out yesterday, Allen Epich and I. We have been having a good August of crappie, bluegill and redear sunfish fishing on the lakes of Mazonia and Sunday we found a couple northern with full sets of sharp teeth who like those tasty crappies too.Most bluegills and crappies have been holding against main lake structure the past couple weeks at 17 to 22 foot down regardless of water depth. Casting and counting down small jigs with plastics and tipped with minnows, waxworms or crappie nibbles has been working just fine.Looking forward to the putting on of the feed bagAny Luc

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:

A combination of weather and time helped to pull the fishing up a bit by weeks end. With some shallow weeds showing signs of dying back (despite surface temps averaging 70-72), a shift to deeper weeds has been the focus for fish and anglers alike. Those deeper weeds of 13-16’ are holding a lot of species (Walleye, LMB, SMG and gills) that were missing from catches earlier in the week. Largemouth Bass: Very good. Got to move out a little deeper than a couple of weeks ago. Best action along 13-16’ coontail edges using Wacky style worms as well as Carolina rigging creature baits/skirted grubs. Fast working deep diving jerk baits (dive 8-12’) scored LMB, SMB and walleyes from one angler’s report. Smallmouth Bass: Good. Also utilizing deep coontail edges (14-16’), sandgrass flats (18-26’) and off-shore humps topping at 22-28’. Tubes and Wacky worms on weed edges, skirted grubs and drop-shotting 2-3 Gulp minnows and Jackall pin tails over grass and gravel. Bluegills: Good. Moving away from dying plants. Work coontail edges of 12-16’ using small leeches, worms or 1 plastic tails for suspending gills. Northern: Good. Casting spinnerbaits (Boonies, Booyah) over green cabbage where available. Otherwise work 5-6 chubs and suckers along outside weed edges. Musky: Good. Bucktail and twitch bait action good. Big spinnerbaits worked over weed flats then allowed to fall just past weed edge drawing fish out. A few reports of musky on live suckers, seems early and warm, but, verified reports. Walleye: Fair-Good. Rebounding a bit as anglers finding walleyes along deep weed edges taking leeches, crawlers and redtails. After dark, lighted slip-bobbers with large leeches best. Perch: Fair-Good. Best on ½ crawlers on jig. Sandgrass flats on clear, deep lakes. Next to drowned wood on Flowages or darker water. Crappie: Fair. Tough find. Some anglers fishing base of coontail edges catching some slabs (11-13) on medium fatheads. Few other reports. Finally see a sugar Maple with a little color here and there. Not any real cold nights, but, definitely cooler. Water temps buoyed by warm days. Lots of water thanks to even more rain. Lakes are full and Flowages even more so, unusual for late August. Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop http://www.kurtsislandsports.com

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

Fishing Report Muskie: Air (and water) temps are going to be in the low to mid 70s this week, so keep on throwing the larger sized baits. Double 9’s and 10’s spinnerbaits, bigger jerk baits and even top water on warmer days will get some action. Remember that the proper equipment is needed to use certain baits to make your fishing experience enjoyable. Northern Pike: Fishing the weed edges with bass style spinnerbaits or inline spinnerbaits, such as Mepps #4 and #5, and weedless spoons, such as Johnson Silver Minnows, should get you in a tussle with this fish. Jig and minnow combos fishing near weeds for walleyes will catch a few also. Walleye: Look for the deep weed edges that are by sharp breaks for the best results. If the wind picks up, don’t hesitate to go to a heavier jig to maintain bottom contact. 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; also plastics and crankbaits will work well. 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, too, with the aid of twitching the rod for movement. 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, (if you can still find them) red worms and small minnows on slip bobbers are the ticket for them.


See shoreline salmon at the top. Capt. Rich Sleziak  at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station said some perch were being caught, but few trying.


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.


For shoreline salmon, see top. Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said there were steelhead and lakers being caught in 70-90 feet. The river has some catfish, drum, smallmouth and a few walleye going.


Click herefor reports from the Indiana DNR.


Staff at Lakeside said muskies of 38 and 40 inches were caught Sunday; lots of largemouth over the weekend (weed lines or dam face); walleye are being caught on rock piles and road bed; a few hybrids being caught; some catfish, too.

After Labor Day, the restaurant will be open Friday through Sunday. Lakeside remains open daily. 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.


See Wisconsin sturgeon note at top.


No update.


Jim Popek sent this report:

Dale, In the Fremont area, I have been catching some nice largemouth and pike in the backwaters. The walleye fishing has been very good on jigs with crawlers. Drifting the main channel is key. Been catching quite a few walleyes on crankbaits while fishing for smallmouths in the river. Some big gills and crappies are being caught, but have to sort through alot of small ones to get to the keepers. Tightlines, Jim Popek

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