Advice on 4th, Kankakee Derby: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

SHARE Advice on 4th, Kankakee Derby: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report
SHARE Advice on 4th, Kankakee Derby: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

Looking ahead to the long Fourth of July weekend leads this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report, but it is summer and there’s plenty of other stuff.

Such as this kayaker making his way upstream Saturday on the West Branch of the DuPage River. Kayak fishing is on the rise.

The MFR for Chicago fishing 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 Kankakee River Fishing Derby opens Friday. Click here for the details.


CHICAGO:Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait said perch, mostly smaller, are being caught up and down the lakefront; for keepers it is better to work the deeper weed beds, such as in Burnham or DuSable; using Shad Raps or other crankbaits worked deep also helps target keepers. Staff at Park Bait said perch are being caught, but keepers are rare. Norm Strozkeeps the lead (27 ounces) in Perchapalooza, which Park Bait is running again this summer.WAUKEGAN:Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop texted perch are being marked, no takers.NORTHWESTINDIANA:Capt. Rich Sleziak atSlez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind., texted, “Perch still on slow side but a few caught really not many people out for them.” SOUTHWESTMICHIGAN:Staff atTackle Haven in Benton Harbor, Mich., said before the blow perch were in 35-40 feet.


Bullfrog season in Illinois is open. Daily bag is eight. Bullfrogs may be taken by hook and line, gig, pitchfork, spear, bow and arrow, hand, or landing net.


As befits summer, largemouth bass, catfish and bluegill are the prime action.Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait said the city lagoons, south and west, were stocked with catfish.

Pete Lamar has an interesting observation at the end, which I suspect is spot on, of this report:

Hi Dale, We fished the Kane County Forest Preserves over the weekend. I think we enjoy the cooler temperatures, the wind and the low humidity more than the fish. The first day of the big cool down, Friday, was alright: my little one caught some nice bluegills on a deer hair cricket on her tenkara rod-most were within 10 feet of shore. I went back out on Saturday afternoon for bass; the only ones that were interested were small ones and not many of those. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m hoping for some warmer and wetter weather. Pete

Ken “Husker” O’Malley noted something similar on weather in his report:

Hey Dale, The recent cold front has slowed fishing on area lakes. Bass can be caught on a variety of finesse presentations. Midwest and mojo rigs are catching smaller bass. The trusty 4 1/4 inch senko is catching them as well along inside and outside weedlines. A few can be taken during late evening hours on top water.TTYL—Ken Husker O’Malley Husker Outdoors 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


Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington said with the hot water it is mainly catfish now.Braidwood is open daily. Hours through July 16, close is 8:30 p.m.; from July 17-Aug. 13, close is 8 p.m.; from Aug. 14-Sept. 10, close is 7:30 p.m.; from Sept. 11-24, close is 7 p.m.; from Sept. 25-Oct. 7, close is 6:30 p.m.


BoRabb Williams with Frankie Smith of Srokers FC sent this:

1st time out in a minute with the boat …. but went out Yesterday and Today …. the CALUMET system is good also … bass small and largemouth …. perch ..gills and big catfish TODAY.


Staff at Triangle said bluegill are good, target shaded areas during heat; catfish are going on Sonny’s stinkbait and crawlers; walleye are good, lot of big fish lately, both trolling crankbaits and jigging; for white bass, look to the river.

For more info and lake updates, go to Fox Waterway Agency or call (847) 587-8540.

STRATTON LOCK:There are changes this year for the operation of the Stratton Lock at the Chain O’Lakes. Here is the word from the Fox Waterway Agency:

The Stratton Lock will open for the 2017 season on Wednesday, May 3. IDNR lock tenders will operate the Stratton Lock on Wednesdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m., and on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. until midnight through October 29. The lock will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays (with the exception of holidays) for the 2017 season. The Stratton Lock is also closed for the winter season each year from Nov. 1 through April 30.


Capt. Pat Harrison of Pat Harrison Outdoors sent this:

Chicago River and Lake front report Busy week on the river last week boat traffic is increasing and there are more boats than last year for sure. With our weather being up and down and the rain fish was a bit up and down. Bass got a bit harder to find with all the movement but Pan fish and Catfish were out to play. We caught some nice Crappie this is the first year we have caught black Crappie the largest being 13 White crappie are moving well to the largest being 12. All crappie were taken with some white jigs tipped with a waxie pulled slow across the bottom. We caught about a ½ dozen largemouth on the river from 11 to 17 also a few out on the lake about the same for large mouth Small mouth we did about the same the biggest smallie was 19. Fish came on small white square bill crank baits. We didn’t target Perch yet but when I stop for gear ay Henry’s Bait they are selling a ton of small fresh crayfish to Perch Fishermen. I asked a few guys how they are doing and they say they are getting Perch but you have to sort through a lot of them to get fish of decent size. This week I think I’m going to give the Perch a try. I also got extended risers for my Bert’s Board down rigger setup so I will be installing it very soon to start to troll. The New G3 Boat Angler 19 has a full stand up Bimini top with side curtain so I can fish deep into the cold weather season. I have to Thank my Sponsor Lake County Water Sports for selectine me to participate in the G3 Certified Professional Guide Program my boat is Awesome and so are my Sponsors. Also Thanks goes out to Dale Bowman for all he does in the outdoors and all the support he has given me over the years. — Thanks Pat


GENEVA:Arden Katz said panfish are outstanding in 12 feet.

Dave Duwe emailed this:

Lake Geneva Fishing Report 6/25/17 through 7/3/17 Fishing on Lake Geneva has been overall pretty good. It’s been a bit slower this year than previous and I’m not sure if it’s due to weather patterns or the clarity of the water. I have noticed this year that there has been an abundance of mirror shiners throughout the lake. Lake trout fishing has been very good in the main lake basin. I’ve been fishing at first light. The fish are 75-85 ft down in the water column in 110-120 ft of water. The best baits have been nickel and green or nickel and blue spoons fished on down riggers. Largemouth bass fishing has been good by Covenant Harbor and by Maytag point. The best approach is either drop shotting 4 inch Chompers worms in icicle color or root beer or using nightcrawlers fished on a lindy rig. The best depth is 15-17 ft of water. There is a surface bait bite at first light when the wind conditions are favorable. The best top water bait is a chrome and blue chug bug. The best top water bite has been by Trinkes or just west of Linn Pier road. Rock bass are still throughout the lake and very easily caught. The best bait is nightcrawlers fished on a split shot rig. The highest concentration of fish has been by Knollwood or Colemans Point. The best depth has been 12-14 ft of water. Bluegill action has been excellent. The best depth has been 15-17 ft of water on the deep break lines. The best location has been by Gage Marine or by the South Shore Club. The best approach has been small leaf worms drifted with the boat. Smallmouth bass fishing has been slow. They are in their summer patterns chasing the pods of mirror shiners throughout the lake. I did find some last week by the Yacht Club and by Black Point. The best bait for them seems to be leeches fished on a lindy rig. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063

DELAVAN: Dave Duwesent this:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 6/25/17 through 7/3/17 Fishing has been very good on Delavan Lake. Most species are actively feeding. The most consistent bite has been largemouth bass or Northern Pike. Northern Pike action has been good in 15-17 ft of water on the deep weed edge. The best location has been by the north shore by the marina and by the old Boy Scout Camp. Lindy rigging medium to large suckers has been producing most of the fish. With consistent warm weather, the bite should stick around most of the summer. Largemouth bass have been located in the medium depth weeds. The best depth has been 13-14 ft of water. I’ve been catching a lot of fish on the west end of the lake by Viewcrest and by the Highlands. They can be caught either drop shotting 4 inch finesse worms in green pumpkin or with split shot rigged nightcrawlers or leeches. A secondary pattern is main lake points, the water is slightly cooler than normal so they aren’t yet in big schools but some are definitely showing up on the points. Those largemouth bass are being caught on football head jigs or drop shotting 4 inch finesse worms. Last week I found a couple of big schools of crappies in the 10-12 ft depth range. They were caught casting purple or chartreuse plastics just above the weed line. The schools I found were huge and fish were being caught every other cast or so and the average size of the fish was 9-10 inches. Bluegill fishing has been fantastic. I’m still catching a lot of 8-9 inch bluegills. The best depth is 13-16 ft of water on the deeper weeds. I’m marking them on my Hummingbird depth finder and then fishing them straight beneath the boat. The best location has been by Browns Channel or by Willow Point. I’m still catching a few walleyes in the early morning hours but once the sun is fully up the bite slows down. About one out of ten fish are legal with the biggest last week coming in at 22 inches. There is really no pattern that I can discern on the walleye, I’m just catching them here or there while bass fishing. The best bait is a lindy rig leech as big a leech as you can get. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063


No update.


LAKESHELBYVILLE:Ken WilsonofKen Wilson Guide Service said the lake is about 9 feet above normal summer pool, regular ramps are open, and in the 80s; crappie are good on spider rigs on channel breaks, key is drifting .4-.8 mph. “You can catch all the crappie you want, but you have to sort through them,” eh said. White bass should really start to go any day; spillway is good for white bass and crappie. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS:Jason Johnsof Boneyard Fishing said crappie are “great’’ on Rend, he said that channel catfish and white bass are also good; bass are schooling on Lake of Egypt; crappie are going deep on slip corks and minnows on Kinkaid. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: The lakes are open through Labor Day, Sept. 4. Fishing is closed on Mondays other than Labor Day. Click here for complete list of regs and details.POWERTON:Boat and shore fishing is open. Hours are 6 a.m.-8 p.m.EVERGREEN LAKE: Larry Dozardof sent this:

Evergreen Lake BAIT SHOP and BOAT RENTAL Hours: 6:00 am to 6:00 pm Daily NOTE – During the weekdays staff is not present, please press buzzer on the front of the building for assistance or call the Visitor Center at (309) 434-6770.


Smallmouth should be going, though yo-yoing water levels could alter that, if the rains come.Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait said catfish bite is on.


No update.


No update this week fromLance LaVineatHowie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay.

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


There have been some good hybrids caught; walleye are best around the center dike. Lakeis open daily 6 a.m. (6:30 shore side) to sunset.


B & B Live Bait–(815) 433-0432–in Ottawa reported catfish good on both stinkbait and cut baits; some white bass, mostly at the mouths of creeks, rivers or feeder. Cajun’s open in Utica.


Capt. Rich Sleziak atSlez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind., texted:

Trail creek is loaded with steelhead with the parking lots loaded with cars lots of groups in the creek trying spawn saks spinners and small peices of shrimp a lot of very large healthy steelhead around

Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.Access points for Little Cal and Salt Creek, which are closer to Chicago than Trail Creek, may be found atlittlecal_saltcreek_access.



Victor “The DIZZ” Blackful sent this report and photo after a Saturday outing:

Hey Dale. Got out to the Kankakee near Wilmington and the catfish bite was on. I got there about 8 and fished till midnight. Fresh cut Shad got this 8 pounder and some nice 2 and 4 pound fish as well. The weather was perfect. Nothing like river cat fishing at night.

Norm Minas sent this:

River is dropping , very near normal flow , which is not to say safe wading . I made very limited entry into the water at places where there was slow/slack water and footing i was sure of . Weather was variable from rain/hail to mostly blue sky . The one constant was wind . The lesser pattern was chatterbaits next to waterwillow bed edges with at least a couple feet of water .The main pattern was rattlebaits on seams, riffles and out into faster water .Mostly smallmouth , a couple channel cats and a couple drum .PeaceNormPS


Click here for the Ohio DNR’s annual fishing prospects.The Ohio DNR hasgeneral Lake Erie info and a fishing report.


See perch reports at top.

CHICAGO: Staff at Park Bait said drum bite is beginning on the Montrose Horseshoe. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said coho are doing pretty well again with a few kings, lakers and steelhead, too; some good browns being caught in 30-40 feet outside of the crib line.

WAUKEGAN:Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop texted:

Been good 90-130 feet of water, a little straight out, and a little South. Coho, Lakers and a few steeliez.

Ted Boska emailed:

Hello and good morning Dale.Hot coho fishing continues from north to south of harbor. Because of many day’s with westerly wind’s on few days we are almost walking on the beach in 30 feet mainly for coho.Good 140 to 180 feet for mixed bag with few king’s ,and Lakers occasional rainbows .I hope incoming holiday weekend be hot for fishing as well .Thanks for reading this. Tef (diehard angler )BOSKA

NORTH POINT: Poteshman said the incredible year for coho keeps going. Good coho, including some 7- and 8-pounders (and afew kings, lakers and steelhead, too) are doing well from the hill out. “Start on the hill and troll out,” he said. They are hitting many presentations, speed is critical because the wind has made many currents, so he said, “Stay in tune with your baits. Change speed until you find what works.”


The bite of most interest is for big blues.The cooling lake south of Seneca is open daily, 6 a.m. to sunset.Also, boaters should be aware that there will be no launching if wind is 14 mph or higher.


Gene Dellinger fromD & S Bait  said the bluegill have moved to the outside weed lines and the drift bite is beginning to set up from the weed lines to 25 feet; there’s a litle perch action on Mendota and Monona; there’s good walleye (not many legals) and smallmouth on Mendota; muskie are slow system wide.

Check the latest from D & S Bait on Facebook.


Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington said bluegill and redear are still bedding in spots; better places have been Ponderosa and even Eagle; when water levels are OK, good crappie on Monster. Close is now 8:30 p.m.


Check withMike MladeikatMike Mladenik Guide Service sent this:


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


MINOCQUA: Kurt Justiceof Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua, Wis. sent this:

Cold, wind, rain…oh wait, that was last week. Same menu, just add a large helping of bugs, mayflys to be precise, to add to our falling water temperatures and tough fishing. Largemouth Bass: Very Good-Good – Thankfully these fish are keeping rods bent. Wacky worming, 4 power worms and swim jigs best. On warmer days (afternoons) chatterbaits, Boonie Baits and shallow cranks working. Large leeches on a 1/16 oz jig irresistible. Need warmer water to bring back top-water bite. Bluegill: Good – Thunderbugs, small leeches best. Tiny 1 tubes with a taste of waxie also good. Like largemouth, need warm water to bring back top-water popper/dry fly bite. Northern Pike: Good – Live bait (chubs/suckers) on jigs, under floats best with cooler temps. 4-4 ½ swimbaits, #3;#4 Mepps Aglia and Comets. Cool water not as harsh on action, even in shallows of 4-6’. Walleye: Good-Fair – Where fresh mayfly hatches, bite off. Pre and post hatches, shallows where weeds holding small perch best. Redtails, large fats and large leeches. Shallow Shad Raps and 3 swimbaits catching Eyes in 6-8’ weeds. Yellow Perch: Good-Fair – Scattered, but nice perch working shallow cabbage of 5-8’. ½ crawlers, medium fats/leeches best. Smallmouth Bass: Good-Fair – Live baiting best using leeches or crawlers. Wacky worming 3:4 worms as well as working jerk baits (X-Raps, Shadow Raps) best. Crappie: Fair – Not a lot of reports due to cold, wind. Live bait in the form of small minnows best under these conditions. Casting 1/32 – 1/16 oz jigs with a 1-2 white or pink twister good search bait. Musky: Fair – Been a poor start over all, but some fish being moved on bucktails and the new Savage Burbot. Water temps dropped into the low 60’s (62-64 degrees). Seems we’ve seen a lot of cold weather around the 1st of July for the past few years. Weeds look good, warming temps should help improve all fishing. Kurt’s Island Sports Shop Kurt Justice Web Site:

EAGLE RIVER:B+L, from reports fromColin Crawfordof Colin Crawford Guide Service for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce, sent this:

Fishing Report Panfish: Perch are in the weeds and using a slip bobber tipped with minnows or tossing a 1/8th oz. jig with a small minnow seems to be doing the job. Crappies are in the deeper weeds and around several structures. Slip bobber rigs with a hook and minnow or a jig and plastic should do the trick. Bluegills are up in the shallows on the warmer lakes; slip bobber rigs baited with red worms or waxies will catch these. Take notice of any panfish regulations on a few of our lakes in the area. Bass: Largemouth can be found in the shallow weeds and around docks; and they will be caught using top water and spinnerbaits. Smallies are in and around the rocks and can be caught by using small crankbaits and jerkbaits. Northern: These fish Will be found in and around weeds, so pitching jig and minnows or small spinnerbaits and spoons will get their attention. Walleye: We are casting 1/8th oz. jigs tipped with crawlers or slip bobbers just over and around weeds. Try dragging crawlers or a leech on a Lindy rig. Muskies: Bucktails and jerkbaits are working, along with top water. These are your go to baits for a while now.


Capt. Rich Sleziak atSlez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind., texted:

On the lake in 70 to 100ft from east Chicago to new buffalo fishing is good using spoons dodger and flys and spin doctors and flys coho steelhead and some kingsPier fishing in Michigan city and portage river walk has been decent to greatShrimp night crawlers and orange love wobblers taking lots of fish. Trail creek is loaded with steelhead with the parking lots loaded with cars lots of groups in the creek trying spawn saks spinners and small peices of shrimp a lot of very large healthy steelhead aroundstate park area and black ditch just west of Michigan cityPerch fishing still not very many people trying but some decent catches from a few groups late last week baby roaches best bait 25 to 35ft of water duneSome great catfishing in burns ditch at nite using cut skipjack and sonnys stinkbaitLots of people out business steady Day in and day out

Remember he is at summer hours (5 a.m.-8 p.m.) until Labor Day.

LAKERREMINDER: Indiana now has a daily bag of three lake trout on Lake Michigan, to match Michigan. Illinois’ daily bag remains at two.


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.


See perch at the top. Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said coho, steelhead and some kings are being caught in 100-150 feet, some steelhead are being caught off the piers; walleye (and drum, smallmouth and catfish) are going in the river.


Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.


Clint Sands at Lakeside said walleye are picking up as the weeds are finally up; there was some good crappie near Pier 5 and good bluegill; topwaters are starting to work for largemouth; catfish should go with the forecast warmth.

The usual fireworks on the Fourth of July.

Lake hours are 6 a.m.-10 p.m.

Here are the hours for Lakeside for the next few months:

Shabbona Lakeside is now OPEN for the SEASON Lakeside will be open everyday, 7 days a week, April 11th to September 5th 6 AM to 7 PM September 6th to September 30th 6 AM to 6:30 PM October 1st to October 10th 6:30 AM to 6 PM October 11th to October 31st 7 AM to 5PM

For more information and reports from Lakeside, or call (815) 824-2581.


The Wisconsin DNR posts a report during open water at It is usually posted by Tuesday afternoon. Streadsm flow info is at



BoRabb Williams with Frankie Smith of Srokers FC sent this:

1st time out in a minute with the boat …. but went out Yesterday and Today …. wolf lake has big red ear gill and cat action…plus bass pike goin GOOD …..IN THE INDIANA SIDE Walleye on leeches

That’s quality.


Guide Bill Stoeger said rising water, expected to crest in the next day or so, disrupted the stabilizing patterns; this should be the time when crappie begin to set up; still some white bass being caught around Partridge; walleye are scattered.

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