Surviving the heat, fishing Chicago: Sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report

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Perch at Montrose.
Provided/Larry Jennins

[UPDATE] The Chain O’Lakes report was updated because the entire Chain area went to no-wake today.

Out of the brutal heat and into forecasts of unsettled weather for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report. Not sure what that means.

Larry Jennings made his first perch of the season something worth remembering Saturday at Montrose, as seen in the photo above.

The condensed Midwest Fishing Report appears Wednesdays on the outdoors page of the Sun-Times newspaper. The sprawling raw-file report is posted here online on the Sun-Times outdoors page.


Reports have been very variable since the season reopened in Illinois on Saturday. Not sure whether it is weather, wind, currents or what. Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait said there are scattered reports up and down lakefront, and you have to work at it,. He noted “Jumbo Jimmy” Baczek found some in Burnham weeds. Staff at Park Bait said it was “on and off” to start, but steadier catches were being made by Tuesday at Montrose. Soft shells and minnows are the baits.


Frog hunting in Illinois, bullfrogs only, is open. Daily bag is eight.

Here are the details from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources on frog hunting regulations:

FROGS (Bullfrogs Only) Methods of Taking and Capture A sport fishing license is required to harvest bullfrogs. Bullfrogs may be taken by hook and line, gig, pitchfork, spear, bow and arrow, hand, or landing net. No person shall harvest bullfrogs or any other reptile or amphibian by commercial fishing devices, including, hoop nets, traps or seines or by the use of firearms, air guns or gas guns or during bowfishing tournaments. All other species of unprotected reptiles and amphibians (excluding common snapping turtles and bullfrogs) may only be taken by hand. This shall not restrict the use of legally taken reptiles or amphibians as bait by sport fishermen. Any captured reptiles or amphibians which are not to be retained in the possession of the captor shall be immediately released at the site of capture, unless taken with a lethal method (such as bow and arrow, gig, spear, pitchfork) which does not permit release with no harm. All such taken common snapping turtles and bullfrogs must be kept and counted in the daily harvest. No culling of such taken species is permitted. No person shall harvest or possess any species of reptile or amphibian listed as endangered or threatened in Illinois (17 Ill. Adm. Code 1010 except as provided by 17 Ill. Adm. Code 1070). Season Bullfrogs may be taken only between June 15 and October 15, both dates inclusive. Daily Harvest and Possession Limits The daily Harvest limit for bullfrogs is 8 with a possession limit of 16. For indigenous amphibian and reptile taxon, which may only be taken by hand, (excluding common snapping turtles and bullfrogs) the possession limit is 8 collectively with no more than 4 per taxa.


Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait pretty much summed it up when he said it is summer patterns for largemouth, bluegill and catfish.


Good week to keep tabs on water levels, they are jumping around. Click here to find river closures listed by the Illinois DNR. Go to to check area water levels and projection. To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to


Lake is open 6 a.m. to sunset. Check with Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington.


BoRabb Williams messged:

Catfish still going strong in the Calumet system…. along with gills and perch… bass large& smallies are there too . Big sheepheads in the river


[UPDATED] NOTE: As of Wednesday, all three zones are now no-wake. Check updates atFox Waterway Agency or (847) 587-8540.

Art Frisell at Triangle Sports and Marine said with the current, walleye remain the top bite, especially around the bridge areas and main lake points; catfish are also good on stinkbait or crawlers; bluegill should remain up shallow; for white and yellow bass, try Mineola.

STRATTON LOCK AND DAM: Open daily 8 a.m.-midnight through Sept. 30. Click here for more info on the lock and dam.


Capt. Pat Harrison at Pat Harrison Outdoors sent this update:

Chicago River and Lake Report, Well the fish are finally starting to turn on surface temps are raising started the week at 62 finished at 67 degrees. On the River Crappie and Gills are showing up better every day. My bait of choice is still a White jig 1/16 or 1/8 oz. 1 ½ White twister tail tipped with a wax worm. This bait has also caught Bass, Striper, White Bass, Catfish for my clients. We have boated a few Smallmouth on the river no Largemouth yet. . . . Looks like this could be a really good season even with the cold and late start. On that NOTE Please if your in a boat or fishing from shore Please practice Safety on the water. The River is getting Busier and Busier. We have had a couple issues already this year Please take your time pay attention to others everyone has a right to be on the water SAFETY FIRST. If your fishing a lot the Riverwalk Please clean up after yourself or other Anglers. Being there as much as I am people talk to me a lot a runner got a hook in the foot that someone dropped lost or left behind. We don’t need a few to wreck it for the many. Not trying to preach here just letting folks know we have a Great Fishery here and I Hope we can keep it that way. I have some calls and e mails out to try to put together a boater safety day on the river just need the responses and decide on a location. Rules of the water boat safety checks Kayak instruction etc. If you would like to be a part of the presentation Please feel free to contact me. Till next week enjoy the water catch some fish and Please leave it cleaner than you found it. For more information about Pat Harrison Outdoors you can go to and on Face Book Pat Harrison Outdoors – Fishing Adventures. Thanks Capt. Pat,


Guide Dave Duwe sent this update:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 6/17/18 through 6/24/18 Fishing on Delavan Lake remains outstanding. In the recent days the boat traffic has been extreme so fish early (5:30 a.m. or 6:00 a.m.) so you are off the water by 10:00 when it gets super busy. I’m having success with both numbers and size on the game fish. The key is once you find an active school of fish, stay on top of them and catch all the fish you can before you move on. Smallmouth bass have started to pull off the weed line positioning themselves in 18-20 ft of water associating with main lake points. The best location has been by Browns Channel or by Willow Point. Most of my success has come by Lindy rigging or split shot rigging leeches. Walleye fishing has been good at first light. The best time is from about 5:00 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. They are positioned similarly to the smallmouth bass, off the deep weed lines in 18-20 ft of water. Look for the fish by Belvidere Park or by Willow Point. Bluegills are schooling up in the 12 ft depth range on the weed line. They can be caught on leaf worms on a single hook with a small split shot. They are very tight to the weed line. The best location has been by the outside edge of Browns Channel or just west of the Yacht Club. Last week some of the bluegills were in excess of 9 inches. Northern pike have started to become very active with the warm weather. They are on the weed line in 15 ft of water. They can be caught on medium suckers fished on a lindy rig. The best location has been by the Village Supper Club or west of the Yacht Club point. The fish are suspended off bottom approximately 2-3 ft. Largemouth bass fishing has been fantastic. You have to seach for the bigger fish but there are a substantial number around that are actively feeding. The best bite I have found is in about 15 ft of water out side the weed line. Drop shotting 4 inch finesse worms, lindy rigging nightcrawlers or flipping jigs have all been producing fish. The north shore piers are seeming to have the most success due to their association with deeper water. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063


River is falling quickly from flood stage in downstream areas.


HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Click here for regulations and other information. EVERGREEN: As posted on the web site:

Evergreen Lake Bait Shop & Boat Rental – NOW OPEN 6-6 EVERY DAY!

LAKE SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. SPRING LAKE NOTE: Both the north and south lakes have two regulation changes. Largemouth and smallmouth bass now have a protected slot of 12-18 inches; the daily bag is three bass either under 12 inches or over 18 or some combination of three over or under. Also, the daily limit of 25 crappie may include no more than 10 crappie 10 inches or longer. POWERTON: Open 6 a.m.-6 p.m.


NOTE: The Fox is projected to reach flood stage at Montgomery; the river around the Chain is already at no-wake. Check updates atFox Waterway Agency or (847) 587-8540.

Fox River flathead.<br>Provided

Fox River flathead.

Luis Gonzalez messaged about some good flathead action, including the one above, about which he messaged:

I’ve searched for a flathead of this caliber for 3 years now.


No update.


Arden Katz said bass (more smallmouth than largemouth) are good around points and secondary points in 12-14 feet; drop-shotting also produced three unexpected walleye.

Dave Duwe sent this:

Lake Geneva Fishing Report 6/18/18 through 6/24/18 Lake Geneva remains relatively slow for this time of year. There are a few bass and some pan fish action in the 8-12 foot depth range. Most of the largemouth bass action has been in Trinkes or Geneva Bay. You can catch them either on white spinner baits, green pumpkin Senkos fished Wacky rigged or split shot rigged nightcrawlers. This bite has been slower than is typical for this time of year. I’m not sure if it was the cool spring or the up and down weather pattern that we’ve had that is causing the slow down. The bluegill and pumpkin seed bite has been very good in 6-8 ft of water. The best location has been by Yerkes Observatory or in Trinkes Bay. Split shot rigged leaf worms or leaf worms fished on a slip bobber have been producing most of the action. You want to place the bait about 1 ½ ft above bottom. This bite should be improving over the course of the next week as the warmer, stable weather continues. Smallmouth bass have moved outside their spawning flats and are now positioned on the break lines in 18-20 ft of water. Most of the success is coming off Carolina rigged Chompers and 4 inch finesse worms. The best location is just east of Cedar Point near Williams Bay. Walleye action remains very good at night in 12-15 ft of water. The best location is by Knollwood, Williams Bay or Abbey Springs. Trolling large stick baits like Smithwick Perfect 10’s or Wally Divers have been producing most of the action. You want to place the lures about 60-70 ft behind your planer boards. Rock bass remain steady. The huge numbers are not yet here but if you want to take a bunch of fish home to eat they are available. The best presentation is small hair jigs or nightcrawlers fished on a split shot rig. Most of the success is coming near Belvidere Park in 12-14 ft of water. Lake Trout are starting to become active in the main lake basin in the early morning hours. The fish are in 110 ft of water, suspending 70 ft down. Nickel and green or nickel and blue spoons have been producing most of the action. Dodgers and Flies can also be effective. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063


Lance LaVineat Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay sent this:

Good morning fellas…here is a quick update Fishing out on the lake has been going pretty good as of late. Decent numbers of fishing being reported out of the ports of Algoma, Sturgeon Bay and Bailey’s Harbor. Also some fish getting caught around the Gills Rock area and up on Washington Island, so it’s definitely starting to happen. The Kings that have been caught have been absolutely huge already along with a handful of very big Rainbows. Flasher and flies are working well along with an assortment of spoons. 100 to 350 feet of water has been the best depth and the fish have been scattered throughout the water column. Bass fishing still going well up in our neck of the woods and we are seeing all aspects of the spawn right now. Still some pre-spawn fish are getting caught to the northern part of the peninsula, along with spawning fish and a pretty good post spawn bite going on to the south, from Sturgeon Bay and south to Little Sturgeon. Tubes, senkos, spy baits, spinner baits, top water, hair and marabou jigs all working right now. The depths vary from as shallow as 2 feet of water out to that 15 foot mark pending on where you are fishing Perch fishing is starting to pick up nicely now as our water continues to warm and we get some more weed growth in the bays. Areas to try include right in downtown Sturgeon Bay, Sawyer Harbor, the Flats, Little Sturgeon and Riley’s Bay along with that deeper water mud area to the south around Chaudoir’s Dock. Fathead minnows, leaf worms and crawler pieces all good live baits to have in the boat Walleye fishing has been a bit slower, but still providing some good action for fishermen that put their time in. Trolling with cranks and crawler harness around the Henderson’s point area and south to the lower bay is an option during the day. Also, some fishing are becoming a bit more active on the reefs like Larsens Reef and Monument shoal both for the rip jig fishermen and the night time trollers Thanks; Lance LaVine Howie’s Tackle 1309 Green Bay Rd Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235 Ph: 920-746-9916

Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report.


Heidecke Lake smallmouth.<br>Provided

Heidecke Lake smallmouth.

Rob Abouchar sent this:

Hi Dale Seeing the weather forcast I tried to beat the heat last Thursday at Heidecke Lake. I fished the center dike on the launch side as well as a little of the rip rap on the east side of the bridge by the shore access and up towards the cement strucure. I had good action for smallmouth bass along the center dike from markers 20-16. With little wind and low light cloudy conditions topwater was getting good strikes. I was able to land a few nice smallies and some missed the bait or came off on jumps. Also had some smallies on wacky rigged Senko along riprap. The number of carp and Buffalo was incredible. The presence of different aquatic vegetation was good to see…the quagga or zebra Mussels on my crankbait were not. The lake has an algae bloom going but in places the water was crystal clear. Quite different from when i used to fish the lake from shore in the 90’s. When a big Muskie crashed my bait and missed by marker 16 it was time to head to the launch.Tight linesRob

Lake hours are 6 a.m. to sunset daily; well, shore fishing is always scheduled to open at 6;30 a.m.


Check with B & B Live Bait in Ottawa–(815) 433-0432.


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 at littlecal_saltcreek_access.


Kyle Lund sent this:

Kankakee river update. The river came up pretty quick pushing most fish into the shore line cover. Chatterbaits ran along shore were producing smallies and some northern. Channel cats were found feeding throughout the day on night crawlers in the rising water. Now that the river is coming down fish are moving out into their normal current holding areas. Expect the water to rise again with the incoming storms tonight and predicted rain in the forecast. Fish will move back into flooded shoreline cover such as water willows and behind trees. Some of my best summer smallmouth fishing has been done pre dawn over the top of flooded water willows with chatterbaits and buzzbaits. Check the creeks for cats as they rise it becomes a food delivery system. Once they level off cats will shift down to the mudline and settle just down stream to achieve the same effect of food coming to them in the swifter water where the creek and river meet. Tight lines and stay safe out there


Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report. It generally comes out Tuesday.



Tom Platt sent this example of what is going on on Lake with Mike Bomberry and Julie Pluta with a quality Lake Erie walleye.

Click here for bag limits and prospects for the season from the Ohio DNR. The Ohio DNR has general Lake Erie info and a fishing report.


Perch season is open again, see update at the top.

Capt. Pat Harrison at Pat Harrison Outdoors included this update on lakefront:

Out on the Lake the Smallmouth are tucked into the rocks and at the edge of the rock line on wind blown shores. Green, Green Pumpkin, Green Red Flake on a 1/4oz. or 3/8oz. tube jig seem to work the best bounced back slow. We boated some nice 16 -17 fish. Looking forward to Bass fishing this season. Next up the Perch Season is open I want to see if I can find them deep on weed beds this coming week. Should be some big fish. If you’re a Carp angler there are some monster Carp around this year the back of Burnham Harbor had Carp in the corners that were at least 3 feet long or longer.

Capt. Bob Poteshman at Confusion Charters said action slowed at North Point and Chicago. In Chicago, most focus is around the Wreck and deeper; yesterday we went as deep as 170 for the Gary Ziliam Memorial. It is mainly coho and lakers with the occasional steelhead.

Capt. Scott R. Wolfe of School of Fish Charters sent this:

Hi Dale. The fishing slowed substantially in Waukegan this week. It was very good until Friday afternoon when it started to slow. The fish became fussier and fussier and each trip from Friday to Monday resulted in fewer and fewer hits and fish. Monday was the slowest day of the year. This pattern is really pretty common. When the lake turns over and thermocline develops the fish seem to get inactive and scatter. The best bet is to cover lots of water trolling. The best action and largest amount of fish have been in 85 to 125 feet. Best rigs have been Mo rigs with Jimmy Fly skirts in blue and chartreuse on the bottom on downriggers, Maniac flies on braid divers in the mid water column and Warrior Flutter spoons in Confusion, Naked Natalie and Mermaid on short lead cores. We still had lots of fish on mono boards with dodger fly combos early in the week. That faded and the way the lake is warming I think the mono boards are about done for the year. Jimmy Fly’s new Black/Blue/Spectra fly was the best small fly this week.Out of Chicago things were very slow all week. Fish seem inactive and scattered all the way from 80 feet to Julian’s Reef. Again cover water and keep moving.Capt. Scott R. Wolfe School of Fish Charters 630-341-0550


Lake is open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.


Check updates from D & S Bait on Facebook.


Lake is open 6 am. to sunset daily. Check with Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington.


Check with Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service.


Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report. It is generally out Tuesdays.


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

Hard to get many fishing reports when anglers can hardly get out to fish thanks to the rain and lightning we’ve been getting! Rains have been heavy (4 on Friday) causing lake and Flowage levels to rise. Earlier in week, a four day stretch of east winds, that confounded anglers, was followed by a short reprieve before Friday let loose with the Monsoons! A few decent reports have drizzled (HA! Comedy!) in, but most trips have been cancelled over Father’s Day weekend due to the electric storms. Largemouth Bass: Good-Fair – When able, top-water action good towards evening. Wacky worming in the day. Northern Pike: Good-Fair – Spinner baits, chatter baits and 3 ½ – 4 ½ swim baits. Walleye: Fair – Tough bites, but a few good reports from anglers night fishing with lighted slip-floats after dusk using Jumbo-XL leeches. Smallmouth Bass: Fair – X-Raps and Husky Jerks along 7-10’ rocky breaks best. Crappie – Bluegill – Perch: Fair – Few anglers in this weather. Once it breaks – small leeches and thunderbugs for Gills and Perch. Small beetle spins, minnows for Crappies. Musky: Fair-Poor – Quiet on the Musky front – unless you’re not trying. Top-water drawing some strikes. Size 700 Series bucktails, jointed shallow running cranks. It’s hard to be enthusiastic when you can’t even get on the water. May take a day or two for things to settle this week. We’ve received a lot of water in a short amount of time! Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop Like us on FaceBook

EAGLE RIVER:No update this week from B+L, from reports from Colin Crawford of Colin Crawford Guide Service, for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce:


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

Coho steelhead lake trout in 100 to 160 ft of water in between burns ditch and Michigan city Dodger Flys spoons best Catfish on sonnys stinkbait now known as triple s in burns ditch and deep riverGroups in boats at willow slough still doing ok red wigglers crickets best move around slot ul do ok


No update.


No update.


The Wisconsin DNR’s Root River Report is usually out Tuesday or Wednesday. Click here to see it.


Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said there area lot of coho in 180 feet and deeper and a few kings and a few steelhead are around; a few steelhead are being caught around dawn on the pier.


Click herefor reports from the Indiana DNR.


Staff Lakeside said the top bites are bass (points, weed lines ,dam face) catfish (east bay) and walleye (submerged weeds or the road bed); water is 75 degrees.

Lakeside–(815) 824-2581–is open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Park hours 6 a.m.- 10 p.m. The restaurant is open daily.


The Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report restarted. Click here to see it. Streams flow info is at


No update.


Check with River’s Edge.


No update.


No update.

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