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Summer days and Lake Michigan: Chicago fishing and the Midwest Fishing Report

AJ Mikos with a nice steelhead off Evanston.
Provided/Andy Mikos

We truly have settled into summer for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; and boaters are doing well on Lake Michigan.

Speaking of boaters on Lake Michigan, Andy Mikos sent the photo above and this note on Monday:

My son AJ caught this steelhead yesterday out of Evanston. If you look closely you can see the city in the lower left hand corner. It was 11 pounds and probably does not qualify for fish of the week but still a good picture. Fishing is good right now in the area from the wreck north to Evanston in 60’ to 70’ of water. Mostly coho and steelhead with the occasional king, laker or brown.



More on the good Lake Michigan fishing is in the LAKEFRONT and NORTHWEST INDIANA reports.

(Yes, in case you are wondering, the Sox hat garners extra attention.)

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.


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

Perch action has started here just a little west of burns ditch in 25 to 30 ft and east of doughnut 20 to 40 ft baby roach best bait drifting for them has been best

Staff at Henry’s Sports and Bait said it continues spotty on the Chicago lakefront. Staff at Park Bait said Sunday and Monday were good days for perch on soft shells or minnows.


Frog hunting in Illinois, bullfrogs only, is open. Daily bag is eight. Fishing license is required; bullfrogs may be taken by “hook and line, gig, pitchfork, spear, bow and arrow, hand, or landing net.”


Staff at Henry’s Sports and Bait said the South Side lagoons were restocked with channel catfish.


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


Ken Gortowski sent this:

Actually, I would consider heading out to the Apple River. The gauges are impressive, telling me the river is in pretty good shape. A smart fisherman would look at maps of the State Park and pay close attention to the new boundaries on the downstream section. (I don’t know why I still do this research since I don’t fish any more). Years ago I “inadvertently” fished some excellent water off of some private property. It’s not private property any more.Can I make that hint any more obvious?Ken G

I think he is plain enough for those who know the beauty of Apple River State Park.


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


No update.


Water levels are back near normal. Staff at Triangle Sports and Marine said bluegill are still shallow and everywhere; there are good numbers of catfish; walleye are best on northern lakes; for crappie, focus on Petite; there’s some muskie reports on Channel; few reports on white or yellow bass.

Check Fox Waterway Agency or (847) 587-8540 for more information.

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 Michigan Report,

. . .

Most fish caught where 16” to 17 ½ “. The bite got better as the week went on. Still getting some smaller Largemouth on the river 13” to 16” but they are slow. Crappie and Gills are moving but there is a lot of smaller fish mixed in with some nice ones. There is action everyday day with days of 8 species caught.

I’m getting a lot of out of state and country bookings which are really fun because they come with an open mind they have never heard all the old tales about the river. They just catch fish and smile for the camera. Local’s still seem to think the river isn’t a fishery. All that have come out feel a bit different after a day of 5 to a species in the boat and they see how healthy the fish are.

Guys that are fishing from the river walk are getting some nice Crappie and Gills. Down river at the Richard J Daley ramp where I launch the guys fishing for Carp at Larry’s fishing Holes are catching Big Carp on a regular basis. If your looking for a fight with a tank there are some large fish to fight with.

Boat Safety is still in discussion on the River as there have been a few Kayak issues lately. Folks in all boats need to take a step toward Safer Boating and educating others. It is getting busier and busier out here. Till next week be safe and catch some FISH.

Thanks Capt. Pat Thanks Pat


Dave Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 7/9/18 through 7/15/18

Over the 4th of July holiday, the lake saw extreme boat traffic, both fishing and pleasure boating. Overall the fishing bite has remained very steady. With the warm weather almost all of the fish have moved to the outside weed edges.

Northern pike fishing is starting to heat up with the warm weather. The fish are in 20-21 ft depth range. I’m finding most of the fish just west of the Yacht Club or just west of Willow Point. The best approach is lindy rigging suckers about 1 foot off bottom. I’ve been running a 24 inch leader for the best success.

Largemouth bass have also been very productive. The fish are on the outside of the weed edge in 15-17 ft of water. Over the last few days, the size of the fish have been getting smaller. The best approach is either drop shotting 4 inch finesse worms or nightcrawlers fished on the split shot rig. Also there has been an early morning top water bite using small buzz baits or top water lures in 6-8 ft of water over the shallow weeds.

Walleyes have slowed some. The fish that are being caught are coming off the weed line in 20 ft of water. The fish are on the main lake points. Most of the success has been coming off of large leeches fished on either a lindy rig or a split shot rig with a chartreuse painted hook. The fish are pretty scattered so you need to move around to find the active fish.

The bluegills I’ve been catching are coming out of 13-14 ft of water on the outside edge of the weed line. They can be caught on slip bobbers or small hooks and split shot letting the worm free float in the water column. The best location is just west of Willow Point. For me some days they are stacked in tight and the next day they are scattered.

Some crappies are being caught while trolling small plastics in 12 ft of water. The best location is by Browns Channel. I prefer chartreuse or purple colors for the bait.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063


No update.


SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. 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.

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.


Ken Gortowski sent this report:

The Fox River is flowing along at 1160 cfs as of Tuesday afternoon and with no rain in the forecast, it should keep slowly coming down. Normal is 750 cfs and usually during the summer months it goes well below 500.In other words, this is perfect. Since the water is coming down off highs, it should still be relatively clear and cool. I would imagine the fish would be just about all over the place. Smallies that is. I would focus on the forest preserves through Batavia, OR from Oswego down to the Saw Wee Kee canoe launch. Anywhere in between those would work too.All 5 creeks within a short distance of me are perfect. I know where I would be.Ken G


No update.


Arden Katz said that panfish (pumpkinseeds, rock bass and bluegill) are “outstanding’’ in 12-15 feet on drop-shots with jigs and maggots; while bass are so-so in 15-17 feet on drop-shots.

Dave Duwe sent this:

Lake Geneva Fishing Report 7/9/18 through 7/16/18

For me this year, Lake Geneva has been slightly off from normal years. I haven’t found the big concentration of schooling fish very often. There are plenty of fish to be caught, but its not as rapid fire as we’ve experienced in the past.

Largemouth bass are on the outside edge of the weed lines in 14-15 ft of water. The best locations have been in Trinkes or Williams Bay. The best approach is drop shotting 4 inch Chompers Finesse worms. The dropper length I use is about 1 foot. There are some fish also being caught on chrome/blue or chrome/black surface lures fished in the weed flats by Linn Pier and the beach in Fontana.

Bluegill fishing has started to move to the deeper part of the weed line. The best bite is in 15-17 ft of water. I’ve been having the most success by Elgin Club and Knollwood, with the best action coming off of leaf worms fished straight beneath the boat.

Lake trout have started to turn on with the warmer weather. They are in the main lake basin 70-80 ft down in 108-120 ft of water. First light is the best time of day for them. The bait of choice is Dodgers and Flies or Chrome & Blue spoons. I put the baits 25 ft behind the down riggers.

Northern pike have started to stage on the thermocline in 30 ft of water. They can be caught on medium suckers or chubs when you can find them. The best depth has been 29-30 ft of water. Look for them by Black Point or the West side of Williams Bay.

Walleye action has been good at night, especially when there is some wind. You want to fish for them by Abbey Springs or by Knollwood. You want to troll Rapala’s or Smithwick Perfect 10’s in 15-16 ft of water.

Smallmouth bass have been very elusive to me. The fish I’ve heard about being caught are in the 21-25 ft depth range. The best location has been by Cedar Point or Black Point. The best approach is Carolina rigging grubs in green pumpkin or watermelon seed. I prefer a leader length of 24 inches using a ½ oz weight.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063


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

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


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.

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

Steelhead in trail creek pretty good use voodoo jigs spawn saks or spinners


River is nearing normal flow. Notable fish from the Big Board of the Kankakee River Valley Fishing Derby, included: Mike Kelly’s 14-7 pike and Daniel Guenette’s 13-8 channel catfish.


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


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.


See perch update at the top.

Chinook caught east of the Wilson Crib.<br>Provided/Confusion Charters
Chinook caught east of the Wilson Crib.
Provided/Confusion Charters

Capt. Bob Poteshman texted the photo above and this explanation on Saturday:

6 miles out of Montrose this morning aboard the Massive Confusion. 23 lbs.

He said it was caught by Rocky Whited, of North Carolina, on a family outing. Poteshman said it hit a Magnum Lemon Ice Dreamweaver on 10 colors of lead outside of the Wilson Crib.

On Tuesday, Poteshman added that fish started to move around, so you need to move to stay with the outstanding fishing for chunky coho (including one to 13 pounds out of North Point), and steelhead with the occasional big king or brown; for Chicago, best has been in 60-80 feet by the Wreck, most fish in top 40. He said for the coho, but spring and summer programs are working. “No rod you could put out that would not work, just some rods work better,” he said. “Everything has possibilities now. What works best changes Pick out your best rod.”

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

Hi DaleWaukegan – I strongly encourage your readers and followers to get out on the Lake now. The fishing is just terrific, apparently anywhere from the Illinois state line South to Hammond, Indiana. Limits or near limits of coho with Kings and Steelhead are being taken. Somehow the North winds last Friday actually moved the fish shallower, which is rare and welcome. Fishing from 60 to 120 feet of water has been excellent with huge schools of alewife. If you are marking the baitfish you will get the silvers. The best rig this past week has been the Warrior Spoons Voodoo (purple with White and black spots). We got several big steelhead, kings and coho. Warrior Steelhead Candy, Warrior Fin Girl and 8′ dodgers or flashers with 4 inch flys have also been good. The coho have been picky about the fly size. It must be 4 inches. Jimmy Fly is now tying their Blue Liz, Green Liz and Purple Liz patterns in 4 inch lengths to respond to this pattern. All fish are in the top 50 feet of the water column.Chicago – Our partner boat Storm Warning is back up and running after having suffered a blown engine a few weeks ago. It didn’t miss a beat and Capt. Brian was on the fish all weekend. The fishing pattern was again exactly the same as above. Same depths. Same rigs. Same pattern. We are truly blessed and luck to have the fish really stacked up in our waters. I know from networking with others around the lake that the Michigan side and Wisconsin waters are really struggling with many of the best boats getting poor results.Tight lines !Scott WolfeSchool of Fish Charters630-341-0550

Staff at Henry’s Sports and Bait said smallmouth are still going in the Chicago harbors.

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

Chicago River and Lake Michigan Report,

Last week was an interesting week, finally started to see some decent Smallmouth in the mouths of the harbors. Creature baits and tubes seem to be the diet they are on. Most fish caught where 16” to 17 ½ “. The bite got better as the week went on.

. . .

Thanks Capt. Pat Thanks Pat


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:

Running into a hot summer at this point. Daytime highs in the mid to upper 80’s pushing lake surface temps from mid 70’s to low 80’s (Ouch!)

Patterns are starting to develop for many species, with the stable (but hot) weather helping things along.

Largemouth Bass: Very Good – Pick your style, these Bass are more than happy to cooperate. Early morning twitch stickbaits such as Rattlin Rouges, Thundersticks or X-Raps between shore and inside weed edges. Mid-morning through mid-afternoon hit the weeds with Wacky worms, Ned rigs and Neko Rigs. At dusk, go to top-water using Whopper Ploppers, Spooks, and plastic frogs (Lunker Hunt, BOOYAH, and Keara Frogs)! Big Bass (for our area) over 22” this past week!

Bluegill: Very Good – Best to use small leeches as they stay tough on the hook. Evening anglers having fun on poppers. Depending on lake depth, most of the better daytime Gills are being caught in deeper cabbage of 8-12’.

Yellow Perch: Good-Very Good – Better fish (9-11”+) found in deeper weeds. Deep wood is also favored as these fish love to eat crayfish. ½ crawlers, frozen soft shells, medium leeches and medium fatheads all working well. Preference has been on brown, orange jigs.

Northern Pike: Good – Best casting weed flats using chatterbaits, spinnerbaits. Chubs and suckers working along deep weed edges for the larger Pike (30-38” reported this week).

Smallmouth Bass: Good – Drop shot Jackall Crosstail shad, 3” Senkos and 3” Gulp Power Minnows over gravel humps of 18-30’, sandgrass flats of 17-25’ and deep coontail edges of 14-18’. XL leeches and frozen soft shells for the live baiters.

Crappie: Fair-Good – Search out tall narrow leaf cabbage. Work tops using Charlie Bees, Beetle Spins, VMC Boottail jigs or Gapen Freshwater Shrimp. 1 ½” tubes and Mini Mites also working. If fish not up high on weeds, go deeper using 1/32 oz jigs to get scented plastics like Impulse or Power Bait Nymphs down to suspended fish 4-6’ off bottom in 12-18’.

Musky: Fair+ – Best bets on bucktails and larger spinnerbaits. Top water producing and should be doing much better. Later, towards evening, best.

Walleye: Fair+ – Some of the standards not producing like we would like them to. Still, anglers jigging and slip-bobber fishing with XL leeches and crawlers finding Walleyes in weeds early in morning and late evenings to after dark. Some deep rock bites occurring mid-day in 22-30’. Casting 3-4” swimbaits (Keitechs, 360GT) producing early and late in weeds of 7-10’.

With the stable weather and new moon coming up, should be a good week ahead. Mid-day temps may be too much to fish, so pick your early and late times to stay out of heat and away from traffic.

Kurt Justice – Kurt’s Island Sport Shop

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EAGLE RIVER: No update 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 action great in 60 to 90 ft last few days from just east of east Chicago to just est of burns ditch few kings and steelhead mixed in dodger flys and spoons best baits fishing 25 to 45 ft down

Steelhead in trail creek pretty good use voodoo jigs spawn saks or spinnersPerch action has started here just a little west of burns ditch in 25 to 30 ft and east of doughnut 20 to 40 ft baby roach best bait drifting for them has been bestCatfish in ditch has been ok with triple s stinkbait and cut skipjack


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 perch slowed when the water turned; a few walleye are being caught out of river, same with a couple steelhead off pier; coho and steelhead are being caught out in 80 feet and deeper.


Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.


Staff at Lakeside said bass are going on topwaters mornings; walleye are best on leeches on the rock piles now; bluegill and catfish are on edge of weed lines; hybrids are being caught around school minnows; water is 80.

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.


Rob Abouchar sent this:

Hi Dale

The hot action for Smallmouth bass continues on the Wisconsin River in Merrill. Topwater early and late in the day is a good way to start or end the day. Walk the dog baits and poppers working well. As the day progresses best baits were unweighted senko texas rigged, and wacky rigged unweighted senko.inGreen pumkin with red flake. The Storm 360 swimbait was triggering lots of bites from bass and pike. This bait is a real fishgetter!.. After fishing it was back home for the Festival of Life in Chicago at Union Park. We played the fest on the same day as one of my favorite Music artists King Yellowman. It was great to meet him before the show and chat a moment about how he influenced my music and wish him well. Im not sure what was a bigger thrill Big Bass with the family or hanging with King YellowTight linesRob

Rob leads too exciting of a life. Here is the photo of him and King Yellow.

King Yellow and Rob Abouchar.<br>Provided
King Yellow and Rob Abouchar.


Check with River’s Edge.


No update.


No update.