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Waiting on Chinook, the drift to fall: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

Don Dickover with big late-summer king.

A few fall signs come by land and water alike for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Capt. Tim Frey texted the photo above and the one below and this note from the “Massive Confusion” on a Monday trip to the R4:

Don Dickover, age 53, from Wilmington il, king salmon weight 25lbs, length 35″, girth 24″ 2nd fish ever caught in his life. Captain Tim frey in white bibs

Capt. Tim Frey.<br>Provided
Capt. Tim Frey.

Had to include that the photo immediately above because it pretty much captures Capt. Frey.

And near the bottom in the Wisconsin River report, Rob Abouchar notes color change beginning up north and that rock and roll dreams come true.

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.


Waiting. They are out there as the photo above shows. And Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind. texted something interesting or at least hopeful for shore fishermen:

With all the rain some coho and few kings will show up around pierhead

Here’s hoping.


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.”


Modesto Perez with a 20-inch largemouth bass from the Forest Preserves of Cook County.<br>Provided/Larry Green
Modesto Perez with a 20-inch largemouth bass from the Forest Preserves of Cook County.
Provided/Larry Green

Larry Green tweeted the photo above on Sunday and this about Modesto Perez and the Forest Preserves of Cook County:

Master fisherman Modesto Perez with a 20 inch Forest Perserve beauty on top water @BowmanOutside @AlexOquendo1 @FPDCC

Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed this:

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing.Area lakes- water levels are up from Friday’s and will continue to rise with tonight’s rains. Cast crankbaits parallel to flooded shorelines, pencil reeds, and cattails as bass are tight to shoreline cover. With the dirty water, chartreuse has been the most productive color. Best times have been early morning and last hour of light. Before the rains, the top water bite was very good.TTYL—Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Husker Outdoors

Waterwerks fishing team


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.


No update.


Art Frisell at Triangle Sports and Marine said bluegill are good, best on Channel; for crappie tray in 6-8 feet by main lake points; white and yellow bass are relating to same areas; with the increased flow try for walleye on Petite; muskie slowed.

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.


No update from Capt. Pat Harrison at Pat Harrison Outdoors; if one comes, I will post.


Arden Katz called said bass were good, to 4 pounds, 4 ounces, in11-13 feet on drop-shots or wacky-worming; lots of bluegill in the same depth on trout worms.

Dave Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 8/20/18 through 8/26/18

The fishing remains excellent on Delavan Lake. The largemouth bass and bluegills are readily available. With the kids going back to school, the lake is seeing limited boat traffic during the week.

Largemouth bass can be caught using two different methods. The first is off of main lake points on the inside turn in 15-17 ft of water. For this approach, you can either drop shot 4 inch finesse worms or split shot rig nightcrawlers. This past week there was very little winds so the fish bit better at first light. The second approach is fishing the slop by the boat launch channel or off of north shore drive. The best depth is 3-5 ft. I prefer using white or black frogs. The key for more hook ups is hesitating setting the hook until you actually feel the fish on the lure. Bright sunny days have been better than the cloudy ones.

Bluegills are still on the weed lines in 13-15 ft of water. The average size of the fish has been slightly less than weeks past. The best location has been by the Yacht Club and by Assembly Park. The key to the approach is the depth. I’ve caught bluegills all over the lake in that depth range. Small trout worms or leaf worms fished on a split shot produces the most action.

Some yellow perch are being caught by Assembly Park and by the Village Supper Club. I have not found a big school of them however I’ve been catching 10-12 fish in the size range of 9-11 inches per location. The best bait is either hellgrammites or leaf worms. I typically use a very small split shot and a single hook.

Crappie fishing has improved. When there is very little wind, look for the fish on the surface feeding on insects. The fish can be caught on purple plastics fished on a 1/64 oz jig. The fish are located just off the weed line in 18 ft of water suspended 2 feet down. Casting out with a bunch of slow pauses gets a lot of reactionary bites.

Walleye fishing has been very slow for me. I haven’t caught one in a few weeks. They are likely deeper in the main lake basin in 22-26 ft of water. Once we get a cold front the bite should improve.

Northern pike fishing has also been slow. I’ve been dragging medium suckers in 22-25 ft of water with very limited success. I’m fishing the suckers on lindy rigs about 1 foot off bottom. The northern pike bite will improve with a weather change as well.

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


Jason Fox sent this sort of a fishing report:

Good morning Dale. Yesterday was a strange day on the Des Plaines river in dp. Hit up my go to carp spot for a little lite action carping. Chummed up with the cream style as usual and started fishing whole kernel on the bottom. Action started right away except it was a big red ear slider got him off. Second bite a big snapper. Than the third bite a giant snapper. I have fished here for years never caught a turtle 3 on my first 3 cast was crazy.

I enjoyed the report.


Lake Shelbyville fish.<br>Provided
Lake Shelbyville fish.

LAKE SHELBYVILLE: Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide Service emailed the photo above and this note:

Ken says: The lake level stands at 599.5 as of today’s report and is at normal summer pool is 599.7 The tail water flow is 40 (cfs). Tail water fishing report has been fair to good on the crappie, white bass, catfish with the Muskie bite the best. Evenings and first light our your best time. On the lake the crappie are good and still out In 8-15 feet of water so we have been trolling 200- 300 series Bandit crank baits and bottom bouncer with spinner rigs. We look for the shad schools on main lake and the mouth of coves on the depth finder and you can see the crappie and white bass underneath the shad schools. Use line counter reels so you know how much line you have out and run your speed at .08- 1.6 on GPS . The learning curve on this technique is short so by midday you should have it down. White bass are slow to fair with some coming on two jig rigs on days you have wind on sand flats on what’s left off the flooded vegetation. If no wind it is a hit a miss so we been targeting the crappie which are more reliable and better table fair.. The large mouth bass should be on main lake points up in the day and shallow early in morning. Buzz bait early in morning will work here. Then when sun gets high in the sky go to black and blue brush hog or 10″ red shad worm on a heavy shaky head jig to get through the heavy cover. Heavy rod and line are a must to get these fish out of the cover. Walleye are slow are fair and can be caught from first light and evenings up feeding on sand flats and rocks and the outside of boat ramps rock. Also they can be caught trolling shad raps on main lake points up in the day. Be safe and watch for other boaters… Tight Lines

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Last day of fishing for the year is Sept. 3.Click here for regulations and other information.

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. EVERGREEN: As posted on the web site:

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

POWERTON: Open 6 a.m.-6 p.m.


No update.


No update.


Dave Duwe sent this:

Lake Geneva Fishing Report 8/19/18 through 8/26/18

Lake Geneva fishing is in the mid summer pattern. Most of the fish are in their deep water haunts. Most of the game fish are associating with hard bottom in 20-25 ft of water.

Smallmouth bass fishing has been average. Most of the fish are being taken on drop shot rigged grubs or finesse worms. Look for the bass by Gage Marine, Elgin Club or by Linn pier. Within the next couple of weeks, the smallmouth bass should be in big schools and become more accessible to anglers.

Largemouth bass are being caught by Covenant Harbor, Maytag Point and on the weed line by Trinkes. The best presentation is working on the outside of the weed line. Either dragging a football head jig with a twister tail or Carolina rigging a 6 inch lizard in green pumpkin.

Northern pike fishing remains consistent in a depth range of 33-35 ft of water. Lindy rigging Chubs or suckers is, as always, the best approach. Look for them near the boat channel in Fontana, Cedar Point or just to the west of Black Point. With the warm water, this bite will remain consistent for about another month.

Bluegills are off the weed line in the main lake basin approximately 18-20 ft down. The best location is by Gage Marine, Elgin Club and by the Yacht Club. The best bait is leaf worms fished on a small split shot, leaving the bait approximately 6 inches to 1 foot off bottom.

Walleye fishing remains the best bite on the lake. The fish are by Knollwood, Trinkes and by the buoy line in Fontana. You need to look for them between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m. it is doubtful that you’ll find them any other time. A good chop on the lake will also help the bite.

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


No update this week 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.


Larry Jennings messaged this report from Starved Rock:

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 messaged:

Kankakee River report. Looking at rain amounts and river gauges on both the Illinois and Indiana side it’s not looking like we will see much new water make it’s way into the river. So it will continue to be low but will get a bit dirty for a few days. That won’t have much effect on the fish during high sunlight hours through the heat of the day but it should be enough to make fish feel safe to move up into the shallows to feed early and late in the day . Dirtier water should also help anglers get a little bit closer to the smallies and make precision casts into areas holding fish where as before having to fire casts from long distance to not spook fish was the approach. Topwaters early and late have been best. There are alot of weeds in the river right now making many presentations next to impossible. Best bet mid day is rig a craw or creature bait weedless and even then you will find yourself pulling alot of grass off. A good couple days of rain should push those weeds right out. Just need mother nature to help us a little with that. Seems like we are stuck in a pattern where fish will be over the last few weeks but all that should change once it cools down and river levels return to normal. Good luck and stay safe !! “Take a kid fishing. If nothing else you will capture their imagination” – Max Hawthorne


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.


Staff at Henry’s Sports and Bait said it is mainly waiting on the kings, otherwise still lots of rock bass in the harbors and some smallmouth.

Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said that a lot of bait is starting to show on the hill out of North Point, “but it mainly baby coho and kings, not too many decent-sized fish,” most of the fishing for mainly lakers with the occasional coho, king and steelhead in 180-300 feet from mid-range to the bottom; out of Chicago there’s fish by the R4, mainly lakers with occasional kings, coho and steelhead, best is 120-150 feet north of the city.

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

Hi Dale –

Waukegan – Fishing has been very inconsistent. Slow trips outnumbered good trips the past week. The quality of the fish has generally been good with Lake Trout to 22#, Kings in the teens and a few coho over 10#. Fishermen have to be looking for quality over quantity. The most consistent action has been in 85 to 125 feet with the best fishing usually being straight out of the harbor. Currents have been strong and changing, moving the orientation of the troll. Frequent direction and speed chances have been necessary. The off-shore reefs seem to be holding large number of small lakers, which although plentiful, are not much of a fight. If trollers can get a good flat day and run 15 plus miles offshore, there are good mixed species days. Nearly all the fish have been 70 feet or more down with most over 100 feet down. The best single lure continues to be the Warrior Lures Green Menace run on 300 feet or more of copper.

Chicago fishing is very similar with inconsistent fishing. The lakers seem to be bigger off of the reefs on the bottom in 110-150, with smaller lakers on the reefs themselves. Our Chicago affiliate boat found schools of steelhead on a couple of trips and did well on Dipsey divers with Warrior Lures Riverside Stripper. Otherwise it’s been mostly working for lakers on the bottom.

I’d like to think things will improve but this week’s forecast is not favorable.

Scott R. Wolfe




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.


Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service emailed Tuesday:

The August bite has been phenomenal. Low water levels on the Menominee River neans smallmouth are on a feeding binge. The great topwater bite will continue through the rest of August and the first half of September.

I still have open dates!


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:

Could be the smoky haze from Canada fires or maybe the fish just a little hungrier. Either way, fishing has improved across the board in the Lakeland area, though some species more so than others.

Smallmouth Bass: Very Good – Rock/gravel humps of 18-28’ and even some isolated humps with sparse weeds in 10-14’ holding nice Smallies. Drop-shotting 3” Senkos, 2 ½ – 3” Gulp Minnows, 3 ½” Jackall Dartshogs and 3” Crosstails as well as 4” Chompers drop-shot worms over the gravel. Ned rig TDR’s, Wacky worming (4”) and swimming 3” Keitech worms around weeds. Lots of nice 14-18” fish with a few pushing 20”.

Largemouth Bass: Very Good – Warm, flat water has made for great top-water action. Whopper Ploppers, Matzou Tornado Tails, Pompador Jrs., Zara Spooks and Lunker Frogs early and late in day. In between, casting spinnerbaits, lipless cranks, square billed cranks and pre-rigged plastic worms worked over weed flats. Wacky worming Senko’s and Yum Dingers and swimming 4” power worms behind 1/8 oz mushroom jig heads also popping lots of Bass fish to 22 ½” this week.

Bluegill: Very Good – Work the deepest weeds available for the largest Gills! Thunderbugs, leeches, worms or small 1” plastic tails on light 1/32 – 1/80 oz jigs. Good #’s of 7-8 ½” Gills, some 9+” mixed in. Larger, deep clear lakes best.

Northern Pike: Very Good – Baits with blades (spinnerbaits, chatter, Mepps style) all good. Fast moving swimbaits in 4” sizes or plastic Bluegill imitation best. A 41 ½” was caught and released this week.

Crappie: Fair-improving – Showing up more in tall, narrow leafed cabbage beds of 8-14’. Cast tiny tinsel jigs on small beetle spins to locate. Then cast small minnows under bobbers.

Musky: Fair – Better action on top-water this week, bucktails, spinnerbaits also working well. Cloud, (smoke?) seem to be improving day time action.

Yellow Perch: Fair-Good – Sandgrass flats of 18-28’ using frozen soft shells (yes, they are legal) or ½ crawlers on Lindy style rigs or under slip-floats. On Flowages, key on drowned wood using same baits but more stationary to stay in feeding zone.

Walleye: Fair-Improving – Cloud cover helped the day time bite as anglers using crawlers or leeches over sandgrass in 18-26’ found fish. On deeper lakes, redtailed chubs or crawlers drew bites on rock/gravel humps of 22-34’.

Very little wind most days, but cloudy/hazy skies helping. Water temps running about 77-79 degrees on average, bit warm for this time in August. Typically, a few cooler nights would have turned a Sugar Maple here and there by now, but everything green.

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop

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I find that possible impact of the smokey haze, which we could even see down here, quite interesting.

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:

Lake trout action good in 90 to 100 ft straight out of burns ditch fishing near bottom

Silver fish action few here and ther that’s itPerch was better in size but not many boats out west a mile or two from Michigan city best baby roachWith all the rain some coho and few kings will show up around peirheadLocal lakes will pick up as weather coolsPlease post I’m closing at 7 pm daily now always open at5 am


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 weather will likely make Lake Michigan tough the rest of the week, before the blow, perch were going in 30-50 feet, 3-4 miles north and 2-3 miles south of the pier; lakers with the occasional king were being caught in 100 feet; walleye slowed in the river, but there is plenty of smallmouth, catfish and drum.


Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.


Staff at Lakeside said the best bite was bass early and late on topwaters, especially on the dam face, other times shallow crankbaits by the weeds; catfish are good on chicken livers and crawlers; hybrids, including one to 26 inches, are hitting chicken liver, crappie (take sorting) are tight to the cribs; 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 signs of a change in the seasons are starting in the northwoods. Fall foliage colors are beiginning to appear and Goldenrod, Sweet Autmn Clematis, and Wild Ratibida were in full bloom. The first cool nights in a while hit Merrill over the weekend but the bite remained hot for multi species action on The Wisconsin River and the Alexander Flowage. My longtime musician friend Larry “Lixx” LoCascio made his second trip of the season with Big Fish Rock And Roll Guide Service and his luck continued for big Bass and toothy critters. Smallmouth bass were going on Topwater lures with Pop R and Buzzbait taking big Smallmouth. Spinnerbaits are starting to pick up Bass, Northern Pike and small Muskies. Walleye starting to pick up with most anglers using live bait but plastics getting the eyes too. Larry brought his guitar and we had a jam session in the evening and broke out some old cassette tapes from the vault from late 80’s. Rock and Roll Dreams come true.Tight LInes


Check with River’s Edge.


No update.


No update.