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Bang the drum, summer variety in Chicago fishing: Midwest Fishing Report

Big freshwater drum caught at Diversey Harbor.
Provided/Ron Rezek

It’s summer, with storms and water, depending where you are, or low water in other places, for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

And this nugget of hope is in the Lakefront report from Andy Mikos:

I did catch one 9-pound male king that was already turning colors last Saturday so it won’t be long until they start heading in for the shore, guys

Ron Rezek emailed the photo above from Diversey Harbor and this note:

Just caught my personal best drum while fishing for smallies tonight. Hell of a fight using a ML rod, 8lb test and a Ned rig. He was released.

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.


Maybe some day again when cooler water returns.


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.”


Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of the past week’s fishing.Area lakes- bass are excellent the last 1 1/2 of daylight. Work a baby one-minus along the inside weedlines and shoreline cattails. Chartreuse blended baits have worked best in the lower light conditions. For entertainment value, it’s fun watching frogs leap back into the water. I think I might have another pattern to try.TTYL—Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Husker Outdoors

Waterwerks fishing team

With the little rain, generally, I see more ponds growing thick vegetation and scum, in other words it is late summer and time for scum frogs for largemouth. Otherwise it is bluegill in the weed pockets or weed lines, unless the lakes are deep enough for bluegill to suspend.


Most are low, except those impacted by the storms. 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.


Brad Irving at Triangle Sports and Marine said white and yellow bass are good 6:30 p.m. to dark on Flicker Shads, Salmo Hornets and No. 3 Mepps, look for shad busting, especially near sea walls with Marie, Fox and Pistakee best; catfish are good all over on stinkbait or cutbait; early morning topwaters are taking bass, otherwise squarebill crankbaits are best; muskie are quite shallow near shore.

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,

It was a bit slower last week but we still caught fish, still fighting the blue bird skies and bright sun. The week started with a father and son from Dallas Texas. Bass fishermen we hit all the normal spots for smallmouth and ended up with 2 little guys and one decent fish in the boat. Hit a few spots for panfish and did pretty good boated some decent Gills and Crappie and a few Cats also found their way to the boat.

Wednesday’s trip produced a couple small Bass and again panfish. We fished a ½ day trip and we worked hard but the efforts yielded few fish. There will be days Like that That’s fishing but I really don’t like when it happens. I am out there to put people on fish and when its an off day if bothers me.

Thursdays trip was the Highlight of the week for me. I had a Grandmother Father and 5yr. son out for a1/2 day morning trip. Grandma watched Dad fished off the back deck and Thomas and I worked off the front deck. This 5 year old was on his game he got the knack of using a spinning rod in about 10 minutes and was casting and catching from then on. Tossing a White jig and twister tail he was on Gills, Crappie, Bass.

It got really hot in the sun I put the bimini up on the G3 and we took a short ride down the main branch it always has cooler air blowing through. We went back on a spot and he picked up where he left off back on fish. Noon was coming and his Dad had to be done he had an appointment to make. He said Thomas one more cast. I said one more cast make it a big one. Thomas casted out bounced the jig off bottom a bit and set the hook about 5 minutes after 12 a 20” Catfish came into the boat about 5 Lbs. What a way to finish the day and he did it all on his own. That’s the kind of stuff I Love about doing what I do.

Conditions on the river were hot surface temps 73 to 76 degrees the lake was 72 to 75 water was clear. Most fish found were on or near bottom or in the rocks out of the sun. I am looking forward to next week to see what the water is going to look like. The Dam on the North Branch has been removed it should add to more moving water at Wolf Point and also bring some fish. People were catching Walleye at the dam for a few years now that washed out of the Skokie Lagoons during flood stage. I am hoping that we see them in the area but I am concerned about the Clear water. We’ll see what time and water brings.

Enjoy your week

Capt. Pat Harrison Thanks Pat


Dave Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 8/6/18 – 8/13/18

Delavan Lake has been amazing one day and really tough the next. The key is finding an aggressive school of game fish. Some days they are easy to find and other days they are well hidden. Last week I found a few schools of largemouth and we were able to catch bass for 3 straight hours with huge numbers but I wasn’t able to find the schools every day.

Largemouth bass fishing with an active school is phenomenal. The best depth is 13-15 ft of water which is slightly shallower than in the years’ past. They can be caught on split shot rigged nightcrawlers or drop shotting 4 inch finesse worms. My best spots change daily but a good place to start is by Assembly Park Point or by the Yacht Club.

Northern pike action has been slow. I’ve been fishing them in 15-18 ft of water and I believe they may be shallower than I’ve been looking. I’m catching a few here and there but no real large numbers. Look for them by Browns Channel or by Willow Point on the east side. The few I’ve caught have been on lindy rigged suckers with a 24 inch leader.

Bluegill fishing, like the bass, have been feast or famine. Some days they are in the 13-15 ft depth range and the next day they’ve vanished. The best locations have been in front of Lake Lawn Lodge, Township Park and Assembly Park. The fish can be caught on split shot rigged trout worms or red worms fished one foot off bottom.

Smallmouth bass fishing has been slow. I’ve not caught any in the past 4-5 trips. I believe they are out deep, approximately 20-22 ft of water.

The walleyes have been in a transition period and have not been aggressively biting. In the prior weeks, I was catching 2-3 every time out but it’s slowed significantly from that. I believe the fish are in 22-25 ft of water now and have moved off the shallow weeds. Try for them with lindy rigged leeches or trolling deep diving crank baits.

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


No update.


No update.


Dave Duwe sent this:

Lake Geneva Fishing Report 8/6/18 – 8/13/18

Lake Geneva continues to be a challenge. I cannot remember a slower fishing period in 25 years of guiding on the lake. The best action has been bluegills and pumpkin seeds.

Largemouth bass have been found in the 12-15 ft depth range by Trinkes and by Linn Pier. I’m catching several largemouth but the overall size has been a bit small. You can catch them with split shot rigged nightcrawlers or drop shotting 4 inch finesse worms.

Smallmouth bass fishing has been okay. The best depth is 20-25 ft of water by Gage Marine or Elgin Club and Knollwood. The best success has come from Carolina rigging root beer colored Crawlin’ Grubs or Twister tails.

Bluegill action has been great in a depth range of 16-18 feet. My best success has come in front of Gage Marine or Elgin Club. Leaf worms fished one foot off bottom have been the key to the good numbers. The bluegill size and numbers have been better than the past several years.

Overall the best bite remains Walleyes at night. The best location is by Cisco Beach or by Trinkes. The best baits are medium to deep diving stick baits, like Smithwick Perfect 10’s or Rapalas. Work a depth of 15-17 ft. Position the lures between 10 and 12 feet down. The key to the presentation is the night time hours.

Northern pike are available however the numbers aren’t great. You can catch a few but the big schools are limited. Look for them by Fontana beach boat launch and by Belvidere Park. The fish are in 33 ft of water. Use lindy rigged suckers that are slowly back trolled.

Lake Trout fishing has been very good in the main lake basin in 108-120 ft of water at first light. I prefer fishing early in the morning as the trout are suspended and easier to catch than when they are tight to the bottom. Use down riggers with chrome/blue or chrome/green spoons for the most action. Put the baits approximately 20-30 ft behind the down riggers. Due to the excessive pleasure boat traffic the floating weeds have been an issue you need to work around.

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.


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:

Lots of steelhead in trail lot of people too

The key part there might as much the people as the fish.


Click here for some options for a side trip if visiting Bears Training camp.

With all the catfishermen I saw on Monday, I am guessing the catfish bite is on. The river is very low, so focus on low-water spots. For me that meant riffles for smallmouth on Monday.


Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said Stellar Charters caught a 32-pound-plus king, a sign of hope.

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 the best going was rock bass and smallmouth inside the harbors. Stacey Greene at Park Bait said an occasional steelhead is being caught at Montrose; a few perch were caught Sunday.

Chinook salmon, July 2018.<br>Provided/Andy Mikos
Chinook salmon, July 2018.
Provided/Andy Mikos

Andy Mikos sent the photo above and this note:

Hello Dale! Got a couple of big kings the last 2 Saturdays. Scot Flink’s king was caught on July 28th and was 21 pounds and my buddy Chisel’s king was caught last Saturday and was 19 pounds. The key is to get out there early and have the lines set shortly after 5. I left the dock both days at about 4:30. The kings stop hitting by about 6:30. I did catch one 9 pound male king that was already turning colors last Saturday so it won’t be long until they start heading in for the shore guys. I heard a big king was already caught off the shore at Kenosha and the harbor is loaded with browns.


Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said it is mainly lakers out of Chicago with an occasional steelhead, coho or king. “It feels like it is getting ready to move into good fishing again,” he said. He thought colder water would help. As to North Point, he said they are starting to catch a few kings on the hill, early mornings are much better; otherwise they are fishing lakers, coho and a fair amount of steelhead in 160-300 feet.

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

Hi DaleWaukegan fishing has been improving and is at least fair if not good. A set pattern has developed where the fish are up on top of the offshore reefs in the morning and then push off out to deeper water in the afternoon. In the morning we have had limits if lake trout with occasional steelhead and kings on the reefs. Mo Rigs with Jimmy Fly Mo Rig Skirts near the bottom for lakers and 10 color lead core and 150 to 450 foot copper rigs pulling spoons for kings, steelhead and a few lakers. The North, Northeast, South, Lake Bluff and Lake Forest reefs are all producing. In the afternoon deeper water 160 out to 200+ feet is producing nice mixed bags of Steelhead and lakers with an occasional king. All fish are on Dipsey Divers, lead And Copper rigs 40-100 feet down. Nearly all in spoons with Warrior Glows with Green and black being best last week. Warrior Glow Fighting Irish and Green Gravedigger were excellent on divers and coppers.Chicago fishing was poor. Even the lakers were scattered and tough to catch. The best chance for a good day was 17-22 miles offshore targeting steelhead with lead, Cooper And diver rigs pulling spoons with Warrior glows again best with Orange, green and black spots and stripes. Green Gravedigger, JJF and Fighting Irish worked – but our Chicago boat had a few really slow trips this week.We had a cancellation for this Saturday. This is the last open weekend day in August.Capt. Scott R. WolfeSchool of Fish Charters630-341-0550


Blue catfish in August from LaSalle Lake.<br>Provided/Darryl Turner
Blue catfish in August from LaSalle Lake.
Provided/Darryl Turner

Darryl Turner sent the photo above and this update:

Hey Mr Bowman …Lasalle lake has been very good for me over the last two weeks or should I say since my return (lol) Any way I was 14 for 18 …lost 4 three and of the 4 that i lost my line was busted the other one the hook pulled out . The largest fish was 24 pounds the rest as follows one 17 two 15,s two 12,s two 10,s one 8 one 7 three 5,s and one 4 pounder .I return to Lasalle on Sat very hot day landed 7 fish lost two …3 fish 10 pounds a piece two 8,s one 7 and last one was 4 pounds ..On vacation last week back to work hope to talk with u soon .

He also added that the bluegill bite is on.

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:

Moving into the second week of August, nothing too out of the ordinary. Some rain and storms over the past weekend, but weather stabilizing as the week moves on.

Bass and Bluegills have been the main stay, but a slight uptick in some of the other species this week should give anglers a little more promise.

Largemouth Bass: Very Good – Plying the weeds with Wacky worms, Ned rigs and creature baits best. Later in week, as air temps hit 80’s, look for top-water action to return on frogs, Whopper Ploppers and spooks! Moss Boss and Jaw Breakers in the heavy slop.

Bluegill: Very Good – Due to rain and clouds, little top-water (should return at week’s end). Best on small leeches, worms along deep edges.

Smallmouth Bass: Good – Working gravel humps in 20-28’ using drop-shot rigs best. Tubes, Carolina Rigging some Hula Grubs.

Northern Pike: Good – Spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and paddle tailed swimbaits on ¼ oz heads. Cabbage first, deep Coontail edges for fewer, larger fish.

Yellow Perch: Good-Fair – Weed pockets on the natural lakes, wood on flowages. Use pieces of frozen soft shell on light jigs. ½ Crawlers next best.

Crappie: Fair – Reports of anglers finding Crappies high up on 10-14’ beds of Narrow Leaf Cabbage. Swim tiny jigs (1/32 oz w/ 1” Twister, Mini-Mites or Gapen Freshwater Shrimp). Work small minnows 1 foot down into weed tops using light floats.

Musky: Fair – Action picking up. Bucktails and spinnerbaits best. Loud top-water baits in evenings.

Walleye: Poor-Fair – The clouds and rain opened up some opportunities on the clear lakes. Leeches and Crawlers in 12-16’ weeds when light levels low.

With New Moon coming up, should be a good weekend ahead. Water temps running mid-70’s.

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop

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


August fishing is proving that weeds are the ticket. Prize catches can be found in and around the weeds, so be sure to start there on your fishing adventures.

Northern Pike are being caught while jigging in and along the weeds and by throwing spinnerbaits and spoons. A few good ideas would be bass style safety pin, Mepps #4 and #5, and spoons like the Johnson Silver Minnow.

Bass: Largemouth are being caught in and around structures, such as lay downs and docks using tube jigs, plastic worms, and top water baits. Smallmouth are on the rock piles and hard bottom breaks. Be sure to use crayfish imitating baits for these fish.

Walleye can be caught by using a jig and minnow combo, swimbait, and slip bobber. Green weeds are still producing fish. Bugs are starting to hatch, so it is time to start using leeches and crawlers.

Perch can be caught by switching to the mud flats because bugs are starting to hatch. Crappies can be caught in the weeds under slip bobber rigs using a hook and minnow or twitching a small jig tipped with a plastic under a bobber. Bluegills are moving into the shallows and can be caught slip bobbering tipped with plastic, waxworms, or a piece of crawler.

Muskie: Bucktails, jerk baits and glide baits are still catching fish. If you are out in the deeper water, consider switching to rubber baits like Medusas and Bulldogs.


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

Salmon and trout fishing good in 100 to 125ft of water straight out of burns ditch and east towards Michigan city fishing 55ft to the bottom spindoctors and flys and spoons best

Perch slow what is being caught are smallLots of steelhead in trail lot of people tooCatfish good on sonnys stinkbait now called triple s at river walk at night


No update.


No update.


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


Phil Schuman at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said lakers with a few, but nice, kings are being caught in 110-130 feet; perch are very slow.


Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.


Staff at Lakeside said crappie, take sorting, are being caught in the cribs; all sorts of catfish are being caught on bass lures, crawlers, leeches, etc.; bass are hitting topwaters by the dam face; several 40-inch-plus muskies have been caught; walleye are hit and miss.

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.


Wisconsin River.<br>Provided
Wisconsin River.

Rob Abouchar sent the photo above and this note:

Hi Dale

I just returned from the last Summer break trip at the Wisconsin River in Merrill. My colleague Kevin Mitchell from the Leyden Special Education team joined me on one of the days and got a personal best Smallmouth. On The Alexander Flowage the bite is slow in the morning but bigger fish get going mid day. Once again the unweighted texas rigged senko was producing big bites and big fish. Also a shaky head and senko took good fish. It’s back to school tomorrow night for freshman night with the Bass Fishing Club and Fishing Club.Tight linesRob

School, as in students, not fish, is upon us again.


Check with River’s Edge.


No update.


Gary Bloom messaged this from Winneconne:

Great weekend. Kept 7 Walleye 14-19 inches. Threw back the 2 big ones 25-26 inches. Bonus crappie n gills. The white Bass even started to show up. The 10 of the big ones back as well. Gills starting to hit the water chasing bait fish, might be a good fall run seeing the spring was terrible.

A good fall would be a good thing. Those are some nice walleye, too.

Wolf River walleye.<br>Provided
Wolf River walleye.