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Promise of southwest winds, steelhead, bass, bluegill, catfish, drum, some perch: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

Southwest winds bring promise for fishing around Chicago this week in this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Ricardo Cantu landed a beautiful crappie along with other good fish while fishing around Lockport.

Promise of southwest winds this week bring hope to Chicago fishing, that and interesting and good steelhead and some perch on Lake Michigan lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Ricardo Cantu caught a wonderful mixed bag of fish in Lockport on Friday, including the slab crappie pictured above.


The long-time derby begins Friday, June 28, and runs through July 7. Go to


Bluegill are going all across the area and that should keep going right through the holiday week next week.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a largemouth.

Ken ``Husker’’ O’Malley emailed the photo above and this report:

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing.

Area lakes- summer patterns are starting to set up. Bass have been good early morning hours. Pitching senkos into weed pockets and outside weedlines have been the best patterns. Pearl has been the best color.


Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team


Art Frisell at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said bluegill are very good on ice jigs tipped with spikes, waxies and red worms under small floats; crappie are also good on jigs tipped with fatheads or spikes, try channel mouths; walleye fishing remains excellent, in the building heat go to leeches or crawlers, on cool days try minnows; muskie are active on small bucktails, small jerkbaits and small topwaters; look for white bass to feed aggressively in the heat in the very top of the water column if boat traffic allows.

Check updates on water conditions at or (847) 587-8540.


Hours are 6 a.m. to sunset. Mazonia should finally be near prime and this might be the week I give it a shot.


Chuck with a nice double on Delavan.

Dave Duwe emailed the photo above and this report:

Chuck with a nice double on Delavan Lake, Lindy rigged nightcrawlers

Delavan Lake 6/24/10 through 7/1/19

Fishing remains fantastic on Delavan Lake. The really good news has been that the boat traffic has been very light. The fish are on the weedline but have yet to really school very hard.

Largemouth bass remain either in the shallows in 5-6 ft of water or on the deep weedline in 15-18 ft of water. Last week, the bigger fish seemed to have come off the weedline but the larger numbers were shallow. The best presentation for the shallow fish was a nightcrawler fished on a split shot rig or a Wacky rigged All Terrain Stik. The best color was green pumpkin. The best location was by the Village Supper Club or by Browns Channel. If the weather remains warm, most of the largemouth bass will pull off of the shore structure and school on the deep weeds associated with rock in 15-19 ft of water.

Walleyes have been biting on the weedline in 16-18 ft of water. They are being caught on a lindy rigged leech or a lead head jig fished with a nightcrawler. The best location has been by the Yacht Club or by Willow Point. You need to keep moving to find the active fish, they are not schooled up very hard right now.

Bluegills are in the 12-16 ft depth range. It has been a weird week. When you find the big ones, they are schooled up by size. If you catch some really nice one, stick with it a lot longer. My Monday guide party, I had a hard time finding the big fish. It was hit or miss on the big fish, but we caught plenty of smaller ones. Every spot I tried had bluegills it’s just a matter of the size you want to keep. The best presentation has been a split shot rigged leaf worm fished straight beneath the boat or casted a short distance away.

Northern Pike fishing has been very good. They are on the deep weedline. The best presentation is a lindy rigged sucker or a sucker fished on a slip bobber. Work a depth of 18-20 ft. The biggest problem this year seems that the fish are very finicky. They want at least a 6 inch sucker. The size of the pike doesn’t matter, the smaller ones have been biting the larger bait just like the bigger pike. I have dragged around 4 inch suckers and not had a bite, but once I put a 6 inch sucker on it was bit immediately. The best location has been by Willow Point, the island and Browns Channel.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


Buffalo at Shelbyville.
Provided by Victor Blackfrul

SHELBYVILLE: Victor Blackful sent the photo above and this report:

Hey Dale

I got a chance this weekend to fish the spillway dam on Lake Shelbyville and all the water in the area was high and muddy. The area has had heavy rain for weeks and most of my spots were underwater. High water meant that I would probably be cat fishing and that’s what I ended up doing. Mostly everybody out Saturday night was using cut bait or cheese bait and the catfish bite was pretty steady. To my surprise this monster of a Buffalo almost took off with my pole and I must admit the fight was fantastic he was around 25lbs and extremely wide. I released him to catch another day and called it a night.

Tight Lines


His photo made me think if I have caught buffalo of note and I don’t remember.

Otherwise, check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service.

EMIQUON: Go to SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Open Tuesday through Sunday through Labor Day. Go to


Violet Talley messaged:

The Fox River water level has dropped quite a bit but the water is starting to clear up and settle. Smallies are scattered and can be caught in both slackwater and current with various baits including spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, jigs, ned rigs and chatterbaits. Catfish activity has grown and some have been caught along current edges and at the dams using cut bait, chicken gizzards, and suckers. Northern pike and Muskie can be caught in the evenings along current edges of slack water areas, predominantly the edge of bigger slackwater areas. Look for activity along the current lines in the evening and they will most likely be Pike or Muskie feeding. That would be an excellent time to throw a white or bluegill pattern spinnerbait out there because I have seen several caught that are 40-inch and bigger lately in the evening! Large suckers floating off the bottom have also produced nice size muskie as well in current edges. Bluegill activity in slackwater areas has also increased due to the recent caddisfly hatch. I have not seen any decent bluegill caught, but that doesn’t mean they’re not out there! Good luck to all and be safe, especially when wading!


Arden Katz said monster rock bass, bluegill and pumpkinseed, lots still filled with eggs, are very good in 8-12 feet; water is still only 66.

Chris with a Geneva largemouth.

Dave Duwe sent the photo above and this report:

Lake Geneva 6/24/19 through 7/1/19

Fishing remains very good. Most of the game fish are very active with the warmer water temp. The water temps haven’t risen enough to make the fish go deep. Most of the fish can be found in 15 ft of water or less. Right now all the fish have completed spawning and are aggressively feeding.

Largemouth bass can be caught using two different methods. One is top water and the other is drop shotting. Top water fishing has been good by Trinkes, Williams Bay and by Knollwood. The best presentation is chrome/blue and chrome/black Chug Bugs. I work a depth of 10 ft or less. Don’t be afraid to try deeper water. The fish will come out of the 10 ft of water to hit a top water lure. As you may notice, the best locations are weed flats. The other option is drop shotting 4 inch green pumpkin worms. The best depth is 12-15 ft of water. You want to look for scattered weeds. The best location has been by Belvidere Park or by Trinkes. Some of the biggest fish of the year were caught last week.

Rock bass continue to be everywhere. The best presentation is a split shot rigged nightcrawler. Look for the fish by Belvidere Park or by Colemans Point. I’ve been catching most of my fish in 10-12 ft of water.

Smallmouth bass have been sporadic. With the spawn completed, they are chasing their dinner. If you find a school of bait fish, you will find the smallmouth bass right behind them. I’ve been either drop shotting 4 inch green pumpkin worms or slowly reeling in a jig and a grub tail. The best depth has been 12-15 ft of water. Look for the fish by Maytag Point or by Bigfoot Beach.

Yellow Perch are still in the shallows in 10-12 ft of water. The average size for me has increased. You basically have to catch 7 to keep 1 which is a much better average than in recent weeks. The highest concentration of big fish has been by Linn Pier. I’ve caught most of my fish on split shot rigged nightcrawlers.

With the warmer weather, the walleyes are starting to become active at night. You want to either troll medium diving crankbaits, such as the Walleye Bandit or Rapala, in 12-15 ft of water or fish lindy rigs with leeches on the weedline. For the crankbaits you want to troll them at 1.5 mph. The best location has been in Geneva Bay or in Trinkes Bay.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


Projected to come off flood at Starved Rock and LaSalle by Wednesday. Check for fishing updates with B & B Live Bait in Ottawa--(815) 433-0432.


Staff at Kankakee River Trading Post in Altorf said with high fast water, it is mainly bank fishing with good catfish, smallmouth and rock bass around the state park area.


Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Boat texted:

Again scattered reports, also some reports of bigger fish in crank baits sunk down w a slow retrieve near bottom.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait texted:

Early bite before daylight has been good. The rest of the day is hit or miss. But there have been some really nice fish. Hitting soft shells and minnows. Sheep headers are still doing good too. Also bass are doing good at Belmont and Diversey Harbor.

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said there are good chunky coho, ``full of alewives and they have shoulders,’’ are around Chicago in 60-140 feet.

Out of North Point in 90-220 feet, good fish,``definitely fish throughout, depends on the day,’’ from straight out of North Point to the former nuclear plant, there’s coho, lakers, occasional kings and occasional steelhead.

Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed:

Hi Dale –

Waukegan – Boat fishing remains very good. The trolling pattern and results continue to remain steady with most trips having excellent catches of coho with occasional kings and lakers. Very few steelhead and brown trout caught. Anywhere from 40 to 135 feet of water can be productive. The shallower water of 45 to 60 foot depths have been more hit and miss with deeper waters more slow and steady. The thought is that the schools of coho hold in the deeper water but come in shallower to actively feed. So, if there are schools actively feeding the shallow waters are better, but then they completely die off when the fish move out, despite the fact there is still bait. The best setups have been dipsey divers at 30 to 45 out on the line counters with Jimmy fly Two Tones. On Sunday morning that set up took 20 of our 24 in the AM trip. Shallow set downriggers from 17 to 25 feet with small flies in greens and aqua were good for coho too. Leadcores in 5 to 10 colors with Warrior Orange Easter Egg pattern, Easter Egg (which is green glow) and Psycho Perch took coho and bonus kings. The water is still cold enough that lake trout are coming all the way to the surface and we had them on the divers and planer boards this week. Waters deeper than 140 have been a waste of time and gas for boats that have gone exploring.

Chicago – Unfortunately fishing was below average most of this week. Although there were a few good trips, fishing off Chicago was at best OK. The best bet for Chicago trollers was 50 to 75 feet of water with coho making up most of the catch. If that failed to produce there are lakers 75 feet plus out with Mo Rigs near the bottom getting most of the action.

This week’s weather looks great for Illinois waters. Lots of West and Southwest winds are expected which usually means more steelhead, kings , coho moving in and the lakers becoming more active.

Have a great week.

Capt. Scott Wolfe
School of Fish Charters


Kurt Justice at Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua emailed:

Fishing slowed the past week, constantly changing weather, some bug hatches and the challenge of the moon!

While fishing for some species fell off, others moved up the charts to keep anglers with open minds catching fish

Northern Pike: Very Good – Best on spinner baits over weed flats of 6-10’. Anglers also scoring on chatter baits and 4” swim baits. Mepps #4’s and ¾ oz Daredevils working also. No monsters, but plenty of action.

Smallmouth Bass: Good – Bedding done, most Smallies have moved out past fisrt break. Tubes still best. Lots of action on fall. Jerk baits worked as suspending baits 5-6’ down over 8-14’ breaks. (X-raps, etc.)

Bluegill: Good – Better in deeper weeds. Need some sun to get water into low 70’s to bring Gills back up to bed. Thunderbugs, small leeches best.

Yellow Perch: Fair-Good – Scattered around cabbage flats of 6-10’. Medium leeches, thunderbugs, medium fats below small floats 8-12” off bottom.

Musky: Fair – Best on smaller bucktails – 500 Series Bucher Tails, #5 Mepps, Rizzo Tails.

Largemouth Bass: Fair – Oddly scattered. Should be bedding but cold nights have hampered on some lakes. Wacky Worms and jig/creature-craw combos best.

Crappie: Fair-Poor – Tough find overall. Small minnows best bet.

Walleye: Fair-Poor – Went from first to worst. Could be start of hatches (March Browns so far, Hex’s next), best on leeches or crawlers on smaller bodies of water.

Just a mixed-up week. Thought stable weather would help, but weather that arrived not stable. Forecst of temps in 80’s rest of week into next, should push surface temps into 70’s, helping Largemouth and Bluegill anglers, as well as Musky Fishermen.

Kurt Justice
Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
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For a taste of how steelhead are doing, check out what happened at the Northwest Indiana Steelheaders’ Skamania Mania last weekend at Michigan City. Go to

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

Coho fishing good straight out of burns ditch and to the west on the state line dodgers and flys best on riggers and dipseys fishing midway down

Michigan city pier and portage riverwalk giving up steelhead pretty good most days shrimp and nightcrawlers best under a float

A few perch not many but some taken in 40 to 45 ft of water around my baldy and black ditch

That perch-fishing report intrigues me.


Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said coho are the main bite on Lake Michigan and perch are scattered and deep (60-90 feet); river is blown out.


Staff at Lakeside said hybrids (both incidental catches and those with chicken livers) continue to be good; crappie are in the cribs; try for walleye and bass along the weed beds; catfish are good; water is 70 degrees.

The restaurant is open daily. Lakeside is open daily 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Park hours are 6 a.m.-10 p.m.


Wisconsin River smallmouth.
Provided by Rob Abouchar

Rob Abouchar sent the photo above and this:

Hi Dale,

What a week of fishing and fishing related activities. I was able to get on The Wisconsin River last week and the cool weather and fluctuating water leves had the fishing a bit tough. Smallmouth were starting to go on top water Poppers and Senkos. Pike were slow. With 80 degree temps coming this week the action should improve. This has been an extremely late season as the aquatic vegetation seems to be struggling to grow with the cool days and water temps. Another odd thing was the absence of crawfish in the shallows. I looked but saw none. Hopefully they return this week for my Guide trip on Friday and Saturday and the bite will be on.

Last Saturday my Leyden High School Bass Fishing team helped out at the Salmon Unlimited Pass The Passion Pro-Am Tournament out of North Point Marina. It was a great experience for everyone in the Club and the conditions were spectacular. Some big catches of King Salmon, Coho, and Lake Trout were brought to the scales by some great anglers. A couple of 22 and 23 pound kings were weighed in. The Bass Club is looking forward to the next tournament and the kids derby in September at Waukegan.

And on the musical tip I will be performing in Evanston on July 5th at Good To Go Jamaican Restaurant and July 6th at The International Festival Of Life. With the Full Charge reggae band.

Tight lines


I might have to try Good to Go, a go. We’ll see.


Wolf Lake walleye

Tim Bob Vaught messaged:

My son [Tim Jr.,]caught this big walleye wolf lake ind side

Green wiggle wart really a clown wart

A couple days later Vaught added

My other son mike Vaught bangs two northern pike a double at wolf lake ind side clown wiggle wart is hot he was so happy never caught a northern before and he gets two lol

Wolf Lake pike