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Bass, salmon, bluegill, catfish: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

Rivers slowly recede, Lake Michigan stays high, but spring is here for Chicago fishing in the sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Carp fishing is here around Chicago fishing.

Late spring fishing settles in around Chicago as rivers slowly recede, Lake Michigan stays high and waters slowly warm for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Glen Gorman sent the photo above and this note:

Hey Dale,

I have always wanted to catch a carp. Am an avid fisherman and have caught everything from bluegills to sailfish but carp have always eluded me.

Found a website called “Wacker Baits” and sent an email to the owner, Cory. Long story short, I’ve been fishing for carp over the last few weeks and have had a blast. Cory was amazing at giving me advice and tips on how to catch carp. Set me up with the right gear and before I knew it the carp were swimming my way.

Today was my personal best. 31” 11lb 6oz. (Released). Would love to give a shout out to Cory in your weekly news article if you can squeeze me in.


Glen Gorman

Shout out given. Wacker Baits was started by the very interesting and now retired Paul Pezalla, whom keeps wondering when I am going to get out fishing again with him.


I’ve heard of bluegill and bass both bedding and some active catfish.

BoRabb Williams texted:

Getting nice Blue Gill and redear at wolf lake.... and Giant redear at Willow Slough Indiana..... most waters are still very High.

Pete Lamar sent this:

Hi Dale,

. . .

Even some still waters are muddy (except those fed by groundwater). Bass and panfish-and even a surprise channel cat from a local retention pond-are getting more active. If I’m going after anything other than panfish, I’m using the darkest fly I’ve got in order to provide a visible silhouette in the turbid water.


His truth about dark flies also applies to lures and plastic baits.


BoRabb Williams texted:

Calumet SYSTEM is producing lots of bass .. catfish...jumbo perch.. gills... pretty much EVERYTHING is biting. ....and a occasional brown trout or steelhead in the river also


No-wake is one of the best times to fish the Chain with far less boat traffic, though one reader reported tough fishing in the high water. As of Tuesday, the Chain and the upper river were no-wake; while the river from the Stratton Lock and Dam to Bridge Street Bridge in Millington was closed to boating. Check updates on water conditions at or (847) 587-8540.


Chicago River fish.

Oscar Santos messaged the report below and photos, including the one above:

South Branch has been on FIRE Dale!! I launched my kayak out on Lake Michigan this morning and it was WAAAAY TOO CHOPPY so about 3pm I hit the South Branch from shore.It was RIDICULOUS!!! Between 6 and 7:30pm I was gettig hit within MINUTES.All total today I fished 13 hours. Had a BLAAAAAST.Hoping people start to appreciate what a great fishery we have RIGHT HERE under our noses!!!

Jeffrey Williams emailed this report and the photo below:

Happy for happy nice weather for exchange, river is definitely picking up. Its that time again where Carp are starting to mate, on sunday he managed 4 carp biggest being 15 lbs. Also as a surprise me and him caught 2 jumbo crappies, mine coming at 1 lb 5 oz 16 and my lil brothers being 1 lb 2 oz 15 in. Going back at it the next few days.

Chicago River crappie.


Regular hours are 6 a.m. to sunset. Boaters be aware that winds may limit access. Mazonia should be near prime, but I have not been out there yet.


Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake Fishing report 6/3/19 through 6/11/19

Fishing is above average overall. Most of the fish remain in the shallow waters, under 10 ft for the most part. The best bite on the lake is Bluegills and Largemouth bass.

Crappie fishing has been above average by Belvidere Park or by Brown Channel. The best depth has been 7-10 ft of water on the weedline. You want to use a 1/32 oz Arkie jig with a purple or chartreuse plastic. Look for the fish east of Willow point or on the outside of Viewcrest Bay by the no wake buoys.

Northern pike action has been excellent due to the colder water temperatures. Most of the fish can be caught in 7-10 ft of water. Look for the fish in Browns Channel or in Viewcrest Bay. You want to fish a slip bobber rigged medium sucker about 1 ft above the weeds. I’ve been using 20 lb monofilament with the bobber set about 4 ft down in 8 ft of water. Big bobbers have been allowing the bobber to lie flat on the water and when the bait become excited the bobber stands erect and lets you know the pike is close at hand. I wait about 30 seconds before setting the hook after the bobber is submerged.

Largemouth bass remain in the shallows in 3-4 ft of water. The best approach is fishing Texas rigged Yum Dingers in green pumpkin or watermelon seed. Look for the fish in Viewcrest Bay or by the outlet on north shore drive. I fished my Yum Dinger on fireline. It seems to help with a positive hook set. I rig the Yum Dinger with a 3/0 worm hook. When the fish bites, I give them about 5 seconds before setting the hook. This gives the fish enough time to eat the bait.

Bluegill fishing is best in the 6-7 ft water depth, which is basically the outside of the piers. The best presentation has been either small leaf worms or hellgrammites. I’ve been using Thill spring bobbers about 3 ft down in the 7 ft water depth. The key is that you want to find the piers with sand bottoms. The bluegills I’ve been catching have not yet spawned since the water is too cold. I expect them to spawn in about one week and then they will move shallow making the bigger fish more accessible.

Walleye action has been a bit slow. The best action has been in the 20-23 ft depth range on the outside of the weedline. With the cold water temperature, large fat head minnows have been working the best. You want to lindy rig them with a 3/8 oz walking sinker and a 24 inch Snell. You want to slow back troll into the wind. The best location has been by the Yacht Club or over by the old marina on the north shore.

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


HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Open Tuesday through Sunday through Labor Day. Go to EMIQUON: For regulations, go to SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing.


Pete Lamar sent this tangential report:

Hi Dale,

Not much to say about moving water as I’m still waiting for it to drop and clear. I did walk over the DuPage yesterday on my way to fish a forest preserve lake: it was back to near-normal levels, but muddy; fly fishing would’ve been a waste of time.

. . .



High or flooded. As of Tuesday noon, the river remained closed to boating from the Stratton Lock and Dam to Bridge Street Bridge in Millington. Check updates at or (847) 587-8540.


Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva Fishing Report 6/3/19 through 6/11/19

As long as the weather keeps warming, the fishing keeps improving daily. This past week we had significant SW winds which made most of the lake unfishable. I’ve been catching most of my fish from the Abbey Springs area to the Military Academy.

Rock bass are in the shallows in 10-15 ft of water. The best approach is a split shot rigged minnow. I’ve been either drifting or back trolling for the best success. Last week I caught some in excess of 1-2 lbs. The best location has been by Shadow Lane in 12 ft of water. For artificial fisherman, white hair jigs have also been producing some good catches.

Smallmouth bass have not yet spawned, this is the latest spawn I can recall. The fish are still suspended around their spawning flats in 15 ft of water. The fish I’ve been catching have been on a split shot rigged minnow or a white hair jig with a pink head. If you find the pods of minnows in the lake, you will find the smallies. The best location has been near Belvidere Park or east of Abbey Springs.

Yellow perch have been biting in the 8-10 ft depth range. The best approach has been slip bobber rigging small fat head minnows about 1 ft off bottom. The best location has been by Belvidere Park or by Knollwood. You have to do a lot of sorting to catch a few nice ones.

The best bluegill action I’ve had has been in Abbey harbor or Trinkes harbor. I’ve been working a depth of 3-4 ft. The water is substantially warmer in each of these locations. The bluegills and sunfish are preparing to spawn. I’ve been concentrating on the holes in the weeds for the most action. I use leaf worms with a small bobber.

Northern Pike has been relatively good. The fish remain in the shallows in 8-10 ft of water. Look for the fish in Williams Bay or in Fontana Beach. The best approach is fishing Thill slip bobbers with large golden shiners.

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


Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay emailed:

Good afternoon fellas,

Here is a quick update on the fishing

Bass fishing throughout the county has been going very well overall. No matter which area you decide to fish, you need to look for those bottom transitions and fish those areas very slow with baits like…Howie’s shorty tubes, ned rigs, spy baits, megabass and keitechs all working very well

Pike fishing has been very good. Best areas have been…Sturgeon Bay ship canal, Pot Park shoreline, Sawyer Harbor and the bays of Little Sturgeon and Riley’s Bay. Jerk baits, large spoons, spinners and large sucker minnow all will work well

Perch fishing is just starting to get going up here as the water continues to warm. Areas to try include…downtown Sturgeon Bay, Sawyer Harbor, Little Sturgeon and the deeper mud down around the Chaudoir’s dock area. Fathead minnows and crawler pieces working the best

Walleye fishing has been great in the county. Good numbers down around Chaudoir’s Dock and to the south of there. And to the north, fair numbers are getting caught, but they are bigger fish. Trolling with Flicker shads and minnows, Husky jerks, Rouges, Salmo Hornets and crawler harnesses all working well for the trolling bite. And the folks that prefer to jig….hair jigs, rippin raps, Howies shorty tubes and Keitechs working very well


Lance LaVine

Howie’s Tackle
1309 Green Bay Rd
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
Ph: 920-746-9916


Receding in upriver areas, but projected to remain in flood at Starved Rock and LaSalle well into next week.


The water is high and often surging along the lakefront.

Reminder: Perch season is closed through June 15.

Mike Wojtiuk at Park Bait said drum, carp and pike are being caught at Montrose.

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said there is a ``Nice population of coho’’ out of North Point in 120-250 ft., though some are as shallow as 50, with some steelhead (150-250), big lakers (bottom in 150-250) and a few kings and browns. That included a 20-pound laker and a 16-pound steelhead. Off Chicago, R2 slowed as fish move out, try off Navy Pier in 40-70.

``There are two crops of coho: one is little bug eaters and the other is the big chunkers,’’ he said.

Capt. Scott Wolfe of School of Fish Charters emailed:

Dear Dale –

Waukegan fishing is very good with good numbers and some big fish taken. Most of the boats are trolling 45 to 65 feet basically due East to slightly South of the harbor. Most of the catch are coho with most of them now in the 5 pound class. We had a few over 8 pounds this week. A friend took one 15# last week. There are many steelhead around and we have been getting a couple each trip. The steelhead are also big. Last weekend we set a new steelhead record for our current boat at 20.5 pounds, and it measured 41 inches. That fish came on a Warrior Green Menace Spoon on a downrigger at 22 feet in 50 feet of water. There are also kings around so I would encourage people to run Warrior spoons on leadcore or downriggers in their spread. Warrior’s new flutter XL size spoons in Psycho Perch and Mixed Veggies have been the producer for kings with Green Menace and VooDoo for steelhead. Most coho continue to come on 00 red dodgers and Jimmy Fly peanut flies in green patterns. Last week the purple flies which had been really good, stopped working for us. It was green, green and more green last week. There are also fish out deep in 150 to 200 plus feet, but with the good fishing shallow, few people are choosing to head out there.

Chicago fishing slowed but is still good. The coho are scattering and the Chicago boats need to adapt and fish more of a summer pattern with mutli-species lures in the spread. More spoons and Musselhead meat rigs should be worked into the spread. The area between the R2 and the R4 produced the most fish this week. There are some nice kings and steelhead there too if you have the spoons and meat rigs ready for them. Coho are becoming harder to find off Chicago.

We still have an open charter slot for this Saturday afternoon I’d really like to fill up. Now is the time for both quantity and Quality. Have a great week.

Capt. Scott Wolfe
School of Fish Charters


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

Best action over weekend for salmon and trout was state line area 3 corners nothing fast and furious but some fish caught

Gills going decent at most ponds and lakes it’s spawning time crickets and red wrigglers or waxworms best baits

When water isn’t super high catfish bite at portage riverwalk good Sonny’s stinkbait now known as triple s and cutbait fishing bottom best

Hours now at slez’s bait shop are 5am to 7 pm everyday


Menominee smallmouth.

Guide Mike Mladenik ( emailed the photo above and the report below:

The Menominee River is in excellent shape with water levels receding. The water temp is in the sixties and the smallmouth action will intensify the next 2 weeks.

* I am anticipating a good topwater bite!

* I still have some openings the next 2 weeks


Crappie in northern Wisconsin.

Ken ``Husker’’ O’Malley emailed the photo above and the report below from farther afield:

Hey Dale,

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

Northern Wisconsin-smallmouth are good on jerbaits, topwater, and TRD plastics. A few are on their beds, with most staging due to the colder water temps. Crappie are also staging. Focus on areas of wood 8-9 feet using a variety of ice plastics. Water temps are 55-59 but should start warming with 80’s later in the week. Fishing will only get better throughout the week.


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

Kurt Justice emailed:

Was a long, odd, cool May! Lots of patterns never seemed to set up just right. Spring peepers sang ‘til the end of the month. Tribal spearing lasted ‘til the Saturday of Memorial weekend. Water, though very plentiful, ran behind in temperature along with weed growth! Now it’s June, and despite a frost warning (6/2), things are setting up nicely.

Largemouth Bass: Very Good – Many found cruising the warm shallows. These fish have been actively taking shallow running cranks, light swim baits and small swimming jigs. 1/8 oz jig with a 3” twister tail in black or brown has been hot. Lots of low to upper teens in length.

Bluegill: Very Good – Not spawning, but taking advantage of the warmer shallows to help with egg production. Small leeches, thunderbugs and leafworms. 1” twister tails on 1/64 oz jigs fished behind a small float for castability.

Northern Pike: Good-Very Good – Good reports of Pike taking large chubs under floats. (Another 36”/10#+ this week). Cast spinner baits, spoons in and over 8-12’ weeds.

Crappie: Good – Mixed reports as some anglers found Crappies setting up to bed, while most found outside spawning areas. Small jigs with flash have helped anglers catch Crappies to 15” this weekend. If not in tight, work weeds of 5-12’. Depths vary by lake and surface temp.

Musky: Good – Most action from mid-30” fish cruising shallows taken on smaller bucktails and 6” twitch baits. Large Bass swim jigs tipped with 5-6” tails also working.

Smallmouth Bass: Good – Still staging, but look for this to change if weekend’s forecast push water temps into steady lower 60-degree mark. So far its been tub jigs, Ned rigs and creature baits in 8-15’. Some good reports on fish to 20” working jerk baits (X-Raps, Husky Jerks) along first major break.

Walleye: Good – Action along weed edges of 10-15’ improving using leeches or fatheads on 1/16-1/8 oz weedless jigs. Slip floats with leeches also good.

Yellow Perch: Good – Not a lot of people targeting. Still, nice Perch in 8-11” range being caught by anglers trying for other species. Bellies full of thunderbugs (dragon fly larvae).

The forecasted warming trend should help solidify some of these bites. For some, such as Smallmouth and Walleye, action should pick up considerably.

Kurt Justice
Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
Like us on FaceBook


Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said the bite is on in 50-55 feet for kings and coho with a few steelhead, and it goes out to 200 feet; a few steelhead are at the dam; not much off pier but a few smallmouth bass, channel catfish and drum.


Clint Sands at Lakeside said water clarity dropped to a foot, temperature is 63, and lake is high; but lots of crappie were caught over the weekend, still spawning on the south end and pulling out on north end; bass are spawning; walleye active along the dam face; catfish are decent; muskie are slow.

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


WINNECONNE: Gary Bloom messaged on Monday:

How’d you do at Fremont? Fishing in Winneconne was fair for the weather ups n downs. Caught n released about 35 wh Bass. On flies very early bite. Then caught a few Walleye trolling [some] in the River. Lots of small Walleye also.

Guide Bill Stoeger texted on Tuesdday:

White bass action slowed a bit in the river We went to the north end of Partridge Lake yesterday, using a 1/6 oz. jig and minnow,in two hours had over 130 fish. Water temp was 63 and is starting to drop again Should get better as water levels come down