Heat, bluegill, bass, catfish, big coho, kings: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

Big coho and the occasional big king highlight Lake Michigan and bass, bluegill and catfish highlight inland fishing for the sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

SHARE Heat, bluegill, bass, catfish, big coho, kings: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

Chris Horvath with a quality crappie caught while fishing for walleye on the Chain O’Lakes.


Big coho and the occasional big king highlight Lake Michigan fishing while bass, bluegill and catfish highlight inland fishing around Chicago for the sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Chris Horvath sent the photo above and this note:

Hi Dale, My name is Chris Horvath And I am a very passionate angler. I wanted to share this photo with you that I caught on the chain of lakes about 3 weeks ago using a swimbait jigging for walleye. A 15.25 inch crappie. A personal best! Thank you Dale and hope you have a great day


In the heat, bass have been going early and late (into the night) on topwaters; while bluegill (some bedding) are also very active. With the heat, shade means more for the bluegill.


Brad Irving at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said some bluegill are on the beds; crappie are going on Marie and Bluff in 12-8 feet; those trolling crawler harnesses are catching big catfish and white bass; walleye are good around bridge areas trolling crankbaits or using a split shot and gold hook and piece of crawler.

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


Hours are 6 a.m.-sunset. Considering the forecast extended excessive heat, I would not recommend Braidwood and LaSalle this weekend.


Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake 7/14/19 through 7/21/12 The dry weather continues, and the good fishing continues as well. Most of the fish are in their late summer pattern. The fish are a bit deeper than most people are fishing. Most of the fish are in 15-20 ft of water. The boat traffic has been crazy, you want to get to the launch before 6 a.m. and off by 11 a.m. The lake is as busy as it has ever been. Largemouth bass are schooling on deep water points. The best depth is 15-20 ft of water. They can be caught on a split shot rigged nightcrawlers or a swimming All Terrain jig. The best color has been black and blue with a black trailer. Look for the fish west of Willow Point or by Browns Channel. All Terrain jigs can be purchased at Lakeside Bait and Tackle across the street from the boat launch. As a guide I’ve noticed that people are fishing fast, if you catch one you have the possibility of catching 10 since they are schooled up. Slow down a bit because the fish will bite on concurrent casts. Northern pike action has been relatively slow. You can catch some while trolling the weedline in 18-20 ft of water. The action isn’t as good as years past, but if you put the time in you will catch them. The best location has been by Belvidere Park or west of the Yacht Club. I’ve been lindy rigging medium suckers in 18-20 ft of water. Bluegill fishing has been fantastic. The fish have been in 15-20 ft of water. Most of the fish are being caught on split shot rigged leaf worms or hellgrammites. Look for the fish by Browns Channel, concrete point or by the Yacht Club. Walleye fishing has been above average for this time of year. Most of the fish are being caught trolling. You want to fish a crankbait in 15-20 ft of water right off the weedline. I’ve been using Bandit 300 series or deep diving Fat free shad bombers. The deal has been first light or a night for the most action. Perch fishing has been good by the Township park or by the outlet by Assembly park. The depth has been 9-10 ft of water for the best success. You want to fish hellgrammites underneath a slip bobber. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


Violet Talley messaged:

Not much to report except that the Fox River has dropped in water level dramatically over the weekend, however the water has improved in clarity. Bass can be found scattered and in the current, especially at slackwater edges. I have heard several more reports of musky caught in several areas between McHenry Dam and Algonquin dam.


Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 7/14/19 through 7/23/19 Lake Geneva fishing has been great even considering the hot weather. Both smallmouth and largemouth can be readily caught in relatively shallow water. Lake Trout fishing has been phenomenal. You want to fish first light or in dusk conditions. Lake Trout fishing has been great in the main lake basin in 106-112 ft of water. The fish are being caught 85-90 feet down. The key is getting your spoons free of weeds and trolling between 1.8 and 2.0 mph. I’ve been catching most of the fish on nickel/blue spoons. Due to the time of year, the largemouth bass are schooled up on main lake points. Look for the fish on Black Point, Conference Point and Colemans Point. The fish are in 12-15 ft of water, they are very active. You can either Carolina rig or fish a split shot rigged nightcrawler. People that are Carolina rigging should use a 24 inch leader and Zoom lizard in green pumpkin. For those fishing with nightcrawlers, use a split shot rig and a 20 inch leader. Perch fishing has been very good. The problem is that you need to sort through a lot of small ones to catch a good limit. The best locations have been Rainbow Point and Belvidere Park. The best presentation has been a split shot rigged leaf worm or small fat head minnow. Most of the fish are 4-6 inches but if you are patient you will get your limit of 10-12 inch fish. Smallmouth bass are starting to move deep. They can be caught on either a split shot rigged nightcrawler or Carolina rigging a green pumpkin Lizard. The best location has been by Elgin Club or Black Point. You want to keep your leader length at about 20 inches for the best success. In the next couple of weeks, the fish will be moving into 25-28 ft of water. At that point, you want to lindy rig a nightcrawlers or yellow perch caught from the lake. Northern Pike have been positioned on the thermocline. They are located in about 30 ft of water. You can catch them lindy rigging suckers or chubs about 6 inches off bottom. The fish have been most aggressive in Fontana or on the north shore of the narrows. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


Guide Mike Norrisemailed:

07/16/2019 Fishing Report Big Green Lake – Walleye anglers are doing well on Big Green with jig and leeches floated below slip bobbers in 8 – 12 ft of water. Look for areas that contain a mixture of curly cabbage and rocks and fish along or just outside the weed edge. Crappies and both large and smallmouth bass are falling to this technique also. Deep water anglers are trolling crankbaits or snap jigging Rapalas for larger walleye in 25 – 35 ft of water. Northern pike are cruising just outside the deeper weed edges and I’m catching quite a few while fishing soft plastic baits for smallmouth bass. Best techniques are drop shots, jig and curly tailed grub combos and Ned rigs. I am targeting smallmouth bass on guide trips and averaging 35 to 50 bass per outing with several bass up to 4 lbs. I did have a client pick up a 5 lber mid-week last week. Lake Trout fishing is good on spoons trolled in 100 – 150 ft of water. Lake Puckaway -- Crankbait trollers continue to ply the western basin of this lake for walleye and perch. Salmo Hornets account for most of the catches though a few anglers are running crawler harnesses with spinners. Freshwater drum are active so you will have to sort through a few of them but can still catch a limit of walleye. Other anglers continue to float leeches beneath slip bobbers along the edges of the cane beds early and late in the day. Catfishing is excellent on night crawlers dragged along the bottom of the lake with a nightcrawler weighed down by a sinker. Little Green Lake – Largemouth Bass continue to be caught by anglers casting plastic worms around piers and where fallen trees are found in the water. Bluegills, crappies and small perch are falling to small jigs floated below slip bobbers in 10 -15 ft of water. Lake Winnebago -- Perch action continues to be good on the reefs and rock piles on Lake Winnebago. Trollers are reporting catches of perch 9 – 11 inches long line trolling a half of a night crawler weighed down with a split shot. Walleyes are also falling to this technique. For guide trips, please contact Mike Norris, Wacky Worm Guide Service, at 630-842-8199.


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

Good morning fellas Here is a quick update on the fishing Salmon fishing has been on the up an up the past week or so which is making everyone happy. Decent reports coming in from the Sturgeon Bay area and north up to Baileys Harbor with some fair reports coming in from Washington Island. 90 to 200 feet of water has been the best depths fishing the top 80 feet of the water column. Howie Flies behind flashers have been good along with an assortment of spoons also working. Bass fishing has been fantastic throughout the Door County peninsula. Seems like those bass are starting to make a little push out to deeper water. Best depths have been in that 10 to 20 foot range. Shorty tubes, Senkos, Spy baits, Keitechs along with spinner baits have been good Perch fishing has been going very good as of late. Areas to fish include…Downtown Sturgeon Bay in the channel an along the edges, the Sturgeon Bay Flats, Sawyer Harbor, Rileys Bay and Little Sturgeon all good options for those Perch. Crawler pieces, leaf worms and fatheads all good live baits The Walleye fishing has been better than average as of late. Down to the south of Chaudoirs Dock, the west shore of Green Bay along with Larsen’s Reef all good areas right now. An assortment of crank baits along with Crawler Harness and Rip jigs working well. Thanks; Lance LaVine Howie’s Tackle 1309 Green Bay Rd Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235 Ph: 920-746-9916


Staff at B & B Live Bait in Ottawa--(815) 433-0432—said the levels are down and catfishing again the focus.


More wadeable waters are coming and it should be very wadeable in time for the start of Bears training camp next week.


Kankakee smallmouth

Provided by Ken ``Husker’’ O’Malley

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

Hey Dale, Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing. Kankakee- the main river is still up and muddy. While wading is an option, tributaries are a much better choice as they are down and clearing. Best bite has been smallmouth on TRD baits using a 3/16 jig head. Natural colors have been best. Focus on deeper pools and current seems. TTYL -- Ken Husker O’Malley Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team


Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait said with the water warmed well into the 70s, there’s not much on perch; from shore it is primarily drum and rock bass with boaters picking up some deeper near-shore smallmouth.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait texted:

Actually there’s no perch stories but the winds are blowing the right way. The water has dropped a couple degrees we need it to drop about 5 or 6 more degrees. One of my customers has been hooking into a lot of nice Northerns just fishing for perch with soft shells out around the mouth of the harbor area. Still sheephead around here and there. Rock bass and Smallmouth scattered around. Enjoy the heat I know I do. Not so much humidity but I don’t mind the Heat.

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said that out of North Point, there’s coho, lakers and a couple steelhead in 150-250 feet. He added, ``There’s a lot of bait on the hill, some kings early and late.’’ In Chicago, he said there are coho and a couple nice kings from the R4 to Gumby’s Reef or The Wreck to Gumby’s.

Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop texted:

Perch off boats on front of great Lakes 60 to 80 feet, minnows and shrimp. Fish off Johnson pier and rocks

Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed:

Hi Dale – Waukegan fishing has returned to excellent. The past 7 days started off slow with the North wind mixing up the water and shutting off the fish a bit. Each day has gotten better and better and in the last few excellent catches of mostly coho are being taken. The average coho size has to be 6-7 pounds. 9-10 pounders are regularly taken. There are kings in the area. Three kings over 30 pounds were taken out of Waukegan this week that I know about. We took several kings this week up to 18 pounds to go along with the coho. There are a few steelhead and lake trout too, but not many of those. The most productive waters are still the 110 to 150 foot range, with some days where over 150 has been good as well. I’d encourage trollers to stay away from other boats. Boat traffic has seemed to really shut the fish down when a pack forms. This week spoons took over as the go to lures. My best were Warrior Spoons in Magnum and standard Green Menace, Magnum and Standard Blue Dolphin, Soggy Wonderbread and Purple Alewife. These have been effective on downriggers 45 to 75, 5 to 10 color leads and 150 to 250 copper rigs. The small 6 inch Luhr-Jensen Dodgers and 2.5 inch Jimmy Flies in Green Liz and Scotty patterns on 2 color leads and divers 45 to 75 out are still producing some fish. The bigger size 0 Dodgers and large flys that dominated the catch the past few weeks died off and aren’t getting hit. Chicago fishing has been much less productive. Straight off downtown became really slow and most of the boats are having to run North. The R4 area has been ok to the NE in 100 plus feet of water. Again coho dominated the catch with some big kings in the mix too. 6-7 pound coho make up most of the catch with some this week up to 13 pounds. My good friend and fellow Trollers Unlimited member Capt. Bruce Kalinowski on Simon Sez out of Diversey got a 27 pound king on Sunday to go along with several big coho and a couple of lake trout. The quality of fish is there but numbers are less than waters to the north. The weekend looks like a scorcher and that means strong Southwest winds. This is excellent news as that brings in the cold water to us, which brings in the bait and the fish. I personally think this weekend is going to be outstanding and that there will be lots of Kings in the area. The fish should move into shallower water as well. Due to a need to reschedule we have Sunday morning from 5 to 11 am open for a charter if any of your readers are interested. Have a great week Dale. Capt. Scott Wolfe School of Fish Charters - Manipulator 630-341-0550 www.schooloffishcharters.com


Guide Mike Mladenik (http://www.bigsmallmouthbass.com/) emailed:

Great Topwater Bite Today Lots of quality smallmouth Today on the Menominee River. Most of the big fish were caught with topwater baits. Several smallmouth between 18-20 inches! The best topwater bite will be late July through August I still have open July & August dates BOOK A TRIP to get into this great action!


Kurt Justiceat Kurt’s Island Sport Shop emailed:

Big heat for the Northwoods this week. Temps forecasted in the high 80’s to low 90’s by weeks end. Water temps climbing and early/late trips best, as well as moving out into deeper water for better action. Largemouth Bass: Very Good – Top-water evening action hot with Whopper Ploppers, Jitterbugs, Hula Poppers and plastic frogs providing the most fun towards the shallows. Mornings thru afternoons Wacky Worms have been a no brainer. 4 worms on 1/8 oz jigs along with similar swim baits also effective. Smallmouth Bass: Very Good – Work outside coontail edges and off shore gravel humps using drop-shot rigs with 3 pintail minnows, 3 Wacky worms or small 2 ½ craws. Ned rigs are also very effective in similar areas. Tubes and Caroline rigging creature baits along those 14-16’ coontail edges. Bluegill: Very Good – Work deep edges of cabbage or coontail using small leeches below slip-floats. Small minnows also work, keeping some of the smaller Gills off your hook. Yellow Perch: Good – Not a lot of Perch, but some nicer fish (9-11) coming from just outside 14’ weed edges. ½ crawlers, medium leeches. Musky: Good – Evenings best. Top-water action on big, noisy baits such as Whopper Ploppers, Top Raiders and Pace Makers. Deep water action reported from anglers working big Grandma baits and large rubber baits over open water, search for signs of schools of Cisco, then count down baits to rip below schools of bait fish. Crappie: Good – Evenings best near tall cabbage beds of 12’ and boat houses near deep water. Small beetle spins and jigs with swim tails or curly tails best. Northern Pike: Good-Fair – Typically like a little cooler conditions. Cast spinner baits and chatter baits over cabbage flats or 8-12’. Walleye: Fair – Play the weather. Overca or pre-front conditions best. Big leeches or whole crawlers over sandgrass flats outside coontail or cabbage beds in 14-18’. A hot summer will be enjoyed by those who like the top-water action for Bass and Musky. Take care of the fish in these conditions, hot water stresses fish. Get ‘em in quickly and returned to the water as fast and safely as possible. Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop Like us on FaceBook

Big heat is coming to a lot of us.


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

Perch action Sunday and Monday picked up some again around muddline outside the ditch and around black ditch west of Michigan city 20 to 28 ft of water not everybody is catching em guys moving and picking here and there are putting fair catch’s together Lake trout fishing with some silver fish mixed in from 90 to 110 ft of water straight out of ditch trolling east towards Michigan city good all week long dodgers and spin n glows near bottom and 150 to 250 coppers with spoons for steelhead and coho here and there With hot hot weather coming I’d bet the perch bite at end of the week will be steady again

From his texting fingers to fish in the cooler.


Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said there has been some perch over the weekend in 30-45 feet north and south of St. Joseph; lakers are good in 90-110 feet south of St. Joe; a couple sturgeon were caught off he pier.


Staff at Lakeside said fishing has been steady (slowed a bit with the heat); walleye are being caught on the east weed lines and some on the rock piles; crappie are going well in the trees and the fish cribs on the north end in 12-20 feet; bass and bluegill are feeding shallow; hybrids slowed or moved.

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

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