Kings, bass, variable heat, catfish: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

There aren’t many, but big kings remain the headline-grabber around Chicago fishing for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

SHARE Kings, bass, variable heat, catfish: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

John Scigala, who heads Salmon Unlimited’s swap meet, holds a big king caught near the R4.

Provided by Bruce Kalinowski

The up-and-down weather is the biggest impact around Chicago fishing for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; and a few big kings are big enough to keep the dream alive.

On Saturday, Andy Mikos emailed “24 pound king today at the R4 “ and the photo at the top with this note:

6 pounds away from the fabled 30 pounder.


Bluegill are going on nearly all lakes and bluegill.

Otherwise, Ken ``Husker’’ O’Malley emailed:

Hey Dale, Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing. . . . Area lakes-frog bite is excellent during evening hours for bass worked over heavy weed mats. Texas rigged worms are a better choice during early morning hours. TTYL -- Ken Husker O’Malley Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team


Art Frisell at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said walleye remains good on leeches or crawlers on Lindy rigs on main lake points or current areas; bluegill are also good on waxies or red worms rigged on ice fishing jigs (chartreuse or dark green); catfish are excellent on stinkbait and crawlers; white bass are good, try Mepps rigged with split shot or small jigs tipped with minnows in 12-20 feet, some suspended; crappie are fair, try suspended eight feet down in 20 with small jigs and minnows; pike are fair on Johnson spoons or Dardelves.


Jeffrey Williams emailed:

Hows it going Dale Shore fishing has been decent panfish wise on the river, been pulling up gills around 9 in, havent caught a river crappie in some time but i usually hammer em in early August. Enjoy watching and helping the lil ones with the Chicago park distract Fish N Kids pull out fish, they been pulling out decent sizegills 7 in+, one pulled out a nice 13 in black crappie on a maggot. Also been hitting McKinley Park on Pershing late in the night, results are some very nice Channel Cats averaging 3 pounds. My brother caught a channel that was 7 lbs 24 in, in all my years catching Cats out Mckinley i never seen one this big. Hope all is well and as always TIGHT LINES The River Anglers Jeff and Jesse



Blue catfish action at Braidwood Lake.

Provided by BoRabb Williams

BoRabb Williams messaged over the weekend about blue catfish, including the photo above and this:

Dale Bowman.... Braidwood.... I Killed em

Rob Abouchar emailed:

I had some information that Braidwood is still Producing good fish. A video was posted on Illinois Fishing Network of a good largie on a lipless crankbait. And Tim Jacobs posted a photo of a nice Braidwood chunk taken from The cooling lake last weekend. Good to see the fish still going after the fish kill a couple weeks ago. Anglers Choice Tournament Series, Braidwood division starts back up September 15th. Tight Lines! Rob


Arden Katz said that bass on Delavan over the weekend were good in 12-15 feet with drop-shots tight to weed lines on points and secondary points best.

Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake 7/29/19 through 8/5/19 We have had a long spell of really, really hot weather lately. This has made fishing outstanding for some species, but others are not so hot. Largemouth bass fishing has been phenomenal. I like using a split shot rig with a nightcrawler in about 14-16 ft of water. The fish are positioned on the main lake points outside the weedline. Some of the best locations include: Willow Point, Yacht Club and by Browns Channel. The bass can also be caught by fishing the docks in the shade. The north shore is always a good bet. I had some of the best bass fishing of the year last week. The Northern Pike bite has been pretty good. The pike always seem to be hungry for suckers. The larger the sucker the larger the fish. Look for them in approx 20 ft of water. I’ve been lindy rigging suckers by the gray condos, Willow Point and by Browns Channel. I caught several legal fish last week. The hardest part of the trip is making sure your bait stays alive with the warm surface temperatures. Walleye fishing has been a bit slow however last week I finally caught a couple of legal fish and a few numbers. The fish I’ve caught are suspended in 25-30 ft of water about 20 ft down. The best bait has either been deep diving crank baits or leeches. Look for the fish by the gray condos, Assembly Park or by the Oriental Boat house. Panfish has been fantastic. Limits of fish can be caught in the deep water, 23-24 ft depth works good. Watch your sonar and you will be able to see the schools. The best baits are red worms and green hellgrammites. The best fishing has been to the east of the Yacht Club or by the Village Supper Club. Perch has been pretty good in the 12-15 ft depth range. They are in the shallow weeds. The best spot on the lake has been the west end near the island. You have to search for them, but with perseverance you will succeed. Good Luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 7/29/19 through 8/5/19 Fishing has been pretty consistent. The extremely warm weather has made some fish bite better while others slowed down. The northern pike fishing has been overall pretty good. The fish are anywhere from 35-45 ft of water. Medium suckers or chubs have been catching the majority of the fish. By the weekend last week the fish were pretty spotty with the severe thunderstorms. I could only scratch out 2 fish on Sunday, which is pretty rare. The best locations have been in Williams Bay, Fontana or by Shorehaven. Largemouth bass fishing has average. The fish that are being caught are in the 14-18 ft range. Most anglers are Carolina rigging lizards and centipedes, green pumpkin has been the best. Look for locations where there is a hard gravel bottom beneath the weeds for best success. Such locations can be found by Trinkes and Knollwood. Live bait fishermen can have success drifting nightcrawlers on a split shot rig. The average size is quite a bit smaller than the artificial fishermen. Don’t forget the early morning top water bite that is very consistent throughout the summer months. Lake Trout are still being caught in the main lake basin. Trolling spoons on down riggers is producing all of the action. The best speed seems to be 2 – 2 ½ mph. Look for the fish suspended in 70-90 ft of water. Walleyes are being caught at night. Some fish have been caught in excess of 10 lbs. Its been hit or miss so perseverance is the key. Some nights you’ll catch them and the next night nothing will have changed but they won’t bite. Look for the fish by Trinkes and by Abbey Springs. The best depth remains 14-16 ft of water. Leeches or large crank baits trolled are producing most of the action. Pan fish can be caught on the drop offs in 20-25 ft of water. The larger bluegills are 2-3 ft off bottom. Straight lining small leaf worms or red worms are producing most of the action. The best location is Elgin Club or by the Military Academy. 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:

7/28/2019 FISHING REPORT Big Green lake – Bass fishing on Big Green is slowing down as water temperatures climb into the low 80’s. The winning weight for five bass in a Big Sacks Bass tournament on Big Green last weekend came in at under 17 lbs. Bass tournament bags usually exceed 20 lbs. on Big Green this time of the year. Recent thunderstorms with strong winds have stirred the water and visibility is less than 5 ft in most areas of the lake. Floating vegetation is a problem too. Nonetheless bass can still be caught. Look for areas where both curly and broad leaf cabbage grow thick. Work the tops and outside edges of this vegetation with Chatterbaits, Drop Shot Rigs, Tubes and Jig/Worm combos. Largemouth bass can still be found relating to shoreline rock and under piers. Walleye anglers are benefiting from the stained water. The walleye bite is good right now over the deeper vegetation. Look for vegetation in 12 – 15 ft of water and troll over the vegetation with a worm harness and half of a night crawler hooked behind the spinner. As the thermocline develops Northern Pike are showing up in deep water. Bluegill are also starting to group up along the outside edge of deeper vegetation. Little Green Lake – Fishing is not as good as earlier on. Bluegills, perch and crappies are biting but the bass fishing has slowed. Crappies are the most sought out fish by most anglers due to their abundance on Little Green. Drift across the middle of the lake with a jig and minnow and keep your offering in the upper 6 – 8 ft of water. You will have to sort through several fish to make a meal. Muskie fishing has slowed with the warm weather. Fox Lake – Bluegill fishing has picked up on Fox Lake. Locate and fish the outside edge of vegetation with red worms suspended under a float. Anglers are getting a few crappies, but it is not as consistent. Largemouth bass are still be being caught but have slowed considerably with the warmer weather. Bass are active in the slop and lily pads. A few anglers are reporting walleye catches while trolling crawler harnesses and a 51-inch Muskie was caught on Fox Lake this past week by an angler fishing for bluegills from his dock. 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 afternoon fellas Here is a quick update on the fishing The Salmon fishing has been very good in recent weeks with some very huge fish coming to the scales. Many fish over 30 pounds were weighed in during the 2019 KD salmon tournament with the biggest one being 36.70 pounds. See KD Salmon tournament on facebook for a full run down. 100 to 150 feet of water fishing the top 50 feet of the water column has been the best. Flasher fly combinations has been the best followed by a mix of spoons and meat rigs. Walleye fishing has been great from the Larson’s Reef area and south to the lower bay. And there are some reports now trickling in from northern Door County peninsula as that bite generally starts a bit later. Trolling with crank baits, crawler harnesses and rip jigging with Rap jigs and Shiver minnows all good options Bass fishing has been great throughout the county. Best depths have been in that 12 to 20 foot range. Shorty tubes, spy baits, paddle tails, ned rigs, drop shotting and spinner baits all good options this time of year Perch fishing has been really good and that should stay good right through summer and into fall just luck it has the past 3 or 4 years. Downtown Sturgeon Bay, Sawyer Harbor, Rileys Bay and Little Sturgeon all good spots to try. Leaf Worms, crawler pieces and fathead minnows have been the best live baits Thanks; Lance LaVine Howie’s Tackle 1309 Green Bay Rd Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235 Ph: 920-746-9916


Nick Carr at the Kankakee River Trading Post in Altorf by the state park said the water is in fine shape and cleared up, ``Guys are wading, smallmouth and catfish.’’ A few walleye are being caught, too.

Ken ``Husker’’ O’Malley emailed:

Hey Dale, Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing. Kankakee-smallmouth are good in tributaries. Water clarity is better than the main river. This weekend should be good to wade the main river. TRD, rage craws, and topwater poppers are the best baits. Focus on faster moving water for active fish. . . . TTYL -- Ken Husker O’Malley Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team


Bruce Kalinowski emailed the photo above and this note:

Another nice king caught 7/26/19 pm 26.5 lbs 37 inches caught out of north point came on a 100 copper with 4 color lead with a black and gold pro king in 110 foe caught by mike strugalski on good times spoiled the reel and came in with 2 other lead cores and two church boards


Mike Strugalski with yet another big king on southern Lake Michigan.

Provided by Bruce Kalinowski

On the oddity front, a rare big walleye was caught last week at Burnham. Click here for that story.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait texted:

Hi Dale I had a few scattered reports that there may have been some perch around over the weekend but nothing that was solid. Sheephead up and down. Couple guys catching a good amount of small mouth on soft shells by the mouth of the harbor.

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said that North Point has been very good for lake trout in 100-200 feet all over the place, small and big ones, and a few steelhead with some coho and the occasional king; for those willing to wait it out, the hill has been producing coho and some kings; Illinois side of the line slightly better.

Out of Chicago, fish are in 90-200 feet, ``Got to find the groove,’’ with mostly lakers with some coho and the occasional steelhead, fish are scattered top to bottom; some coho are inside of the R4.

Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop texted:

Boat fishing south between 90 and 120, and as deep as 150, all south, Lakers, Kings coho steelies. Very few shore reports cuz of no gov pier

Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed:

Dear Dale – Waukegan fishing moved into a traditional late summer pattern with world class lake trout dominating the catch. Every trip we were able to run in the past week had laker limits with many fish in the high teens for weight. What varied greatly is the silver fish, non-lakers. Most trips they were scarce with few taken. We found the best fishing in 170 – 220 feet of water to the North of the harbor. However several boats did well on trout as shallow as 100 feet. Most of the catch has been off the bottom, suspended, so that trollers have not had to bottom bounce for these fish. Most fish have been taken on Jimmy Fly Mo Rigs (a/k/a Laker Takers) in Mystery and Kaitlin Jenner patterns 10-20 feet off the bottom, or standard or magnum Warrior spoons in UV Hey Babe, UV Blue or Green Dolphin and Green Dragon Slayer down 150 to 220 on downriggers. We finally had to switch our downrigger weights to the Magnum Ballz 20 pounders this week to effectively troll down over 150 feet. Occasional coho, kings and steelhead were taken on 5 to 10 color leads and 200 or greater copper lines. The best lures for those were Warrior XL’s in orange patterns called Steelhead Candy, Orange Killer and Super Jordo. The new Warrior XL Super Jordo spoon is quickly becoming my new favorite steelhead lure. Off Chicago the fishing was similar, but with even less silver fish. All the lake trout you could want can be taken in waters over 90 feet with the R4 area being best. Most of the fish are being taken suspended and not bottom bouncing. The forecast is for about 10 straight days of North, Northeast or East winds. I’d expect with that the fishing won’t change much with lake trout dominating catches and boats needing to anticipate 12 plus mile runs out of the harbor. Anglers should keep in mind that we have the best lake trout fishing in the world here and take advantage of that. The only places that come close to what the South end of Lake Michigan can offer are Great bear and Great Slave Lakes in Canada. People shell out over five thousand dollars a person to fish those lakes. We have several dates available after August 1, including a few weekend slots. Have a great week. Capt. Scott Wolfe School of Fish Charters 630-341-0550


Kurt Justiceat Kurt’s Island Sport Shop emaied:

Summer patterns holding up well. Surface temps remaining consistent at 74-77 degree average. Highs and lows most days not affecting temps yet. Biggest effects are sunny days vs. cloudy. Largemouth Bass: Very Good – Daytime working cabbage flats of 8-12’. Wacky worms hard to beat! Sweet Beavers Texas style and Yum Chunks on 3/16 Strike King Bitsy Bugs also scoring. For evening bites use #90 Whopper Ploppers, Zare Puppys and weedless spoons such as Silver Minnows : Jawbreakers tipped with 4 Twister tails. Smallmouth Bass: Very Good – Best fish over gravel/rock humps topping at 16-22’ surrounded by 30-40’ of water. Ned rigging TRD worms and drop shotting JackALL Yammy Fish, (3) Crosstail shads and 3 Gulp! Minnows, HOT! Jig craws/creature baits as well as live leeches and crawlers also effective. Crappie: Very Good-Good – Look for 10-12’ narrow leaf cabbage and even the invasive curly leaf pond weed. Fish top two feet of weeds using small beetle spins, Crappie Thumpers or Boottail jigs. Big slabs of 13-14 being caught, but plenty of eaters of 10-12 also. Bluegill: Very Good-Good – For fun in evenings poppers best on fly rods or behind clear casting floats. Daytime find the largest Gills outside weed edges of 12-14’ using small leeches, leaf worms on small 1/32 oz jigs or under slip-floats. Small plastics also working well. Yellow Perch: Good – Best using ½ crawler or medium leech in 6-10’ cabbage. Some anglers finding large Perch on deep lakes over sandgrass flats using Lindy rigs with ½ crawler. Northern Pike: Good – Swim baits (360 GT, Rhythm Waves) run on ¼ oz swimheads in 8-12’ of cabbage. Spinner baits and chatter baits still go. Jigging or soaking chubs and suckers effective, but these live baits hard to get this year. Musky: Good – For the health of the fish, best to fish early or late! Top-water baits such as Pace Makers, Whopper Ploppers, Top Raiders and Topper Stoppers best. Bucktails and large spinner baits also effective. Walleye: Fair – Target Walleyes early AM or late evenings using full crawlers or the biggest leeches you can find. On larger lakes, deep, off shore humps, of 14-18’ with weed edges. Smaller lakes work outside weeds of 8-12’. Hopefully the stable weather (temp wise) will last a few more weeks before cooling August nights affect our fishing. Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop Like us on FaceBook


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

Steelhead last few days sporadic outside mouth of the ditch in 35 to 45ft of water mag spoons in double orange crush and mixed veggie and sterile stomper best Perch action good for lots of boat fisherman fishing 30 to 35ft of water from doughnut going east to my baldy baby golden roachs best some real nice perch but still must weed thru lil guys Offshore last few days has slowed some with mostly lake trout being caught fishing 90 to 115 Lots of perch fisherman over weekend from burns ditch to Michigan city lots of boats did good must be willing to move and find active fish but lots to be had


Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said it’s lakers on Lake Michigan, but no perch; a rare steelhead off the pier but a few are at Berrien Springs; some walleye by the hospital.


Staff at Lakeside said water temperatures have been back and forth the past week, around 80 degrees; bass are good on topwaters; walleye are going on leeches off the rock pile and weed lines on the east side; crappie are being caught on deeper structure; muskie and catfish are relatively slow; spotty hybrids but quality fish when caught.

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


Rob Abouchar emailed the photo below and this:

Hi Dale The Signs are there that the season is changing as the calendar moves to August. In Merrill on the Wisconsin river morning walks with Bella revealed Forest Tansy, Bee Balm and an unknown purple wildflower in full bloom, and Goldenrod yearning to explode. The fishing remains good with summer patters still producing. Top Water is great early and late in the day or when the wind dies down in mid day. The soft plastic bite is good for Largemouth and smallmouth with texas rigged, and wacky rigged senkos. Unweighted is best in the wood and weeds. Top colors were baby bass, green pumpkin and black n blue. The northern pike bite is picking up and some nice Esox were taken on spinner bait and senkos. I had one of our best teachers aides Becky Coackleys husband Roy up for a trip and he was getting multi species action on fathead minnows when we took a trip to 7 Island Lake to do some Musky scouting for the coming Musky season . The lake was very promising and the Eagle watching was spectacular there. I look forward to returning there when the foliage changes in a few short weeks. The seasons are on the change. No Fishing this weekend as I will be attending the King Yellowman show at the Wild Hare in Chicago Friday night ,and performing Reggae music at the Reggae Revival Saturday at Mckinnley woods near Channohon 1pm to 6:30pm. I will need to bring the rod with. Tight lines Rob


Wisconsin River sunset.


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