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Catfish and dog days, perch, smallmouth, lakers, a few 4-year-old kings: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

Catfish with dog days and hints of early 4-year-old kings come around Chicago fishing for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Danny Borgert, one of the greats on the Chicago lakefront, with a fine summer smallmouth.
Provided by Mark Brown

Some semblance of balanced weather settles in and stabilizes fishing around Chicago for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; first hints of shoreline kings came on the Chicago lakefront.

Sun-Times political columnist Mark Brown took the photo above in late July at Montrose and emailed:

Just walked past as Danny Borgert pulled this smallmouth out of Montrose Harbor. Says he just lost a bigger one moments earlier.

Another reason why Borgert is one of the greats on the lakefront.


Bluegill and bass, especially evening/night, are the top bites.

And there are some good hints from Pete Lamar, who emailed:

Hi Dale,

A lot of frog and grasshopper activity on local ponds and lakes. I’ve been fishing accordingly with big poppers for bass in the weeds and foam hoppers for bluegills.

. . .



Art Frisell at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said white bass are good in 8-12 feet with some fish schooling on top toward evening, work small jigs or Mepps spinners; bluegill are good on ice jigs with wax worms, spikes or red worms; try crappie on Custom jigs tipped with minnows or spikes at channel mouths; walleye are active, try Wally Divers or No. 7 Shad Raps, then try jigging with crawlers and leeches.

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


Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake 8/8/19 through 8/12/19

Fishing on Delavan remains very consistent. The only problem has been the excessive fishing pressure. It isn’t too hard to get on the water, but getting off has been a constant battle.

Largemouth bass can be caught on the deep weed line. They can be caught on either deep diving crank baits or drop shotting along the weed line edge. Some of the best catches are coming off small finesse worms or sassy shads. For the crank baits, use fire tiger, that color seems to produce the most action. Work the weed edge in 16-19 ft of water. Most of the fish are in excess of 1 ½ lbs, with some reaching over 5 lbs. Live bait fishermen can still catch them, however there are so many pesky bluegills, you will go through dozens of crawlers.

Northern Pike fishing has been very good. Like the largemouth bass, they are off the weed edge in 17-19 ft of water. You can either catch them on a live bait rig with a sucker or chub or by casting large swim baits off the weed line. The best location has been on the west side of the lake by the island or by Browns channel.

Bluegill fishing has been outstanding. You can’t really fish anywhere without catching a mess of 8-10 inch fish. Most of the fish are being caught on small red worms or leaf worms. The fish I’ve been catching are off the weed line in 20-22 ft of water. I have not fished a place on the lake where I was unable to catch any.

Crappie fishing has been average. The fish are right on the weed line break in 12-15 ft of water. Most of the success the past few days have come off small fathead minnows fished on a slip bobber. Plastics will still work, however live bait is out-fishing them 2:1.

Walleye fishing remains almost non-existent. I haven’t heard of anyone having any success. You can occasionally pick up 1 or 2 but there still has been no pattern. Hopefully once the water starts to cool this will improve.

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


Ken ``Husker’’ O’Malley emailed:

Hey Dale

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

Kankakee/DesPlaines- water temps are 83-84 in both rivers with not much current. Bass are decent on lipless crankbaits and jigs with craw trailers. Focus on areas that have some current adjacent to deeper water. Main channel with areas of rock also produced bass. Tributaries of the Kankakee are mossed up with low flow and clear water. Who would have thought we would say we need rain. Go figure.



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


Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

. . .

I got some Spey casting practice in on the Fox last night. The river has taken a turn for the worse: it was the color of pea soup from an algae bloom. I’d think dissolved oxygen is pretty scarce right now.



Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 8/8/19 through 8/12/19

Fishing remains very good. Summer is drawing to a rapid close so make sure you get out on the water, winter lasts a long time.

Walleye fishing has been very good. Most of the fish are being caught trolling medium diving crank baits in 12-15 ft of water. The bigger the crank bait, the better the success. The only time to catch them is at night. Look for them by Black Point, Abbey Springs or by Fontana.

Northern Pike fishing has been outstanding. The fish remain in 35-40 ft of water. The best success has come in Fontana or by Conference Point. All the fish are being caught on chubs or suckers on a lindy rig.

Lake Trout have been biting in the main lake basin, 70-90 ft down in 140 ft of water. The best success has come on spoons. A few fish can be caught on dodgers and flies also. I prefer running the lures, 20-30 ft behind the down rigger balls.

Largemouth bass are being caught in 20-30 ft of water on the main weed lines. Most of the fish are being caught by either Carolina rigging lizards, or dragging jigs on the hard bottom areas of the weed flats. The best location is either Trinkes or the weed line in Williams Bay. There can be some success dragging nightcrawlers also in 15-18 ft of water. The fish in the shallower water seem to be slightly smaller.

Bluegill action has been outstanding. Fish in 18-20 feet of water. A leaf worm and red worms have been producing the best. A single hook and split shot will do the trick. Williams Bay and Elgin Club has been a sure thing.

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


Mike Norris in action.

Guide Mike Norris emailed:


Big Green lake – Smallmouth bass can still be found where there are submerged rocks, though I am catching less of them with their diet of crayfish stock dwindling. Senkos rigged with a hook in the center and a nail weight at one end (Neko style) are accounting for several catches as are Texas rigged Zoom Jr. Brush Hogs and Net Baits on football jigs. Leeches and night crawlers are a good choice for anglers using live bait. I am locating smallmouth bass with my traditional 2D color sonar and enticing them to bite with a drop shot rig as they move out to cooler water beyond the weed line. With the warmer water temperatures largemouth are starting to vacate the shallows and are heading out to the weed line. I have experienced several days this past week with little to light winds and this has pushed the walleyes out deeper towards the thermocline which has set up in 30 – 35 ft. Both Northern pike and walleye can be found at this depth and can be caught slow trolling chubs at this depth. Lake trout fishing remains good. Sutton Spoons trolled down 100 to 150 ft. deep is accounting for most of the lake trout catches. White bass are starting to show up in in the top 30 ft. of the water column and can be caught trolling spinners or flies behind dipsey divers set down to around 20 -25 ft deep.

Little Green Lake – Perch and crappies are still biting but as we enter August the bite is beginning to slow down. Crappies can be caught in 15 – 20 ft. of water drifting with minnows. Perch can be taken on night crawlers along the rock pile. Anglers are still using plastic worms to catch largemouth under the docks.

Lake Puckaway - We have had very little rain and water levels on Lake Puckaway have receded to normal summer levels. Anglers are catching northern pike casting off their piers in the early and late hours of the day. Trollers are reporting a mixed bag of walleyes, perch, catfish and drum trolling crankbaits spread out away from the boat with Offshore Side Planer Boards.

For guide trips, please contact Mike Norris, Wacky Worm Guide Service, at 630-842-8199.


River is in the best wading shape of the season and headed even lower.

Ken ``Husker’’ O’Malley emailed:

Hey Dale

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

Kankakee/DesPlaines- water temps are 83-84 in both rivers with not much current. Bass are decent on lipless crankbaits and jigs with craw trailers. Focus on areas that have some current adjacent to deeper water. Main channel with areas of rock also produced bass. Tributaries of the Kankakee are mossed up with low flow and clear water. Who would have thought we would say we need rain. Go figure.



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


John Wendel with a fine king while fishing with Andy Mikos.

Andy Mikos emailed the photo above and this note:

My neighbor John Wendel caught this 22.2 pound king on my boat yesterday right next to the R4. Still looking to fill the box with kings on 1 trip but I will take a shot at a trophy every time out.

Andy Mikos

Stacey Greene at Park Bait texted:

Good morning Dale

Sheephead and Smallmouth still biting pretty regular on soft shells as well as a few artificial baits. No perch in this warm water. There was a steelhead caught Sunday in the harbor here on a Nightcrawler I’m assuming the guy was just fishing for anything he could catch, and I’ve also had a couple solid reports of one king being lost and one hit. I don’t know why they want to be around in this hot water LOL but it’s almost that time.

Have a great week

I love the hints of early kings.

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said that out of North Point, steadiest fishing is in 150-250 feet for lakers and steelhead with the occasional coho; but there are some salmon in on the hill too with some 4-year-old and smaller kings, coho and an occasional steelhead; best have been spoons on Leadcore or downriggers.

Out of Chicago best fishing is in 110-135, primarily for lakers with the occasional salmon, leadcores deeper on the bottom.

Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop texted:

About the same, some perch in front of great lakes, salmon and trout a but deeper. Guys are just having to cruise around and look

Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed:

Dear Dale –

Waukegan fishing continues to be very good. There are two areas holding fish. Trollers looking for quality but not quantity can try 100-115 feet for staging salmon. Mature kings and coho are starting to hold there. A fewl kings over 20 pounds and big coho have been taken. These fish are hit and miss and the total numbers are not great. For great numbers 170 feet plus is holding lake trout and steelhead, with occasional big kings and coho taken there too. Limit laker catches are the norm with bonus silver fish each trip. We have had multiple steelhead over 10 pounds each trip with one on Sunday just under 19 and coho over 10 pounds most trips. Best rigs have been Jimmy Fly maniac and Green Liz behind 0 red Luhr-Jensen dodgers on slide divers 120 – 170 out and on downriggers in the 50-70 foot level. Jimmy Fly Mo Rigs (laker takers) on wire divers 175-250 and on downriggers 180 – 250 down have been good. Warrior standard and Magnum UV Blue Dolphin, Blue/Green Dolphin and Hey Babe on 175, 200 and 300 copper lines have taken the biggest lakers. Warrior XL Super Jordo and a new color – Jamaican Sunrise - on lead cores have also taken some steelhead.

Off Chicago waters over 100 feet have plenty of lake trout but almost nothing else. Jimmy Fly Mo rigs near the bottom with Kaitlin Jenner, Orange Guy and Mystery have all been good. 10 color leads and 200 and 300 coppers with Warrior UV Hey babe and Monkey puke have seen action as well.

Have a good week Dale. I have One open charter slot for Saturday afternoon this weekend and Most of Labor Day weekend available.

Capt. Scott Wolfe
School of Fish Charters


Kurt Justice at Kurt’s Island Sport Shop emaied:

Fishing in early August remains similar to most of July, a slight slow down for a few species, but an up tick for others. A few fronts have made for some fish and dodge times on the water, but overall things good.

Largemouth Bass: Very Good-Good – Can’t miss using Wacky Worms in 8-12’ cabbage. Top water action on Buzz Baits, Whopper Ploppers and Pocket Frogs. Early mornings slower than past weeks, mid-morning thru evenings best.

Smallmouth Bass: Very Good-Good – Seems like fewer numbers this week (could have been just me) but larger Bass in the 18-21” range. Ned rigs of TRD Worms and jig and craw combos best. Drop shotting 3” Wacky Worms or Pin Minnows.

Bluegill: Very Good-Good – Best fish suspended along cabbage or coontail breaks on small leeches, small minnows, worms or thunderbugs. Mini Mites tipped with waxies working too.

Crappie: Very Good-Good – Not so much on #’s but big slabs in the 13-14” range taking Road Runner style jigs worked thru weed tops. Fan cast cabbage (Narrow leaf) in 10-12’ working 2-4’ down.

Musky: Good – Best evening or pre-front. Top-water bucktails and big spinner baits. Water very warm (77-80 degrees) so be quick on your catch and release.

Yellow Perch: Good – Fish outside cabbage edges or sandgrass flats using ½ crawler on 1/8 oz jigs.

Northern Pike: Fair-Good – Reports down, probably due to heat. A 41”er was caught and released on chain recently. These fish respond better as water cools. Spinner baits, chatter baits best choice.

Walleye: Fair-Improving – Starting to see bites moving to weed edges where they had been absent. Besides typical jig/leech or jig/crawler combos, anglers also picking up fish casting #6-#7 shad raps along cabbage edges in 10-12’.

Water temps may have actually crept up this week. Start to watch for some weeds to die back in a couple weeks. Flowages filling back up – not normal for this time of year.

Kurt Justice
Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
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A mixed bag while fishing out of northwest Indiana.
Provided by Capt. Rich Sleziak

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

Perch fishing good for those that put the time in around doughnut east down towards my baldy in 30 ft of water baby roaches best bait

Some steelhead action for trollers outside the ditch fishing 35 to 45 ft of water bite seems to stop around 9 am so get out early mag spoons in orange and mixed veggie the best baits

Lake trout fishing with a silver fish here and there good in 95 to 105 ft straight out of burns ditch fishing east 300 coppers down to bottom is were action is

On the boat action out of northwest Indiana.
Provided by Capt. Rich Sleziak


Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said perch are being caught in 35-45 feet, south slightly better off the Chalets; for big fish it is mainly lakers in 110-140 feet.


Staff at Lakeside said the two main bites remain bass (shallow in the weeds on topwaters) and crappie (in the deep trees down 10-14 feet); still some walleye on rock piles and weed lines; a few catfish and hybrids.

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 account (OK, it is not really a report, but I think it shows the all-encompassing power of the fishing life):

Hi Dale

It was a music filled weekend with King Yellowman at the Wild Hare in Chicago and The Reggae Revival at Mckinnley Woods on the shores of the Desplaines River in Channohon. Friday King Yellowman showed why he has stood the test of time at age 63 looking like a cross-fit trainer wearing a no more war T shirt and Adiddas basketball shorts. The performance was enegy filled and chock full of his classics including Mr. Chin, Nobody Move Nobody Get Hurt, Blueberry Hill, and a version of lost Mi Love that had me checking my heart. The next Day was the reggae revival at Mckinnley woods playing classic roots reggae and a couple of my own original:songs; Rubber Duckie and Chronic and Coffee. Knowing the stage was overlooking the river myself and Joe Schatz of the Schatzee Lure Company brought the rods but never cast a line. Too much going on with great food , great music, family , friends, and a beautiful Libation ceremony led by my teacher friend and band mate, David Adjokatcher and Rudi the host that brought tears. The day was capped off when Joe Joined us on stage to sing the song Chronic and Coffee which he helped write the lyrics for as the sun was setting in the West.

I have Freshman night on Wednesday at the High school to recruit new members for the Gardening and Bass Fishing Clubs; then it is up to the Wisconsin River for a couple of days of solo fishing. Still trying to get that Musky on a Senko...will report!

Tight Lines!


A morning to remember.
Provided by Rob Abouchar