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Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Coho, largemouth, smallmouth, catfish, bluegill, summer patterns

Summer patterns set up for about everything around Chicago fishing from coho to largemouth bass to smallmouth bass to catfish to bluegill for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Edith Torres with the big smallmouth bass of the day from the Vermillion River. Provided by Daniel Renkosiak
Edith Torres with the big smallmouth bass of the day from the Vermillion River.
Provided by Daniel Renkosiak

Summer patterns settle in most fish—coho, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, catfish, bluegill—around Chicago fishing for this sprawling raw-fie Midwest Fishing Report.

Daniel Renkosiak emailed the topper photo and this report:

Hey Dale!

Been a while since I’ve sent in something. First and foremost the bite is on in small rivers for cats and smallmouth. Topwater did well but 3in white swimbaits put up numbers in both slack water and current. Catfish on crawlers and cut bait. This smallmouth here was simply caught on a nightcrawler. Got it out of the Vermillion river a few miles down stream of the Illinois river. It measured 20.50in. No scale but it was a healthy thick fish. I’d say 4lbs. The girlfriend [Edith Torres] got the big one this time. Hope life is treating you well!

Sincerely Daniel Renkosiak

Small rivers and summer go together.

INDIANA LICENSES

Remember that the extensions on the 2019-20 licenses in Indiana end on Tuesday, June 30. After that, the 2020-21 license is needed.

ILLINOIS FROGGING

It is bullfrogs only. A couple key notes from the Illinois DNR:

A sport fishing license is required to harvest bullfrogs. Bullfrogs may be taken by hook and line, gig, pitchfork, spear, bow and arrow, hand, or landing net.

No person shall harvest bullfrogs or any other reptile or amphibian by commercial fishing devices, including, hoop nets, traps or seines or by the use of firearms, air guns or gas guns or during bowfishing tournaments.

All other species of unprotected reptiles and amphibians (excluding common snapping turtles and bullfrogs) may only be taken by hand. This shall not restrict the use of legally taken reptiles or amphibians as bait by sport fishermen.

Any captured reptiles or amphibians which are not to be retained in the possession of the captor shall be immediately released at the site of capture, unless taken with a lethal method (such as bow and arrow, gig, spear, pitchfork) which does not permit “release with no harm”. All such taken common snapping turtles and bullfrogs must be kept and counted in the daily harvest. No culling of such taken species is permitted. No person shall harvest or possess any species of reptile or amphibian listed as endangered or threatened in Illinois (17 Ill. Adm. Code 1010 except as provided by 17 Ill. Adm. Code 1070).

Season

Bullfrogs may be taken only between June 15 and October 15, both dates inclusive.

Daily Harvest and Possession Limits

The daily Harvest limit for bullfrogs is 8 with a possession limit of 16. For indigenous amphibian and reptile taxon, which may only be taken by hand, (excluding common snapping turtles and bullfrogs) the possession limit is 8 collectively with no more than 4 per taxa.

AREA LAKES

It’s largemouth bass and bluegill on most lakes and ponds.

Larry Jennings with some thick bluegill from Monee Reservoir. Provided photo
Larry Jennings with some thick bluegill from Monee Reservoir.
Provided

Larry Jennings messaged the photo above and this:

Monee Reservoir Gills 9, 8, and 7 inches

Boat rentals will resume Tuesday, June 30, at Monee Resevoir.

Pete Lamar emailed on Monday:

I’ll include this week’s report too, since it’s really threatening outside and I can’t imagine fishing after work tonight: Fishing had slowed for me. Bluegills and bass were getting kind of lethargic. But I went out at the tail end of a storm and the aftermath yesterday evening and all the rain changed things for the better. Not sure if it lowered temperatures or caused higher dissolved oxygen levels in the water, but the fish were feeding aggressively. I never even had to go subsurface-all the action came on big poppers and it was non-stop.

. . .

Pete

Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed:

Hey Dale,

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

Area lakes-Summer patterns are setting up with the above average temps. Bass are excellent during the last hour and half of light. Zara puppies and Storm chug bugs are good choices for topwater action. Throw a Baby 1-minus on the misses. Lightening bugs are finally making their appearance. Makes for some nice evenings.

TTYL

Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team

BRAIDWOOD LAKE

The cooling lake in the southwest corner of Will County is open daily 6 a.m. to sunset.

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Logan McKenzie at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said bluegill still kinda on beds; crappie mostly on weed edges; walleye most fishing river or off-shore reefs; largemouth starting to grouping on weed lines; smallmouth showing up on rocky bottoms; some fishing catfish near the McHenry dam.

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

NOTE 2: The Stratton Lock and Dam is closed Mondays and Tuesdays, operating Wednesday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to midnight.

CHICAGO RIVER

Riverwalk is open, but remains closed to fishing.

Chicago River carp. Provided by Jeffrey Williams
Chicago River carp.
Provided by Jeffrey Williams

Jeffrey Williams messaged the photo above and this:

Another fun day at the river, bad storms and all. Caught this 10 lb carp and me and my lil bro caught a lot of crawfish

DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN

Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake 6/22/2020 through 6/29/2020

Fishing continues to be pretty good on Delavan. Since we’ve finally had a stretch of decent weather, the boat traffic is pretty strong but the fishing remains strong as well.

Largemouth bass continue to be in two patterns. The first is the post spawn shallow bite. I’ve been catching them in 5-6 ft of water. The Lake Lawn Lodge is a good choice. The best bait is Senkos in green pumpkin color. With the warming water, this bite will only last through next week or so. The bite on the deep weedline is getting much stronger. The best bait on the deep weedline is either nightcrawlers or drop shotting 4 inch plastic worms. The best color is green pumpkin. Look for the fish by the gray condos or by the island on the west end.

Last week I caught several smallmouth while lindy rigging for northerns on 6 inch suckers. Some of the fish were over 20 inches. I still have not been able to pattern the smallmouth on Delavan Lake. I know the locations where I’ve caught them but they don’t seem to be in the same place two days in a row. One of my best locations has been the Village Supper Club or the Oriental boathouse. Work a depth of 17 ft of water right outside the weedline.

Bluegills have been a little spotty The fish are in 6-8 ft of water associated with hard sand bottom. Good locations are west of Willow Point or by the Village Supper Club. Most of the fish are being caught on bobber with leaf worms or wax worms which are tipped on an ice jig.

Walleyes are starting to show up more on the weedline. I’ve been catching most of my fish by lindy rigging either nightcrawler or leeches. The best location is by Belvidere Park or by Browns Channel. Most of the fish have been in the 13-14 inch range. That must have been a strong stocking class a few years ago.

Northern Pike have finally started to bite on the outside weed edge. I’ve been catching my fish on lindy rigged suckers. The best depth for me has been 20-26 ft of water. I’ve been fishing from the Village Supper Club point to the Oriental boathouse. The size is still a bit small, the biggest fish last week was 30 inches.

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

DOWNSTATE

EMIQUON: Basically, go to the launch. General information at http://experienceemiquon.com/sites/default/files/LakeAccessRules.pdf.

SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing.

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed, but may reopen later.

[UPDATED} Here is the word from The Wetlands Initiative:

Paddling and Fishing at the Dixon Refuge

Hennepin & Hopper Lakes are now open for summer paddling and fishing! The opening was delayed this year because of COVID-19 but you still have plenty of time to enjoy the lakes before the season ends on September 7.

As usual, the lakes are closed on Mondays during the summer season except for Labor Day. For all other paddling and fishing rules, please click here.

And many thanks to everyone who has been following the special health guidelines while using the Refuge trails during the COVID-19 epidemic. We want all our visitors and restoration staff to stay healthy!

FOX RIVER

Pete Lamar emailed:

. . .

As far as the Fox tribs, although they weren’t excessively clear, the levels had really dropped, as low as I’ve seen them in a long time. The only smallmouths I caught this week were small; some rock bass to be had in slower, deeper water; the surprise came when a dark shape came off the bottom in deep water and inhaled my white streamer. It was too big to be a smallmouth, so I was hoping for a channel cat. When it didn’t fight well enough to be a cat, I hoped for a buffalo or something unusual. No such luck: it was a big carp. I couldn’t get it unhooked and back in the water fast enough. Storms yesterday were really scattered, so I hope some of the Fox feeder streams got their share of rain. It would help.

Pete

GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN

Mike Matuk with a Geneva Lake smallmouth bass. Provided photo
Mike Matuk with a Geneva Lake smallmouth bass.
Provided

Mike Matuk messaged the photo above last week and this:

Good evening sir. Fished lake Geneva today. Bass were very active in 8-10 fow on drop shot. Ended up with 8 largies and 4 smallies. Did get a 3 pound smallie in 30 fow. All fish caught on the south side, from the flats near Trinkes to just west of Linn Pier. Drop Shot with a 7 inch zoom finesse worm in pumpkin or brown worked well today. Enjoy the rest of your week...

Arden Katz said that rock bass and bluegill remain “on fire” in 12-15 feet on jigs and spikes; bass (he caught a 4 1/2-pound spawned-out smallmouth) are starting to go on the points set the boat by the side of the point and cast up with 4-inch worms on drop-shots.

Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 6/22/20 through 6/29/20

Summer is finally here and the fishing remains very good. Several species are active and readily available.

Largemouth bass are still biting in the shallow waters around docks or in the shallow weeds. Most of the success has been in the 8-12 ft. range. I’ve been fishing a lot of nightcrawlers fished on a split shot rig. Some days you will go through several dozen due to the activity of the pan fish. Dock fishermen are getting several fish on tube baits or jigs. The best docks seem to be in the more shallow water – 7-8 ft. range. The best locations have been Trinkes or Geneva Bay.

Smallmouth bass fishing has been sporadic. The warmer water is starting to push the bass deeper. They are starting to follow the pods of baitfish and suspend. The best depths can vary by up to 10 ft. Most of the active fish were caught in 15-20 ft. of water. Nightcrawlers rigs or Carolina rigs produced most of the action. For Carolina rig fishing, I typically use and 18-24 inch leader. My preferred bait are spider grubs or centipedes. I use exclusively Arkie crawlin’ grubs or Zoom Centipedes. The best colors have been green/pumpkin.

Crappies are done spawning and are suspending in 15-20 ft. of water. The best bait has been small tube baits fished on a 1/32 oz jig. Fish them on light line to get the best depth out of your cast. The best color, as always on Geneva, is the clear or smoke tube baits with silver glitter. The crappies have been located around Conference Point, Coleman’s Point or Piers 168-169.

Rock Bass are still everywhere. The best presentation remains the nightcrawler fished on a split shot rig. Look for the rock bass in 12-15 ft. of water for the most success. Small plastics are still producing a lot of fish. White and Pink have produced most of the action for me.

Northern Pike are in transition from the springtime haunts to the deep weed lines. The pike will be positioned on the thermocline, usually by the 4th of July or a few days after. Start looking for the pike in 27 ft of water. That’s the usually the end of weed growth on the lake. I will be lindy rigging chubs or medium suckers at that time.

I have not fished for walleyes or spoken with anyone who has. They should however start to become active at night. My best success is always about 11 pm to 4 am. Trolling crankbaits produces most of the fish.

Good Luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063.

GREEN LAKE AREA, WISCONSIN

Steve Nesam, from Portage, Wis., with one of many Fox Lake largemouth bass caught on Father’s Day. Provided by Mike Norris
Steve Nesam, from Portage, Wis., with one of many Fox Lake largemouth bass caught on Father’s Day.
Provided by Mike Norris

Guide Mike Norris texted the photo above and emailed this:

Fishing Report 06/22/2020

Mike Norris

Big Green Lake – Smallmouth bass fishing is improving on this 7,300-acre south-central WI lake as the water clears up. Tubes rigged “dirty style” with quarter-ounce jigs are enticing smallmouth bass in 8 -12 ft. of water. Ned rigs are working well in 3 - 8 ft of water in areas of submerged rock piles. Largemouth bass are falling to Texas rigged worms in waters 3 ft or less.

Fox Lake (Dodge County) – Weed growth in the eastern part of Fox Lake known as “The Government Area” is way under average and largemouth bass and northern pike are packed into small areas where weeds are found. With 13 minutes left in my half day guide trip last Sunday my clients were 5 fish shy of catching 40 bass. I positioned them near a good weed bed - they doubled down and caught 10 more bass in the final 13 minutes. Walleye fishing on Fox Lake is also excellent right now. For walleye try quarter-ounce jigs tipped with Gulp minnows just outside weed lines in 8 - 12 ft of water.

Phone me at 630-842-8199 to book a guided fishing trip or contact me through my website at www.comecatchsmallmouth.com

HEIDECKE LAKE

The former cooling lake near Morris is open daily 6 a.m. to sunset.

KANKAKEE RIVER

George Peters with a Kankakee River smallmouth bass. Provided photo
George Peters with a Kankakee River smallmouth bass.
Provided

George Peters emailed the smallmouth bass photo, caught on a jerkbait, above, then added Friday:

also has some largemouth bass but this is about max size around 17”. Need to fish slower water to get them. G. Peters

LAKE ERIE

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

LAKEFRONT

Though harbors reopened to boaters and the lakefront trail reopened, the lakefront remains officially closed. That includes the fisherman’s parking lots. Enforcement varies. West of Lake Shore Drive is open, such as Jackson Park and Diversey Harbor (good rock bass, some perch very early). Click here for some details on that.

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters, who now has the Massive Confusion fishing out of Montrose Harbor, said on the shoreline from McCormick Place to Kenosha, there is a good fishing, it varies from 60 feet of water to 180. Off Chicago, there are good coho, lakers and a few steelhead and kings in 60-80 feet; he uses 00 Dodgers and small flies, but a variety of presentations are working.

“Find the bait, find the fish,” he said. “Speeds are critical, 2.3-2.5, is where they are best.”

Out of North Point, it is in 60-200 feet, depending on the day, overall very good for mainly cohos, all different sizes, “a whole variety pack.”

Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed the report and photo below:

Hi Dale

Waukegan fishing had been excellent. Great number of fish with limits or near limits of all silver fish every trip. Coho dominate the catch with bonus chinook and steelhead. On Father’s Day afternoon we boated the boat record chinook for Manipulator, 29.5 pounds. We had a 22 pounder and several chinook in the teens this week. The fish are holding in 60 to 120 feet. The key has been finding currents. The fish are feeding in the currents. Best rigs are boards with keel weights running 00 red Luhr-Jensen dodgers and Jimmy Flys in Scottie or Spectra patterns, slide divers and lead cores with Stubby Dodgers with Jimmy Fly Green Pearl patterns, downriggers running bright colored Warrior Spoons in Flutter and Flutter XL in Pink Alewife, Steelhead Candy, Orange Killer and Half-time patterns. The chinook have been coming on wire divers with Musselhead Tackle Corn Fed Flashers and Smokin Fish or Jimmy Flys in Bullfrog and Aqua.

Hopefully the weather stays calm and we continue to have predominantly westerly winds. The wind has the silver fish stacked up on the West side of the lake.

Attached is the 29.5 pound king, one with it held by my charter partner Captain Mike Fuys and one with me. It hit a wire diver at 125 with Musselhead Tackle Corn Fed Flasher and Jimmy Fly Bullfrog. The fish tore out more than a football field of line with it out almost 500 feet at one point.

Have a great week.

Capt. Scott Wolfe

School Of Fish Charters
www.schooloffishcharters.com
630-341-0550

Boat record Chinook out of Waukegan. Provided by Capt. Scott Wolfe
Boat record Chinook out of Waukegan.
Provided by Scott Wolfe

LaSALLE LAKE

The cooling lake, south of Seneca, is open daily 6 a.m. to sunset.

MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN

Click here for the update from D&S Bait.

MAZONIA

The lakes in southwestern Will County are open daily for fishing 6 a.m. to sunset.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

Michael Malmquist messaged the photo below from a muskie tournament on Land O’Lakes and this:

Had a good day on lac vieux 2 musky lost another and had a real big one hit once and miss and come back boat side and slam it again and miss 1 27in walleye 21 in bass and 3 pike should have won tournament but measuring the bigger one it flopped back in lake don’t measure them on side of boat lol lost 950$

That’s getting it done.

Michael Malmquist with a big muskie from northern Wisconsin. Provided photo
Michael Malmquist with a big muskie from northern Wisconsin.
Provided

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

Despite a few set backs from cold fronts, small storms and…dunnnnn dunn dunnn dunnn…Mayfly hatches, fishing not bad overall.

Largemouth Bass: Very Good – Cold kept many Bass out in weeds, still feeding up before bedding. Tubes, Wacky Worms, 4” worms on jig heads, XL leeches and mud minnows for the bait pitchers. Best action in cabbage of 6-10’. Evenings, top-water action good on Frogs, Spiders and Jitterbugs.

Bluegill: Good – Small live bait (leeches, worms, thunderbugs) and tiny jigs with tinsel or plastic. Nice Gills on poppers on the warming evenings.

Musky: Good – Smaller bucktails, gliders and twitch baits. Top-water baits early and late in the day.

Walleye: Good – Some down turns with super low pressure, and the presences of the dreaded Mayfly hatch on certain lakes. But leeches in deeper cabbage and along coontail edges doing the trick. Just check for skins before launching.

Northern Pike: Good – Cover large weed flats using spinner baits, chatter baits and #3:#4 Mepps spinners. If not moving Pike doing this, switch to 1/16th oz slo-poke jig on a thin wire leader with a 4-6” chub or sucker to fish lower and slower into 6-10’ cabbage.

Crappie: Good – Shaking Gapen Freshwater Shrimp jigs, Mini Mites or 1” twister tails on 1/32 oz jigs through weed tops in 8-12’ best. Crappie minnows should be fished high in weeds also.

Yellow Perch: Good – Medium leeches, ½ crawlers in weed pockets. Warming mornings best, try slip-floats in these pockets.

Smallmouth Bass: Good – Cruising outside coontail edges on Ned rigs and drop-shotting 3” minnow baits. Drowned wood also good choice using craw imitations.

Water temps that were cresting into the low 70’s last week dropped into the upper 60’s after fronts. Probably won’t see huge shifts due to highs forecasted in the 70’s this week.

But these same forecasters didn’t forecast the storm I got hit with Sunday aft, so what do they know!

Thank you,

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
Like us on FaceBook

NORTHWEST INDIANA

A good outing on southern Lake Michigan n Northwest Indiana. Provided by Capt. Rich Sleziak
A good outing on southern Lake Michigan n Northwest Indiana.
Provided by Capt. Rich Sleziak

Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted the photo above and this report:

Lots of people still fishing all over everyday if there’s water there are people fishing

Salmon and trout good straight out of the ditch on the state line area fishing top to bottom dodgers flys and spoons in all flavors good

Steelhead fishing on and off at portage river walk and Michigan city pier shrimp and crawlers best baits some caught casting spoons in orange also

Willow slough giving up fish must move around but lots of fish being caught

A few picks from last few days fast action and nice mix straight out of ditch fishing state line area

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN

Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said it was a blow day on Tuesday, but before the blow perch were being caught in 35 feet to the north and south; there were some skamania around the pierheads and a mix of lakers, coho and a few kings in 130-200 feet.

SHABBONA LAKE

Staff at Lakeside said bass (points and lakeside, size and numbers on plastics or crankbiats) and walleye (crawlers or leeches on weed lines or road bed) are good; some catfish to 22 inches; the water has a good foot of visibility and temperatures in the upper 70s.

Site hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Lakeside (6 a.m.-7 p.m.) is open with boat rentals (6:30 a.m.-6 p.m.). Pokanoka’s Cafe is open seven days with limited-menu takeout. Camp store is open daily, 5-8 p.m. week days.

VERMILLION RIVER

See the photo at the top and Daniel Renkosiak’s report.

WISCONSIN RIVER

DJ Fyre unhooks a fish on the Wisconsin River with Rob Abouchar in the background. Provided photo
DJ Fyre unhooks a fish on the Wisconsin River with Rob Abouchar in the background.
Provided

Rob Abouchar emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale,

It was Rocking; Rolling, and Rub A Dubbing last weekend on the Wisconsin River and at Lake Pesobic in Merrill Wisconsin. I was joined by reggae promoter DJ Fyre of Fyre Productions; and Larry Lixx LoCascio of hometown Mundelein Rock and Roll early days fame. The weather was very cool with a frost advisory issued for the first morning of fishing.and lots of Sun and wind. Chamber of commerce special for sure! The river was way over it’s banks in town but lake Pesobic and Alexander were fishable. At Lake Pesobic Largemouth were hitting soft plastics skipped under docks and in openings of thicker weeds. Weed growth seems behind for this time of year; most likely due to the cool Spring. On Lake Alexander Pike, Smallmouth, and Walleye could be caught but it took work. Larry had some action with a lipless crankbait in crawfish pattern. Smallmouth Bass were hitting Pink Bubblegum and white senkos rigged wacky style. Flipping into the edge and sparse weeds was critical to get bigger bites. Some nice pike were caught on a black and blue Thunder Cricket. Larry had couple of big blow ups on top water frogs.that only produced a bit of adrenaline. The bite will indeed improve with warmer Summerlike conditions.

The Music is starting back up with the Full Charge Reggae band with two shows behind us and several more Sunday afternoons through September booked at Hawthornes’ Backyard in West Chicago. A nice and very spacious outdoor area with plenty of space to be distant while outside. and a mini wrigley field out back. I was thinking where is the Whiffle Ball and bat?... get the duct tape and call the Lucchesi boys!!!

Tight lines and Good Health,

Rob