Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Catfish, bass, bluegill and lakers in the summer heat

Catfish, largemouth bass and bluegill on inland waters and lake trout on Lake Michigan lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

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The gorging days of summer are here, as shown by this largemouth bass with a bluegill. Provided in a tweet by Ryan Lipsett

The gorging days of summer are here, as shown by this largemouth bass with a bluegill.

Provided in a tweet by Ryan Lipsett

Catfish, largemouth bass and bluegills inland and lake trout on Lake Michigan lead this sprawling raw-fie Midwest Fishing Report.

Ryan Lipsett tweeted the photo at the top and this:

Caught a 1.22 large mouth bass today and there was already a bluegill in its mouth. @BowmanOutside @CourtLipsett

I’ll admit I have a weakness for those photos.

And welcome to Christina Petrites at Stan’s Bait & Tackle Center in Hammond, Ind., who begins providing reports.

ILLINOIS FROGGING

Bullfrog-only season runs through Oct. 15 in Illinois. Daily bag is eight.

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.

CHICAGO FISHING PARKING PASSES

The parking passes for the fisherman’s parking lots are not being sold while the lakefront remains officially closed.

ILLINOIS RIVER LOCKS

Closures are on for the Dresden Island, Marseilles, Starved Rock, Peoria and LaGrange locks on the Illinois River to facilitate major repairs.

Here are the two lead paragraphs from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois – Beginning July 1, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District is temporarily closing the Dresden Island, Marseilles, Starved Rock, Peoria and LaGrange locks on the Illinois Waterway to facilitate needed repairs and maintenance. The closures, which will be conducted simultaneously to limit impacts to navigation, are scheduled to last through late October. During the closures, no vessels will be able to pass through the closed locks. Navigation on the rest of the river, between the locks, will be able to continue without impact as water levels will be maintained at a normal level throughout the season.

Click here for details on the timing and other details on the closures.

AREA LAKES

Largemouth bass near Lake Zurich. Photo provided

Largemouth bass near Lake Zurich.

Provided

Largemouth bass, bluegill and catfish are the lead on inland waters, especially largemouth, as Thomas Maru posted two days ago:

My wifes cousin’s husband yesterday. 4 lb 10 oz bass near Lake Zurich.

How can I not include a photo of a wife’s cousin’s husband’s bass?

Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed the report and photo below:

Hey Dale, Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing. Area lakes- bass continue to be good during evening hours. Texas rigged power worms worked along deep weedlines have been producing good numbers. The thunderstorms that rolled through over the weekend allowed for fishing inflows with strong current. Throwing crankbaits along the current seam produced good number of bass. TTYL — Ken Husker O’Malley Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a largemouth bass. Provided photo

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a largemouth bass.

Provided

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale, I stuck close to home this week-not much more than walking distance-so no report on smallmouths.I didn’t want to waste any time driving only to be chased off a stream by lightning.Bluegills and bass have been cooperative on a variety of flies.Some bluegills-the large ones-are spawning again. Grasshoppers are starting to get active in meadows on sunny days.Wisconsin and Iowa brook and brown trout should take notice very soon. Pete

One of my favorite fishing memories is walking through an Amish farmer’s meadow and collecting grasshoppers, then fishing them weightless floating down a small trout stream. Tremendous bait.

BRAIDWOOD LAKE

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

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Brad Irving at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said that catfish are going on cutbait, stink bait, crawlers, leeches, or, to put it plainly, “They are taking it all.” He said some good white bass are schooling on Petite and Bluff; there’s some walleye early mornings at the mouth of channels on leeches and crawlers; bluegill are active, better ones on deeper weed lines; bass slowed down with high water temperatures;

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.

DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN

Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake 7/20/2020 through 7/27/2020 Fishing continues to be fantastic. The only draw back has been the intense boat traffic and the long wait to get on and off the lake. The largemouth bass are stacked on the weed lines. Last week I caught 15 fish over 4 lbs. I’ve been using nightcrawlers however, deep diving crank baits or weed jigs would work also. The fish are located on the outside of the weed edge in 16-18 ft. of water. The best location has been by Willow Point or by the Yacht Club. Walleye fishing has slowed. The best action for me has been coming between 6 am to 8 am. I’ve been using mostly nightcrawlers and jumbo leeches fished on a lindy rig. One of the keys for me continues to be the painted hooks. The best location has been by the Oriental boathouse or by Browns Channel. Northern Pike fishing has improved. The larger fish are now on the outer edges of the weed lines. They are very accessible for the catching. I use medium suckers and a lindy rig. The best location has been by Browns Channel or by the Gray condos. Perch fishing continues to be good. The perch are biting in about 15 ft of water. The best approach is either straight lining beneath the boat or using slip bobbers. Helgrammites or nightcrawlers have been the best bait. Look for them on the west end of the lake either by American Marine or by the old Boy Scout camp. Bluegills are in their mid summer patter. The fish are about six inches to 1 ft. off bottom. The best bait has been leaf worms fished on a slip bobber. Look for the fish in front of Lake Lawn or over by the Yacht Club point. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

DOWNSTATE

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: 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!

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.

GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN

Geneva Lake bounty. Provided by Mark Kubal

Geneva Lake bounty.

Provided

Mark Kubal messaged the photo above and this on Thursday:

Lake Geneva Report: Big pumpkinseed and bluegill in the 8.5-10 in range are being caught in 16-20 feet over the tops of weed beds with giant red worms. Fishing vertical or fa casting small presentations are working very well. Chunky rockbass in the 11-13 inch range are mixed in right with them. Water temps are 79-81 degrees

I have a real weakness for pumpkinseeds. I think they are one of our most beautiful native fish.

Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 7/20/20 through 7/27/20 Over the last few weeks, fishing has been very good and continues to be good due to the warm weather. Almost all of the species that swim in the waters of Lake Geneva are accessible for the taking. Northern Pike fishing has moved to the thermocline. The thermocline is at approximately 30-35 ft. Chubs fished on a lindy rig produce the most action. Small suckers work however, not as well. The key to the presentation is a ¾ oz walking sinker an 18 inch leader and a 1/0 hook. Look for the fish near the Fontana Beach, Cedar Point or in the narrows. Largemouth Bass are both on the deep weed lines (18-20 ft) or the shallow weed line (10-12 ft.) I’ve been catching the bigger fish deep and the numbers in the shallow water. The shallow fish can be readily taken on a split shot rigged night crawler. The deep fish are hitting either Carolina rigged lizards or dragging a jig on the bottom. Green pumpkin or watermelon seed seem to produce most of the action. Perch fishing has been good in the 16-18 ft range. The fish have been caught at the Fontana Beach area or by Rainbow Point. Most of the fish I’ve been catching have been on nightcrawlers. Slip bobber and small minnows would also work. I caught several perch last week over 12 inches. Smallmouth bass fishing has been scattered. The smallmouth bass are on the medium weedlines in 13-16 ft. of water. I’ve been catching them along with the largemouth near Big Foot beach, Coleman’s Point or near Abbey Springs. Walleye action has been okay. All the fish are being caught at night. Most are being taken while trolling or by lindy rigging jumbo leeches. The best time to catch the fish is between 11 pm and 3:30 am. Look for the fish by Abbey Springs or in Geneva Bay. 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

On Monday, Mike Norris guided Kendra Frigo from Naperville to this Big Green smallmouth bass. Provided photo

On Monday, Mike Norris guided Kendra Frigo from Naperville to this Big Green smallmouth bass.

Provided

Guide Mike Norris texted the photo above and emailed this:

Fishing Report 07/20/2020 Mike Norris Big Green Lake – The weather has cooled, and Big Green’s water temperature is back down into the upper 70’s, but both largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing here remains a hit or miss proposition.Catching bass on sunny and windless days is a work in progress.Add cloud cover and a breeze and the bite is on.I’m still working jig and plastic combos along weedlines and also Texas rigged worms under piers.Walleye remain active early and late in the day with spinners and crawler harnesses trolled in 15 – 18 ft of water just over the top of deep weed beds.Northern pike are active in 30 – 35 ft of water and can be taken with chubs or sucker minnows. Fox Lake – Walleye bite is good on crankbaits trolled over the deep basin of the lake.Walleyes are also being taken late in the evening off piers using leeches and a slip bobber.Bluegills are active just off piers about anywhere you go on the lake.Pike fishing remains good in the Government Area and the Jug.Largemouth bass are biting skirted jigs fished in and around deep weedlines. Phone me at 630-842-8199 to book a guided fishing trip or contact me through my website atwww.comecatchsmallmouth.com

HEIDECKE LAKE

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

KANKAKEE RIVER

Kankakee River smallmouth bass. Provided by George Peters

Kankakee River smallmouth bass.

Provided by George Peters

George Peters emailed the photo above and this:

Hi dale, [Kankakee] was just getting fishable before recent rains. Back to fishing near shore where the water clears first. Slow worked jigs in black will get some fish out of current. G. Peters

LAKE ERIE

Larry Jennings with the bounty of Lake Erie walleye. Provided photo

Larry Jennings with the bounty of Lake Erie walleye.

Provided

Lake Erie keeps rolling as Larry Jennings messaged:

Great weekend on Lake Erie, slow Saturday but the wind picked up on Sunday and that was the difference

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

LAKEFRONT

The lakefront remains officially closed, but people are doing a lot of things on the lakefront, including fishing by walking or biking in. Fisherman’s parking passes are not being sold while the lakefront remains officially closed.

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said that out of Chicago “lakers are spectacular” around the Wreck and in 95-100 feet fishing Spin-and-Glos on the bottom. He said, “There’s been some brutes, including a 28-pounder.” Out of North Point, there’s some coho, the occasional steelhead and king, but mostly lake trout; but every day is “a different deal with water tempeatures changing.”

Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed:

Hi Dale Fishing out of Waukegan continued do be good. Despite lots of North and Northeast wind, the fish didn’t move much, although there was definitely less baitfish in the area. Depths of 75 to 125 both North and South of the harbor were about equally good. Basically for Lake Trout 50 feet to the bottom using Jimmy Fly Mo Rigs behind 0 Luhr-Jensen Dodgers or large chinook size flys or small spoons in Warrior XL and Flutter sizes on downriggers or divers. The only thing they didn’t want to hit was big magnum spoons. For coho and steelhead Jimmy Fly in Green Pearl, Scotty and Green/Black Maniac patterns and Warrior XL and Flutter in Orange/Yellow patters like Jamaican Sunrise, Steelhead Candy and Orange Killer above 50 feet on divers, downriggers leadcore and copper lines took fish. 30 to 50 feet down was best. There was definitely less bait around and this slowed the fishing a little. we still managed nice catches and lots of hits. There is a lot of West wind in the forecast and I’m hopeful this will bring more bait back and will also trigger chinook and greater numbers of steelhead to come to us. Capt. Scott Wolfe School Of Fish Charters schooloffishcharters.com 630-341-0550

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

Lakes are open daily for fishing 6 a.m. to sunset.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

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

Couple of nasty storms brought in cooler weather and a drop in lake surface temps.Not enough for any drastic changes in fishing but far more comfortable for anglers and safer for fish being caught and released. Largemouth Bass:Very Good – The only bite that has really taken much of a hit has been the top-water bite, and that hasn’t been half bad.Favorite Bass techniques for weed fishing have all been working well with the typical Wacky Worming hard to beat.Lots of action and nice overall size. Smallmouth Bass:Good-Very Good – Best action along outside weed edges of coontail in 14-18’.Ned Rigs tops, but drop-shotting just as effective. Bluegill:Good-Very Good - Setting up over cabbage beds in as little as 6’ to coontail in 18’.Draw ‘em in range using a small spinner, then set up small floats with Mini-Mites, small leeches or worms. Northern Pike:Good-Very Good – The cooler temps have helped improve the action.Working spinner baits, chatter baits across cabbage flats best.Smaller Musky glider baits also good. Musky:Good – Anglers reporting good action on fluted buck tails, soft tailed gliders.A few anglers still doing well on suckers, keep live bait down 10-12’ to help keep these suckers alive! Crappie:Good – Patterned up amongst the top of narrow leaf cabbage.Small beetle spins, 2 twister tails and 1/32 oz jigs with hair or tinsel producing slabs of 11-13. Yellow Perch:Good-Fair – Not a lot of people targeting.Those that have been noticed drop of action with cool down.Drifting Lindy rigs baited with ½ crawlers or soft shell crayfish over 16-20’ sandgrass best for larger fish (10-12) Walleye:Fair-Good – Deep rock humps using redtails, full crawlers or the largest leeches available.Early AM jigging cabbage flats leading to deep water effective. The storms brought a reprieve to the hot surface temps, many of which are back into the mid-70’s after hitting highs into the mid-80’s.A little less pleasure boat traffic has put more anglers on the water. Leeches still a low supply, high demand bait.Typical for this bait to slow down to traps as water warms too much.Hopefully this week, with its cooler temps, will bring more into the traps. Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop Like us on FaceBook

NORTHWEST INDIANA

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

Perch ok for the groups moving around a lot finding active schools 30 to 45ft of water has been best lately east of the donut working East towards Michigan city baby golden roach minnows by far best bait Some action for trollers outside mouth of ditch for steelhead in 35 to 45 ft of water mag spoons best Offshore salmon and trout in 80 to 150ft of water spread out must cover a lot of water fish 50ft to the bottom Catfish at night fishing triple s stinkbait at portage river walk

Christina Petrites at Stan’s Bait & Tackle Center in Hammond emailed:

Dale, Here’s what I’ve gathered together for this week, from speaking with customers & another fishing store owner. It’s my first time, so I hope it’s not too bad: ~Jumbo leeches & Nightcrawlers are working well for walleye in Wolf Lake. ~Catfish in area ponds are doing excellently on cutbait, crawfish, & larger nightcrawlers. ~On the lakefront-spoons, herring, & flies for light coho & king salmon mixed in. ~Perch fishing has been very strong on crawfish, minnows, & beemoths in 28-32 FOW. ~Steelhead fishing has picked up near Michigan City & St. Joseph, w/ good numbers of fish being caught in 90-100 FOW using small spoons & herring for trolling. Off piers, larger Nightcrawlers & shrimp are working well. ~Lots of lake trout in 100-140 FOW on spin-n-glos & squid. Tell me what ya think... ~Christina

Works for me and welcome to the sprawling raw-file MFR.

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN

Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said there’s a few steelhead being caught off the pier; the water flipped, so the perch slowed, but there were some south; a few salmon are being caught in 150-180, otherwise it is mainly lakers.

SHABBONA LAKE

Staff at Lakeside said the heat slowed fishing, though water temperatures have dropped into the low 80s; catfish are good on chicken livers or crawlers on the bottom near weed lines; bass being caught shallow on soft plastics.

Site hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Lakeside (6 a.m.-7 p.m.) is open with boat rentals (6 a.m.-6 p.m.). Pokanoka’s Cafe is open daily, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The camp store is open 5-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, noon-8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, and 8 a.m.-noon Sunday.

WISCONSIN RIVER

Wisconsin River smallmouth bass. Provided by Rob Abouchar

Wisconsin River smallmouth bass.

Provided by Rob Abouchar

Rob Abouchar messaged the photo above and this:

Wisconsin River Merrill Wisconsin smallies hitting Pop R with tail feathers. Also soft plastic Craw getting bites despite high water after rains

Then on Tuesday, he messaged the added report and photo below:

Multi species day today on Alexander Flowage. but came up short of a grand slam. Need that Muskie on the Senko

Doubling up on the Wisconsin River. Photo provided by Rob Abouchar

Doubling up on the Wisconsin River.

Photo provided by Rob Abouchar

WOLF LAKE

Christina Petrites at Stan’s Bait & Tackle Center in Hammond emailed:

Dale, Here’s what I’ve gathered together for this week, from speaking with customers & another fishing store owner. It’s my first time, so I hope it’s not too bad: ~Jumbo leeches & Nightcrawlers are working well for walleye in Wolf Lake. . . . Tell me what ya think... ~Christina

Works for me and welcome to the sprawling raw-file MFR.

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