Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Downed trees, wadable rivers, topwaters and lakers

Downed trees, wadable rivers around Chicago, topwaters on rivers and inland lakes and ponds, and lake trout on southern Lake Michigan lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

SHARE Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Downed trees, wadable rivers, topwaters and lakers
Downed branches from the storm just outside Park Bait, which reopened Friday at Montrose Harbor. Provided

Downed branches from the storm just outside Park Bait, which reopened Friday at Montrose Harbor.


Wadable rivers, topwater action, downed trees on inland waters and lakers on southern Lake Michigan lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Stacey Greene texted the photo above this morning from Park Bait. What can you say? It’s been that kind of year.


The iconic bait/tackle shop at Montrose Harbor reopened on Friday. Scheduled hours are 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. But Stacey Greene noted that with everything going on hours could change.


The final day for the season will be Sept. 14.


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


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.


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.


It just made me happy this week to see all the families and sometimes just kids hitting many little ponds and lakes that I used to rarely see people fishing. I am beginning to think that change may outlast the pandemic.

Ken Husker O’Malley emailed: Hey Dale, Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing. . . . Area lakes-the last hour of light continues to be best time for good topwater action for bass. A Berkley choppo has been the best bait worked over the outside weedlines. TTYL — Ken Husker O’Malley Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team


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


Staff at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said with the lower water temperatures, there’s been a few muskie caught; crappie are being aught, try the channel mouths; walleye are fairly slow; bluegill are on weed lines.

NOTE: Check updates on water conditions at 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. Final day for the season will be Sept. 14.


Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 8/10/20 through 8/17/20 Fishing on Delavan has been a bit tough lately. The boat traffic and fishing pressure both remain very high. You can still catch some large fish but the numbers have been reduced significantly. Largemouth bass have moved from the deep weedlines into the shallows in 10 to 12 ft of water. A lot of fish are also being caught around the boat docks. The best docks to fish are on the north shore from the Yacht Club to Willow Point. The best approach is casting small finesse worms in green pumpkin or watermelon seed around the pier posts. Yellow Perch fishing has been fantastic on the west end by the Viewcrest Bay. You want to anchor the boat in 10 t0 11 ft of water. They are biting on slip bobbers with hellgrammites. Hellgrammites are outfishing any other bait about 5 to 1. Northern pike fishing has been average. I am starting to pick up a few more in the 12-16 ft depth range right on the weedline. The best approach has been fishing Thill slip bobbers or letting the suckers free swim beneath the boat. I like to place the sucker about 1 ft above the weedline. The best location has been by the gray condos which are located by Assembly Park. Bluegills are biting in the 12-13 ft depth range. The best location is by Browns Channel or in front of Township Park. The bite of choice is leaf worms fished straight beneath the boat or casting into the weeds. If your casting into the weeds, the trick is to use a lighter sinker, it will help prevent you from getting snagged. Walleye fishing is slow. Some people are catching a few on leeches, however I spent a whole morning trying to catch them and didn’t even get a bite. Once the water cools some more, fishing for walleyes should improve greatly. The best bite is typically late fall. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


Lynn Van Acker with a fine largemouth bass from the Hennepin Canal. Photo provided by Brian Van Acker

Lynn Van Acker with a fine largemouth bass from the Hennepin Canal.

largemouth bass, Hennepin Canal, outdoors, fishing

Brian Van Acker tweeted the photo above and this:

My dad Lynn Van Acker with a 20 4.5 lb bass out of the Hennepin Canal. Safely released btw. He caught a 6 lb channel cat a couple weeks ago in the same spot.

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

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


Arden Katz with a good night bass from Geneva Lake. Photo provided by Jose Gutierrez

Arden Katz with a good night bass from Geneva Lake.

Provided by Jose Gutierrez

Jose Gutierrez messaged the photo above and this Sunday:

Me and Arden went fishing at lake Geneva last night caught about 30 of them on drop shot in water depth 15 to 20 feet depth 2 to 4lb range

Thanks to Gutierrez for sending photos of Arden Katz, whom I talk with nearly every week but rarely get a photo of.

Katz said that smallmouth were in 20 feet off points on drop-shot worms; there’s decent largemouth in 8-12 feet mornings, especially around docks, on wacky worms; water is in the mid-70s.

Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 8/10/20 through 8/17/20 Smallmouth bass are in the 20-25 ft depth range off of weed points. The best location has been by the Military Academy or by Fontana. The best approach has been lindy rigging nightcrawlers or jumbo leeches. Drop shot anglers are also catching quality fish. Largemouth bass remain in the deeper water from 20 ft down to 30 ft. You want to check the weed points or little changes in the weedline. Most of the success is coming either dragging a nightcrawler or Carolina rigging green pumpkin 6 inch lizards. When Carolina rigging Lake Geneva, I prefer a ½ oz sinker and a 24 inch leader, if I’m fishing less than 20 ft of water. Anything over 20 ft, I switch to a ¾ oz sinker and a 24 inch leader. Early morning and evening top water action can still be effective. You want to find the emergent weeds, which is difficult to find on Geneva, but they are there. Look for these spots by the Military Academy or by Linn Pier. Northern Pike fishing has been steady. The fish are in 35 ft of water tight to bottom. They can be caught by lindy rigging suckers or chubs if you can find them. I continue to use a ¾ oz walking sinker with a 24 inch leader. The best location has been in Fontana Beach or off of Maytag Point. Lake Trout fishing continues to be good. The fish are still in the main lake basin in front of Williams Bay. Look for them 90-100 ft down in 112-120 ft of water. Dodger and Flies have been producing most of the fish. You want to use a small nickel dodger with a green or purple fly. Walleye fishing has been very good at night. Last week, some real hogs were caught. The best time to fish for them is midnight to 3 a.m. Most of the success is coming off of large Rapalas trolled straight behind the boat. A little wind also helps. The best location is by Abbey Springs or Yerkes Observatory. Bluegill fishing has been very good in 18-20 ft of water. The best location has been by Elgin Club or in Geneva Bay. You want to use leaf worms fished on a split shot right on bottom. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


Guide Mike Norris emailed:

Fishing Report – 08/10/2020 Mike Norris Big Green Lake – Largemouth bass are schooling up now around pods of bluegills which they are feeding on. Try bluegill patterned crankbaits or swim baits and work out along the weed edges in 8 to 13 feet of water. Walleye fishing remains slow, but lake trout are cooperating. Sutton spoons trolled with downriggers near the bottom in 150 feet of water are accounting for most catches. I’m still catching an occasional smallmouth bass on Ned Rigs in 8 to 12 feet of water. Little Green Lake – With the arrival of cooler weather in the last week fishing is good on Little Green Lake. Panfish anglers are catching crappies and bluegills and bass anglers are catching largemouth bass beneath docks with plastic worms. The muskie bite is also picking up. There is not much action on perch, but the crappies fishing remains good out in the basin of the lake. Drift across the basin with a minnow and split shot for crappie. Fox Lake – Fishing for bass remains good in both shallow and deep water. Try fishing the edge of the shallow bulrushes with jig and pig lures early and then drop out to the weed lines and fish deep mid-day. Walleyes are good early and late in the day with jigs and nightcrawlers hung below a slip bobber out along the weed edges. Concentrate of the curves in the weed edges for the best action.


Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.


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


Conditions are very good for wading.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a Kankakee River smallmouth bass. Provided photo

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a Kankakee River smallmouth bass.


Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed the photo above and this:

Hey Dale, Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing. Kankakee River-wading conditions continue to be excellent. Tributaries are low and last night’s rain will only help improve conditions. The topwater bite is very good for smallmouth before the sun gets high. Zara spooks and whopper ploppers are the best choice. After the topwater bites fades, switch to bandit 100’s and craw imitators on a keeper hook. Focus on faster moving water. . . . TTYL — Ken Husker O’Malley Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team


Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.


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. As noted at the top, Park Bait is open daily 5 a.m.-8 p.m., barring unforeseen circumstances.

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said that out of Chicago, “The Lake Trout Capital of the World is on fire.” There’s a few coho and a few kings mixed in with a broad range of depths from 120-200 feet; in what he calls “decent fishing.”

Out of North Point, the fish keep moving and are in anywhere from 160-300 feet. “We were getting a bunch of lake trouts and salmon, about 50-50, but the weather seems to have slowed the salmon down,” said Poteshman, who said the water temperatures down deep keeps moving deeper. “Overall, fishing remains very good.”Action is coming on spoons and Dodgers and flies. “Good tip,” Poteshman said. “Run a medium downrigger with a spoon on with a free slider. Sliders have been good.”

Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed:

Hi Dale Warm water really packed in and pushed out the fish. The only good fishing this week was 205 to 300 feet. North versus South doesn’t appear to matter much. The fish are spread out, holding more than 60 feet down but coming up as high as 30 feet to actively feed. Spreading out rods from 30 all the way down to 170 worked. Spoons and Flasher/fly were about equal. Warrior XL and standard size spoons were best with XL Purple Alewife and Standard Green Spoiler being best. White bechhold and Pro Troll Flashers with Aqua and LBB pattern Jimmy Flys chinook size were the top flies. Morning trips were better than afternoon and the catch was mostly lake trout and coho with kings and steelhead here and there. Just spread out and cover water. The fish do not hold in a concentration out there. The warm water really seemed to turn off the fish in the harbor. I heard that a few bass were taken using minnows or worms right in the rocks under bobbers. I didn’t see a single fish caught personally. Cooler temperatures and some West wind will hopefully bring some fish closer this week. Capt. Scott Wolfe School Of Fish Charters 630-341-0550


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


Click here for the update from D&S Bait.


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


Smallmouth bass on the Menominee River. Provided by guide Mike Mladenik

Smallmouth bass on the Menominee River.

Provided by guide Mike Mladenik

Guide Mike Mladenik of emailed the photo above and this:

Conditions are great on the Menominee River and we are catching nice quality smallmouth. Typical summer Pattern Over on the Menominee River there is a great topwater bite. The summer topwater bite will be awesome.


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

Some break in the slow fishing last week came in the form of a front bringing clouds and wind and NOT cool weather by the weekend. Fishing seemed to pick up, though not great, but better than previous couple weeks. Bluegill: Poor-Good – Improved as weather warmed. Active throughout. Weed related, be it cabbage of 6-10’ or on deeper, clearer lakes suspending outside coontail edges of 14-18’. Tiny tube jigs, Mini-mites, small leeches or worms below small floats. Even little #00 & #0 Mepps spinners working over cabbage tops. Smallmouth Bass: Fair-Good – Action improved over deep rock humps. Drop shotting has been best bet using 3 Gulp Alive Minnows and small craw imitations. Jig and creature, as well as heavier Ned rigs, over 18-24’ rock bars also effective. Northern Pike: Fair-Good – Pick your days. Wind and cloud cover help immensely. Cast Boonie Bait spinner baits or chatter baits over tobacco cabbage flats, work at weed top level. On brighter, flat days, ply some weeds with a jig and chub or sucker combo. Musky: Fair-Good – Same as Pike, pick your days with wind or clouds to get fish to move up. Spinner baits, Bucktails and gliders with tails (Smity Jerks, Phantom Soft tails). Otherwise work deep with rubber baits along deep coontail edges or over open water. Largemouth Bass: Fair-Good – Action improved. Wacky worming cabbage beds effective. Evening top-water with small Whopper Ploppers or plastic frogs also good. Crappie: Fair – Scattered reports of fish in curly leaf cabbage tops on small tinsel jigs or 1-2 twister tails Yellow Perch: Fair – Most catches in weeds of 8-12’, ½ crawlers, medium fatheads. Also, drowned wood of 14-18’ on Flowages. Walleye: Fair – While some weed action here and there, deeper rocks seem to be preferred. The largest leeches available, crawlers or red-tailed chubs all scoring when you can locate hungry fish. With less of those cold mornings (as low as 47-49 degrees) the stable temps seem to be helping the bite. Warm weather should help mid-week. A cool down Friday, but more summer like temps to help smooth things out this weekend. Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop Like us on FaceBook


The bounty of southern Lake Michigan in northwest Indiana. Photo provided by Capt. Rich Sleziak

The bounty of southern Lake Michigan in northwest Indiana.

Photo provided by Capt. Rich Sleziak

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

Fishing out of burns ditch in 100 to 140 pretty good last week and over weekend Fishing 65 ft to the bottom spoons and spin doctors and flys best Lil bit of everything being caught lakers,steelhead,coho, and some kings Lots of steelhead are in trail creek in Michigan city but there are lots of fisherman also Willow slough still giving up good numbers of panfish first those in boats willing to move around jumbo reds,beemoth, and crickets best baits Groups fishing at night on pine lake are getting crappie using minnows under floats having lights in the water to draw bait fish work wonders 20 to 28ft of water fishing 8 to 15 ft down best

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

Salmon fishing has really picked up this week with some really nice kings being caught along with a lot of coho anglers are doing best between 80-110 FOW still a fair number of lake trout in 140 FOW south near portageThe pier fishing has slowed down some, as has the perch fishing. Rough seas to blame. Small mouth and walleye are still biting at Wolf Lake & the rivers, as are the catfish (mainly mid-river).


Click here for the Wisconsin DNR’s report, usually on Tuesday or Wednesday.


Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said only a few were out fishing on Tuesday after the storm; there’s a little bit of walleye action in the river; boaters are mainly catching lakers with a few coho and kings in 140-160 feet.


Staff at Lakeside said walleye are picking up, off the drop-offs and rock piles, but it takes sorting through lots of 14-inchers to get to bigger ones; topwaters in the weeds are producing largemouth or try rocky points; a couple muskies caught with the cooler water (70s); after the storm Monday, an angler saw a hybrid busting the surface, hooked it and lost it; bluegill and crappie (cribs or rock piles) are OK.

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.


Click here for the southern Lake Michigan reports from the Wisconsin DNR.

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