Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Really big kings, Navy Pier, low water

A lot of big Chinook, the closing of Navy Pier and low water on rivers around Chicago are among the items with the sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

SHARE Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Really big kings, Navy Pier, low water
Chris Ranney caught his personal best Chinook and the best on Dale Rehus’ boat, Delirious, while fishing out of Waukegan. Provided

Chris Ranney caught his personal best Chinook and the best on Dale Rehus’ boat, Delirious, while fishing out of Waukegan.


Some really big kings have been caught in recent days, questions come on the fishing at Navy Pier, and, believe it or not, low, water on rivers around Chicago are among the leading items in this sprawling raw-fie Midwest Fishing Report.

Chris Ranney messaged the photo at the top and this:

Good evening Dale ... just wanted to share another picture of a fish we were gifted with on this amazing year on the big lake ... we were out of Waukegan roughly where we caught that giant coho that you featured for us ,and set another boat record for Dale Rehus on his boat Delirious.... this is my personal best king and Dales biggest on his boat ... it was just shy of 33 lbs .... ... I’ve had an amazing year as far as one uppers and it’s huge in part to Dale Rehus ..... thought you’d like the fact that the big fish keep coming in our beautiful lake , we missed a couple other monsters ... the king bite is hot and heavy , they are pre staging shallow

It’s been that kind of year for big fish on southern Lake Michigan. Click here for the June 24 article on the possibility of record coho and Chinook.


David Roeder, in a Sun-Times story noting Navy Pier will shut down on Sept. 8, included this paragraph of interest to anglers:

Officials said public access to outdoor spaces such as Polk Bros. Park and the North and South Docks will be limited or prohibited during the closure.


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.


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


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.


Bluegill and bass remain the most consistent bite in these yo-yoing weather conditions.

Pete Lamar emailed this tale:

Hi Dale, . . . The only pond/lake fishing I did was a local forest preserve pond and I got taught a lesson about overconfidence. I stopped to look at the pond on my way home in the late afternoon. There were a couple dozen hand-sized bluegills milling about in the shallows. I went back after sunset thinking they’d be easy to catch in the dark. Not so. I only got some small bass; the bluegills were nowhere to be found. I had no idea what could’ve happened to them, so went back the next afternoon. There they were, as if they’d never moved. And they were receptive to both terrestrial and subsurface patterns. I don’t know where they could’ve gone, but the pond is known to have at least a few big channel cats; the possibility that the bluegills ducked into their bolt-holes to avoid being eaten is as good an explanation as any. Pete


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


Brad Irving at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said walleyes are still going early mornings on jig and crawlers; channel catfish are good, especially on Marie and Petite, on cut bait and stink bait; a few guys doing OK on numbers of smallmouth in the river; lanfish are still on deep weed lines, but with cool nights some are moving to piers; bass and white bass have been slow.

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. It will close for the season on Sept. 14.


Chicago River carp. Provided by Jeffrey Williams

Chicago River carp.

Provided by Jeffrey Williams

Jeffrey Williams messaged the photo above and this:

As for the Chicago River Nice lil 8 pounder, really the only action I had, water temp is a whooping 79 degrees so I don’t expect any shoreline action until the temps go down


Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 8/17/20 through 8/24/20 Where did the heat and humidity go? It was here earlier this week and then all of the sudden it disappeared. It sure made fishing comfortable, although even a bit cool early in the a.m. The weather change didn’t hurt the fishing much so there is still ample opportunity to get out on the water. Largemouth bass remain on the deep weedline in 15-18 ft of water. The best presentation is either swimming black and blue All Terrain Jigs or split shot rigging nightcrawlers. The fish are still very schooled up, so if you catch one, there are likely a few more so fish the spot out before moving. The best location has been west of Willow Point or by the Oriental boat house. One thing I noticed this week is that there are quite a few smaller fish showing up on the deep rock where normally only the big boys hang out. Bluegills have slowed slightly which is good if you are fishing largemouth bass. I’ve reduced the nightcrawler usage from 12 dozen down to 8 dozen per trip. The best success has been in 12-13 ft of water. Straight lining small leaf worms beneath the boat has been producing most of the action. If you want to get creative a Chartreuse Genz bug is also a good bet. Look for the fish by Assembly Park or in front of Township beach. Northern pike action has remained a bit slow. There either in 10-12 ft of water or really deep +25 ft. I have been mostly bass fishing so haven’t been concentrating on the Northern pike too much. Most of the action is coming in the deep water on large suckers fished on a lindy rig. The fish have been located just west of the Yacht Club or just west of Willow Point. A good trip this time of year is 4-5 fish. If you want good pike action, Geneva is a better bet. Walleye pike fishing for me has been pretty much non-existent. It’s basically just the time of year and where I’ve been fishing. The best approach is trolling deep diving crank baits along the weedline in the pre-dawn hours. The best depth is 22 ft. You want to troll your crank baits about 2 ft above the weed edge. Look for the fish by Del Mar or by the concrete point. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


POWERTON: Here is an update from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources:

Powerton Lake SFWA to be Closed for Levee Repairs: Powerton Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area near Pekin will be closed Tues., Aug. 18 – Tues., Sept. 15 while maintenance repairs are made on the Powerton Lake levee. Powerton Lake is the cooling lake for the NRG Powerton Generating Station and NRG is coordinating the project.

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.


Pete Lamar emailed this report:

Hi Dale, I’ll give the Fox and tribs report first: rain from last week had little or no effect on water levels in the Fox tributaries. Upstream, there were what are usually riffles that were completely dry. Pools and runs had absolutely no current. The water was warm to the touch. I caught a lot of rock bass and even a few crappies, but no smallmouths. Farther downstream, in the middle sections, the levels were low but still normal and the water was cool (there must be some strong groundwater flow between the two locations). I got into decent numbers of smallmouths, most of which were small. Smaller than usual flies and light leaders were indicated in the clear water. As far as the Fox itself, I didn’t actually fish it but did practice Spey casting one afternoon. The Fox is holding its level much more than the smaller creeks. I’d describe it as pretty normal Summer levels. The water was clear enough that fly fishing would not have been a waste of time. With no rain forecast for the next several days, The Fox may be the place to go if I want to fish moving water. . . . Pete


Arden Katz said that pumpkinseed and bluegill are in 17-20 feet on spikes, jigs and drop-shots, but leaf worms actually worked better. “We got some pumpkinseeds as round as they were long,” he said. A few smallmouth were caught while they were fishing the weed lines in Geneva Bay for panfish.

Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva Fishing Report 8/17/20 through 8/24/20 First the good news, the heat and humidity have vanished, comfortable weather is here. Now the bad news, it’s the middle of August, the weather is telling us that fall is on its way, back to school and the end of summer are fast approaching. Hurry, get your rod and reel out before it’s too late! Northern Pike action has been the best that it has been in the past 5 years. The fish are between 33 and 40 ft of water. They are aggressively eating medium suckers fished on a lindy rig. Look for the fish by Fontana or on the north shore of the narrows. Another good hidden gem is drifting Maytag point back towards the city of Lake Geneva. For people who haven’t fished northern pike on the thermocline before, as a rule the bite is very subtle. A lot of times it will only feel like extra weight on your line and due to the fact that there are no weeds at the depth you are fishing, that extra weight is indeed a fish. The biggest key to fishing the thermocline is keeping constant bottom contact. Your line should be vertical from bottom to the surface. By doing this, you’ll be able to detect the subtle bite. Rock bass remain in the 12-15 ft range. They are ravenous and will attack a split shot rigged nightcrawler. The best locations have been by the Military Academy or by Belvidere Park. Rock bass to most people are an aggravation, but to people just wanting to catch fish, they can be a ton of fun, especially when you are regularly landing 1 to 1 ½ lb. fish. Walleye fishing remains consistent if the wind blows. You need to troll at night. The best location has been by Abbey Springs or by Trinkes. The best lure has been the deep diving Walleye bandit. Work a depth of 12-15 ft of water. Largemouth bass have pushed out of the shallows and remain on the deep weedline. By far the best spot on the lake is Trinkes Bay from the golf course towards Big Foot Beach. Most of the success is coming while dragging football head jigs or Carolina rigging Zoom lizards. Green pumpkin or watermelon seed are the only two colors I use. The secondary spots I would try would be all main lake points such as, Black Point, Rainbow Point and Conference Point. Bluegills have moved deep. They are in 16-18 ft of water. The best location has been by Elgin Club or off the weed edge in Williams Bay. The best approach is straight lining leaf worms about 1 ft off bottom. You need to have calm winds for this to be effective. 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 – 08/17/2020 Mike Norris . . . Little Green Lake – Cooler water temperatures and a big hatch of little shiner minnows are drawing panfish into the shallows and fishing is good for bluegill and crappies. Muskie fishing is also picking up as they follow the panfish into the shallows. I have heard reports of muskies up to 47 inches being caught in the last week on Little Green. Fox Lake – Bluegill fishing remains good with a few fish in the 8 to 8.5 size being caught. Try the backside of Brushwood Island and the gravel areas around Elmwood Island with a jig threaded with a red worm suspended beneath a float in 8 ft of water. Largemouth bass fishing ground to a halt on Fox Lake early last week but by last weekend there were signs its picking back up. My guide trip last weekend netted 18 bass for my clients with 4 bass exceeded 18 inches or more. Try a jig and pig in and around the deep side or pockets in weed patches along shoreline areas. Northern pike fishing is slow. Big Green Lake – Smallmouth bass and walleye fishing remains slow, but lake trout fishing is good right now. Try trolling Sutton Spoon anywhere from 80 to 120 ft down for the best lake trout action. Bluegill fishing is also improving and they can be caught working the edge of deep weed lines For best results cruise weed edges with your electronics to find them first and then spot lock over them and use a drop shot rig with a #10 hook with a red worm threaded on it. Phone me at 630-842-8199 to book a guided fishing trip or contact me through my website at


Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.


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

Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed:

Hey Dale,

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

. . .

Heidecke-slow. Water temps are 79-80 degrees and clarity is somewhat stained from the typical summer algae bloom. Get out early as the top water bite does not last very long for bass. Walleye and crappie are slow as well. Water needs to cool down for the bite to pick up again.


Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team


Pete Riedesel caught a good catfish on a topwater. Provided photo

Pete Riedesel caught a good catfish on a topwater.


Pete Riedesel (see Fishin Friend Guide Service on Facebook) texted the photo above and this:

Not something you see much. Topwater cat I thought I had the state record smallies. Thing had to be 5 pounds


George Peters with a Kankakee River walleye. Provided photo

George Peters with a Kankakee River walleye.


George Peters emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale! Kankakee low and clear but some weed bloom a problem on your line. Sm feeding on minnow or craw baits. A few walleye in deep areas

He also added

Grand kid 15 smallmouth

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

George Peters with a grandkid and a Kankakee River smallmouth bass.


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

Hey Dale, Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing. Kankakee River-levels are low and now is a good time to get out and explore new areas that are now exposed. Who would have ever thought this year the river could use some rain. Pike are good on Mepps spinners. Focus on areas with water willows adjacent to deeper water. . . . TTYL — Ken Husker O’Malley Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team

Kankakee River northern pike. Photo provided by Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Kankakee River northern pike.

Photo provided by Ken “Husker” O’Malley


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.

Another example of big fish time on southern Lake Michigan. Provided by Capt. Bob Poteshman

Another example of big fish time on southern Lake Michigan.

Provided by Capt. Bob Poteshman

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters texted the photo above and this on Monday:

27 lb off R4 this morning. Lost 3 others

On Tuesday, he said that out of Chicago lake trout have been biting in 100-160 feet, straight out of Chicago; mornings are better but they are getting them in the afternoons, too. “They are not just coming on the bottom, some are on Dipsy Divers and copper,’’ he said. “Early morning bites are pretty good.” He said there are some salmon around the R4, “some 4-year-olds, some 3-year-olds and some 2-year-olds.”

He said that out of North Point, the big blow from the northeast overnight “dumped warm water in” and made for a rough morning, but there are a number of lakers in 130-200 and beyond, there’s some coho and steelhead, too. Before the blow, there had been kings and coho in 100-130. “Yesterday, they were straight out,” he said. “Now they are scattered, but the weather is starting to settle down. We had a nice 9-pound sheephead too.” Nothing like a good freshwater drum to make things interesting.

Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed the photo below and this:

Hi Dale I’m about as excited as I have been for years on the lake. Good numbers of staging chinook and coho have parked themselves off of Waukegan. We are on a streak where every trip in the last week has had kings over 20 pounds with most trips having kings over 25#. Kings of over 35# were caught there last week. The king fishing has been so good that the excellent numbers and size of coho can be overlooked. We had many coho over 10 pounds and Lake trout over 20# with a occasional big steelhead too. Trollers need to make sure their leaders and line are not nicked and replace any old terminal tackle, they will wear out. This was the best staging salmon action I’ve seen in at least 6 years, maybe 10. All of these fish are holding in 90 to 180 feet of water, with 110-125 the most consistent. The fish are getting ready to spawn so they likely will not move much. A little shallower if the water cools and there is West wind. A little deeper with warmer water and East or Northeast wind. Chicago boats are not reporting their kings in yet so I believe we have the benefit of all the fish planted in Chicago, indiana and Waukegan and some from Kenosha/Racine, holding in our water. Lots of different lures worked this week. Blues, greens and purple out produced the orange, pink and yellows. Some days they seemed to want flasher fly and others spoons. 10 color leadcore, 200 foot coppers, wire divers 140 to 190, downriggers 50 to 90 produced best rigged with Warrior Lures VooDoo, UV Hey Babe, UV Blue/Green Dolphin, and UV Blue Dolphin and with Chrome/Green and Chrome/Blue Flashers with Jimmy Fly Aqua and Aqua LBB flies or Smokin’ Fish Tackle Hey Babe, Green Dolphin and NBK flys. I would recommend starting out with a mixture of spoons and flies and letting the fish tell you what they ant that day. I expect the fish to hold in these waters for about 2-3 weeks and come in the week before Labor Day. Looks like the shore fishermen will have a good year. I’m attaching a few photos of Capt. Mike Fuys and me with a few from this week. Capt. Scott Wolfe School Of Fish Charters 630-341-0550

Another big Chinook. Provided by Capt. Scott Wolfe

Another big Chinook.

Provided by Capt. Scott Wolfe


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


Guide Mike Norris emailed:

Fishing Report – 08/17/2020 Mike Norris Madison – With fishing slowing down in my immediate home area I dropped down to the Madison Chain of Lakes to guide for panfish there. I chose Lake Monona for bluegills last Wednesday and by 10 a. m. my clients and I had success limiting out on big bluegills many which exceeded 8 inches or more. The best technique for catching them was a 1/32-ounce Cubby jig tipped with either a red worm or three wax worms and suspended beneath a float. I located the bluegills on weed edges adjacent to rock piles all the way out to 30 ft of water. This bite will remain good for the next month or two and I expect to make additional guide trips down there. . . . Phone me at 630-842-8199 to book a guided fishing trip or contact me through my website at

Click here for the update from D&S Bait.


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


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

These seem to be the dog days of August. Fishing just so-so. A good day here, followed by a tough couple days there. Bluegill: Good – Best outside coontail edges, suspended down 8-12’ over 16’. Tiny jigs, small leeches below small slip-floats best. Largemouth Bass: Good-Fair – Work wacky worms, Carolina rig creatures or sweet beavers in tall cabbage of 8-12’. Northern Pike: Good-Fair – Working spinner baits (Boonies, BooYah) and swim baits over cabbage flats. If no takers, slow down with a jig and chub. Smallmouth Bass: Fair – Consistent action tough. Finding more along outside coontail edges than over rock humps. Drop-shotting 3 Gulp Alive minnows, 3 Wacky worms or dropping Ned rigs. Doing well on live chubs, mud minnows also along same areas. Musky: Fair – Action dependent on weather. Bucktails during day. Top-water early/late or during overcast/windy days. Crappie: Fair – Scattered reports of suspended fish along coontail edges. Overcast finding Crappies high in narrow leaf cabbage beds. Yellow Perch: Fair – Most reports related to drowned wood, ½ crawlers for bait. Walleye: Fair-Poor – Very weather dependent for weed bite. Some rock fish starting to show. With water temps pretty stable in the low 70 degree mark, seems the biggest detriment has been high pressure systems (though we’ve had our share of scattered storms/rain) and just a reluctance of fish to bite. Even when over top of fish, not been in a great feeding mood. Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop Like us on FaceBook


Good results from an outing on southern Lake Michigan out of northwest Indiana. Provided by Capt. Rich Sleziak

Good results from an outing on southern Lake Michigan out of northwest Indiana.

Provided by Capt. Rich Sleziak

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

Still decent catches being had out of burns ditch fishing 90 to 120 fishing 60 ft down to the bottom spoons in all sizes and spin doctors and flys best Must check ur lines often this time of year lots of small salmon around in the 10 to 12 inch range Trail creek still has steelhead but heavy fishing pressure must be willing to cover water spawn sacks, spinners and flys things to try Still lots of groups fishing everywhere lots of family’s have took up fishing great to see the kids getting out My venders have been great haven’t missed a beat have had no problems keeping in stock all terminal tackle and rod and reel combos and yes still have plenty of leeches in stock Still on summer hours 5am to 7pm daily

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

Hi, Dale. This is what I got for this week. The change in weather/temperature has slowed down some of the fishing; however, Steelhead are swarming at the creeks from what I’ve heard. ~Fishing generally has slowed somewhat out of immediate areas. ~Fish are being caught in 90-150 FOW north of the harbor. ~Perch fishing is very slow, most action midday. ~Still catching a few walleye on leeches & Nightcrawlers at St. Joe & Calumet River & Wolf Lake. ~Catfish bite is strong at Lake George & Kankakee River


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


Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said salmon are spotty, lakers are in 90-110 feet; river has some walleye action.


Staff at Lakeside said bass are good on the dam face and a few in the no-motor zone; the crappie are mainly in the deep trees; catfish are being caught on the dam face, chicken liver has been the bait of choice; walleye and hybrid stripers are slow; water is down about a foot.

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.



Wisconsin River smallmouth bass. Provided by Rob Abouchar

Wisconsin River smallmouth bass.

Provided by Rob Abouchar

Rob Abouchar emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale, With the disaster recovery still underway at home in Melrose Park a week later I had to send my old home town boy Matt Homey Centanno for a report. He stayed at my place in Merrill, checked on things, and hit The flowage. On Alexander Flowage He was getting smallmouth bass and some pike on a Red Rooster Tail in-line spinner (something I have not tried there) and his best bass came on the old wacky rig Senko. A nice 18 incher. I will be home this weekend for a gig with Rock band Hot Sofa In Franklin Park At the Sugar skull this Friday night. The session for my original reggae music was just what I needed Saturday night as the power had just come on Friday night. Hearing your own music played by a world class guitar player and steel drum player is right up there with a trophy catch of any kind. Tight lines and good health

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