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Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report UPDATED: A fishing dog, lake trout, back-to-school bass

A fishing dog story, lake trout on Lake Michigan, lowering waters inland and back-to-school bass fishing lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

The late Bella on the water. Provided by Rob Abouchar
The late Bella on the water.
Provided by Rob Abouchar

UPDATED Northern Wisconsin report.

A fishing dog’s story, lake trout on Lake Michigan, lowering waters inland and back-to-school bass fishing lead this sprawling raw-fie Midwest Fishing Report.

Rob Abouchar emailed the photo at the top and this:

Hi Dale

It is with tears and a heavy heart I have to say my best fishing buddy and friend Bella left me Friday morning. She went on her own terms in a blessed way at home with me. No long drawn out illness or affliction. Up and down the stairs jumping on the couch and fetching one day gone the next. So strong till the last day. She went out in the early morning and laid to rest in the lilies and Black eyed Susans as the sun came up. The memories of the miles walked; driven, and the hours in the boat fishing are almost im-measureable; and truly unforgettable. We know when we get our pets they don’t last forever but the memories do. The signs of the season are here with grackles over-running the feeders and birdbath and the first Night Hawks sighted yesterday. Times will be different without my Bella but the times are always a changing!

Tight lines and good health

Rob

What can I tell you, I’m a sucker for a dog story, so much so I am going to run the full-sized photo of Bella and Rob.

The late Bella on the water with Rob Abouchar. Provided photo
The late Bella on the water with Rob Abouchar.
Provided

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

Teaching fishing young. Provided by Jason Fox
Teaching fishing young.
Provided by Jason Fox

Jason Fox emailed the photo above and this:

Never too young.

Got that right.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed:

Hey Dale,

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

Area lakes-the dog days of summer are in full swing. Bass have been slow with water temps in the low 80’s. Work deeper ledges with a Texas rigged power worm or Carolina rigged lizard. Best bite has been evening hours until dark.

TTYL

Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

I tired fishing a forest preserve lake in the dark last week, well after sundown, and didn’t do any good at all. Absolutely no interest in my top water. A couple of days later I tried early morning fishing on a nearby pond. It wasn’t as early as I’d have liked, but the cloud cover kept the sun off of the water. Much better numbers that day. Bass were willing biters, but were sluggish once hooked. Even the coolest water of the day, right around sunrise, is probably still a little too warm for our northern strain bass. I think a lot of rain and some nights in the 50s will do a lot of good for the fishing.

. . .

Pete

BRAIDWOOD LAKE

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

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Don Luptak with his catfish and “biggest thrill” on an Illinois lake. Provided photo
Don Luptak with his catfish and “biggest thrill” on an Illinois lake.
Provided

Don Luptak emailed the photo above and this:

Dale,

Please consider showing the 26-pound, 11-ounce catfish that I caught on a small hook and a leach on Bluff Lake on August 18th. It is certainly the biggest thrill I’ve ever had fishing in an Illinois Lake. Persistence paid off after fishing at the Chain O’ Lakes for 60 years. It only took me 10 minutes to land him as he cooperated beautifully by swimming about 30 feet toward the boat.

I am a 68-year-old Arlington Heights resident, and would be honored to be included in your column.

Thank you in advance.

Don Luptak

Brad Irving at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said water levels are down, so be aware; there’s been some nice white bass, best on Bluff, trolling;channel catfish are going strong; there’s been some good flatheads caught in the river; bluegill are being caught on the weed lines on Channel, but they take sorting; largemouth are tough;

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

CHICAGO RIVER

Chicago River catfish. Provided by Jeffrey Williams
Chicago River catfish.
Provided by Jeffrey Williams

Jeffrey Williams messaged the photo above and this:

Decided to give the Chicago river another chance, water temps still mid to upper 70s, but today was a good day, caught a few good size Bluegills and a beautiful Pumpkin seed, alot caught a nice Cat, looks to be 3 maybe 4 pounds.

I wish i could give up better reports but seems like gills are biting hard, still looking to catch river crappies this year.

A change is coming.

DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN

Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake 8/24/20 through 8/31/20

With the stable weather fishing remains very consistent on Delavan Lake. The only problem has been excessive boat traffic. You really want to get out early in the a.m. or late afternoon to avoid some of the traffic and the excessive heat.

Walleye fishing has slowed a bit. You are still able to catch a few fish everytime out but the numbers have decreased slightly. I’ve been catching most of my fish on the drop off in 16-24 ft. of water. I’ve been either using nightcrawlers or leeches fished on a lindy rig or a split shot rig. Most of the action is coming off of Assembly Park or by the Yacht Club. Last week the morning produced most of the fish but I was still catching fish here and there in the afternoon.

Largemouth bass fishing has been outstanding this past week. I’m catching most of my fish on the weed line in 15-18 ft. of water. I caught several legal fish last week. They were caught on nightcrawlers fished on a split shot rig. I caught the fish near the Oriental Boathouse and by Assembly Park. A 19 inch fish weight close to 5 pounds was the best one caught this week.

Northern Pike fishing has been awesome. Last week I was catching a lot of fish but the size has been smaller than recent weeks. The best bait remains the suckers fished on a lindy rig. I’ve been lindy-rigging them in 20 ft. of water. I was fishing near the gray condos or by Browns Channel.

Bluegill fishing has been awesome. The fish are either in 20-24 ft of water or 15-17 ft of water. They are located about 6 inches to 1 ft off bottom. The average size has been decreasing weekly. I think the tremendous pressure these fish have been under has reduced the size. The best location has been in front of the Township Park, Lake Lawn Lodge or the Island on the west end of the lake.

Perch fishing has been pretty good. The fish have been biting on hellgrammites or ½ of a nightcrawler. The best depth has been 17-19 ft. The best location has been on the west end of the lake by the Island.

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

DOWNSTATE

POWERTON: Closed. Here is the word from the IDNR:

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 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.

DuPAGE RIVER

DuPage River smallmouth bass. Provided by Larry Narro
DuPage River smallmouth bass.
Provided by Larry Narro

Larry Narro messaged the photo above and this:

Dupage river 191/2 fatty

That was the best of 20 on the day.

FOX RIVER

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

. . .

I didn’t fish the Fox, but got out to practice some Spey casting over the weekend. The water wasn’t all that low but it was as clear as the Fox gets during the Summer.

Pete

GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN

Arden Katz said bluegill and pumpkinseeds are best on leaf worms in Geneva Bay; smallmouth are good off points at night in 17-20 feet; some walleye caught with the night smallmouth.

Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 8/24/20 through 8/31/20

The heat and humidity are at least consistent. We have had many many days of really hot weather and no rain for quite a while.

Northern Pike are still biting on the thermocline. I’m finding bigger fish 35 ft and deeper. The smaller fish are readily available in the 29-35 ft range. I’m still using lindy rigged suckers on 17 lb. Test line. The best locations for me have been the east side of Williams Bay and down in Fontana. I’m catching several smallmouth on the smaller lindy rigged suckers also when fishing for pike.

Largemouth bass are biting on surface lures. I prefer the chug bugs or the Pop-R’s. The best depth has been over the shallow weeds in 10-12 ft. of water. Largemouth have also been located on the weedlines in 12-20 ft of water. I’m either drifting a split shot rigged nightcrawler or Carolina rigging. The best baits last week were either a 6 inch zoom green/pumpkin lizard or a green/pumpkin centipede. The best location has been by Knollwood or by Linn Pier.

Smallmouth bass fishing has been improving. I’m catching several fish on live suckers in 30-35 ft of water. The best concentration however is in the 20-25 ft. range. I’ve been using nightcrawlers on a lindy rig with an 1/8 oz walking sinker and a 18 inch leader. The best locations have been off the weedlines by Coleman’s Point, Elgin Club or by the Fontana Beach.

Walleye fishing remains consistent. Like always, they are only being caught at night. Trolling crank baits or crawler harnesses have been producing nearly all the fish. The best depth has been on the weedlines in 15-17 ft of water. Look for the fish near Trinkes or in Geneva Bay.

Crappie fishing has been very spotty. Most of the crappies I’ve caught or heard about being caught have been in the weedline in 12-15 ft. of water. The best location has been by Williams Bay or by Conference Point. The best bait for crappie have been either a cubby jig or a small tube bait, smoke colored works well.

Bluegill fishing remains excellent. The best depth has been 20-25 ft of water. The best bait has been small pieces of nightcrawler or red worms. The best success has come straight lining beneath the boat and slowly drifting. I’ve been fishing them by Elgin Club and by Gage Marine.

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

Guide Mike Norris emailed:

Fishing Report 08/21/2020

Mike Norris

Fox Lake – Bluegills are active along the weed lines adjacent to Dead, Brushwood and Elmwood Islands. Jigs tipped with red worms or a piece of nightcrawler and suspended beneath a float is accounting for most of the gills. A few anglers are also catching largemouth bass up to 5 lbs. while fishing for bluegills. Bass can also be found under and in between the piers. A few walleyes in main basin on crawler harnesses. Try trolling out front of the Boat House in 12 ft of water.

Lake Puckaway – Bluegill fishing in the Fox River which enters and exits Lake Puckaway is excellent right now. Water levels on both the lake and the river are low so try just outside the reed beds and lily pads with a jig and red worm suspended 18 inches beneath a float. Docks with lily pads are also producing. A few crappies are mixed in with the bluegills. The nicer bluegills are running up to 9 inches. Crappies up to 12 inches.

Little Green Lake – Largemouth bass are active under and around the piers. Bluegills can be found here also. Senkos rigged wacky style and skipped under docks are accounting for most catches. Crappies biting in the main basin. Drift with jigs tipped with minnows. Muskie fishing has slowed with the return of hot weather.

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

GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WISCONSIN

Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.

HEIDECKE LAKE

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

KANKAKEE RIVER

George Peters with his “Smallmouth of the Summer” from the Kankakee River. Provided photo
George Peters with his “Smallmouth of the Summer” from the Kankakee River.
Provided

George Peters emailed the photo above and this:

Got this Smallmouth of the Summer, 20” close to 5lbs. In the Kankakee river on a surface bait. When she first broke water the splash was like a beaver flapping his tail! What a fight! George Peters Plainfield

He also gave this general report:

Hi Dale, Kankakee river is still very low and clear. Extreme sunlight has caused growth of green moss on rocks. Bottom bumping baits are out. Stay with baits that run shallow. Smallmouth are good in areas not hit too hard.

G. Peters

LAKE ERIE

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.

Lake Michigan catfish. Provided by Capt. Rick Bentley
Lake Michigan catfish.
Provided by Capt. Rick Bentley

emailed the photo above on Saturday and this:

Caught a catfish trolling today.

It’s a nice catfish, too.

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said they are killing lake trout out of both Chicago and North Point, a few more salmon are being caught out of North Point; mornings have been better than afternoons; out of Chicago it is generally 100-160 feet for lakers; 160-210 out of North Point; fish are coming high and low, through out the water column and fish are scattered.

“There are big alewives and baby alewives, I even saw a shrimp in a steelhead the other day,” Poteshman said. “The alewives, there are some really tiny ones. They are in the harbors and behind the boats.”

Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed:

Hi Dale

This week was a disappointment for those of us who love chinook. The staging kings and coho moved shallower on Thursday and Friday in to 45 to 70 feet. But less and less each day. Over the weekend we had to switch to lake trout fishing. The lake trout fishing was world class with limits of big trout 13 to 23 pounds in 120 to 140 feet. The action was mostly spoons on long lines with standard and magnum Warrior spoons in UV Hey Babe, UV Blue/Green Dolphin, UV Sister Sledge, VooDoo and Green Dragon Slayer. We did a have some on Jimmy Fly White and White LBB combo behind Luhr-Jensen Chrome dodgers on downriggers 70 to 100 down. There were strong currents that appeared to move the fish. Hopefully they will come back soon. Notably all the lakers this week were stuffed with gobies, which tells me there are no alewife around. They will eat alewife predominantly and only turn to gobies when nothing else is available.

Inside the harbor things were slow. I talked to a few good fishermen who had little success, with a couple of rock bass and sheepshead and that was it.

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

UPDATED

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

— Fishing Report August 25, 2020

Reports have been improving as we passed through a new moon phase and anglers saw better action. Water temps remain in the low to mid 70’s and patterns became clearer as more anglers probed about to figure them out.

Bluegill: Good-Very Good. Happens every year about the third week or so of August. Flying ants appear all over, falling into the lakes and drawing gills up to the surface to feed. Great time for fly rod anglers to get their last few licks in with the poppers or dry flys. Gills aren’t as fussy as trout, no need for the hook and worm crowd to not join in, small jigs with plastic or feather trim fished high up also working well. Lots of action and very good sized fish .

Crappie: Good Fish relating to weeds, specifically narrow leaf cabbage being best in 8-12’ of water. Varied reports of anglers catching crappies two feet down over weed tops to tight at the base of the plants at times. Mini-mites, 1-2” twister tails and crappie minnows doing best.

Northern Pike: Good Action best on bladed baits (Spinnerbaits, chatter baits and #4 Mepps), 4” swimbaits and shallow running minnow baits also scoring. Good action with fish to 34” reported this week.

Walleye: Fair- Good Slight upswing in catches. With no leeches available, crawlers have been best bet. Larger lakes, gravel/rock humps with ¼ oz jigs and crawlers or jigging Shiver Minnows and Jigging Raps. Shallower lakes work the weed edges early and late with 1/16th oz. weed less jigs and ½ crawlers. Flowages work the deeper wood or rock in 17-20’!

Largemouth Bass: Fair-Good Seems like less, yet larger fish in heavy cabbage! Signs of heavy feeding on crayfish ( Look down throat to see antennae and claws sticking out. Jig and plastic craw/ creature imitations as well as wacky worms. Evening action good for top water action using Whopper Ploppers, Spooks and Spiders.

Smallmouth Bass: Good-Fair Drop-shotting along coon tail edges seems to be out producing rocks from a lot of local reports. Also finding Smallies cruising sand grass flats in 14-20’ Some bigger fish being caught in shallows on top water.

Musky: Good-Fair larger fish working suspended on deep lakes that have cisco populations. On shallower lakes pick overcast days to work bucktails and large spinnerbaits over cabbage. Also for a couple of hard working anglers jerk baits scored 3 fish over 40” this week ( 48, 46, 40”)

Yellow Perch: Fair few reports, best using ½ crawler in 6-10’ of cabbage on lakes; 12-16’ of wood on Flowages.

Things may change by weeks end if forecast holds. Air temp highs could drop from low 80’s to low 70’s. Cooling temps and change in the amount of sunlight will bring changes to weeds and push fish locations deeper.

NORTHWEST INDIANA

Fishing on southern Lake Michigan out of northwestern Indiana. Provided by Capt. Rich Sleziak
Fishing on southern Lake Michigan out of northwestern Indiana.
Provided by Capt. Rich Sleziak

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

Some decent fishing still going on in 90 to 130 ft of water out of burns ditch fishing 70 ft down to the bottom Spoons, and spin doctors and flys best baits

Groups still fishing all over the place it’s very nice to see old and new faces fishing and having fun

Some steelhead still in area tributaries but the water is low and warm go early in am or at dusk for a fair chance spawn sacks, spinners baits to try

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

Hi, Dale! This is what’s cookin’ this week...

~King Salmon: fishing has picked up some, with most of the fish being caught in 125 FOW using spin doctors, flies, squid, & Nightcrawlers

~Lake Trout: anglers are still taking them in 110-135 FOW on spin-n-glos

~Perch: fishing has gotten a little better south of the harbor in front of the chalets in 43-46 FOW on minnows & crawfish/softshell. Hammond & Pastrick Marinas & Cline Ave extension areas doing moderately well

~Bass: fair; reports good at Lake George & local ponds, mostly on plastic worms, golden roaches, & Nightcrawlers

~Walleye: being caught at Wolf Lake & on the St. Joseph River-most successfully with Nightcrawlers & leeches

~Catfish: very good on stinkbait, beemoths, & cutbaits, particularly at Wolf & Cedar Lakes

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

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

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN

Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said there’s a few kings and coho around 90 feet early mornings, then it is mostly lakers in 100-120; before the storms Tuesday morning, perch were going in 40-45 feet north and south of the pierhead; smallmouth and drum are going in the river and a few walleye.

SHABBONA LAKE

Staff at Lakeside said water temperature warmed to 80s; catfish are going on the edges and rock piles; crappie are in the cribs and deep trees; walleye are best in the east bay or the deep trees; bass are on the dam face or rock piles.

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.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT

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

WOLF LAKE

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

Hi, Dale! This is what’s cookin’ this week

...

~Walleye: being caught at Wolf Lake & on the St. Joseph River-most successfully with Nightcrawlers & leeches

~Catfish: very good on stinkbait, beemoths, & cutbaits, particularly at Wolf & Cedar Lakes