Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Perch opens, IL Free Fishing Days, coho, bass, catfish, walleye
Perch season reopening Wednesday on Illinois’ Lake Michigan waters, Illinois’ Free Fishing Days beginning Friday and reports and photos coming from all around Chicago fishing are in this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.
Perch season reopens Wednesday, June 16, on the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan, Illinois Free Fishing Days (Friday-Monday, June 18-21) and general summer fishing lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; also frog season opens today, June 15, in Illinois.
Mike Domanus emailed the photo at the top of his PB walleye and this:
Got this 28 inch walleye on Lake Marie and 31 inch Northern on Spring Lake on the chain o lakes
Summer traffic be damned, the Chain is a special place.
Perch fishing in the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan reopens Wednesday, June 16. I plan to hop around the lakefront, hopefully some will be around.
Park Bait will be opening at 4 a.m., as of tomorrow, June 16, for early anglers. Henry’s Sports and Bait will also be adjusting hours. I will update when I know more.
ILLINOIS FREE FISHING DAYS
Free fishing days are Friday, June 18, to Monday, June 21. No licenses or stamps are required. All other regulations apply.
ILLINOIS FROG SEASON
Illinois’ bullfrog (only) season opens today, June 15, and runs through Oct. 15.
Here is the word from the Illinois Department of Illinois:
FROGS (Bullfrogs Only) Methods of Taking and Capture 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. 6 7 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
Chicago Park District’s parking passes for the fisherman’s parking lots at DuSable and Burnham harbors are on sale at Henry’s Sports and Bait in Bridgeport and Park Bait at Montrose Harbor.
Readers suggest SpotHero app downtown. Otherwise, here are some basics: Foster (free street parking or pay lot); Montrose (now a mix of metered and free street parking); Belmont (pay lots on north and south sides); Diversey (pay lot or street parking); DuSable Harbor (pay lot or fisherman’s lot); Northerly Island/Burnham Harbor (meters, pay lot or fisherman’s lot); 31st/Burnham (meter parking between McCormick Place and 31st Street Harbor); Oakwood/39th (meters); 63rd Street/Casino Pier (pay lot); Steelworkers Park (free street parking at east end of 87th); Cal Park (free parking).
Cook County commissioner Kevin Morrison holds a fishing derby Saturday, June 19, at Busse Lake from 9 a.m to noon. Must preregister; click here to register and for more information.
On Thursday, Sam Oaks emailed the photo above and this:
Hey Dale, I am a local guy from Chicago, graduated from Mount Carmel High School a couple years ago. I read your fishing reports every morning and I finally think I caught one that can be featured in your report. I am a big fan and love to see and read the fishing section in the Chicago Suntimes on a daily basis. Anyways to get to the thing that really matters, I was up in Wilmington, IL today with my father and caught the biggest bass of my life. It was a great fight and easily the funnest fifteen minutes fishing I ever had before. Thank you for your time and consideration! Big Suntimes Outdoors Fan, Sam Oaks
Good to have a former Caravan basketball player reach out. (And be a big outdoors fan.)
Thanks for the response back! It was at my father’s place at Lakepoint Club Resort on a lake in Wilmington, IL. I used a top water chug bar pop bar to catch it. Thanks again!
Dicky’s Bait Shop in Montgomery reported good largemouth at Jericho Lake on goldfish.
Rico Cantu emailed the photo above and this:
Fish on Dale, caught on wacky worm. Rico Cantu Lockport IL
Pete Lamar emailed:
Hi Dale, Fishing slowed for me this week, both in terms of numbers and of size. Just some small bluegills and bass on a forest preserve pond.
Open daily 6 a.m. to sunset. Click here for the preview.
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA
See Mike Domanus’ PB walleye at the top of this post.
Brad Janis emailed the photo above and this over the weekend:
Fox chain was on fire today….. water temp as high as 86
I think he meant the fishing was good, but I have been on the Chain when it was hot enough to feel like it was on fire.
Tucker at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said catfish are going, best on stinkbait; flatheads are good, too, some on cutbait; bluegill just starting to get on beds right; largemouth moving from channels to main lake; white bass are running here and there; main lake docks are holding walleye.
NOTE: Check updates on water conditions at foxwaterway.com or (847) 587-8540.
NOTE 2: The Stratton Lock and Dam is open 8 a.m. to midnight through Sept. 30.
Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait texted:
Carp and catfish Chicago River.
DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN
Dave Duwe emailed:
Delavan Lake 6/14/21 through 6/21/21 Fishing has been phenomenal. The warm weather has got two definite bites going. The bluegill fishing on the weedline has been awesome. They are 6-8 ft down in 12-14 ft of water. If you find the weedline, the fish are there. The spawning bluegills are also in 5-6 ft of water on hard sand bottom. Make sure you have enough bait. Walleye fishing has been pretty good. The best success has come on jigs fished in 15 ft of water with leeches. Look for the fish by the Yacht Club, Willow Point, and by Browns Channel. Most of the fish are 16-17 inches. It’s a bummer that the legal limit is 18 inches, but their growing! Last week I tried trolling crank baits and only caught a couple. I prefer deep diving Bandit Walleye minnows or Bandit 300 series crankbaits. White pearl is my favorite color. Largemouth bass can be caught in a multitude of ways. The slop bite, the deep weedline bite or the shallow Senko bite have all been producing fish. I haven’t been targeting them due to the fact that most of my clients were interested in northern last week. Sunday afternoon I was using the new Arkie U bolt Finesse jig tipped with the Yum finesse worm, green pumpkin and caught a few fish. All were legal. Had a real problem hooking the fish, I had several that got off. The Senko/All Terrain Stik bite is still very good by Lake Lawn Lodge and by the west end. The best depth was 6-7 ft. The finesse jig bite was in 15-18 ft. and the slop bite is 2-3 ft by the boat launch and by the outlet. Northern Pike has been really good with the consistent weather. I’ve been fluctuating depth from 17-25 ft. Lindy rigged suckers are the only way to go. The best location is by the gray condos, the Yacht Club Point and by Willow Point. The only problem I’ve had is with the warm water and the cold bait shop suckers is keeping the bait alive. I use the 1/0 hook and a ¾ oz Lindy sinker. I fished about 1 ft off bottom. Crappies are on the weedline in 12-16 ft of water. I’ve been using the mini mites with a 1/32 oz jig and small 3/0 split shot hooked about 6-8 inches above the lure. Most of the fish I’ve been catching are between 6 and 7 inches. You really need to sort to catch a limit of 10 inch fish. There’s no problem catching a crappie every other cast. Remember, if you want to keep crappies, you should bring some ice since with the warm water temperature they are very soft if you put them in the live well. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
POWERTON: Hours are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Sept. 30.
EMIQUON: Access permits and liability waivers are again required. They are available Tuesday to Saturday at Dickson Mounts Museum, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Reopens May 15. Open through Sept. 6. Closed Mondays (except Labor Day). Check regulations at http://www.wetlands-initiative.org/dixon-paddling-fishing.
SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing.
Dicky’s Bait Shop in Montgomery emailed the photo above and reported some good catfish and flatheads, including 22-pound flathead in Oswego over the weekend on a goldfish; river remains very low, so most are targeting pools and pockets.
Pete Lamar emailed:
Hi Dale, Fishing slowed for me this week, both in terms of numbers and of size. . . . As far as the Fox, it was as low as I’ve ever seen it when I drove over it Friday afternoon (we got a lot of rain on Saturday afternoon, but it was very isolated; I’m not sure how it affected nearby streams and the Fox). I fished a tributary with a good amount of spring flow in the hopes that it would be cooler than the Fox. It was, but it too was very low. Just a few sunfish and small smallmouths were caught. The birding was a little better: an adult bald eagle flew right over me and a kingfisher was patrolling up and down the stream.
GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN
Dave Duwe emailed:
Lake Geneva 6/14/21 through 6/21/21 With the warm weather the bass have finished spawning and are starting to move deeper. The only bad thing with the warm weather is the increased boat traffic. You need to fish either early a.m. or late p.m. for the best success. Largemouth bass are being caught in the spawning areas in 12-15 ft of water. Look for the fish in areas like Trinkes, Williams Bay or Geneva Bay between pier 5 and 22. The best approach has been split shotting either nightcrawlers or split shotting green pumpkin 4 inch lizards, I like Yum or Zoom. All of the fish are post spawn and with the warming water temperatures are starting to move out to the deeper lake basin. Smallmouth bass have finished spawning and are still cruising the 12-15 ft range. Look for the fish by the Military Academy or by the Elgin Club. Dragging a football head jig with a Chompers Spider grub has been producing most of my action. You want to position the boat in 20 ft of water and cast into about 12-15 and slowly drag the jig to the boat. Nightcrawlers fished on a split shot rig are also catching numerous fish. The only problem is the Rock Bass and Bluegills are eating your bait as fast as you can put it down. Panfish are unstoppable. They are literally everywhere around the lake. Keep your boat in 12-15 ft and you’ll get bit. Most of the fish are Rock bass with a few perch. The best location has been by Colemans Point, Knollwood and Pier 666. Bluegills have been biting on the deep weedline in 15-18 ft of water. Most of the large fish are coming off of leaf worms fished straight beneath the boat. Unlike other years the average size has been 9-10 inches. It has again become fun to fish for bluegills on Lake Geneva. Much of my success has been by Elgin Club or Belvidere Park. Some Lake Trout are being caught in 70-90 ft of water. Most of the success has come off of a silver Dodger and a blue Fly or a chrome and blue flutter spoon. Look for the fish by Covenant Harbor or by the Military Academy. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
GREEN LAKE AREA, WISCONSIN
Guide Mike Norris texted the photo above and emailed this:
Fishing Report 6/14/2021 Mike Norris Big Green Lake – Both smallmouth bass and rock bass fishing is good on Big Green right now and with improved water clarity, this bite will get better. Try crawlers or leeches on a drop shot rig in 10 -12 feet of water. Ned rigs are also working well. Little Green Lake – A few still bass spawning along shoreline. Crappie fishing is good on minnows in deeper water. Muskie fishing is also good along weed lines. June is one of the best months for muskies on Little Green. Fox Lake – The bluegill spawn is in full swing, and the largemouth bass are close by. Both species are being caught by homeowners fishing with shiners from piers. I am currently guiding on Fox Lake and doing well fishing with Senko’s for largemouth bass along rocky shorelines. Walleye fishing is good early and late in the day. Try trolling with spinners and crawlers in 12 -15 feet of water. Northern pike can be caught in 10 to 12 feet of water. To book a guide trip reach out to me via my Facebook page at mike.norris.7773 or email me through my website at www.comecatchsmallmouth.com
GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WISCONSIN
Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.
Ray Gregory messaged the photo above and this on Sunday:
White spinner bait 20 ft John Vaitkus sr. South Side [of Heidecke]
I had a great day, thanks to the guys that passed us a bigger net
Open 6 a.m. (6:30 bank fishing) to sunset. Click here for the promising preview.
Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.
John Saban emailed the photo above and this on Sunday:
Hey Dale, we had about an hour and a half of a good feeding frenzy. All good sized fish including a 4.8 for me and a 4.5 for my partner Paul Rychlewski. I feel the smallies like the days when the wind and waves stir things up by the breakwalls, it’s tougher to fish but the bite is better. JS
Kurt Brown emailed the photo above and this last Tuesday:
Hi Dale, My name is Kurt Brown and a friend of mine caught a monster smallie that I wanted to submit for fish of the week. The fishermen’s name is Matt Dohse and he caught a monster 5 Ibs. 1 oz. small mouth in Belmont harbor tonight on a zman ned rig. Please let me know if that’ll make the cut. I appreciate your content. Best regards, Kurt
Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait texted:
Carp and catfish Chicago River. Perch opening tomorrow. That’s about it
Perch tomorrow, the great hope.
Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:
Good morning Dale. With perch season opening tomorrow we will be opening now at 4 a.m. and still closing at 8 p.m. 7 days a wee.Fishing report isn’t much other than sheephead being caught mostly on the Horseshoe. Small mouth starting to get active again. There has been some nice perch caught and released while fishing for other fish, hopefully they’ll stick around. Have a good week.
Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said that out of Chicago coho are slow and scattered; there’s a good lakers morning, less active and deeper afternoons; work Dodgers and flies in 90 and deeper. Out of North Point, coho are very good in 120-130 with lots of 20-plus catches (and big coho), near the Wisconsin line (good band from the nuke plant to Kenosha) with the occasion steelhead, king and lake trout.
Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan texted:
Mainly boat reports, and I have been getting calls about perch, so I know guys will be going.
May there be at least some perch around.
Boat fishing good, 60 to 90 to 120 feet
Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed:
We had the best fishing of the year out of Waukegan this week. Coho dominated the fishery with limits most trips. We had a few bonus kings a few lakers and lots of steelhead too. The best fishing continues to be 70 to 150 feet with about 100 feet being most consistent. Stubbie dodgers with 3 to 4 inch Aqua and Blue Liz Jimmy Flies on downriggers and divers took 80 percent of the fish with Warrior Lures XL size spoons in Lance’s Two Face, Two Face and Green Dragon Slayer on 5 to 10 color leadcores taking the rest. The biggest variable was trolling speed. Some days very, very slow and others normal to slightly fast. Trollers should change speeds frequently until they find that days pattern. Harbor fishing was good. I saw several largemouth bass, pike and carp taken. Carp on hair rigs and bass and pike on the good old Johnson’s Silver minnow dressed with a twister tail. Work them through the weeds. Capt. Scott Wolfe schooloffishcharters.com 630-341-0550
Open daily 6 a.m. to sunset. Click here for the preview of prospects.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
Click here for the update from D&S Bait.
Both units are open for fishing.
MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN
Guide Mike Mladenik of bigsmallmouthbass.com emailed the photo above and this:
Mid June Fishing Report The Menominee River is at below average flow levels which makes for good fishing. Smallmouth bass have completed spawning on the Menominee River. Smallmouth are scattered and topwater baits are producing quality fish. PROP Baits are best. The best topwater bite is around any fresh weeds!! It looks like this year will be a banner year for topwater fishing on the Menominee River that will peak in late July and August. We have also had good success with Case Magic Stiks and Wacky Jacks when smallmouth are tight to the bottom. The 1/0 Spearpoint GP Finesse Hook is a must when rigging wacky Style.
MILLE LACS LAKE, MINNESOTA
Justin Lederer emailed the photo above and this from McQuoids Inn in Isle, Minn.:
Justin Lederer checking in from McQuoids Inn Lake Mille Lacs. The walleye bite has been just as hot as the weather. I have been targeting 28-32 feet of water around the reefs and gravel beds. Leeches are still producing the best under a float set a foot off the bottom. Picking up a few on crawlers. Tried running cranks on lead core to get them down with no success. Live bait is still the best option right now.Smallmouth are in post spawn they have pushed out into the deeper edge of the reefs and off the shoreline. Guys are picking them up in 18-22 feet around the boulders. Plastics are producing well still they should start hitting jerk baits shortly.P.S Dale if there is any way you can publish both ladies it would be very much appreciated have a great week keep up the great work.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed the report and photos below:
Hey Dale, Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing. Northern Wisconsin-the week plus heat wave finally ended this past Friday. Some of the shallower bays reached 80 degrees. I don’t believe I have seen water temps that high in early June. Smallmouth are post spawn. Focus on steeper drops along points and the first drop off along spawning flats. Best bait has been the Berkley flatworm on a drop shot.
Pike are very good early morning in bays with good weed growth. X-raps and Mepps have been the best baits. Largemouth have been good working a senko wackey rigged along shoreline cover and weed edges. Here is the nature pic of the week courtesy of Hailey O’Malley. The best defense against mosquitoes in the Northwoods.
TTYL — Ken Husker O’Malley Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team
Kurt Justice at Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua emailed:
The heat wave has finally broke with cooler temps and less humidity. That’s been a plus for angler comfort. The down side is, especially for Walleye anglers, we have to contend with Mayfly hatches. Smallmouth Bass: Very Good – Reports of good sized fish coming in, many 4 and 5 pound fish being caught. Ned Rigs, tubes, drop shotting have all been effective. Look for the larger fish to come on the first breaks. Walleye: Good – Pick your lakes, if you see Mayflies try a different lake. Lakes where Mayflies haven’t been an issue, fishing has been fairly good. Leeches seem to be producing the most fish. Fishing the weed beds, 8-15’ is a good area to target fish right now. Largemouth Bass: Good – A lot of action being reported, Waxy worms, creature baits and tubes have all been producing. Look for the majority of fish to come on inside weed edges. Top-water action is starting to get better as well, pick your times to throw them though, mid-afternoon to sundown is when it has been best. Musky: Good – Have been hearing quite a few fish being caught, most fish in the 30 range. Bucktails & swim baits have been producing, while top-water has been productive late in the day. Northern Pike: Good – French spinners, spinner baits, and chatter baits fished above the weeds has been good as of late. Crappies: Good – Plastics seem to be producing fairly well as of late. Crappie scrubs, twister tails, tubes worked over weeds in 8-12’ of water has been taking fish. Bluegills: Good – Spawning is pretty much over, fishing remains good though, pick your bait of choice, leeches, worms, waxies are all working. For a little added fun, try a popper with a fly rod or a casting bubble. Yellow Perch: Fair – Not many reports again, weed flats in the 10’ range has been getting fish, leeches and pieces of crawlers have been working. Looks to be some cooler, more stable weather in the coming week, which will be a nice break from the 90 degree temps and strong storms. Remember Smallmouth Bass is still catch and release until June 19th. Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop Like us on FaceBook
Bruce Zolna emailed the photo above and this:
Dale, Friday, June 11, 2021 we fished from 1:30pm till 6:00pm for our limit of 10 coho of various sizes and 2 big Lakers, returned to Lake Michigan after quick pics. This was my first Summer 2021 Trip #1 on Autonomous. We fished IN and IL water near MI border out of my slip in Sammie Maletta Marina @ the Ditch. Capt Ed Landmichl and I targeted and got our limit of coho and 2 incidental big Lakers. One about 24 lbs, one near 18 lbs. Great first trip on my boat to break in 2 rebuilt inboard Bluewater small-block V-8 Mercruiser Inboards. Life is good. Good to be back. Bruce A Zolna
Life does sound good.
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted the photo above and this:
Fishing on the tri -state area out of burns ditch was good till north winds shut us down. Orange dodgers and orange or red mini spindoctors with 2 inch flys along with spoons took all the fish. Bluegills still going good at most lakes and ponds we other crickets and jumbo reds best baits Catfish at night on triple s catfish bait along the portage river walk Bizy Dale lots of groups fishing
Busy at fishing is good.
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
Click here for the Wisconsin DNR’s report, usually on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Phil Schuman at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said walleye are being caught in river; steelhead should start soon off the piers; on Lake Michigan, trollers are catching lake trout in 100-150 with a few salmon out in 200-300.
Paddle and Pole hosts the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder Camera.
Site hours through Oct. 31 are 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily
Adam Honiotes at Boondocks Supply said there is a good run on walleye and hybrid stripers. “I would remind people hang on to their poles for those striper hits, we’ll lost five rods,” he said. Most of the hybrids (one to 13 pounds) are coming on chicken liver. Walleye are great, including some keepers, primarily on jigheads with a leech or crawler dragged on the bottom.
He also noted that they are now 100 percent, including the restaurant now open daily.
John D’Amico emailed the photo above and this:
I hope you’re doing well. I want to share the great time fishing with the family this weekend in southeast WI. The bass were extremely active and here is one of many that were caught. Best, John
SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT
Click here for the southern Lake Michigan reports from the Wisconsin DNR.
Rob Abouchar emailed the photo above and this:
Hi Dale I hit the wisconsin River in Merrill and it was quite eventful. Driving through the worst hailstorm i ever drove through in Wausau I knew the river would be high and dirty and the fishing might be tough. With Joe The Grasseater Schatz we hit the Friday Fish Fry and then the Wisconsin Rodeo that was in town. The Bull riding and Girls barrel racing were highlights in the flooded rodeo ring. On Saturday the water on Alexander was high and quite dirty areas. It took some work to get bites on smallmouth bass but a few were hitting Senkos either wacky rigged or Texas rigged. The pike action picked up in clearer water areas and we caught some esox on Spinnerbaits and bladed jigs with Kalins grub trailer. The next day we decided to get away from the dirty water and heavy pressure at Alexander. I noticed the flowage had a high number of hi performance bass rig guys fishing for Smallmouth. Sunday we headed to 7 Island Lake in Harrison Hills; what I call cottage country. We were able to land some largemouth and Smallmouth on the beautiful lake. We had some great Loon watching activity with a group of 5 Loons, some with brown heads diving and taking flight. & island lake is a beautiful lake known for Muskie but my Senko went untouched by the Esox there. Water temps were around 75 degrees at the river and lake. On the music front I am looking for gigs for the original reggae band and may be getting close. Sending EPK promo kits to club owners and booking agents is like some kind of frustrating fishing exercise but i’m not quite sure what that is...sooner or later someone is gonna bite! Tight lines and good Health Rob
Why I so enjoy Abouchar’s report: Friday Fish Fry to bull riding to reggae.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN
Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:
Water temp jumped up to 83 degrees last week. Fishing has slowed down a bit, although the walleye action continues to be good. Mainly deeper water, and crawlers. Some bluegills are being taken. The spawn was short and fast with the heat.