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Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Big Chinook, fish stories, bass, bluegill, the vagaries of summer

Fish stories, really big Chinook on Lake Michigan, largemouth bass and bluegill inland, and the vagaries of summer are in the sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Troy Lund caught one of the big Chinook caught recently out of Waukegan. Provided by Capt. Scott  Wolfe
Troy Lund caught one of the big Chinook caught recently out of Waukegan.
Provided by Capt. Scott Wolfe

Big Chinook starting to show up lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report, but there’s also the usual summer inland fishing for bluegill, catfish and largemouth bass.

Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed the photo at the top and this:

Hi Dale. Some big kings are showing up in Waukegan. Here is long time customer Troy Lund of Schaumburg with a 26 pounder caught Saturday afternoon. Sorry about the Twins hat. Nothing I can do about that.

Capt. Scott Wolfe

Could this be the year when one of the longest standing records in Illinois fishing falls?

As to the Twins hat, I can think of some worse hats to wear.

For an even bigger king, check out the FOTW.

LAKEFRONT PERCH

The season reopened Wednesday and was very slow with the wind and waves; since then there have only been a few sporadic reports of catches.

On Friday, Matt Klein messaged:

Caught 3 at the lighthouse at Montrose. 1 about 13, 2 about 8 inches. Next guy had 2 at about 9 inches.

For perspective, that is one of the better reports.

Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait texted:

No perch reports at all.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

Good morning Dale,It is a shame the weather keeps swinging those winds out of the North and Northeast because up until the opening of perch sesso there was some nice perch being caught but as of the opening day the weather has been so inconsistent, winds and storms that the perch have been few and far in between there have been a couple but not many to speak of. The guys that are catching a few are using minnows and soft shells.

It is a shame what the weather and wind are doing.

Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan texted:

No boat reports for perch, guys are getting some off the pier. Shrimp and minnows.

Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor, Mich. said not much in recent days, but before the blow, perch were in 25 feet, “They’re coming.”

ILLINOIS FROG SEASON

Illinois’ bullfrog (only) season 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

LAKEFRONT PARKING

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).

AREA LAKES

Fishing on area lakes and ponds has picked for largemouth and bluegill in particular, especially topwaters for largemouth.

Kristina R. with a good fish story and an aggressive largemouth bass. Provided by Bob France
Kristina R. with a good fish story and an aggressive largemouth bass.
Provided by Bob France

Bob France messaged the photo above and this:

My neighbor Kristina R. Was fishing up at Fish Lake in Volo on Father’s Day with her husband and family. She caught a small perch and when she went to lift it out of the water the bass went for the perch! She was able to reel them both in as the bass got hooked and the perch was pushed up the line! Both were released.

The best part is that she reeled both in, it usually doesn’t work that way.

Scot Sinclair with a perch and a good fish story. Provided photo
Scot Sinclair with a perch and a good fish story.
Provided

Scot Sinclair emailed the photo above and this:

My Father’s Day fishing story from Third Lake. Started the day as usual looking for largemouth with a plastic worm, and getting no strikes in a half hour other than the little nibblers yanking on my worm, I decided to go buy some worms and do a little micro fishing, after reading your piece about that earlier.

in 90 minutes, on five worms, I caught 12 perch, nine bluegill, six stripers, landed one large mouth of 2 pounds, and had one out of the water when the line broke that was easily 5 inches longer than the one I pulled in.

but the biggest thrill was when I was reeling in one of the bluegill, a largemouth actually hit it, it may have even been a northern for all I know, but I saw the fish come up and grab the bluegill from behind and I had it for about three seconds on the line before he let go.

Scot Sinclair

That’s a Father’s Day fish story worth remembering.

BRAIDWOOD LAKE

Open daily 6 a.m. to sunset. Click here for the preview.

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Staff at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said rain brought the water, so current increased with walleye and smallmouth staging; with the current, white bass are schooling near bridges and similar current areas; bluegill are nearing tailend of the spawn; some crappie are being caught on main lake.

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.

DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN

Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake 6/21/21 through 6/28/21

With the stable weather the fishing has been great. I’ve been catching anything that swims in the lake this past week. It’s a great time to take a first time angler out on the water.

Northern Pike have finally started to bite on the outside weed edge. I’ve been catching my fish on lindy rigged suckers. The best depth for me has been 20-26 ft of water. I’ve been fishing from the Village Supper Club point to the Oriental boathouse. The size is still a bit small, the biggest fish last week was 30 inches.

Walleye fishing has been good. The fish I’ve been catching have been caught on nightcrawlers either on a lindy rig or a split shot rig right off the weedline in 21-24 ft of water. Look for the fish by Browns Channel or by the Village Supper club point. I caught several legals last week and some right at 17 ¾ inches. The best time to fish for them has been at first light.

Crappies can still be caught. They are right in the shallow weeds in 12 ft of water. I have exclusively been using purple plastics and they are working very well. The plastic is tipped on a 1/32 oz Arkie Jig. Good fishing has been found by Willow Point.

Largemouth bass can be caught on the deep weedlines. Concentrating on main lake points or fishing them in ultra shallow slop are both good choices. The slop fish are biting on snag proof frogs or All Terrain Stiks. The best location is under the bridge on the inlet. For the deep weedline fish, try casting nightcrawlers fished on a split shot rig. Some of the bass I caught last week were 17-18 inches. Good locations are by the Oriental boathouse or on the west end by the island.

Bluegill fishing remains awesome. There are a lot of fish still in the 3-4 ft range. Also, there has been good success in the 20-22 ft range. The best bait has been leaf worms or wax worms. Slip bobbers remain the best presentation.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

DOWNSTATE

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.

FOX RIVER

Dicky’s Bait Shop in Montgomery reported slow fishing coming with hot weather, but rains helped bring the water level and improved the bite; catfish are still good, but smallmouth are hit and miss though the rain definitely helped.

GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN

Arden Katz said rock bass “are insane, couldn’t keep them off the hook.” He said bass are done spawning and good smallmouth to 22 inches were caught in 13 to 17 feet on the points and secondary points, with drop-shotting the best.

Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 6/21/21 through 6/28/21

Fishing is excellent on Lake Geneva. There are literally fish to be caught almost anywhere on the lake, which makes it very nice when the winds are strong because you still have choices. The water temp has finally warmed up to about 75-76 degrees. With the warmer water, the pleasure boat traffic is increasing.

Smallmouth bass can be caught in the 20-22 ft depth range. The best bait has been either drop shotting small 4 inch worms in green pumpkin color or drifting nightcrawlers. Some of the best locations have been by Knollwood or by Belvidere Park in Fontana. The warmer weather will continue to make the fish go deeper.

Largemouth bass are now being caught on the weed flats. Try by Trinkes or in Williams Bay. Most Success is coming by drop shotting 4 inch worms or drifting nightcrawlers. With the warmer temperatures you can once again catch fish on the top water. Chrome/Blue or Chrome/Black Chug bugs are my favorite choices. have also been some reports of success while fishing around docks. Most people are casting spider grubs on a jig. A good choice of spider grub is the Arkie Crawlin Grub.

Rock bass have slowed a little but are still plentiful pretty much any place you fish. They seem to still be in the 6-8 ft depth range. The best choice of bait remains the nightcrawlers.

Yellow Perch have also slowed a bit. Last week I didn’t catch any of the real big ones like I did the prior week. The little ones that I did catch were on pieces of nightcrawlers. The best locations are by Colemans Point or Knollwood.

Lake Trout are still being caught in the main lake basin. Some success is coming on large chrome/blue Rapalas or chrome/black Rapalas fished on a down rigger. The best success has been coming on the suspended fish, 80 ft down in 110 ft of water.

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

Randy Williams, from Markesan, Wis., with a 21.5-inch Green Lake smallmouth bass caught while guided by Mike Norris. Provided photo
Randy Williams, from Markesan, Wis., with a 21.5-inch Green Lake smallmouth bass caught while guided by Mike Norris.
Provided

Guide Mike Norris texted the photo above and emailed this:

Fishing Report 6/18/2021

Mike Norris

Big Green Lake – Smallmouth bass are active in 10 to 12 feet of water. Try Ned Rigs along rocky bottom areas and cast drop shot rigs parallel to the outside edge of weed lines. Walleyes can be caught in 10 feet of water trolling with crawler harnesses. Bluegills are spawning under and around numerous piers along the south side of the lake.

Little Green Lake – Fishing is good for muskie with one angler reporting a 48-incher caught casting a large bucktail spinner just outside the weed line. Walleyes are also active along the weed lines and can be caught with a leech hung beneath a slip bobber in 11 feet of water.

Fox Lake – The water temperature has cooled down to 75 degrees and bass and pike are active around Brushwood and Elmwood Islands. Senko’s fished wacky style and swim jigs are accounting for most of the catches but homeowners fishing off their piers with medium sized shiners beneath a slip bobber are also catching bass and pike.

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.

HEIDECKE LAKE

Open 6 a.m. (6:30 bank fishing) to sunset. Click here for the promising preview.

LAKE ERIE

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

LAKEFRONT

See perch report at the top, such as it is.

Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait texted:

No perch reports at all.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

Good morning Dale,It is a shame the weather keeps swinging those winds out of the North and Northeast because up until the opening of perch sesso there was some nice perch being caught but as of the opening day the weather has been so inconsistent, winds and storms that the perch have been few and far in between there have been a couple but not many to speak of. The guys that are catching a few are using minnows and soft shells. Small mouth seem to be getting more active again in the harbor. And with the North and Northeast winds the sheephead hitting out on the horseshoe.

Well, the blows do help with the drum for some reason.

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said that Chicago is good now with coho, steelhead and lakers in 75-150 feet; R-4 has good coho, too. Out of North Point, fish are located in 90-150, some deeper past 200; it’s a mixed bag of steelhead, coho, lakers and a couple kings.

Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan texted:

No boat reports for perch, guys are getting some off the pier. Shrimp and minnows.Boat fishing for salmon and trout are good, anywhere from 40 to 150 feet, depends on the day

Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed:

Waukegan fishing continues to be outstanding. There is an occasional trip where the fish turn off, but most are big boxes of coho with steelhead and kings coming regularly. Today, Monday 6/21, despite the storms overnight we had a limit in under 3 hours using a 6 rod spread.

There are kings around with our boat taking several in the low teens and a 26 pounder last week. That was not even the biggest taken this week. There were also many steelhead. Most trips had 2 or 3 to go with the salmon.

Coho are mainly being taken on Dodger/Fly combos from just under the surface to 40 feet down. Red dodgers with Jimmy Fly Blue Liz, Purple Liz and Aqua worked for us. The kings and steelhead have mostly been on Warrior Spoons off leadcore with Green Menace, Two Face and Lance’s Two Face being best. XL, standard and magnum Warriors all worked and that’s probably because there are different sized alewife in the fishes’ bellies. All fish were stuffed with bait fish and some had shiners in addition to the alewife.

In the harbor we continue to see lots of largemouth and pike moving. They appear active but I didn’t see any caught this week.

Capt. Scott Wolfe

schooloffishcharters.com
630-341-0550

LaSALLE LAKE

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.

MAZONIA

Both units are open for fishing.

MILLE LACS LAKE, MINNESOTA

Dena with a beautiful Mille Lacs walleye. Provided by McQuoid’s Inn
Dena with a beautiful Mille Lacs walleye.
Provided by McQuoid’s Inn

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 is still amazing they are still on the deep reefs and gravel beds 28-32 feet of water. Slip bobber and a leech a foot off the bottom is still the best producing way to catch them. Smallmouth are in post spawn patterns they have dropped off into the 20’ range lindy rigs drifting with leech’s and crawlers are producing the best. Still some being caught on Ned rigs and drop shots. Stay safe on the water everyone.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a bass from northern Wisconsin. Provided photo
Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a bass from northern Wisconsin.
Provided

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

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing.

Northern Wisconsin-with more normal temps and cooler evenings, water temps have come down some with main lake temps being 70-72 and bays at 75.

Smallmouth are past post spawn and have been excellent on topwater during early morning and late evening hours. There’s nothing better than watching a top water bait get destroyed by a brown middle flying out of the water. Focus on rock humps, points, and flats adjacent to deep water. Best bait has been a Strike King sexy dawg.

Here is the nature pic of the week. Two pair of loons.

TTYL

Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team

Loons in northern Wisconsin. Provided by Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Loons in northern Wisconsin.
Provided by Ken “Husker” O’Malley

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

Some cool weather moved into the Lakeland area this past week bringing rain and wind and dropping lake surface temps 3-5 degrees and more in some cases. Surface temps as low as 67 degrees on some lakes, a drop of 7 degrees. With the temperature drop so did fish activity. Mornings (with air temps in the low 40’s) were the worse, with afternoon/evenings being the best time to fish.

Northern Pike: Good – These fish seem to not mind the cooler temps. Mornings best on live chubs or suckers and better on 4” swim baits, spinners and spinner baits in the afternoon.

Musky: Good – Some shallower water action using smaller twitch baits (Cranes, Shallow Raiders) and smaller bucktails. The top-water bite slowed with the temperature drop, should improve some as the week progresses, but will want some hot weather to amp up the top bite.

Bluegills: Good – As with the big fish, top-water popper bites slowed, but Gills actively taking small jigs tipped with waxies or small leeches.

Smallmouth Bass: Good – Tube jigs and creature baits on jigs along deeper weed edges. The cool seems to have moved fish off rocks and up to deep weeds.

Largemouth Bass: Good – Holding in deeper weeds. Jig and creature or wacky worming best. Need to get into the thick stuff to coax them out.

Crappies: Good – Very scattered. Cover lots of water to find small pods of fish. Gapen Freshwater Shrimp, Mini Mites and tiny 1 ½” tubes best.

Yellow Perch: Fair – Heat would help. Fish scattered and hard to pick up more than 1-2 here and there in 8-12’ weeds using thunderbugs or small leeches.

Walleye: Fair – Really needed to work in thick weeds using redtails or XL leeches on invasion jigs. Some nice fish, included a 29 ¾” over the weekend. But lots of moving and searching for a decent catch.

Despite the slowdown, temps look to slowly warm into the upper 70’s by week’s end and should bring some normalcy back to the area fishing. Still a few larger lakes yet to experience the big Hex hatch, the cool down will extend the wait a bit, but most lakes are done with that.

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
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NORTHWEST INDIANA

Capt. Rich Sleziak posted on Triplecatch Charters Facebook and noted, “Father and son coho limit by 7 a.m for our friends Don and Eric!” Provided photo
Capt. Rich Sleziak posted on Triplecatch Charters Facebook and noted, “Father and son coho limit by 7 a.m for our friends Don and Eric!”
Provided

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

Fishing still good straight out of portage 3 corners area dodgers and Flys and spoons best

Bluegills good on pine and stone lake in Laporte crickets and jumbo redworms best bait

Crappie on minnows on lake George in Hobart in the evening and into the night fishing around the bridges

Catfish at night on triple s stinkbait at portage river walk

Lots of groups fishing Dale. Rain or shine people are fishing

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

Hi, Dale. Great weather & great wishing yo go along with it! We’re finally getting very positive reports on Perch recently.

Fishing has been good on both Lake Michigan & local lakes. Remains really good numbers of Steelhead, Coho, & Lake Trout being caught; small spoons, spin doctors, & flies working great, with a few Kings in the catch. Perch fishing is starting to heat up with limits of nice perch in 40-43 FOW south of the piers. Smallmouth and Walleye fishing remains good. Inland lakes are still producing nice Bluegills mainly on Beemoths & Jumbo Reds.

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 not much in recent days, but before the blow, a few skamania were being caught from the pier; boaters are in 120-160 feet for steelhead, coho, lake trout and a few kings; perch were in before the blow in 25 feet, “They’re coming;” in the river, there’s some smallmouth catfish, drum and occasionally a walleye.

Paddle and Pole hosts the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder Camera.

SHABBONA LAKE

Adam Honiotes at Boondocks reported that fishing has been rough with the storms, but Jim “The Crappie Professor” Kopjo is still catching crappie on the rock beds and cribs; otherwise, the topwater bite for bass has started; water is 76 degrees

All concessions are now open daily. Restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Boat rentals are up and going.

Site hours through Oct. 31 are 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT

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

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:

Water temp is 69.5 today. Walleye action continues to be good. Some crappie taken in the bayous. Northern are starting to bite on surface lures