Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Into the heat for largemouth, flathead, pike, bluegill, catfish

Summer fishing truly settles in with big flathead catfish, northern pike, largemouth bass and catfish for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

SHARE Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Into the heat for largemouth, flathead, pike, bluegill, catfish
Nancy Stilin caught a big flathead catfish from the Fox River. Provided by Nicholas Stilin

Nancy Stilin caught a big flathead catfish from the Fox River.

Provided by Nicholas Stilin

Summer truly arrived and it shows in the reports for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Nicholas Stilin emailed the flathead photo at the top and this:

Fox river 27 pounds , caught by my amazing wife Nancy! Even women can hang with the men!

Point wonderfully made.


No licenses are required Saturday and Sunday, June 11 and 12, to fish in Michigan. Other regulations apply. State parks also have free entry. Click here for more info.


Perch fishing in the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan is closed through June 15.


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).


Time of the year when pond fishing is nearly at its best with bluegill bedding and frog or rat fishing for largemouth bass.

Mario Rios with a good largemouth bass. Provided photo

Mario Rios with a good largemouth bass.


John Kessler emailed the photo above and this last week:

Mario Rios caught this 18 large mouth bass last Saturday in a subdivision pond in Joliet on a slip bobber and red worm. Said it was the biggest fish he ever caught. He thought it came off, but eventually, he was able to land it. Submitted by John Kessler. (I caught 18 bass the next day at a different place in the same pond).

Radouane Ouarzazi with a Maple Lake carp. Provided photo

Radouane Ouarzazi with a Maple Lake carp.


Radouane Ouarzazi emailed the photo above and this:

This is my second big carp.i send u my first one last week.this caught this Wednesday at 2pm. At maple lake near boat center.using hot dog. It was 32 inches 18 pound Thank you very much


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


Staff at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said crappie finished spawning; bluegill on beds; largemouth are mostly coming off beds; flathead and channel catfish are phenomenal right now, especially in the river; white bass in deeper water on Marie and Channel, topwaters, bucktails and trollers.

NOTE: Check updates on water conditions at or (847) 587-8540.

NOTE 2: The Stratton Lock and Dam is open 8 a.m. to midnight through Sept. 30.


Big Chicago River carp. Provided by Jeffrey Williams

Big Chicago River carp.

Provided by Jeffrey Williams

Jeffrey Williams messaged Tuesday afternoon the photo above and this:

1 out of 2 so far 15 lbs 31 in Caught on Marshmallows

Later in the evening, he messaged the photo below and this:

wat a surprise it was catching this girl

Jeffrey Williams with a Chicago River smallmouth bass. Provided photo

Jeffrey Williams with a Chicago River smallmouth bass.



As the column notes, wacky-worming Senkos for largemouth bass was good Thursday on the flats Dave Kranz and me.

Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake 6/7/21 through 6/14/21 Summer has finally arrived. The warm temperatures and warmer water have made the fishing fantastic. It is great fun when there is action in multiple species. The boat traffic is intense but if you fish early, you should have a lot of fun. Walleyes have started to bite. The best depth for me has been 18-22 ft. on the outside of the weed edge. My legal fish have been coming off of lindy rigged nightcrawlers. Some fish have also come off of fat head minnows. The best spot has been by Willow Point or by the Island on the west end. Largemouth bass are still in the shallows. Just fish the docks and you’ll catch all the fish you’d care to. Use Senkos or Floating worms for the most action. The color doesn’t matter that much. With the warmer weather the fish should be pulling off the bank in the next week or so. This is when the deep weed line bite should be on. Smallmouth bass are also on the deep weed line in the 20-22 ft range. I haven’t been catching large numbers of them but the certainly have been quality fish (16-19 inches on average). My best bait has been night crawlers fished on a split shot or lindy rig. The best location has been by the Village Supper Club or west of Willow Point. Crappies continue to bite. The crappies I’ve been catching are off the weed line in 12-14 ft of water. They are suspended right above the weeds. Mini mites have been producing all of the fish for me. The best color is chartreuse or purple. The average size of the fish are about 9 inches. Bluegills are stilling spawning in 3 to 8 feet of water. Trout worms are the answer fished on a small split- shot. Look for the fish at Three Flags or by Delmar subdivision boat launch. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


Lou DiNicola emailed the photo above and this:

Isaac Biggerstaff with a fine Des Plaines River smallmouth bass. Provided photo

Isaac Biggerstaff with a fine Des Plaines River smallmouth bass.


is the youngest member of the Libertyville Fishing Club and he loves to fish anywhere and everywhere. He recently caught this 18 largemouth and 16 smallmouth within 10 minutes on the DesPlaines River. Congrats Isaac! Isaac is 16 and usually kayak fishes and in this case apparently took his bike! You printed his pic awhile ago with salmon and smallmouth from his kayak in Lake Michigan. Great to see a young man with the fishing bug. So far he has big fish of the year at our club outings with a 33 pike caught ice fishing in Lake Michigan. He is a formidable competitor to all us old guys!

Click here for Biggerstaff’s earlier Fish of the Week, mentioned by DiNicola.


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

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


Chris Horvath with his best smallmouth bass of the year from the Fox River. Provided photo

Chris Horvath with his best smallmouth bass of the year from the Fox River.


Chris Horvath messaged the photo above and this:

Smashed the Ned rig I’m noticing the Smallmouth are starting to be above the Algonquin dam now Biggest one this year. She was released to fight another day

Dicky’s Bait Shop in Montgomery reported the river is quite low and fishing slowed, “Basically catfish up and down the river.” A really big drum was caught below the Montgomery dam. Leeches seem to be the ticket for bass.

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale, The attached image is what happened when I removed a leech from my leg. It looks much worse than it was: I never felt a thing and I think leeches use an anticoagulant when feeding, so I didn’t clot as quickly as usual. I’d been fishing a Fox trib for smallmouth and didn’t notice my passenger until I’d gotten home and changed clothes. The fishing was tough. I caught a few small smallmouths, but it was frustrating because there were some large fish around. They showed themselves, but would not eat; I’ve made fewer fly changes when trying to get a stubborn brown to take. The water was low, clear and warm. I’m not sure which, if any, of those conditions caused the bigger fish to become so difficult. I talked to another angler who was leaving as I arrived: he was fishing for chubs to use as catfish bait later that evening, but had no success. When chubs aren’t biting, you know it’s not going to be your day. The rain we got yesterday and are supposed to get the next couple of days can only help. I requested Home Waters by John Maclean (the spelling and capitalization-or lack thereof-mattered to his family) from my local library. I’m really looking forward to reading it. Pete

Trust me, the photo was tough to look at.


Arden Katz said there were good bass in 9-12 feet at night in Williams Bay on drop-shots, also lots of rock bass and one big smallmouth.

Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 6/7/21 through 6/14/21 Fishing has been very good with the warmer weather. The smallmouth are still in the shallows spawning. They are being readily caught either with leeches, nightcrawlers or tube jigs. Due to the cool spring the pleasure boat traffic has been very light. The best location for Smallmouth bass has been either Belvidere Park or the Elgin Club. Try for the fish in 12-15 ft of water. Most of my fish are being caught on split shot rigged nightcrawlers. The best depth has been 11 or 12 ft of water. The key to success have been the wind. The wind has been very light lately, so you need heavy wind to drift properly. Rock bass are literally found throughout the lake. They have not spawned yet. The best depth is 6-8 ft of water. Most of the fish are being caught on nightcrawlers. Look for the fish by the Military Academy or by Fontana Beach. Walleyes have been very good. The only success is coming at night in 12-15 ft of water. Try trolling medium diving crankbaits. The best success is the Walleye Bandit in chrome/Blue or Chrome/Black. Look for the fish in Trinkes Bay or in Geneva Bay. The best time is between midnight and 4 a.m. The perch are in the 6-8 ft depth range. They can be caught on slip bobbered fat head minnows or leaf worms. The best location is by Knollwood or Rainbow Point. The fish are very aggressive and are schooling. Largemouth bass are spawning at the present time. They can be caught on their beds or just off their beds. Nightcrawlers on a split shot rig are a good option. Lizards fished on a light weight and a spinning rod have produced quite a few fish. The best location has been Geneva bay or Trinkes. 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 this: Fishing Report 6/07/2021 Mike Norris Big Green Lake – The smallmouth bass bite is hot right now. Look for them in 6 to 10 feet of water. Drop shot and Ned rigs are both working well, as are Alabama rigs. Walleyes are good on Flicker Shads and Salmo crankbaits trolled in 10 -12 feet of water. Little Green Lake – Muskie fishing was good last week, and I am looking for more of the same this week. Try casting bucktails over emerging vegetation. Both walleyes and panfish are biting. Try a jig and leech on the outside weed edge for walleye and redworms below a float near piers for panfish. Fox Lake – Largemouth bass fishing has been hit or miss. The lake lost 15 degrees of water temp with the frost last week. The bass bite should return with warm stable weather this week. Bluegills are moving shallow to spawn right now and can be found around the islands and under piers. To book a guide trip reach out to me via my Facebook page at mike.norris.7773 or email me through my website at


Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.

Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay emailed this on Thursday:

Good morning fellas! Sorry for the delay Perch fishing in the county has been going extremely well in recent weeks and that should continue right through summer. I believe we are experiencing some of the better Perch fishing we have seen in the past 10 plus years. Very good numbers of all year classes in my opinion. Areas to try include…Little Sturgeon, Riley’s Bay, Sawyer Harbor, the Flats, downtown Sturgeon Bay in and on the edges of the shipping channel along with some of that deeper water and mid-depth mud down around the Chaudoir’s Dock area. Fatheads, Crawlers and Leaf worms still the best live baits to have in the boat or on the dock Fishing out on the Big Lake has also been very good in recent weeks. Up until this point it has been mostly Rainbow Trout with some Kings, Coho’s and Lake Trout mixed in. I anticipate that will be changing here very soon with the warm temps on the way. The big, sought after Kings will be showing up here in full-force once our water temps rise and become established. Currently the best depths are from that 100 foot mark out to that 350 foot range fishing the top 50 foot of the water column with the occasional King coming a bit deeper. For the Rainbows, bright colored spoons are working the best and Flasher/Howie Fly combos working for the Kings Bass fishing can be classed as good at this point as we are now experiencing all stages of the spawn pending which area you are fishing. Pre-spawn, spawn and post spawn patterns must be part of your arsenal at this time. Jerk baits, spinner baits, spy baits, Howie Tubes, ned rigs and paddle tails all good baits to have in the box at this time The Walleye fishing is still going quite well especially to the south from Chaudoir’s Dock south to the bottom of the bay. I anticipate the bite to ramp back up here in our neck of the woods rather quickly with the weather change we are about to experience. Soon, most of the Reefs, like Larsen’s Reef for example will fire up with Walleyes and there should be a really good trolling and casting bite going on Thanks; Lance LaVine Howie’s Tackle 1309 Green Bay Rd Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235 Ph: 920-746-9916


Bob Johnson with a fine Heidecke Lake smallmouth. Provided photo

Bob Johnson with a fine Heidecke Lake smallmouth.


Bob Johnson emailed the photo above and this:

Summer patterns are setting up on Heidecke for Bass with warming water. Caught some fish by trying on different lures to change it up some. Tied on a surface lure the past couple times out and was able to get blow ups from both large and smallmouth. Also have been casting bladed jigs tipped with a crawler tail. It seems most fish want something dark resembling crawfish so your blacks and brown colors worked best fished parallel to rip rap. Also the plastics seem to be best choice for all around. Catch and release the Bass.Note - coast guard were out doing safety checks on Saturday. It’s a good thing!!!

That’s a good breakdown of how to approach summer bass fishing at Heidecke.

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


Rain came up and dirtied after some of the basin was hammered Monday with heavy rains.

George Peters with a Kankakee River largemouth bass. Provided photo

George Peters with a Kankakee River largemouth bass.


George Peters emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale, our heat wave and low water have sent Largemouth Bass onto beds in Kankakee River backwaters. River fish don’t become trophy fish like in lakes so a 3 pound fish like this is about max. Plastic. Creature baits near shore will work. G. Peters.


Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.


Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait texted:

Not much to report, smallmouth slowing down from shore. Salmon and trout still good about 100 feet. Dodger and fly.

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said Chicago has “big numbers of lake trout” straight out of Chicago in 80-100 feet with coho, too. Out of North Point, coho are in band in 50-100 feet from Kenosha to Waukegan, “But you have to work the pockets of fish;” a mixed bag is in 200-300. Coho are mainly coming on Dodgers and flies; spoons run deeper are working best for lakers.

Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan texted:

Boat fishing good, anywhere from 70 to 150 feet, steelies, cohos, Lakers and a couple browns.

Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed:

Coho fishing is generally very good. There is an occasional bad trip, usually in the afternoon, where they seem to shut down for 1/2 a day. The best fishing has been in 65 to 100 feet. Most board have been trolling between Waukegan and Northpoint, but a couple of us explored the same depts to the South of Waukegan over the weekend to avoid the crowds and we did just as well. There are occasional kings, lake trout and steelhead taken as well. Jimmy Fly trolling flies in various colors have worked well. Most days blue/green are best. On the slower days try switching to small black and purple leant size flies. Purple or green spoons have also worked from Warrior lures in Voodoo, Purple Alewife and Lance’s Two Face patterns. the XL size was best. All lures are being run the the top 40 fee with most fish taken 10 to 30 feet down. I again saw no one fishing the harbor. The SW winds over the past few days cleared up the water and harbor fishing should be good. I saw some huge pike this week chasing bluegill and crappie near my slip in the South Harbor. The carp are becoming active and look like they are getting ready to spawn. Capt. Scott Wolfe 630-341-0550


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


Click here for the update from D&S Bait.


Both units are open for fishing.


Anthony Lederer with a walleye from Mille Lacs. Provided photo

Anthony Lederer with a walleye from Mille Lacs.


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 weather has been hot and so has the fishing. Walleye are still being caught in the deeper reefs with slip bobber and a leech. Smallmouth are in 5-12 feet still neds and tubes are producing a lot of quality fish. If you want to experience some of the best fishing in the Midwest come on up and see what Lake Mille Lacs is all about.


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

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a walleye from northern Wisconsin.


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

Hey Dale, Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing. Northern Wisconsin-record high temps have hit the Northwoods this past weekend. Water temps have risen to 68-70 on the main lake and 75-76 in shallower bays. Smallmouth bass- some are still on beds while others are post spawn. Best baits have been ned rigs, x-raps, senkos, and drop shot max scent flat worms. Focus on rock points, humps, and flats adjacent to deep water. The evening bite has been excellent with the warm-up. Best bait has been the Berkley choppo. Walleye have been good during evening hours working an x-rap on rock points. Northern pike are excellent working a variety of baits along emerging weeds that are starting to take off because of the hot temps. Crappie are very good along deeper weed edges and isolated wood. Best bait has been the Strike King joker under a slip float. Here is the nature pic of the week. No words needed. Courtesy of Hailey O’Malley. TTYL — Ken Husker O’Malley Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team

Change of day in northern Wisconsin. Credit; Hailey O’Malley

Change of day in northern Wisconsin.

Hailey O’Malley

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

WOW! We got hit with a heatwave for those of us in Northern Wisconsin this past weekend! Temps in the low 90’s pushed lake surface temps into the 70’s and threw off some fish and anglers alike! We are well into the bluegill spawning stage on many lakes while some large and cooler lakes still have bedding Smallmouth. Bluegills: Very Good – With gills moving into shallow with many bedding up already. The Bluegill fishing has been hot! Poppers, small leeches, thunderbugs, and tiny tubes all working. Be kind at this vulnerable time as studies show that large male Bluegill are very important for maintaining quality Bluegills. These males are very important for guarding nests, so treat these fish like bass! Get ‘em back to their nest quickly to provide good year classes for the future. Smallmouth Bass: Very Good – Many done with spawn, but hitting tubes, creature baits and 3 swimbaits. Season Catch and Release only until June 19th. Big smallies to 5 ½# reported over the weekend. Walleye: Good - Fair – Heat and sun hurt daytime bite though some good catches reported during windows of activity. Leeches hot bait, but Chubs also producing in and along weed beds of 7-14’. Some anglers working swimbaits and Gulp minnows on 1/8 – ¼ oz jigs. Reporting hard hits working weeds. Musky: Good – Fair – Large swimbaits and Marabou Bucktails were the ticket over the weekend. Action improved as the heat cycle extended. Evening action on top water picking up also. Northern Pike: Good – Fair – Fast moving Spinnerbaits and Chatterbaits best. Fish thick weeds for best action; Weedless Swimjig with Swimbait trailer also good. Crappies: Good – Fair – Need to fan cast weed tops in 7-12’ with small Twister tails to locate; then fish small minnows at weed top level or just below. Largemouth Bass: Good-Fair – Good action on tube jigs along inside weed edges. Wacky Worms effective late morning through mid-afternoon until the sun lowers, then start up top-water Whopper Ploppers! Yellow Perch: Good – Fair – Still not getting much direct attention, but thunderbugs and medium leeches around drowned timber or weed flats of 8-10’ best. The early heat is playing havoc on wild bait trappers. Leeches are in short supply, while Redtailed Chubs, Black Chubs, Walleye Suckers, Mud Minnows and DACE are almost impossible to find. Try experimenting with more swimming style plastics where applicable. Fathead and crawler supplies still good. Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop


Capt. Rich Sleziak of Triplecatch Charters texted, “Steady catches aboard Triplecatch all last week.” Provided photo

Capt. Rich Sleziak of Triplecatch Charters texted, “Steady catches aboard Triplecatch all last week.”


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

Fishing on the south end remains good 70 to 100 ft fishing top to bottom. Dodgers and Flys and spoons best baby spindoctors and Flys taking a lot of coho Few steelhead being caught off of Michigan city peir and portage river walk on shrimp Bluegills doing their thing at all lakes and ponds. Catfish on triple s dip bait at night at lake George in Hobart and portage lakefront river walk Few perch starting to show up around the doughnut east of burns ditch in 35ft of water. Nothing fast and furious yet but it’s coming.

Love to hear that last one.

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

Hi, Dale. With the lake temperatures heating up, fishing for certain species has been heating up right along with it. Enjoy the slightly cooler upcoming week! Fishing on Lake Michigan & its subsidiary inlets remains very good, from the Chicago lakefront to Michigan City to Saint Joseph, with Coho & Trout with some Kings mixed in. Trollers are doing best on small spoons. Catfish, Smallmouth Bass, & Walleye are doing excellently on local rivers. Inland lakes are on fire now for bluegill, as they are bedding in most lakes.


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


Arden Katz they caught over 40 largemouth, mostly smaller but one went 4 1/2, and a few rock bass, on Ned rigs, wacky-worming and spinner baits in 2-5 feet. There is a free launch.


Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said coho, lakers and the occasional king are in 120-150 feet; the river has the occasional walleye.

Paddle and Pole hosts the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder Camera.


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

The concessions are back up and running with the same phone number, web site and Facebook. There may be kinks to work out, but much is the same. Bait shop hours are currently 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Lake Michigan bounty from Milwaukee. Provided by Nick Mertins

Lake Michigan bounty from Milwaukee.

Provided by Nick Mertins

Nick Mertins messaged the photo above and this:

Been on some good kings!!! Figured I’d share some pics!! Always wanted to make your fishing report. We were fishing deep 150-200 outta Milwaukee bite was crazy first light then they moved out a bit but we stayed in em!!

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


Wisconsin River smallmouth bass. Provided photo

Wisconsin River smallmouth bass.


Rob Abouchar emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale Back on the Wisconsin river and Larry Lixx LoCascio was on the bass again. Very little breeze but good water levels on the Alexander Flowage. Bass going for wacky rigged senkos. Some hammer handle pike going as well. Summer patterns going on the river. Still trying to secure a gig in Merrill for a true fishin musician trip. Might have to be solo or duo with my bandmate Joe The grasseater Schatz. Will report Tight lines and good health

For some of us, tight lines and good health is the stuff of life.


Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:

White bass are about done. Still getting a few, first and last light of the day. Walleye action continues to be good, jigs and crawler working best

The Latest
Murod Kurdi, 28, died in June after being hit by a motorist who told police she’d been drinking. She refused a Breathalyzer and was ticketed at the scene and released.
The win wasn’t flawless, but it’s the type of win good teams have. The Broncos took care of business in their second Red-North/West conference win despite not playing up to their potential.
Police swarmed the campus at 11:45 a.m., and detectives engaged in a gun battle with the shooter, who was killed. An all-clear was issued 40 minutes later.
The Champions won without injured junior Dalton Scantlebury, taking down North Lawndale 72-51 at home on Wednesday in the Red-North/West opener for both teams.
Brown, 35, is charged with first-degree murder and concealing a homicide. He played football at Proviso East High School and Notre Dame, and spent seven seasons in the NFL.