Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Big drum, big kings, catfish, bass, bluegill, Downstate paddlefish
Freshwater drum and a chance at big Chinook on Lake Michigan along with catfish, bluegill and bass from inland waters around Chicago highlight this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; plus a paddlefish from Downstate.
Freshwater drum and a chance at big Chinook on Lake Michigan along with catfish, bluegill and bass from inland waters around Chicago highlight this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; plus bonuses in a Downstate paddlefish and a Dancing in the Streets note.
Capt. Ralph Steiger caught one of his bigger freshwater drum in a while on Lake Michigan.
18.8, bass fishing on a tube dragging , 14 ft of water.
In case you’re wondering, that is not near the records for either Indiana or Illinois. Johnathan Inman caught the Illinois record (38 pounds, 4 ounces), on May 24, 2018 from Clinton Lake. Garland Fellers caught the Indiana record drum (30 pounds) in 1963 from the White River in Martin County.
ILLINOIS FROG SEASON
Illinois’ bullfrog (only) season runs through Oct. 15. A fishing license is required. “Bullfrogs may be taken by hook and line, gig, pitchfork, spear, bow and arrow, hand, or landing net.” Daily bag limits eight, possession limit 16.
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).
BIG FISH: The Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Big Fish Contest at Monee Reservoir runs through Aug. 31. Click here for details.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed the photos above and below, and this:
Hey Dale, Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing. Area lakes-summer patterns are back with more stable weather. Bass have been very good. Work a frog early and late in the day. Thicker the cover the better. Bluegill are up shallow finishing their spawn. Focus on these shorelines for good numbers. As the morning progresses, pitch a senko just beyond the bluegill. Early evening, burn a Googan click bait over the top of the weeds. These patterns should continue with the forecast predicted this week. Here is the nature pic of the week [below]. Warming up after breakfast. TTYL — Ken Husker O’Malley Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team
Pete Lamar emailed:
Hi Dale, . . . I fished a nearby pond on Sunday afternoon, right before a storm hit (I quit when I saw lightning and walked home in a downpour). The bluegills were in a frenzy, eating everything they could see and even attacking each other. It was fun while it lasted. . . . Pete
Open daily 6 a.m. to sunset. Click here for the preview.
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA
Tucker at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said catfish going good as usual on stinkbait or liver; bluegills are in the weeds and brush piles; few reports on walleye, but the better bites are in the weeds on fatheads; both smallmouth and largemouth are slow; as are crappie and white bass.
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.
Jeffrey Williams messaged about his brother and his carp on the river:
Carp King is back Nice 14 pounder, had beautiful colors on him
DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN
Arden Katz said bluegill were good in 15 feet parallel to the weed line; bass were on points or in deep water near shore.
Eric Stark messaged the photo of a paddlefish caught at Giant Goose Ranch near Canton. Giant Goose Ranch is a managed fishery on former strip pits and a very memorable experience, which I would recommend you try if you get the chance.
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: Open through Sept. 6. Closed Mondays (except Labor Day). Check regulations at http://www.wetlands-initiative.org/dixon-paddling-fishing.
Dicky’s Bait Shop in Montgomery reported slow fishing.
Pete Lamar emailed:
Hi Dale, We finally got some rain, and not a moment too soon for the Fox. I didn’t fish it, but walked a long way on Saturday, before the rain. I saw someone wading and casting in the middle of the channel, presumably one of the deeper locations. Water levels barely reached his knees. The rain on Sunday and Monday should do a lot of good: raise water levels, increase flow, increase dissolved oxygen, lower temperatures and replenish springs. . . . Pete
GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN
Arden Katz said bass, including his best smallmouth of the year, were being caught in 20 feet at night with drop-shot rig. “You will catch fish, they are just not jumping in the boat,” he said.
GREEN LAKE AREA, WISCONSIN
Guide Mike Norris texted the photos above and below, and emailed:
Fishing Report 8/9/2021 Mike Norris Big Green Lake – Bass fishing remains good at Big Green. It took a five-fish limit of 20.15 lbs. to win an Angler’s Choice bass tournament on the lake last Sunday. Tubes or creature baits worked along weed edges and rocky drop-offs are accounting for most catches. Large catfish are also hitting the tubes. Big bluegills are also roaming the weed edges. Try red worms on a drop shot rig in 15 - 20 feet of water. Little Green Lake – Cooler weather late last week drew anglers back out to this lake and they were rewarded with catches of walleyes and bluegills. Crappies remain active out over the deep-water basin. Lake Puckaway – Bluegills and crappie remain active downstream of the lake in the Fox River. Work the shoreline weed with a red worm hung beneath a slip bobber. 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.
Rob Abouchar emailed the photo above and below, and this:
Hi Dale, We were able to deliver the big show yesterday at the Dancing In The Streets Festival. The band performed with much aplomb and the reviews were great. We have been asked to return for future gigs in October, November or December. With Freshman Parent night looming and teacher inservices this week I had to hit one of my spots. I ran out to Heidecke and biked the center dike and fished for a few hours. I was able to land some nice smallmouth bass in the wind and heat. Possibly my biggest Heidecke lake smallie hit a jackhammer bladed jig in crawfish color with a white kalins grub trailer. I also had a nice Muskie follow but it came up short. Hitting the end of the line kinda re-cenerts things. Quite a spot to sit and ponder things. Tight Lines and Good Health
Open 6 a.m. (6:30 bank fishing) to sunset.
Bob Johnson emailed the photo above and this:
Hi Dale - I’ve been out for a couple weeks with some kind of non Covid viral infection but better again and back on the water. I had to get back to the river to go for some Smallmouth and it did not disappoint. I saw the report and pics from George Peters backwater so added motivation to getting back. The Bass are not what they used to be but still can be caught just more casting for them involved. We used finesse baits, crainkbaits and surface lures. Caught about 15 later this week and another 8 Sunday morning with a couple Walleyes and Catfish mixed in. Catfish were hitting crainkbaits too.
Speaking of George Peters, he emailed the photo below and this:
Hi Dale, [Kankakee] was low and semi-clear as of this last weekend. Rain forecast for early this week could change things. Smallmouth going on minnow and crawdad baits. Fly fishing also an option with pipers and streamers. Fishing pressure high, c and r for all fish. G. Peters.
Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.
Summer pre-school doldrums are here on the lakefront; may that change soon and early kings start showing up.
Jason “Special One” Le messaged this YouTube video on another form of lakefront fishing on his channel:
Staff at Henry’s Sports and Bait had few reports.
Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted a sad Spongebob emoji, followed by this:
This ought to explain it.
Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said out of Chicago fishing is good, for a fair amount of big lake trout, some big steelhead and the occasional coho and king in 125-200 feet. Water is cooling off and he anticipate them moving in closer. Out of North Point, fish are on the hill or just outside of it in 80-140; if you are at the crack of dawn, some nice kings there but they are hard to catch (a customer caught a 31-pounder on Sunday), on spoons or flashers and flies, “depends on the moment;” fair amount of lake trout in 160-260 range. Mornings definitely better. A few steelhead out deeper, too. “For the hard-core fishermen, get up early and set up in the dark, they will have a chance to get a big king.
Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan texted that there were a few perch reports.
Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed:
Fishing is as inconsistent as I have ever seen. Some days we go out and its lock and load with others struggling for a handful. The worst part is that there is no patter I have seen to be able to predict what is going to happen. Some days the fish are on and some days they are off. The good news is that they are there. 100 to 140 feet anywhere on the West side of the lake is holding good numbers of fish. They just aren’t in the mood to hit all the time. On a good day mixed catches of lakers, kings, steelhead and an occasional coho and brown are being taken. The big flasher fly combination targeting kings were the best this week with Green/Black/Silver and Green/Black/White combos being best. Smokin’ Fish Tackle Hulk Fly and Jimmy Fly Spartan fly were the best ones. Downriggers within 20 feet of the bottom and wire divers near the bottom worked. A faster troll produced better most days for numbers, but bigger fish were taken on slower trolls. Quality has been fantastic with nice 4 year old kings and big lakers even on the tough days. No info on the harbor. Warm water has apparently sent most shore guys to there bodies of water to try their luck. Capt. Scott Wolfe School of Fish Charters/Manipulator schooloffishcharters.com 630-341-0550
Open daily 6 a.m. to sunset. Click here for the preview of prospects.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
Both units are open for fishing.
MILLE LACS, MINNESOTA
Justin Lederer emailed from McQuoid’s Inn in Isle, Minn.: the photo above and this:
Jackson with a beautiful 23 walleyeJustin Lederer checking in from McQuoids Inn Lake Mille Lacs. Jackson and his family came up from Lemont to enjoy the area. He has never caught a walleye and he was able to set the hook and land this beauty all himself. So the fishing is getting tough. Still able to get walleye on slip bobber and leech towards the evening in 25-30’ of water. Bass are hanging out around the reefs if you don’t find them on top of the reefs drop off to the deeper parts and they should be there tubes and lindy rigs with crawlers or leeches. The fall bite is on its way.
Kurt Justice at Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua emailed:
As the first week of August passes, changes in our lakes are slight, but present. Surface temps have remained pretty consistent of late, running in the low to mid 70’s, but some sign of changes in certain weeds has been occurring and it seems to be affecting fish activity in those areas. Smallmouth Bass: Very Good-Good – This species is least affected by weed changes at this time of year, as they are usually working deep coontail edges, sandgrass flats and off shore gravel/rock humps feeding on crayfish and, on rock humps, sculpin that use those areas. Football style jigs with creature baits or drop-shotting 3 minnow/worm or goby imitations and Ned rigging work best. Northern Pike: Good – Stick to broad leaf (brown) cabbage or green narrow leaf cabbage. If weeds have a yellowing tint, less likely to hold fish. Spinner baits (Boonies, K’s) and chatter baits when wind. On very high or very low-pressure days, stick to jigging 4-6 chubs or suckers. Largemouth Bass: Good – Evening bite good on top-water lures such as frogs, Hula Poppers, Whopper Ploppers, etc. Day time use Wacky Worms to work weed edges Bluegills: Good – Best outside coontail edges suspended 4-6’ down on Mini-Mite, Gapen Freshwater Shrimp and small leeches suspended under floats. Poppers and flys for the last couple hours of light. Yellow Perch: Good-Fair – Best over sandgrass flats using frozen crayfish or ½ crawlers on Lindy style rigs or slip-floats. Crappies: Fair-Good – Best along 12’ weeds or out over drowned wood/cribs using small-medium fatheads, small plastics (Crappie Scrubs) or feather jigs with tinsel. Not tight schools, so searching needed. Musky: Fair – Anglers plying deep weed edges moving some fish. Top-water action not as productive as expected. Walleye: Fair – Best on deeper lakes where Walleyes working sandgrass outside coontail edges in 14-20’ using full crawlers, red tails or the biggest leeches you can find. Bullheads: Very Good! – Found a good bite and no one interested…some people! August can get tricky. Weather has been consistent, temps good but for some reason, fishing can be tough at times. Not impossible, just not always as good as we’d like. Takes a bit of moving around, but just like me, they gotta eat sometime! (Or is that all the time?) Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop Like us on FaceBook
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted:
Hot hot hot weather is here and will keep some folks home. Over the weekend catches on the lake mainly lakers but a few kings,coho and steelhead in the mix offshore 100 to 200ft of water was the best. Willow slough still giving up bluegills and redears using crickets and jumbo reds. Groups in boats doing best but at dark the action for shore fisherman has been good. Action still good at portage river walk for catfish at night using triple s stinkbait.
Christina Petrites at Stan’s Bait & Tackle Center in Hammond emailed:
Hi, Dale. This recent surge of hot weather has really thrown me for a loop! Here’s what we have this week: Fishing remains strong on Lake Michigan, with anglers catching nice coho with some big kings in their catches. A new state record king was caught over the weekend with the scales tipping over 47# [Michigan]. Walleye and smallmouth are still being taken on the rivers along with catfish. Inland lakes and perch have slowed down
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
Click here for the Wisconsin DNR’s report, usually on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Staff at Boondocks reported steady but slow fishing, best on panfish near shore, water is near 79.
Concessions are 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.
Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said no perch action; silver fish are in 110-150 feet; few out after the severe weather Monday.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN
Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:
Water is on the rise, AGAIN. Bluegills crappie, and perch have slowed a bit, but still some good catches coming in. Walleye bite is also slow with water coming up