Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Summer bluegill, catfish & bass inland; darker kings on L Mich.
Summer patterns build for inland catfish, bluegill and bass while some Chinook are turning darker on Lake Michigan; those two threads lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.
Stable weather sets up summer patterns for bluegill, bass and catfish inland while some Chinook are darkening on Lake Michigan; those two threads lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.
Capt. Scott Wolfe of School of Fish Charters/Manipulator (schooloffishcharters.com) emailed the photo at the top with this explanation:
Attached is Eli Brown from Southern Ohio with a 25 pound king from this week. You can see how dark they are getting already.
Time marches on. Like some others, I am looking forward with some hope toward the fall return to shore.
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).
With the forecast heat later this week, I am thinking it will be early and late for fishing; and, as Pete Lamar suggests below, night for the big largemouth.
BIG FISH: The Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Big Fish Contest at Monee Reservoir runs through Aug. 31. Click here for details.
Rob Abouchar emailed the the photo above and this:
Hi Dale, I had a couple of hours yesterday during my home inspection in Melrose Park , so I hit Woodale Grove for some shore fishing. There were Largemouth Bass feeding on blugill on spawning beds all around the lake. Also topwater feeding in the middle of the lake. It was a beautiful calm afternoon and evening with crepuscular rays popping through the clouds as the goldenrod is trying to turn yellow and the purple Bee Balm and Wild Ratibida in full bloom. A sure sign of the August and late Summer change to come. I was able to get some action on the Black and Blue Senko wacky rigged casting to the weedline edge. The house in Melrose Park sold in two days on the market and hopefully the inspection goes well and I will know by the end of the week if all is good. On the Music front Sunday is the big gig at the Dancing In The Streets Festival for my Reggae band The Conscious Rockers. It will be the first show of performing a full set of my original songs in front of an audience. Something about a reggae band playing at a Grateful Dead festival seems to right to me. Also having to sign w-9 tax forms to be paid is a different deal. Makes me realize it’s come a long long way. Again the long strange trip continues. Tight Lines and Good Health Rob
Something about having a reggae report in the Midwest Fishing Report, just seems righteous.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed the photos above and below, as well as this:
Hey Dale, Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing. The cold front that came through slowed a good frog bite. It should return with the hot weather coming back this weekend. Bass have been very good during early morning hours. Pitch a BPS wacky stick-o rigged with a fusion weed less hook in isolated weed clumps. Let the bait fall then twitch it when it is laying on top of the weeds. Then pop the bait to get that reaction strike. Best color for numbers has been watermelon, but junebug has been getting the larger ones. Here is the nature pic of the week. Time to fuel up. TTYL — Ken Husker O’Malley Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team
Pete Lamar emailed:
Hi Dale, . . . Bluegills were still spawning on local ponds and lakes. There were a lot of redds visible. Some had actively spawning fish on or nearby; on others, spawning had been completed and the fish had moved off to do whatever they do the rest of the year. No big bass this week; all were small to medium sized. Night time would be the best option if targeting big fish. Pete
Open daily 6 a.m. to sunset. Click here for the preview.
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA
Art Frisell at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said catfish are “awesome” on crawlers, stinkbait and medium roaches; walleye are good on leeches or crawlers on main lake flats in 8-12; for white bass, look in 8-15 with Mepps or small fatheads on ice jigs under a float, Bluff best; bluegill are good shallow in 5-10 on waxies and red worms on chartreuse ice jigs, try Spring or Petite.
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 Tuesday afternoon the photo below and this:
So Carp action is picking back up, this guy was 15 lbs on the dot
DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN
Dave Duwe emailed:
Lake Delavan 8/2/21 through 8/09/21 Fishing continues to be very good. Most anglers are having great success pan-fishing. Perch and bluegill fishing has been the most consistent bite. The best depth has been anywhere from 15-22 ft. The only real way to fish them is to anchor and fish approximately 6 inches off bottom, depending on the weed growth. The best bait is hellgrammites, leaf worms and red worms produce fish also, but the size of the fish is typically smaller. The best action has been down by the Island on the west end of the lake, the weed bed off the gray condos and Lake Lawn Lodge. A few days last week, jumbo perch were being caught in front of the Township Park, but by Saturday they weren’t around. Crappies have been biting off the weeds in about 12-14 ft of water. I exclusively use plastics this time of year. With the warm temperatures, dealing with minnows is a hassle. I use small plastic noodles or cubby jigs. The best color has been purple, red or motor oil. The retrieve of the lure is the key to success. I find that you cannot reel them in too slow. The fish have been partial to the slow retrieve. Last week I caught several 12 inch fish. The best locations have been by the Yacht Club or Willow Point. Northern Pike fishing has been slow. The fish are active in the 19-23 ft range. Most of the fish are being caught on lindy rigged suckers. Once the floating weeds subside, spoon plugs or the Stanley Musky Boss spinner bait with start to produced fish. The best location has been by Browns Channel or by the Gray condos. I did try the west end of the lake near the island without success. The fish have been averaging around 29 inches. Walleyes are being caught on the weed lines in 16-21 ft of water. The best approach is either a small lead head jig tipped with ½ of a night crawlers or leech. The smaller the jig the better, so you don’t get snagged in the weeds. The best location has been by the Village Supper Club and by Browns Channel. I’ve also been fishing lindy rigs by Lake Lawn. The fish seem to be slightly deeper in the 21-23 ft. range. I’ve almost exclusively been fishing leeches in this location. Some days it is very hard to keep the northern pike off your line. They seem to like leeches as much as the walleyes do. Dusk seems to be the best time of day for walleyes. Large mouth bass fishing has been very consistent. The best pattern seems to be dock fishing. The easiest time to fish docks is early in the morning before the heavy boat traffic begins. The best docks are around 6-8 feet of water at the ends. Almost all the fish have been caught on the shady sides of the docks. I like using night crawlers just because it’s easiest with guide parties, but jigs or spider grubs are also an effective approach. I prefer smoke colored or pumpkin seeds. 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: 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 a lot of people back fishing with moderate weather; river remains extremely low; decent channel catfish.
Pete Lamar emailed:
Hi Dale, I’m sure you’re going to be hearing this often this week: low, clear and warm water is the story. I didn’t fish the Fox but did take a good look at it above a dam. There is almost no current and a lot of algae; it looks more like a stagnant pond than a river. The creeks were low and clear too, but at least they were a little cooler thanks to spring flow and had some current. Smallmouths were in the pools below the riffles. If I were going to fish the Fox, as much as I avoid the dams in order to get away from the crowds, I would fish below a dam. That’s where the dissolved oxygen will be. . . . Pete
That is sage advice on where to fish the Fox now and in coming day.
GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN
Dave Duwe emailed:
Lake Geneva 8/2/21 through 8/9/21 Fishing has improved quite a bit over the last few weeks. The only factor is the boat traffic which has also picked up. Northern Pike fishing is still above average. Most of the fish are in 30-38 ft of water. The best approach remains lindy rigging medium suckers. This summer more than most, you need to fish multiple spots to have success. There are not the large schools of pike as previous years. You are picking one here and one there. A good trip is between 7-8 fish in a 4 hour trip. The key is don’t get disappointed if your first few spots don’t pan out, keep moving. Smallmouth bass are starting to school up on the deep breaks. The best depth is 22-27 ft of water. Look for the fish by the Military Academy, Elgin Club or over by Fontana Beach. The best approach is either lindy rigging nightcrawlers or drop shotting 4 inch worms, green pumpkin or watermelon seed are good color choices. This bite should be improving as late summer turns to fall. Pan-fishing remains excellent. The best depth is 20 ft of water. Look for the fish by Elgin Club or by Linn Pier. Leaf worms fished on a split shot rig or a drop shot rig are very effective. Lake Trout are again biting in the main lake basin. Most of my success has come at first light or right before dark. The fish I’ve been fishing for are suspended of the bottom anywhere from 50-95 ft down in 100-120 ft of water. Nickel and blue spoons were the best color last week. Walleyes are biting at night. The best success has come trolling large stick baits like the Bandit Walleye minnow or large Rapalas. Look for the fish in 15-17 ft of water, by Trinkes or in Williams Bay. The best success on largemouth bass is coming while flipping piers or fishing top water lures in 8-10 ft of water. Fishing top water has been the best bite in the early morning. Either chug bugs or Pop-R’s are producing most of the action. Chrome/Blue or Chrome/Black are the best colors. 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 7/30/2021 Mike Norris Big Green Lake - Both largemouth and smallmouth bass are in their summer pattern. They can be found just inside of and along the weed edges. Bass can also be caught in deep water along rock strewn drop-offs. When fishing at or just outside the weed edge I am favoring tubes and drop shot rigs. I am casting with jig and plastic combos when fishing scattered weed beds. Also try flat billed crankbaits over the tops of the weeds. Fox Lake - Water temperature hit 89 degrees last week and the bass have slowed down. It is difficult to get them to hit a fast-moving reaction lure and I literally must throw something right in their face to get them to bite. My choice has been the Senko because it sinks slowly. 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.
Open 6 a.m. (6:30 bank fishing) to sunset. Click here for the promising preview.
Brian at Henry’s Sports and Bait aid catfish (from shore) and white bass (boats) are going below the Starved Rock dam.
George Peters emailed the photo above and explained it this way:
Here is my bid for fish of the week. This 20 1/2Smallmouth near 5 pounds, hit a crawdad crank bait below the dam on the Kankakee river in Wilmington. I have only caught 2 bigger in 40 years on the river. George Peters, Plainfield.
In a normal week, he would have had FOTW.
His main report for the Kankakee River was that it was “finally down to normal summer level. Bass taking baits that imitate minnows or crawfish. Dry days in the next week or so should be good. G. Peters”
Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.
Jason “Special One” Le texted the photo above and this:
Yeah a big one More come in
Freshwater drum have become a sort of savior summers on the lakefront.
Le also sent this You Tube video:
Then on Tuesday, he followed up with the photo below and this mirror carp:
Dale I think this is a rare carp Caught at Montrose Harbor
Angelo Mavraganes texted the photo below and this:
I caught this 14 inch crappie in the harbor yesterday
Good lakefront crappie.
Brian at Henry’s Sports and Bait said small smallmouth and some trout are going outside of harbors; otherwise, there’s some good drum.
Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:
Just sheep head when the wind is out of the North
Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said that out of North Point, mornings are very important, for mostly lakers with some steelhead and coho, and the occasional king in 140-250 from the state line to five miles south on a variety of baits. Out of Chicago, it’s between 125-175 straight out of the city for lakers with a couple steelhead and coho, and the occasional king.
Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan texted:
Boats are between 90 and 100 feet, still spotty,, Aug says the fish are slapping the lures.Perch and bluegills off the pier along with Rick bass.Sterling Blake good, desplains river canoe launch good, really no bad reports from anywhere.
Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed the photo above and this:
Waukegan fishing stayed steady this past week with good, but not great fishing. Kings can be taken in the early morning at sunrise and occasionally throughout the day near the bottom. Most boats had better success with flasher/fly combos, but we continue to do better on spoons. The Warrior Spoiler patterns continued to out-fish any other rig by a sizable margin. During the day lakers with an occasional coho and steelhead make up the catch. Again, due to lots of warm water in the area, the bottom 40 feet of water have almost all the fish. Gold Goby Jimmy Fly Mo rigs took most of the trout with other species coming on them as well. 110 to 140 feet either North of the Stacks or South of the Harbor was best. More staging kings and a good number of coho showed this week. I think these coho must be the Illinois and Indiana plants starting to stage. I continue to think this will be an early run based on where the fish are staging and the fact some of the kings are starting to darken already. I didn’t see anyone fishing the harbor. The water is really warm. Hopefully predicted West winds help the shore guys. . . . Capt. Scott Wolfe School of Fish Charters/Manipulator 630-341-0550 schooloffishcharters.com
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 the photo above and this from McQuoid’s Inn in Isle, Minn.:
A monster smallmouth 21 5.8lbsJustin Lederer checking in from McQuoids Inn Lake Mille Lacs. Fishing is staying steady as we are getting into the dog days of summer. The smallmouth was caught last night on my most recent guide trip. This tank was in 27 feet of water taken on a slip bobber and leech. Drop shots with tubes is also working well In the deeper water around big boulders and reefs. Walleye are starting to scatter stay on the move and work 20-30 feet around reefs and gravel bars. Slip bobber and leech is still out producing anything.
I will update when I receive the latest from Kurt Justice at Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua.
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted:
Fishing on the lake out of burns ditch has slowed some but some big fish have been caught magnum spoons seem best. Perch fishing is non existent very few groups even trying last year mid august they late august was decent let’s hope we have a repeat. Willow slough good for those in boats lots of gills being caught on jumbo redworms Lots of fisherman doing well on catfish fishing deep river and burns ditch using triple s dip bait.
Christina Petrites at Stan’s Bait & Tackle Center in Hammond emailed:
Hi, Dale. We’ve got the scorchers coming up again this week…hope you’re ready! Fishing on Lake Michigan remains very strong with a good number of Coho being the main target; trollers are also picking up some really nice Kings. Walleye fishing on the river is still really good. Leeches and nightcrawlers are working best. Wolf Lake doing well on both Walleye & Pike catches recently. Catfish doing excellently. Dowling Park, Pine & Stone Lakes, & Oak Ridge Prairie all having success as of late.
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
Click here for the Wisconsin DNR’s report, usually on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Josh Oman at Boondocks reported slow fishing with water 76-80 degrees; it’s mainly catfish on chicken liver with some small walleye and small bass.
Site hours through Oct. 31 are 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. Concessions are open.
SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT
Click here for the southern Lake Michigan reports from the Wisconsin DNR.
Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said perch are slow; there’s the occasional king, a few coho and the occasional steelhead in 110-150; there’s a few walleye being caught in the river.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN
Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:
Walleye bite remains good up river. Bluegills are doing very well, fishing near trees in the water, and running 7 1/2- 9 1/2. Picking up a few crappie mixed in