Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Kings, bluegill, catfish, bass, drum, hybrid stripers

The rise of big kings along with usual summer variety of action around Chicago fishing leads this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

SHARE Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Kings, bluegill, catfish, bass, drum, hybrid stripers
Bob Johnson had a multispecies day at Heidecke Lake, including nice smallmouth bass.

Bob Johnson had a multispecies day at Heidecke Lake, including nice smallmouth bass.

Provided

The rise of big kings along with usual summer variety of action around Chicago fishing leads this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

In the photo at the top, there’s some of the action Bob Johnson found Monday night at Heidecke Lake.

LAKEFRONT PERCH

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

As for fishing it’s been sort of a Teeter tototter up-and-down. I have a few guys that have been able to locate and catch perch last week but I haven’t heard anything thing in the last couple days..

Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan said some perch off the pier, every day is different, mainly bigger ones (12 inches and bigger), boaters are working in 60-80 feet and south, crayfish tails, minnows or crayfish.

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

Perch still slow water still on the warm side not much action.

Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor, Michigan, said virtually no perch reports.

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, Park Bait at Montrose Harbor, and the Northerly Island Visitor Center.

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).

ILLINOIS FROG SEASON

Illinois’ bullfrog (only) season is June 15 to 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.

AREA LAKES

Henry Palmisano with a bluegill he caught unassisted. Provided photo

Henry Palmisano with a bluegill he caught unassisted.

Provided

Tom Palmisano texted Sunday the photo of his grandson at the Palmisano Park lagoon:

Little Henry Palmisano unassisted gill

That’s the kind of thing that makes me antsy for some grandkids of my own.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a summer crappie. Provided photo

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a summer crappie.

Provided

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

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing.

Area lakes-bass have been good the last two hours of light. Focus on wind blown weed edges for the active biters. Best baits have been a baby 1-minus and swim jigs worked parallel along those weedlines.

Crappie and bluegill have been good early morning hours. Best bait has been an IJO Plastics nookie bug worked under a slip float in areas that have current.

Areas rivers received a much needed boost of rain over the weekend. This coming weekend should be excellent.

Here is the nature pic of the week. When nature comes to your doorstep. Photo courtesy of Vickie O’Malley

TTYL

Ken Husker O’Malley

Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team

Nature photo of the week with a hummingbird near a feeder. Credit: Vickie O’Malley

Nature photo of the week with a hummingbird near a feeder.

Vickie O’Malley

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

. . .

I checked out a few forest preserve lakes on Sunday after the rains finally ended.The fish sure seemed to like the influx of water:they wouldn’t leave a foam hopper alone.I didn’t hook every fish that hit of course, but it was a rare cast that didn’t draw a strike.It was a mix of small bass and some big bluegills and sunfish.One of the lakes I looked at but didn’t fish has an outflow into a short narrow stream.It varies from barely moving in low water to a strong current when the water is high (I stay away from that corner of the lake when ice fishing because of the possibility of the current weakening the ice).It was really flowing on Sunday.Right where the lake narrows and the current begins to accelerate, fish-carp, bluegills and a few big bass-were stacked up waiting for the conveyor belt to bring them a meal.it resembled the tail-out of a trout stream with browns and brookies waiting for floating insects to funnel to them.

That’s quite a good description of an area to watch after weather like we had over the weekend. Attentive anglers have made use of inflows and outflows after rains on ponds and lakes for years.

BRAIDWOOD LAKE

District fisheries biologist Seth Love would like to hear from anglers on hybrid catches at Braidwood. You can email him at seth.love@illinois.gov.

Open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Art Frisell at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said bluegill remain No. 1 bite, try ice jigs, small bobbers, waxies or spikes, shallow around laydowns; catfish good on stinkbait or crawlers; best Pistakee; walleye are fair, better in current on leeches or crawlers; white bass on Mepps, Rooster Tails or 1/16th-ounce jigs tipped with spikes or minnows, try relatively shallow (3-8 feet) first, try Petite.

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

NOTE 2: The Stratton Lock and Dam has normal daily operating hours of 8 a.m. to midnight through Sept. 30.

CHICAGO RIVER

Chicago River largemouth bass, caught downtown. Provided photo

Chicago River largemouth bass, caught downtown.

Provided

Jeffrey Williams messaged:

Bass fishing is picking up at the river, caught the biggest on saturday, 1.25 pounds on a fathead minnow, and my second caught today on a gulp minnow on a white jig head, still trying to get on sum crappies down here but these bass were beautiful and healthy

Brian Caunter at Henry’s Sports and Bait said bass, bluegill, carp and yellow bullheads are picking up.

COOLING LAKES

Braidwood, LaSalle and Heidecke are open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.

DOWNSTATE

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Open through Sept. 5. Closed Mondays, except for Memorial Day, July 4 and Labor Day. Check regulations at http://www.wetlands-initiative.org/dixon-paddling-fishing.

POWERTON: Summer hours are 6 a.m.-8 p.m.

EMIQUON PRESERVE: Hours are sunrise to sunset. Access permits and liability waivers are required. They are available Tuesday to Saturday at Dickson Mounts Museum, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service.

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing.

FOX RIVER

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

Nothing to say about the Fox watershed:it was too high and muddy to fish after all the rain over the weekend.I didn’t even go to try and practice casting.Maybe the upstream portions of the tributaries have begun to drop and clear by now.

GREEN LAKE AREA, WISCONSIN

Guide Mike Norris emailed:

Fishing Report – 7/23/2022

Mike Norris

Big Green Lake – We are in our summer pattern on Gig Green and both largemouth bass and smallmouth bass our out on the deeper weed edges.A variety of techniques are working for catching bass.Fishing with tubes, drop shot rigs, shaky head rigs and umbrella rigs are all working.Try the deep cribs in 22 feet of water just outside Dartmouth Bay, the weed edge which parallels the north shore line, and both the Heidel Bar and Monument Shoal.Northern pike are active can be located near the thermocline in 30 to 35 feet of water.Dickenson and Blackbird Points are also holding both species of bass.

Fox Lake – Troll crankbaits through the basin of the lake for walleye.Fishing is best early and late in the day.Crappies also started to group up in the basin and anglers are catching them jigging vertically with jig and minnow combinations.Largemouth bass fishing is good one day, not so good the next.

GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WISCONSIN

Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.

HEIDECKE LAKE

Bob Johnson had a multispecies day at Heidecke Lake. Provided photo

Bob Johnson had a multispecies day at Heidecke Lake.

Provided

Bob Johnson emailed the photo above and this from Monday evening;

Hi Dale - had a great night catching multi species on jig /trailer, Ned rig, slider worms and Rapala og slim Monday night with water up to 83 even 84 in some spots. Find open patches of weeds in rip rap and natural stuff and fish that area hard for best results

Jason “Special One” Le texted that good crappie are being caught by shore anglers.

Open 6 a.m. (6:30 bank fishing) to sunset.

KANKAKEE RIVER

George Peters with a 19-inch smallmouth bass from the Kankakee River. Provided photo

George Peters with a 19-inch smallmouth bass from the Kankakee River.

Provided

George Peters emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale, got this19 on Friday before big weekend rain. KKK will be high for about a week now unless there is more mid week rain. Time to try local lakes. G. Peters

Depending what happens over the next day or two, levels should be good; the river looked less impacted by the heavy rains over the weekend than I expected.

LAKE ERIE

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

LAKEFRONT

Big kings, the 30-pound Chinook, are beginning to show up. Click here to see the FOTW for a good example.

James Baranski with an early-morning smallmouth bass from Lake Michigan off Chicago. Provided photo

James Baranski with an early-morning smallmouth bass from Lake Michigan off Chicago.

Provided

James Baranski emailed the photo above and this on Tuesday morning:

Early morning smallie report, Lake Michigan. Smallies are popping

He originally emailed about Friday:

Dale, hit the big lake Friday July 22. Took me a few hours to get somewhat dialed in on the smallies. Unlike years past at this time of year, the smallmouth were far off the rap. I managed about 15 with the largest only at 3.2lbs. Hmmmm, size was not there and one of my smallies was only 2.5lbs and almost 18 inches. Most were skinny guys and gals telling me, they came off spawn not long ago. Last year at this time, 18 inches were solid 3.5lbs or better. If my theory is true, the next few weeks should be real good as these bronze backs will certainly be on the feed. Water temps hovered around 72 and drop shots with a 4 inch senkos with green/purple was best bait but did manage 1 on a green tube. Here is a photo of the 2.5lb and it is long and skinny as shown. Lastly, I was sporting the Ken Husker O’Malley look!

I will ponder that theory.

Kurt Engelhart with a freshwater drum from Montrose Harbor. Provided photo

Kurt Engelhart with a freshwater drum from Montrose Harbor.

Provided

Kurt Engelhart emailed from Montrose Harbor:

Believe it or not, caught at Montrose with a Daredevil spoon and 18 inch wire leader. Was looking for Pike. Got 2 more. This one weighed 4 lbs. Gonna smoke em like Door County.

Sgt K

For me, the best part of this report is that he was geared up specifically to go for pike.

Brian Caunter at Henry’s Sports and Bait said there’s occasional drum around the lakefront, some pike at Burnham Harbor.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

As for fishing it’s been sort of a Teeter tototter up-and-down. I have a few guys that have been able to locate and catch perch last week but I haven’t heard anything thing in the last couple days.. Few trout around, few small mouth and sheephead.

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said that out of Chicago is very good for lake trout, with an occasional king, steelhead, coho or brown straight out in in 90-130, mornings better; out of North Point, quite a few kings around the hill and lots of lakers out deeper.

Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan said fishing is good, some perch off the pier, every day is different, mainly bigger ones (12 inches plus), boaters are working in 60-80 feet and south, crayfish tails, minnows, crayfish; salmon guys 150-250 feet with nice lakers and some nice Chinook. I’d give it about an 8.

Capt. Scott Wolfe of School of Fish Charters emailed:

Fishing was really great this week. Lots of kings, steelhead and lake trout. An occasional coho and pink salmon were also taken. The West winds brought in cold water. Kings were taken as shallow as 40 feet with 50 to 130 being generally the best area for all species. With East or North winds, the fish generally push deeper and West and South winds, the fish will come in with the cold water. I have personally stayed to the deeper side and had the best steelhead fishing I’ve seen in years.

It’s been a spoon bite with spoons taking the vast majority of the fish on a faster than normal troll. Warrior Lures on leadcores, coppers and mid-range downriggers are taking most fish with patterns varying each day. For salmon and lake trout, the white-base patterns of Bloody Nose, Psycho Spoiler, Two Face and Blueberry Muffin were best. For steelhead, those same presentations with orange Warrior spoons in Steelhead Candy, Court Jester and Riverside Striper were dynamite. Anglers runningMusselhead meat rigs trolled slower seemed to be getting the biggest kings. So if someone is just looking for a trophy and not concerned with numbers of fish, that may be a good choice.

Capt. Scott Wolfe

schooloffishcharters.com

630-341-0550

LaSALLE LAKE

Site is open daily 6 a.m.-sunset. As a perched lake, boating is closed when winds top or will top 14 mph. Check daily updates on boating at (815) 640-8099.

MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN

Click here for the update from D&S Bait, Tackle & Fly Shop .

MAZONIA

Hours are 6 a.m. to sunset.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

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

Thick into the middle of summer!Patterns have stabilized (for better or worse, depending on your target species) and anglers should have several weeds of similar situations to choose from.

Smallmouth Bass:Very Good – Outside weed edges of 12-14’ and off shore gravel humps of 18-24’ have been tops.For weed edges, work drop-shot rigs of 3 Wacky Worms or 3 Gulp Minnows.Ned rigs and tubes have also been hot!On rock humps drop-shot again have been best, use small plastic craws or football jigs tipped with creature baits.Very nice fish up to 21 this past week with lots of 15-18 ers common!

**One trip of note, those battling Smallmouth this week led to an unforgettable quote from one young angler fighting his 4thSmallie in as many casts I can’t do it, I only weigh 92 pounds!Oh yeah, I won’t let him forget that line!**

Largemouth Bass:Very Good – (Toss up, but I like Smallies better!)Seems any heavy cabbage beds are packed with green Bass.Square billed cranks, swim jigs, pre-rigged plastics, swim jigs.Calm evenings open for fun top-water action using Whopper Ploppers and spooks along inside (shallow) weedlines.

Bluegill:Very Good – Scho0ls of Gills roaming the tops of tall, narrow leaf cabbage and suspending just outside these same beds.Small leeches, worms and waxies presented on tiny jigs, as well as casting small spinners, beetle spins and tubes.

Crappie:Good – Best found suspended 2-4’ off bottom along deep coontail edges or in the vicinity of drowned wood in 10-14’ of water.Medium fathead minnows or dressed jigs (hair, tinsel) suspended just a foot above marks on your locator best.

Yellow Perch:Good – Some jumbos coming from broadleaf cabbage beds on ½ crawlers or medium leeches fished on 1/16 oz Invasion Weedless jigs.Very scattered and other species need to be dealt with here.Other reports of nice eaters over sandgrass flats dragging Lindy crawler harnesses in 14-18’ of water.

Musky:Fair-Good – Best reports towards evenings when clouds build.Mornings – Flat or very clear have been tough.Evening bites on top-water or speed bulging Colorado bladed bucktails over weed tops and along weed edges.

Walleye:Fair – High pressure days making for tougher bite.Work windward weed edges of 10-14’ using full crawlers or the largest leeches available or weedless jigs.Deep gravel humps on the larger lakes producing in 22-28’.Flowage fish relating to wood in 10-14’.

Northern Pike:Fair-Poor – Poor results (in my boat) on artificials.Better reports from anglers using chubs or suckers under floats or jigging in heavy weeds.

A cool week with highs in the 70’s till the weekend (80’s Sat/Sun), AM temps in the 50’s.Bass should be the highlight still, though clouds and some mid-week rain may help out the Walleye and Musky crews.Lake surface temps averaging 73-76 degrees.

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop - Like us on Facebook

NORTHWEST INDIANA

Jason “Special One” Le texted this YouTube video of fishing the creeks for steelhead.

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

Over the weekend not much fishing offshore for salmon and trout storms and offshore winds kept most at the dock

Perch still slow water still on the warm side not much action.

Steelhead in trail creek and salt creek

Lots of catfish being caught in burns ditch at night using triple s stinkbait and cut bait

Wolf lake still giving up a mix bag of fish both Indiana and Illinois side.

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

Hi, Dale. Here comes a bit of cooler weather-certainly hope you’re taking full advantage.. . Here’s what’s been going on in the local fishing world:

Fishing on Lake Michigan has been steady with some big Kings being caught, but anglers are having to fish in-between storms. Rivers have gotten a little dirty due to all the rains.

Bluegill fishing remains good on the inland lakes

Catfishing still excellent in local rivers & lakes.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

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

SHABBONA LAKE

Sam at Boondocks said catfish are doing OK on crawlers and chicken livers off the bottom, weather slowed fishing overal; but some largemouth on topwaters; water levels OK and in the 80s.

Summer hours—6 a.m.-10 p.m.—run through Oct. 31.

Bait Shop is open 6 a.m.-7 p.m. daily; restaurant, 11-8 daily.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT

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

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN

Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said some silver fish in 160-220; no perch; a few straggler steelhead off the pier; smallmouth active in the river.

Paddle and Pole hosts the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder Camera.

WOLF LAKE

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

Wolf lake still giving up a mix bag of fish both Indiana and Illinois side.

WOLF RIVER

Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:

Walleye action continues good up river. Gills and some crappie in the wood along the shoreline, although bluegill are biting better in the bayous. The perchbite on Winnebago is picking up.

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