Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Flatheads, catfish, bass, drum, bluegill, Salmon-A-Rama

The results of a long Fourth of July weekend and summer weather leads this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

SHARE Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Flatheads, catfish, bass, drum, bluegill, Salmon-A-Rama
Bob Johnson with his really big freshwater drum from Heidecke Lake.

Bob Johnson with his really big freshwater drum from Heidecke Lake.

Provided

The results of a long Fourth of July weekend and summer weather leads this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Bob Johnson emailed the photo at the top of a 19.79-pound, 34-inch freshwater drum Sunday from Heidecke Lake.

I thought I had a Musky at first but 5 minutes later I knew.

LAKEFRONT PERCH

Midday today, a Burnham regular texted:

Perch are on fire at Burnham on everything artificial.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

Perch still around but it’s hit or miss. The barometric pressure has been up a little and shut them down most of the weekend on the shoreline. Softshell, minnows and shad raps doing the best. Water temps are still around 60 so that is good.

Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan said some perch off the piers and rocks, decent size.

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

Perch perch perch was what went on all weekend and on the 4th of July from the mudd line out of burns ditch all the way to my baldy. 15 to 30 ft of water lots of perch caught.

Baby golden roaches and perch fly rigs best. But when the bit is on it’s on any minnow will work.

Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor, Michigan, said there’s perch off “The Pump House” south of the St. Joseph pier.

SALMON-A-RAMA

Salmon-A-Rama opens Saturday, July 9, and runs through July 17. It’s headquartered at Reefpoint Brewing House parking lot, Racine, Wisconsin.

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 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.

AREA LAKES

Bill Buchhaas with a big bluegill from Shorewood. Provided photo

Bill Buchhaas with a big bluegill from Shorewood.

Provided

Bill Buchhaas emailed the photo above and this last week:

Dale....Went fishing on the retention pond behind our house in Shorewood today. Monster ‘gill hit a 4 Gulp minnow while pitching for bass. Easily went 1#...CPR...tight lines all...

Another way of bass fishing in the suburbs. Provided photo

Another way of bass fishing in the suburbs.

Provided

Another way of bass fishing in the suburbs. Provided photo

Another way of bass fishing in the suburbs.

Provided

Jason “Special One” Le texted the photos above of “My buddies Chavez and Victor,” and this:

Suburbs largemouth bass counts?

I think that was a rhetorical question. I love the style of their fishing.

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

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing.

Area lakes- bass have been good working the outside weedlines with a BPS stick-o rigged on a 2/0 Berkley fusion hook. Weed growth is finally coming in to setup this presentation.

. . .

Here is the nature pic of the week. Taking a break.

TTYL

Ken Husker O’Malley

Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a largemouth bass from local waters. Provided photo

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a largemouth bass from local waters.

Provided

Rob Abouchar emailed the photo below and this:

Hi Dale

I was on the water today in the heat and humidity with Joe the Grasseater Schatz and the bass were hitting despite the heat. Most bass were in shade or under docks . The fish were hitting senkos in green pumpkin with purple and green and and black and blue. On Sunday I hit Lake Fairfield with bassist guitarist George Pena . A friend moved there and was told the lake needed to be fished. We caught numbers of good sized panfish. We had a panfish grand slam of sorts. Crappie bass bluegill and a nice red ear sunfish. The fish came on beetle spin ratfinkie tipped with maxscent and senko in green pumpkin with red flake.

On the music front the three song conscious rockers ep is out and full album to come August 8th . Two shows at Montrose beach dock on Friday July 8th and Sunday August 7th. I may need a rod and spoon for this one for a quick few casts at the horseshoe.

Tight lines and good health!

Rob

Time for a redear. Provided by Rob Abouchar

Time for a redear.

Provided by Rob Abouchar

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 are excellent, try in the weeds in 3-8 feet, or work wood or piers, with chartreuse or purple ice jigs and waxies or red worms; good-sized catfish are excellent on stinkbait or crawlers; for white bass, work in 8-15 with Mepps spinners or Mini-Mites with waxies or small minnows; walleye are best in current areas, try trolling Berkley crankbaits or if fishing live bait use leeches.

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

“Big T” with a mirror carp on the Chicago River.  Provided photo

“Big T” with a mirror carp on the Chicago River.

Provided

Jeffrey Williams messaged the photo above and this:

im gonna give props to my brother [Jesse Gonzalez] yet again telling Big T that he’s going to get him on a big mirror carp, didnt disappoint again, T got this beautiful 23 pound mirror carp in on the 4th of July

this beauty was a CPR fish, he was safely released, bait of choice was Pack bait on a hair rig

COOLING LAKES

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

DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN

Capt. Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake 7/4/22 through 7/11/22

With the warm weather, I have been positioning myself on the deep weedlines in 20-25 ft of water. Due to the cold spring, the largemouth bass are a couple of weeks behind schedule, the bass are not very thick on the weedline yet. They are in the medium weeds between 8 and 10 ft of water.

Northern pike fishing has been fantastic. If you can’t catch them now, you should quit fishing. The biggest pike are in 27 ft of water. The largest concentration of fish is between 18 and 22 ft of water. The best presentation has been lindy rigging suckers or using Thill slip bobbers about ½ way down the water column. Look for the fish by Browns Channel or by Willow Point. The key I have found is keeping your bait moving. I’ve been electric motor trolling almost exclusively.

Largemouth bass have been a bit slow. I’ve been on the deep weedline. If you are targeting largemouth bass you need to be in and around the docks in 6-8 ft of water. You want to fish split shot rigged nightcrawlers or a black and blue All Terrain jig. The best location has been the North Shore from the Yacht Club down to Willow Point. The few weedline fish I’ve been catching have been over 5 lbs. I’ve been catching them by the Yacht Club or over by Browns Channel. In the next week or so, the bass will be schooled up and be very easy to catch.

Bluegill fishing has also been fantastic. The fish are in 15-18 ft of water. Look for the fish just west of the Yacht Club or by Willow Point. I’ve been catching a lot of fish throughout the lake, location doesn’t seem to matter but the depth is crucial.

Walleye Pike can be caught using two different methods. The first is trolling deep diving crank baits along the weedline in 18 ft of water. You want to use a crankbait in perch or crappie pattern. The second method is lindy rigging jumbo leeches right around the weedline also in 18 ft of water. Look for the fish by the Village Supper Club or by Browns Channel. The one key has been making sure you are fishing the windy side of the lake.

Crappie fishing has been sporadic. They are suspended over deep water. The fish are concentrating on the pods of small bait fish. They can be caught on purple or chartreuse plastic with a 1/32 oz jig. Look for the fish just east of Willow Point or just west of the Yacht Club.

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

DOWNSTATE

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Open through Sept. 5. Closed Mondays, except 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

Mike Cronsell at Dicky’s Bait Shop in Montgomery reported good catfish last week, slowed a bit recently; there was a 30-pound flathead around Yorkville; another guy caught a dozen eater-sized channel catfish in an hour wading around Oswego.

Channel catfish caught fly fishing a Fox River tributary. Provided photo

Channel catfish caught fly fishing a Fox River tributary.

Provided

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

The image of the sign was taken at a beach in the western suburbs. An old quarry, but with enough sand for a turtle to nest. Great job by the lifeguards and staff to notice the turtle and take immediate steps to protect the eggs.

My only fishing last week was a Fox tributary using a run and gun approach: make a few casts and drive to the next access point. I started way upstream near the source and found a couple of willing smallmouths in a deep (deep being a relative term-the water barely covered my knees) run. I didn’t stay long because a two ospreys let me know how displeased they were to share their hunting grounds with me. Based on their behavior and noise levels, they must’ve had a nest nearby. The next location yielded some more small smallmouths out of some fast water. The best thing I saw there was a smallmouth entirely clear the water to eat a damselfly. Immature damselflies and those injured who wind up back in the water are often eaten by smallmouths but to see a strong flier taken on the wing by a leaping fish was a rare sight. I finally found some bigger fish at the last location in the middle stretches of the stream, still several miles above the junction with the Fox. I counted four different fish in the 16-18 inch range near a bridge. In spite of several fly changes, I couldn’t get any of them to eat. I did get a nice channel cat on a marabou leech from the same location while casting to a smallmouth. The photo isn’t the best: he wasn’t very cooperative and I didn’t want to start the long weekend with a dorsal or pectoral spine in my hand.

Pete

I love that smallmouth story.

GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN

Arden Katz with a good smallmouth bass from Geneva Lake. Provided photo

Arden Katz with a good smallmouth bass from Geneva Lake.

Provided

Roger Jackson emailed the photo above and this:

Dale, Arden Katz caught this nice Smallmouth while fishing Lake Geneva, Saturday night, we probably got a dozen Bass (small mouth & large mouth)

Arden Katz said they caught smallmouth in 14-17 feet with drop-shots on the south end of the lake at night; when the sun came up caught good bluegill in 13-15 feet with chartreuse and whie Jigabites and spikes.

Capt. Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 7/4/22 through 7/11/22

Fishing continues to be excellent. The bass bite is very steady and other species are now starting to turn on! The only problem has been excessive boat traffic with the holiday weekend but we’ve come to expect that.

The largemouth bass I’ve been catching are in medium depth weeds in 12-14 ft of water. The best presentation has been an Arkie Finesse jig with a green pumpkin Yum Houdini worm. The bass have been biting on the fall and on the initial shake of the rod. I vibrate the rod 5-6 times as soon as the jig hits the bottom and then check the weight and usually the fish is on the bait. During some guide parties the jigs have been out performing nightcrawlers. The best location has been Trinkes or in Williams Bay.

Smallmouth bass fishing has been slow for me. They started to move deep and I haven’t been catching many. I would look for them on the drop off near the spawing flats. The Military Academy and Rainbow Point are good locations to start with. I would use Lindy rigged nightcrawlers and start in 18-24 ft of water.

Lake Trout are biting in the main lake basin. I’ve been fishing 100-120 ft of water catching suspended fish at first light. The bait of choice are nickel and blue spoons. The fish have been suspended 85-95 ft down. The average weight thus far has been around 10 lbs.

The big bluegills are still aggressively hitting. The best depth is 17-19 ft of water. Most of my success is coming off of leaf worms or ½ nightcrawlers. I’ve been straight lining the worms underneath the boat with a small hook and split shot. The best location has been Elgin Club and Maytag Point.

Some Walleyes are being caught at night while trolling crank baits. Use Bandit shallow Walleye crankbaits or Rapala’s fished on planer boards. There has been a lack of floating weeds on the lake so trolling has been fairly easy. The best locations are Abbey Springs or Fontana Beach.

Northern Pike will be picking up in about 10 days once the Thermocline starts. I’ll be starting to try for them the 2nd week of July.

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

Brianna McCabe from Oak Brook with a good smallmouth bass from Wisconsin’s Green Lake on a guide trip with Mike Norris. Provided photo

Brianna McCabe from Oak Brook with a good smallmouth bass from Wisconsin’s Green Lake on a guide trip with Mike Norris.

Provided

Guide Mike Norris texted the photo above and emailed this:

Fishing Report – 7/4/2022

Mike Norris

Big Green Lake – Smallmouth bass fishing remained good last week. Bass were relating to inside weed edges and pockets of rock in and around the weeds. The larger fish were hanging in deeper water near break lines. Swim jigs, Ned rigs, Senko’s and crankbaits were all effective lure choices. Walleyes are active. Try trolling with a spinner and nightcrawler rig in 12 – 15 feet of water. Try jigging a VMC Moonshine jig in 60 to 100 feet of water for lake trout.

Fox Lake – Largemouth bass fishing has improved with the recent hot weather. I am finding them in and around pockets of developing weed beds in the Government Area. Also, bass are now cruising just offshore of the Brushwood and Elmwood Islands. Fish with a Chatterbait to cover water and find active fish. Then work with a Stik O Worm around the weed edges and in weed pockets. Trollers are catching walleyes with crankbaits in the deeper basin of the lake.

GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WISCONSIN

Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.

HEIDECKE LAKE

Bob Johnson with a good largemouth bass from Heidecke Lake. Provided photo

Bob Johnson with a good largemouth bass from Heidecke Lake.

Provided

Bob Johnson emailed the photo above and this;

Hi Dale - had a fun morning at Heidecke today catching several bass and a 19.79 lb 34 freshwater Drum. I thought I had a Musky at first but 5 minutes later I knew. Heidecke lake temps are at 79 and lake is low some weeds are starting to choke out some areas. Finesse worms worked slow along rip rap shoreline

Steven Smith emailed photos, including the one below, and and this:

Good Afternoon Dale-

Just wanted to share some recent catches while on Heidecke Lake, Morris Illinois.

Steven Q. Smith

Steven Smith with a recent largemouth bass from Heidecke Lake. Provided photo

Steven Smith with a recent largemouth bass from Heidecke Lake.

Provided

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

KANKAKEE RIVER

George Peters with a good Kankakee River smallmouth bass. Provided photo

George Peters with a good Kankakee River smallmouth bass.

Provided

George Peters emailed the photo above and this on Sunday:

Happy 4th Dale! Started the day with a bang! 18. Kkk still low showers this week could change things, but right now almost all baits working. Area near I/55 bridge good. G. Peters

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

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing.

. . .

Kankakee River- the river is in excellent shape for wading. Smallmouth have been very good working a bandito bug or lipless crankbaits along current seams adjacent to flats with larger boulders.

. . .

TTYL

Ken Husker O’Malley

Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a smallmouth bass from the Kankakee River. Provided photo

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a smallmouth bass from the Kankakee River.

Provided

LAKE ERIE

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

LAKEFRONT

Perch report at the top.

Mark Kolsen with a Chinook caught east of Chicago. Provided photo

Mark Kolsen with a Chinook caught east of Chicago.

Provided

Mark Kolsen emailed the photo above and this Saturday:

Hi Dale,

Caught this 18 lb king in 105 feet of water, east of the city, 55 ft down on a moonshine wonder bread.

What’s special is that it knew every trick in the book. After the usual long run, it swam back towards my boat. After I caught up with it and it felt pressure, it dove under my boat. Then it swam around the stern to the starboard side, under and then around my downrigger wire. Fortunately, I had seen all of this before (though never all at once), and Ianded him.

Best,

Mark Kolsen

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

Perch still around but it’s hit or miss. The barometric pressure has been up a little and shut them down most of the weekend on the shoreline. Softshell, minnows and shad raps doing the best. Water temps are still around 60 so that is good. Lots of sheephead on Softshell and regular pond crayfish. Smallmouth action still good around the harbors. Have a great week.

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said there’s good lake trout and some coho out of Chicago.

Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan said some perch are being caught off the piers and rocks, decent size. Some kings from boats, even a couple kings off shore.

Capt. Scott Wolfe of School of Fish Charters emailed:

Hi Dale

The fishing was pretty rough this week with fish shallower than 200 feet scattered and tough to find. Some coho, kings and lake trout can be caught between the R4 buoy up to the state line in under 200. Fishing deeper than 200 feet was better with the best being 230 to 290 between Waukegan and Julian’s reef. Even though it’s deep, the fish are in the top 50 feet. For anglers less experienced with the deeper waters, you will be in the shipping lanes and need to keep a watch for the big freighters. They can cruise at over 20 knots and you need to move away early.

This week a spoon bite was better with bright orange and bright green spoons like Warrior’s Steelhead Candy, Spoiler, Lances Two Face doing well on leadcores 6 to 10 colors and 200 to 300 coppers and downriggers 20 to 45 down. Wire divers 60 to 100 out with bright green flashers like Musselhead EK and NBK patterns and Jimmy Fly and Smokin Fish flies in bright greens took some nice steelhead and kings.

One strange thing I’ve seen is that the coho and steelhead are really big this year but the kings appear smaller than normal. Maybe I just haven’t found the right ones yet. Usually by this time of the year I have had many kings over 20# with a few over 25#. I think the biggest king I’ve had this year was maybe 18#. On the other hand, the cohos are about as big as I’ve ever seen and we have had many bigger than average steelhead.

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

Vegetation is thick, especially the shoreline phragmites, for shore anglers. But fishing is good, especially early and late. See the column on Wednesday.

Hours are 6 a.m. to sunset.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

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

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!

Entering July, looks like a little normalcy is finally coming to the Northwoods. Summer like (but not too hot) temperatures, light to moderate winds and little rain for the coming week. Patterns will start solidifying for the summer. Most, but not all, mayfly hatches are ending, weeds are starting to peak and most spawning is over.

Largemouth Bass: Very Good-Good – Lots of good reports from anglers pitching Wacky Worms, jig/creature and Ned Craws. Top-water good evenings and warmer early mornings. Working chatterbaits and ¼ oz spinnerbaits mid-morning through the afternoons over cabbage flats productive.

Bluegill: Very Good-Good – Great action on inside weed edges using small leeches below small floats. Over hanging trees, large piers, boathouses all providing good cover. Gills to 10 ¼ this past week. Most spawning finished or close to.

Yellow Perch: Good – Working pockets in cabbage of 5-10’ using medium fatheads or medium leeches. A small 1/32 oz jig either cast and twitched or below a float.

Smallmouth Bass: Good – Working Ned rigs tops just along coontail breaks. Craw imitations on drop-shot rigs as well as Wacky Worms and swimbaits working. Not having to work too deep yet. Most fish in 12-18’.

Musky: Good – Surprisingly, some good multi-fish days on live suckers. Reports from one guide with 4 boated from 34-44 and two lost in same day. Most anglers casting bucktails and small to medium sized swimbaits.

Northern Pike: Good – Action best over tobacco (Musky) cabbage in 5-9’ using spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and larger 4-6 paddle tailed swimbaits.

Crappie: Good – Crappies relating to narrow leaf cabbage, downed trees and large shady boathouses. Twitch small tubes, or cast small Mepps or beetle spins to locate. Plastic jigs, hair jigs and small minnows under floats good after you locate fish.

Walleye: Fair – While many lakes were in different stages of the big hexagenia hatches that just put so much easy food out there, its tough to entice consistent catches. Some exceptional fish this week, including a 33 beauty (hopefully more info to come). Yet overall, not a great week for Walleye chasers. But once these hatches are finished, some better weed edge fishing should occur as the Eyes get hungry again.

Most lake reporting a surface temp of 72-74 degrees. Shouldn’t be much deviation with forecasted highs in upper 70’s for the week.

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop - Like us on Facebook

NORTHWEST INDIANA

A solid outing for trout and salmon out of Burns Ditch. Provided by Triplecatch Charters

A solid outing for trout and salmon out of Burns Ditch.

Provided by Triplecatch Charters

Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted the photo above and this:

Lots of trout over the holiday weekend. Few kings and steelhead mixed in too for some boats.

Fish are starting to move around more depths of 65 to 100ft is the norm. Fishing 25ft down to the bottom.

Some steelhead action for trollers outside of the perch pack out of burns ditch. Mag spoons and j-13 rapalas baits to use.

Perch perch perch was what went on all weekend and on the 4th of July from the mudd line out of burns ditch all the way to my baldy. 15 to 30 ft of water lots of perch caught.

Baby golden roaches and perch fly rigs best. But when the bit is on it’s on any minnow will work.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

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

SHABBONA LAKE

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.

SILVER LAKE, WISCONSIN

Jose Guiterrez messaged on Saturday:

Me and Arden went to silver lake in Wisconsin we drop the hammer down on the bass but most where small 30+ day today

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 laker trout are being caught in 90-120; there’s perch off “The Pump House” south of the St. Joseph pier.

Paddle and Pole hosts the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder Camera.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:

Not much going on in the area right now. Way too much boat traffic over the weekend. Still good walleye action up river. Crappie are in the trees along the river, look for wood in deeper water.

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