Chicago fishing, Midwest Report: Bluegill, pinks, crappie, kings, largemouth, smallmouth, bowfin

The delightful variety of summer fishing around Chicago goes on, with the added accent of pink salmon, to lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

SHARE Chicago fishing, Midwest Report: Bluegill, pinks, crappie, kings, largemouth, smallmouth, bowfin
Kevin Clancy with a “monster” crappie.

Kevin Clancy with a “monster” crappie.

Provided

The delightful variety of summer fishing around Chicago goes on, with the added accent of pink salmon, to lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Kevin Clancy emailed the photo at the top and this on Thursday morning:

N IL producing some monster crappie this year. This is a 16 I got last night.

When I asked for more details, he replied:

IJO Plastic and in Lasalle county

Been crazy this year. Numerous 14 fish, one over 15, and now this one.

He’s not kidding about there seeming to be more big crappie around our area. And I think it is more than more people are talking about catching big crappie in northern Illinois.

LAKEFRONT PERCH

Chicago and Waukegan are very slow.

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

Perch fishing was solid over the weekend from the doughnut down the shoreline towards Michigan city in 15 to 30ft of water. Baby golden roach minnows best bait.

Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said some perch action in 62 feet a mile south of “The Chalets.”

NAVY PIER ANGLING

The north side of Navy Pier is open for anglers. The discounted parking for anglers is $9 daily, if out by 10 a.m.

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

Declan Schultz with a big largemouth bass caught while night fishing in the western suburbs. Provided photo

Declan Schultz with a big largemouth bass caught while night fishing in the western suburbs.

Provided

Matthew Schultz emailed the photo above and this:

Dale,

At this point my son knows more about fishing than I do. So glad to see him and his friends riding bikes, fishing poles in tow, all around the the Warrenville, Naperville, and Wheaton area to hit the local ponds. They know all the secret spots. This was caught on a plastic on a jig around 9:30 pm Thursday night. I am proud of him!Declan Schultz, Warrenville. He just turned 13.

Tight lines,

Matthew Schultz

Mike with locally caught bowfin. Provided by Henry’s Sports and Bait

Mike with locally caught bowfin.

Provided by Henry’s Sports and Bait

Tom Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait texted the photo above of a bowfin caught by Mike.

I have a weakness for gar, bowfin and redhorse, the common but different local fish.

Sean Whippo with his third tiger muskie in 11 days, from a Cook County lake. Provided photo

Sean Whippo with his third tiger muskie in 11 days, from a Cook County lake.

Provided

Sean Whippo emailed the photo above, and this:

Got another Tiger Saturday morning! Cokl County Lake!

Beautiful fish. Feeling redeemed. Took me a lotta work to get my 1st then 3 in 11 days. All 10-14 feet of water

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

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

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-bluegill have been very good on plastics worked along windblown weed edges. Crappie can be found suspended in the main basin. Active biters can be enticed with plastics jigged a foot above the school.

Bass have been decent pitching senkos to shoreline cover early morning or at last light.

. . .

Here is the nature pic of the week.

TTYL

Ken Husker O’Malley

Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team

Nature photo of the week. Credit: Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Nature photo of the week.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

The weekend rains really helped; water levels rose; so did oxygen levels; temperatures dropped slightly.It’s also likely that a lot of food in the form of insects got washed into the water.I only fished lakes and ponds this week and got into some big bluegills and sunfish, as well as respectable bass.

. . .

Pete

That’s Rob Abouchar (fourth from right) in a non-fishing environment near one of the great fishing spots in Chicago. Provided photo

That’s Rob Abouchar (fourth from right) in a non-fishing environment near one of the great fishing spots in Chicago.

Provided

Rob Abouchar emailed the photo above and this:

HiDale

After the gig at Montrose beach I was too tired to head to the river. It was more bluegill action out back in the evening. I caught some more nice ones and another real bull gill that really fought. I’m thinking of trying another species carpet that seem big and active in my area of the lake. A full trout worm was best for the gills.The algae bloom still seems to have bass on lockdown.

On the music front the Full Album of original reggae music has dropped and is available on the platforms. The show Sunday went on by some weather miracle.The rain stopped at 6 we set up a brief sprinkling ensued but expediently stopped. We played broke down packed up the eq and the rain started again. It was meant to be. Next up Saturday at Racine beach side oasis. Then with midnight mile closing show at the 56 music fix at the moose lodge 6 to 8 pm.

Tight lines and good health

Rob

Sorry I missed the show. I had assumed the weather would do it in.

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 white bass in 8-12 off main lake points on small minnows and 32nd-ounce jigs; walleye excellent on leeches or medium roaches, Marie best; bluegill good on Spring or Petite on chartruese or black ice jigs with red worms, waxies or spikes; catfish are excellent on stinkbait, roaches or crawlers, Bluff or Marie best.

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

Jeffrey Williams messaged the photo below and this:

HUGE Shoutout to “X” who got a 18 lb carp in without any of our help(we were their motivating him).

As for other non carp reports, areas along the main branch have been spotty, but i been getting em with a small jighead with a gulp minnow, main key in presentation, been realizing the Bass/Crappies have been enjoying a small presentation whilst giving it small jerks/movement

A quality bluegill from the Chicago River. Provided by Jeffrey Williams

A quality bluegill from the Chicago River.

Provided by Jeffrey Williams

DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN

Capt. Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake 8/8/22 through 8/15/22

After the past few weeks of rather slow fishing, the overall bite on Delavan is starting to improve. Most of the anglers are having success for most species, with the exception being Walleye which are still tough to find.

Largemouth bass are in the weed flats in 15-16 ft of water. They are accessible by using split shot rigged nightcrawlers or drop shotting green pumpkin worms. Some success is also coming along the boat docks on the north shore. The best approach is a Wacky rigged worm in green pumpkin or a split shot rigged nightcrawler. The best place to cast is the location right behind the outboard motors of the moored boats.

Bluegill action has been very good. You need to search a bit for the larger fish. The best location for the larger bluegills has been in the 12-13 ft depth range. Look for the fish by Assembly Park or just west of Willow Point. If you don’t have much success, adjust your depth since they are always biting. If you are catching small fish, try adjusting your depth a bit deeper. The best approach is a small split shot with a leaf worm and letting it free swim down to the weed edge.

Walleye fishing has been very slow for me. Last week, I tried trolling and lindy rigging leeches without success. We did have a bug hatch last week that typically turns them off. I haven’t had much opportunity to try again but will check it out in the coming week. As fall approaches, the walleye fishing will improve greatly. They should start aggressively hitting chrome and blue rattle traps or Smithwick Rattling Rogues. The best time to try for them is at dark.

Northern Pike action has been slow. I am starting to pick up a few more in the 12-16 ft depth range right on the weedline. The best approach has been fishing Thill slip bobbers or letting the suckers free swim beneath the boat. I like to place the sucker about 1 ft above the weedline. The best location has been by the gray condos which are located by Assembly Park.

Perch action has been good on the west end just outside of Viewcrest Bay. The best approach is either slip bobbering or straight lining hellgrammites beneath the boat. The best depth range is 20-22 ft of water.

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 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

Sunset Monday night on the Fox River at South Elgin. Credit: Vince Oppedisano

Sunset Monday night on the Fox River at South Elgin.

Vince Oppedisano

Vince Oppedisano emailed this report, then followed up with the photo above:

Hi Dale,

Fished the Fox River, a few Kane County locations, over the weekend— shore fishing & wading.

Bigger fish seemed pretty inactive during the afternoon hours for the most part, but was able to hook into a good number of small to medium sized fish by covering water & changing lures pretty frequently.

Evenings were a little better, with a few good ones coming on topwater bite the last hour or so before sunset.

The heat/humidity was pretty brutal out there the past couple of days. Thinking the bite should pick up some this week with a little rainfall and less extreme heat.

Vince Oppedisano

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

. . .

I didn’t fish the Fox watershed at all, but the Fox itself only rose slightly due to all the rain.There was more current than there had been, but clarity barely changed.In fact, the rain helped clarity if anything:much of the typical late Summer algae bloom was flushed downstream and that lessened the awful green color.It looked pretty prime.

Pete

GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN

Capt. Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 8/8/20 through 8/15/22

Smallmouth bass are in the 20-25 ft depth range off weed points. The best location has been by the Military Academy or by Fontana. The best approach has been lindy rigging nightcrawlers or jumbo leeches. Drop shot anglers are also catching quality fish.

Largemouth bass remain in the deeper water from 20 ft down to 30 ft. You want to check the weed points or little changes in the weedline. Most of the success is coming either dragging a nightcrawler or Carolina rigging green pumpkin 6-inch lizards. When Carolina rigging Lake Geneva, I prefer a ½ oz sinker and a 24-inch leader, if I’m fishing less than 20 ft of water. Anything over 20 ft, I switch to a ¾ oz sinker and a 24-inch leader. Early morning and evening top water action can still be effective. You want to find the emergent weeds, which is difficult to find on Geneva, but they are there. Look for these spots by the Military Academy or by Linn Pier.

Lake Trout fishing continues to be good. The fish are still in the main lake basin in front of Williams Bay. Look for them 90-100 ft down in 112-120 ft of water. Dodger and Flies have been producing most of the fish. You want to use a small nickel dodger with a green or purple fly.

Walleye fishing has been very good at night. Last week, some real hogs were caught. The best time to fish for them is midnight to 3 a.m. Most of the success is coming off of large Rapalas trolled straight behind the boat. A little wind also helps. The best location is by Abbey Springs or Yerkes Observatory.

Bluegill fishing has been very good in 18-20 ft of water. The best location has been by Elgin Club or in Geneva Bay. You want to use leaf worms fished on a split shot right on bottom.

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 – 8/7/2022

Mike Norris

Big Green Lake – Big Green continues to produce decent sized bass along the deeper weed edges running from 13 to 22 feet.Tubes, drop shots, and umbrella rigs are all great choices for fishing deeper water.My clients and I are not catching the number of bass we see earlier in the year when they are shallow, but we are seeing good numbers of largemouth bass mixed in with the smallmouth bass this summer.Bluegills have grouped up along deeper weed edges and gathering angler’s attention.Northern pike have moved out to 30 to 35-foot depths.Dragging a 4-inch sucker minnow on a live bait rig along the bottom will certainly get their attention.

Fox Lake – Good fishing on Flox Lake has been unpredictable.Hopefully, the dam downriver from Fox Lake will be opened this coming week to let out water from this past weekend’s rainfall.If so, the current will flush Fox Lake out and the water will clear.This will improve both the largemouth bass and panfish bites.

GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WISCONSIN

Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.

HEIDECKE LAKE

Bob Johnson with crappie from Heidecke Lake. Provided photo

Bob Johnson with crappie from Heidecke Lake.

Provided

Bob Johnson emailed the photo above and this;

Hi Dale - Heidecke lake over the weekend and early before the heat and humidity kicked in. Smallmouth action is still going good with Bass taking finesse baits along rip rap. The surprise species was crappie. I was able to boat a few feeding white crappie going down the rock shoreline. The crappie were undersized for the average from this lake at 10 but looked very healthy. I’m curious what the survey will show this year on them. My big bass was 2.10 lb oz.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a smallmouth bass from Heidecke Lake. Provided photo

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a smallmouth bass from Heidecke Lake.

Provided

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

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing.

Area lakes-bluegill have been very good on plastics worked along windblown weed edges. Crappie can be found suspended in the main basin. Active biters can be enticed with plastics jigged a foot above the school.

Bass have been decent pitching senkos to shoreline cover early morning or at last light.

Heidecke- water temps are 78 with about a half foot of visibility due to an algae bloom. Smallmouth can be enticed by slowly dragging a jig tipped with a craw trailer along rock humps.

Here is the nature pic of the week.

TTYL

Ken Husker O’Malley

Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team

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

KANKAKEE RIVER

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

George Peters with a good smallmouth bass from the Kankakee River.

Provided

George Peters emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale, showers are a challenge on the kkk. Fish closer to banks where the water clears first. 18 1/2 on a spinner bait. G. Peters

LAKE ERIE

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

LAKEFRONT

The story of pink salmon being caught by boaters continues on Lake Michigan, including the pending Illinois record on Thursday.

Capt. A.J. Cwiok with a channel catfish while trolling for salmon/trout. Provided by Capt. Scott Wolfe

Capt. A.J. Cwiok with a channel catfish while trolling for salmon/trout.

Provided by Capt. Scott Wolfe

Capt. Scott Wolfe of School of Fish Charters emailed the photo above of Capt. A.J. Cwiok of Storm Warning Charters, and this:

‘Tis the Season

Channel catfish are one of the bonus catches, at times, on Lake Michigan.

Dale Rehus with a good smallmouth from southern Lake Michigan Sunday while out with James Baranski. Provided photo

Dale Rehus with a good smallmouth from southern Lake Michigan Sunday while out with James Baranski.

Provided

James Baranski emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale, Sunday smallmouth report fro Lake Michigan. Had an epic day on the big pond with Dale Rehus. Overcast skies and the majority of the rain missed the lake in Chicago. We landed 35 smallies and lost as many. They were fighting and jumping like never before! Many unbuttoned and had a few snapped my 8 lb test so I went against the grain with 12lb and started hammering them without line snapping. We lost a handful of Donkeys. Landed 2 x 4 lb, 3 x 3.5 and a boatload of 2 to 2.5,’s. Most of the action was before noon but let me tell you, a great day!

Some salmon/trout are being caught from shore in Chicago, including Montrose Harbor. Credit: Jason “Special One” Le

Some salmon/trout are being caught from shore in Chicago, including Montrose Harbor.

Jason “Special One” Le

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted the photo above and this:

Joe had 2 hits yesterday morning he believes we’re kings and caught this today.Other than this there are reports of good activity for Smallmouth, quite a few Northerns and sheephead. Nothing reported about perch.

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said out of Chicago, fishing is very good for lake trout with the occasional coho, king, and steelhead mixed in, deeper than 100 feet. Out of North Point, lots of lakers in 150-250 with the occasional kings, coho or steelhead; on “The Hill” in 60-130, very good for young kings and coho with the occasional steelhead and brown. “If you want to catch a king, now is the time to go, early morning is best.”

Capt. Dan Leslie at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan said some kings and steelhead in the harbor because of the crazy weather; thermocline around 30 feet, so fish scattered all over 70 to out deeper; both spoons and flies, especially blues or UVs; smallmouth active in harbor. For boaters, use patience and swap lures out if they’re not working.

Capt. Scott Wolfe of School of Fish Charters emailed:

Fish continued to be scattered because cold water was abundant this past week. Most boats are getting good mixed species catches with good numbers of all species, even regular catches of pinks. The most consistent area has been 80 to 180 feet from the Waukegan stacks to the state line. But boats did well from Great Lakes to tower road too. The key has been spreading out and covering water until a good area was found. This week my best action came in current beaks which held large numbers of steelhead and lake trout with occasional chinook, coho and pink salmon. Those breaks constantly move. Each day when we located a good break we loaded up on fish feeding in the break.

Spoons continued to be better than flies or meat rigs for me with Warrior XL sized Orange Killer, Steelhead Candy and Super Jordo on lead core and slide divers. Flasher fly presentations in any type of green patterns on wire divers and copper lines were good.

With some North winds forecast for this week we may have to fish deeper in the water column but I don’t think the fish will leave our area.

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

“Ramblin’ Ray” Stevens with a 21-inch smallmouth bass. Provided photo

“Ramblin’ Ray” Stevens with a 21-inch smallmouth bass.

Provided

“Ramblin’ Ray” Stevens tweeted the photo above of a 21-inch smallmouth bass and this:

Area lake……Trout lake Boulder Junction Wisconsin using a drop shot and a green and blue plastic .

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

Following a week of some fairly high temps and a couple big storms that brought both lake temps (76-78 degrees) and lake levels (3+ inches of rain) up in our area, a relative cool down to start the week.This dropped some surface temps by 3+ degrees overnight (8/7 to 8/8).Fishing remained relatively strong until the recent cold snap and storm shut down early morning fishing on 8/8.By afternoon though, things coming back to normal.

Largemouth Bass:Very Good – Working into heavy cover during cool downs with crawfish imitation plastics on Ned heads.By afternoons Bass moving up in weeds to hit spinner baits and shallow running cranks over cabbage in 8-10’.

Smallmouth Bass:Very Good – Not as many BIG fish reported as last week, but still lots.Best working deep weed edges of 12-16’ using drop-shot rigs, Ned Rigs and Wacky Worms.

Bluegill:Very Good – Best along weed edges/tops using worms or small leeches.

Crappie:Good – Anglers using small spinners to clip weed tops in 10-14’ catching nice slabs to 13.Once located, slip-bobbers and tiny jigs or small minnows hot.

Yellow Perch:Good – Finding nice Perch (to 11) in shallower weeds of 5-8’ while working jig/crawler combos.Gotta sort through little Perch and Gills, but one nice eater (8+) usually leads to several in the area.

Musky:Good-Fair – Evenings, especially pre-storm, or just at dusk best.Top-water has been producing.Mornings call for gliders or bucktails

Walleye:Fair-Good – Deep rocks early and late.Crawlers or big leeches.Some weed fish, but action limited to conditions (clouds, wind)

Northern Pike:Fair-Good – Action picking up, but live bait still tops.Try jerk baits (Husky Jerks, X-Raps) over weeds in 8-12’.

Cool nights are expected in August.Slowly falling lake temps and a seasonal die-off or certain weeds will bring some change in patterns, but overall, nothing too drastic as of yet.

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop - Like us on Facebook

NORTHWEST INDIANA

Success on salmon/trout out of Burns Ditch, Indiana. Provided by Triplecatch Charters

Success on salmon/trout out of Burns Ditch, Indiana.

Provided by Triplecatch Charters

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

Fishing offshore in 70 to 100ft of water straight out of burns ditch and to the east was good over the weekend

Spoons and dodgers and spin n glows fished 60ft to the bottom best.

Perch fishing was solid over the weekend from the doughnut down the shoreline towards Michigan city in 15 to 30ft of water. Baby golden roach minnows best bait.

Lots of catfish being caught at night in burns ditch using triple s dip bait.

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

Hey, Dale! The upcoming moderate temperatures are certainly welcome. Here’s what we’ve heard:

Salmon fishing on Lake Michigan is really starting to heat up now, with some very big Kings being caught. Mag spoons & spin doctors & flies are the best right now.

Perch has remained steady; the best depth is around 40 FOW.

The river action is much slower due to low waters & no current.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

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

SHABBONA LAKE

Aidan Sawyer at Boondocks reported walleyes being caught trolling No. 5 Shad Raps; largemouth hitting under the lily pads on plastics or frogs; catfish by the dam or campground on chicken livers soaked in Jell-O; some hybrid stripers being caught while catfishing with chicken livers; crappie are on the cribs on crappie minnows; some bluegill near shore.

Site 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 perch action 62 feet a mile south of “The Chalets;” silver fish are scattered from 90 to 225; a few walleye being caught in the river on blue/silver jointed No. 5 Flicker Shads.

Paddle and Pole hosts the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder Camera.

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