Chicago fishing: Brown trout and largemouth bass part of summer fishing settling in

Summer patterns, including big brown trout on southern Lake Michigan, settle in and lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

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Alex McGeshick with a largemouth bass from summer fishing. Provided photo

Alex McGeshick with a largemouth bass from summer fishing.

Provided

Summer patterns, including big brown trout on southern Lake Michigan, settle in and lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Alex McGeshick emailed the photo at the top and this:

I caught this bass and my uncle told me to send it to you it was about 2 1/2 pounds

Smart uncle in my opinion.

YOUTH FISHING TOURNAMENT

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Big Catch Angler Association’s annual Youth Fishing Tournament is Saturday, July 15, at Miller Pond in Country Club Hills. To register, email bigcatchangler@sbcglobal.net or visit their Facebook page. More information on the club is at bigcatchanglerassociation.com.

SALMON-A-RAMA

Salmon-A-Rama opens Saturday, July 15, and runs through July 23. It’s headquartered a Reefpoint Brew House parking lot in Racine, Wisconsin, Information at salmon-a-rama.com.

LAKEFRONT PARKING

Chicago Park District’s parking passes ($20 for two months) for the anglers’ parking lots at DuSable and Burnham harbors are on sale at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor (cash only) and the Northerly Island Visitor Center (credit card only, during the summer, 7-10 a.m. Tuesdays and Fridays).

My column from Nov. 30, 2022, on parking the length of the Chicago lakefront is posted at https://chicago.suntimes.com/2022/11/30/23485385/chicago-lakefront-parking-fishing

ILLINOIS FROG SEASON

Illinois’ bullfrog (only) season runs through Oct. 15. A fishing license is required. “Bullfrogs may be taken only by hook and line, gig, pitchfork, spear, bow and arrow, hand, or landing net.” Daily bag limit is eight, possession limit is 16.

AREA LAKES

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

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

Provided

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

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap if this past weeks fishing.

Area lakes- the bass bite has been very good during evening hours.

Working a BPS bull hog texas rigged with a Vector hooks 4/0 EWG in deeper isolated weeds will take decent numbers. Most fish are hitting the bait on the fall.

Once the sun hits the tree tops it’s time to switch to top water baits. This bite has been excellent using a pop r worked over the top of weeds along windblown flats. Always an exciting way to catch fish.

. . .

TTYL

Ken Husker O’Malley

Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team

BRAIDWOOD LAKE

Open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.

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

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Kyle Tepper at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said white bass are good, in 8-10 feet on spinners or jigs and minnows; channel catfish are vrey good, chicken liver, cutbait, leeches or crawlers; carp are very good; walleye being caught on leeches or trolling; muskie are active; bluegill slowed; crappie are hard to find, try suspended in 8-12, slip bobbers and little plastics.

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

NOTE 2: Stratton Lock and Dam is open 8 a.m. to midnight through Sept. 30

CHICAGO RIVER

Nick Winstead holds a walleye caught from the Chicago River downtown. Provided by Anthony Johnson.

Nick Winstead holds a walleye caught from the Chicago River downtown.

Provided by Anthony Johnson

Anthony Johnson messaged the photo above and this:

My buddy Nick Winstead got a solid, clean 2.5-3lb Walleye out of the Chicago River by DuSable Harbor near the pumping station. I’m going to include a few pictures

DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN

Arden Katz said panfish are outstanding, park in 17 feet and cast into the weeds off the seconardary points; nice perch are showing up mixed with the bluegills; bass in 13-15 feet, tight to the weed line on drop-shot rigs with Kalins Weenie Worms.

Capt. Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake 7/10/23 through 7/17/23

The fish are in their mid summer patterns. The water temperatures have increased so most of the fish are in the deeper water and aggressively hitting.

Walleye fishing can be good given enough time. The fish can be caught on leeches fished on small jigs or on chrome and blue jigging rapalas. The best depth has been 21-25 ft of water. Look for the fish off of Assembly Park point or by Willow Point. You need to move around to find the active fish. Most of the success is coming in early morning or right before the sun sets.

Bluegills are on the weedline in 14-16 ft of water. The best location is by Browns Channel or just west of the Yacht Club. They are aggressively striking leaf worms fished on a split shot rig. With all of the pressure the fish are seeing, the average size is slightly reduced from recent weeks. As the water continues to warm, the fish will move even deeper.

Largemouth bass are in their summer pattern. They are schooled up in large numbers. If you find a school you should be able to catch double digits without much problem. I’ve been fishing them with split shot rigged nightcrawlers or casting a black and blue All Terrain jig. The best depth to look for them is in 16-18 ft of water.

Northern pike action remains steady. The best depth is 20-25 ft of water. The best approach has been lindy rigging large suckers. Currently the pike are preferring the bigger bait. Look for the fish by the gray condos or by the old Boy Scout camp on the west end.

Smallmouth bass fishing has been kind of spotty. The numbers in the lake have improved greatly over recent years. I’ve been catching several every trip out. The best approach is a split shot rigged nightcrawler fished along the weedline associated with rock. Some of my favorite spots are the Yacht club or Browns channel.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063

DOWNSTATE

POWERTON: Summer hours—6 a.m.-8 p.m.—run through Sept. 30.

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

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Site is open through Sept. 4, sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. Check regulations at http://www.wetlands-initiative.org/dixon-paddling-fishing.

SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service.

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing.

FOX RIVER

Vince Oppedisano holds a good walleye from the Fox River. Provided photo

Vince Oppedisano holds a good walleye from the Fox River.

Provided

Vince Oppedisano emailed the photo above and this:

Hey Dale,

Got back to fishing the Fox River over the weekend after a few days in Canada.

Early morning on Saturday was on fire, definitely one of the best days I’ve had fishing the Fox. Levels were up a few inches in Kane County which, along with cooler temps, an overcast sky and a cool breeze, definitely helped the fishing. It really felt like an early May type of day out there. Most fish came on small minnow imitations, with some good smallmouth (several from 12 to 18 inches), two nice sized walleye & a decent northern pike. A toothy trifecta...?

Summer heat, sun, and dropping water levels were back on Sunday. I had a tough time finding fish out there. Hopefully the rivers get some more good rainfall this week.

Dave Kranz of Dave’s Bait, Tackle and Taxidermy in Crystal Lake and with his You-Tube channel, Dave Kranz Living the wild outdoors, texted:

Recent rains in n northern ill has helped water levels some. Smallmouth bass below Algonquin and Carpentersville Dams is really good right now! Small spinners, Crankbaits or top water baits will catch them! Catfish continues to a great bite, crawlers, stink bait and bigger minnows will all work.

Ken Gortowski with a smallmouth bass from the Fox River. Provided photo

Ken Gortowski with a smallmouth bass from the Fox River.

Provided

Ken Gortowski emailed the photo above and this:

Dale,

In the last 2 to 3 weeks we’ve been getting enough rain in the Fox River Valley to make my vegetable garden happy and to spike the Fox River up and down out of drought mode. In that time frame we went from a low 251 CFS to 715, 1060, 1170, 1560 and 1060 CFS. Problem is with the river in drought mode there’s nothing holding back the water and as quickly as the river spikes up, it comes back down almost as fast. By the time I got out for the last few of hours of daylight on Sunday the river was flowing along at 430 CFS.

I fished a quarter of a mile stretch of the Fox just down stream from my house. The rain muddied up the river a little, but I could still make out my feet when standing in a pool a little over 3 feet deep.

It took a lot of wading and casting for the first hour before I finally hit the sweet spot. Wound up with 12 smallies and 1 channel cat. Another dozen fish had no interest in staying hooked for long. Two of those were really hard hits and heavy as hell as they refused to come off the bottom and took me for a ride before self releasing.

Forgot to bring along the stringer again. It’s time to restock the freezer.

Ken G

Nice to see him document with figures what other anglers were noticing.

Pete Lamar emailed last week:

Hi Dale,

Consider this an early submission for next week’s report or a corollary to my Tuesday submission. I hadn’t planned on going out in the 90 degree heat yesterday, but when my wife got home she said that there was almost no traffic and I could get anywhere I wanted to go easily enough. I packed the trout spey rod to fish the Fox if it were possible and a shorter rod in case I had to go far upstream on a tributary to find clear water. I couldn’t have been more wrong in my guess about the Fox: it had come up a little from the rain-there was a strong current where there had been slack water 10 days before-but it was in prime condition. After the weekend rain, temps had dropped a few degrees even with the recent heat and clarity hadn’t been affected at all; as Ken G. pointed out a few weeks ago, the Fox is typically as clear as it is now only in winter. Good numbers of small smallmouths around. I lost the big fish of the evening before I got a good look at it, but based on the battle and a brief glimpse of it through a couple feet of water, I think it was a sheepshead.

More rain coming and some cooler temperatures before long, so the good fishing may continue for a while before the annual algae bloom.

Pete

GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN

Arden Katz said he is starting to catch lots of smaller smallmouth, night fishing in 15-20 feet from Black Point to Rainbow Point, on drop-shots and Flat Worms.

Capt. Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 7/10/23 through 7/17/23

Lake Geneva continues to be really good fishing but it also continues to be super busy with pleasure boats. Plan to fish early a.m. or late p.m. for a safer, more productive trip.

Lake trout continue to bite in the main lake basin. The best time to try for them is early a.m. as the sun in coming up. Look for the fish 90 ft down in about 110-118 ft of water. The best action has been on nickel/blue or nickel/green spoons. I’ve been placing the lures 40-50 ft behind the down rigger balls.

Walleye continue to bite decently at night. The best hours to try for them are 12 a.m. to 4 a.m. They tend to bite better when there is a slight chop on the water. Try #13 Rapalas in fire tiger or chrome and black for the most action. The best location has been by Yerkes Observatory or Trinkes.

Largemouth bass are on the deep weed points in 20-25 ft of water. Look for the fish by the 700 Club, the west side of the narrows or by Colemans Point. With the fish so deep, the best presentation is Carolina rigging green pumpkin lizards or drop shotting Yum Hoodini worms. Some of the fish last week were over 5 lbs. A lot of fish are still shallow so the early morning top water bite is still productive. You want to use chrome/blue or chrome/black chug bugs.

Rock bass fishing has been excellent in 12-15 ft of water. The fish are biting on split shot rigged nightcrawlers or small white hair jigs. The best location has been by the Military Academy or by Colemans Point.

Smallmouth bass fishing has been improving. They are on the deep weed points like the Military Academy or the 700 Club. They are aggressively hitting nightcrawlers fished on a lindy rig. You want to fish a 24 inch leader and the lightest sinker you can get away with. I’ve also been using a heavy lindy rig with a small perch and catching several really nice fish. Both northern pike and smallmouth bass have been biting on the small perch. I’ve been fishing them almost exclusively in greater than 20 ft of water.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063

GREEN LAKE AREA, WISCONSIN

Guide Mike Norris texted the photo above and emailed this:

Fishing Report – July 10, 2023

Mike Norris

Big Green: We are getting an algae bloom on the lake and the bite has improved with the reduced light penetration. Some anglers are catching smallmouth bass on Senkos and Ned Rigs in 8 – 10 feet of water, while others are working drop shots and tube jigs on isolated rock piles in 24 feet of water. Largemouth bass are holding the cabbage weed. The winning weight for five bass in the WABATA tournament last Sunday was 19.31 lbs. Walleyes are active early morning and evening in 12 – 15 feet of water. Try trolling with nightcrawler rigs. Bluegills and rock bass are setting up in and around the deeper cribs.

Fox Lake: The best bite for largemouth bass is early in the morning between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. Look for them around the tips of the islands and under piers along the north and west shorelines. Skip Senko’s and Bitsy Bug Jigs tipped with plastics under the docks and where the docks connect to the shoreline. Anglers are still trolling for and catching walleyes in the open water basin but the bite has slowed. Drift the basin with jigs and minnows for crappies.

GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WISCONSIN

Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.

HEIDECKE LAKE

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

KANKAKEE RIVER

George Peters with a rare largemouth bass from the main stem of the Kankakee River.  Provided photo

George Peters with a rare largemouth bass from the main stem of the Kankakee River.

Provided

George Peters emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale, Kankakee high water after last week rain. Fish close to bank where water clears up first. This 181/2 hit in 1 foot of water. Might have made the leader board but I don’t enter. G. Peters

LAKE ERIE

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

LAKEFRONT

Dan ``Chizel’’ Kwiecinski with one of the big brown trout being caught earlier than usual off the R4 buoy. Provided by Andy Mikos

Dan ``Chizel’’ Kwiecinski with one of the big brown trout being caught earlier than usual off the R4 buoy.

Provided by Andy Mikos

Andy Mikos emailed the photo above on Mondayand this:

There are some big browns being caught at the R4 RIGHT NOW. They usually don’t show up until late July or early August but everyone seems to be getting them everyday out there for the last few weeks. Here is a picture of my buddy Chizel with a 16.5 pounder from yesterday. Bigger ones are being caught. Hope all is well.

That’s Dan ``Chizel’’ Kwiecinski.

James Baranski with a pair of good smallmouth bass from southern Lake Michigan. Provided photo

James Baranski with a pair of good smallmouth bass from southern Lake Michigan.

Provided

James Baranski messaged the photo above and this:

Hi Dale, the past few weeks has been a grind on Lake Michigan. A few 3 pounders the past 2 weeks and a lot of dinks out of Chicago. The bite has definitely been in the AM. Last few years smallies were rocking at this time but this year has been a bit slow. Other boaters have said the same but here is a few from Sunday a double boom boom.

Then in one of those intersections in my worlds, Ron Urick texted me the photo below Tuesday morning while, unbeknownst to me, he was out with Baranski and included one word:

Now

Ron Urick with a good smallmouth bass off Chicago in Lake Michigan Tuesday morning. Provided photo

Ron Urick with a good smallmouth bass off Chicago in Lake Michigan Tuesday morning.

Provided

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said, “It’s been a very good summer.” That has continued recently, too. “Lake trout off Chicago is on fire.” Out of Chicago, straight out of Montrose and north, good lakers, occasional king and some coho 110-150 feet; lake trout baits on the bottom; mornings better.

Out of North Point, from the hill on out deeoer (200-300), but 100-200 seems best with a good mixed bag of some steelhead, some lakers, some coho, and the ocassional king; fish coming down deeper.

A big jumbo perch  caught at Montrose Harbor. Provided by Park Bait.

A big jumbo perch caught at Montrose Harbor.

Provided by Park Bait.

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

Saturday evening by a few of the guys that were fishing.

No reports Sunday.Monday there were a few caught.So this season, fishing has been so goofy. Very sporadic.

Lots of north/east winds now they are south/west so timing is the key to perch. It’s one of those things that you just have to go out and fish and be lucky your there when they start biting. They are using the usual baits , minnows, crabs, worms, cranksbaits. No harbor reports all have been caught lakeside.

Smallmouth reports are better also. They were acting strange for awhile but seem to be back to normal now. They are in the usual places, harbor mouths and along the walls. Hitting the usual stuff, plastics of all types and if using live bait use pond crabs, leeches and crawlers.

Sheephead good when winds out of north/east.Have a great week.

Capt. Scott Wolfe of School of Fish Charters emailed:

Hi Dale

This season has been really easy fishing with great catches on many different presentations. This week get much tougher, with inconsistent catches. Most trips have still been very good. An occasional day seems to have difficult bite for no apparent reason.

Coho have mostly been shallower, 75 to 100 feet, with the Kings, steelhead and lake trout outside of them in 110 to 135. Some boats who have gone out to the 200 foot plus range have had mostly lake trout with a few kings and steelhead. North versus South has not mattered much. Staying out of a lot of boat traffic has mattered as the boats packing up seemed to shut off the fish or move them.

Best presentations for us have been white flashers and aqua, white or Little Boy Blue files 40 to 90 down. Divers with Orange stubby dodger and Aqua or Blue/Green flies on divers 45 to 100 or downriggers 25 to 45. Leadcores 5 to 10 colors with Warrior Two Face and Three Face in XL and Standard sizes for kings and Coho. and steelhead on Warrior Blue Dragon Slayer presentations.

Blues and blacks on overcast days and green, white and orange on sunny days has been a consistent trend.

Capt. Scott Wolfe312-933-0552

Good to have a report from Capt. Wolfe again.

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

Shelly Justice caught this 20 1/2-inch smallmouth bass on an Oneida County lake. Provided by Kurt’s Island Sport Shop

Shelly Justice caught this 20 1/2-inch smallmouth bass on an Oneida County lake.

Provided by Kurt’s Island Sport Shop

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

Overall, a nice week after the festivities of the 4th subsided. Lakes were not overly crowded and some good fishing was had. A few overnight rains/thunderstorms but not enough to affect anything. Water temps ranging 69-73 degrees on most bodies.

Largemouth Bass: Very Good – Bass remain active, dawn to dusk. Daytime fishing using plastics (Wacky, Beavers, Craws) in the weeds, as well as twitching stick baits (Husky Jerks, X-Raps) and lipless cranks (Rattle Traps, Rattlin Raps) very effective. Top-water action best early and late. Whopper Ploppers, Choppos, Spooks and Combat Frogs close to shore weeds and lily pads.

Smallmouth Bass: Very Good-Good – On lakes, outside weed edges using tubes, Wacky Worms choice! Rock bars try drop-shotting 3 Gulp Alive Minnows, Z-Man TRD Craws or Berkley Leeches. Nice bass this week, tops Shelly Justice with a 20 ½ C&R.

Bluegill: Very Good-Good – Gills working cabbage flats taking Mini-Mites, 1 twister tails, small leeches. Best action in water of 6-10’.

Yellow Perch: Good – Stick to cabbage (broad leaf if possible) in 6-10’. Weedless jigs (1/16) tipped with ½ crawlers, medium leeches or fatheads. Also, the lightest Ned jig tipped with small ½ plastic Ned worm or tiniest rubber craw you can find work great also.

Musky: Good – Bucktails and top-water best over cabbage beds early and late in the day. Good numbers of fish moving in the mornings. Late mornings work outside coontail of 12-18’ using rubber baits parallel to edges.

Northern Pike: Good – Casting chatterbaits and spinnerbaits over weed tops. Fish more active of late.

Crappies: Fair-Good – Some better reports as anglers finding Crappies working tall narrow leaf cabbage in 8-12’. 2 Twisters, Kalins Crappie Scrubs and 2 Ripple Shads to locate. Slips and small minnows to zero in.

Walleye: Fair – Varying reports from anglers fishing deep rock finding fish on larger lakes and flowages to some finding weed and wood fish in water from 10 to as shallow as 4’. Crawlers and leeches first choice, but redtails, black chubs, as well as jigging twister tails also producing!

Forecast for drizzle and clouds July 12th-14th with highs in low to mid-70’s should make things comfortable for the week. With stable temps and some shield from the sun looking to see some better Walleye and Crappie action.

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop - Like us on Facebook

NORTHWEST INDIANA

A recent catch of coho, steelhead and a king aboard the Triplecatch Charters out of Portage, Indiana. Provided photo

A recent catch of coho, steelhead and a king aboard the Triplecatch Charters out of Portage, Indiana.

Provided

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

Trollers have been doing well straight out of portage in 70 to 100ft of water. Coho mainly but steelhead and kings mixed in.

Dodgers and flys, and mag size spoons doing good.

Perch fishing is what everybody wants to get going as of yesterday not many groups out and just a few being caught near the doughnut out of portage.

Lots of fisherman out at night fishing burns ditch and deep river for catfish. Triple S stinkbait, skipjack and shad baits to use.

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

Hi, Dale! Are you & yours looking forward to the upcoming warm, extremely nice weather as much as we are? It’s going to be great for fishing also! Fishing has been heating up in direct positive correlation with the weather! Here’s what’s been going on with angling in our area:

Perch fishing is really beginning to heat up, with some really nice catches in 40 FOW; beemoths, redworms, & spinners/harnesses have been working wonders!

Coho & Steelhead fishing continues to be strong.

Inland lakes’ anglers are still catching Bluegill, but in mostly deeper waters; mealworms & nightcrawlers/red worms are yielding the best results.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

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

SHABBONA LAKE

John Honiotes at Boondocks reported walleye continue to go crazy, mostly smaller, on crawlers on the bottom; bluegill bite is best evenings.

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

Boondocks’ bait shop is open daily, 6 a.m.-7 p.m.; restaurant hours are 11-8.

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 perch are slow; some silver fish Saturday in 90-120; catfish in the river.

Paddle and Pole hosts the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder Camera.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

Guide Bill Stoeger texted:

Walleye action continues to be good in the Fremont area, and north on the river. Bluegill and some crappie in the wood along the shoreline. Look for trees in deep water with little current.

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