Chicago fishing: After the flood and into the Fourth of July

Some cleaning up after the flash flood on Sunday and others settling into traditional Fourth of July fishing lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

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Violet Jurich and her aunt Kelsey Heilman caught largemouth bass from a golf course pond in Dyer, Indiana.

Violet Jurich and her aunt Kelsey Heilman caught largemouth bass from a golf course pond in Dyer, Indiana.

Provided by Tom Jurich

Cleaning up after the flash flood on Sunday and others settling into traditional Fourth of July fishing leads this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Tom Jurich emailed the photo at the top and this:

My granddaughter Violet Jurich and her aunt Kelsey Heilman grabbed two nice bass at a golf course pond in Dyer, IN. They skunked me and two other guys!

If you have access (permission), golf course ponds are often great fisheries.

KANKAKEE RIVER FISHING DERBY

The annual multi-species derby runs through July 9. It’s $20 per family. Details at kankakeefishingderby.com. Notable catches on the Big Board through Tuesday morning included Josh Blanton with a flathead of 32 pounds, 6 ounces and Greg Schneider with a 13-5 northern pike.

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

Juan Macias with a walleye from Busse Lake. Provided photo

Juan Macias with a walleye from Busse Lake.

Provided

Juan Macias messaged the photo above and this on Monday:

Hi Dale, nice weekend before 4th of July I decided hit the busse woods and ohh surprised the walleye was biting very well after the rain few guys catch nice keepers hopefully doing again 4th July by the morning.

Jack Stevens with a personal-best largemouth bass from the Plainfield area. Provided photo

Jack Stevens with a personal-best largemouth bass from the Plainfield area.

Provded

Jack Stevens sent the photo above two weeks ago (I lost it in my files) and this:

Hi Dale,

I got my PB largemouth this morning. It was 7am and sunny. Still a little bit chilly from last night. Carp were all over the bank so I was making bomb cast with my Magdraft. I let it sink and slow Rolled the bottom of a large murky pond in will county. Bottom is mostly rocks so I was bouncing off of them this when I felt the thud. Thought it was another rock at first and line went sideways. Set the hook and the fish immediately went airborne. I could feel the weight and knew it was big but had no idea until it got close. Pulled drag numerous times until I got him onto shore. . . .

Best,

Jack Stevens

Much in that to learn from, if chasing if monster largemouth in area ponds.

Ron Urick with a good largemouth bass last week from “Walden Pond.” Provided photo

Ron Urick with a good largemouth bass last week from “Walden Pond.”

Provided

Ron Urick messaged the photo above and this from Facebook:

Great day again yesterday on Walden Pond 2. It was my 75th day of fishing in ‘23. That 75 holds special significance for me as I’ll hit that number on 7/7. …all but one of my bassing days were out of my 14ft. Alumacraft—-all with a trolling motor only—no fuel burned. Had 14-15 largemouth yesterday—no 5’s but lotsa nice tanks. I watch the Bass Feeding Solunar Charts closely as we are nearing a Full Moon on July 3rd. Need to get my Ranger 619 out as she’s feeling neglected in the garage.

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:

Your favorite pond is covered with weeds (slop) you think you can’t fish it? Wrong get your heaviest rod and reel 50lb braided line and put on a plastic frog. Wait to feel them pull before you set the hook or you will miss everyone.

That’s a good remnder on frog fishing, I’ve noticed some ponds really growing in.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with one of the panfish caught over the long Fourth of July weekend. Provided photo

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with one of the panfish caught over the long Fourth of July weekend.

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.

We finally got the much needed rain over the weekend. Won’t complain as we needed it. Some areas received too much but we are now above average the the year.

Area lakes-

Isolated weed patches in 10-15 fow held good numbers of both crappie and bluegill. The crappie were caught on a lil chubby while the gills were hitting a pannie candy by IJO Plastics. Each bait was paired with a Wiggleyourworm_fishing custom painted jig.

I love the colors of these gills this time of year when deeper. Their colors seem to darken slightly but are still vibrant.

Always a fun day catching pannies on ultralight presentations.

Bass have been decent on senkos rigged weedless during early morning hours. A few can be caught during the evening hours on top water baits.

Here is the nature pic of the week [below]. The fan cloud stopping by to say hello.

TTYL

Ken Husker O’Malley

Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team

Ducklings and duck swimming around the fishing pond. Credit: Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Ducklings and duck swimming around the fishing pond.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Pete Lamar emailed the photo below and this:

Hi Dale,

No moving water report this week. I haven’t had a chance to look at the Fox or its tributaries, but the DuPage-which often runs similarly to the Fox-is still high and muddy after weekend rains. My outings this week were targeting bass on nearby lakes and ponds with top water flies. The fish in the photo was fairly typical. Nothing huge, but good numbers. I was surprised to catch a few big bluegills after dark on bass poppers. Advice to anyone fishing in the near future is to target shorelines: if in a boat, cast to the bank; if on foot, cast parallel to the bank in the direction you’re heading. Fish are in close, probably hunting frogs and dragonflies, and they are easily spooked by walking too close to them. If they don’t know we are there, they are hitting aggressively.

Pete

Typical largemouth bass being caught fly fishing poppers close to shore on west suburban ponds. Provided photo

Typical largemouth bass being caught fly fishing poppers close to shore on west suburban ponds.

Provided

BRAIDWOOD LAKE

BoRabb Williams caught and released this big flathead catfish while catfishing at Braidwood Lake. Provided photo

BoRabb Williams caught and released this big flathead catfish while catfishing at Braidwood Lake.

Provided

BoRabb Williams messaged the photo above from a successful outing overall, that included this:

Dale Bowman .... I caught and RELEASED A 30lb FLATHEAD CATFISH..... A Monster!!!!!!

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

Jim Starwalt with a good largemouth bass from the Chain O’Lakes. Provided photo

Jim Starwalt with a good largemouth bass from the Chain O’Lakes.

Provided

Jim Starwalt messaged the photo above and this on a 5.55-pound largemouth:

My new PB a tank to be caught on the Chain

Art Frisell at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said white bass are excellent n 8-10 feet, then as day progresses work toward deeper water in main lake areas, small mnnows, spikes, Mepps spinners; bluegill excellent, under piers and laydowns, some bigger ones in deeper water (8 ft.), waxies, spikes, ice jigs; catfish good, size is very good, medium roaches or stinkbait; walleye are fair, main lake points best or bridges, leeches best; crappie, slow.

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

Jeffrey Williams with a carp from the Chicago River. Provided photo

Jeffrey Williams with a carp from the Chicago River.

Provided

Jeffrey Williams messaged the photo above and this on Friday (the day is important because it was before the flood):

Man the weather has been weird and it has affected the fishing on the riverwalk, im still out here grinding

It almost feels like he was prescient. Obviously the flash flood will impact fishing for a while.

DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN

Capt. Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake 7/03/23 through 7/10/23

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

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:

Catfishing on the fox river is as good as it gets. Night crawlers, stink bait or a bigger minnow on the bottom will work.

GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN

Capt. Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 7/3/23 through 7/10/23

Fishing on Lake Geneva continues to be very good. The boat traffic has been very intense. Due to vacation season, you need to go early in the a.m.

Smallmouth bass are on the weed line in 15-20 ft of water. The best location is by Abbey Springs or by the Yacht Club. The best presentation is a 1/8 oz lindy sinker with a 2 ft leader and a small hook tipped with a nightcrawler. Most of the fish are biting within a foot of bottom.

Lake Trout are biting in the main lake basin in 115-120 ft of water. They are biting on nickel/blue or nickel/green spoons. I’ve been trolling between Conference Point and Cedar Point. The best time to go has been between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. The fish have been suspended until the sun gets too high, then they stick to the bottom.

Rock bass are biting in 12-15 ft of water. The best approach is a split shot rigged nightcrawler or a small hair jig. They can be caught when the wind is blowing well or electric motor trolling. The best location has been by the Military Academy or by Abbey springs.

Walleye fishing has been phenomenal. You want to fish at night in Trinkes or west of Abbey springs. The best depth has been 12-15 ft of water. Try large crank baits in chrome/black or perch color for the most action. Most of the fish are coming right off the weeds about 2 ft off bottom. The fish are very aggressive this time of year and remember you want to fish when its windy.

Bluegill fishing has been good in Geneva Bay. The bluegills are in 6-8 ft of water in and around the boat docks. You want to fish with leaf worms or small red worms underneath Thill slip bobbers. The key has been scattered weeds. The thick matted weeds haven’t been producing as many fish so you want the weeds with scattered sandy spots.

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

Wyatt Peterson, with a 4l-pound, 14-ounce largemouth bass he hauled in from Fox Lake in Wisconsin. Provided by guide Mike Norris

Wyatt Peterson, with a 4l-pound, 14-ounce largemouth bass he hauled in from Fox Lake in Wisconsin.

Provided by guide Mike Norris

Guide Mike Norris texted the photo above and emailed this:

Fishing Report – July 3, 2023

Mike Norris

Big Green Lake: With central Wisconsin in the middle of a long-term drought, Big Green’s water clarity is crystal clear, and fishing for smallmouth bass is tough. Stealth methods are your best for hooking into a trophy bass. Drift or slowly troll with a leech over gravel in 8 to 13 feet of water. Try 4 lb. test light line and a small size #7 sinker to get the leech near the bottom. Lake trout fishing is excellent in deeper water. Try vertical jigging with a tube jig or a jigging spoon over trout 100 to 120 feet deep. Last Sunday, a local angler caught and released a 39.75-inch lake trout.

Fox Lake: Largemouth bass are now in their summer patterns. Try fishing under piers with either a Senko or swim jig. Also, try tight to the shoreline in areas between the piers where the shoreline is rocky and the rocky ends off the islands. Walleye are excellent for anglers trolling with crawler harnesses and bottom bouncer rigs in 8 to 12 feet of water. Try the drop-off just north of Keno Point and off the west end of Dead Island. Crappie action is good for those drifting with a minnow and split shot in the main lake basin.

GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WISCONSIN

Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.

HEIDECKE LAKE

Bob Johnsoon with a crappie and a walleye among the fish caught and released on Heidecke Lake. Provided photo

Bob Johnsoon with a crappie and a walleye among the fish caught and released on Heidecke Lake.

Provided

Bob Johnson emailed the photo above and this;

Hi Dale -Happy 4th! Fished Heidecke over the weekend with some fish but nothing of size. Water temps at 78 degrees and clear. Caught smallmouth on both finesse rigs and surface lures but really nothing bigger than 2 lbs. Switched over to slow reeling a swim bait and caught more smallmouth along with a crappie and walleye. Released these fish to grow!!

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

LAKE ERIE

Larry Jennings and a friend with success on walleyes from Lake Erie. Provided photo

Larry Jennings and a friend with success on walleyes from Lake Erie.

Provided

Larry Jennings messaged the photo above and this:

Had a Great Weekend on Lake Erie ! Caught a ton of short fish but managed to get 14 keepers over the weekend. Gold worm harnesses on a five count worked best

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

LAKEFRONT

Andy Mikos (second from right) and friends with an “awesome” day of salmon fishing near the R4 buoy. Provided photo

Andy Mikos (second from right) and friends with an “awesome” day of salmon fishing near the R4 buoy.

Provided

Andy Mikos messaged the photo above and this:

A day in the life of a 20 salmon fish catch. Fishing is awesome. 90’ to 110’ by the R4. 21 for 26 by 8:30am today. 6 kings, one steelhead (released) and the rest coho. Happy 4th of July!

Capt. A.J. Cwiok with a good mix of fish off Chicago during the rains Sunday on Storm Warning Charters. Provided photo

Capt. A.J. Cwiok with a good mix of fish off Chicago during the rains Sunday on Storm Warning Charters.

Provided

Capt. A.J. Cwiok of Storm Warning Charters messaged the photo above and this:

Took some time off from charters but had to get in atleast one trip with how good the fishing has been. Fished fished Sunday am during the flash flood warnings. The fish haven’t moved from where they’ve been for the last month. Everything seemed to work for me spoons and flys, 90-110 was best. Never got outside 120 fow.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

As for a fishing report it’s not much but here it is

Sheephead all over on softshells and pond crabsStill a report of a Perch here and there but not enough to get excited about.Smallmouth around and starting to get back to normal.Have a safe 4th and a great week!

A 21-pounder caught out of Waukegan on Spendthrift Charters. Provided by Capt. Dan Leslie

A 21-pounder caught out of Waukegan on Spendthrift Charters.

Provided by Capt. Dan Leslie

Capt. Dan Leslie at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan texted the photo above last week.

On Wednesday, he said they’re seeing some kings, in 100-140, down 40-70, Dodgers and big flies or spoons; some nice steelhead in 10-12 pounds range, too.

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:

Got a little rain last week, thankfully! Our mosquito population was dropping (poor things), but the rain and humidity helped pump a little life back into those friendly little buggers! Now that we have hit July, most summer patterns are starting to emerge. Things will stabilize for the most part and with the exception of any daily changes from storms etc., should be fairly consistent.

Largemouth Bass: Very Good – With Largemouth populations high, a lot of anglers are catching these fish whether they mean to or not! Mornings, twitchbaits and top-water action great. Work inside weed edges (Husky Jerks, X-Raps, Whopper Ploppers). Mid-mornings through mid-day, Wacky Worms, Jig and Creature, Sweet Beavers all good choices. Towards evening back to shore with Jitterbugs or plastic Frogs and Spiders.

Smallmouth Bass: Very Good – Most action off deep gravel drops using drop-shot rigs with 3 craws, Ned rigs or suspending hair jigs below slip-floats. Nice fish in the 17-20 range this week coming from 16-23’ rock slides.

Bluegill: Very Good – Gills working weed beds in 7-10’. Use Mini Mites, small leeches or worms. Evenings with small poppers providing great action on calm water.

Yellow Perch: Good-Very Good – Still very nice (9-12) Perch in cabbage beds of 8-12’. Use weedless 1/16 oz Invasion jigs to work 1/2 crawlers along plant bottoms. Slip-floats with medium leeches or medium fatheads also good choice.

Northern Pike: Good - Casting spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and 4 swimbaits over cabbage flats. Jig and chub/sucker using wire leader to prevent bite-offs. Twitchbaits also bringing good fish to the boat.

Musky: Good – Fast burning bucktails has been effective. Top-water baits early and late. Word of a 50+ by a row troller in this morning, waiting on details!

Crappies: Fair-Good – Different reports. Some from water as shallow as 6’ during mid-day while others finding fish mixed in tall narrow leaf cabbage using small bladed lures such as Charlie Bees, Road Runners and Beetle Spins to find fish.

Walleye: Poor-Fair – Dark waters best as most clear water lakes not giving up fish ‘til dusk or after. Crankbaits after dark, either casted over off-shore humps or trolled. Daytime bites on leeches or crawlers, best near drowned wood. Look for cloudy or windy days to increase daytime bite.

A very busy 4th of July holiday. Lots of boat traffic, but early birds can fish a while in peace ‘til everyone else wakes up! Have a great 4th and celebrate this great country we live in!!

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop - Like us on Facebook

NORTHWEST INDIANA

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

Lots of steelhead in trail creek and lots of groups fishing them. Spawn saks and spinners baits to try.

Steelhead off the pairs in portage and Michigan city hit or miss must put some time in shrimp and crawlers under a float and casting spoons and arctic spinners taking fish.

Coho, kings and steelhead for trollers fishing in 100 to 150 ft of water from Michigan city to Chicago. Dodgers flys, spin doctors and flys and all sizes of spoons catching fish.

Catfish bite in area rivers is going good. Triple S stinkbait, skipjack and shad doing well. At dusk and thru the night doing best for most groups out.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

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

SHABBONA LAKE

John Honiotes at Boondocks reported walleye going crazy on crawlers; some accidential muske caches; crappie up and down; bluegill mostly 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

Proprietor Phil Schuman at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said some perch are in 50 feet, better north of the St. Joseph pier; a few steelhead in the St. Joe River, best at Berrien Springs; some kings in 120 feet and a few coho and lakers in 120-160 on Lake Michigan.

Paddle and Pole hosts the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder Camera.

WISCONSIN RIVER, WISCONSIN

Setting the scene on the Wisconsin River. Credit: Rob Abouchar

Setting the scene on the Wisconsin River.

Credit: Rob Abouchar

Rob Abouchar messaged the photo above and this:

Hi Dale im just back from the Wisconsin northwoods in Merrill. I tan up to cut the grass trim the trees and check on gig status at tock island resort. I took time for a few casts from shore at some some shore spots in town. I was getting bites on green pumpkin senko wacky rigged and also an line mepps #5 in line spinner in what i like to call northwoods orange and black. I got a nice smallmouth under the rte 64 bridge. The river level was about normal and the flow was slow with good clarity...perfect river conditions for july.

On the music front the 3 Gazortenplatt shows were delivered with much aplomb and the band us ready to head to Europe next week in Amsterdam and Germany where the road to Zappanelle will conclude. On Saturday the conscious rockers rocked the Harmony stage to close out the first day of the international festival of life in Washington park. While in Merrill i confirmed shows for conscious rockers August 26th and midnight mile September 6 at rock island. This Friday its a set with midnite mile at tiosy o’Briens in Mundelein this Friday night .

Tight lines and good health

Rob

Well, my Tuesday was made with the music report.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:

Happy 4th to you Dale. The bluegill action has been heating up on the river. Working small jigs in the trees along the shore. The walleye bite is still very good, with jig and night crawler doing the best

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