Chicago fishing: An early Chicago king and late summer patterns

An early shoreline king in Chicago and late summer patterns lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

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Luke Hein’s king (shown with Quinn Wunar’s steelhead) may be the first fall shoreline Chinook photographed in Chicago this year.

Luke Hein’s king (shown with Quinn Wunar’s steelhead) may be the first fall shoreline Chinook photographed in Chicago this year.

Provided

An early shoreline king in Chicago and late summer patterns lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Quinn Wunar tweeted the photo at the top and the one below, and this on Saturday:

Hey Dale,

Went out last night after sunset for the first spoon session of the year. Set up just south of Diversey and caught a steelhead on a green glow KO on a dead slow retrieve. An hour later, same spoon/method my partner in crime Luke Hein on his last cast caught if not the first king in Chicago, the first king photographed in Chicago. Water temps still insanely warm but can confirm, there are scattered silver fish.

Feels good to be out again. Talk to you hopefully soon.

Quinn

Luke Hein caught what might be the first of a fall Chinook from thee Chicago lakefront. Provded by Quinn Wunar

Luke Hein caught what might be the first of a fall Chinook from the Chicago lakefront.

Provided by Quinn Wunar

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

Rico Cantu with a new largemouth bass and a nice hat. Provied photo

Rico Cantu with a new largemouth bass and a nice hat.

Provided

Rico Cantu emailed emailed the photo above and this from the southwest suburbs.

Hey Dale fish on a Senko, have a great weekend.Rico CantuNew Lenox Il.

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:

Pond fishing has been good for largemouth along the weed edges. Or frog on the matted weeds. . . . I was surprised to hear of some nice crappie being caught, they were using medium golden roach minnows for bass and were catching 12-15 inch crappie on several different ponds. Bluegills are everywhere use wax or red worms.

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

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a 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 weeks fishing.

Area lakes- Bass have been good early morning hours working a frog over the tops of pads in the back water areas. Once the sun gets high switch to a baby 1- worked just over the weed tops.

During the evening hours bass can be found up in skinny water chasing bluegill. Work a weedless senko or the baby 1- for good numbers.

Bluegill are decent during evening hours working a IJO Plastics pannie dragon under a slip float. Smaller ones can be found along the inside weed lines while the better fish can be found on the outside weed line

Here is the nature pic of the week [below]. Time for breakfast.

TTYL

Ken Husker O’Malley

Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team

Ken “Husker” O’Malley’s nature photo for the week. Provided photo

Ken “Husker” O’Malley’s nature photo for the week.

Provided

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

Things really slowed down for me this week on local lakes and ponds. Topwater bite was practically non-existent. I caught bluegills and bass on subsurface flies but in lower numbers and smaller size than earlier in the summer. As others have pointed out, not much of a frog bite happening lately.

The musical interlude to go with the Midwes Fishing Repor, provided by Rob Abouchar. Provided

The musical interlude to go with the Midwest Fishing Report, provided by Rob Abouchar.

Provided

Rob Abouchar emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale

The bluegill bite slowed a bit this week on island lake but it seems the bass are picking up a bit. The bass are hitting plastics around shore line cover. Im still getting bass on texas rigged senko in black or green pumpkin.

On the music front we had a nice set with midnite mile in Mundelein. And Sunday it was great to join hurricane reggae band for some reggae pink floyd. Next up conscious rockers in Merrill.

Tight lines and good health

ROB

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

Capt. Dan Leslie at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan said catfish and drum are doing well on the Chain.

Brennan Critzer at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said white bass are good bladebaits (also working for walleyes and perch) on Channel and Marie in particular, start around 10 feet on weed lines; some bigger carp are being caught; bass on soft plastics or topwater frogs.

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

Perch from the Chicago River. Provided by Jeffrey Williams

Perch from the Chicago River.

Provided by Jeffrey Williams

Jeffrey Williams messaged the photo above and this on Saturday:

This was a surprise

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

Jeffrey Williams with a crappie from the Chicago River.

Provided

On Sunday, before the big rains came, he messaged the photo above and this:

River is picking up as the year goes on

Live bait is key, minnows on a crappie rig

DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN

Arden Katz said for bluegills set up the boat 15 or 16 feet, then cast in around the weed lines on the points with trout worms or spikes on Mini-Mites with green tails.

Capt. Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake 8/14/23 through 8/21/23

Delavan Lake continues to have some great fishing. Several species are active right now, so you can choose exactly what you want to fish for.

Crappies are suspending in 20-25 ft of water about 10-15 ft down. They can be readily caught on small plastics. I use a 1/32 oz Arkie jig in Chartreuse tipped with a small purple plastic. I put a small split shot above it to make longer casts. You want to count down the bait about 5 counts and then a small drag, pause, retrieve works the best. It hasn’t been much work to catch a limit of fish. Look for them near Browns Channel or by Willow Point.

Largemouth bass have been slower than recent weeks; however they can still be caught on the main lake weed points. The best depth is 17-20 ft of water. Drop shotting green pumpkin finesse worms or nightcrawlers seem to be producing most of the action. Look for the fish by Willow Point, Browns Channel or by Three Flags.

Walleye fishing has been a bit slow. I did catch a few on nightcrawlers fished on a lindy rig in 21 ft of water. Also I have caught a few while trolling deep diving bass crankbaits in pearl color. The pearl color will mimic the crappie forage base of the walleye. Look for the fish by Assembly Park or by Browns Channel.

Bluegill fishing has been awesome. It’s the same old story; 18-20 ft of water, use leaf worms fished on either a Willospoon or a Hali jig tipped with wax worms. The best location is by the gray condo point or by the old Marina on the north shore (orange building). It’s a great time to take a kid fishing with the fish being so aggressive. Last Sunday, my son caught 20 keepers in less than ½ hour.

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 with a good channel catfish from the Fox River in St. Charles. Provided photo

Vince Oppedisano with a good channel catfish from the Fox River in St. Charles.

Provided

Vince Oppedisano emailed the photo above and this:

Hey Dale,

Got out to the Fox River in Kane County one evening last week. I picked up a handful of smallmouth on small cranks and plastics, but it was slow. Shallow water with little wind and very little flow where I was fishing about a quarter mile below a major dam. The water was still pretty dirty that day.

I got back out on Sunday evening in St. Charles and did pretty well for two hours before dusk. The water was low but much more clear than I’ve seen in a couple of weeks. Smallmouth seemed to be hitting finesse baits more, but the best fish was a channel cat that hit a crankbait as the sun was setting. Pretty good fight, I’d estimate about 6-8 lbs.

Hopefully the fishing will pick up more with some rain early in the week before the heat wave that looks like it’s on the way after this weekend.

On Tuesday, he added the photo below and this:

. . . and my friend / fellow dedicated angler Len Cajic pulled out this nice 20.5-incher from the Fox last week. His personal best from the Fox this year.

Len Cajic with personal-best smallmouth bass from the Fox River this year. Provided photo

Len Cajic with personal-best smallmouth bass from the Fox River this year.

Provided

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:

. . . Catch catfish on the Fox River using cut bait for the channel cats and whole Bluegills for the flatheads at night. . . .

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

. . .

As far as the Fox watershed, it handled all the rain that came down yesterday pretty well: levels came up a little and there was some decrease in clarity, but it’s still fishable. I fished a small tributary and the same was true there too. I thought I’d be fishing current breaks right along shore in a rapidly-rising creek, but that wasn’t the case. All fish came from in or near fast currents, a typical summer pattern.

GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN

Arden Katz said bluegill are very good off Blackfoot Beach in 22 feet casting in and dragging back trout worms.

Capt. Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 8/14/23 through 8/21/23

Largemouth bass can be caught either flipping the piers or Carolina rigging on the deep weedlines. The best approach for flipping the piers, is a black and blue jig tipped with a craw. For the deep weedline fish, try a green pumpkin lizard. The best depth for the deep fish is 20-26 ft of water. The key to success is a hard bottom. Look for locations like the 700 club point or Black Point. You want the scattered weeds with the steep break. Some of the fish last week were coming out of 30 ft of water. They were chasing the minnow pods.

Lake Trout has been hit or miss. I trolled several times last week with no success. The floating weeds have been difficult to work around. You want to troll the main lake basin in 55-80 ft of water. Most of the fish that were caught last week were caught off of nickel/blue or nickel/green spoons.

Smallmouth bass have been hitting in 27-33 ft of water. The best approach is either nightcrawlers or small yellow perch fished off the lindy rig. Look for the fish to the west of conference point or by the Military Academy. Some of the fish have been in excess of 20 inches, however there are a lot of 14-15 inch fish as well.

Rock bass and bluegills are pretty much everywhere on the weedline in 15 ft of water. The best approach is split shotting nightcrawlers. The average size of the bluegills is about 8 inches and rock bass can exceed 1 ½ pounds.

Walleye are being caught at night using large Rapalas fished in 15 ft of water. The best location is either Trinkes or Williams Bay.

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 emailed:

Fishing Report – August 14, 2023

Mike Norris

Big Green: Fishing has improved with cooler weather in my area. Smallmouth bass roaming the breaklines in 24 - 30 feet of water are searching for crayfish and perch, and fishing with tube jigs remains a good choice for catching smallmouths. Drop-shotting with a Berkley flat worm is effective too. Largemouth bass are spread out along weed edges located in 13 to 15 feet of water, and tube jigs are a good choice there too. Some largemouth bass are shallow though, and working with topwater lures over the deeper weeds is good early and late in the day. Also, try stick baits and other soft plastics for largemouth bass in and around piers where weeds are nearby.

Fox Lake: The first half of August is typically the warmest time of the year and largemouth bass will seek shady areas to hide during the day. Try working frogs in and around lily pads located at the west end of The Jug and in the river channel located at the south end of the lake. Skipping soft plastic lures beneath docks along the north shore is also a good choice.

GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WISCONSIN

Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.

HEIDECKE LAKE

Bob Johnson with the largemouth bass beast and a good smallmouth bass caught from Heidecke Lake. Provided photo

Bob Johnson with the largemouth bass beast and a good smallmouth bass caught from Heidecke Lake.

Provided

Bob Johnson emailed the photo above and this;

Hi Dale - Fished Heidecke Sunday morning a few hours and had some good action. Lake is low, slight stain and water temp at 77 / 78. Caught about dozen or more mostly Smallmouth and a couple largemouth including a 4 1/2 pound chunk. Used only jig and trailer for all fish in dark colors either green pumpkin, black or black and blue. Catch and release

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 have made fishing up and down this month. Fish like this 19 are feeding wherever they can find slow enough current and semi clear water. Bank areas and tiny creeks entering the main stream are the best bet. Hope for steady weather this fall. G. Peters

LAKE ERIE

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

LAKEFRONT

Jason “Special One” Le texted the YouTube video above on carp fishing.

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

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

Provided

James Baranski messaged the photo above and this:

Dale Lake Michigan smallie report: last 2 weeks have been a tale of 2 cities on the big lake. 2 weeks ago the smallies were pretty decent as I caught about 20 with a few approaching 4 pounds. Last Tuesday was a total grind. Me and a buddy only got 8 small ones and lost a few 2 pounders. They were hitting drop shots and tubes but last week they didn’t want any part of those baits.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

Good morning. There’s not much to report other than for some unknown reason I had a guy in here on Saturday morning and he was catching a few perch. It was a funny story because I was proceeding to tell him no perch were around and he looked at me like and proceeded to tell me he had 5 on a stringer and needed more bait to which I replied don’t listen to me I don’t know what im talking about. LOL! Winds out of north will get sheephead active again for a couple days till wind changes again. No more King reports in our area. Smallmouth action good. Lots of rock bass.Have a great week.

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said before the blow fishing was good. Out of North Point, early mornings on the hill is for kings, later on fish are in 80-200 feet, nice kings (lots of 20-pounders), nice coho, nice steelhead, some lake trout and a couple browns, coming on a variety not just one pattern; out of Chicago, some silver fish but the lakers are biting really good in 150-200 before the blow.

Capt. Dan Leslie at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan said “What a great year,” and 120-140 feet seems key, more of a spoon bite (play with colors each day) for salmon and trout; perch seem to be out in 120 feet with the other fish.

Capt. Scott Wolfe of School of Fish Charters emailed:

Hi Dale

Fishing continues to be really solid out of Waukegan despite lots of less than ideal weather. There is still cold water holding the fish in 90 to 130 all up and down the area. As the week progressed the bulk of the silver fish seemed to move north with waters north of the harbor better than south. There are good staging kings and salmon with 3 year old immature salmon mixed in with them. Still good steelhead around and the omnipresent lake trout closer to the bottom.

Best presentations in low light have been downriggers and wire divers with Chrome coyote and ProTroll paddles and Aqua, bullfrog and White Jimmy Fly Chinook size have been best 47 to 80 feet down. On brighter days copper and weighted steel were best with some steelhead and coho coming on 10 color leads pulling spoons, Warrior spoons in Hey Babe, Blue Dolphin, Green Dolphin, Two Face and Blueberry Muffin were best.

Forecasts for this week are more strong winds. The later half of the week calls for very strong SW winds. This could trigger the kings to poke into the harbors to start exploring, especially at night and more so if we get some rain and a little flow from runoff - the old timers used to call this the kings smelling the mud.

Capt. Scott Wolfe 312-933-0552

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:

Starting to show some signs of a mid-August cool off. Water temps dropped into the low 70’s and certain weeds are just starting to fade. Patterns seem to be holding with some day-to-day changes relating to cooler nights and wind directions. Overall, should not be seeing much of a change with a warm spell on the way for the weekend, into next week.

Smallmouth Bass: Very Good-Good – Drop-shotting craw and 3 minnow imitations along coontail edges of 14-18’, as well as rock/gravel humps in 18-26’ producing well for Smallies in the 15-20 range.

Largemouth Bass: Very Good-Good – Heavy cabbage in 8-12’ during the day using Wacky Worms has been outstanding. Top-water action has slowed with cool mornings, still good in evenings. Warm up this weekend will improve top-water bite.

Bluegill: Very Good-Good – Work weed tops in 6-12’ with small tubes, Mini-Mites or switch to small leeches. Nice Gills of 7 1/2 – 9+ this past week.

Yellow Perch: Good – Bite cooled off with drop in surface temp, but still good in heavy cabbage for nice 8-10+ Perch or 1/2 crawlers/beavertails.

Musky: Good-Fair – Bucktail action best mornings and evenings, along with top-water. Cooler mornings slower, try twitchbaits or slower moving swimbaits.

Crappie: Fair – Finding fish hardest part. Work tall narrow leaf cabbage with small spinners or twister tails to locate fish. Work back with live minnows to entice reluctant fish.

Walleye: Good-Fair – Slight drop in water temp, changing wind brought building good bite to a halt mid-week. Best reports have been anglers using Shiver Minnows in depth of 22-30’ of soft mud along hard bottom breaks. Crawlers on spinner rigs drifted/trolled along same deep mud.

Northern Pike: Fair-Poor – In the summer, Pike lose their teeth and don’t bite! Old (fishermen’s) wife’s tale I’m starting to believe! Few reports.

The early part of this week has seen a continuation of late last week’s cool down. Bass seem to be OK with it, but other species off. Heat by weekend (temps to hit high 80’s to 90’s+) should improve some bites for most game fish. Rain this week is needed, low levels on most lakes and the Flowages.

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop - Like us on Facebook

NORTHWEST INDIANA

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

Kids going back to school and weather has slowed the amount of people going out.

Mostly lakers for trollers fishing near bottom and bottom in 100 to 130ft fishing east out of burns ditch.

Catfish bite is good on cedar lake fishing the bottom with head on shrimp and triple s stink bait.

With all the rain the catfish bite will light up in deep river and burns ditch.

He’s got that right about the kids heading back to school.

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

Hi, Dale! Well…the kiddies are all back off to school now or very soon, leaving most of us parents a little much-needed free time! Here’s what’s been going on in the leisurely world of fishing in our area:

Fishing remains good for both Salmon & Lake Trout alike on Lake Michigan; anglers are catching good numbers of Coho in 80-120 FOW. Smaller spoons, dodgers, flies are all working well right now.

Perch fishing has really come on strong in 42-58 FOW. Anglers preferring to use live bait are finding success with minnows; those who opt for lures are doing well jigging with Hopkins spoons, some tipped with beemoths, spikes, or mealworms for that little something extra.

Inland lakes & lagoons are still producing nice-sizes limit catches of Bluegills.

Catfishing is moderately good, with liver & Sonny’s (Triple S) working best at the moment.

Walleye anglers are doing fair, albeit better at local lakes like Wolf Lake than in rivers; the last of this season’s leeches & spinners are performing best.

She’s right about the kids going back to school, too.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

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

SHABBONA LAKE

A father and son who did well Monday on hybrid striped bass at Shabbona Lake. Provided by Boondocks

A father and son who did well Monday on hybrid striped bass at Shabbona Lake.

Provided by Boondocks

John Honiotes at Boondocks reported hybrid stripers caught Monday on crawler harnesses; walleye hitting crawlers or leeches on the bottom.

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 wind has limited 42-45, north of the pier by the buoy; smallmouth going in the river.

Paddle and Pole hosts the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder Camera.

ST. LAWRENCE SEAWAY

Dave Kranz with a good smallmouth bass from the St. Lawrence Seaway. Provided photo

Dave Kranz with a good smallmouth bass from the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Provided

Dave Kranz, who gives reports for area lakes and the Fox River, also fishes bass tournament and texed the photo above and this on Thursday from the Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats Northern Division event on the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Only 4 weighed in today but 15 pounds, 4 ounces. For the 4. The photo was a 4 pound 15 ounce

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