Chicago fishing: Before the heat, steelhead, pike and trying for lakefront Chinook

Northern pike, steelhead and a smattering of kings on southern Lake Michigan lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

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Ronald Reynolds with a steelhead from Montrose Harbor. Provided by Carl Vizzone

Ronald Reynolds with a steelhead from Montrose Harbor.

Provided by Carl Vizzone

Northern pike, steelhead and a smattereing of kngs on southern Lake Michigan lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Carl Vizzone texted the photo at the top of his fishing coordinator, Ronald Reynolds, at the Chicago Park District wth a nice steelhead from Montrose Saturday.

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 largemouth bass from local waters. Provided photo

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

Provided

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

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap from this weeks fishing.

Area lakes- recent heavy rains and cooler overnight temps have water temps down into the mid seventies. That will change with the upcoming heat wave this week.

Fishing has been slow with the multiple cold fronts that have passed through the area. Bass are holding tight to cover and not chasing moving baits. Pitching brush hogs or senkos into weed pockets can coax active biters. A few can also be taken working a frog over lily pads at first light.

Here is the nature pic of the week [below]

Hummingbirds having some fun.

TTYL

Ken Husker O’Malley

Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team

Hummingbirds on wires. Credit: Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Hummingbirds on wires.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Rob Abouchar emailed the photo below and this:

Hi Dale

The bluegill bite picked back up on Island lake his week with mice size gills hitting night crawler bits on plain hook. The yellow bass have shown up from 4 to 12 inches and are hitting the same crawler bis as the gills. Largemouth are slow.

Also some bullhead cats going on red trout worms.

. . .

On the music front the gig with the conscious rockers is this Saturday at rock island in Merrill Wisconsin on the river. Hopefully the weather will cooperate. And rehearsals with Gozortenplat will be starting again soon for zappafest in December. Like the river gonna let it flow.

Rob Abouchar holds a bluegill from Island Lake with a background of flowers. Provided photo

Rob Abouchar holds a bluegill from Island Lake with a background of flowers.

Provided

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.

CALUMET SYSTEM

Ryan Hall with his personal best largemouth bass, caught from Lake Calumet. Provided photo

Ryan Hall with his personal best largemouth bass, caught from Lake Calumet.

Provided

Joseph Hall messaged the photo above and this:

My 12 year old son Ryan caught his personal best Large mouth last week on Lake Calumet!

It weighed 3lb

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Brennan Critzer at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said pretty much the same as last week: White bass are good oon 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

Joshua Chupich with a channel catfish from the Chicago River. Provided photo

Joshua Chupich with a channel catfish from the Chicago River.

Provided

Joshua Chupich emailed the photo above and this last week:

Hi Dale, I thought this channel catfish from the north shore channel of the Chicago river would be of interest in one of the fishing reports. This was from the other night. I’d say it’s definitely my biggest channel ever, the spots been on fire for channel cats lately. Every night I go I get at least one. It’s been pretty slow for most species but the catfish action is consistent.

Jeffrey Williams messaged on Wednesday:

Yesterday was a busy river day

9 white bass

7 white perch

3 crappie

1 LMB

1 channel cat

1 Carp

Then on Friday, he messaged the photo below and this:

Someone been eating good

A stuffed fish from the Chicago River. Provided by Jeffrey Williams

A stuffed fish from the Chicago River.

Provided by Jeffrey Williams

DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN

Capt. Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake 8/21/23 through 8/28/23

Delavan Lake continues to have some great fishing and the good news is that it only gets better as we head into fall. 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 262-728-8063608-883-2050.

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 still very good. Cut bait, stink bait will work. Bass fishing top water has been fun smallmouth below the dams in Algonquin and Carpentersville.

Pete Lamar emailed Monday before the heat wave settled in:

Hi Dale,

Not much of a report: I only got out one time and it was mainly for casting practice. The Fox in North Aurora was a little elevated from earlier rains and still had some color to it. It was also cool, which was a marked contrast to the local ponds and lakes. There were a few other anglers out in this location but nobody seemed to be tearing it up; I didn’t see too many fish hooked. The smallmouths I got came on minnow patterns and they were holding in or immediately adjacent to fast water.

GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN

Arden Katz with a 24-inch walleye from night fishing on Geneva Lake. Provided

Arden Katz with a 24-inch walleye from night fishing on Geneva Lake.

Provided

Arden Katz texted the photo above and said night fishing in 18-22 feet, drop-shotting with Berkley Flath Worm, is good for smallmouth bass and walleye.

Capt. Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 8/21/23 through 8/28/23

Largemouth bass have been caught in the 14-16 ft depth range. The best location has been by Elgin Club and in Geneva Bay. Drop shot fishermen have been having the most success. They’ve been using 4 inch finesse worms or black and white Sassy Shads. Most of the time in late August, the majority of the fish are in 20-25 ft of water. It’s bizarre to have them so shallow this year.

Northern Pike remain scattered throughout the lake. With the weak thermocline, the fish have not schooled up at all. A good day will yield 2-3 fish. The best location has been by Fontana Beach or the north shore by the narrows. Work a depth of 30-35 ft.

Smallmouth bass have been scattered as well. The best location has been by Fontana Beach or by Maytag Point. They have been caught using nightcrawlers on a lindy rig or using small suckers. The best depth has been 16-18 ft of water.

Bluegills are in the medium depth range of 16-18 ft. The best location remains by Elgin Club or in Geneva Bay when you can locate some weeds. Leaf worms fished on a plain hook straight beneath the boat have been the best presentation.

Walleyes continue to bite at night. The best location for me has been running the south shore from Abbey Springs to the Military Academy. I like fishing in 15 ft of water and running my crankbaits down about 8 ft. I’m catching the suspended fish that are feeding at night. I use deep diving Walleye Bandits or Wally Divers. Chrome/Black or Chrome/Blue are always a good bet.

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 21, 2023

Mike Norris

Big Green: The normal mid-summer deep bluegill patterns haven’t appeared. I usually see massive groups of bluegills form in 30 – 35 feet of water in and around sunken cribs in mid-August. This year that is not the case. Right now, smaller groups of bluegills can be found in 15 feet or less of water, holding tight to the weed lines. My trolling motor’s low hum and rotating prop will spook bluegills at that depth, so I must keep moving to relocate them. I normally drop-shot a hooked red worm over deeper gills, but I am having better success with a small 1/16 oz jig tipped with a piece of red worm hung below a float. I can cast this setup and reach bluegills away from my boat that haven’t been spooked from my trolling motor.

Fox Lake: The largemouth bass bite continues to be decent. Try skipping soft plastics underneath the piers. Mid-August is also a great time to frog fish lily pads for bass. Muskie activity picked up last week. Local anglers caught 45-inch and 48-inch muskies. Crappies are active out in the basin. Drift with a minnow and split shot rig.

GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WISCONSIN

Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.

HEIDECKE LAKE

Bob Johnson with a smallmouth bass from Heidecke Lake. Provided photo

Bob Johnson with a smallmouth bass from Heidecke Lake.

Provided

Bob Johnson emailed the photos above and below, and this;

Sunrise

Hi Dale - Heidecke lake smallmouth are going good! Open water on rocks without dense weed growth is where they’re hitting best. Jigs with trailers or Ned rigs in green/pumpkin along with an occasional surface bite. Lake is low, water temps around 76.

Sunrise at Heidecke Lake. Credit: Bob Johnson

Sunrise at Heidecke Lake.

Bob Johnson

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

KANKAKEE RIVER

Bob Johnson with a good smallmouth bass from the Kankakee River. Provided photo

Bob Johnson with a good smallmouth bass from the Kankakee River.

Provided

Bob Johnson emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale - Kankakee river has receded however there is a stain throughout, feeders and creek mouths are looking better. Water temps are around 73 /74 and weed beds exist close to shore. Caught close to a dozen smallmouth but most fish were undersized with a couple over 2 lbs. Used finesse lures in natural colors adding chartreuse along with jig and tail combos to get a couple decent bass towards end of morning.

LAKE ERIE

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

LAKEFRONT

Anthony Johnson has messaged twice in the last week about his friend Nick Winstead catching walleye downtown. I plan to follow up on that.

School teacher/fishing instructor Hyacinth Cabael wth an early Chinook from Montrose Harbor. Provided by Jason “Special One” Le

Better photo of school teacher/fishing instructor Hyacinth Cabael wth an early Chinook from Montrose Harbor.

Provided by Jason “Special One” Le

Carl Vizzone texted the photo above of school teacher/fishing instructor Hyacinth Cabael with a steelhead an early Chinook from Montrose Friday night.

Jason “Special One” Le with the surprise of a northern pike caught while salmon fishing on the Chicago lakefront. Provided photo

Jason “Special One” Le with the surprise of a northern pike caught while salmon fishing on the Chicago lakefront.

Provided

Jasoon “Special One” Le texted the photo above and this:

HiI was chasing Kings salmon and unexpected catch! lol

Bart Piet with a northern pike caught at Montrose Harbor. Provided photo

Bart Piet with a northern pike caught at Montrose Harbor.

Provided

Bart Piet emailed the photo of one of two big northern pike caught from Montrose Harbor on Thursday. He was targeting pike.

Jason “Special One” Le also texted the YouTube video below on fall Chinook fishing.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

Good morning. There have been reports of Kings coming in pretty much everyday now, not all in this area but along the lakefront. I’ve weighed 2 over the weekend that were in the 12 lb range. A few Steelhead as well. No perch to report. Sheephead good when winds are north/east. Smallmouth still very active in and around the harbors. I saw a video posted to Luis’s page that showed a video of a Walleye caught last night. I had another report last week of a Walleye in that southern harbor region. This has been a season of just put your hook in the water and possibly be shocked by what you pull in! This lake this year has taught me that I don’t know what I thought I knew lol!Our hours are still 5am to 8pm 7 days a week through labor day then they may change a bit. Have a great week!

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said lake trout are the fish of the hour out of both Chicago and North Point. Out of North Point, there are some kings very early on the hill otherwise i is going very deep for silver fish or fishing lakers in 120-200 on the bottom;

Capt. Dan Leslie at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan said salmon fishing is tough for boaters, not much for from shore.

Capt. Scott Wolfe of School of Fish Charters emailed:

Hi Dale

The North winds finally took their toll on our area moving warm water in and changing most of the silver fish out. There are some staging kings and coho holding in deep water over 150 feet and down over 100 feet in the water. They will sometime come in to the warm water and strike. Flasher fly patterns with Musselhead Cornfed and Megatron patterns and Jimmy fly Bullfrog and Aqua flies on downriggers over 90 feet down and wire divers 200 out took some.

Most boats have been working lake trout on the bottom from 120 to 150 feet. Metal Luhr Jensen dodgers and Jimmy Fly Mo Rigs in Green and Yellow were best. Laker catches were limit or near limits all week.

Wind forecasts for this week make me think little will change. I expect the salmon to stay deep and shore and harbor fishermen will have to wait a bit longer. Also, all the salmon we have caught are still totally silver and have not begun to turn yet.

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.

MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN

Gude Mike Mladenik with a big smallmouth bass from Menomnee River. Provided photo

Gude Mike Mladenik with a big smallmouth bass from Menomnee River.

Provided

Guide Mike Mladenik of bigsmallmouthbass.com emailed the photo above and this:

Menominee River smallmouth bass action has been great August. The passing fronts continue to change fishing patterns. I have been modifying my presentations. Small changes can result in BIG FISH! More on these new techneques at a later date. We are still fishing the grass in the morning and shallow mid-river rocks during the day.

Smallmouth are hitting a variety of presentations including; swimbaits, topwater, Case Magic Sticks and Wacky Jacks rigged wacky style with Spearpoint 1/0 GP Finesse Hooks.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

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

Following a cold morning (45 degrees), which brought about a small snap of color to the Northwoods, a few sugar maples have popped and other trees are showing a lighter shade of color. Air temps have risen since, keeping most lake surface temps in the low 70’s. Patterns have remained steady as anglers report fairly consistent action – be it good or bad.

Bluegill: Very Good-Good – Active over cabbage beds of 8-12’. A variety of lures including Mini-Mites, 1 twisters and 1/32 oz Beetle spins. Worms and Gulp Alive grubs and leeches also effective. Unless I missed it, should be a flying ant hatch very soon, fun for fly fishers to get a top-water bite going.

Yellow Perch: Very Good-Good – Active in weeds, same as Gills but lower in water column. 1/2 crawlers or medium fatheads best. Some very nice, 10-12 Perch in wood on Flowages (very low, be very careful)

Largemouth Bass: Very Good-Good – Still best bite using Wacky Worms in cabbage flats. Twitching stickbaits, ticking weed tops with square billed cranks and evening top-water baits (Jitterbugs, Whopper Ploppers, etc.) good fun.

Smallmouth Bass: Very Good-Good – Rock/gravel humps and coontail edges of 14-18’ on Ned rigs and drop shot rigs using imitation craws and 3 Wacky Worms or 3 Gulp minnows. Nice 15-20 fish this past week.

Musky: Good – Top-water action on Dr. Evils, Whopper Ploppers, Pace Makers and bucktails worked over cabbage edges of 10-16’. Good action, not a lot of large fish reported.

Northern Pike: Fair – Chubs and suckers on jigs with light wire leaders. Some good action reported using spinnerbaits.

Walleye: Fair – Deeper mud of 20-26’ using shiver minnows on larger lakes. On smaller bodies of water and Flowages, try #5 Shad raps and #5 Flicker Shads worked over drowned wood producing, as is red tails on weedless jigs.

Crappie: Fair – Few reports, though some big slabs (to 15) caught on cranks meant for Walleyes in 6-10’ wood.

A little cool down (though not as much as last week) followed by warm weather by weekend (into low 80’s) should keep fishing stable. Watch for cool down, when it arrives, to spur bite on.

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop - Like us on Facebook

NORTHWEST INDIANA

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

Trolling on the lake fishing portage towards Michigan city in 130 to 160 mainly lake trout. Fishing near bottom and on bottom.

Crappie at night for boat fisherman on pine lake in Laporte fishing in 22 to 24ft of water using minnows. Lights to draw fish up is a most have.

Catfishing deep river and burns ditch still the normal deal at night triple s stinkbait, shad and skipjack best baits.

To say this years summer perch fishing on southern Lake Michigan was slow is an understatement. It was close to non existent. A few days here and there a few boats got em that’s it.

POWERS LAKE, WISCONSIN

Arden Katz reported good bass caught by wacky-worming in 4-6 feet on flats.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

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

SHABBONA LAKE

Cam Riedesel with a good largemouth bass from Shabbona Lake. Provided by Pete Riedesel

Cam Riedesel with a good largemouth bass from Shabbona Lake.

Provided by Pete Riedesel

Pete Riedesel texted the photo above of his son and this on Thursday:

Cam called about musky fishing Shabbona...ok ..no musky but how bout a 5 1/2 lb bass..if this fish had a normal sized lower half it would have weighed near 7!

John Honiotes at Boondocks reported crawfish as bait in stock; some walleye on the bottom with crawlers; catfish continue to hit, bluegill.

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 good numbers and sized perch in 40-50 feet, mostly north of the St. Joseph pier; river fishing is good for smallmouth, drum and catfish with a few walleye; for salmon, most boaters working 180-190 and out deeper.

Paddle and Pole hosts the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder Camera.

WISCONSIN RIVER

Rob Abouchar with a smallmouth bass from the Wisconsin River. Provided photo

Rob Abouchar with a smallmouth bass from the Wisconsin River.

Provided

Rob Abouchar emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale

. . .

I hit the river im Merrill after dropping off the drums for gig at rock island this weekend. I got some nice smallmouth on the usual wacky rigged senko in black. As well as the black birsy bug with senko trailer. Pike are getting a little more active and i got one to go on bladed jig in the eelgrass edge.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:

Not much to talk about. Some gills and perch, but water needs to cool off

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