Our Pledge To You


Ideas on fishing the Fourth: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report



Throwing around some ideas for the long, really long, Fourth of July holiday with this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

May we all be chilling this long holiday week in the heat, much as BoRabb Williams and Frankie “CatDaddy” Smith were in the photo above this week at Willow Slough. As Williams put it,

“We out here Dale”

May we all be out here or out there.

The condensed Midwest Fishing Report appears Wednesdays on the outdoors page of the Sun-Times newspaper. The sprawling raw-file report is posted here online on the Sun-Times outdoors page.


Staff at Henry’s Sports and Bait said perch remain “spotty,” coming on both soft shells or minnows.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait said the perch have been moving around, so it varies where the bite is at Montrose; there’s been some big ones to 16 inches; best times vary, too.


The 35th annual Kankakee River Valley Fishing Derby runs through Sunday. Click here for more information. Notable catches through midday Tuesday were by Robert Miller (11-4 channel catfish) and Derby-genius Jeff Dummer (10-15 pike).


Frog hunting in Illinois, bullfrogs only, is open. Daily bag is eight.

Here are the details from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources on frog hunting regulations:

FROGS (Bullfrogs Only)

Methods of Taking and Capture

A sport fishing license is required to harvest bullfrogs. Bullfrogs may be taken by hook and line, gig, pitchfork, spear, bow and arrow, hand, or landing net.

No person shall harvest bullfrogs or any other
reptile or amphibian by commercial fishing devices, including, hoop nets, traps or seines or by the use of firearms, air guns or gas guns or during bowfishing tournaments.

All other species of unprotected reptiles and amphibians (excluding common snapping turtles and bullfrogs) may only be taken by hand. This shall not restrict the use of legally taken reptiles or amphibians as bait by sport fishermen.

Any captured reptiles or amphibians which are not to be retained in the possession of the captor shall be immediately released at the site of capture, unless taken with a lethal method (such as bow and arrow, gig, spear, pitchfork) which does not permit “release with no harm”. All such taken common snapping turtles and bullfrogs must be kept and counted in the daily harvest. No culling of such taken species is permitted. No person shall harvest or possess any species of reptile or amphibian listed as endangered
or threatened in Illinois (17 Ill. Adm. Code 1010
except as provided by 17 Ill. Adm. Code 1070).


Bullfrogs may be taken only between June 15 and
October 15, both dates inclusive.

Daily Harvest and Possession Limits

The daily Harvest limit for bullfrogs is 8 with a
possession limit of 16.

For indigenous amphibian and reptile taxon,
which may only be taken by hand, (excluding
common snapping turtles and bullfrogs) the
possession limit is 8 collectively with no more
than 4 per taxa.



Provided/Ken OMalley

Considering the forecast, you’re either going to be fishing early or late for bass, bluegill and catfish. And I would suggest fishing holes in the weeds or the outside weed lines during the pressured holiday times. Also it is time to do frog fishing for bass through the pads or vegetation; that’s something I am typing as much for myself as anyone. I have not done that yet.

This is the way Ken “Husker” O’Malley put it (he also sent the photo above):

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing.
Area lakes- bass remain good on summer patterns. Focus on outside weedlines using wacky rigged senkos or a flick shake presentation. Wind blown shorelines and points have had the best bite during early morning hours.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team


Click here to find river closures listed by the Illinois DNR. Go to http://water.weather.gov//ahps2/index.php?wfo=lot to check area water levels and projection. To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to http://waterdata.usgs.gov/il/nwis/current/?type=flow


Lake is open 6 a.m. to sunset. Check with Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington.


BoRabb Williams messaged:

Calumet still good for Catfish and perch . . Drums.


NOTE: At 8 a.m. Wednesday, the Chain and upper river to the Wisconsin line return to normal operations. Check updates at Fox Waterway Agency or (847) 587-8540.

Art Frisell at Triangle Sports and Marine said bluegill are extremely good up shallow in the high water on wax worms, ice jigs and small floats; crappie are good evenings on small minnows or Pinky or glow jigs; walleye are good with the current and water, best on leeches, then crawlers; for white or yellow bass, try 8-12 feet first, try trolling crappie crankbaits or Mepps spinners.

STRATTON LOCK AND DAM: Open daily 8 a.m.-midnight through Sept. 30. Click here for more info on the lock and dam.


Capt. Pat Harrison at Pat Harrison Outdoors sent this update:


No update.


No update.


SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing said on Rend Lake that “catfish are absolutely bonkers,” drifting or anchored; crappie are going on “minnows any way you want to fish them,” white bass, including some big ones, are going and bass are pretty good with crankbaits or spinner baits shallow on the rocks; on Lake of Egypt, night fishing for bass is “killer” and crappie are doing good; on Kinkaid, crappie are going, there’s good bass on topwaters or frogs and big schools of white bass (look for them boiling).

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Click here for regulations and other information.  EVERGREEN: As posted on the web site:

Evergreen Lake Bait Shop & Boat Rental – NOW OPEN 6-6 EVERY DAY!

LAKE SHELBYVILLE:  Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide Service.

SPRING LAKE NOTE: Both the north and south lakes have two regulation changes. Largemouth and smallmouth bass now have a protected slot of 12-18 inches; the daily bag is three bass either under 12 inches or over 18 or some combination of three over or under. Also, the daily limit of 25 crappie may include no more than 10 crappie 10 inches or longer. POWERTON: Open 6 a.m.-6 p.m.


Check river status updates at Fox Waterway Agency or (847) 587-8540. River is slowly coming off flood at Montgomery.


No update.


No update.


Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay sent this:

Hi there fellas

Here is quick update on the fishing around here

Bass fishing can be classed as good especially to the north from Egg Harbor up to Washington Island.  As shallow as 5 feet of water out to that 15 plus foot mark now as those fish start to slide out to deeper water.  Tubes, senkos, spy baiting has been excellent, drop shotting, paddle tails and spinner baits all working well

Perch fishing has been fantastic as of late.  Areas to try are…Sturgeon Bay ship canal, the Flats, Potowatomi Park, Sawyer Harbor and Little Strugeon.  Crawlers, red worms and minnows are the best live baits

Walleye fishing has been getting better down to the south around the Chaudoir’s area after about a 2 week slow down.  15 to 25 feet of water has been the best depth and crawler harnesses and crank baits like Flicker Shads and Flicker Minnows have been the best

Salmon fishing can be classes as good.  Howie Flies behind flashers have been the best for the Kings and 100 to 200 feet of water has been the best depths.  There is also a good Rainbow bite going on.  250 out to that 450 foot mark has been the best looking for some kind of a temperature break.  Bright colored spoons like Maulers, Moonshines and Stingers have been working well and fishing in the top 35 feet of the water column has been the best


Lance LaVine

Howie’s Tackle
1309 Green Bay Rd
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
Ph: 920-746-9916

Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report.


Lake hours are 6 a.m. to sunset daily; well, shore fishing is always scheduled to open at 6;30 a.m.


Check with B & B Live Bait in Ottawa–(815) 433-0432.


Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map. Access points for Little Cal and Salt Creek, which are closer to Chicago than Trail Creek, may be found at littlecal_saltcreek_access.

Note: Drew Waning of Stevensville, Mich. won Skamania Mania with one of 15 pounds, 9 ounces.



Smallmouth on the Kankakee.
Provided/Kyle Lund

Kankakee River Valley Fishing Derby runs through Sunday.

Kyle Lund sent this report and the photo above:

Kankakee River report Smallmouth fishing has been on fire on the Kankakee up until yesterday. Fished everyday from Thursday through last night. While the water was up fish were pushed into shore and hanging around weed beds and trees and really didn’t move much. Top water bite was hot till the sun came over the trees throwing a whopper plopper into shore and working across light current or along weed beds. Once the sun came up started tossing a 3 to 6 foot diving crank bait and that caught fish all through the heat of the day and into early evening until we went back to the topwater bite as the sun fell behind the trees. The water has dropped considerably since Thursday and yesterday was the first day that we had to work for them. With the water falling fish are spreading out into the current and more oxygenated water. I find that throwing a weighted hook with some type of craw/ creature up to the head of riffles or current areas to be a very good presentation. I like to go heavy enough on the weight that it will stay on the bottom but also light enough when I lift my rod tip it bounces a few feet down stream. Have been picking up more walleye than usual. They have been staged off shore in 5 to 10 feet of water on current seams or behind bridge pylons. Caught a bunch and cranks fishing for smallies out of these areas. Catfishing has been slow and I’m accrediting that to the fact that they are mid spawn. Snagged one up shallow with the crank bait and it started spewing eggs. If the river continues to drop fish will again group up at the bottom of riffles during the heat of the day and then move in on the flats to feed at night. Keep an eye on the usgs Kankakee River flow graph and when it falls below 2100 cps that’s when the seem to make the shift in these riffle areas. Kankakee derby is in full swing and runs through Sunday at 6pm.


Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report. It generally comes out Tuesday.


Click here for bag limits and prospects for the season from the Ohio DNR. The Ohio DNR has general Lake Erie info and a fishing report.


See perch update at the top.

Staff at Henry’s Sports and Bait said smallmouth are still being fished in the harbors. Stacey Greene at Park Bait said there are also the occasional steelhead; and when the wind blows out of the north the drum are packed off the Montrose horseshoe.

Capt. Bob Poteshman at Confusion Charters said, `Fishing is spectacular,” at both North Point and Chicago for coho. North Point it has been coho in 100-150 feet straight out; in Chicago, it is in 100-200 and deeper for chunky coho, still coming on spring patterns of little red Dodger and one-inch flies.

Capt. Scott R. Wolfe of  School of Fish Charters sent this:

Hi Dale. Fishing is absolutely as good as it gets now. If anyone is even considering a charter now is the time. Anywhere from 120 feet out is just loaded with coho and Steelhead. The average coho is over 5 pounds with several over 10 pounds.  The pattern is a regular summer pattern. 4 inch Jimmy Flys in Maniac, Green Liz and Blue Liz patterns. Warrior spoons in Steelhead Candy, Riverside Striper, Fin Girl and Voodoo on Downriggers and Divers. Crews are going home with over 100 pounds of filets. Scott Thomas’ family from Hershey, PA stopped in for an afternoon trip this week when driving back from their 10 day Canada fishing trip and caught more in 3 hours than they did in 10 days in Canada.

Capt. Pat Harrison at Pat Harrison Outdoors included this update on lakefront:


Lake is open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.


Check updates from D & S Bait on Facebook.


Lake is open 6 am. to sunset daily. Check with

Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington said there’s been bluegill and crappie being caught; bass have been slower recently.


Check with Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service.


Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report. It is generally out Tuesdays.


MINOCQUA:  Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:


Settling in on our summer patterns! To start July, water temps in the low 70’s to 80’s, with mid-day air temps in the 80’s, have put the best fishing early and late.

High pressure, hot weather, and lots of boat traffic kept some lakes off for anglers. Moving away from the full moon should help daytime anglers.

Largemouth Bass: Very Good. Spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, and swimbaits over and through cabbage of 6-10’. Evening top water hot on plastic frogs, jitterbugs, and whopper ploppers. During the day, neko, ned, and wacky style worm fishing producing bulk of catches.

Bluegill: Very Good. Anglers using small leeches, worms, and thunderbugs reporting good catches of gills (7-9’) in 6-10’. Towards dusk use popper on a fly rod or small flys behind clear floats on ultra light spinning equipment.

Northern Pike: Good. Fast moving swimbaits, spinnerbaits, and chatterbaits. Cabbage flats in 4-10’. Some nicer pike up to 39” this week, using chubs and suckers on slip-bobbers.

Smallmouth Bass: Good. Drop shotting 3” Gulp Alive minnows, Senkos, and Jackall Crosstail Shads over 22-30’ rock/gravel humps mid-day. Early a.m. work X-raps, Shadow Raps along shallow rocky slopes.

Yellow Perch: Good. Like the heat! Medium fatheads, leeches in weedy or woody locales. Work sand-grass flats using lindy rigs to find larger perch. (9-12”) using frozen softshell crayfish.

Musky: Fair. Good time for evening topwater action. Bucktails and large spinnerbaits during the day.

Crappie: Fair. A few good reports from anglers on large water over narrow leaf cabbage on tinsel jigs. In flowages over deep wood using medium fatheads.

Walleye: Fair. Best on leeches and crawlers along 12-14’ weed edges early in morning. Then again, on lighted slip-bobbers with big leeches after dusk.

Actually, all reports are starting to improve after lull of weekend. Air temps not fluctuating as much. This helps water temps stabilize.

EAGLE RIVER: No update from B+L, from reports from Colin Crawford of Colin Crawford Guide Service, for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce.


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

Strong fishing in 80 to 130 ft of water from straight out of burns ditch to Michigan city mix bag a lot of good fish spoons and meat rigs best fishing 20 to 60 ft down

Catfish steady in ditch from marina to mouth of  ditch near portage river walk sonnys stinkbait and cut skipjack best
Some perch action happening now from doughnut area down towards Michigan city 20 to 35 ft drifting slow baby golden roaches and colored perch flys best
Let em know I open 5 am Dailey getting minnows in all sizes in everyday to keep em happy

BoRabb Williams messaged Monday:

today we hit Willow Slough…. redear gills

Panfish at Willow Slough.


No update.


No update.


The Wisconsin DNR’s Root River Report is usually out Tuesday or Wednesday. Click here to see it.


Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said perch are going in 40 feet, mainly south of the pier, but some north too; good coho in 200 feet and deeper; nothing off the piers; warm water slowed any steelhead in river.


Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.


Clint Sands at Lakeside said the best bites are bass and catfish in 8 feet on weed edges or crappie in the cribs; water is 78. Fireworks are Wednesday night.

Lakeside–(815) 824-2581–is open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Park hours 6 a.m.- 10 p.m. The restaurant is open daily.


The Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report restarted. Click here to see it. Streams flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow.


No update.




Rob Abouchar sent this:

Hi Dale

The summer peak is happening on the Wisconsin River in Merrill.  The water levels were back to normal.  Friday I took my sister Cecilia and Brother in Law Jeff and their kids on the river and Alexander Flowage.  Smallmouth action was good on unweighted texas rigged seniors on the edge of eel grass .  Northern pike were good on 360 swimbait in white color.  The river water was 77 degrees and nice for swimming.  my  nephew Jeremy couldn’t resist releasing his first smallie from in the drink.
Tight lines


Check with River’s Edge.


No update.


No update.