Perch opener, frog hunts, summer delight: Chicago fishing/Midwest Fishing Report
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UPDATED: Capt. Bob Poteshman’s report on Lake Michigan added.
Perch fishing reopening Saturday in Illinois on Lake Michigan and the opening of frog hunting on Friday are among the highlights around Chicago fishing for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent the photos from a family trip to northwest Wisconsin, including the photo above of his daughter Hailey with a good smallmouth bass.
It’s that time of year, fishing and getaway times.
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.
Perch fishing reopens Saturday on Lake Michigan, the Chicago River system and the Calumet River. Weather forecast looks promising with temperatures in the 90s and south winds. Tom Platt at Henry’s Sports and Bait texted that they should have soft shells in for the opener. Cory Gecht at Park Bait said there are many perch around at Montrose.
FREE FISHING DAYS
Illinois’ Free Fishing Days are Friday through Monday. No licenses or stamps are needed. Many park districts and forest preserves hold events.
ILLINOIS FROG HUNTING
Frog hunting in Illinois, for bullfrogs only, opens Friday. The 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
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.
Tom Platt at Henry’s Sports and Bait texted:
Bass have been doing very well on the local lakes and ponds. . . . Lots of gill action happening all over which is a good sign. Seeing a lot more quality fish.
BoRabb Williams messged:
the Forrest Preserve lakes were also stocked last Thursday with Catfish.
It’s summer, fish bluegills on weed lines or in weed pockets; or use topwaters for bass early and late or plastic worms or Senkos otherwise.
If you’re not at least once in a while sneaking out to your local pond or lake to play with the bluegills, I don’t know what to tell you except that it is time.
AREA RIVER LEVELS
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
Rob Abouchar sent this:
Hi DaleLocal tournaments continue at Braidwood with the Fishers of Men circuit. Limits being taken with flipping baits. I plan to hit Heidecke this week. Maybe Illinois is the place to land that Muskie.Tight linesRob
Lake is open 6 a.m. to sunset. Check with Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington.
BoRabb Williams messged:
Catfish still the big bite on the Calumet system…. bass and Big drum … and plenty of gills.
Art Frisell at Triangle Sports and Marine said bluegill are on the beds; walleye are “unbelievable’’ around current areas and that should hold as long as the current does; catfish are “excellent’’ on crawlers, stinkbait or cut bait; water remains cool enough for good muskie action on topwaters or small bucktails.
STRATTON LOCK AND DAM: Open daily 8 a.m.-midnight through Sept. 30. Click here for more info on the lock and dam.
FOX WATERWAY AGENCY: Go to Fox Waterway Agency or call (847) 587-8540.
CHICAGO RIVER/CHICAGO LAKEFRONT
Capt. Pat Harrison at Pat Harrison Outdoors sent this update:
Chicago River and Lake Front Report
Last week I finally felt like I was back at it. Monday I had Dan and Judy out we caught 5 species a lot of big and little fish came to the boat. Tuesday was Kevin it was a dual purpose ½ day trip. We fished a few spots got some nice Crappie and some Big Gills. Wednesday Fred was on the boat we caught some nice Gills Crappie and a few Nice Bass.
All the Panfish came on a white jig and 1 ½ in. twister tail, The bass were on small cranks and drop shot rigs with 6’ blue worm. The bite is getting better for sure with the water temps finally coming up. I was off Thursday to prep for the weekend.
I left Friday morning at 3:30 to head for Shabbona I piloted a pontoon boat for Arron Sands for a Corporate event Jim Kopjo the Crappie Professor had his redone pontoon there as one of the boats too. We had to wait out the lightening but when we got on the water we caught Crappie Bass and walleye.
I brought my G3 Boat with me to Shabbona so I could leave after the event to head to Lake Springfield for the High School State Championships I’m one of the coaches for Plainfield South. We had 6 boats qualify and all 6 brought in 5 fish limits. Fish were running small an average fish was 11/2 # with a few in the 2 # the teams that found fish at 3# found Gold. Our Team worked for 3 days and gave it all they had we will be back next year for sure.
If you want to see more of my week and updates and pictures Please follow on facebook at Pat Harrison Outdoors – Fishing Adventures.
Till next week Enjoy your week catch some fish
Thanks Capt. Pat
—www.patharrisonoutdoors.com Thanks Pat
DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN
Guide Dave Duwe sent this update:
Delavan Lake Fishing Report 6/10/18 through 6/17/18
This past week fishing on Delavan Lake is the best fishing I’ve ever seen in both numbers and size in over 25 years of guiding. The last three trips out I caught every species that swims in the lake with the lone exception of the musky. The action on Delavan will continue but I doubt this pace is sustainable long term.
The most aggressive bite on the lake is the largemouth bass. They are post spawn and moving out of the shallows and positioning on the weed line. I’m finding them in 12-15 ft of water. They can be caught drop shotting 4 inch finesse worms and split shot rigged nightcrawlers. The best color for the finesse worms in green pumpkin. They are on the same weed lines that they typically haunt, but they are a bit shallower this year.
Perch can be caught in 6-8 ft of water. The best bite has been Thill slip bobbers with a hellgrammite. Position the bait about 1 foot above the weeds. The good locations have been by Assembly Park or just east of Willow Point. Some of the perch I caught last week were in excess of 11 inches.
Smallmouth bass action has been hot. The fish are mixed in with the largemouth on the weed line. They prefer a slightly harder bottom than the largemouth so sand with scattered weeds has been a decent place to look. The best location for the smallmouth bass has been by Belvidere Park or Assembly Park. The best baits have been split shot rigged leeches or small to medium suckers.
Northern Pike fishing has been good on crank baits in 12-14 ft of water outside the weed flats. Look for the fish by Lake Lawn Lodge or Viewcrest Bays. A secondary approach is slip bobber rigged medium suckers.
Walleye fishing has been pretty good. I’m catching numbers but not legal fish. Even catching numbers is good for this time of year though. The fish are biting on lindy rigged leeches or nightcrawlers in 15-17 ft of water. As the water warms, the fish will continue to go deeper.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063
DES PLAINES RIVER
River is falling quickly from flood stage in downstream areas.
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. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. 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.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
FOX RIVER, WISCONSIN
GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN
Arden Katz said that panfish, of which 80 percent were still holding eggs, are in 12-14 feet; he’s getting a few largemouth drop-shotting.
Dave Duwe sent this:
Lake Geneva Fishing report 6/10/18 through 6/17/18
Fishing is improving daily as the water warms. The rock bass are beginning to bite fast and furious. The lake seems to be at least 2 weeks behind schedule. Typically this time of year I’m going through 10-12 dozen nightcrawlers on a trip but this year it is significantly less although I’m prepared for when it starts!
Walleye fishing continues to be the best bite on the lake. The fish are in Trinkes, Williams Bay and Abbey Springs. Medium diving crank baits such as Smithwick Perfect 10’s and large Rapala’s are producing most of the fish. Like always, the best chance to catch the fish is at night, midnight to 4 a.m. for those of you who call yourself night owls.
Smallmouth bass are on the outside edge of the spawning flats. The best location has been by Cedar Point, Linn Pier and Vista Del Lago. The best approach is Carolina rigging 4 inch lizards or tubes. The best color is green pumpkin or root beer. The highest concentration of fish are in the 18-22 ft depth range.
Rock bass fishing is starting to get very good. Most of the fish are in 12-15 ft of water. They have been biting on nightcrawlers, minnows are anything else you have available. The highest concentration of fish I’ve found is by Belvidere Park in Fontana.
Largemouth bass have been biting in Trinkes, Geneva Bay and by the beach in Fontana. They can be caught on Senkos or Chompers fished on a jig. The best depth is 6-8 ft of water. You want to look for sand pockets associated with weeds. As the fish complete their spawn, they’ll start to move deeper and position on the weed line. We appear to be about 2 weeks away from that.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063
GREEN BAY/STURGEON BAY
No update this week from Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay,
Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report.
Been getting some belated reports of some good crappie action. Lake hours are 6 a.m. to sunset daily; well, shore fishing is always scheduled to open at 6;30 a.m.
Crested just under flood at LaSalle. Staff B & B Live Bait in Ottawa–(815) 433-0432–said the best bite is catfish.
INDIANA STREAMS (LAKE MICHIGAN TRIBUTARIES)
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.
Assistant Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Ben Dickinson posted today:
A few steelhead starting to move after the bit of rain we had
Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor, Mich. said skamania started coming in at the Michigan City piers.
River is stained, but levels are fishable. Will update if Kyle Lund sends something later.
Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report. It generally comes out Tuesday.
See note about perch opener on Saturday at the top.
Cory Gecht at Park Bait said drum are very good, on and off, off the Montrose horseshoe and there are “gigantic carp” inside Monstrose Harbor.
UPDATED: Capt. Bob Poteshman at Confusion Charters said that North Point cannot be any better in 40 to 200 feet, or basically on the hill or outside of it, for plenty of coho with some lakers, steelhead and kings. “They’re just biting the props off,” he said.
Chicago is not as exciting, but fishing has picked up for mainly coho, but the lakers are around again and the occasional king and steelhead, especially around the wreck and deeper.
Capt. Scott R. Wolfe of School of Fish Charters sent the photo and report below:
Hi Dale –
Waukegan fishing is absolutely outstanding right now. This past few days have likely been the best of the season. Every trip has been limits of Lake Trout and Coho. An occasional Steelhead and king have been mixed in too. The constantly switching winds have been moving the fish more than we like but when you find them they are hitting well. 70 feet to 150 had been the best area, pretty much anywhere out of the harbor. North, South or straight out does not seem to matter much. Trollers should keep their speeds at normal coho speeds and the lakers have been hitting. No need to slow way down now. Best rigs to run have been Mo Rigs or magnum spoons on wire divers and downriggers within 25 feet of the bottom. Mo rigs are Spin-n-Glo’s in front of a Jimmy Fly Mo Rig Skirt. By far our best two spoons have been Magnum Warrior Halftime and Magnum Warrior Acid Rain. For coho, 5/8 or ½ ounce weight or 2-3 colors of lead with a combination of peanut flies or flutter spoons. This past week in the fog they have wanted black and purple. Best flies were Jimmy Fly’s Purple Liz and Jimmy Fly June Bug. For the flutter spoons, Warrior Spoiler Pink and Spoiler Green were great.
Most boats out of Chicago have been struggling because they aren’t running out far enough. Boats willing to make the run 15 to 17 miles out can get coho limits with kings, steelhead and an occasional lake trout mixed in. The same flies and flutter spoons on keel weights and 2 color leads as Waukegan. Magnum spoons in the mid water column run with downriggers or leadcore/copper line presentations have been working. Any boats not able to run deep will have to target lake trout in 55-70 feet of water trolling the bottom.
Capt. Scott R. Wolfe
School of Fish Charters
LAKE ONALASKA AREA, WISCONSIN
Darryl Turner sent the photo above and this update from last week:
another excellent day at Lasalle 27 blues ranging from 21 pounds 11 a couple of 7’s the rest 3 to 5 . Six blues on the bottom the rest on a bobber . Total count 125 blues to date .
Lake is open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.
MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN
Should be settling into what I consider summer prime.
Lake is open 6 am. to sunset daily. Check with Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington.
MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN
Check with Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service.
MILLE LACS, MINNESOTA
Rob Abouchar sent the photo above and this report:
Hi DaleI am back from my week of field work on Millelacs Lake in Minnesota; 21 years and running. The lake has gone from a walleye Mecca to a Smallmouth bass Trophy Mecca. 21 years ago it was wolfpack walleye fishing. Now it is rig after rig of bass boats with power poles. One thing remains big; and I mean big fish are in MilleLacs. A 55 inch muskie was landed in Isle Bay where I was staying the same week. I hooked 3 Muskies and lost all 3. Saw some following giants that would not hit. Still no walleye harvest for the lake. Massive brute smallmouths were coming in to spawn. My biggest weighed 6.3 on the MLF scale. See Chapmans Millelacs Resort for classic old time lakefront cabin rental vacation actionTight linesRob
Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report. It is generally out Tuesdays.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:
Hey Dale,Here’s a recap of this week’s fishing.NW Wisconsin- bass continue to be excellent. Smallmouth can be caught on top water during evening hours along points and mid lake humps. Largemouth can be caught up shallow long shoreline cover on senkos.Crappie have been very good in 7-10 feet of water working plastics over the tops of weeds. Bluegill are good along shoreline cover using various plastics. Water temps have been 62-66.TTYL—
MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:
Lots of east and south east winds, unusual for our area. That, and some high barometer days have made for less than stellar fishing the last part of this past week. Still, fishing not bad, just not as good as expected.
Bluegill: Very Good-Good – Small leeches and thunderbugs best in shallows as Gills that had set-up when water was warmer are still hanging on beds. Be kind on these fish, their success at spawning will lead to your success for years down the road!
Yellow Perch: Good – Cruising in loose schools in cabbage flats of 6-9’. Medium fatheads, leeches beaver tails on 1/16 oz jigs or under slip-floats.
Northern Pike: Good – Jig and minnow, spinner baits, #3 Mepps, 3 ½” swim baits
Largemouth Bass: Good – Some still bedding, others in 6-10’ weds. Wacky worming, Ned rigs and Carolina rigging creature baits.
Smallmouth Bass: Good-Fair – Some beauties this week up to 20”. Wacky worming and similar subtle presentations to entice reluctant fish.
Walleye: Good-Fair – High skies and east wind not our friend. Leeches, ½ crawlers and chubs in and along weed edges of 6-12’.
Musky: Fair – Not a lot of reports of movement. Smaller bucktails, 6-7” twitch baits, 6-7” jointed cranks.
Crappie: – Scattered weed fish.
Once this weather pattern leaves our area and we get some warmer temps and west wind, look for things to get back to normal for June.
The Chain of 28 Lakes offers pristine fishing action this time of year. As non-anglers find their way on the water, remember safety first. Also, the warmer temperatures mean the hatching of mayflies and other bugs, so be sure to add leeches and crawlers to your arsenal.
Northern Pike are being caught while jigging in and along the weeds and by throwing spinnerbaits and spoons.
Walleye can be caught by using a jig and minnow combo. Try switching to a weedless jig if necessary depending on the area. Slip bobber rigs are also an effective strategy. Bugs are starting to hatch, so it is time to start using leeches and crawlers.
Perch can be caught by switching to the mud flats because bugs are starting to hatch. Crappies can be caught in the weeds under slip bobber rigs using a hook and minnow or twitching a small jig tipped with a plastic under a bobber. Bluegills are moving into the shallows and can be caught slip bobbering tipped with plastic, waxworms, or a piece of crawler.
Muskie: Focus on the new weeds with Bucktails, jerk baits and glide baits to find success.
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind. texted:
Willow slough still giving up gills crickets jumbo reds best baitsCoho and lakers 70 to 150 straight out of burns ditch top to bottom fish are in pockets stay on them when u hit a couple fish work that areaDodger flys spoons for coho dodgers spin n glows troutCatfish good in ditch in portage triple s catfish bait used to be called sonnys same stuff they just changed name yes we have it in stock
ROCK RIVER, ILLINOIS
ROCK RIVER, WISCONSIN
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
The Wisconsin DNR’s Root River Report is usually out Tuesday or Wednesday. Click here to see it.
ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN
Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said catfish and drum are good off the pier along with a few skamania; walleye, which were good in the river, are impacted by stained water; and there is “all you want coho’’ in 200 feet on Lake Michigan.
ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA
Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.
Clint Sands at Lakeside said fishing is outstanding with a “ton of walleye’’ on crawlers, leeches, minnows or crawler harnesses around weeds; “a bunch of catfish and bass”; and bluegill and crappie are done spawning.
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.
SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT
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.
WINNEBAGO SYSTEM, WISCONSIN
Check with River’s Edge.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN