Settling into summer, Chicago fishing: Sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report

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Bowfin, Des Plaines River.
Provided/Marcus Benesch

Summer settles in for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report on Chicago fishing.

Marcus Benesch finally had some water conditions suitable for getting out the kayak on the Des Plaines River and had this nugget embedded in his DPR report:

Another tell tale sign is the Bowfins have just began going bonkers.  The time of year when no artificial presentation is safe in slack water.  Like a light switch that bite turns on. Have got into some trophy sized specimens as well.

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

ILLINOIS PERCH REMINDER

Perch fishing on Lake Michigan is closed through June 15. That closure also includes the Chicago River system and the Calumet River.

COTTONWOOD FLUFF

The stuff is still flying around doing what cottonwood fluff does.

AREA LAKES

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

BRAIDWOOD LAKE

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

CALUMET SYSTEM

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BoRabb Williams sent the photo above and this update:

Calumet Lake and River is Catfish crazy…. plenty of bass large and smallmouth… Big sheepheads… basically everything is going…..crappie in deep structure… gills and yellow perch in close.

We had fun catching big Catfish on 4-6 lb test and tiny hooks off of minnows with a bobber….. lol

CHAIN O’LAKES

Staff at Triangle Sports and Marine said bluegills are bedding; catfish are excellent in the river on stinkbait or cut bait; walleye good in the river on crankbaits, crawlers or leeches; for largemouth, Senkos or craws are working.

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 Michigan Report,

  Got out a few times last week surface temps are starting to bump the 60 degree mark. We are catching some Smallmouth but some still have lock jaw. Panfish are getting Better every day Crappie Bluegill  White Bass are moving pretty good.  It also seems like the Catfish are on and they are for 3 to 7 Lbs. Trips have been fun and its going to get better. This has been on the river.

  The lake has started to warm a bit and the Bass are moving we have caught a few in the 2- 2 ½ pound range no monsters but fun for sure. I stayed off the river for the Holiday weekend as I figured it was going to be a Zoo and it was. Prayers to go out to the family that lost their son on the River and to the fire Department Diver that lost his Life trying to find the Missing Young Man. Folks Please think Safety on the river it is getting busier and busier.

  I know Life jackets aren’t the coolest thing to wear but they can and do save Lives Take some time and read a Coast Guard boater Safety book the Life you save could be your own. In the past 5 years boat traffic has doubled on the river and is going to keep increasing. There are people buying boats and coming out that have never boated before and it shows take some time to learn the do’s and Don’t of boating. Everyone has the right to enjoy the river but there are rules to make it safe for all of us.

  Something I see a lot of is boating and drinking that’s not a good mix if you know what I mean. And Adults letting young kids bow ride that can barly hold the rail and if the boat were to stop fast or hit a wake the wrong way would put the kids in the water in front of the boat which would not be good. Please boat safe enjoy the season and have some fun.

Till next week Capt. Pat

DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN

Guide Dave Duwe sent this update:

Delavan Lake Fishing report 6/4/18 through 6/10/18

Before the cold front, Delavan Lake was completely on fire for fishing! Almost all species were engaged and the bite was fast and furious. Since the cold front, the bite has slowed a little and the water temperature has dropped by 6-8 degrees making it just a bit more challenging.

Largemouth bass have completed their spawning. They are still in the mid depth range of 8-10 ft of water. My best locations have been west of Browns Channel, by DelMar and by the Village Supper Club. They can be caught on split shot rigged nightcrawlers or split shot rigged 4 inch finesse worms. As the water warms, the fish will move to the deeper weed edges.

Northern pike still remain in the weedy bays near Lake Lawn, Browns Channel and Viewcrest Bay. The best approach is slip bobbers and medium suckers. You want to fish your suckers 1-2 feet above the weeds in 8-10 ft of water.

Smallmouth bass fishing has been good in the 12-14 ft depth range. The best location has been drifting from DelMar to the Village Supper Club. They can be caught on large fat head minnows or nightcrawlers. Some of the fish last week were over 18 inches.

Bluegills have been trying to spawn in 2-3 ft depth range but with the cooler weather they slid back out and are still staging in 6-8 ft of water. The best bait is small leaf worms or hellgrammites. Fish the bait straight beneath the boat with a small split shot.

I’m catching a few walleyes during the day in the 8-10 ft depth range. They’ve been in scattered weeds, associated with sand pockets. Large leeches or ½ nightcrawlers have been producing the most action.

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

Marcus Benesch sent this:

Dale,

Been a tough spring on the river with the highwater.  The river sat above or just under flood stage for much of the spring.  I would say we turned the corner into summer,  riverwise.  Water temps are hovering around the 70 degree mark and water levels are almost back to normal.
Now the run off is being weakened by new foliage and emergent weeds.  Algae blooms are starting to claim their territories and the egrets are thick in the backwaters.
Another tell tale sign is the Bowfins have just began going bonkers.  The time of year when no artificial presentation is safe in slack water.  Like a light switch that bite turns on. Have got into some trophy sized specimens as well.
Other than that,  panfish in the shallows have been a hoot.  Large mouth and blue gills are the only other constant bite. Small jigs working very well.
Marcus Benesch
Gurnee, Illinois

DOWNSTATE NOTES

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 ServiceSOUTHERN 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

No update.

FOX RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.

GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN

Dave Duwe sent this:

Lake Geneva Fishing report 6/4/18 through 6/10/18

Fishing on Lake Geneva is improving but the lake is still on the cold side. We had a good run of really hot weather but then it cooled off again and slowed the process. The bass are just about done spawning and the rock bass are starting to bite. The fishing seems to be about a 1-2 weeks behind normal for early June.

Walleye fishing is the best bite on the lake right now. The walleyes are in 8-12 ft of water in the weed flats like Williams Bay or Cisco Bay. The best success is trolling large crank baits approximately 70 ft behind your planer boards. The best time is at night. As the boat traffic has been increasing the biggest issue is floating weeds.

Rock bass are starting to bite. The best location has been by Belvidere Park and by Elgin Club. The best approach is split shot rigged nightcrawlers or fishing a white hair jigs. The best depths is 12-14 ft. Get ready, this bite gets huge in the coming weeks, schedule a trip with your kids as the action can be non-stop.

Smallmouth bass have completed spawning. They are still around their spawning flats, like Elgin Club, South Shore Club and Belvidere Park but they are beginning to move to main lake points. The best approach is Carolina rigging small grubs and 4 inch finesse worms in green pumpkin. I’ve been working a depth of 12-16 ft of water.

Bluegills are starting to bite in the shallows in 6-8 ft of water. The best area is by Trinkes and the Riviera Piers. Fish small leaf worms and wax worms under Thill slip bobbers for the best success.

Largemouth bass will be spawning within the next week. They’ll be located by Trinkes, Williams Bay and the beach in Fontana. Fish hard sand bottoms for the best chances. They can be caught in a variety of way, one being a Senko, the second option is a jig and the third is a tube bait. Live bait fisherman can also catch them on a split shot rigged nightcrawler.

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

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

Hi Fellas, sorry it’s a bit late…we’ve been slammed

The fishing out on the big lake is starting to get rolling now up in our area.  It’s not crazy action yet, but it has started.  The average catch from the charter boats that have been reporting has been in that 4 to 12 plus fish range.  One thing that everyone has been talking about has been the size of the fish…very huge already and it’s only June!  Best depths have been in that 100 to 300 foot range pending on the water temp that day and the best baits have been Howie Flies behind flashers along with an assortment of spoons

Bass fishing is still going really well especially to the northern part of the peninsula where the fish are still in their pre-spawn patterns.  Look for bottom transitions and warmer water and fish slow presentations in those areas.  Best baits have been tubes, paddle tails, jerk baits, ned rigs, hair jigs, marabou jigs and the Spy Bait bite is really starting to catch on

Pike fishing is still going very good.  Best areas have been Little Sturgeon, Sawyer Harbor and right in downtown Sturgeon Bay.  Best baits have been large crank baits, spinner baits, large plastics and live baits like sucker minnows and large fatheads

Walleye fishing has been very good weather and wind permitting.  The day bite has been going well from Henderson’s point south to the lower bay of Green Bay on a mix of crawler harnesses and Flicker shads and minnows.  And the night bite has been good from the Chaudoir’s Dock area north all the way up the peninsula fishing the primary shoreline drop offs with suspending crank baits

Thanks;

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.

HEIDECKE LAKE

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

ILLINOIS RIVER

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

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.

KANKAKEE RIVER

Kyle Lund sent this report:

ShortbKankakee River update. Everything I have seen tells me the smallmouth spawn has wrapped up and fish are in the middle to end of post spawn patterns. Starting to catch fish in the faster and more oxygenated water during the day and in on lazy rocky flats and deeper slow cuts just off shore early and late in the day. Catfish and carp continue to be on fire in the river. Have seen flatheads up to 20lbs and channels up to 12lbs. Guys are getting them during the day drifting roaches and liver into the holes and up shallow at night with cut bait and liver. Side note this coming Sunday June 10th is the annual Helping Veterans Go Fishing event in oak lawn at the VFW. If your free stop on out. Starts at 1pm. We will have bbq, pizza, chicken, and pasta. Guest speaker Jim Crowley of hook and hunt tv and the All Canada show will be giving a seminar after lunch. Also we will have raffles and free prizes all day as well as a cash bar. Hope to see alot of you there! Happy fishing

KENOSHA, WISCONSIN

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

LAKE ERIE

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Provided

Larry Jennings messaged the photo above and this:

Great weekend on Lake Erie with my son

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.

LAKEFRONT

Cory Gecht at Park Bait said drum (big ones) are starting at the Montrose horseshoe and carp to 25 pounds are being caught inside Montrose harbor.

Capt. Bob Poteshman at Confusion Charters said that out of Chicago, the bite is very slow for a few coho and lakers, fish are scattered all over; his hope is that the northeast winds will bring warmer water and a better bite; out of North Point, there is also a scattered bite for mainly coho with no pattern; hope is winds help.

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

Hi Dale –

Waukegan fishing was generally very good.  The winds and currents are moving the fish so some hunting has been required.  Each trip we have been able to locate nice coho catches with chinook, lake trout and steelhead mixed it.  The fish seem to be moving a little deeper in the water column with lead cores of 2 to 10 colors out fishing the keel weight presentations.  Flies behind Metal Luhr-Jensen dodgers and Coyote flashers and big Magnum Warrior spoons had the best results this week.  Fish were generally between 70 and 125 feet.  They moved each day and every trip required effort hunting for them.

Out of Chicago the better fishing was definitely in deeper water straight off of downtown.  All the coho were in 90 feet or deeper.  Lake trout can be taken 55-90 feet.  The same rigs work off Chicago with Magnum Warriors and flies behind Metal dodgers or Coyote flashers. 

Capt. Scott R. Wolfe

Manipulator/ School of Fish Charters
630-341-0550
www.schooloffishcharters.com

LAKE ONALASKA AREA, WISCONSIN

No update from Scott Pirnstill at Cozy Corner Cottages608-304-0371.

LaSALLE LAKE

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

MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN

Check updates from D & S Bait on Facebook.

MAZONIA

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

Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service sent this on Friday:

The topwater bite has been excellent and will continue through June. The Menominee River is in great shape and I have not seen the topwater bite this good in years!
I still have open June dates
 BOOK A TRIP NOW!!
Bigsmallmouthbass.com

MILWAUKEE HARBOR

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

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:

Hey Dale,

Here’s a recap of this past week’s fishing.
NW Wisconsin- smallmouth have been good on ned rigs, drop shot, jig and craw, and top water. Focus on rock humps and shore lines with rock and wood. Largemouth have been good on senkos pitched to shoreline cover adjacent to emerging weeds. Water temps range from 60-63.
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Provided

TTYL

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

Winter, Summer, Fall!  That’s the New World Order according to Mother Nature (forget you ever heard about Spring!)

After a week of record highs brought our lakes to near boil, a cool down has corrected water temps to bring averages into high 60’s to low 70’s.

Bluegill:  Excellent –  Either bedding or pre-spawn, lots of great reports of Bluegill action with lots of above average fish (8”+) being caught.  Thunderbugs and small leeches under tiny floats for the live bait enthusiast.  1/100 – 1/80th oz jigs with hair or plastic, wet flys behind clear casting floats or, towards evening, poppers as waters warm.

Largemouth Bass:  Excellent – In a bit early due to warm up last week, but lots of reports of pre-spawn and spawning Bass!  Plastic creatures, Ned worms and Wacky worms for mornings.  Twitch baits, Pop R’s on warming afternoons.

Smallmouth Bass:  Very Good – Despite mis-reporting most were done (1st time wrong ALL SEASON…yeah), large lakes still have Smallies, mostly males, protecting beds.  3” Wackys, X-Raps, and Torpedos effective.  Lots of action, not as many large fish as earlier.

Northern Pike:  Very good – Working 3 ½-4 ½” swim baits over existing 4-8’ cabbage flats. Chatter baits, Meps #3’s, Comets, spinner baits all good.

Yellow Perch:  Good-Very Good Thunderbugs, medium leeches and fatheads.  Work 5-9’ weeds or around drowned wood.

Crappie:  Good – Work out over narrow leaf cabbage in 6-10’ using small minnows, Mini mites or Gapen Fresh Water Shrimp under small floats.  Suspend bait/jig just at weed tops.

Musky:  Good – Best later in day as water warms.  Small bucktails, spinner baits and top-water.

Walleye:  Good-Fair – Mornings tough early ‘til chill (steam) off water.  Leeches, large fatheads for weed Walleyes in 6-12’.  Deep lakes use chubs, suckers of 3 ½ – 5” on Lindy rigs

That warm stretch pushed spawning ahead, so don’t be surprised that Crappies (done) and Smallmouth (almost done) are already being replaced by Largemouth Bass and Bluegills in the bedding shallows of many lakes

Bugs hatching, a few reports of small Hex hatches, will list as confirmed.

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
www.kurtsislandsports.com
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EAGLE RIVER: B+L, from reports from Colin Crawford of Colin Crawford Guide Service, sent this for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce:

FISHING REPORT
The water temperature across the Chain of 28 Lakes continues to rise. As weeds become more plentiful, fishing action will gain momentum in Eagle River, WI. Bass fishing is catch and release fromMay 5 – June 15, with its season opener being June 16.

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.

Perch are still being caught on jigs and slip bobber rigs alike. 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 using a slip bobber.

Muskie:  As spawning is over and fish are recuperating, it’s recommended to stay shallow with smaller bucktails and small jerk baits around the new weed growth.

NORTHWEST INDIANA

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

Slough still giving up good numbers of gills crickets red wigglers and waxworms best

Catfish in burns ditch and deep river sonnys stinkbait and cut skipjack best baits
Salmon trout action good in 80 to 100 ft spoons and dodger and fly best straight out of ditch

ROCK RIVER, ILLINOIS

No update.

ROCK RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

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

ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN

Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said lakers and some kings are being caught in 130-150 feet, best on spoons; walleye are “cooperating’’ in the river.

ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA

Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.

SHABBONA LAKE

Clint Sands at Lakeside said xatfish are outstanding, especially in 6 feet of water in the east bay; with weeds up, walleye (14-23 inches) are on going on crawlers or leeches on the bottom or crawler harnesses; bass are hitting topwaters early and late; crappie are good deeper, but take sorting; muskie are picking up with cooler temperatures.

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

No update.

WISCONSIN DELLS

Check with River’s Edge.

WISCONSIN RIVER/BARABOO RIVER

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Andy Kalbach with a Wisconsin River cat.
Provided

Gary Engberg sent a long note about the resurgence of catfish on the Baraboo and Wisconsin rivers and the photo above of Andy Kalbach with a Wisconsin River cat.

Here are the basics:

I suggest that you go fishing for catfish toward sunset and plan on staying into the night. As it gets dark, catfish move up on the feeding shelves, rock bars, and into shallow water and remain there much of the night feeding. The areas you should be fishing are; near wood and downed timber, deep holes, river bends, rock bars, and the mouth of bays and backwaters off the main river channel. Shore fishing for catfish is common on Wisconsin rivers and the Wisconsin and Baraboo Rivers offers a chance of catching many eating size ‘cats and the opportunity of catching a 40 # plus flathead catfish. Most of the catfish you catch will be channel catfish, but there’s always the chance for a big flathead. Fish an area for 30 minutes or so and keep moving till you contact fish.

For equipment, use a sturdy 7 foot rod with a Garcia Ambassador 6500 reel spooled with 20 to 30 # Berkley Trilene XT or some of the new braided lines like Power Pro. The XT line is necessary in the snag-filled areas where you will be catching fish. On the end of the mono, put on an egg sinker from ¾ ounce to 1 1/2 ounce, next tie on a barrel swivel, and finally tie on a two to four foot leader of fluorocarbon line to a No. 2/0 red catfish hook or a circle hook to complete the rig.

Bait varies from nightcrawlers, to cut-bait, and stink baits. Talk to some locals and watch what they are fishing with to learn the bait of choice. I’ve talked to some “old-timers” that swear by bluegills and chubs for catfish bait. There are many local concoctions of stink bait that work and many of them contain cheese, chicken livers, fish, and shrimp that are cured a few days for odor and consistency.

Here are some contacts:

Information;. McFarlane’s True Value, (608)-643-3321. Guides; Ron Barefield, (608)-838-8756, Lee Tauchen, (608)-444-2180, Gary Engberg, (608)-795-4208.

WISCONSIN RIVER/LAKE WISCONSIN

Jeffrey Ayeski messaged on Monday:

good fishing on lake wisconsin last 5 days for walleye

Yellow bird minnow baits and flickershads
Purple gold

WOLF LAKE

BoRabb Williams sent this update:

Wolf Lake… big punkinseed gills  are going good… some bass and walleye also

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.