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The magic of a variable summer in Chicago fishing: Midwest Fishing Report

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Blue catfish from LaSalle Lake.
Provided/Darryl Turner

We settle, though with too much unsettled northerly winds, into summer patterns for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Darryl Turner sent the photo above and this note on fishing for big blue catfish at LaSalle Lake:

Hey Mr Bowman been awhile took a month off and right back on them 9 blues …Two 20 pounders Two 8 ,s 7 ,6 two 5,s and 4

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.

LAKEFRONT PERCH

The blow knocked perching out. Maybe when the water clears, perching will return to what Stacey Greene at Park Bait called “phenomenal” on Saturday.

ILLINOIS FROG HUNTING

Frog hunting in Illinois, bullfrogs only, is open. Daily bag is eight. Fishing license is required; bullfrogs may be taken by “hook and line, gig, pitchfork, spear, bow and arrow, hand, or landing net.”

AREA LAKES

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Provided/Ron Chrzas

Ron Chrzas sent the photo above and this note:

Nice one couldn’t find the scale!

For our area, that’s a quality largemouth.

Otherwise, it is summer bluegill and catfish. Some lakes are becoming very covered with vegetation and tougher to fish.

AREA RIVERS

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

No update.

CHAIN O’LAKES

Staff at Triangle Sports and Marine said that if you find the walleye, they are good, mostly around the bridges; there’s better crappie on East Loon; a few muskies on Catherine; it is mainly stinkbiat for catfish, best in the river; and bluegill are more on the drop-offs off the weed edges.

Check Fox Waterway Agency or (847) 587-8540 for more information.

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

CHICAGO RIVER

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

Water Temps are still a bit cool 72 to 74 on the river . . . Smallmouth tubes tossed up against structure have been producing some nice Largemouth on the River.

  Our up and down weather and instable weather has made it tough but the fish are there just have to get them to bite. The panfish bite is still good my go to bait is still a white jig and twister tail tipped with a waxie. We throw 1/16 to ¼ oz. jigs  if we are getting a lot of smaller fish I increase jig size so it drops faster and gets through the small ones to the bigger fish on bottom. Clients are having fun catching some nice fish.

  Due to weather a couple trips had to be canceled and rebooked but the Hi Light of the week was having Steve Keller an Air Force Veteran decide to spent the day on the Decks of my G3 for his Birthday. Steve had Open Heart Surgery a few months back and is on the mend.  We met a few years ago at a Veterans R&R Event and have become friends and fished together at a few more events. He and Pam met me Tuesday the 17th we fished and had fun all day catching fish almost everywhere we tried.  Steve’s Best of the day was an 18” Smallmouth Pam toward the end of the trip got on a Catfish bite 4 in a row the largest being 25” and about 8lbs. It was one of the best days so far this year Happy Birthday Steve.

I’m asking a Favor if you have fished with me can I ask you to send some of the pictures of your catches to www.patharrisonoutdoors@gmail.com I am going to update my website and fishing page and could use some photo’s.

 The weekend was a wash as everyone knows we’ll be back at it next week Enjoy your week go fishing.

 Thanks Capt. Pat

DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN

Dave Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 7/23/18 through 7/29/18

Delavan Lake continues to be a great bite. With the change in weather at the end of last week, the fish turned off briefly and then back on with a vengeance.

Bluegill action has improved greatly. The bite is in 12-13 ft of water in the weeds. The best location has bee by Assembly Park and just west of Willow Point. Both size and numbers are now being caught. The best bait is trout worms fished on a small split shot. You want to use the smallest split shot you can since you are fishing in the weeds, a heavier shot will snag easier.

Northern pike is the only game fish that had a slow week this past week. I fished all over the lake with very limited success. I only caught a couple here and there with no real pattern. I marked a lot of fish in the deeper water, 20-23 ft of water, but they weren’t aggressively biting. The bait of choice remains medium suckers fished on a lindy rig with a 24 inch leader.

Walleyes started to show up last week. I caught a few legal fish. They are shallower than I expected and was fishing in weeks prior. The legal fish came out of 13 ft of water among the weeds, just west of Willow Point. The two keepers I did catch last week were 20 inchers. A split shot rig nightcrawler or jumbo leech were the bait of choice.

Crappies are located on the outside of the weed line by Browns Channel or just west of the Yacht Club. The best approach is trolling small plastics. I like to tie the plastics on a 3 way swivel with two jigs and slowly move the boat at .5-.7 mph. this way you can actively pursue biting fish and avoid a lot of casting.

Largemouth bass fishing has bee phenomenal. Both the size and quantity of fish has been great. The best depth is 15-17 ft of water. The fish I’ve been targeting are not in historically good spots, they are scattered on heavy weed lines. I’ve not found the fish in big schools like years past but by moving you can still find a lot of fish.

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

No update.

DOWNSTATE NOTES

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. 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 ServicePOWERTON: Open 6 a.m.-6 p.m.

FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS

Beside the decent smallmouth action, there’s been some surprises along the way. See the FOTW Wednesday.

FOX RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.

GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN

Dave Duwe sent this:

Lake Geneva Fishing Report 7/23/18 through 7/29/18

The bite on Geneva continues to be a bit slow. The best bite on the lake is still walleyes fished at night.

Largemouth bass can be caught by Maytag Point or Covenant Harbor Point. The best depth is 16-18 ft of water. The best approach is drop shotting 4 inch Chompers with a one foot dropper. I fish my dropper on 8 lb monofilament fished on a medium light spinning rod.

Northern pike fishing has been good in the 30 ft depth range. The best locations are the channel in Fontana or just west of Cedar Point. The best approach is lindy rigged medium suckers or chubs if you can find them.

Bluegill fishing has been good. The bluegills are in 18-20 ft of water. Look for the fish by Gage Marina or by Elgin Club. The best bait is trout worms fished on a split shot rig. You want to position the split shot about 1 foot from the hook and try to keep the worm 6 inches above bottom. The schools are pretty big so a good graph is essential.

Rock bass fishing has been slower than in years past. I’m not sure if the depth is different or if there are just less of them than previously available. The best approach is a split shot rigged nightcrawler. Look for the fish in 12-15 ft of water by South Shore Club or by Knollwood.

Walleyes are biting during the nighttime hours. Troll medium diving crankbaits by Trinkes or Knollwood for the most action. Work a depth of 15 ft of water and have the baits run 10-12 ft down.

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.

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.

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

Good push of steelhead in trail creek some dandy fish being had Flys spawn spinners shrimp all doing good

KANKAKEE RIVER

Click here for some options for a side trip if visiting Bears Training camp.

As to fishing, Kyle Lund sent this:

Kankakee River report The Kank is very low and very clear with a flow rate just over 1200 CFPS. Normal flow this time of year is over double that. With the water being low and clear it’s going to do a couple things. Some good some not so good. Let’s start with not so good. Weeds will grow in the the middle of the river in calm water we want to fish limiting our bait selection to just a few options. With the weeds come more hiding places. Sometime you can find runs between the weeds that you can work a bait along almost like a weedline in a pond or lake. There are most defiantly fish along these runs so dont give up if the first offering you present is not taken. One day fishing with Norm(aka Creekyknees) we stood and fished a series of runs like this. each one we caught fish on a different bait. Sometime it was the first bait we threw but more times than not we cycled through 4 or 5 different selections before we could pick a few off. Now the good. If you find an area that has little to no weed growth find the fastest deepest water you can and fish the edge of it. Those fish will need that extra oxygen the fast run provides and will be there most of if not all day and in fairly large numbers. The best bet to find active smallies is to fish from about 7pm till 7am. With the water being clear smallies are hesitant to move into shallow water to feed in daylight and that gives a great opportunity to chase Brown bass at night. Nothing beats slow rolling a spinner bait against the current in the pitch black waiting for the explosion. Let’s hope for a good rain and the river to come up so we can wash these weeds out before they set firm roots and make fall bassin a hassle. Tight lines. Catchem up

KENOSHA, WISCONSIN

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

LAKE ERIE

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

See perch update or non-update at the top.

Staff at Henry’s Sports and Bait said rock bass can be caught in about every harbor, smallmouth are slowing in the harbors.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait said when the weather was at its worst, drum were being caught at Montrose.

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Provided

Capt. Bob Poteshman sent the photo above from Tuesday  and said that out of North Point, there’s some lakers and coho, andoccasional kings (including occasional 4-year-olds) and occasional steelhead being caught in 100-200 feet, there are no patterns other than lakers on bottom. Out of Chicago, it is very slow with the warm water piled up by the north blow.

Capt. Scott R. Wolfe of  School of Fish Charters sent this report and the photo above:

Hi Dale.

Waukegan – The days before this big blow the past weekend were poor in terms of number of fish.  Very good in terms of size. The catches were of few fish but big kings moving in with several boats getting kings over 20# in the fleet.  17 was our biggest and others in the teens. There were also several big brown trout in the teens and big coho 6 – 10 pounds. 50 to 70 feet of water was best with water North of the harbor from the state line down to the harbor producing better than South. 8 Inch ProTroll and Coyote flashers with big king flies on divers and downriggers were best for kings and browns. Some coho on those as well. Coho were also coming on orange or purple spoons on leadcore and copper lines with Warrior Riverside Striper, Warrior Fin Girl and Warrior Voodoo patterns being  best.

Chicago – Fishing was in many way the opposite of a Waukegan with good number of fish although with few fish other than coho. The same depths of 50-70 feet and with flies out performing spoons. There were just a couple of good sized kings caught, so they are just beginning to show up out of Chicago.  Size 0 red or yellow dodgers worked well in front of Jimmy Fly trolling flies for coho, as well as the same spoon patterns beings used out of Waukegan.

One brief word of warning to your readers and followers. There are two new weather buoys in our area of the lake. One is right at the mouth of Northpoint Marina. One is about 1/4 mile North of the Waukegan harbor entrance.  Although that sounds great, these new buoys are so shallow they do not reflect conditions on the fishing grounds.  This past weekend I ran my trip Saturday morning.  While I was out the waves which were 2-3 initially were 5-7 feet by the end of the trip. The Wilmette Buoy, which is set in deeper water, reflected those conditions exactly.  But because the new buoys are set so shallow and because the Waukegan Buoy is sheltered by a point to the north, the Northpoint Buoy was showing waves 3 feet and the Waukegan Buoy was showing waves of 2 feet when conditions where people would fish were 5 feet plus. I’d encourage fishermen to use the Wilmette Buoy and the Mid Lake Buoy and not rely much, if at all, on these two new, shallow buoys. I think the placement of these buoys was a big mistake and they will mislead small boat owners into thinking conditions on the lake are better than they really are.

Have a great week.

Capt. Scott Wolfe
School of Fish Charters
630-341-0550
http://www.schooloffishcharters.com/

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

Chicago River and Lake Michigan Report,

  Water Temps are. . . 69 to 71 out on the lake by the Chicago Light. The fish are biting but you have to work for them. Smallmouth we are catching are on the bottom in a few areas and up against the break walls and rocks we have been throwing tubes and creature baits. Creature baits on the bottom have produced some 15 to 18 inch Smallmouth

LaSALLE LAKE

As noted at the top, big blue catfish are still on for anglers such as Darryl Turner.

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 emailed about the hot bite and noted:

We have been catching smallmouth in 2-3 foot of water with Case Wacky Jacks. 

MILWAUKEE HARBOR

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

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

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

Summer has settled in, patterns have taken place and not a lot of new activity (for the plus or minus) this past week.  The hottest part of the summer seems to have passed.  Lake surface temps are averaging mid 70’s.  A few cooler nights, but warm afternoons and fairly mild/consistent weather.

Largemouth Bass:  Very Good – On cooler mornings, work down into weeds to extract Bass using drop-shots to plunge plastic worms and craws.  Heavy jigs work for this also. Afternoons have seen Bass getting more active on pre-rigged plastic worms, 3” swimbaits and shallow square billed cranks over weed tops.  As the sun settles and the water temps rise, top-water commotion baits such as Whopper Ploppers, Jitterbugs, Buzzbaits and plastic frogs have been HOT!

Bluegill:  Very Good – Out along deep weed edges for the largest Gills.  Use small jigs tipped with plastic nymph/craw imitations.

Northern Pike:  Good – Spinnerbaits and 4 ½” swimbaits.  Warm water will mean chase is on, but key on deeper weed edges for the larger Pike. 

Smallmouth Bass:  Good – Offshore gravel/rock humps topping at 18-28’.  Drop-shot craws or 3” minnow imitations.  Tube jigs and Carolina rigging creature baits.

Yellow Perch:  Good – Best along deeper cabbage edges and over sandgrass flats.  Use soft shell frozen craws or ½ crawlers.  Any drowned wood is a magnet for small crayfish – Perch favorite.

Crappie:  Fair – Scattered reports.  Best deeper over wood or along coontail edges.

Musky:  Fair – Bucktails, rubber baits over deep weeds.  Some top-water evening action.

Walleye:  Fair-Poor – Best after dark, lighted slip-bobbers/leeches.

Tough to judge what we will see this week.  Will the lunar eclipse bring about a hot bite? Walleye have been difficult this summer, even trollers finding bites tough.  At least the Largemouth Bass and Gills have kept up their end of the bargain.

Kurt Justice
Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
www.kurtsislandsports.com
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EAGLE RIVER: No update from B+L, from reports from Colin Crawford of Colin Crawford Guide Service, for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce.

NORTHWEST INDIANA

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

Good push of steelhead in trail creek some dandy fish being had Flys spawn spinners shrimp all doing good

Action on Michigan city peir day to day one day 50 fish caught next day 5 shrimp under float seems to be best
Over weekend to rough to hit big lake look for fish to be in the 80 to 110 range now for trollers
Catfish on triple s catfish bait in the rivers

ROCK RIVER, ILLINOIS

No update.

ROCK RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.

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 boaters are doing best in 80-120 feet, for mostly coho and a few steelhead; a few walleye in the river.


ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA

Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.

SHABBONA LAKE

Staff at Lakeside said that the best bites are catfish, bass (in the weeds on topwaters), crappie (cribs on north end) and walleye (rock piles, road bed or weed lines); water is into the 80s.

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 RIVER

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Wisconsin River smallmouth.
Provided

Rob Abouchar sent this:

Hi Dale

The good bite for smallmourh bass continues in Merrill on the Wisconsin River  .  Bass hitting walk the dog topwater early.  A steady diet of senkos wacky rigged and texas rigged took numbers and good size bass.

WISCONSIN DELLS

Check with River’s Edge.

WOLF LAKE

No update.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.