Midwest Fishing Report: Perch and bass

SHARE Midwest Fishing Report: Perch and bass

Once again lakefront perch fishing leads the Midwest Fishing Report. That and some quality bass on Chicago-area ponds and lakes.

This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays. Normally, I post the online MFR by Wednesday morning. This time it is posted around midnight Tuesday because it may be the only version of the MFR.

If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at outdoordb@sbcglobal.net.

We begin with lakefront perch.


CHICAGO: “Of course, they are all over, from Belmont to the end of the [Montrose] horseshoe,” said Mike Repa of Park Bait. “There’s a lot of little ones but lots of good ones, too.” Minnows or soft shells and spinners are working. Steve Palmisano of Henry’s said, “It’s seems to be McCormick Place [on] north, and weeds are important, and so are low-light bites. They are still around; that is amazing.” That’s the shore bite. The bite for boaters off Olive Park and Navy Pier has been even better. On Monday, Mike Starcevich of Mik-Lurch said, “There were nine boats out there, nine boats from Indiana, and there were nine full limits.” He found pockets of very cool water, 51-58 degrees. “They are in there to do one thing, they are in there to eat,” Starcevich said.

WAUKEGAN: Salmon Stop reported “pretty good” shore fishing on minnows, soft shells or shrimp.


Again, there are multiple reports of good largemouth across the area. Faithful reader Jim Buttkus reported steady bluegill, bass and walleye action at Skokie Lagoons.


For an overview of nearby river conditions, go to this NWS site. Individual reports are listed below.


For guide Mike Norton’s report, go to

www.nortonsfishingandhuntingadventures.com, then click on fishing, then lake report.


Bullfrog season runs through Aug. 31. Here’s the details from the IDNR regs:

A sport fishing license is required to take bullfrogs. Bullfrogs may be taken by hand, pole and line fishing methods, pitchfork, landing net, bow and arrow or bow and arrow device, spear or gig. Firearms, air guns, gas guns or commercial fishing devices such as dip nets, hoop nets, traps or seines are not allowed in the taking of bullfrogs. Bullfrogs may be taken from June 15 to August 31 (both days inclusive). The daily limit is 8 bullfrogs with 16 bullfrogs being the possession limit.


Triangle reports excellent catfish. One of better places for bluegill has been Spring Lake. Hints of white bass herding minnows on Pistakee Bay, which normally means other bigger fish below them. White bass are doing well on the river, upper or lower, on spikes or small minnows. Topwater frogs are taking bass, early and late; or flip close to shore cover. For walleye, pull crankbaits or spinner rigs with crawlers or leeches.

For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/

More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.

McHENRY LOCK: Because of funding issues, the IDNR will have the Stratton lock closed on Mondays and Tuesdays (with the exception of holidays). Hours of operation on Wednesdays and Sundays will be from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The lock will be open from 10 a.m. to midnight on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Holiday hours will be from 10 a.m. to midnight.


BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Mik-Lurch reported continued strong bluegill action on the Mazonia lakes.


DELAVAN: Buttkus reported good pike, including a 34-incher, over the weekend. Guide Dave Duwe reported:

Delavan Lake 8/9/09 through 8/16/09 Fishing on Delavan Lake is improving as the outside air temperatures heat up. The forecast for the coming week is some pretty stable hot weather, so I expect good fishing all week. Largemouth bass have finally started to school up. You can pull up to a main lake weed point with rock and catch 5-6 fish in one spot. This should continue as long as the weather remains stable. Most of the success has come while drop shotting 4 inch finesse worms or fishing nightcrawlers on a split shot rig. Look for the fish by Willow Point or the Yacht Club. Northern Pike are biting with the heat. There are some nice large fish being caught. My biggest last week was 36 inches. The best location has been by Browns Channel or by Willow Point. The biggest problem has been getting good bait. The bait at the gas station across the street is now $15 per dozen. The warm temperature takes its toll on the bait. The best way to keep your bait alive is an aerated cooler with cool water. Bluegills are off the weedline in 20-22 ft of water. They can be caught on leaf worms fished on a split shot rig or slip bobber. Look for the fish by Delavan Lake Marina or by the island. Most of the success has come anchoring. It is harder to stay on a school of bluegills when using a trolling motor. I’ve been using Bait Rigs panfish cobra with a split shot placed a foot above the jig. Crappies have again started to show up. They aren’t suspended like they typically are this time of year. Most of the fish are scattered around the deep piers on the south shore. I seldom fish for them this time of year because the meat is so soft and not that great to eat. Small purple plastics or motor oil jigs have been producing most of the action. Walleyes are in the middle depth weeds. They are being caught on leeches and nightcrawlers fished in about 14 ft of water. The best time has been right before dark or at sunrise. Most of the success has come on a split shot and a single paint hook. Chartreuse and orange are my favorite colors for the hook. The best location has been by Assembly Park or by Browns channel. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

GENEVA: Duwe sent this:

Lake Geneva 8/9/09 through 8/16/09 Fishing on Lake Geneva has been a challenge. The fish still haven’t been biting that well. With the warmer weather of this weekend and the project week, hopefully the fish will figure out their summer patterns and we’ll see some improvement. Some Northern Pike are being caught in 30-35 ft of water. They are being caught on medium suckers fished on a lindy rig. Look for the fish in Fontana Beach or by Black Point. The fish aren’t in very strong schools, you need to move around a bit to find the active fish. For the Lindy rig, I’m using a oz walking sinker and a #1 hook with a 24 inch leader. This warm weather should improve the bite tremendously. Bluegill fishing has been average. There are some bluegills being caught in Geneva Bay and by the Elgin Club. The key to the bite is finding good weeds in deep water. The best depth is 16-18 ft. Use leaf worms or nightcrawler pieces fished on a Hali jig right off bottom. I’ve been fishing straight beneath the boat. Walleyes are sporadically biting at night. The best location has been by Abbey Springs or by Fontana Beach. Work a depth of 15-17 ft of water. Trolling deep diving Wally Bandits or Rapalas half way down in the water column seems to produce most of the action. The best time is between 11 pm and 3 am. Some bass are being caught on main lake points. Most of the success has been dragging Carolina Rigs with Green pumpkin or watermelon seed lizards. Some success has also come on live bait, fishing nightcrawlers on a light rig. I usually use a 1/8 oz walking sinker and a 24 inch leader. Work a depth of 24-28 ft of water. Perch are readily available in the 10-12 ft depth range. Like always, the size has been a real problem, you need to catch 10-15 to get a few keepers. They are biting on small fathead minnows or pieces of leaf worm. Look for the fish by Rainbow Point and Knollwood.


From Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament www.fishing-headquarters.com:

Fishing over the past week on the DesPlaines River has been surprisingly fair to good for most anglers targeting Northern Pike and Largemouth Bass. Some better places at the moment for both species are along the various forest preserves in Lake and Will Counties. First, let’s talk Pike. Best river locations for these river predators have been deeper pools with current, log jams, beneath bridges, shoreline areas with shade, and weedbeds. Both the shore angler and wade fisherman can expect to catch the typical 15 to 30 inch fish by throwing the usual standby spinnerbait or buzzbait (yellow, chartreuse, and white colors best), and if in the mood, dunking some shiners beneath a float. However, some better fish are recently coming on smaller bucktails which Musky fishermen would use, `walk-the-dog’ topwaters, and jerkbaits such as Rapala Husky Jerks and X-Raps. For most fishermen, a lot of action has been taking place as of late with smaller Pike, but those who are taking the time to explore whether it be by wading unpressured stretches of water, or even floating the river by boat, are banging into some decent quality fish (25-30 inch with regularity) Early mornings, periods of day with some cloud cover, and evenings have been best. Largemouth Bass are being found almost everywhere in the river, but not to the point of abundance and sometimes not as an annoyance like the Pike. Largemouth anglers have been putting forth their focus on throwing spinnerbaits, jig and plastics, and live bait too areas with wood and weeds – and if there is some nearby depth and current, catching them will be an almost guarantee. Walleye and Sauger have been poor, with very few reports coming in. Some anglers trying at night at the traditional areas of river without much success. Rough fish reports have been good to excellent. See Dale Bowman’s writeup on the young girl who shot the 56lb Grass Carp for further rough fishing reinforcement. Anyways, Common Carp in the 5 to 15lb range have been active for both bow-fishermen and bank anglers, as well as Channel Catfish in the 2 to 5lb bracket. By traditional methods (bottom rigs), Common Carp have been active in slack water areas, and Channel Cats have been present in deeper pools with current and eddies. Both species have been active 24/7 it seems. Not to mention, many Bowfin (Dogfish) have been caught by accident from Pike and Bass anglers and these prehistoric predators provide one hell of a fight on spinning gear when given the chance. Few specifically target them but toss a spinnerbait or inline for Pike, or even dunk a larger sized minnow beneath a float, and you may as very well end up hooking into one. Handle these unique fish with care, for they are beneficial to the aquatic ecosystem. Nothing to report on for the smaller tributaries and creeks. As of now it’s been dead water on them for over a week. Water temperatures are running in the 75 to 80 degree range on the river, and levels are exceptionally safe and sound for wading at a cubic flow rate of 242/ under 350. In other words, seasonably low, but still good and oxygenated enough to keep the fish alive and well.


EMIQUON: Continue to get good reports for numbers and action on bass. Emiquon Preserve near Lewistown is open to fishing. Interested parties may request a permit and list of rules between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown. There is no fee. No gas powered motors are permitted, and bank fishing is not allowed. For more, call (309) 547-2730.

SHELBYVILLE: For more, call (217) 774-2020.

EVERGREEN: The latest fishing report is posted here.

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Site is open to public fishing on Fridays and Saturdays.


River is low, very wadeable. Best action like nearly all local rivers remains catfish. Ken Gortowski sent several links for fishing ruminations of several excursions along the Fox and feeders, and added,

Only one has enough words in it to even remotely qualify as a story. Maybe over the winter I can go back and fill in the words on the other ones I’ve been slacking on. We’ll see.





Guide Buster Culjan said the odd bite has been a pretty good but somewhat strange one for bluegills. i like it. He wasn’t sure if it is somehow related to the extended period of flooding, but like him i find it very curious.

He also said the top bites are drum (crawlers) and catfish (Sonny’s, shrimp or cut shad, mornings and evenings. Bladebaits or small crankbaits are taking some white bass, largemouth, smallmouth and a few walleye off gravel bars.

VERMILION: It’s low and clean, with walkers and waders taking catfish and smallies.


River is low and very wadeable. Ed Mullady sent this:

Right now river is very low.. Fishing good for catfish throughout Indiana and Illinois with best baits being *cheesebaits*crawlers*minnows*chicken liver. Smallmouth and Largemouth fair to good in Indiana around LaSalle F&W Area and the Point, north of English Lake. Smallmouth on *live minnows *top water baits *spinners*plastic worms*jig and twister tails. In Illinois, good at Momence along weedbeds, riffles on above baits. At Kankakee River State Park, smallmouth bass good around Bryan and Christine Island on Keeper Hook & Double Twister tail *imitation and live crawfish*minnows. Catfish good around shoreline weeds, esp. right at dark. Walleye slow. Smallmouth good from Wilmington Dam through Bardwell Island. Rock Bass good throughout river on *minnows*rubber spiders*fly rod poppers.


Check the latest at Harborside.


Rickard’s reported steady walleye three miles west of Rattlesnake in 30 feet, casting or trolling, and west of West and Northwest reefs.

For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.



For perch, see top.

CHICAGO: Capt. Bill Kelly reported a mixed bag at the wreck in 65-85 feet, lakers straight east in 105-110, a mixed bag of everything at the R4, cohos at the R3, and big kings in 35-45 feet from the R3 to Highland Park. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters seconded the Wreck being the spot with bigger kings and big cohos on Tuesday, anywhere from 60-110 feet, Leadcore was key.

RICHARD J. DALEY MEMORIAL FISHING TOURNAMENT: In August, the privately funded derby is open for carp, catfish, panfish, coho, chinook. Fish may be weighed at Henry’s, Park Bait or Vet’s.


The $10 parking passes for the small fishermen’s lots at Burnham and DuSable harbors are available at Henry’s.

WAUKEGAN: Capt. Augie Ralph said there’s even been a few kings and browns caught from shore. Otherwise, boaters are working in 40-60 feet, for kings that almost look ready to start staging. Morning bite is best.

NORTH POINT: Poteshman said there’s decent kings on the Hill, the early bite remains best.


D&S Bait reported good bluegill on Monona, while they slowed on Waubesa. Fishing on Kegonsa and Mendota slowed.

For D&S Bait, go to dsbait.com


Guide Mike Mladenik of BigSmallmouthBass.com reported “bigger smallmouth are getting active, which is typical for August.” That includes one caught on a fly rod that went 21 inches.


Island Sports in Minocqua reported warmer weather has made for warmer water and improved fishing. Similar to last week best bites are muskies over weeds or along weed edges, pike over weed tops, largemouth on plastics and perch.


There’s been some perch in Cal Park, but most are focusing toward Navy Pier. Mik-Lurch reported kings moving closer, almost look ready to stage an early run. There’s cold water all over. Walleye at Wolf Lake slowed with weather. Willow Slough is harder to fish with weeds.


OREGON: Jan Prose at TJ’s Bait/Tackle & Canoe Rental sent this:

River has come up a few inches with the rain up north. Catfish are biting on shrimp, liver and small/med suckers. A few flathead have been caught, but with the heat last week, not too many fishing. Carp are good sized on corn and carp bait. Some walleye have been caught from fishing boats in the deeper holes, on worms and crank baits.


BJ Sports reported some perch south of the piers in 30-35 (by the Chalets) on Sunday and a few skamania by creek mouths and toward Niles. Walleye should pick up with the river down and steelhead moving out. The hot range on the big lake for big fish has been 100-120 feet.


Lakeside reports liver, crawlers and leeches are taking catfish. Some big bluegills are mixed deeper with crappie, smaller bluegill are along shoreline weeds. Bass are on the weed lines, or on frogs in the weeds.

NOTE: The catfish open is Saturday. Go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.

For more reports, click here.














Fishing Headquarters




















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