Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes/areas

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The return of perch fishing on southern Lake Michigan leads this Midwest Fishing Report.

This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears on the Sun-Times outdoors page on Wednesdays. Well, it is the lakes and areas section.

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


ILLINOIS REOPENER: Perch fishing in the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan reopens for those 16 and older on Monday. The Aug. 1 reopener has become the biggest fishing day in Chicago. There’s promise. On Tuesday, Mik-Lurch reported good numbers moved into Cal Harbor for boaters. Mike Starcevich was holding hope that is a good sign for boaters next week in the weed beds off Navy Pier. Another good sign is the three top entries by kids in July for perch in the Richard J. Daley Memorial Sportfishing Derby were all well over a pound and came late in July from Burnham/Northerly Island, according to Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports & Bait. INDIANA: Cal Harbor bite appears to be on. Starcevich said there were mixed sizes with minnows, soft shells and spinners working. Farther east, the best perch action for weeks has been out of Burns Ditch, according to Indiana’s Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert.


Largemouth bass are the bite, by far, early and late.


For guide Mike Norton’s report, go to www.nortonsfishingandhuntingadventures.com, then click on fishing, then lake report.


From licensed guide and trapper Phil Schweik and guide Glenn Moberg of Hooksetters Guide Service:

(Head): -Musky, walleyes, crappies, and bluegills putting on great bite, with bass fishing pretty good, and bear hunters seeing lots of nice bears coming in to their bait stations in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River of Wisconsin’s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau). With the water temperatures being so high, big fish won’t exert a lot of energy chasing after a small meal, but a large presentation will get the attention of a hungry walleye or musky, and will often entice them to strike at this time of the year. We’re seeing hot weather and big fish in the central Wisconsin area, with walleyes on fire, and limits coming in averaging 50 to 100 fish on each half or full day outing. Most of the fishing has been associated with water in the 8 to 12 foot range, running medium sized sucker minnows on 1?4 ounce jigs or by trolling larger stick baits like Thundersticks or Rapalas in the 5 to 7 inch models. It seems that the larger presentations are providing only great numbers, but larger fish, as well. The musky bite in the central Wisconsin are has been getting better and better as the season ahs progressed. Very large bucktails, like the Double Cowgirl, and large flashy jerk baits and top water baits have been the best producers. Work rocky shorelines and deep weed edges early and late in the day. With the warm temperatures right now it is best to target large species like musky, early and late in the day, when it is the coolest. Bass fishing has been pretty good in the central Wisconsin area with some really big bass taking advantage of large offerings. Musky top water baits have accounted for some nice fishing in the evening hours, and so have the larger rattle traps and crankbaits. Work rocky shorelines and wood in 2 to 4 feet of water for the best action., Just because the water is warm doesn’t mean that the bass are going deep. Stay shallow to stay consistent. Crappies in the central Wisconsin area have been very active and some really nice slabs are being caught on minnows and plastics suspended below slip bobbers. Work the main lakes in 12 to 14 feet of water, seeing your baits at 4 to 7 feet down, and then slowly drifting with the wind or current to find active fish. Once you locate a school of crappies stick with it until they stop feeding. You will be surprised as to how many fish can hold in any given area. The bluegills bite in the central Wisconsin area is fantastic right now. The gills are done spawning and have moved to their summer haunts. A small hook baited up with a piece of crawler or a garden worm is all you need. Set your baits according to depth and start searching out the lake for weeds. You will find plenty of gills by working the main lake weed beds, but if you want the larger gills they are suspended off the outside weeds edges in 6 to 10 feet of water. Bear hunters in the central Wisconsin area are seeing plenty of nice bears coming in to their bait stations right now. To be consistent at keeping the bears at YOUR bait stations, remember to keep it fresh. And by keeping it fresh, that means continuous changing of your bait. Don’t keep bringing in the same stuff every time you go out to bait. The bear will get bored with eating the same old thing day after day and will begin to look for a new location to feed.

Any mid-summer fishing report is enlivened with advice on bear baiting.


Salmon Stop reported good catfish on worms or Sonny’s. Triangle reported catfish regularly in 4- to 10-pound range. Triangle reported good walleye feeding around current areas (bridge areas and the river). Bluegill are good, try around piers or laydowns with ice jigs tipped with wax worms under small floats. Topwaters or bucktails are the best choice for muskies early and late. For white bass, try shallower on Marie on Petite.

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

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


BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Site staff reported no major fish kills, as of Tuesday. Close is 8 p.m.

LaSALLE:Ed Hansen at the hatchery said there were no major fish kills as of Tuesday. Through Sept. 30, the lake is open Wednesday through Sunday.


DELAVAN: guide Dave Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 7/25/11 through 8/1/11 High heat dominated the weather this week, we’ve had temps in the very high 90’s and high humidity with it. Many people chose not to fish this week, but for those that went the fishing remained excellent. With the extremely hot weather, the bass have really moved into large schools. On the weekend, I only need to fish a couple of spots to catch over 20 bass. They can be caught on split shot rigged nightcrawlers or casting a swim jig. Black and blue is the best color. Also in the larger schools fishing a slip bobber rig is fantastic. The fish are in about 15 ft of water 2 ft above the weeds. In some areas fish are so thick as soon as the sucker hits the water the bobber will go down. Look for the fish by Willow Point or by the Village Supper club. Bluegill fishing remains excellent. The fish are on the outside of the weed edge in 15-18 ft of water. They can be caught on leaf worms or wax worms fished straight beneath the boat. The best location has been by Assembly Park or by the Township park. Walleye fishing has remained consistent. The bite seems to really be at first light. They can be caught on lindy rigged leeches or nightcrawler pieces. The best location is by Browns Channel or by the Village Supper Club. In first light conditions the fish are coming out of the shallow weeds and can be ambushed in 15-18 ft of water. Northern pike fishing has slowed a bit from last week. They still can be caught on lindy rigged medium suckers however, the numbers from the previous weeks is reduced. Look for the fish by the gray condos or east of Willow Point. The bigger fish seem to be coming from the 25-27 ft depth range. The lindy rig consists of a oz sinker and a 1/0 hook with a 24 inch leader. Crappies remain slow. The best success has come in front of Township Park in 12-15 ft of water. They can be caught on small plastics, purple or chartreuse have been the best colors. The fish are positioned in the water column about 5 ft above bottom. With the extreme heat, most anglers are throwing the fish back because the meat is so soft. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050 Daily Reports 7/23/11 – Delavan Lake, cloudy, rainy, 85 degrees, winds W at 15 mph. Water temp 83 degrees. Caught 28 largemouth and 1 northern pike. Fishing was fantastic. The fish were really schooled up. All the fish were caught from 2 spots. The best presentation was medium suckers fished with a Thill slip bobber. 7/19/11 – Delavan Lake, sunny, 98 degrees, E wind at 10 mph. Water temp 83 degrees. Caught 5 northern pike, 8 largemouth bass and a bunch of bluegills. Today the fish were scattered amongst the weedline. You needed to keep moving to find the fish. They weren’t schooled up. The best bait was a nightcrawler fished on a split shot rig. 7/17/11 – Delavan Lake, 89 degrees, winds SW at 10 mph. Water temp 77 degrees. Caught 15 largemouth, 3 northern pike and 1 walleye. Fishing was excellent today. The fish were caught on nightcrawlers fished on a split shot rig or on a medium sucker. A good presentation for the bass was a slip bobber fished with a medium sucker in about 14 ft of water. Some of the biggest fish of the year hit today.

GENEVA: From Duwe:

Lake Geneva fishing report 7/25/11 through 8/1/11 With the extreme heat, the pleasure boat armada is in full force on Geneva. It’s fishable but be prepared for some choppy water. Also with the warm water, all the active fish have moved deep. Northern pike fishing has been good. The fish are on the thermocline in 30-33 ft of water. The best location has been by the Fontana Beach or the north shore in the narrows. The best presentation is lindy rigging medium suckers right on bottom. The trickiest part is understanding when you have a bite fishing so deep. Due to the fact that there are no weeds at that depth, any weight or resistance is usually a fish. I find that when you set the hook, you will have fewer bite offs if you set the hook vertically above the fish. This way the line does not cross their teeth. Largemouth bass can be caught in 18-24 ft of water. The best location is by Colemans Point or by Trinkes. The best presentation is Carolina rigging green pumpkin or watermelon seed lizards. The leader length to use is about 2 ft. Dragging oz football head jigs has also been producing a lot of fish. The best color is black and blue or pumpkin seed color. The key to both presentations is to find some rock in the weedline. In the summer months largemouth bass like scattered weeds with rock. Rock bass can be caught in 14-16 ft of water. The best approach is a split shot rigged nightcrawler. The best way to present the nightcrawler is drift fishing or using the electric motor and slowly trolling the nightcrawlers along bottom. The best locations have been by the Military Academy or by Knollwood. If you intend to keep a few fish, make sure you have a cooler of ice to put them in. That will firm the meat up and make them a lot easier to clean. Lake Trout fishing remains very consistent. The best bait remains a small dodger fished with a green and purple fly. The best depth to catch them out of is 85-95 ft of water in 110-120 ft total depth. Most of the success I’ve heard has come from trolling in between Cedar Point and Conference Point. Walleye fishing has been good. It remains a nighttime bite, the best time is 11 pm and 3 am for the most success. The most consistent part of the pattern is wind. When you have some wind, the fish are much more active. Trolling medium diving crank baits or lindy rigging leeches have been the best approaches. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


SHELBYVILLE: Guide Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service reported white bass are busting good at daylight until 7:30 a.m. or again near dusk, otherwise it is trolling. Water is 88 degrees. Some crappie in 12-18 feet with minnows; keepers take sorting.

EMIQUON: Emiquon Preserve near Lewistown is open to fishing. Interested parties may request a permit (remember you need the new one for 2011) 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.

EVERGREEN: Site staff sent this report:

Fishing Report – July 25, 2011 Water Condition Water Clarity: 2-5 ft Water Level: Just below capacity Water Temp: 80’s Crappies have been found in 15-20 feet of water about mid way up using minnows and jigs at about 7-8 ft. Bass have slowed some but can still be caught on top water lures and rubber worms fished slowly around structure. Saugeye bite has slowed with some smaller ones being caught at the pump house. Catfish have been good in the evenings around boat rental point. Bluegill continue to bite early and late on wax worms and crawler bits. Good Luck, Brad

Any updated fishing report will be posted here.


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


CHICAGO:: Capt. Bill Kelly of Leprechaun Charters reported some coho and steelhead in 80-100 northeast of the Wilson with some lakers on the bottom; R4 is spotty. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters reported good lakers straight out in 100-130; mornings better.

WAUKEGAN: Salmon Stop reported kings, lakers and some steelhead in 60 feet on blue and green flies and some on spoons (Hey Baby, Orange Crush, Sister Sledge). Even a few kings from shore at night; a few steelhead before the sun at the end of Government Pier.

NORTH POINT: Poteshman reported good steelhead for the past several right on the Hill straight out on spoons or Dodgers and flies; best mornings. Some kings, mostly smaller, being caught from the Hill to 115. A 23-pound king reported late Tuesday by Poteshman on a Magnum Dreamweaver Sister Sledge spoon on a downrigger down 48 in 150.

CHICAGO NOTE: The fisherman’s parking pass–$10 for two months and available at Henry’s Sports & Bait–is needed to park south of the main building at Northerly Island.

CHICAGO’S FISHERMAN’S PARKING: The $10 parking passes for the small fishermen’s lots at Burnham and DuSable harbors are available at Henry’s, and now the south side at Northerly Island.

RICHARD J. DALEY SPORTFISHING DERBY: Runs through Sept. 30. In July, the species are carp, catfish, coho, chinook, steelhead and perch (for those 15 and younger). Register fish at Henry’s Sports & Bait, Park Bait or Vet’s Bait. Go to henryssports.com or call (312) 225-8538.


EAGLE RIVER: Creative Brilliance sent this report for the Chamber of Commerce:

(Head): Good bite for northern and panfish, with musky, walleye and largemouth bass providing fair action, in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. Water temps in the Eagle River area remain in the low to mid 70s. The northern bite in the Eagle River area continues to be good. Fish 10 feet of water or less in and around weeds. Use a Husky Jerk, bass style spinner bait, or #3 Mepps. All day bite. Crappies, bluegills and perch are hanging together in the Eagle River area. Fish 10 feet of water or less in and around weeds. The crappies and gills will be suspending up and down the water column, with the perch tight to bottom. Use a crappie minnow or crawler under a slip bobber. Good all day action. Musky action in the Eagle River area is fair. Fish the outside of weed edges in 12 feet of water or less. Use a small to medium sized bucktail or topwater. Vary your retrieve, and don’t forget to do the classic figure 8 when you get near your boat. Peak times are either early or late in the day. The walleye are providing a fair bite in the Eagle River area. Fish 10 feet of water or less in and around weeds. Use a jig and minnow or leech, or a minnow or leech under a slip bobber. Early morning or late afternoon into evening are the best times for action. Largemouth bass in the Eagle River area are holding tight to structure (downed trees, docks, heavy brush, heavy weeds), in 7 feet of water or less. Use a topwater bait like a frog or rat, a Texas Rig with a plastic crawler, or a leech under a slip bobber. The action is fair. (Report for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce based on Creative Brilliance interviews with Eagle River guides Muskie Matt of Wild Eagle Lodge, Ranger Rick Krueger of Guide’s Choice Pro Shop, and Mat Hegy). Contact info for Eagle River: * Eagle River Chamber of Commerce; 800-359-6315; 715-479-6400; e-mail: info@eagleriver.org; web: www.eagleriver.org * Muskie Matt, 715-891-5980; e-mail: rfrgoutdoors@gmail.com * Mat Hegy, 715-571-7544, e-mail: lunkerclunkerguideservice@yahoo.com * Guide’s Choice Pro Shop, guide/owner Ranger Rick Krueger 715-477-2248 * George Langley, Eagle River Fishing Guides Association, 715-479-8804. e-mail: fishing@eaglesportscenter.com

MINOCQUA: Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports sent this:

We’ve finally got a break from that heat wave. Night-time temps down to the 50’s (even high 40’s) and day-time temps now averaging low 80’s. Water temps are averaging mid to high 70’s. Cool temps have hurt morning bite some, but overall fishing is still good. Smallmouth Bass: Very good. For shallower weed edge fish (10-15′), 1/8oz jig and tube, wacky worms or just a plain 1/16oz jig and leech. Working twitch baits also effective (Xraps, husky jerks). For deeper fish, work rock humps topping at 18-26′. Drop-shot 3″ finness worms, jig and creature or crawfish imitations. Nice bass reported with lots of fish in the 14-17″ range with some 19-20″ers this past week. Largemouth Bass: Very good. Working weeds with 7″ power worms, 5″ senkos and plastic craws producing very well. Pre-rigged plastic worms reeled slowly over weed tops hard to miss. Evening surface lures HOT with plastic frogs, mice and buzz baits producing lots of fun! Bluegills: Very good. Worms, small leeches, thunderbugs. Schools of gills roaming weed beds. Cast tiny jigs with 1″ twisters to locate fish. Lots of nice sized gills of 7-8 1/2″. Poppers deadly on calm evenings. Walleye: Good. Best on deep clear lakes. Evenings, slip-floats or 1/8oz jigs over bars and humps topping at 18-26′ with gravel or sandgrass. Bait with full crawlers or XL leeches. After dark, lighted slip-floats and jumbo leeches. Windy days helping midday bite on wind blown weedlines of 8-12′. Pike: Good. Most action on in-line spinners (Mepps, Rizzo Wizz) or spinnerbaits (Boonie Baits) worked over 6-10′ weed flats. Big chubs/suckers also effective below large floats. Perch: Good. Softshell crayfish (frozen), 1/2 crawlers, medium leeches along weed edges of 8-12′. Nicer perch of 9-11″ on crayfish tails on 1/16oz jig. Crappies: Fair. Small, flashy jigs worked at weed top level producing nice 11-12″ crappies on larger lakes. Check for suspended fish along coontail/milfoil edges of 14-20″. That should be it for major heat up here. Summer patterns locking in. Flowage water levels dropping, deeper lakes providing best action.


Indiana’s Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert sent this note on Monday:

Good steelhead action from the pier and boats in 35-40 foot of water. Also some coho and Chinook taken off Burns Ditch. It was pretty tremendous action according to the charter guys that fished over the weekend. Action started on Thursday but continued through the weekend and even today. Thermocline has moved in with colder water on the bottom. 77 on surface and 57 on the bottom. Fish size was 8 to 16 pounds.

Starcevich called it the best steelhead year since they opened; anything with orange is taking steelhead. Some kings are mixed in.


Heat slowed effort. Lakeside reported best is topwaters for largemouth and or hybrids on chicken livers.

For more reports, click here.


From the Wisconsin DNR report:

Southern Lake Michigan Fishing Report: July 25, 2011 Kenosha Co. In Kenosha fishing for trollers has started to pick up. Bigger numbers of Chinooks have been seen, and some rainbows have been taken as well. The most success has been in 90 to 150 feet of water, with flies and spoons producing. Good colors have been blues and greens. Perch fishing on the Kenosha shore and piers has been slow, but few boat anglers have been catching some just off of the rock breakwall. Plastics and minnows have been the best baits. Racine Co. In Racine trollers have been catching fewer coho, but more Chinooks, rainbows, and lake trout. Fishing is slow overall, but spoons and dodgers and flies have taken the majority of fish, and blues and greens have been the best colors. Racine shore anglers have been catching decent numbers of keeper perch fishing plastics off the floating docks just west of the south pier. Milwaukee Co. The fishing off Milwaukee remains relatively slow. Fish are still being marked, but getting them to bite has been difficult. Trollers have been working a variety of depths, from 60 feet of water out to 150 feet. Boaters fishing for perch have had some success fishing off the Oak Creek Power Plant. On good days, limits of perch in the 9 to 11 inch range have been taken on small spoons and minnows. Shore fishing is slow in the Milwaukee area. Ozaukee Co. Port Washington Ramps: In Port Washington trollers have been working in 60 to 200 feet of water, and a few Chinooks and coho have been caught 30 to 80 feet down. Most fish have been caught on flashers and flies or spoons, and the best colors have been green, orange, and red. Port Washington Harbor/Shore: Fishing in the harbor has been slow. The water temperature is 52 degrees. Port Washington Pier: On the pier in Port, shore anglers have been fishing mostly for perch using mini-mites or minnows, and success has varied day to day. Sheboygan Co. Watch out for the orange flags and buoys that mark commercial fishing trap nets set in Lake Michigan. Steer clear and give these markers a wide berth to avoid getting tangled and capsizing. Learn where the nets are set on our Trap Net page. Sheboygan Ramps: Most trollers have been fishing in water depths of 75-150 feet of water, but the most productive depths have been 125 to 200 feet. Flashers and flies as well as glow spoons have been successful, although fishing has been generally slow for the past couple of weeks. The best colors have been white, green and blue, and most fish were caught from 30 to 70 feet down. Trollers have been catching a mixed bag of coho, Chinooks, and lake trout. Sheboygan Piers/Shore: The Sheboygan piers have produced a few coho. The water off the piers has been about 56 degrees, and most coho have been taken on spoons in green and white glow-in-the-dark or green and silver. Perch fishing in Sheboygan has been slow.


Tyler Harmon Facebooked, “Hot weather means morning and evening fishing. Bass and panfish on inland lakes. Catfish on the river.”


Mik-Lurch reported largemouth action (a 22-incher weighing 5.5 pounds won the kids derby on Saturday in Hammond) is hot, while walleye slowed.










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