Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes around Chicago fishing

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Hopes of some early shoreline salmon lead this lakes section of the Midwest Fishing Report.

This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears on the Sun-Times outdoors page on Wednesdays. I posted the rivers section earlier.

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

A forecast for days of south and southwest winds have shoreline fishermen hoping for early kings. Virtually none have been reported in Chicago so far, but Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop reported a just couple in Waukegan while Mike Starcevich at Mik-Lurch reported some early signs in Indiana with a few kings sighted following at Taylor Street pier and some have been caught right at the mouth of Ditch.

As to the photo above, Andy Mikos, one of the great non-captain fishermen on southern Lake Michigan, sent this dispatch from his boat the Bismarck out of Evanston over the weekend:

Just thought I would drop you a line and give an update on where some of the 4 year old kings are for those shore bound readers that are anticipating a fall run. Attached is a photo of a king caught yesterday by my friend George [Morris] in 170′ of water east of the R4. That is approximately 18 miles out. With all of the warm water the fish have really scattered and gone deep. Things might be stabilizing though because a friend of mine took a temperature reading in 110′ east of the R4 90′ down and found some 47 degree water late yesterday. The king in the attached photo was about 15.3lbs and yielded some nice row still in the skein. I know this fish probably does not qualify for fish of the week but it is a little taste of things to come.

“Little taste of things to come,” I like the sound of that.


As the Fish of the Week, again shows, largemouth continue to be on of the highlights this summer. I will say that crappie reports and efforts by those trying for crappie, greatly picked up in the last week.


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,largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and walleye all hitting well, with bears coming in to bait stations a lot more in the daytime hours.; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsins Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau). This week’s report is pretty short, pretty simple, and provides some great fishing opportunities in the central Wisconsin area. The musky bite has picked up nicely in the central Wisconsin area, with the cooler nights starting to come on. We are targeting depths of 8 to 14 feet along deep weeds and rocks. Low light periods are the best time of the day for catching a musky. Bucktails, topwaters, and jerkbaits are all working nicely. There’s very good walleye, and both largemouth and smallmouth bass action in the central Wisconsin area, and they’re all pretty much in the same types of area. Fish 8 to 12 feet of water in rocks and wood. Jig with a 1/16th or 1/8th ounce jig, tipped with plastics or live bait – -minnow, crawler, or leech. Bear baiting in the central Wisconsin area is going well with quite a few nice bears coming in to baiting stations. Some are even coming in within minutes of re-baiting! We are also seeing a lot more daytime activity, which is a good thing, now that the season is just around the corner.

Forgive me, but I love a bear report with my fish.


Staff at Triangle reported the top bite is white bass on the northern lakes and the river, best on fatheads. Bass and walleye (might see a bump with better flow) are deep; bluegill are coming shallower at night; catfish are good on just about all lakes.

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

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


MAZONIA: Bill Lanham sent this:

There were very few fishermen out on the Mazonia lakes on Saturday Dale. I don’t know what to make of that but it may have been a good thing of sorts. The bite, Saturday morning, defined the word slow. I was asked by more than one fella if we had caught anything out there. We did but it was pretty tough. Panfish were repeatedly, just nipping at our offerings or coming unbuttoned on the way in due to slipping loose from our leeches, which the fish hadn’t found the hook point ends of. Schools were suspended off of structure between 12 and 15 down all over and the fish that we did tempt into biting mostly came from where same levels of water met the weeds. Bottom jigging with the leeches produced just one redear, a hen so full of eggs she looked as if she was ready to just pop.

That part about the redear with eggs is intriguing.


DELAVAN: Guide Dave Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake 8/20/12 through 8/27/12 Fishing continues to be above average on Delavan Lake. The bass are hitting well and the bluegills are also a tremendous bite right now. The boat traffic is still pretty high, but with school starting in the next week or two it should decrease significantly. Bluegills continue to bite in 30 ft of water suspended 10-15 ft down. The best location has been by Assembly Park or off the flat, west of Willow Point. The best bait is leaf worms fished on a split shot rig. Most of the fish are biting first thing in the morning. Largemouth bass are being caught using two different methods. One is a split shot rig with a nightcrawler, the second is a Thill big fish slip bobber fished with a medium sucker. What I’ve been doing is positioning the boat in 15-20 ft of water, then casting my slip bobber into 6-8 ft of water. The key is finding sandy pockets in the weeds. The best locations are west of Willow Point and by Del Mar subdivision. Also, the fish can be caught while Wacky rigging Senkos in 6 ft of water, with Green pumpkin being the best color. It works best to keep the boat moving as the fish have been scattered. Northern Pike action is still slow. If you catch one or two per trip, that would be considered success at this point. The fish I’ve been catching have been caught on Thill Big Fish slip bobbers in 8-9 ft of water. They have also been on the small side. Walleye fishing has also been on the slow side. The active fish are being caught on leeches or nightcrawlers. The best depth has been 18-20 ft of water. Look for the fish by Willow Point or the Yacht Club. The most important factor is the time of day, with the majority of fish being taken at dusk or dawn. Crappie action has been decent. The fish are suspended 8-10 ft down in 30 ft of water. The fish can be caught on purple and chartreuse plastics. Look for the fish by Belvidere Park and the Oriental boat house. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050 Daily Reports 8/19/12 Delavan Lake, 70 degrees and sunny, water temp 74 degrees, light winds out of the north. Caught 14 largemouth bass and one northern pike. The fish were caught on split shot rigged nightcrawlers or a slip bobber fished with a medium sucker. The best depth was 10-12 ft of water. The boat traffic was intense so every spot had people on it. 8/18/12 Lake Geneva, 70 degrees and sunny, water temp 73 degrees, winds light out of the SW. Caught 10 smallmouth and a bunch of rock bass. The fish were caught on a rock point in 20 ft of water. The best presentation was lindy rigging nightcrawlers. Once you found the active school, it was pretty much one after the other. 8/14/12 p.m. Delavan Lake, 75 degrees and sunny, water temp 75 degrees, winds SW at 10 mph. Caught 1 northern pike, 6 largemouth bass, one 19″ walleye and many bluegills. The fish were on the weed line in 15-17 ft of water. All the fish were caught on split shot rigged nightcrawlers. 8/14/12 a.m. Lake Geneva, 70 degrees and sunny, water temp 75 degrees, winds SW at 10-15 mph. Caught 15 smallmouth bass, 2 largemouth and a bunch of rock bass. Tried a lot of spots for Carolina rigging, the fish were hitting short and we didn’t catch many. We tried drop shotting and lindy rigging night crawlers in 25 ft of water and then we ended up with a whole bunch.

GENEVA: Duwe sent this:

Lake Geneva 8/20/12 through 8/27/12 Fishing on Lake Geneva continues to be excellent with very light boat traffic in the morning. It certainly isn’t seeing the same amount of fishing pressure that Lake Delavan is experiencing. Largemouth bass are on the deep weedline in 18-20 ft of water. The fish are being caught using three different methods. The first is Carolina rigging, using a 24 inch leader and a 6 inch green pumpkin lizard. The second is dragging a football head jig with a Arkies Crawlin’ Grub in green pumpkin or root beer color. The third method is lindy rigging nightcrawlers. I’m using a walking sinker as light as possible that still allows you to fish vertical with the bottom. The best locations have been by the old military academy or Trinkes. Smallmouth bass are biting in 25-28 ft of water. You want to find rock points in the deeper water with scattered weeds. The best location has been by Conference Point or by the Military Academy. The best approach has been drop shotting Yum Houdini worms or Lindy rigging nightcrawlers. It’s been pretty good fishing, once you find one fish you usually can find a bunch. Bluegill action has been phenomenal in Geneva Bay. The best depth is 12-15 ft of water. They are biting on leaf worms or nightcrawlers that are being drifted on a split shot rig. Another good location has been by Elgin Club or in Williams Bay. Rock bass fishing has been excellent, but usually always is. The bigger rockies are coming out of 20-25 ft of water. The best approach is lindy rigging nightcrawlers or fishing small hair jigs. There are a bunch of rock bass by the Military Academy and by Knollwood. Northern Pike action has been good. They are being found in 35 ft of water and are aggressively hitting a lindy rigged sucker. The best location has been in Fontana or just east of Cedar Point. As a rule, during a 4 hour trip, you can expect to catch 6-8 fish, with a really good day being 12 fish. The fish aren’t schooled up as heavy as usual so I’ve been moving around a lot. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


EVERGREEN: Any updated fishing report from site staff will be posted here.

POWERTON: Fish kill hit this lake hard. Summer hours are 6 a.m.-8 p.m.

EMIQUON: The 2012 permits are available for fishing at Emiquon from Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown.

HENNEPIN-HOPPER LAKES: They will be closed again for 2012 as work on common carp removal continues.


From the Wisconsin DNR fishing report:

Green Bay Fishing Report: August 20, 2012 Brown Co. Green Bay:Lower Bay, it’s been slow, but some fishermen have caught some Walleye on crank baits and crawler harnesses. Fox River:In the Fox River, shore fishermen have been catching the Catfish, Sheepshead, Drum and Carp. It’s been slow for boat fishermen in the river; some are catching rough fish, but it’s been very slow overall. Geano’s Beach:At Geano’s Beach, there were some fishermen trolling for Musky, they didn’t have much luck. Some were catching Perch on minnows and night crawlers from boats as well. Suamico:Suamico, fishermen trolling have reported that it’s hard to find fish, but have been using crawler harnesses and crank baits for Walleye and getting a few here and there. Shore fishermen were catching some Perch using minnows and night crawlers. East Shore Fishing pressure has been mixed up all week with it being busy at the beginning of the week, slow by mid week and picked up by the weekend. Perch numbers have picked up at just about all places now with them being the most targeted fish across Bayshore Park, Chaudoir’s Dock, Sawyer Harbor, and Little Sturgeon Bay. Water temperatures have dropped considerably in Sawyer Harbor and in Little Sturgeon Bay to about 67 degrees. The water temperature has also dropped by Bayshore Park and Chaudoir’s dock to about 73 degrees. Bayshore Park:At Bayshore Park, fishermen were mainly targeting Perch with some looking for Walleye. Walleye numbers were not very large this week, but the Walleye caught were in about 25 feet of water with night crawlers and crawler harnesses (perch and pink color). Perch numbers were high this week with minnows being the main source of bait, but some used night crawlers. The Perch size averaged to be about 6-8 inches with some being between 8-10 inches in about 24-25 feet of water. Catfish, Sheepshead, Gobies, White Perch, and White Bass are also coming in. Chaudoir’s Dock:At Chaudoir’s Dock, fishermen were targeting Perch and Walleye. Only a few Walleye were caught all week on crawler harnesses (pink and copper in color) in about 25 feet of water. Perch numbers were good with some people getting their limits. Perch were caught on both night crawlers and minnows, but minnows were the most used (most about an inch long, fishermen noticed if anything bigger the Perch wouldn’t take to them). Average Perch size was about 6-8 inches in about 24 feet of water. Gobies, Sheepshead, White Perch, Catfish, and White Bass are regularly coming in. Sawyer Harbor:In Sawyer Harbor, fishermen were looking for Perch, Walleye, Smallmouth Bass, and Northern Pike. No Walleye or Northern Pike were caught, but Perch and Smallmouth Bass were being caught. Perch numbers were good with them being caught on night crawlers and minnows (50/50) in about 20 feet of water. The average Perch size was about 6-7 inches. Smallmouth Bass numbers are okay for the week with spinners and tubes being the main source of bait (green and black in color) in about 12 feet of water. Gobies, a few Sheepshead, and Rock bass came in as well. Little Sturgeon Bay:On Little Sturgeon Bay, boat and pier fishermen were looking for Perch using minnows mostly and some night crawlers. Not too many people came in for interviews, data is limited for survey. Oconto Co. Water temperatures on the Bay have dropped into the upper 60’s to low 70’s this past week. Fishing pressure has been light to moderate. Marinette Co. Water temperatures on the Bay have dropped into the upper 60’s to low 70’s this past week. Fishing pressure has been light to moderate. People are starting to report catching some perch in 9 to 12 feet of water on minnows and crappie rigs or slip bobbers fished in or adjacent to weed beds. Trout and salmon catches remain fair to good with people fishing the 80 to 100 feet of water 10 to 20 feet off bottom, most people are trolling with spoons. Floating the Peshtigo River from the Municipal Garage to Klingsborn landing has been providing most nice catches of smallmouth and pike. Spinners, crankbaits and top water baits works the best.


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


See top for hope on early shoreline return of fall salmon.

CHICAGO: Capt. Bill Kelly of Leprechaun Charter reported fishing picked up slightly, mostly for lakers, in 140-200 feet on deep downriggers and 300 and 400 copper lines, mostly on big Dodgers and flies. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters reported east of the R4, doing OK in 80-140 for scattered fish (mainly kings, a few lakers and coho) on drop-offs and humps, down 70-80. Park Bait reported a few sheephead of the horseshoe.

WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph of the Salmon Stop said mornings are best (100-150) for deeper kings, steelhead and a few coho; afternoons in 170-220.

NORTH POINT: Poteshman reported OK fishing on the hill (60-130), fish scattered out deep. Fishing is not easy, but catching some nice fish. “Good time to try for a grand slam (brown, coho, king, steelhead and laker),” he pointed out.

CHICAGO FISHERMAN’S PARKING: 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. . . . That’s the same pass good for the small fishermen’s lots at Burnham and DuSable harbors.

DALEY DERBY: In August, the species are carp, catfish, panfish, steelhead, Chinook and perch for the Richard J. Daley Memorial Sport Fishing Derby. Check fish in at Henry’s Sports & Bait. Derby runs through September with cash prizes for the heaviest three fish from selected species caught around Chicago each month.


Click here for D&S Bait.


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

(Head): Excellent action for northern and panfish, with good to excellent action for musky, and smallmouth bass, and a good bite for largemouth bass and walleye. All in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. Water temps in the Eagle River area, are in the low 70s. Best all around success for most species is on the Eagle River Chain of 28 lakes (largest freshwater chain of lakes the world), except for smallmouth bass who are hitting best on the deeper, clearer lakes in the Eagle River area. Eagle River is having a wonderful fishing season, and you should be up here enjoying it. Northern in the Eagle River area are providing excellent all day action. Fish 10 feet of water or less in and around weeds. Use a small bucktail, or a bass style spinner bait. While you’ll want to cover water quickly, use a medium to fast retrieve, but don’t burn ’em. Panfish (crappies, bluegills and perch) are putting on an excellent bite in the Eagle River area. Fish 15 feet of water or less in and around weeds. Use a chunk or crawler, waxie, or Berkley Gulp under a slip bobber. The perch are tight to bottom, with the crappies and gills suspending up and down the water column. All day bite. Musky action has improved markedly in the Eagle River area, and the musky are providing a good to excellent bite. Fish 10 feet of water or less off of weed edges. Use a standard, medium sized bucktail, topwater or jerkbait. They’re all working. Use a medium speed retrieve, and always do a figure 8 as your lure comes close to the boat. All day bite with peaks around sunset. Smallmouth action in the Eagle River area has picked up nicely, with the smallies providing a good to excellent all day and evening bite. Fish the deeper, clearer lakes in the Eagle River area for best success. Fish 10-20 feet of water off of break edges, over hardbottom (gravel, sand, rocks, boulders)During the day use a 3 or 4 inch tube, plastic crawfish or a jig and a leech. In the evening try a topwater like a Heddon Torpedo or a buzz bait. Walleye in the Eagle River area are putting on a good bite. Fish 10-25 feet water, off of break edges. The walleye will be tight to bottom. Use a jig and a leech or a jig and half of a crawler. All day bite, with peaks in the evening. Largemouth bass are providing good action in the Eagle River area. The largemouth are tight to structure — like lily pads, heavy weeds, brush piles, docks, and downed trees. Fish 10 feet of water or less. Use a jig and a leech or a plastic worm rigged Texas style during the day, and in the evening try a topwater like a plastic frog or rat. All day bite, with peaks in the evening. (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: Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:

For a portion of last week, fishing really seemed to take a dive. With a few exceptions it didn’t seem it could get much worse, but it did. Night time temps in the low 40’s have started some sugar maple trees turning, daytime surface temps on larger lakes hovering around 69-71 degrees while smaller lakes have cooled to the mid 60’s. Musky:Fair to Very Good.Very dependent day to day – while high pressure days for the most part have been poor- some very nice fish have been showing up. One local lake has given up three fish of 48-51″ since last Wednesday. Big bladed bucktails, topwater baits have been best. Bluegills:Good.Best suspended out along deeper weed edges. Gulp Alive leeches, waxies, live leeches, worms and even small minnows for the bigger gills. One angler produced a 11 - 1lb, 6oz monster this week, though most running 7-8. Walleyes:Fair.Odd weather seems to have messed up most of the bites. Flowages starting to show signs of life. Crawlers and even minnows over gravel humps producing some- weed lines on shallower lakes. Nothing hot. Crappie:Good.Better numbers starting to show from weed tops in 10-14′. Taking small minnows, tube jigs, Charlie Bees, and Mr. Twister tails. Several nice year classes including big slabs to 14+ inches again this week. Largemouth Bass:Fair.Strangely absent from some of their more familiar weedy haunts. Caught some nice bass on rocks while seeking smallies. Tubes from Gitzit and Yamamoto on 3/8 jig heads and Carolina rigging 4″ worms catching some fish. The top water bite should return with a vengeance soon, but for now strike to soft submerging lures. . Northern Pike:Good.Cooler weather spurring some action on bladed baits. Try working Boonie Baits, Chatter baits, Dardevles and #3 Mepps spinners over weed tops. Lipless cranks such as Rattlin Raps and Rattle Traps as well as Shallow Shad Raps producing nicer 25″ + fish. Smallmouth Bass:Fair-Good.Fish deep off of humps in 20-34′ to locate smallies. Bite has been slower, though nice fish to 20″ being caught. Some days you’ll find a pod, catch one fish and that’s it. Drop-shotting 2 -3″ Gulp Alive minnows or 3″ senkos doing the trick. Big leeches and crawlers catching fish as well as working 3/8 oz football jigs and Chompers skirted grubs. Yellow Perch:Fair.Mostly due to lack of participation. Random catches on crawlers, minnows by anglers targeting other species. Even though surface temps have dipped a little, forecast toward weekend shows 80’s by weeks end. Definitely a slowdown has hit in some instances (Bass especially) though Muskie, Crappies and Pike action are increasing


As noted in the rivers section of the MFR, the hot spot is the Indiana streams for incoming steelhead and a few browns and salmon. Mik-Lurch had spotty reports of perch off the back of boats in Hammond Marina and off the breakwall in Cal Harbor. Boaters are going out to 120 feet for salmon and trout.


Denny Sands sent this link for some great shots of Shabbona Lake fishing.

Click here for info and reports.


From the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report:

Southern Lake Michigan Fishing Report: August 20, 2012 Kenosha Co. No report. Racine Co. Saturday evening at the Racine ramp saw a mixture of around 20-80% ratio of fishing and pleasure boats. Anglers interviewed were coming in at dark with no catches. All fishing were trying for kings and coho. Boats interviewed were trying in 80-120 feet of water. The lake was a bit rough further out in Racine on Saturday so boaters were not heading out deep. Racine pier anglers on Sunday morning were catching some brown trout off both the north and south piers. Milwaukee Co. McKinley Ramp:McKinley ramp was quiet regarding anglers on Sunday. Storms in the late afternoon chased most back into the port. Boats that were fishing were traveling north of the gap out into 100-130 feet of water. Very limited catches of smaller kings with a few lake trout. Anglers were saying that on their down riggers, they would have a shaker hanging on and it would not trip. Most ramp activity was pleasure boating on Sunday. Temps were ranging from 68-73 degrees down 90 feet. A few boats said they found some 48 degree water on Saturday in the same areas. McKinley Pier:Had some fishing activity directed towards browns and kings with no luck. Most anglers were casting spoons with a couple using minnows under bobbers. On Sunday I interviewed around 15 people with no catches. Ozaukee Co. Port Washington Ramp:Moderate to high recorded angler activity. Anglers harvesting chinook salmon using primarily spoons and flies but also an occasional j-plug. Anglers also harvesting brown trout, rainbow trout, coho salmon and lake trout on spoons, flies and an occasional j-plug. Fish were harvested in 60-180 feet of water with 120-150 feet being the more common depth range. Port Washington Harbor/Shore:No recorded angler activity. Port Washington Pier:Extremely low recorded angler activity. Anglers having low successful harvest of fish, but brown trout were caught on a green/white glow-in-the-dark cleo. Sheboygan Co. Sheboygan Ramps:Moderate recorded angler activity. Anglers harvesting chinook salmon using flies, spoons and j-plugs. Anglers also occasionally harvesting lake trout, rainbow trout, coho salmon and brown trout using flies and spoons. Fish are being harvested in 55-140 feet of water and as far out as 200-240 with 110-140 feet being the more common depth range. Sheboygan Piers/Shore:Extremely low recorded angler activity on both piers. Anglers recorded were unsuccessful at harvesting any fish.


Tyler Harmon messaged:

A few summer steelhead have started to come up the rivers. Low water and still over all high river temperatures have made catching them a task in its own. I have seen very few fish hooked, let alone landed. The pier action is around the same, fish are around but the temperatures are high along the Southwestern Michigan coast.









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