Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes around Chicago fishing

SHARE Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes around Chicago fishing

The brief spurt of shoreline salmon last week on southern Lake Michigan seems past, so inland lakes will probably be the best option for this lakes section of the Midwest Fishing Report.

Domenica Troiola caught the fish above from Lake Geneva on Aug. 18 while out with guide Dave Duwe.

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.


With the return of warmer weather and rain, fishing picked up for largemouth, especially on frogs from the reports I heard, such as this messaged from Mike Matuk:

Whalon was tough… Fished it Monday and only got a couple of bites in 6 hours… The second of which was a 4lb 3oz I got on a Senko at 9am… Photo on my FB page… Hope all is well with you… Enjoy the rest of your weekend…

Otherwise, weekend picnickers and relaxers will do best working the weed pockets and weed lines. Crappie slowed with the return of heat.


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


Catfish are the consistent bite. From vacation, Capt. Mike Okoniewski reported trolling red Mepps spinners or bodybaits is producing white bass on Marie and Bluff off the weed lines near shorelines; perch are good along shoreline on minnows; crappie and bluegill are spotty.

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

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


DELAVAN: Matuk messaged this:

Hi Dale, couple of notes from the past week… Delavan bass are hitting on Frogs around slop and especially under docks after the sun comes up… Fished a small tournament last Saturday and there was a 5.25 weighed in that was caught under a dock among many others…

Guide Dave Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake 8/27/12 through 9/4/12 Fishing has been better but it’s still a decent bite. The boat traffic continues and expect more than a few extra boats this coming Labor Day Weekend. Largemouth bass are on the main lake points, they can be caught either drop shotting or trolling a lindy rig with a nightcrawler. The key is a 24 inch leader. Most of the action has been coming early in the a.m. You can catch some on top water lures. They are biting on chrome chug bugs or chrome/black Pop-R’s. Bluegill fishing has been fair. Big numbers from the recent weeks have subsided. Most of the success is coming in 12-15 ft of water. As of a few weeks ago, you could catch 50 keepers now the numbers are reduced to about 20 fish. You can catch some fish in 12-15 ft of water or they are also scattered in 40 ft of water suspended about 10-15 ft down. You want to use leaf worms or small ice jigs with finesse worms. Northern Pike action has been very slow. The most action has been in 15 ft of water. Thill big fish slip bobbers are producing the most success. The best location has been by the Yacht Club or by Browns Channel. I’ve been keeping the boat in 20 ft of water and casting into 12 ft of water. I’ve been tipping the slip bobbers with medium suckers. Walleye Pike have been almost non-existent. I’ve been catching one here and there but no real numbers. With the cooler weather on the way, the fishing should improve. Crappie action has been above average. The fish have been suspended 10 ft down in 30 ft of water. Most of the action has come by Willow Point and just west of the Yacht Club. The best success has come off of purple or chartreuse plastics. You need to move around a lot to find the active fish. Most of the fish can be found as they surface so that will give you a good indication on where to go. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050 Daily Reports 8/26/12 Lake Geneva, cloudy, 74 degrees, S wind at 10 mph, water temp 73 degrees. Caught 8 smallmouth, 2 were legal, 3 largemouth, 2 were legal. Fished the main lake points by the Military Academy. Most of the success came from lindy rigging nightcrawlers. 8/25/12 Lake Geneva, sunny, 85 degrees, SW wind at 10 mph. Water temp 75 degrees. Caught 3 largemouth, 1 was 21 inches and 1 was 19 inches. 8 smallmouth and a bunch of rock bass and bluegills. The best depth was 21-25 ft of water. We lindy rigged 1/8 oz sinkers with a 3 ft leader. The best location was by the Military Academy. 8/23/12 p.m. Delavan Lake, sunny, 90 degrees, SW wind at 20 mph. Water temp 75 degrees. Caught 1 largemouth bass and one 25 lb carp and plenty of panfish. The fishing was very tough. It was one of the worst trips I’ve had in the last 14 years. 8/23/12 a.m. Lake Geneva, sunny, 75 degrees, winds SW at 15 mph. Water temp 74 degrees. Caught 10 smallmouth, 5 were legal and one 18″ largemouth. The fish were just off the main lake points in 21-25 ft of water. The best location was by the Military Academy. 8/20/12 Delavan Lake, sunny, 70 degrees, no wind, water temp 75 degrees. Caught 12 largemouth, one 19″ smallmouth and a bunch of pan fish. Had to move around a lot to catch the bass. They were positioned on the main lake points. Most of the fish were caught on lindy rigged nightcrawlers or Thill big fish slip bobbers with medium suckers.

GENEVA: Arden Katz reported good bass in 25 feet off the sides of points with drop-shots with 4-inch finesse worms; five rock bass for every bass.

Duwe sent this:

Lake Geneva 8/27/12 through 9/4/12 With the holiday weekend coming up, the boat traffic has dropped significantly but fishing remains excellent. Most of the fish are on the deep weedline in 20-25 ft of water. Largemouth bass are being caught either by Trinkes or the Military Academy. The best depth is 21-25 ft of water. They can be caught either by drop shotting or lindy rigging nightcrawlers. The best time of the day is first light as most of the success is coming before 8 a.m. For drop shotting, fish your worms Wacky style and use a green pumpkin color. Keep moving to find the active fish, most of the fish are biting very subtle. Bluegill fishing has been excellent. The best depth has been 22-28 ft of water. Some of the fish are suspended, but I prefer to fish them right on bottom with a lindy rig. Most of the success is coming near the Yacht Club or by the Military Academy. Lake Trout fishing has been very good. They are being caught 90 ft down in 112 ft of water. Most of the fish are being caught on nickel/blue or nickel/green spoons. You want to troll the main lake basin for the best success. Northern Pike action has been slow. I tried for them for 2 hours on Saturday without success. The fish were down there, but they weren’t biting. I tried by Fontana Beach and the hump in Williams Bay. I can’t come up with an explanation for the lack of bite. Smallmouth bass have been biting well. They are on the mid lake humps in 21-25 ft of water. They can be caught by either drop shotting Wacky worms in green pumpkin or Lindy rigging nightcrawlers. The best location has been by the Military Academy or by Yerkes Observatory. The fish are on the deep side of the weedline. For the lindy rigs use a 24-36 inch Snell. Rock bass are everywhere in 20 ft of water plus. You need to move around to find the larger fish but it’s easy to get them to bite. I’m using a split shot rig with a nightcrawler. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


LAKE SHELBYVILLE: Guide Ken Wilson–(217) 454-2672–of Lithia Guide Service reported good crappie (down 10-12 feet on main lake brush and laydowns) and white bass (trolling crankbaits on main lake points, ledges); and catfish are good at night with cutbait. Just a few walleye. Water is about 78 degrees and down about 1 feet from normal pool.

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 27, 2012 Brown Co. Green Bay:In the Lower Bay, some fishermen were trolling for Walleye using crank baits and only a few were caught; it’s been very slow most of the time. Some were also out targeting Pike and Musky with only a few Musky being caught. Fox River:In the Fox River, fishermen were catching Catfish, Drum, Carp, and Sheepshead from boats and some Smallmouth Bass from the Dam to the mouth of the river. Shore fishermen were catching an occasional crappie and rough fish along with a Smallmouth Bass here and there. They used night crawlers for bait. Geano’s Beach:At Geano’s Beach, fishermen were trolling for Walleye, using both crawler harnesses and crank baits 50/50 and catching them in about 20-30 feet of water. Suamico:At Suamico, fishermen were catching Perch, Bluegill, and an occasional Smallmouth Bass off shore with night crawlers, and boaters were catching Perch and a few Walleyes. East Shore Water temperature at Bayshore Park and Chaudoir’s Dock was about 74 degrees this week and about 70 degrees in Little Sturgeon Bay and Sawyer Harbor. Perch numbers have really picked up at Bayshore Park this week, and Walleye have been showing up on Little Sturgeon Bay. Bayshore Park:At Bayshore Park, fishermen were targeting Walleye and Perch. Walleye and Perch numbers were good this week. Walleye were being caught on night crawlers and crank baits (green or white in color) in about 12-14 feet of water and some were caught in about 5-10 feet of water while ranging in size of 16 inches to about 24 inches. Perch numbers were very high this week using night crawlers and minnows, but the majority of people said night crawlers were the best to use. They were caught in about 20-24 feet of water with them ranging in sizes of 8-10 inches. Sheepshead, Gobies, Catfish, White Bass, and White Perch were also numerous this week. Chaudoir’s Dock:At Chaudoir’s Dock, fishermen were targeting Perch and Walleye. Walleye numbers were low, but they were caught on crawler harnesses (chartreuse/copper in color) in about 25 feet of water. Perch numbers were low this week with fishermen using night crawlers and minnows for bait in about 20-25 feet of water. Sheepshead and catfish were caught as well. Sawyer Harbor:In Sawyer Harbor, it was slow this week, but fishermen were looking for Perch, Bluegill, and sunfish on night crawlers, all were released. Little Sturgeon Bay:On Little Sturgeon Bay, fishermen were looking for Walleye, Smallmouth Bass, Pike, and Musky with numbers being low all around. Only one Pike was caught on plastics and no Musky were caught. A handful of Walleye were caught on crawler harnesses (white in color) and some Smallmouth Bass were caught on tubes (green in color). Sheepshead, Catfish, and Gobies were coming in as well. Oconto Co. Fishing pressure was light to moderate this past week. Low water in the Menominee, Peshtigo, and Oconto Rivers has made launching boats difficult in some landings. The bluegill and rock bass bite below the Stiles Dam on the Oconto River remains strong with fishermen using a variety of techniques from dead drifting garden tackle to using fly rods and bead head nymphs. Some nice bass are being caught on the lower Oconto using crawlers with a dead drift or surface plugs casting in the current seams. Walleye fishermen are having some success from Pensaukee Landing to Oconto Park II using crawler/harness, trolling in 18 to 30 feet of water. The smallmouth bite on the Bay is also fair to good, drop shotting in 20 to 30 feet of water, crank baits are also working well. The perch bite remains slow. Marinette Co. Fishing pressure was light to moderate this past week. Low water in the Menominee, Peshtigo, and Oconto Rivers has made launching boats difficult in some landings. Panfish are being caught below the Dam at Peshtigo using slip bobbers or dead drifting worms in the deeper holes. Smallmouth and pike are being caught while floating the lower river using spinner baits and top water plugs. Due to low water only smaller craft are being used. Trolling for walleye in the Menominee River and out in the Bay around Green Island has been fair, with some nice catfish and fresh water drum being caught using crawler/harness. Fishermen at the Hattie Street Dam have been reporting some catches of bluegill and rock bass.


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


The spurt of a few shoreline salmon last week fizzled; and perch are very slow.

CHICAGO: Capt. Bill Kelly of Leprechaun Charter reported some fish at the R4, mostly lakers in 70-90; there’s a spotty mixed bag in 120-150 on the humps, east of the R4. With cooler water mixing in, both Kelly and Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters reported fish can be just about anywhere in the water column, and try all presentations.

WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph of the Salmon Stop reported tougher fishing; boaters are trying deeper and deeper; when fish are found they are quality kings and steelhead.

NORTH POINT: Poteshman reported fish scattered from inside the hill to out deep and up and down the water column. “Stick to the old rule: Find fish, don’t leave them,” he said.

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. In September, the species are Chinook and perch. 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.


Gene Dellinger at D&S Bait reported Monona producing some bluegill, but it takes sorting; muskie are picking up on Monona and Waubesa.


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

(Head): Good to excellent action for musky, walleye, northern, smallmouth bass and panfish (crappies, bluegills and perch), with good action for largemouth bass. All in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. Topflight fishing action remains a constant in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. Water temps are in the low 70s, and the fish are responding very nicely. Best, consistent action for most all species is on the Eagle River Chain of 28 lakes (largest freshwater chain of lakes in the world), with the exception of smallmouth bass which are locating mainly in the deeper, clearer lakes in the Eagle River area. Musky in the Eagle River area are locating in 10 feet of water or less in and around weeds. Best success is coming on medium sized baits, such as bucktails, topwaters, and spinner baits. Some action is also being had using a Bulldawg or a jerkbait. Use a standard retrieve, and always do a figure 8 as your lure nears the boat. All day bite, with peaks in the evening. Action is good to excellent. Walleye are in 10-25 feet of water off of break edges, in the Eagle River area, and are tight to bottom. Use a jig and a minnow. All day bite, with peaks in the evening. Action is good to excellent. Northern in the Eagle River area are in 10 feet of water or less in and around weeds. Use a small bucktail or spinnerbait, or a northern sucker under a slip bobber. All day bite. Action is good to excellent. Smallmouth bass in the Eagle River area are locating in the deeper, clearer lakes. Fish break edges over hardbottom areas (gravel, sand, rocks), in 12-20 feet of water. Use a plastic tube or plastic crawfish, or try a jig and a leech or a jig and a fathead minnow. All date bite, with action good to excellent. Panfish (crappies, bluegills and perch) in the Eagle River area are in 10 feet of water or less in and around weeds. Use a waxie, crappie minnow or chunk of crawler under a slip bobber. The perch are tight to bottom, with the crappies and gills suspending anywhere in the water column. All day bite, with good to excellent action. Largemouth bass in the Eagle River area are locating in 10 feet of water or less at shoreline structure (docks, submerged trees, weeds, lily pads and brush piles). Use a jig and a leech or plastic worm rigged Texas style during the day, and a topwater at sunset. All day bite, with good action. (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:

Despite the warmingweatherfor late August, fishing for some species has improved, though not in the areas and techniques usually used at this time. Musky: Good: Musky have been active and providing some of the best reports as good numbers are being seen (if not always caught) and some big fish continue to get boated. Weedy lakes of less than 1,000 acres producing best. Surprisingly, small jerk baits (Smitys) have had extremely good results, more so than bucktails and topwater as of late. On the larger, deeper lakes, working rubber baits over open water where Ciscos are found has produced for anglers willing to put in the time on this method. Crappies: Good. Weed tops in 8-14′. Look for beds close to deep water. Cast tiny tubes, twistertails, Charlie Bees and freshwater shrimp jigs to locate, then run slip-bobbers and minnows at weed tops to 1-2′ below for best action. Walleyes: Fair-Good. Typical gravel hump action off. Weed edges and firm bottoms off same deep weed edges giving up eyes on leeches and crawlers. Warmer weather has slowed minnow bite for now, should return after holiday weekend as temps cool. Bluegills: Good. Suspending off deep weed edges. Gulp baits, worms, small leeches and 1″ twister tails. Bigger gills also taking minnows meant for crappies. Largemouth Bass: Fair-Good. Bite not what it was. Could be related to muskies moving into weed beds. Wacky worms and jig and pig combos pulling some fish out of pockets. Creature baits and beavers on heavy jigs also producing. Pike: Fair-Good. Working chubs on jigs most productive as not as much chasing being done. As weather cools by weekends end, cast chatterbaits and Boonie baits over weed tops in 6-10′. Smallmouth Bass: Fair. Still few reports as not as many anglers targeting these fish. With temps expecting to hit near mid 90’s by Thursday and staying in 80’s through Saturday, watch as musky action increases with temps. Largemouth, bluegills should also improve. No telling what the heat will do to the walleye bite during the day, suspect to improve the night bite.


For streams, see above. Boat fishing ends Thursday at Willow Slough for the early waterfowl seasons. Just a smattering of perch reports outside of Michigan City. Marking some salmon at near shore places like the Hole in the Wall, so maybe shoreline salmon will go soon.


Denny Sands at Lakeside suggested best for holiday fishermen is wax worms to catch bluegill in weed pockets or weed edges; otherwise catfish are good and hybrid stripers (on chicken liver); and an occasional muskie is being caught.

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

Click here for info and reports.

NOTE: An idea I really love comes Saturday night when Clint and Heather Sands from Lakeside try “Free Movie in the Park” with “We Bought a Zoo” on Saturday night.


From the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report:

Southern Lake Michigan Fishing Report: August 27, 2012 Kenosha Co. No report. Racine Co. Strong northeast winds kept water temperatures warm pushing most of the fish into deeper cooler water over the weekend. Anglers were primarily targeting Browns from the pier and in the harbor, though virtually no fish were reported being caught. Trollers have had success with dipsey divers and flies along with trolling spoons in anywhere from 60-100 feet down in 90-130 feet of water depending on the day. Anglers were focusing mainly on Chinooks though the fish have seemed to be more spread out in recent days. A few Rainbows were picked up as well. Perch fishing is extremely slow from shore with the best rigs being minnows under a slip bobber. Those jigging for perch down at the rock wall by Meyers ramp have had only a slight amount of success with minnows under slip bobbers and throwing small crank baits. An hour and a half after sunrise perch fishing slows to near nothing. Milwaukee Co. North Shore:West winds remained over the weekend, moving fish into shallower water. Trolling for Chinooks along with a few lake trout and rainbows has been successful once fish are found. Most trollers have been focusing in 90-130 feet of water with baits about 60-100 feet below the surface. Some fish have been caught in shallower water but the only positive results have occurred in pre-dawn hours. The best baits have been spoons of various colors and dipsey divers with flasher/flies. Flasher/flies of white, blue, and watermelon have produced the best. Fishing on the pier has resulted in virtually no fish being caught, but anglers are still trying for some browns using alewifes on the bottom. The shoreline along Summerfest is producing very few fish with the most successful presentations focusing on minnows with a few additional fish being caught on spoons. Perch fishing has picked up off of McKinley pier; the perch that were caught were taken on minnows and small jigs off the rocks and pier. Ozaukee Co. Choppy water on Thursday and Friday (23rd and 24th) resulted in less than ideal fishing conditions. Saturday (25th) yielded a beautiful day to be out fishing: mild to no winds, nice weather and little to no chop on the water. Sunday (26th) was a day of soaking rain with on-off heavy rains, dense fog and choppy waters. Port Washington Ramp:Low angler activity late in the week with increased activity on Saturday (25th) and low activity again on Sunday (26th) to end out the weekend. Anglers having successful harvest of mainly chinook salmon followed by rainbow trout and a few coho salmon and lake trout. Spoons and j-plugs were the most common lures used by these anglers; flies and flashers were successful as well. Fish were most commonly harvested in 90-130 feet of water with a few fish harvested as shallow as 65 feet and some as deep as 150 and 175 feet. Some anglers returning to the ramp reported catching their limit of salmon and trout. Port Washington Harbor/Shore:No recorded angler activity. Port Washington Pier:Extremely low to no recorded angler activity. Sheboygan Co. Choppy water on Thursday and Friday (23rd and 24th) resulted in less than ideal fishing conditions. Saturday (25th) yielded a beautiful day to be out fishing: mild to no winds, nice weather and little to no chop on the water. Sunday (26th) was a day of soaking rain with on-off heavy rains, dense fog and choppy waters. Sheboygan Ramps:: Low angler activity. Anglers successfully harvested mainly chinook salmon, followed by rainbow trout and a few coho salmon and a perch. Spoons and j-plugs were the most popular lures used by anglers. Fish were harvested in 50-70 feet of water and 90-100 feet of water. Sheboygan Piers/Shore:On the North Pier there was low recorded angler activity, but anglers having successful harvest of chinook salmon using cleos. Anglers also reporting harvesting rainbow trout and coho salmon. On the South Pier there was low angler activity late in the week with increased activity over the weekend. Anglers harvesting chinook salmon and brown trout using a variety of green/white spoons. Anglers reporting cooler water temperatures in the harbor as well as the return of bait fish to the harbor. Some anglers also reporting early spawning salmon and trout in the harbor.


Tyler Harmon messaged that it was much the same as last week when he 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.


Mik-Lurch reported good bass and a few walleye (evenings)









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