Summer settled in with its patterns, and that leads this lakes section of the Midwest Fishing Report; incoming kings cannot be far away (though I wonder with 81-degree water on shore in Chicago).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
As submissions for Fish of the Week show, largemouth continue to be one of the top bites this hot summer, especially early morning, late evening and even well into night. It is the usual, early and late on topwaters, worms or Senkos on weed lines other times. In lakes with catfish, that is the top bite, especially toward evening. Not sure if that toward evening is as much for the fishermen or the fish.
BIG GREEN LAKE, WISCONSIN
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): Walleye, bluegills, bass, musky and catfish all hitting, with the 2012 bear season closing in; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsins Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau). Walleyes in the central Wisconsin area are biting on leeches and crawlers in about 8 to 12 feet of water. Most of the fish have come from heavy cover like wood and weeds. Slip bobber rigs are working well during low light conditions, but during the daytime hours a simple jig tipped with live bait has been the best for getting the walleyes out of the heaviest cover. The big bluegill bite is on in the central Wisconsin area. This past week we caught bluegills up to and over one pound. There are real giants that average 8 to 10 inches long! Mot of the gills are coming from 6 to10 feet of water along deep weed edges and timber. We are using small 1/32 ounce jigs tipped with a piece of crawler or a leech to tempt these bull gills into biting. Bass anglers in the central Wisconsin area have been having a good week, especially on top water baits. We caught some very nice smalls and largemouths on Hula Popper and Chub Bugs by working wood and rock in 3 to 5 feet of water. The musky bite in the central Wisconsin area has been really good, even with the heat. Our best action has been early and late in the day with some good after dark activity on top water baits. We are targeting weeds and rocks in 4 to 8 feet of water that have deeper water close by. The muskies are holding in the deep water during the hot days, and then sliding up shallower at night to feed. One constant this past week in the central Wisconsin area, have been the catfish. These hard fighters will bite all day long, but our best action has been after dark. We run stationary rods positioned in rod holders, and bait them up with a piece of cut bait or a gob of crawlers. We then toss our baits into the deepest water available in the river system. We then kick and wait for the action to start. If you haven’t fought a 15 pound catfish after dark, you don’t know what you’re missing! We are closing in on the 2012 bear season in the central Wisconsin area, and it’s time to start checking your baits a little more regularly. Not only do you want to check the stations more regularly, you will now want to really start mixing up your types of baits. If bears are getting the same food day-in and day-out, they may be come uninterested and start looking somewhere else for food.
Forgive me, but I love a bear report with my fish.
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA/UPPER FOX RIVER
Water level remains slightly low, so be careful navigating. Staff at Triangle reported catfish (try Premo prepared baits) as “totally excellent” and bluegill (crawlers or red worms around shallow shorelines) as excellent. For white bass, try in 8-12 feet on main lake areas; for walleye, try main lake points or bridges with Lindy rigs with large fatheads or leeches; for muskie, try early morning or late evening with big bucktails or topwater prop baits (on calm August nights, try slow-moving Creepers).
For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/
More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
HEIDECKE: Capt. Bob Santangelo had been doing well but reported a fish kill of some sort, even though the water cooled nine degrees in recent days.
BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Site has gone to an 8 p.m. Close. Very few fishing.
DELAVAN/GENEVA AREA, WISCONSIN
DELAVAN: Guide Dave Duwe sent this:
Delavan Lake 8/6/12 through 8/13/12 Fishing on Delavan Lake continues to be excellent. The best bite on the lake remains bluegills with Largemouth bass being a close second. Both fish are on the deep weedlines in 16-18 ft of water. With the warmer weather, boat traffic is extreme so try for early a.m. or late p.m. Largemouth bass can be caught on two different patterns. They can be caught in the shallows on top water lures. Chrome/blue or chrome/black chug bugs or pop-r’s are producing most of the success. Boat dock fishing has been excellent. The warm water hasn’t affected the largemouth bass as much as the walleye and northern pike. They can be caught primarily on the north shore piers or just outside the piers on the weedline. Northern pike action has been very spotty. The warm water has really affected them. This time of year it is normal to be catching 7 or 8 fish per trip, this year it’s a struggle to catch even one. I’ve been lindy rigging suckers in 22-24 ft of water. I’m averaging one fish per two trips out. I have always been bringing medium suckers because the largemouth also can be aggressive with them. Bluegill fishing has been phenomenal. The fish are in the 15-19 ft depth range. Look for the fish by the island or west of Willow Point. The best approach is a split shot rig and a single hook. I free line them away from the boat. Either red worms or leaf worms have been working well. Walleye fishing has been rather slow. The best time to catch them is first light or at dusk. Trolling deep diving crank baits along the weed lines have been producing most of the action. The best color has been fire tiger or a crappie pattern. You want to troll by Assembly park or Yacht club point and don’t overlook Browns Channel. If the boat traffic isn’t severe that can also be a great location. Crappie fishing has also been outstanding. The crappies are suspending 10 ft down in 20-30 ft of water. They can be caught on purple or pink plastics. The best location has been by 3 flags or Belvidere Park. It’s pretty obvious where the active fish are because they are busting the surface for bugs in the deep water. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050 Daily Reports 8/4/12 Delavan Lake, 90 degrees, sunny, no wind, water temp 80 degrees. Caught 21 largemouth bass, 9 were legal, and one walleye. Jumped around all day from main lake point to main lake point catching a couple fish in each location. Again, split shot rigged nightcrawlers brought the most success. A few fish did come off of medium suckers fished on a Thill big fish slip bobber. 8/3/12 Delavan Lake, 90 degrees, sunny, winds SW at 10 mph, water temp 79 degrees. Caught 9 largemouth and 50-60 bluegills. The fish were positioned outside the weed edge in 18-20 ft of water. Most of the success came west of Del Mar using a split shot rigged nightcrawler. 7/31/12 Delavan Lake, 85 degrees, sunny, light winds out of the SW, water temp 79 degrees. Caught 8 largemouth and 1 walleye. Fish were caught on split shot rigged nightcrawlers. Moved all over the lake, most of the action was coming on weed points, west of the yacht club and west of willow point. 7/30/12 Delavan Lake, 80 degrees, sunny, lights winds out of the SE, water temp 79 degrees. Caught 9 largemouth and a bunch of bluegills. The fish were on the weedline in 15-18 ft of water. Fished for them on split shot rigged nightcrawlers. Best location was just west of the Yacht Club.
GENEVA: Duwe sent this:
Lake Geneva 8/6/12 through 8/13/12 Fishing continues to be very good on Lake Geneva. Based on the warm weather, you need to plan your fishing trips accordingly as the boat traffic can be intense. Lake Trout fishing has been excellent. The best depth continues to be 90-100 ft down in 120-130 ft of water. Most of the action is coming off of a small Dodger and Fly or nickel/chrome or nickel/green spoons. The best location has been the main lake basin between Conference and Cedar Point. Bluegill fishing has been very good. The gills are off the weedline in 18-22 ft of water. The best location is by Elgin Club or by the Military Academy. You want to fish leaf worms or red worms straight beneath the boat about 1 ft above bottom. You need to move around quite a bit to find the active fish, anchoring really isn’t an option. The schools have been very tight so finding the bigger fish is sometimes a challenge but if you start at Elgin Club and work your way west, you should have success. Largemouth bass have been on the deep weedline in 25-30 ft of water. Look for the fish by Trinkes or by Colemans Point. The best approach is either dragging large football head jigs or Carolina rigging green pumpkin lizards. When Carolina rigging, I prefer a 24-30 inch 12 lb leader. Long casts and allowing the bait to go to the bottom is the best method. Smallmouth bass fishing has been below average on the deep weedline. The fish have been very hard to pattern. The fish are there one day and gone the next. Some of the best action has come while drop shotting nightcrawlers or lindy rigging small yellow perch. The best location has been by the Military Academy or by Belvidere Park. The real big issue this year is that the fish aren’t schooled very heavy. Within the next couple of weeks, the fishing should improve. Perch fishing has been very good. The problem has been catching fish to eat. Most of the fish are averaging 6-7 inches. The larger fish have been biting on larger minnows and golden shiners. Most of the fish are coming by Rainbow Point or by Knollwood. The best approach is fishing a slip bobber rig about 6 inches above the weeds. 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.
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
From the Wisconsin DNR report on Monday:
Green Bay Fishing Report: August 6, 2012 Brown Co. Green Bay:In the Lower Bay, walleye numbers are slow, mostly getting one here and there on crawler harnesses. Most fishermen were catching catfish and sheepshead with a few perch here and there. Fox River:In the Fox River, fishermen were catching standard numbers of catfish, carp, and drum. A good number of catfish were caught at the mouth of the river. The main bait source was crawler harnesses, cut bait and shrimp. Perch numbers were doing okay as well. Geano’s Beach:Fishermen were targeting walleye and perch. Walleye were caught in about 20-30 feet of water on crawler harnesses. Perch were caught in about 8-10 feet of water and along the weed line on night crawlers and minnows. Suamico:Walleye numbers were doing okay on crawler harnesses in about 20 feet of water. More walleye are heading north to Geano’s Beach. Shore fishermen were catching perch with night crawlers and minnows. Most of the perch are small in size, and they are catching some bluegill as well. East Shore Fishing pressure was very low this week across all locations and the water temperature in Sawyer Harbor and Little Sturgeon Bay rose to about 80 degrees. Bayshore Park:At Bayshore Park, the water was very rough causing very low fishing pressure. One boat was looking for walleye using crawler harnesses, but nothing was caught. There were a handful of pier fishermen looking for perch, walleye, and smallmouth bass using night crawlers for bait. Only a few catfish and one perch was caught. Chaudoir’s Dock:Nothing to report. No fishermen there this week. Sawyer Harbor:In Sawyer Harbor, fishermen were looking for perch and smallmouth bass. Perch numbers are increasing a little bit, and smallmouth numbers are staying steady. For smallmouth bass, fishermen were using plastic tube baits (green or brown in color) and night crawlers for perch. Gobies, sheepshead, and some pumpkinseeds were also caught. Little Sturgeon Bay:On Little Sturgeon Bay, fishermen were looking for perch, smallmouth bass, walleye, and musky. Only one walleye was caught on a purple crawler harness, and no musky were caught. Perch numbers are doing a little better this week with fishermen fishing in about 15-20 feet of water using night crawlers. Pier fishermen were also looking for perch using night crawlers and also caught some bluegill and pumpkinseed. Plastic tubes in green or brown color was the best for smallmouth bass. Boat fishermen were also catching sheepshead, gobies, and some rock bass. Oconto Co. Hot and humid dominated last week’s weather making fishing tough and fishermen uncomfortable. Temperatures on the Bay were hovering near 80 degrees, and fishing pressure was light to moderate. Bluegill fishing below the Stiles Dam remains good with slip bobbers and worms or free floating live bait catching the brunt of fish. Kayakers and canoeists have been drifting the River from Highway 141 down to Holtwood Park and have been catching some nice smallmouth. Surface plugs, stick baits and plastics are working well. Most fish are being caught in the deeper holes and adjacent to the faster moving water. Walleye on the Bay continue to bite from the Pensaukee Landing to Oconto Park II. Most fish are being caught in 20+ feet of water using crawler/harness or large stick baits. Perch fishermen are still having a rough go it, with fish being hard to locate. What fish are being caught have been in 12 to 20 feet of water using jigs and minnows. Marinette Co. Hot and humid dominated last week’s weather making fishing tough and fishermen uncomfortable. Temperatures on the Bay were hovering near 80 degrees, and fishing pressure was light to moderate. Floating the Peshtigo River with small watercraft has been producing some very nice smallmouth and pike. As with the Oconto River, surface plugs, stick baits and plastics are what is working. The catfish bite at the Peshtigo Harbor has been hit or miss although a few large cats in the 10 pound range have been reported. Action on the Menominee River has slowed in part due to very low water. Shore fishermen are reporting catches of freshwater drum and rock bass. The trout and salmon bite has slowed a bit from the last couple of weeks, although some very nice catches are still being reported. Green Island, Trout Bar, and Seagull Bar continue to produce King Salmon and Brown Trout.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
CHICAGO: Perch are tough, 81-degree water will do that. Capt. Bill Kelly of Leprechaun Charter reported just east of the R4 has some browns in 70 feet, a mixed bag in 80-130. East of Diversey to east of Evanston in 90-150 from 60 down to the bottom is producing some with plastic Dodgers with flies or magnum spoons.
WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph of the Salmon Stop reported a few perch being caught off the end of the pier, no reports from boaters. Salmon fish are working hard in 130-150 feet south of the harbor.
NORTH POINT: Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said good fishing on the hill in Wisconsin, early mornings are way better. In Illinois, try 70-140, a decent band of mixed bag.
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.
MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN
Click here for D&S Bait.
EAGLE RIVER: Creative Brilliance sent this report for the Chamber of Commerce on Sunday:
(Head): Good to excellent action for walleye, northern and panfish, with a good bite for largemouth and smallmouth bass, and musky fair, in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. Water temps in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area are hovering in the low 80s. The fishing season continues to produce very well in Eagle River, and those who are not up here are missing out on some of the best fishing anywhere. The Eagle River Chain of 28 lakes (largest freshwater chain of lakes in the world) continues to provide the best action for all species, except for smallmouth bass who are hitting well in the deeper, clearer lakes in the Eagle River area. Walleye in the Eagle River area are locating in 15-35 feet of water over mud flats adjacent to break edges. The walleyes are tight to bottom. Use a jig and a leech or a jig and half a crawler. All date bite, with peaks early and late. Action is good to excellent. Northern are in 15 feet of water or less in and around weeds in the Eagle River area. Use a Mepps #4, a Husky Jerk in a minnow or walleye pattern, or a bass style spinner bait. All day bite, with good to excellent action. Anglers should remember that the bigger northerns will usually be deeper, albeit providing less action. Largemouth bass in the Eagle River area has been moving around a bit. They are now locating in 16 feet of water or less in areas where cover and structure provide shade. Fish weeds, downed trees, docks, brush piles or lily pads. Early and late use topwaters like rats or frogs, Heddon torpedoes or a buzz bait. During the day try a Texas Rig with a plastic worm. Good all day bite. Smallmouth bass in the Eagle River area are locoing in deeper, clearer lakes. Fish break edges in 15-30 feet of water, over hardbottom areas. Use a jig and a leech, 3 or 4 inch tube, plastic crawfish during the day, and a topwater after dark. Good action. Panfish (crappies,bluegills and perch) in the Eagle River area are locating in 15 feet of water or less in or near weeds. Perch are tight to bottom, with the crappies and gills suspending up and down the water column. Use a chunk of crawler or crappie minnow with a small jig or under a slip bobber. Action is good to excellent. Musky in the Eagle River area are providing fair action. Fish 15 feet of water or less off of weed edges or the first break edge. Use a small to medium size bucktail, topwater or crankbait. Regular retrieve, and make sure you always do a figure 8 when the lure nears your boat. All day bite, with peaks early and late. (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: email@example.com; web: www.eagleriver.org * Muskie Matt, 715-891-5980; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org * Mat Hegy, 715-571-7544, e-mail: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org
MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:
A few cold nights (typical of early August) threw the bites off a bit this past week. Overall things are starting to come back around but not as strong as the week before. Lake surface temps ranging from mid 60’s to low 70’s- some higher on warmer afternoons. Largemouth Bass:Good-Very Good.Cold nights slowed morning bites weed related. When not willing to chase spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits- work weed pockets with Wacky Worms, creature baits and 4″ plastic worms Texas Rigged. Action picks up by late morning through evening when top-water bite returns in slop areas. Bluegills: Very good.Just TRY to get a night crawler past em! Concentrate on deeper weed edges and flats of 8-14′. Finding the largest ones suspended in 12-16′. Leeches, worms, even small minnows and tiny jigs (Charlie Beees, Mini Mites) all working well. Musky:Fair.Cooler water meaning more moderate retrieves working better. Bucktails and twitch bait tops. Smallmouth Bass:Good.Cold nights seem to have pushed smallies off of mid-lake humps. Some big fish at the base of same humps in 30-38′ on football jigs and Chompers skirted grubs. Drop-shotting 3″ minnow baits and wacky worms also effective. Be slow to reel fish up from these depths. More action up on weed flats and inside weed lines using tube jigs, x-raps, husky jerks, or pitching live crawlers and leeches. Fish 4-10′ deep. Walleyes:Fair.Some nice scattered fish outside of weed edges and hump bases in 14-23′ on leeches and crawlers. High skies and cool mornings hurting anglers’ success. Evening best. Row trollers and casting off shore humps after dark with Wallly Divers and Shad Raps best. Northern Pike:Fair.Casting chatter baits Boonie baits and # 3: #4 Mepps over weed flats to entice aggressive fish. Come back with jig and chub combo for more reluctant biters. Crappie:Fair/Poor.Few reports, but some incidental crappies coming from weed flats of 10-14′ by anglers casting live bait for bass and gills. Perch:Fair.Weeds of 8-12′. Some larger perch over sandgrass flats on 14-22′. crawlers and soft shell crabs best. August usually has some cold nights, but nice warm days. Nothing out of the ordinary here. Lots of reports of fish (bass, pike, gills and walleyes) feeding on crayfish. Also signs of bass chasing minnows on surface, breaking water as they corral on large schools of minnows on the big lakes. Pressure on lakes getting lighter as schools start sport programs and summer camps closing this week.
Mik-Lurch reported a few perch at Michigan City, then it disappeared. Some regular fishermen reported Centennial has catfish going early.
Clint Sands at Lakeside reported some very good largemouth on topwaters in the past week, including a 22-inch, 5-pound beauty that hit a buzzbait. He said catfish are still going strong on chicken liver on the weed lines; panfish are in the deep trees.
Denny Sands sent this link for some great shots of Shabbona Lake fishing.
Click here for info and reports.
SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT
From the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report on Monday:
Southern Lake Michigan Fishing Report: August 6, 2012 Kenosha Co. No report. Racine Co. 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 from 60-100 feet down in 105-175 feet of water depending on the day. Anglers were focusing mainly on Chinooks though the fish remain scattered. 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, although after an hour and a half after sunrise fishing slows to near nothing. Milwaukee Co. North Shore:Northeast winds have remained over the weekend keeping fish in deeper 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 105-175 feet of water with baits about 60-100 feet below the surface. However, with the cold front that moved in Sunday and strong Northwest winds some fish were reported caught in about 70 feet with baits 30-40 feet below the surface. The best baits have been spoons of various colors and dipsey divers with flashers and 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 alewives on the bottom. The shoreline along Summerfest is producing very few fish. Perch fishing has been slow off of McKinley pier; the few perch that were caught were taken on minnows and small jigs off the rocks and pier. South Shore:With strong northeast winds over the past weekend fish have been pushed out into deeper water. Trollers have been catching Chinooks along with rainbow and lake trout. Spoons in a variety of colors were landing Chinooks. Trollers were anywhere from 105-175 feet of water with baits set about 60-100 feet below the surface. Fishing under the Hoan Bridge has produced a few brown trout reported caught on spoons and alewives on the bottom. No fish have been reported caught off of the south metro pier or at Grant Park. Perch fishing at the boils and off of Oak Creek has yielded only a few fish. Perch fishing off of the south shore pier has yielded very few perch at dawn on minnows. Ozaukee Co. In Port Washington trollers have been taking good numbers of Chinooks, along with a few coho, lake trout, and rainbow trout. Fish have been scattered, but most trollers have been focusing their efforts between 60 and 160 feet of water. Shore fishing in Port Washington has been slow. Sheboygan Co. Trollers in Sheboygan have been catching mostly Chinooks, along with a few rainbows, coho, and lake trout. Fish have been found out to 300 feet of water, but some anglers have been in as shallow as 80 feet. Flies, spoons, and J-plugs have all taken fish. Fishing off the Sheboygan piers has been slow, but when water temperatures are cooler nearshore, anglers had been catching some rainbows on alewives.
Tyler Harmon messaged:
Nothing new, cooler weather has kinda slowed things down, rivers are still running warm.
Mik-Lurch reported some bass fishing on the Indiana side.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT