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Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes around Chicago fishing

Topwater bass on inland lakes and hopes for shoreline kings and perch on southern Lake Michigan are the highlights for this lakes section of the Midwest Fishing Report.

I normally post the sprawling online version of MFR, published in a condensed form Wednesdays on the Sun-Times outdoors page, by Wednesday morning.

If you have suggestions, let me know at straycasts@sbcglobal.net or @BowmanOutside.

AREA LAKES

Topwater bass action, early and late, has been the defining bite. The other option is plastic worms or Senkos around the weed lines. With this heat, people fishing during piicnics over the holiday weekend at forest preserve lakes for panfish should probably try outside weed lines, weed pockets or simply shaded areas.

CENTRAL WISCONSIN

From Hooksetter’s Guide Service:

(Head): Walleye, bass, panfish and musky all hitting; with black bear hunters getting anxious as the season nears ; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin¹s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau).

The fishing in the central Wisconsin area has been outstanding with great opportunities from many species. The walleye bite in the central Wisconsin area has been good on the Wisconsin River system by working the deeper holes from 10 to 14 feet of water with jig and minnow combinations. A few guys are long line trolling stick baits and doing well, too.

Bass have been very active in the central Wisconsin area with jig and plastics still the best bait. But nothing beats the action from a topwater explosion on a Chug Bu or Heddon Torpedo, which are both working well, too.

The panfish bite has been good in the central Wisconsin area with both bluegills and crappies hitting well, along with a few perch. Most of the action is from submerged wood in deep water, but a few fish are being caught roaming the area’s vast mud flats in search of food.

The musky activity in the central Wisconsin area is picking up with action on bucktails still being the best bet. Most of the action is taking place early in the morning or late in the evening, with some after dark activity as well.

CHAIN O’LAKES

Staff at Triangle reported catfish excellent and bluegill are consistent, probably the two best bites for the holiday weekend. For walleye, work current areas (bridges, main lake points); for crappie, try early and late; for white bass, start in eight feet in main lake basins.

Check Chain updates at http://www.foxwaterway.com/ or (847) 587-8540.

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

COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS

MAZONIA: Jon’s Bait in South Wilmington reported slower fishing with the heat, but suggested Ponderosa as the most likely spot. Otherwise, it is mostly smaller bass on strip pits, both public and private.

BRAIDWOOD: Still warm, mainly smaller catfish, according to Jon’s. Expect warmer water.

LaSALLE: Concessionaire is there. Water was 92 at the intake on Tuesday.

HEIDECKE: Plan to fish it Friday.

DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKE

DELAVAN: Guide Dave Duwe semt this:

Delavan Lake 8/26/13 through 9/2/13

After the past few weeks of rather slow fishing, the overall bite on Delavan is starting to improve. Most of the anglers are having success for most species, with the exception being Walleye which are still tough to find. The boat traffic will remain heavy through Labor Day and then we typically see a drop off on week days.

Largemouth bass are in the weed flats in 15-16 ft of water. They are accessible by using split shot rigged nightcrawlers or drop shotting green pumpkin worms. Some success is also coming along the boat docks on the north shore. The best approach is a Wacky rigged worm in green pumpkin or a split shot rigged nightcrawler. The best place to cast is the location right behind the outboard motors of the moored boats.

Bluegill action has been very good. You need to search a bit for the larger fish. The best location for the larger bluegills has been in the 12-13 ft depth range. Look for the fish by Assembly Park or just west of Willow Point. If you don’t have much success, adjust your depth since they are always biting. If you are catching small fish, try adjusting your depth a bit deeper. The best approach is a small split shot with a leaf worm and letting it free swim down to the weed edge.

Walleye fishing has been very slow for me. Last week, I tried trolling and lindy rigging leeches without success. We did have a bug hatch last week that typically turns them off. I haven’t had much opportunity to try again, but will check it out in the coming week. As fall approaches, the walleye fishing will improve greatly. They should start aggressively hitting chrome and blue rattle traps or Smithwick Rattling Rogues. The best time to try for them is at dark.

Northern Pike action has been slow. I am starting to pick up a few more in the 12-16 ft depth range right on the weedline. The best approach has been fishing Thill slip bobbers or letting the suckers free swim beneath the boat. I like to place the sucker about 1 ft above the weedline. The best location has been by the gray condos which are located by Assembly Park.

Perch action has been good on the west end just outside of Viewcrest Bay. The best approach is either slip bobbering or straight lining hellgrammites beneath the boat. The best depth range is 20-22 ft of water.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

GENEVA: Arden Katz reported good bass in 20-25 feet on the southern side in 20-25 feet with drop-shot worms.

Duwe sent this:

Lake Geneva 8/26/13 through 9/2/13

Fishing on Lake Geneva has been really inconsistent for the past few days. The cooler temps have affected the deep water bite for bass. There is hot weather predicted in the coming days so that bite should become better in the week to come. As Labor Day is fast approaching, I expect some of the fish to start moving into their fall patterns so we will be watching for those transitions in the next couple of weeks.

The smallmouth bass are still biting in 20-25 ft of water. The only real issue is that the schools aren’t nearly as tight as they have been. You need to keep searching for the fish. Most trips this past week, I tried as many as a dozen spots to catch a dozen fish. The best bet continues to be lindy rigged nightcrawlers or lindy rigged yellow perch caught in the lake. Look for them near Black Point, Conference Point and near Gage Marine.

The best bite for largemouth bass is in 8-10 ft of water around the piers. The best location is on the north shore from Coleman’s point down to Elgin club. The best approach is lindy rigging small Yum Dingers or Yum Houdini Worms. The best color is green pumpkin or watermelon seed. While fishing for smallmouth bass, I have been catching a few largemouth in excess of 5 lbs. They are few and far between so I really wouldn’t call that a pattern. If you are interested in largemouth stick to the piers.

Bluegill action has been exceptional in 18-21 ft of water. The best location has been by the Military Academy, Elgin Club or Fontana Beach. They are aggressively hitting leaf worms straight beneath the boat. With the warmer weather forecasted, the pattern won’t change and the bite should get even better.

Northern Pike action has been very slow. There are a few fish being caught in 35-38 ft of water. The best location has been by the sand bar in Williams Bay or the boat launch by Fontana. The best approach remains lindy rigged medium suckers.

Walleye fishing has been very good at night. The weed flats by Trinkes and Williams Bay has been producing most of the action. Trolling stick baits like Smithwick Rogues or Rapalas have been producing most of the action. You want to troll your lures in 15 ft of water half way down in the water column.

Lake Trout fishing has been very productive in the main lake basin. They are consistently biting on chrome/blue and chrome/green spoons. The best depth is between 69 and 79 ft down in 110-140 ft of water. The key is the early morning bite when the fish are off the bottom and suspended in the water column.

The open water season is fast approaching the end. Make sure to book your last trips in the coming weeks. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

Daily Reports

8/24/13 – Lake Geneva, sunny, 78 degrees, water temp 76 degrees, winds E at 5 mph. Caught 8 smallmouth and 3 largemouth. Out of all the bass we caught only 2 were legal. Fishing was very tough, with the forecasted warmer weather, fishing should improve on the deep bite. Today most of the fish were caught in 25 ft of water near Black Point.

8/23/13 – Lake Geneva, sunny, 80 degrees, water temp 76 degrees, winds E at 5 mph. Caught 7 smallmouth and 3 largemouth. Again, fished numerous spots with limited success. Most of the action came on lindy rigged yellow perch. The best location was by Gage Marine.

8/22/13 – P.M. Lake Geneva, sunny, 85 degrees, water temp 76 degrees, winds SW at 10 mph. Caught 8 smallmouth, the biggest was 19 inches and 4 largemouth. With the cooler weather lately, the bite has been inconsistent. All the fish we caught were in 21-25 ft of water. The best locations was by Fontana and Black Point.

8/22/13 – A.M. Delavan Lake, cloudy and rainy, 70 degrees, water temp 75 degrees, SW winds at 5 mph. Caught 16 largemouth, 2 were legal and a bunch of bluegills. Unlike Lake Geneva, the fish are biting very well. The fish were in 10-20 ft of water on the weed points. The best location was west of Willow Point and by the Oriental Boat house.

8/21/13 – Lake Geneva, sunny, 90 degrees, SW winds at 15 mph. Water temp 76 degrees. Fished all day for 5 largemouth bass and 3 smallmouth. 2 of the largemouth were over 5 lbs, which was the only saving grace. Fished throughout the whole lake in 15-25 ft of water. The fish have been off for a few days now.

8/20/13 – Lake Geneva, sunny, 80 degrees, SW winds at 15 mph. Water temp 76 degrees. Caught 6 smallmouth bass, 3 were legal, plus caught 3 largemouth bass. Fishing has slowed a bit. I fished about 8 or 9 spots throughout the lake. The fish I caught were in 21-25 ft of water. I fished from Conference Point to Black Point to Fontana.

DOWNSTATE NOTES

SHELBYVILLE: Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service said spider-rigging is producing good crappie deep and trolling 300 Bandits is producing some walleye. White bass are surprisingly slow. Water is near normal summer pool.

LAKE OF EGYPT: Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing said the bass are going good at night.

REND: Johns said the crappie are stabilizing with the heat, white bass active.

POWERTON: Lake is open again, 6 a.m.-8 p.m. daily.

GREEN BAY

The Wisconsin DNR has a report, which is typically updated on Tuesdays, posted at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html

LAKE ERIE

The Ohio DNR has general Lake Erie info and a fishing report.

LAKEFRONT

CHICAGO: Park Bait said shore fishermen caught some perch Tuesday on the outside at Montrose, no kings yet. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said there were fair lakers and steelhead, along with the occasional king and coho, in 100-130 feet, by the R4 or east; mornings better.

WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop said boaters taking some perch, straight out and south to Great Lakes in 30-60 feet; shore perch variable. For big fish, charters set up early in 40 feet, but primarily work 125-130 feet for steelhead, lakers, kings and a few coho.

NORTH POINT: Poteshman said best is in 140-200 feet for steelhead and lakers with some coho and kings; otherwise some kings early on the hill. This is the best right now in Illinois.

MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN

D&S staff said the drift bite for bluegill has started on Waubesa and Monona; otherwise on Mendota thee’s some perch on weed edges (in 10-12 feet) and smallmouth on the deep rocks.

Go to http://www.dsbait.com/ for information and reports from D&S Bait.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:

Heat and rains have brought water levels up both in temp and inches the past few days. Surface temps are ranging in the mid to upper 70’s on many lakes due to the unseasonably warm weather. With rains and storms blowing in since Sunday night, dumping almost another 5” of rain to the Lakeland area. The warmer temps have boded well for anglers.

Largemouth Bass: Very good. Topwater is HOT! Anglers are catching lots of fish on plastic frogs, Jitterbugs, Top-Props and Pop-R style baits. Evenings are best, but warm early mornings producing big bass in the 4-5# range. Buzz baits, spinnerbaits and pre-rigged plastic worms producing. Little need for finesse this week.

Musky: Very good. Top-water action is good even on cloudy mid-days. Warm water has muskies chasing with fast moving bucktails, plastic and crankbaits scoring nice fish of 38-45” this past week. A 47” C & R on a live minnow.

Bluegill: Very good. Loving this warm water, gills actively feeding. Casting small jigs, jig/spin combos. Small leeches hard to resist. Lots of catches with gills to 10+” this week around drowned wood, cribs in 8-12’.

Walleye: Good. While most of the better action is on deep rocks using crawlers or big leeches, eater action is coming from weeds in 8-12’ depths on cloudy days. Night bite good along same areas (tops of rock bars best) using big leeches and lighted slip-bobbers.

Pike: good. Best on Boonie Baits and Chatterbaits as fish moving quickly to attack lures. Chubs and suckers on jigs good follow up. Rubber fish imitation of 3-5” on jigs also good.

Smallmouth Bass: Good. Improving with the heat. Concentrating more on rock/gravel humps. Drop-shotting plastic craws, 3” worms. Wacky worming 4” Senkos as well as 1/8-1/4 oz jigs with big leeches (live or Gulp).

Perch: good. Warm weather bringing out activity. Frozen soft-shells, ½ crawlers or medium leeches on slip-floats. Big fish this week to 13”, work deep wood cribs or wood/weed combos.

Crappies: Good. Scattered around weeds of 8-12’. Taking mini-mites, Charlie Bees, 1/32 oz Mr. Twister, Beetle Spins. Work high in weed tops to locate active crappies, come back with minnows and floats.

Gonna be a warm weekend on forecast. Fish early and late in the day. Many lakes do not have as much algae as usual due to the cool summer. New warm front has been helpful to anglers.

EAGLE RIVER: 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 Guide¹s Choice Pro Shop, Mat Hegy; and Eagle River hunting enthusiast, Dan Anderson.

(Head): Smallmouth and largemouth bass, as well as panfish all providing good to excellent action, with walleye and northern good, and musky action fair. Successful hunters know that maps are a key ingredient to success. All in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. Water temps in the Eagle River area back into the lows 70s.

Smallmouth bass in the Eagle River area are locating off of break edges in hardbottom areas. Fish 8-25 feet of water. Use a plastic tube or crawfish, or a jig and a leech or half a crawler. All day action. Bite is good to excellent.

Largemouth bass in the Eagle River area are in 10 feet of water or less, locating along shoreline structure (docks, down trees, brush piles) or adjacent heavy weeds. Use a plastic rigged weedless, Heddon Torpedo or bass style spinner bait. Bass Rats or Scum Frogs are also working. All day action with peaks in the evening. Bite is good to excellent.

Panfish (crappies, bluegills and perch) in the Eagle River area are in 12 feet of water or less in and around weeds. Perch are tight to bottom, with crappies and gills suspending (depth will vary by day – -start at the bottom and work your way up to find the feeding depths on that particular day). Use a small leech, chunk or crawler or crappies minnow under a slip bobber or small jig. All day action. Bite is good to excellent.

Walleye in the Eagle River area are in 10-25 feet of water off of break edges. Use a jig and a minnow or a jig and half of a crawler. Walleye are tight to bottom. All day action with peaks in the evening. Bite is good.

Northern are in 10 feet of water or less in and around weeds in the Eagle River area. Use a Mepps #5, bass style spinner bait, or floating Rapala. All day action. Bite is good.

Musky in the Eagle River area are in 12 feet of water or less off of weed edges and adjacent break edges. Use a small bucktail, top water or crankbait. Normal retrieve, and be sure to do a “figure 8” as the lure nears your boat. All day bite, with peaks in the evening. Action is fair.

NORTHWEST INDIANA

Last day of fishing at Willow Slough is today. Mike Starcevich at Mik-Lurch reported good kings in 45-50 feetoutside the Ditch, Bloody Nose is hot spoon, meat rigs important. On Tuesday, some perch were caught in two spots in 24 feet outside of East Chicago Marina.

SHABBONA LAKE

For more information and reports from Lakeside, go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN

The Wisconsin DNR posts a fishing report, generally updated on Tuesday at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html.

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN

Tyler Harmon messaged:

Perch action on Lake Michigan has slowed way down, but may pick back up with the consistent South winds, and warmer weather. Salmon trolling has been the same, some kings here and there, with some big fish mixed in to keep it interesting. Rivers are getting to be quite low, and the temperatures in them have been rising fast, so no steelhead action in the rivers, few walleyes, and catfish. Inland lakes still producing panfish.

WISCONSIN DELLS

May double up and put this in the rivers section. Sturgeon season starts on Sept. 7 (CORRECTION). Staff at River’s Edge reported top bites are smallmouth and crappie; walleye are an evening bite. Water is low.