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Chicago fishing: Warmer waters, lower river levels, more summer

More traditional summer levels on rivers and warmer water on Lake Michigan for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

The MFR appears in a condensed form Wednesdays on the Sun-Times newspaper outdoors page. The sprawling raw-file report is posted here online on the Sun-Times outdoors page.

Bruce Kalinowski forwarded the photo above and this note about Manipulator’s trip out of Waukegan on Sunday:

who says the lake is dying who needs kings when you got steel head to catch,  had the best time in a long time the last two sundays watching these things flying out of the water and watching the excitement of the kids faces from the wreck to tower road is hot have you seen or talked to bill Kelly I miss him on the lake bruce

I miss my weekly chats with Capt. Bill Kelly, too.


SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN: Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said there are good perch in 35-45 feet, north or south of pierheads.  INDIANA: Capt. Rich Sleziak  at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station said perch “one day decent, next day slow,’’ from West Beach to east of Michigan City in 15-30 feet, best in 18-25, drifting or moving is essential; there are many different sizes of perch. CHICAGO: Stacey Greene at Park Bait said there a few small ones at Montrose.


The season is open in Illinois for bullfrogs (sport fishing license required, may be taken by hook and line, gig, pitchfork, spear, bow and arrow, hand or landing net) and bullfrog or green frogs in Indiana.


Bluegill are on the outside weed lines or burrowed inside of them.

Ken Husker” O’Malley sent this:

Hey Dale,

Texas rigged 7 inch Berkley Power Worms have been the bait of choice on area lakes for bass. Work the inside and outside weedlines early morning. Numbers have been on the outside while larger bass on the inside. Clearer spring fed lakes have been better than stained waters. Key is working the bait very slow and methodical.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Waterworks fishing team


Go to http://water.weather.gov//ahps2/index.php?wfo=lot to check area water levels and projection. To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to http://waterdata.usgs.gov/il/nwis/current/?type=flow


Site staff reported on Monday water temperatures as 104 on south end (hot side) and 98 north. Check with Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington. Lake is open daily, 6 a.m.-sunset.


Staff at Triangle said the top bites remain catfish (crawlers or Sonny’s) and bluegills (either shallow shade or on weed lines); some white bass are going in both the river and most lakes, they are chasing shad; for largemouth, it is a jig bite tight to cover.

For updates, check with Fox Waterway Agency or call (847) 587-8540.


Capt. Pat Harrison (click here for his site) messaged this:

Capt. Pat’s Chicago River Report

Water temperatures are up on the river to start the week. It averaged about 82 degrees at the locks and 88 at Wolf Point. I’ve been catching Gills and Crappie on the river and heading out towards the lake for Bass.

Last weeks smallmouth ranged from 14” to 17” while largemouth went 14” to 19”. I started to throw more crank baits along the rocks and I’ve been doing some drop shot presentations. I found a few perch last week but wasn’t fishing hard for them.
With these warm water temps upon us, I’ve been extra careful with the fish by keeping them in the live well with the pumps on to let them rest.
The remainder of the week is going to be warm outside so I will be out, in the deeper (cooler) water.
I’ll also be on the river this Thursday (8/11/16) with my older brother Bern and my sons P.J. and Andrew. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my 60th birthday than by fishing with the boys!
Please remember, if you’re going to fish in this heat be careful handling the fish. The heat puts a lot of stress on them just like it does us. Please leave the Muskies alone if possible as being caught in these water temps is almost sure death for them. Help save the resource and leave them alone for a week or two.
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you on the river.
Let’s connect on Facebook!
Capt. Pat Harrison


GENEVA: Arden Katz said there were bass and rock bass in 15-17 feet with drop-shots.

Dave Duwe sent this:

Lake Geneva Fishing Report 8/8/16 through 8/15/16

With the consistent hot weather and no wind, Lake Geneva has been a bit slower than normal. The water temperature is higher than it has been in recent years, at or around 82 degrees on the surface and this is causing the fish to deviate from their normal summer patterns.

The largemouth bass I’ve been catching have been in 18-20 ft of water near the Bible Camp. They have been located on the deep weedline. The best approach has been drop shotting 4 inch green pumpkin finesse worms or lindy rigging nightcrawlers. Other good locations have been by Linn Pier and by the buoy line in Williams Bay.

Smallmouth bass fishing has been spotty. The best action has been in 22-25 ft of water. The most success has come by Gage Marine or by Fontana Beach. The fish aren’t schooled up so you need to move throughout the water column. Some days I’ve found them as shallow as 17 ft. Because of the water depth, it’s fairly easy to find them on your fish locator. Most of the success is coming off of Lindy rigged nightcrawlers and on the occasional medium sucker.

Northern Pike action has been in 33-35 ft of water. The best location has been in the bar in Williams Bay or the boat launch in Fontana. Lindy rigging medium suckers is producing most of the action.

Bluegills remain everywhere throughout the water column. It has been a struggle catching the bigger fish. Last week I did find some bigger fish in Trinkes Bay in 12-13 ft of water. The fish were all sun fish but some exceeded 11 inches. The best presentation was giant red worms drifted vertically beneath the boat.

Lake Trout fishing remains very good in the early morning hours. The fish are suspended between 70 and 80 ft down in 110 ft of water. The best lures have been the nickel and green or nickel and blue spoons fished about 20 ft behind your downrigger ball.

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

DELAVAN: Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 8.8.16 through 8.15.16

Delavan lake fishing suffers with consistently hot and humid weather. We had a few days of cooler weather and the fishing turned on a bit. We are nearing the end of the summer so boat traffic is starting to increase while everyone gets out one more time before the end of summer.

Bluegill fishing has been overall pretty strong. There have been some slow days where the larger fish don’t bite as well but the smaller fish are always available. The best location has been by Assembly Park Point in 12-13 ft of water. Wax worms or leaf worms are producing most of the action. Most of my regular spots, such as Willow Point and Concrete Point have fish on them but they were relatively small last week.

Crappie action has started to pick up on the cooler days. The fish are in 13-15 ft of water, suspended about 1 foot above the weeds. The best presentation has been small Thill slip bobbers and a small fat head minnow. A few favorite spots are by Belvidere condos or in front of Browns Channel.

Walleye fishing has been hit or miss. Because I’ve fishing the weedline, I’ve been catching one here and there. The vast majority of the fish are suspended in the main lake basin in 30-40 ft of water. I’ve been getting them on lindy rigged nightcrawlers since the leeches this time of year are too small to be productive. The best location I’ve found has been by Willow Point or the west end by the island.

Largemouth bass fishing has been the most productive in the early morning hours. The bite seems to shut off about 9 a.m. the fish are biting on top water plugs in 5-8 ft of water. The piers on the north side of the lake have been producing most of the action. The productivity has been good but the size is a bit smaller than last year.

Northern Pike action has been good off the weedline in 19-22 ft of water. Lindy rigging medium suckers in front of the gray condos by Assembly Park is producing some great action. Place the bait about 1 foot off bottom for the best success. I’ve been slowly back trolling into the wind at a very slow pace. By back trolling, I have been boat control and can change the depth of the presentation instantly.

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


No update.


LAKE OF EGYPT/REND/KINKAID: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard FishingHENNEPIN-HOPPER: The Wetlands Initiative will have the fishing season at the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge (Hennepin-Hopper) through Sept 5, except closed Mondays (open on holidays). Regulations will be the same as last year, with an emphasis on reminding fishermen there may be no large motors on boats. Click here for detailed information.  POWERTON:  Summer hours are 6 a.m.-8 p.m. EMIQUON: Because of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s shutdown, fishing and boating permits will be done at the launch. Call (309) 547-2730. SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide Service.

EVERGREEN: Mike Steffa sent this earlier and I did not get the hours update yet:



No update.


No update.


No update.


Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay sent this:

Hey guys…here is a quick update

Salmon fishing is still going pretty good along the Door County Peninsula from Sturgeon Bay north to Washington Island.   100 to 200 feet has been the best depths to fish in and the bottom half of the water column is holding the most fish especially with the warm water that we have right now.  Flasher and fly combinations along with some spoons and plugs working pretty well

Perch fishing has been fantastic as of late.  Better areas include…Downtown Sturgeon Bay, the Flats, Sawyer Harbor and Little Sturgeon.  Best baits are night crawlers, leaf worms and fatheads

Walleye fishing is getting better and better as we move deeper into August as it usually does.  Areas to try are…Henderson’s point, Larsen’s Reef, along with all of the off shore structure to the north of the old Stone Quarry all the way up to Sister Bay

Pike fishing will start to pick up here at the end of August also.  Good areas to fish would be the Sturgeon Bay ship canal, Potawatomi Park shoreline, Sherwood Point and Henderson’s point just to name a few spots. Large crank baits, spoons and large plastic swim baits always a good option


Lance LaVine

Howie’s Tackle
1309 Green Bay Rd
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
Ph: 920-746-9916

The Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report is typically updated on Tuesdays and includes reports from both the bay and lake sides.


Fishing hours are 6 a.m.-sunset daily.


Staff at Illinois Valley Outdoors in Spring Valley said the river is down and clearing, catfishing is going good.


Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.


The river is in the best wading levels in months and should remain that way. My neighbor reported numbers of small smallmouth on topwaters early morning in the state park. NOTE: The bridge over Rock Creek on Route 102 is being worked on. Access to the state park and Warner Bridge will require some driving around.


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


See perch reports at top. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters called it “one of the best summers in years, but different’’ for trout and salmon, speed is essential 2.6-3.0 knots. CHICAGO: Stacey Greene at Park Bait said drum seemed best evenings when the wind is north or northeast. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said steelhead, coho, some kings and lakers are being caught in 60-150 feet, best in 100-150. As Bruce Kalinowski noted at the top, there are lots of steelhead being caught and “flying out of the water’’ from the Wreck to Tower Road.  WAUKEGAN: Ted Boska sent this:

NORTH POINT: Posteshman said there are quite a few steelhead, some coho and kings, from the hill to 250.


No update.


No update from Jarek Wujkowski of Rodsbent Guide Service.


The cooling lake south of Seneca is open daily, 6 a.m.-sunset.


Go to Facebook for the latest updates from Gene Dellinger at D & S Bait.


Check with Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington. Open daily, 6 a.m.-sunset.


Check with Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service.


Check the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report, which generally comes out Tuesdays for updates.


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

Minocqua Area Fishing Report 08/07/16

A mix of cooler weather and some high pressure systems took the edge off the hot bite for several species this past week. Still, for anglers willing to fish early and late in the day, good catches are still being reported.

Largemouth Bass: Very Good. Maybe it’s due to sheer numbers, but the green bass just don’t seem to slow down. Wacky worming has been HOT! This extremely simple method of pitching a center hooked plastic worm into 6-10’ cabbage has made amateur anglers feel like professionals. Pre-rigged plastic worms, spinnerbaits such as Boonie baits, as well as weedless spoons and swimbaits have all been producing.

Smallmouth Bass: Good-Very Good. Outside weed edges and off-shore gravel humps. Outside weed edges, 10-14’ use tube jigs or count down lipless cranks. On off-shore humps- drop-shot 2 ½ gulp minnows, Jackall pintails or 3” Senkos. Plastic craws by Yum and Jackall are also effective. Skirted grubs on heavy jigs to work the tops of 18-28’ humps are producing nice smallies to 20”.

Northern Pike: Good. Casting blade baits over weed tops (Boonies, Chatter, Jaw Breakers, Johnson Silver Minnows) as well as jigging chubs and suckers producing well for anglers targeting pike in 7-12’ weeds.

Walleye: Good. Slower than earlier due to high pressure days. Still good for early risers using jig/crawlers-leech combos in 7-12 cabbage. Off-shore humps also holding walleyes taking big leeches.

Bluegill: Good. Cool weather affected the hot bite some. Small leeches and worms are best. With mid-week heat, go back to top water poppers.

Musky: Good-fair. A better bite up in the weeds. Twitch baits (7” cranes, shallow raiders)  are a good choice as has been large bladed bucktails. A 50 ½ reported early last week, most action from upper 30” to mid 40” fish.

Yellow Perch: Good-fair. Cool weather slowed bit a bit. ½ crawlers and medium fatheads are working around cribs, submerged timber and also heavy cabbage of 4-8’.

Crappies: Good-fair. Best over deep wood on flowages (12-16’) with medium fatheads.

A mid-week warm up (temps in 80’s) should improve fishing. Cool weather moving in by Thursday/Friday could slow things again. Even so, overall fishing has and should continue to be good- maybe just not as fast as the previous two weeks.

EAGLE RIVER: No update from B+L, from interviews with guides George Langley, Muskie Matt and Colin Crawford, sent this for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce.


See perch at the top. Capt. Rich Sleziak  at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station said there continues to be good steelhead, Chinook, coho and lakers straight out of the Ditch in 90-110 feet and west toward Chicago; catfish are good at Riverwalk in Portage.


No update.


The Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report is generally posted on Tuesday and includes a Root river section. Click here for the stream flow update, which can be really important for how good the fishing is.


For perch, see top. Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said there are nice kings in 45-60 feet on meat rigs, some on flies and attractors; a few steelhead early off pier; some walleye, catfish and drum in river.


Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.


Staff at Lakeside said trolling with Flicker Shads or working rock piles with crawlers or leeches is producing walleye; bass are on weed lines or dam face; catfish are best on chicken liver; muskie are active again.

The restaurant is open every day. Lakeside is now open 6 a.m.-7 p.m. For more information and reports from Lakeside, go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.


The Wisconsin DNR posts a report at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html. It is usually posted by Tuesday afternoon. Stream flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow.


No update.


No update.


No update.