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Perch opener, frogging, Chicago summer fishing: Midwest Fishing Report

Summer came and stayed this time for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report, just in time for the opening of frog season in Illinois on Thursday and the perch opener on Friday on Lake Michigan in Illinois.

I love the photo above, not only because Adam Hunt had his best day in 20 years on the Fox River, but because of the audience in the background of his fish shot.

The MFR for Chicago fishing 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.


Perch fishing reopens Friday, June 16, in the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan. Stacey Greene at Park Bait texted:

There is a lot of perch around and there’s a lot of big ones too lot of small ones but there’s some big ones in there

With perch reopening, Park Bait is also restarting Perchapalooza on Friday.

Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan said they are seeing perch off the pier.


Free fishing days in Illinois are Friday, June 16 through Monday, June 19. No licenses or stamps are needed during those four days; other regulations apply.


Bullfrog season in Illinois opens Thursday, June 15. Daily bag is eight. Bullfrogs may be taken by hook and line, gig, pitchfork, spear, bow and arrow, hand, or landing net.


As Dustin Murguia notes, weed lines are forming with the extended heat, and it pays to heed them. Here is his report:

Hi Dale,
Busse Woods: with the spawn long gone and the heat kicking up, water temps are shooting up. Weed growth is becoming full and provides the edge you need to fish. Buzzbaits at dawn/dusk along said edges are providing lots of explosive excitement. During the day your best bet is to crawl/shake a 1/8 – 1/4 oz Texas-rigged Craw in and around the shore laydowns. Best laydowns are found in Main Pool and look for those next to deeper water. Also look to fish the “skinnier” inside edge of weeds where you can find those pockets.  At Busse, 3 to 4 ft can be considered deep. Nothing much happening in the south pool outside of carp spawning. Worth throwing a frog around though in back part adjacent from island.
Lemont Quarries: shoreline fisherman reporting minimal catches on plastics and topwaters but a few days in the Kayak yielded an impressive amount of 2-4 lb bass and one monster! Try a Neko rig along bluff walls or a weightless fluke and WATCH YOUR LINE for slightest tap/movement on fall on slack line. If you’re not fishing parallel to shore you should stay home. Warning: Check yourself for ticks often as I found a few crawling around my head-a recent study in Lake Forest found 40 of 300 ticks carrying Lyme disease!
Bring plenty of water, sunblock and breathable clothing with you this week. Dusty Yakker and Green Yak Chronicles will be traveling to Wisconsin this weekend and hope to get into some smallmouth and big largemouth !! Thanks/Cheers/Tight Lines!
Dusty Yakker (Facebook)
Green Yak Chronicles (Facebook)

Ticks, water, sunblock and breathable clothing, Dusty Yakker touches all the bases for a week like this.


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


Rob Abouchar sent this:

This in from Braidwood lake today with Tim Murphy assistant athletic directer at Leyden High School.  Lipless crankbaits and wacky rigged plastics were taking largemouth bass by riprap  and in walleye rearing pond..  Early morning bite was best untill day heated up.  Water temp was 88 degrees in the walleye rearing pond.

Tight lines

I would suggest keeping the heat in mind for both fishermen and fish. Braidwood is open daily. Hours through July 16, close is 8:30 p.m.; from July 17-Aug. 13, close is 8 p.m.; from Aug. 14-Sept. 10, close is 7:30 p.m.; from Sept. 11-24, close is 7 p.m.; from Sept. 25-Oct. 7, close is 6:30 p.m.

Check with Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington.


No update.


Staff at Triangle said bedding bluegill are top bite; walleye are OK, especially around the south river mouth, clam beds or Marie, trolling small white crankbaits or worm harness; some perch being taken on sand or gravel flats; more muskie reports.

For more info and lake updates, go to Fox Waterway Agency or call (847) 587-8540.

STRATTON LOCK: There are changes this year for the operation of the Stratton Lock at the Chain O’Lakes. Here is the word from the Fox Waterway Agency:

The Stratton Lock will open for the 2017 season on Wednesday, May 3.  IDNR lock tenders will operate the Stratton Lock on Wednesdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m., and on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. until midnight through October 29.  The lock will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays (with the exception of holidays) for the 2017 season.  The Stratton Lock is also closed for the winter season each year from Nov. 1 through April 30.”



No update this week from Capt. Pat Harrison.


GENEVA: Arden Katz reported outstanding panfish, pumpkinseeds, etc., around the bays.

Dave Duwe emailed his:

Lake Geneva fishing report 6/11/17 through 6/19/17

With the warm weather, Lake Geneva has been starting to heat up and fishing has gone from below average to excellent in just a week.  Boat traffic has also increased so make sure you get out on the water early.

Rock bass have been everywhere throughout the water column and every spot you fish you will catch them.  This is the best time to take a kid fishing as the action is non-stop.  I’ve caught the most rock bass by Colemans Point or by Elgin Club in 12-14 ft of water.  Nightcrawlers or white hair jigs are producing great numbers but almost any bait will work.

Largemouth bass fishing has been picking up.  The best location is the weedline in Williams Bay or in Trinkes Bay.  The best depth is 10-12 ft of water.  You can either get them by drop shotting a 4 inch finesse worm or a nightcrawler.  The action should be good for next week or so due to the water temp.  Once the water gets too warm, the fish will go deep.

Bluegill fishing has been good in 15-17 ft of water.  A lot of the fish still have eggs and haven’t spawned yet so make sure you release those fish.   The best spot has been by Knollwood or Gage Marine in Williams Bay.

Lake Trout have started to pick up in the main lake basin.  The best water depth to start is 100-110 ft of water.  The prime time is the early morning hours.  Green and nickel spoons have been producing the most action.  Look for suspended fish about 70 ft down.

Walleye fishing has been good at night.  Abbey Springs and the east shore of Williams Bay are both productive areas.  Large Rapalas have been the best bait in black/chrome or black/gold combinations.  Work a depth of 12-15 ft of water.

Smallmouth bass fishing has been slow.  The smallies have completed their spawn and are scattered.  I’m picking up one here or there without a consistent pattern.

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

DELAVAN: Dave Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 6/11/17 through 6/19/17

Fishing has really heat up in the last week.  The largemouth bass and bluegills have completed spawning and are actively feeding.  With the hot temps predicted this week, the fishing outlook remains great.

Bluegill fishing has been good in 10-12 ft of water.  Look for scattered sand pockets and weeds.  The best location has been by DelMar, Browns Channel and east of the Village Supper club.  Leaf worms and red worms are working the best.

Largemouth bass fishing has become a weed line bite.  The fish are post spawn so look for them in 12-15 ft of water.  The best locations are the weed points associated with hard bottoms.  You can catch them on 4 inch finesse worms in green pumpkin.  I prefer Chompers brand.

Northern Pike action has been increasing due to the warmer water.  The fish are being caught in 15-17 ft deep weeds.    The best location is the weed line west of Willow Point.  Lindy rigs or Thill Big Fish sliders with medium suckers have been producing most of the action.

Walleye fishing has been slow.  I’m catching a few fish in early morning but after the sun comes up the bite disappears.  Lindy rigged leeches seem to be producing most of the fish.  I’ve had the most success on the north shore, west of the Yacht Club.

Crappie fishing has been average.  I’m catching a few here and there but there isn’t a consistent pattern.  My best catches have been on a 1/32 oz pink jig with a purple trailer.  I found most of the fish in the weeds in 12-13 ft of water.  The best location has been by Belvidere condos.

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


No update.


HENNEPIN-HOPPER: The lakes are open through Labor Day, Sept. 4. Fishing is closed on Mondays other than Labor Day. Click here for complete list of regs and details. POWERTON: Boat and shore fishing is open. Hours are 6 a.m.-8 p.m.  LAKE OF EGYPT/REND LAKE: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. LAKE SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide ServiceEVERGREEN LAKE: Will find out about bait shop and boat rental hours.


Adam Hunt sent this:


No update.


No update from Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay. The Wisconsin DNR report is usually posted Tuesdays and includes reports from both the bay and lake sides.


Should be another prime week for Heidecke. It is open daily 6 a.m. (6:30 shore side) to sunset.


Henry’s Sports and Bait reported good catfish.

B & B Live Bait–(815) 433-0432–is open in Ottawa, as is Cajun’s in Utica.


Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map. Access points for Little Cal and Salt Creek, which are closer to Chicago than Trail Creek, may be found at littlecal_saltcreek_access.


Norm Minas sent this:

The river has been dropping steadily but is still marginalby wading , even though today it’s was under the magic 2.0 level is was still flowing at just under 4000 cfs . On previous trips both those levels were higher and more restrictive to wading .

Buzzbaits and chatterbaits produced well on both sides of riffles as did lightly weighted swimbaits swung across the slick at the top of the riffle . Current seams , especially those with larger slow/slack areas abutting them produced well with a rattlebait fished up or downstream .

Flats adjacent to the channel, well those I could get to , reponded to wtd topwaters, flukes unweighted and lightly weighted swimbaits . 

Along some waterwillow beds , buzzbaits, singlespins and chatterbaits produced .

The midstream humps I could reach , the unweighted fluke , lightly weighted swimbaits produced .

As far as crankbaits and jigs go , there was already enough algae to be on the wrong side of annoying . With other stuff working , I just quit using them and staining my fingers green . 

With all things being equal fishing the shady side of cover or overhead cover proving shade was the way to go . 

By midafternoon today , it was beastly hot when out of the shade even with the breeze , I finally bagged it and left it to the ever increasing numbers of fisherman . I went home to the AC, sucked down iced tea and enjoyed some baseball on the big screen TV .

I also did some crick trips , spectacular on cranks before they really got low, even got my first creekchub of the year on a crankbait. Brute was 11.5 inches according to the tape . Once they dropped and the algae on the bottom increased , it was singlespins to the rescue . Shoot about half the pools that previously produced were extremely shallow and held no catchable fish . It was back to the old low water standby , the deeper pools and those with a nice current flow below neck downs produced the biggest fish .



Click here for the Ohio DNR’s annual fishing prospects. The Ohio DNR has general Lake Erie info and a fishing report.


See perch opener note at the top.

CHICAGO:  Staff at Henry’s Sports and Bait said smallmouth are winding down. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said coho are turning on in 40-140 feet, depending on the day, right off downtown; some lakers, too.

WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop texted:

Boats anywhere from 70 to 120 feet of water, north and south, still the earlier in the morning, the better, 4:30 am plus. Pier slow, guys seeing perch

Ted Boska emailed:

NORTH POINT: Poteshman said it was “fantastic’’ for coho, some close to the beach, some deep; lakers are hitting out deep.


Check Jarek Wujkowski of Rodsbent Guide Service.


The cooling lake south of Seneca is open daily, 6 a.m. to sunset. In this heat, I would use caution, both for fish and fishermen.

Also, boaters should be aware that there will be no launching if wind is 14 mph or higher.


Check the latest from D & S Bait on Facebook.


Check with Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington. Close is now 8:30 p.m.


Check with Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service sent this:


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


Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:

Hey Dale,

The past week’s warmup in Northern Wisconsin really has fishing taking off. Largemouth are moving shallow and are staging for the spawn. Pitching senkos to shoreline cover is taking good numbers. Crappie are up shallow staging to spawn. Finding new weed growth just outside spawning areas are key. Work a crappie minnow under a slip float. Slowing twitching the bait creates a reaction strike. Smallmouth are excellent on top waters last hour of light. Focus on points, rock humps, and reefs. A few pike have been caught burning mepps over new weed growth.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Husker Outdoors
Waterworks fishing team

MINOCQUA:  Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua, Wis. sent this:

Heat, wind, rain and rising water, bout all some lakes can handle!
Despite all the weather, some good reports from anglers out on the water between weather
Bluegill:  Very Good – Warming water (reports into the low 70’s some afternoons) has Gills very active.  On calm afternoons/evenings poppers on fly rods or used behind clear bobbers lots of fun.  While still available, Thunderbugs can’t be beat.  Also wet flys, ants, small leeches, leafworms and waxworms.  Some bedding reports on small lakes, going to be a lot more as week goes on.
Smallmouth Bass:  Very Good – Anglers working “jerk” style baits, either hard or soft plastic, working well.  #10 X-Raps, Husky Jerks as well as Slug-go style baits scoring lots of good action on nice post spawn fish.
Largemouth Bass:  Very Good – More signs of bedding fish.  Top water has been fun using Skitter Pops, Jitterbugs, Lunker Hunt Pocket Frogs, Whopper Ploppers and even the smallest Savage Suicide ducks!  Evening best for top water.  Swimbaits in the 3 – 3 ½” size of Kietech, Matzou Rainbu Swim Shads and Storms 360 GT have been hot.  Wacky Worming Creature and K.D. Custom Brush Jigs with Jack All Cover Craws also effective.  Live baiters scoring best on large leeches.
Walleye:  Good – Have to keep an eye on the water.  Some lakes have had hexagemia hatches already.  The hex hatch takes one item off the menu, making targeting Walleyes a bit easier.  On these small to mid-sized lakes (1,000 acres and less) and Flowages, Walleyes will relate to forage such as young perch, minnows, crayfish and leeches.  Focus on weeds and wood that this prey utilizes.  Redtailed chubs, crawlers and leeches on weedless jigs.  Casting Shallow shad Raps in Perch, Firetiger and Hot Steel working on the dark waters of the Flowages.  The Scatter Rap Husky Jerk Deeps also working well at, and after dark in natural colors on clearer lakes.
Northern Pike:  Good – Spinnerbaits such as Boonies, Reed Runners and Booyah as well as lipless cranks such ass Rat-L-Traps, Rattlin Rats and Anashi Vibes.  The 4 ½” swimbaits have also been very effective.
Crappie:  Good – Fishing 8-12’ weeds using 1” Gulp Alive Minnows, 1” & 2” twister tails and Charlie Bees as well as Mini Mites tipped with a waxie or just a good ol’ bobber and small fat head.
Yellow Perch:  Good – Best reports from flooded wood where thunderbugs, ½ crawlers are helping anglers lure nice catches out of the snags!
Musky:  Fair – Despite a few reports of some nice fish of 44-47” being caught, overall some disappointing reports.  Yet of the anglers doing well, bucktails have been by far the best – but the recent heat is getting some action on top water
Water temps have risen with the water levels.  Clear lakes have darkened a little with Sunday’s rain (near 8” in some areas).  Look for the Largemouth and Bluegill fishing to explode.
Smallmouth opens this Saturday  — Remember to take your dad fishing this weekend.
Kurt Justice
Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
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EAGLE RIVER: B+L, from reports from Colin Crawford of Colin Crawford Guide Service for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce, sent this:

Fishing Report

Reminder: Catch and release for Smallmouth Bass is until June 17, and Muskie opened in the northern zone on May 27.  

Catching a record fish just became easier with the “Live Release” initiative set up by the Wisconsin DNR. Learn more about this catch and release record tracking program here.

Panfish: Perch are in the weeds. Using a slip bobber tipped with minnows or tossing a 1/8th oz. jig with a small minnow seems to be doing the job. Crappies are done spawning now and are in the weeds and around structure. Slip bobber rigs with hook and minnow or a jig and plastic should do the trick. Bluegills are up in the shallows on the warmer lakes. Slip bobber rigs baited with red worms or waxies will catch these. Remember we do have panfish regulations on a few of our lakes in the area.

Northern: These fish will be found in and around weeds. Pitching jig and minnows or small spinnerbaits will get their attention.

Walleye: These are being found in the weeds and on the deep weed edges during the midday. Pitching 1/8th oz. jigs tipped with fathead minnows or slip bobbers just over and around will catch you a nice fish fry also.

Muskies: They should be done spawning and starting to feed better now. Smaller Bucktails and small jerkbaits this time of the year are your best baits to go to right now.


Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor, Mich., said the steelhead were going around Michigan City, shore and boat, were well up the streams.

Capt. Rich Sleziak  at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind., texted:

Coho with a few steelhead and a king here and there being caught straight out of burns ditch in 60 to 100ft of water good to excellent fishing all last week. Dodger flys and superslim spoons doing best fish top to 50ft down. k wobblers taking a fewNot a lot of perch fisherman out but some fish perch wer caught outside of muddline of burns ditch and east of the doughnut in 30ft of water hot weather with baitfish and steelhead around means perch are there too people just got to get out there it’s time. Area lakes giving up panfish steady on crickets and red wigglesCatfish starting to heat up in burns ditch on sonnys catfish bait

Remember he is at summer hours (5 a.m.-8 p.m.) until Labor Day.

LAKER REMINDER: Indiana now has a daily bag of three lake trout on Lake Michigan, to match Michigan. Illinois’ daily bag remains at two.


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.


Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said there are a few steelhead off the north pier; best coho are in 80-160 feet or 200 and deeper; walleye are good in the river, dragging crawler harnesses or trolling.


Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.


Staff at Lakeside said heat has limited anglers, but bass are picking up; and catfish, bluegill and crappie are good.

Lake hours are 6 a.m.-10 p.m.

Here are the hours for Lakeside for the next few months:

Shabbona Lakeside is now OPEN for the SEASON

Lakeside will be open everyday, 7 days a week,

April 11th to September 5th 6 AM to 7 PM

September 6th to September 30th 6 AM to 6:30 PM

October 1st to October 10th 6:30 AM to 6 PM

October 11th to October 31st 7 AM to 5PM

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


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


Robert Coutinho tweeted a message and sent the photo to the right:

Caught this 32in Northern on a crankbait Sunday morning at Wolf Lake. Lots of bass also that were spawning.







No update.