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Summer kings, out of the flood: Chicago fishing/Midwest Fishing Report

Summer kings on Lake Michigan begin in earnest just in time for exploring options beyond fishing receding flooded rivers for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Ted Boska sent the photo above on night fishing for kings out of Waukegan [correction follows] and several people have noted this photo was on Migrator Charters out of North Point:

My good friend  and his  2 son’s. If you are  targeting the king’s, you

catch  them. I love  the screaming  reel,what  king  fishing  is  all about it.

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.

LAKEFRONT PERCH

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN: Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said perch were “on fire” in 32 feet south of St. Joseph between The Chalets and Churchhill Farms.

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

Perch action day to day with weather but when guys get out it’s good 20 to 30ft west of burns ditch and east of doughnut towards Michigan city

CHICAGO: Staff at Henry’s Sports and Bait said the most productive perch spot has been the south end of Burnham/Northerly Island. Corey Gecht at  Park Bait said weather has limited effort, but some perch are being caught early morning at Montrose.

FROGGING IN ILLINOIS

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

AREA LAKES

It’s the middle of summer, fish the weed pockets or outside weed lines for bluegill or play around with bass early and late. Staff at Henry’s Sports and Bait said catfish were stocked in the West Side lagoons.

AREA WATER LEVELS

Once again, considering the weather forecast, probably a good week to 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

BRAIDWOOD LAKE

Braidwood is open daily. Hours through 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.

CALUMET SYSTEM

No update.

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

The entire system remained closed to boating as of Tuesday afternoon. For more info and lake updates, go to Fox Waterway Agency or call (847) 587-8540.

CHICAGO RIVER

No update this week from Capt. Pat Harrison of Pat Harrison Outdoors.

DELAVAN/LAKE GENEVA AREA, WISCONSIN

GENEVA: Arden Katz said bass were decent in 17-20 feet on points and secondary points.

Dave Duwe emailed this:

Lake Geneva Fishing report 7/23/17 through 7/30/17

Lake Geneva has not been affected by the flood waters as much as other area lakes.  The bite is pretty consistent for this time of year.  The bass are deep, so are the northern pike and the walleyes are biting at night.

The largemouth bass are in 15-18 ft of water.  The best bite has been by the 700 club, just east of Linn Pier or by Colemans Point.  By far the best drop shot lure has been a 4 inch chompers worm with red and purple flake in green pumpkin color.  The dropper length should be about 12 inches.  The bass have been schooling so if you catch one, you may be able to catch up to 20.  The only issue is that the overall size has been 12-15 inches.

Northern pike action has been good in the 30-33 ft depth range.  The best location has been by Fontana Beach and the west shore of Williams Bay.  Lindy rigged chubs or suckers have been producing most of the action.

Bluegill fishing has been the best bite on the lake.  They are on the outside weed edge in 18-22 ft of water.   The best location has been by Elgin Club or Gage Marine.  You want to use trout worms about  6 inches to 1 foot off bottom on a split shot rig.

Walleye fishing has been very good at night.  Large Rapalas in chrome and black and gold and black have been producing most of the action.  Look for them by the weed flats in 12-15 ft of water.  You want to troll the bait about 170 ft behind your planer boards at about 1.7 mph.  The best time is about midnight until 3 a.m.

Smallmouth bass have been difficult to find.  If you happen to find pods of minnows, you may find the smallmouth chasing behind.  The best spot I’ve found has been by Gage Marine or by the South Shore Club.  The fish I’ve been catching have been in 25-30 ft of water.  The fish are coming on drop shot rigs with small sassy shads in pearl and black or small grubs.

Rock bass fishing has been all right.  Most of the fish I’ve been catching are coming off the deep weed line in 12-15 ft of water.  Try for them using nightcrawlers on a splt shot rig.  Due to the depth, live bait is working best.

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 before the update above:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 7/23/17 through 7/30/17

Overall Delavan remains a bit slow.  We are still dealing with high water from the excessive rains.  I’ve been able to find some large schools of largemouth but not everyone has been that lucky.  As the water recedes and the water clears, fishing should improve dramatically.  As a rule when we have a lot of heavy rains, the fish will move from the deep water weed edge into the shallows of 5-6 ft of water.  That is what is happening now.

The largemouth bass are positioned in the hard sand bottom openings of scattered weeds in 5-6 ft of water.  Good locations are by Lake Lawn Lodge and Del Mar.  The key is to cast to the weed openings and let the fish find the bait.  There has been a secondary bite using top water lures.  Chrome and blue chug bugs or white buzz baits are working well. The best time to try of them using top water baits is during no wind and overcast conditions.

Bluegills have been very slow.  The high water has messed up the bite pretty effectively.  The best success I’ve had has been in 10 ft of water using leaf worms and a small split shot rig.  The locations vary but I’ve had some good luck near the Village Supper Club and Del Mar.

Some Northern Pike action has been happening in 17-19 ft of water.  The best presentation has been lindy rigged medium suckers.  You want to keep the bait just on the outside of the weed edge about 1-2 ft off bottom.  The best locations have been by Willow Point and Belvidere Park.

Walleye action has been slow.  The best location has been by the point on Assembly Park.  You want to use a lindy rig with a chartreuse painted hook and a 24 inch leader.  The best time to fish for them is first light.  Try for them in 13-15 ft of water.

Crappies have started to suspend over the main lake basin.  They are locating 5-10 ft down in 15-20 ft of water.  The best way to locate them is when it’s still calm out and they are hitting bugs on the surface of the water.  This is the best way to find an active school.  The big schools I’ve seen in the last week were just west of the Yacht Club and by Willow Point.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water.  For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063

DES PLAINES RIVER

Coming out of the flood.

DOWNSTATE NOTES

LAKE SHELBYVILLE:  Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide ServiceHENNEPIN-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. EVERGREEN LAKE: Larry Dozard of larrysfishinghole.com sent this:

 Evergreen Lake BAIT SHOP and BOAT RENTAL Hours:  6:00 am to 6:00 pm Daily
NOTE – During the weekdays staff is not present, please press buzzer on the front of the building 
   for assistance or call the Visitor Center at (309) 434-6770.

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard FishingPOWERTON: Boat and shore fishing is open. Hours are 6 a.m.-8 p.m. 

FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS

Ken Gortowski sent this on Saturday:

Well Dale Bowman, Fox River gauge in Montgomery says 10,100 cfs. That’s getting closer to the near record level I remember.

The south and southwest Fox River valley areas finally got all the rain that’s been going around and all the gauges down this way show it.

Creek gauges aren’t looking good and I hear the creeks down around the Plano area, they don’t have gauges, didn’t fair well.

So, this weeks Fox River and it’s creeks fishing recommendation is…

Go find a small lake or pond to fish if you must fish. Whatever you do, stay away from the flowing water as much as possible.

I can’t argue with him. In fact, I incorporated this into my Wednesday column.

FOX RIVER: WISCONSIN

No update.

GREEN BAY/STURGEON BAY

No update this week from Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay.

Wisconsin DNR report is usually posted Tuesdays and includes reports from both the bay and lake sides.

HEIDECKE LAKE

Lake is open daily 6 a.m. (6:30 shore side) to sunset.

ILLINOIS RIVER

River is projected to fall below flood stage at LaSalle by Thursday. B & B Live Bait–(815) 433-0432–in Ottawa is open.

INDIANA STREAMS (LAKE MICHIGAN TRIBUTARIES)

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

Steelhead in trail creek good on spawn saks shrimp and spinners

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.

KANKAKEE RIVER

High and dirty, but still in the best shape of local rivers.

As Norm Minas noted from a short outing:

The river is dropping a bit but the waterwillows are still flooded. Chocolate milk and not safe for wading. 

I used a buzzbait tipped with a twin tail grub to get a few smallmouth bass. Hits were savage with water spraying all over. 

Peace

Norm

LAKE ERIE

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

LAKEFRONT

See perch reports at top.

CHICAGO: Staff at Henry’s Sports and Bait said drum in the 2-to 10-pound range were being caught on the outside (lakeside) of harbors. Corey Gecht at  Park Bait said some drum were caught at Montrose, though not as many as last week. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said  salmon slowed some, but they are being caught in 70-100 feet, straight off downtown; there’s more lakers in 100-120, especially north toward wreck.

WAUKEGAN: Ted Boska sent the photo and explanation at the top. He also sent this:

Coho  is scares  all over the  area. I fish  with  one of my  best customer  from  11:30 pm on Friday  to 5 am Saturday  morning, spectacular  king  action  at night on glowing spoons  only trolling  3.5 knots  around  160 to 180  feet of water. We caught  20 fish including  14 king’s.

My best  fishing trip this season  if comes to  quality  of fish and action  not quantity .For sure  trip to  remember for all of us.Thanks  again  Ted

He originally sent this:

NORTH POINT:  Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said some kings are being caught right on the hill, but it is sketchy, early morning and evenings are best; other fish are going in 130-260 ft., depending on day

LaSALLE LAKE

The cooling lake south of Seneca is open daily, 6 a.m. to sunset. Also, boaters should be aware that there will be no launching if wind is 14 mph or higher.

MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN

Check the latest from D & S Bait on Facebook.

MAZONIA

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

MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN

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

MILWAUKEE HARBOR

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

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

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

What’s become the norm for the summer of 2017 continues, weather changing almost daily with rain every 3 days or so followed by high Skies cool nights and warm days. Luckily the warmth has come often enough to bring water temperatures up some. 

Crappie:  Good-Very Good –  Lakes better than flowages. Tall weeds of narrow Leaf cabbage and Coontail in 8 – 14’ of water.  Boathouses adjacent to deep water. Tube jigs, ½” twister tails and small hair jigs switched over weed tops. Gapen fresh water shrimp excellent choice.  Nice crappies of 10 – 12” average.

Largemouth Bass:  Good-Very Good – Water temperatures in the mid-to-upper 70’s by afternoons bringing surface bites up. Plastic frogs, small Whopper Ploppers, buzzbaits and Spooks getting good evening action. Spinnerbaits such as Boonie Baits and Booyah as well as lipless cranks as Rattlin Raps, Rattle Traps and pre-rigged Plastic worms worked over weed tops during day. Swimming jigs and sweet beavers worked along boathouses and Wacky Worming about everywhere!

Smallmouth Bass:  Good-Very Good – Work the mid-summer haunts of deep gravel humps drop-shotting 2 ½ – 3 ½” Gulp Alive minnows, 3” Senko’s and plastic craws. Nice 17 – 20“ fish coming from 17 – 23’ deaths.

Bluegill:  Good-Very Good – Action heating up with water temperatures. Suspend a small to medium Leach 8 – 10’ down the side of 14 – 18’ coontail edges with a slip float. Mini mites, 1” Twisters on 1/80 th Jigs and leaf worms deadly. Top-water action on poppers towards dusk.

Northern Pike:  Good – Best on bladed bait such as Boonies and chatterbaits shallow cranks with the erratic action of scatter rap scoring well.

Yellow Perch:  Good – Can’t get any more soft shells for season so stick to ½ crawlers over 14’ Sand grass under slip floats.

Walleye:  Fair-Good  –  Bigger Lakes best.  Low-light times.  Red Tails when available, otherwise big leeches and crawlers. Weed lines of 14 – 18’ best towards dusk.

Musky:  Fair-Good – Day to day top.  Top-water best at dusk.  Pacemakers, Whopper Ploppers, Suicide Ducks, large bladed bucktails and smaller rubber baits.  One day fish moving… High Skies they’re done.

Overall fishing is improving not up to its typical mid-summer bite, but better than what we have been seeing.

Kurt Justice
Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
www.kurtsislandsports.com
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EAGLE RIVER: No update from B+L, from reports from Colin Crawford of Colin Crawford Guide Service for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce:

NORTHWEST INDIANA

Perch report at top.

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

Steelhead in trail creek good on spawn saks shrimp and spinners Trolling in 90 to 110 straight out of burns ditch east all the way to new buffalo good for mix bag Spoons and flasher and flys best baits fishing 45ft to the bottom Crappie at night potato creek state park on crappie minnows fished under lights

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.

ROCK RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

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.

ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN

Perch report at the top.

Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said there are good oho, lakers, kings and steelhead in 90-115 feet in the top half of the water column.

ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA

Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.

SHABBONA LAKE

Staff at Lakeside said catfish are good, both big ones and eater-sized; topwaters are taking bass; Aaron Sands and clients are catching walleye, including a 26 1/2-incher, crawlers or leeches on drop-offs and rock piles are best; jigging Raps taking the bigger walleye; crappie are best on cribs and brush piles; water is near normal and clean.

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.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT

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.

WOLF LAKE

No update.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.