Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes and rivers around Chicago fishingContinue reading.
Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes & rivers around Chicago fishing
Marcus Benesch, the faithful reporter for the Des Plaines, sent this of a big gar caught while bass fishing.
I usually post the sprawling, raw-file online version of the MFR, which appears condensed on the Sun-Times outdoors page, by Tuesday evening.
This year I am going to stick with one big file, rather than splitting it into two files: one for lakes and one for rivers.
If you have suggestions, tweet @BowmanOutside or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Perch reports continue to be varied, scattered, though boat fishing is picking up in Michigan, but remains variable in Illinois.
CHICAGO: Soft shells best with summer her. Mike Repa (good to talk with him again) at Park Bait said he caught his limit Tuesday morning at Montrose and others were taken. David Allevato, who caught the big freshwater drum in today’s column, said numbers and size of perch remained good at 31st Street Harbor.
John Saban sent this:
Dale, We oddly found ourselves the only boat out fishing for perch and bass Sunday a.m. It was nice to have the lake to ourselves , but it felt a little weird. We had to work for the perch around the water treatment plant , but ended up with 28 10 ” + fish.
.INDIANA: Staff at Mik-Lurch said, when boaters can get out, Portage and Cal Park are best, but it varies daily, minnow bite.
ST. JOSEPH, MICH.: Phil Schuman at Tackle Haven said there’s quite a few limits; north and south in 35 feet on minnows.
KENOSHA, WIS.: Bob DeAngelis of Harborside said perch are on and off, boaters are doing better than pier fishermen, it’s minnows
ILLINOIS REMINDER: IDNR director Marc Miller opened July this year for perch fishing in Illinois.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley of Water Werks Fishing Team sent this:
Most of the local lakes now have floating weed mats. Some are thicker than others. That means its time to throw a frog. Last hour of light and into night have been good. A black bottom Spro has produced the best. 65lb braid and a heavy action 7″6′ rod are a must to pull big bass out of that cover. Bass have been relatively shallow (3ft) that time of evening. Nothing beats a huge bass blowing up on a frog. Remember to bring lots of deet as well.
Water Werks Fishing Team
It is exactly that time of the year.
AREA WATER LEVELS
Go to http://water.weather.gov//ahps2/index.php?wfo=lot to check area water levels and projection. Probably a good week to check this. To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to http://waterdata.usgs.gov/il/nwis/current/?type=flow
This came from Hooksetter’s Guide Service:
(Head): Outstanding musky bite, with walleye, bass, crappies and northerns all hitting. Black bear hunters should have their baiting stations in full swing; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin’s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau).
The outstanding musky bite in central Wisconsin still continues to astound anglers. Several more 50+ inch fish have made into nets along with multiple 40 plus inch fish. Most of the action is coming on bucktails and jerkbaits along with a few on large crankbaits. A lot of the fish have been associated with deep weed lines but a few are coming off distinct sharp beaks that drop into the deep part of the Wisconsin River channel.
Walleye action remains consistent in the central Wisconsin area with lots of fish now holding on the vast flats in the main lakes and specific areas with structure. Long line trolling with crankbaits has been working well on the flats, and jigging with crawlers and minnows has been the way to go for working precise structure.
Bass anglers have been having a great season in the central Wisconsin area and it is no wonder why, with lots of nice fish in the mid to upper teens along with several fish over 20 inches, anglers are seeing one of the best seasons for bass fishing that we have ever had. A lot of the action coming from shallow structure (rock, wood, and weeds) in less than 5 feet of water.
Crappies are still very abundant in the deeper sections of the lakes and the Wisconsin River, and we have been having a lot of fun chasing them. For the best results at catching the crappies try running several slip-bobber rigs set at different depth around your boat. Bait the rigs up with tiny jigs or a plain hook and a minnow and drift through the area with the crappies. Pay close attention to your depth as you drift along and get ready for your rod to bend.
If it is action you want, we have been tearing up the northerns on central Wisconsin area lakes and the Wisconsin River system. It has been an outstanding week for catching northerns with plenty of action by casting spinnerbaits and medium sized bucktails in shallow weeds. These have been some crazy aggressive fish that are literally coming right out of the water slashing at our baits.
The 2014 bear hunting season only a little over a month away in the central Wisconsin area, and successful applicants should have several potential locations prepared and their baiting in full swing. With plenty of opportunities and lots of bears in the area, we are anticipating another great year.
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA
Staff at Triangle Sports & Marine said the top bites are walleye on Marie and Catherine, drifting relatively shallow; catfish on stinkbait or cutbait on the bottom; bluegill are very good; Loon has nice bass and perch going; largemouth are under docks and muskie are best on Channel.
For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/
Check Chain updates from at the Fox Waterway Agency or by calling (847) 587-8540.
No report this week from Jeff Nolan, though I plan to get out with him and comrades this weekend.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
MAZONIA/STRIP PITS: Check with Jon’s Bait & Tackle Shop–815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington.
HEIDECKE: Lake is open daily until sunset, launch opening at 6 a.m., shore at 6:30.
LaSALLE: Blues are the top bite, including some quality fish. Concessionaire is there. I need to find out the exact hours. Lake is open daily, 6 a.m. until sunset.
BRAIDWOOD: Lake hours are 6 a.m.-sunset, seven days a week. BRAIDWOOD REMINDER: The intake area is closed to fishing. Anchoring outside the intake and casting in is not allowed.
DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES AREA, WISCONSIN
GENEVA: Guide Dave Duwe sent this:
Lake Geneva Fishing Report 7/21/14 through 7/28/14
Lake Geneva has been up and down with fishing success. Some days are better than others due to the cooler water temperatures and the scattered bait fish. If you can find the pods of minnows, you will have good success on the smallmouth bass in the deeper water. The best bite on the lake has been the smallmouth bass and bluegills.
Bluegills are very active in 18-22 ft of water. The best location has been by Elgin Club or by Gage Marine. The best approach is a split shot and a small hook tipped with a leaf worm straight lining right beneath the boat approximately 1 ft off bottom. The average size of the fish has been 7-9 inches. This bite will continue for the next few weeks because the water temperature is colder than normal.
The smallmouth bass have been active in the deeper depths of 20-25 ft. They are not in their August tight schools however if you find pods of minnows you will find actively feeding smallmouth bass. My best locations have been by Gage Marine or in Fontana by the beach. When the fish are actively feeding, it isn’t hard to catch 20-30 bass in a 4 hour outing. A lot of the fish are over 17 inches.
Northern Pike fishing has been slow due to the cooler than average water temperatures. The only pike I’ve had on have been in the 17-18 ft depth range. Look for the fish in Williams Bay. I had one of the largest fish I’ve had on in years on a medium sucker on a lindy rig. My standard lindy rig is a ¾ oz walking sinker, a 2 ft leader and a 1/0 circle hook or bait keeper hook. Fishing less than 26 ft of water, I position the bait about 1 ft to 2 ft off bottom. Anything deeper than 26 ft has no weed growth, so then I will keep the bait tight to bottom.
Largemouth bass fishing has been very good around the piers. I use a black and blue jig or a green pumpkin Wacky rigged worm. As the summer warms, the fish will start to go deeper. I have been catching some deeper but the concentration of largemouth bass has still been shallow.
Rock bass fishing has been good in a depth range of 20-25 ft. The best approach is lindy rigged nightcrawlers or small fat head minnows fished on bottom. Look for the fish by Linn Pier, Elgin club or Gage marine.
Walleye fishing has been improving. They can be readily caught at night. You want to troll large Rapalas in chrome and blue or chrome and black in approximately 17 ft of water. You want to let out 100 ft of line which will put your Rapalas in the strike zone. Look for the fish by Trinkes or by Abbey Springs.
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 7/21/14 through 7/28/14
Due to the cold front last week, fishing was tough for most of the week. As the week went on and the warmer weather moved in the fishing improved immensely.
Bluegill action started to improve by later in the week. They were in 11-14 ft of water off the weedline. The best approach is a split shot rigged leaf worm. Look for the fish by the Assembly Park weedline and by the concrete point. It seemed that the bigger fish were out on the deeper side of the weedline.
With the cooler weather, the northern pike fishing pretty much shut down last week. I did have a little action by Sunday in the regular haunts, the gray condos and Belvidere Park. The fish were in 22-24 ft of water.
Largemouth bass fishing has two patterns going. The boat docks have been on fire, using wacky rigged green pumpkin Senkos or black and blue All Terrain jigs have been producing most of the action. The best piers are on the north shore due to the access to deeper water. Another approach for bigger fish are medium suckers fished beneath a Thill big fish slip bobber. The sucker bite has been in 10-13 ft of water.
Walleye fishing has hit the summer doldrums. The only time to catch them is in the evening or at night. I haven’t caught a walleye in the last few weeks. The people catching them at night are catching them on a Rapala Husky jerk or a Weedmast jig tipped with a leech. The best location has been by Assembly Park or by Browns Channel.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
DES PLAINES RIVER
Marcus Benesch sent this:
I was pleased to see your column this morning on all things Gar. I love fishing for Gar. Coincidentally, I had a run in with my biggest Gar to date Saturday afternoon while wading for bass on the Des Plaines River. Bass were somewhat active, caught a half dozen large mouth and a couple small mouths near weed beds inside some slack pools. A nice sized channel cat also liked the look of my #6 chrome and red in line spinner. What really made my day was the long nose gar. Tape measured it at 51 inches. It went airborne 3 or 4 times and roll at my feet splashing me a few times. Gar were not real active in the area I was in and that was the only encounter I had that afternoon.
So here’s a few photos to keep the Gar theme going for this week. I was alone so just had to throw the camera on my bag with a timer to snap a few quick pictures.
River Grove, Illinois
I find myself drawn to gar and other less traditional native fishes more and more.
The IDNR is now planning to post a weekly report. Click here.
EMIQUON: Rick Alexander and Craig Fanning posted about a 100-largemouth day with another friend, it went to topwaters toward evening.
REND: Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing said drift fishing for catfish is excellent, white bass are starting to bust the surface and crappie are scattered.
CRAB ORCHARD: Johns said the big bass bite is on.
LAKE OF EGYPT: Johns said night bass fishing remains good.
SHELBYVILLE: Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service said the higher water has debris in the lake, so trolling is tough. Crappie being caught with slip cork and minnows. Water conditions should be better by the weekend.
EVERGREEN: Mike Steffa said expanded hours are in place for the bait shop and boat rental.
No report this week.
Could use a regular report from somebody or some place. Ken Gortowski is taking the summer off from sending a report.
Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay sent this:
Salmon fishing is still going pretty good out of all the Door County ports…some days are better than others like normal, but all in all the fishing can be classed as good. 90 to 180 feet of water, fishing the top 70 feet of water column still is the best. Some fishermen are catching some Kings a little deeper, but the majority of the fish are up high in the water column. There are still plenty of high flying Rainbow Trout willing to bite if the fishermen are willing to burn some gas. The largest concentration of Rainbows have been out in a bit deeper water, anywhere from 190 to 450 plus feet. Basically anywhere there is a decent temp. break. Bright colored spoons fished in the top 30 foot of the water column has been the best.
Perch fishing is definitely getting better in Door County. Basically in all the normal Perch spots that are talked about….Chaudoir’s Dock, Rites Cove, Little Sturgeon, Riley’s Bay, Sawyer Harbor and the inner bay of Sturgeon Bay all have had some fair Perch action and that action should just get better as we move deeper into summer. Fathead minnows, crawlers and leaf worms have been the best live baits.
Walleye fishing is still a little slow, though we are finally hearing a few reports coming in once again. Areas to try both at night and during the day would be… Henderson’s point, Larson’s Reef, Monument Shoals along with all of the offshore Islands and reefs in the northern part of Door County. Deep diving crank baits and crawler harnesses are your best bet
Bass fishing is still fantastic from the Sturgeon Bay area north to Washington Island. The best fishing is in a little deeper water like out in that 9 to 18 foot range and will continue to move out even deeper like it usually does this time of year. Drop shot rigs with soft plastics will be a primary method along with tubes, grubs, spinner baits and top water baits have been and will continue to be good
The Wisconsin DNR has a report, which is typically updated on Tuesdays, posted at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html
Flick at Time on the Water Outdoors said catfish are the top on cut bait and stinkbait, there’s a few white bass toward Hennepin. River is up but clean.
Steelhead are in the streams. Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.
Norm Minas sent this:
Last week’s report must have disappeared, maybe d-hopping to where ever all the missing socks go .
Right now the river is a 1/3 again higher than the normal flow. You still want to be very careful, I was getting pushed downstream while trying to cross one of those limestone flats. In other places, I’m finding the old safe crossings are gone, no surprise with the ice dozers working overtime earlier in the year. You need to be very careful where the current gets constricted .
It’s still not clear enough to allow algal growth on the bottom. That works out wonderfully as the fish having been very responsive to crankbaits. The have been very responsive to rattlebaits, spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, swimbaits, jig/pig, and jig/plastics as well.
Smallmouth, walleye and channel cats, in that order in terms of numbers caught. Your mileage may vary, depending on what you use and where you use it.
Current seams, natural and manmade current obstructions, humps and dips in the bottom, riffles and waterwillow beds with some depth along the edges all have produced.
Peace be unto you
Perch report at the top. Bob DeAngelis of Harborside said browns are in the harbor, crankbaits are working better than tubes or spoons.
Johns said bass fishing is OK.
The Ohio DNR has general Lake Erie info and a fishing report.
See perch at the top
CHICAGO: Some drum at Montrose and Monroe. Saban found good smallmouth on the breakwalls. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said lakers are in 65-120 feet, depending on the day; salmon are nominal.
NORTH POINT/WAUKEGAN: Poteshman said fish are scattered, every day varies; “maybe the north blow [on Wednesday] will help stir them up.” Maybe.
MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN
MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN
Mike Mladenik has reports at Mike Mladenik Guide Service.
Click here for the walleye bag changes in the Ceded Territory.
MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:
Finally some summer like weather moved in over the weekend, bringing some typical mid-summer action as well as some non-typical mid July occurrences such as mayfly hatches! On just about any other summer, off shore gravel humps provide anglers plenty of opportunity for walleyes and small mouth bass action. Until the past week, this action has been late to occur – but now the pattern is setting up nicely, providing good action for both species. The late mayfly hatch on certain lakes the past couple of days has been small yet visible, but not enough to impact the walleye fishing in most cases. These mayfly are not the big tan Hexagemia yet a med / large green mayfly I’m not as familiar with. Calls and concerns about the hatch have been followed with reports that this hatch has not affected the walleye bite.
Crappies: Good- Very good. The warmi9ng weather brought on some stronger action in bays with tall weeds of 8-10′ in 10-14′ of water. Casting small Beetle Spins, Charlie Bees, Road Runners and Northland Fish Fry Spins as well as just 1/16oz jigs tipped with 2″ twister grubs has been the ticket for nice catches of Crappies in the 12-12″ range on many of the larger “chain” lakes.
Largemouth Bass: Good-very Good. Wacky worm bite from mid-morning through late afternoon has been hot! Work weed beds of 7-12′ on windy days a Senko worm (because of the weight) or a weighted hook needed to keep feel. Otherwise Yum dingers, Trigger X, and Jackall Flick Shakes have all been producing as well. With the warmer weather, the top water bite has picked up again- plastic frogs & mice as well as the hard top water baits (Skitter Pops, Jitterbugs etc.) has been best after 7pm.
Bluegill: Good-Very good. Finally some good panfish weather has helped anglers with nice catches of gills. Daytime bites on small leeches, waxies and worms- towards evenings poppers and dry flys providing fun action and nice fish along emergent weeds in water of 2-6′.
Smallmouth Bass: Good to Very Good. Best out on the deep humps of gravel topping out at 18-26″ Drop shotting Jackall Crosstail Shads and Clone Fry as well as Yum’s Craw Pappies finally seeing good success. Tubes still a good choice, especially early and late as smallies cruise shallower in search of small baitfish.
Walleye: Good- Improving. Nice catches off gravel humps and deeper sand grass. 1/8 – 1/4oz jigs tipped with whole crawlers or extralarge leeches. Drifting these same baits with slip bobbers also producing. best depths 22-34′.
Northern Pike: Good. Action picking up on artificials. Spinnerbaits, Chatterbaits and #4 Mepps. Jig or spinner rig with live chub / sucker also producing nice fish this week- several in low 30″ class.
Yellow Perch: Good. Warmth improving bite. Soft shells or 1/2 crawlers on slip floats or Lindy rigs along outside weed edges of 10-14′
Musky: Good. Bucktail & Top-water action picking up nicely. Most catches on bucktails but warm evenings producing good top-water fish on Whopper Ploppers.
Though facing a cool down mid-week, the bite has increased and anglers finding more success (and more typical summer success) than the previous 2-3 weeks.
EAGLE RIVER: This report from the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce is 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 bass and panfish bite excellent, with walleye, northern and largemouth bass good to excellent, and musky good; all in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.
Water temps in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area are in the mid 60s. Great fishing action continues on a roll.
SMALLMOUTH BASS: Smallies in the Eagle River area are locating off of break edges over hardbottom in 8 to 25 feet of water. Use a jig and a minnow or leech, a plastic tube or craw. All day action and the bite is excellent.
PANFISH: Crappies, bluegills and perch are off of break edges or adjacent weed edges in the Eagle River area. Fish 15 feet of water or less. Use a crappie minnow, chunk or crawler, or a micro plastic under a slip bobber or small jig. The perch are tight to bottom, with the crappies and gills suspending up and down the water column (day and lake dependent). All day action and the bite is excellent.
WALLEYE: Walleye in the Eagle River area are off of break edges in 10-25 feet of water. The walleye are tight to bottom. Use a jig and a minnow, leech or half of a crawler. All day action with peaks in the evening. Bite is good to excellent.
NORTHERN: Northern in the Eagle River area are in 10 feet of water or less in and around weeds. Use a small bucktail, bass style spinner bait, or a northern sucker under a slip bobber. All day action and the bite is good to excellent. Anglers have been finding the bigger northerns deeper, but with somewhat lighter action.
LARGEMOUTH BASS: Largemouth bass in the Eagle River area are holding in and around shoreline structure (docks, trees, brush piles and weeds). Fish 10 feet of water or less and use a Bass Rat, Scum Frog, or weedless plastic. All day action and the bite is good to excellent.
MUSKY: Musky in the Eagle River area are in 12 feet of water or less, off of weed edges or adjacent break edges. Use a normal size bucktail, topwater, jerk bait or glide bait. Do a normal retrieve, and don’t forget to always do a ‘figure 8″ as your lure nears the boat. All day action with short feeding windows. The bite is good.
Perch are at the top. Mik-Lurch staff reported some salmon and lakers deep (Wednesday blow will change things). Bluegill slowed at Willow Slough.
No report this week.
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
The Wisconsin DNR Root River Report is usually posted by Tuesday.
Clint Sands at Lakeside said walleye are going on weed edges on leeches, most are 14-20 inches (legal is 18) but a 26-incher was caught Saturday and another on July 14; a few big muskie including a 45-incher Tuesday are being caught; catfish (one near 14 pounds) are going on chicken liver or shrimp. CATFISH OPEN: It’s Saturday and Sunday. The winner is the heaviest six fish. Details are at shabbonalake.com or (815) 824-2581.
Lakeside is now open daily 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. For information and reports from Lakeside, go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.
The reports have started again by the Wisconsin DNR at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html. They are generally posted by Tuesday afternoon.
Stream flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow
For perch, see top. Phil Schuman at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said trollers are doing well for salmon, steelhead and lakes in 120-160 feet; a few steelhead came into rivers.
ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA
Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.
Check reports and info at River’s Edge.