Andy Mikos would get my vote as the best non-charter captain for fishing salmon and trout off Chicago, and he won the Evanston Boat Ramp tournament over the weekend with a couple great anchor fish. That's a good lead-in to a mid-summer Midwest Fishing Report.
[Capt.] Bill Kelly told me you might mention in the paper the 22lb salmon caught on my boat "Bismarck" in the Evanston boat ramp tournament. Here are two pictures. The first is of my friend Dan Chizel who actually landed the 22lber. The second picture is of myself with a 16lber that put us over the top. My friend Dan is 6'6" and 280lbs and the fish still looks big.
Dan is above, and Andy is below.
This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays. Normally, I post the online MFR by Wednesday morning.
If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let's open with a celebration of rock bass at Northerly Island.
ROCK BASS RALLY
There will be celebration of the rock bass at Northerly Island from 6-9 a.m. Saturday. Registration begins at 5:30 a.m.. Call (312) 225-8538 or go to henryssports.com.
There's the usual, largemouth early and late on frogs and topwaters, and bluegills in the weeds. But there's other good bites. At Busse, David Kopielski of Schaumburg reported crayfish-colored crankbaits taking good walleye, the best going 28 inches over the weekend. (Hanging on to the photo, for a possible FOTW) Steve Palmisano reported some nice crappie with his kids at dusk on Tampier.
For an overview of nearby river conditions, go to this NWS site. It seems odd, but some are actually getting low. Individual reports are posted below.
BIG GREEN LAKE, WISCONSIN
For guide Mike Norton's report, go to
www.nortonsfishingandhuntingadventures.com, then click on fishing, then lake report.
Bullfrog season runs through Aug. 31. Here's the details from the IDNR regs:
A sport fishing license is required to take bullfrogs. Bullfrogs may be taken by hand, pole and line fishing methods, pitchfork, landing net, bow and arrow or bow and arrow device, spear or gig. Firearms, air guns, gas guns or commercial fishing devices such as dip nets, hoop nets, traps or seines are not allowed in the taking of bullfrogs. Bullfrogs may be taken from June 15 to August 31 (both days inclusive). The daily limit is 8 bullfrogs with 16 bullfrogs being the possession limit.
CHAIN O'LAKES AREA
Triangle reported bass (topwaters have been good) on the shallow weed lines and bluegill on the weed lines are the top bites. Walleye have been best in the current areas in the river, if we get rain that could make for another stretch of outstanding walleye fishing in what has been a very good year for the species on the Chain. White bass are hanging around 15 feet, or troll the river. Decent numbers of catfish coming from the river, and elsewhere.
For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/
More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.
McHENRY LOCK: Because of funding issues, the IDNR will have the Stratton lock closed on Mondays and Tuesdays (with the exception of holidays). Hours of operation on Wednesdays and Sundays will be from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The lock will be open from 10 a.m. to midnight on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Holiday hours will be from 10 a.m. to midnight.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Mazonia lakes are in the upper 70s; Braidwood is 88 north and 95 south. Mazonia lakes should be a top pick, especially for panfish and bass, if the forecast cloud cover comes. On Sunday, closing time goes to 8 p.m.
HEIDECKE: The concessionaire reports spotty walleye on crawlers and some hybrids on chicken livers. This is typically a good time for big catfish too.
DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES AREA, WISCONSIN
DELAVAN: From guide Dave Duwe:
With the cooler temps, the fishing has slowed from the previous weeks. The good news is that the temperatures have had an impact on the pleasure boat traffic so you won't have to fight the crowds as much.
Northern Pike has really been hit hard by the temperatures. I dragged suckers around for several hours with only limited success. They would hit and take out about 10 ft of line and drop the bait. Unlike last week, when they'd hit just about every fish could be boated. The best depth is the 20-25 ft range. Most of my success has come off of the smaller suckers. Look for the fish by Willow Point and by the gray condos.
Bluegills are off the weedline in about 18 ft of water. The best presentation is wax worms or small leaf worms. You can either straight line the worms beneath an anchored boat or use slip bobbers. I use a small hook instead of an ice jig. The most success has come in front of the Marina or west of the Yacht club.
The walleye bite has held up to the air temperatures pretty well. There still aren't an abundance of fish but at least there is some action. The best action I had this week, came from trolling bottom bouncers with crawler harnesses. The blade of choice is a fire tiger hatchet blade painted by Tommy Harris. It has been a struggle to catch legal fish however, we are getting at least 5-6 bites in a couple of hours.
Largemouth bass are still on the weedline. They have not yet schooled up this year. The key is to keep moving down the weedline and cover a lot of water. Most of the success is coming on an All Terrain swim jig or a nightcrawler. The best depth is 15-16 ft. I caught quite a few fish by the Village and by Willow Point.
Crappies still remain in the 10-12 ft depth range. They can be caught on small plastics fished on a 1/32 oz Arkie jig. Purple or Chartreuse have been the best colors. In a normal year, they would already be suspended in deep water but because of our cold weather they still remain shallow.
GENEVA: From Duwe:
Fishing has overall been a bit slow due to the unseasonably cold temperatures. The average high temps for July should be mid 80's not mid 60's.
The northern pike have still not all made it to the deep waters. There is a mild thermocline however, the pike have yet to school up. Some pike are being caught in 25-27 ft of water on lindy rigged suckers. The best location is by Cedar Point or by Black Point.
Largemouth bass fishing has been pretty slow. A good days catch is between 5 and 7 fish. The best depth is the 14- 16 ft range. Either lindy rigging nightcrawlers or drop shotting 4 inch plastic worms is producing most of the action. Look for the fish by Trinkes or in Geneva Bay by Covenant Bible Camp. Early morning there has been some success fishing top water lures. The key to the presentation is finding emergent weeds. These spots are very small, but there are several by the Military Academy and a few by the narrows.
Bluegill fishing has been average. The best depth is the 16-18 ft range. Look for the fish by Elgin Club or in Williams Bay. The best success is straight lining underneath an anchored boat. A good fish finder is essential in finding the schools of fish.
There are some walleyes being caught while trolling crank baits at night. The best crankbaits are the Walleye Bandits or the large Rapalas. I've been working the 14-16 ft depth range. Look for the fish by Trinkes or in Williams Bay.
Lake Trout fishing has been good in the main lake basin. First light has been producing most of the action. The best depth range is 108-110 ft, with the fish suspended about ½ way down. Nickel and Chrome spoons or Nickel and Green spoons are always a good bet.
Rock bass can be caught along with the bluegills in the 14-16 ft depth range. Look for the fish by Elgin club or by Belvidere Park near Fontana. Try split shot rigging nightcrawlers for the most action.
DES PLAINES RIVER
From Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament www.fishing-headquarters.com:
Fishing the DesPlaines River and it's creeks has been poor to fair for not only myself, but for everyone else whom I have consulted with. I cannot explain what went wrong this past week and what had happened since the good fishing from previous weeks, but the fish from the past few weeks have not been showing themselves around. If I had to give an excuse for the lack of activity, I'd have to say low summertime water levels.
Some people catching smaller Pike while most others trying haven't been catching anything. Those finding fish are throwing spinnerbaits and in-line spinners through deeper pools with current. It's not an ideal time of the year for Pike anyways.
Channel Catfish are still hitting regularly most evenings from deeper water areas with hard bottom and current. The action is there, just not much size. Stinkbait, cut baits, and livebait working well on slip sinker bottom rigs.
Little to no Walleye reports coming in, and nothing much to show for Bass and Panfish.
As for the DPR creeks such as Salt Creek and other similar places, the fishing hasn't been all too hot either. Of all species of fish, Carp are most active. Bass are slow, Crappies are too few and far between, and Walleyes haven't been around in the areas they should be in (deep pools with current!).
Let's hope the next few days bring us some much needed rainfall so that it gets these river and creek fish active and moving again! It will also get these fish (Walleyes - Panfish - Pike) into a migrating state as well - in other words, during receding water levels, they should be actively feeding.
EVERGREEN: Crappie continue good in 10-15, take sorting for keepers and there's a good evening bite for saugeye on jig and minnow. The full staff report is posted here.
EMIQUON: Emiquon Preserve near Lewistown is open to fishing. Interested parties may request a permit and list of rules between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown. There is no fee. No gas powered motors are permitted, and bank fishing is not allowed. For more, call (309) 547-2730.
SHELBYVILLE: For more, call (217) 774-2020.
HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Site is open to public fishing on Fridays and Saturdays.
POWERTON: Will be closed through today for maintenance work, then reopen Thursday.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
It's catfishing time, and the river is in a place it hasn't been in a long time. Here's Ken Gortowski's take, one worth heeding:
As for the Fox, normal cfs is about 700. As of Monday at 4 PM it's at 820. The last time it came down to this was in August of 2008 and it was brief. Not sure if I can get out but I highly recommend that anyone that wants to fish the Fox go anywhere they want to fish, finally.
This may be short lived.
I'll send you a fish report if I can squeeze in an evening, but not looking good at this point.
ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA
Guide Buster Culjan reported white bass are taking bladebaits on gravel bars or fast drops off sand bars; catfish are good on Sonny's or shrimp and crawlers are taking catfish and drum. Catfish are good in the Vermilion on chicken liver. River is clear, down and 76 degrees.
River is low and clear. ``Catfish Dave'' Bradigan took his kids bluegilling on the Indiana side with success last week. Ed Mullady sent this:
Kankakee River is low and clear. Fishing overall is good.KENOSHA, WISCONSIN
Mike Lee, of Frank's Bait, Momence, reported good catches by veteran river fisherman, Kenny Sain of Momence. Last week, Mike weighed in a 24 lb. channel catfish Kenny had caught from the Kankakee. This past week end Kenny used a jig and night crawler to catch a 5 lb. walleye.
The Momence area produced smallmouth and largemouth bass, croppie, northern pike as well.
Kankakee River State Park smallmouth bass fishing good at Carly and Timothy Island on Jigs & Twister tails *minnows *crankbaits*spinners. Catfish good on cheesebaits *minnows.
Wilmington area good for *catfish *smallmouth bass from Dam on down through DesPlaines F&W
Check the latest at Harborside.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
Rickard's reported a decent week for walleye off Northwest Reef and off the firing range. Perch have been best between Green and Rattlesnake.
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
PERCH REMINDERS: During July, perch fishing is closed for those 16 and older in Illinois; however, those 15 and younger may catch 10 daily. During the July closure, those with valid Indiana licenses may fish the reciprocal waters.
CHICAGO: Both Park Bait and Henry's reported perch around harbors like Montrose and Burnham. Park Bait reported seeing some steelhead at Montrose. There's some big kings around, as Mikos' catch above. Capt. Bill Kelly reported fewer coho but more kings at the R4 in 70-95 feet, some browns in 55 feet T to O marker, and a mixed bag from the wreck east to 105 and a mixed bag east of Diversey in 75-105. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters reported there's still good lakers in 105-115.
RICHARD J. DALEY MEMORIAL FISHING TOURNAMENT: In July, the eligible species for the privately funded derby are carp, catfish, coho, chinook and steelhead. Fish may be weighed at Henry's, Park Bait or Vet's.
WAUKEGAN/NORTH POINT: Poteshman reported the range has been 40-100 feet from Kenosha, Wis. to Waukegan for kings, some coho and the occasional steelhead or laker. Early morning or late evening have definitely been the better bite.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
D&S Bait reported good bluegill on Monona with some perch, good bluegill on Waubesa with bass on deeper weed lines. On Mendota, there's a hint of perch, scattered crappie on deeper weed lines and smallmouth on the bars.
For D&S Bait, go to dsbait.com
Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports sent this:
The good thing is fishing can't get any worse than it was two weeks ago (I think). So it can only go up from there.
Musky: Good. Anglers reporting lots of action. Most fish moving on bucktails over weed beds but fast moving rubber baits also hot (Medussa, Bulldawg). Not a lot on surface lures, but some reports on cloudy days of topwater action.
Pike: Good. Pike responding well to the weather pattern. Spinner baits, chatterbaits, #4 Mepps and Rattletraps worked over weed tops best. Chubs under a float in afternoon.
Largemouth Bass: Fair to Good. Warmer weather would really help here. Plastics rule! 1/8 oz jigs with 4" worms, stick worms, Chompers. Weed edges best when musky action slow, otherwise work deep into weed pockets.
Smallmouth Bass: Fair. Live bait best right now. Large leeches, crawlers on Lindy Rigs, slip-floats or 1/8oz jigs. Work outside weeds. Gulp Alive leeches a close second. Offshore gravel humps holding some fish.
Perch: Fair. Scattered fish being found along outside weed edges. Medium leeches, fatheads best bet for larger fish.
Bluegill: Fair. Like Largemouth Bass, warm weather would really help. A few big gills (to 10 1/2") this week, small leeches, thunderbugs best.
Crappies: Fair. Fish weed tops with small tinsel jigs, small minnows.
Walleye: Poor-Fair. Something is wrong, but hopefully this weeks weather forecast (lots of clouds, some rain) will bring fish in. A few big walleyes (23-27") being caught on chubs by pike fisherman in heavy weeds.
There is definitely an improvement in the fishing, nothing hot or crazy like we can sometimes get from bass or gills by mid summer, but forecast is an improvement and fish being caught.
Mik-Lurch reported continued good perch at Cal Park, look for them in the weeds or transition areas. The other hot perch bite has been off Lake Street in 42-48. There's some at Gary Light. Minnows will work, but the best perch are coming on soft shells and spinners. The surprise is coolers of catfish coming from Burns Ditch. There's big coho (8-11 pounds) and some kings (best on meat rigs) in 62-90 feet. Shrimp or spinners are still producing steelhead in Trail. For the bluegill at Willow Slough, keep moving.
ST. JOSEPH AREA, MICHIGAN
BJ Sports reported skamania off the piers with shrimp or alewives down 6-8 feet under a float. There's plenty of steelhead in the river, all the way to Indiana.
Guide Jay Angel sent this:
Fishing continues to be off and on.
With these crazy cold fronts that have ripped through the area lately things have gone haywire.
Bass: Bass fishing is hot and cold. I have even seen days where we will catch 5 or 6 bass in an hour and then nothing for the next several hours. Overall I would rate the bass fishing as fair to good. Use soft plastic lures and fish them very slowly if the fishing is slow. Best areas are the deeper weedlines, the rock piles and the standing timber.
Crappies: Crappie fishing remains good. Crappies have moved into the deep trees. Fish 20 feet down over 30 - 35 feet of water with minnows. You will also find crappies over the deeper brushpiles.
Walleyes: Walleye fishing is improving. Walleyes are being caught all over the lake. Best areas are the rock piles, the deeper flats and the deeper drop offs. Use leeches either under slip bobbers or on jigs.
For more reports, click here.
Mik-Lurch reported those with cane poles are taking some nice bluegills, while those dragging worm harnesses with leeches are taking some nice walleye.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT