The yo-yoing weather (water temps holding in the mid-60s up north) has made for an odd mid-summer Midwest Fishing Report, but there's still some quality fish like the 12-2.5 coho caught by Robert Civinelli on Gypsy Dancer off Chicago.
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.
We open with a snapshot of the Kankakee River Fishing Derby leaders.
KANKAKEE DERBY WINNERS
The top honors on the ``Big Board'' of the Kankakee River Fishing Derby, which ended Sunday, included a 11-pound, 8-ounce pike (caught by Jeff Dummer of Kankakee), a 12-11 catfish (Joe Kostecka, St. Anne), a 6-11 walleye (Kevin Reiners, Crete) and a 16-8 carp (Mike Olinger Jr., Plainfield). Other winners included 1-0 crappie (Mike Dickey, Bourbonnais), 5-5 largemouth (Sylvester Riojas, Kankakee), 1-4 rock bass (Willie Thompson, Momence) and 3-3 smallmouth (Eric McNeeley, Monee).
Bass on topwaters early and late, or Senkos and plastic worms on weed lines are the top bite. Arden Katz reported bass are very good on Bangs (which has two limited fee launches).
For an overview of nearby river conditions, go to this NWS site. Individual reports are 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 reports walleye and bass are the top bites. For walleye, focus around bridges and other current areas. Bass are good on weed lines, or on topwaters. Bluegill are decent around shallow weeds or other cover. Catfish are best in river and shallow waters. White bass are good in Marie toward Bluff. And there's been some beautiful pike caught.
For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/
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
HEIDECKE: The shad hatch is coming with all that means. Mike Lynch of Binksboat.com sent this:
Better get out there soon, the shad are starting to show up and there is a major algae bloom going on. Casting the shorelines and using live bait have produced some very nice catches or the last week or so but the time is running out and fishing will get very tough in the next couple weeks or so.
Channahon fisherman Jim Lukancic sent this:
The shad hatch is in full force, with 2"shad covering the surface as far as you can see at times. The striper bite has slowed but can be great at times if you can find them herding shad to the surface. About any lure resembling a shad will produce. Walleye on and off but still good with jigging and rigging live bait best. Catfishing very good with crawlers and liver.
Hope this helps, I'll send reports when I have them.
Heres a link to CTA where I posted a video of the shad boiling the action was great. If you use full screen you can really see the shad boiling.
BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: ``Bluegill Bill'' Young is doing well on the bluegills at Mazonia, where the lakes are in the upper 70s. Site staff report Braidwood is 89 north and 95 south.
DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES AREA, WISCONSIN
DELAVAN: Katz reported bluegill are good in the summer pattern with limits caught within hours. Anchor in 17 feet and work of the weeds in 12-14 feet with drop-shots with trout worms. Guide Dave Duwe sent this:
Fishing remains very good for both Northern Pike and Bluegills. With the warmer waters, the fish have been driven out of the shallow water. The biggest concern now is the boat traffic.
Northern Pike can readily be caught in 16-20 ft of water. Most of the success is coming off of deep diving perch colored crank baits or Lindy rigging large suckers. Some of my best locations last week were by Willow Point and the Yacht Club. Some days were better than others, but pike were caught every trip out.
Bluegills are post spawn. They are in the weedline in 15 ft of water. Some of the best luck is slip bobbers using leaf worms. Good locations are west of the Yacht Club and by the orange marina. They are in very big schools so if you get on a good school, it doesn't take long to catch fish.
Largemouth bass are still scattered throughout the weedline. They can be readily caught however, they are not in the dense schools that they usually are this time of year. The key to the technique is to keep moving. You may get two or three in one spot but then it's time to move on. Recently, I have seen several fishermen anchored, but I don't do this because the fish can be anywhere from 15-18 ft deep. I've been throwing a lot of night crawlers on the split shot rig. A lot of fish can also be caught on the drop shot fished with green pumpkin 4 inch worms. Keep moving around.
Walleye fishing has been very good this past week. They are being caught on night crawlers and leeches fished on a split shot rig or light Lindy rig. Look for the fish by the gray condos or by Browns Chanel. The best depth has been about 16-18 ft of water. The fish are scattered again like the largemouth bass, you need to keep moving.
Crappie fishing has been very slow. I haven't caught any in the last two weeks, they should be suspended over 30 ft of water, however they haven't shown up on my fish locator. With the bluegills being so aggressive on the weedline, I would choose to fish for them.
GENEVA: Duwe sent this:
Fishing continues to be excellent. You can catch both largemouth and smallmouth in the shallows. Keep in mind that the boat traffic has increased due to the summer months, on the boat launches that I use, I need to get there by 5:30 a.m. to get a parking spot.
Largemouth bass continue to be in the mid level weeds in 10-13 ft of water. Most of the fish are being caught while drop shotting 4 inch green pumpkin worms or Arkie Shaky head jigs. Look for the fish by Trinkes or by Fontana Beach. I caught some of my biggest largemouth of the year by Colemans Point. With the late summer, the largemouth bass should remain shallow for another week or so.
Lake Trout fishing continues to be good. They are suspended over the main lake basin in 50-70 ft down in 108 ft of water. Small Tommy Harris Dodgers fished with a silver and blue fly have been catching most of the fish. A lot of success has also come off of nickel/blue or nickel/green spoons. I prefer Cleo brand.
Walleye are being caught at night. Large Rapalas or Bandit Walleye Crankbaits in perch pattern or chrome/blue have been producing most of the action. The best location has been Trinkes bay or by Fontana Beach. Live bait fishermen have been having some success on leeches fished on a small Lindy rig in 12-15 ft of water.
Perch have been aggressively biting by Colemans Point. The best depth is 12 ft of water. They can be caught on leaf worms fishing on a split shot rig or with small fathead minnows fished on a slip bobber. Some of the fish I caught last week were in excess of 11 inches.
Northern Pike fishing has been slow. Most of the fish haven't moved out into the deep water because the thermocline hasn't formed yet. With the warmer weather next week, the fish should be on the thermocline in 27 ft of water. They will aggressively be biting chubs or small suckers.
Rock Bass and Bluegills are still in the shallows. The best depth is 12-15 ft of water. They can be readily caught on night crawlers or small leaf worms. It is still a good time to take a younger angler fishing because they will catch a lot of fish.
DES PLAINES RIVER
From Andrew Ragas, Counselor of the Fish Parliament www.fishing-headquarters.com:
It was an up and down week for fishing on the DPR and its tribs over the past week. Overall success simply depended on location and where you were at rather than time of day and overall presentation.
Out on the river, a wide variety of species from gamefish to rough fish are semi-active and responsive. Water levels are finally safe for a change and very wadeable (so far the best this season!), and temperatures are holding steady at around the 75-degree range.
Most of the fish we have encountered in the past week have been while wading. Northern Pike up to 28" are being found in mid-river locations near current, in deeper holes, and weed beds, hitting crankbaits, jerkbaits, the occasional topwater, and smaller bucktails. The fish seem more responsive during late afternoons and evenings. Walleyes are also being found in similar locations but are now utilizing the deeper holes with hard bottom and current. Some shorebound anglers are catching them on minnows under float, while waders such as myself have been trying with some success (not much) wading at night and casting minnowbaits and smaller crankbaits. Some action, barely, just not much size.
Channel Catfish are also providing excitement for many. Chicken livers or cut baits under a float, or slip sinker rigs, are seeing a lot of action from smaller fish. Most anglers have been fishing from shore and the ticket to success has been slack water areas that are immediately near current. And if we want to talk about surprises, they have been hitting crankbaits with regularity - and from what I have seen, almost moreso than your conventional Catfish methods.
As for the DPR tribs such as the Salt Creek and other places, Pike up to 24", Largemouth Bass, and Walleyes (No size to any) have been showing up during the evening hours hitting minnowbaits and jig/plastics. Areas with current/hard bottom, and deeper pools with rock and wood have held most fish. Go simple with presentation, find the schools of baitfish, match the hatch, and it's game on.
Water temperatures have been holding steady everywhere on the DPR watershed, and these are the best wading conditions my friends and I have encountered so far this season. It's time to go fishing.
HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Site is open to public fishing on Fridays and Saturdays. Lots of nice bass (biggest was 8-2) and catfish being caught with the occasional pike and muskie, according site super Rick Seibert.
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.
EVERGREEN: (TWEAKED) Saugeye and crappie slowed, while bass are picking up mornings, according to site staff. The latest report is posted here.
POWERTON: Summer hours are 6 a.m.-8p.m.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
Finally, it looks like a good wading weekend. Catfishing time is here. Smallmouth fishing is spotty, according to an interesting report by Ken Gortowski at http://www.wadauwant.com/wd_journal/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=360&p=1030#p1030
ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA
River and launches are in good shape. Catfishing is the top bite.
Overall, it looks like an outstanding weekend for wading and just generally fishing the river, especially for catfish.
``Catfish Dave'' Bradigan sent this:
The three of us went out Thursday July 2d after work. We entered the water at 4:40 pm and got out at 8:00 pm with a total of 15 cats ranging in size from four to six pounds. Sunday JULY 4TH at 6:30 am to 1:00 pm we caught a total of 12 cats again ranging in size from four to six pounds. Really a quality fish. Due to the rain Saturday the river had a more leaves and debris floating and the water was a murky brown. We really had to work for the 12 fish. All in all the river is in good shape and the catfish are biting. When you did get a pick up there was no doubt because old whiskered walleye would just tear line right out of the spool. Sunday there were a lot of small mouth fisherman in the river.
Ed Mullady sent this:
Overall, the Kankakee River is still receding and clearing nicely.
In Indiana, good numbers of bluegill and croppie at mouth of bayous and up in the bayous and ditch mouths. Good on *redworms *minnows *small spinners *beetle spins*fly rod spiders and small poppers. pnkie jigs also good.
In Illinois: Some northern pike being caught from 8 to 11 pounds. Good from mouth of Railroad Bayou downstream to and through Momence. Koop's Island through Erika Island also good. *Big minnows *weedless spoons & pork rind or skirt *Minnow shaped plugs. Mike Lee at Frank's Bait Shop, Momence reports good catches of catfish on *chicken liver *cheese or bloodbaits.
Kankakee River State Park good for catfish....walleye. Smallmouth Bass fair in riffle areas on *#3 Mepps Spinners *artificial and live crawfish *Jig and Double Twister tail.
Wilmington Area: Try around Island Park for catfish on *minnows*cheesebaits*crawfish.
Check the latest at Harborside.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
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: The big news was another big bighead carp, this one caught from the Columbus Park lagoon by Gregory Hamilton and weighed at nearly 35 at Henry's . Inside the harbors, rock bass are the top shoreline bite with spotty perch for youngsters. Boaters are doing OK for perch in the reciprocal waters, according to Mik-Lurch. Capt. Bill Kelly reported the R4 is good for coho. The other good area for coho is east of Diversey to east of the Evanston bank building in 70-90 feet; there's also a few kings and other fish there. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said there's good laker action in 100-120 feet.
WAUKEGAN: Salmon Stop reported kids catching some perch off the piers, and lots of rock bass and bluegill. There's a few browns and coho off the piers. Boaters are having spotty action in 110-160 feet, south has been better than north, down 40-80 feet.
NORTH POINT: Poteshman said the hill is fair; real early (4 or 5 a.m.) is best for some big kings and some coho. In 180 feet and deeper, there's been some lakers and a mixed bag.
RICHARD J. DALEY MEMORIAL FISHING TOURNAMENT: In July, the eligible species for the privately funded derby are carp, catfish, coho, chinook and steelhead. It's turning into quite the month with Hamilton's bighead carp and Civinelli's coho.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
D&S Bait reports the drifting bite for bluegill is moving deeper (15-30 feet) on Waubesa and Monona. Largemouth active on deeper weed edges on plastics. On Mendota, white bass are good in the evenings. For D&S Bait, go to dsbait.com
Weather continues to make for tough fishing with water temperatures back into the low and mid-60s.
(ADDED) Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports sent this:
Overall, fishing for this time of year has to be considered poor. Cool...cold mornings (temps in the 40's) have held lake surface temps into the low to mid 60's. High, cloudless skies haven't helped keep the afternoon heat in.
Crappies: Fair. Some fish starting to move into tall curly leaf cabbage stands. Not sitting high up in the weeds. Work tiny jigs or set small minnows 3-4' down below weed tops.
Pike: Fair. Early mornings stick to live bait on slip-floats, light jigs. Late morning switch to spinnerbaits, #4 Mepps. Fish thickest weeds.
Largemouth: Fair. Pre-rigged plastic worms, other slowly fished plastics best. Surface action slow due to cold.
Smallmouth: Fair. Live leeches best bet. Stick worms (Senkos, Dingers) also effective. Haven't set up in strong summer pattern yet.
Musky: Fair. Best towards dusk. Twitch baits, smaller bucktails best.
Bluegills: Fair. Warmer weather needed to get bite going.
Walleye: Poor. Haven't seen fish set up in classic summer pattern. Trollers on Flowages doing best. Crawlers best bait for jig fisherman.
It seems the mayfly hatches are coming in small spurts. Shallows are cool so minnows holding off shore. We really need some summer heat to get things going.
Best news may be in the anticipation of steelhead taking off. On Monday, I was playing around Michigan City with Lee Szczepanski, plenty were jumping off the pier but only a few caught. Up Trail Creek, there were sightings and a few caught. But this is likely the week for steelhead, especially in the creeks.
Mik-Lurch reported decent perch starting on the shoals off the point of Inland, by the donut off Burns Ditch and spotty in Cal Park. Coho (6-12 pounds) with a few steelhead and kings mixed in are good northeast of the Gong in 60-75 feet. Fire-dot Dodgers and green crinkle flies, spoons (Hawaiian Bait has been hot) or herring meat rigs are working.
OREGON: Jan Prose at TJ's Bait/Tackle & Canoe Rental sent this:
A few nice catfish being caught on dip bait and worms. A 30 pound flathead caught on the east side of the dam. A few walleye and small mouth on worms and crank baits.
ST. JOSEPH AREA, MICHIGAN
BJ Sports reported the run started for skamania and there's good catches at the Berrien Springs dam. Orange Oslo spinners are the way to go. Smallmouth and walleye are decent in the river. On the big lake, perch are good in 40-45 feet on Tuesday; while salmon and trout were in 100-120 feet.
Lakeside reported the lake at 78 degrees. Best bite are bluegills in the weeds or bass (several 4- and 5-pounders) in the bays or lily pads on plastics or frogs. Catfish are generally good on a variety of baits. Crappie are deep in 15-18 feet around cribs or trees. Walleye are fair.
For more reports, click here.
Walleye (a 27-incher was caught and released over the weekend) are decent again. The other top bite is largemouth.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT