Summer. It is time for the big bass like Paul Cook's for Fish of the Week and catfish, like these.
Nate Teske sent this:
I wanted to send these two pictures of the beautiful 8 lb cats we caught at Lake Shelbyville on 7/11/09. It was my good friend Paul Slowik's birthday and my two sons, Spencer James (8) and Mitchell Louis (5) helped as net men.
Captain Nate Teske found the fish. They were tasty after a few minutes in the fry daddy.
No, the suburban man is not a captain, just an honorary one. And a tasty one by the sounds of it.
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 couple mid-summer fishing events.
SHABBONA LAKE BLUEGILL OPEN
This time the monthly event on Shabbona Lake is focused on bluegills on Saturday. Go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.
ROCK RIVER CATFISH TOURNAMENT
The seventeenth annual Original Rock Valley Anglers Catfish Tournament is from the Rockton Dam south to Belt Line Road Bridge, shore or boat, on Saturday. The first flight is midnight-6 a.m., second flight 6 a.m.-noon. Registration forms available at www.q985online.com or various Rockford sites.
There is no secret here. Best bets are the usual mid-summer ones, bass on frogs, buzz baits, etc, early and late, or Senkos on weed lines; or fishing bluegill in the weeds
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 good muskie early and late, Pistakee and Fox are best; walleye are also very good around main lake points (Lindy rigs tipped with leeches) and bridge areas. White bass are the other strong bite on spinners, Pinkies or small minnows fished in main lake areas, also trying trolling. Catfish are also very good on stinkbait or crawlers throughout. Bluegill are good on waxies or leaf worms on small hooks or ice jigs with tiny floats; look shallow early and late.
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.
DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES AREA, WISCONSIN
DELAVAN: Guide Dave Duwe sent this:
Delavan fishing remains good. The boat traffic has been intense. There is no time during the week that you can avoid it, so bring your patience. I have no idea how the fish continue to bite with the heavy pressure. The best fishing spots have at least one to two boats on per day.
Bluegill fishing has been excellent. Most of the bigger bluegills are in 15-18 ft of water. The best location is west of the Yacht Club or by the island. They are being caught on leaf worms or small red worms. The best presentation is slip bobbers or fishing straight beneath the boat. I have found that the bigger fish are deep. You can catch a lot of 5-6 inch fish in 8-10 ft of water, but the larger pre-spawn bluegills are deep. A good graph is essential to finding the biting fish. Most of the fish can be located on your fish finder.
Walleyes have started to bite. The best presentation has been leeches fished on either a split shot rig or Lindy rig. The fish are being caught in 15-20 ft of water. There aren't many and the ones I've been catching haven't been legal however, they have been biting aggressively. The best location has been Browns Channel or by the Yacht Club. When fishing leeches, the key to the presentation is a very light weight. You want to fish over the top of the very dense weeds.
Northern Pike have been biting on medium suckers. The best depth has been 24-25 ft of water. Look for the fish by the gray condos, Browns Channel or over by Willow Point. The key to the Northern Pike bite is keeping your bait alive. Make sure you have an extra aerator to keep your bait alive. I've been using a lot of 1/0 circle hooks and it's amazing that every one of them hooks in the corner of their mouth.
Largemouth bass have been the best bite on the lake other than the bluegills. They are in the 15-20 ft depth range and can be readily caught on either drop shots with a 4 inch worm or night crawlers fished on a split shot rig. The best location is by 3 flags or by concrete point. The fish are now schooled up so if you catch one, you will catch a bunch. If you don't get bit, you need to keep moving.
GENEVA: Duwe sent this:
Fishing on Lake Geneva has been relatively slow. We are in the in-between period where the bass are biting and the northern pike go to the thermocline. You can go out and catch a few bass however, the numbers are relatively low.
Largemouth bass are biting the best, either on top water or floating a night crawler in 14 ft of water. The best location is by Trinkes or by Fontana Beach. The best time to fish is always in early morning or late afternoon. The top water bite is most successful with Chug Bugs or Pop-R's. For the best success, the fish are very scattered so you need to keep moving.
Lake Trout fishing has been fantastic. You need to troll chrome/blue or chrome/green spoons in 120 ft of water, 60-80 ft down. Most of the fish that I've caught are between Conference and Cedar Point. Some fish are being caught on small Dodgers and Flys. I haven't been able to experiment much because the best bite is only the first couple of hours of light.
Bluegills are starting to show up. The best location is by Trinkes. Work a depth between 12 and 14 ft of water. I've caught several fish over 10 inches in the last two weeks. You want to fish straight lined beneath the boat with a leaf worm.
Smallmouth bass are really post spawn right now and very difficult to catch. Most of the action is coming in 25-28 ft of water and very scattered. You can catch smallmouth on top water if they are chasing pods of bait fish. Look for the fish by Linn Pier or by Elgin Club. Again, I use either a small jerk bait like the Rapala Husky jerk or a Yo-Zari jerk baits. The best colors are either chrome/blue or chrome/black.
Walleye fishing has been good at night. The best baits have been large Rapalas or Bandit Wally Divers. Look for the fish by the Fontana Beach or by Trinkes Harbor. The best depth to work is 12-15 ft of water. I have found that the best time to fish is between 11 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
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. Catfish as Teske showed above.
EVERGREEN: The Main Recreation Area launch will be closed from 6 p.m. Friday through noon Saturday. The area from the boat rental south across the lake and east will be closed from midnight to 9 a.m. Saturday. Guide Jay Angel reported crappie are good, but it takes sorting, saugeye are slowly, best after dark.
The latest fishing report is posted here.
HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Site is open to public fishing on Fridays and Saturdays.
POWERTON: Summer hours are 6 a.m.-8p.m.
DES PLAINES RIVER
From Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament www.fishing-headquarters.com:
Nothing much has changed in the past week, other than the fact that we are finally in a mid-summer pattern on the DesPlaines River and its creeks. Overall, fishing for many species of fish has been fair to good everywhere I have set my waders at; Almost every day for at least an hour since last week?s report.
On the DPR, water temperatures are running at about 75-degrees and river levels are low and excellent for safe wading.
Pike fishing has been fair to good, but not hot by any means. The good fishing we experienced at the end of last week and over the weekend appears to have slowed down a bit to some degree, but fish up to 30-inches, though skinny, are being found throughout the river. Most fish are relating to the mid-river sections with hard bottom and current (deeper pools with some current are huge bonus), while some fish are also using weeds whether it be mid-river or shoreline. This time of season, depth is the kicker. Find these areas and if they are next to, or in deeper water, something will be caught. Pike are cool-water species by nature, so finding such areas that are cooler by a degree or two will usually hold the more active fish. Burning small bucktails or in-line spinners with #3-4-5 blades (gold/yellow/white) have been working best, although crankbaits and buzzbaits have been getting the occasional fish too. Early morning, or evening seems to be the right time to get out.
Channel Catfish are also quite active almost everywhere. We?ve seen fish up to 10lbs caught this past week by shorebound anglers but most are running at 2-3-4 pounds apiece. Stinkbaits, cutbaits, or live shad have been getting fish from deeper pools with current and hard bottom. Many fish have also been taking our bucktails while Pike fishing - some good ones too.
Walleyes and Bass, not much to report on. With mid-summer fishing, I would focus on locating the deep pools with current and hard bottom for both species, riffle runs with deeper water too. Low-light hours or evenings will have best activity. Shad imitators such as plastics, crankbaits, and divers have been picking up a few fish during evenings. Walleyes up to 16? and Largemouth Bass up to 15?. Even some rare Smallmouth Bass too.
As for the smaller creeks and tributaries of the DesPlaines, some decent fishing is taking place on Salt Creek in Cook and DuPage co when fished at the right time. Early mornings and evenings and into the night has been the best for myself and those joining me on my wades. Almost everything is being found in deeper hard-bottomed pools with current - This includes Pike up to 20 inches, and Walleyes & Largemouth Bass up to 16 inches. Very few Panfish and rough fish reports, overall. Minnowbaits, shad styled crankbaits, and anything resembling baitfish are outproducing everything else being used right now.
To simplify everything that was said above, do the following for everything: 1) Fish early or late, 2) Match the hatch, 3) Search deep and faster water, 4) Locate schools of baitfish.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
Catfishing time is here. That is the prime bite. And the river is in wonderful condition. Ken Gortowski sent this:
Did a quick little report from Friday.
Haven't had the chance to put anything up from Sunday.
In a nutshell, conditions are perfect.
No fish around.
Or hardly any.
Checked my archives and July has always been one of my crappier months. Not sure what the creeks are doing. No chance to get their this week.
Checked the other fishing forums. Just no big deal going on for the Fox. The occasional smallie, cat, drum. . . You name it. But no numbers.
Late Tuesday, he sent this:
More pictures than words, but I seem to be out of time lately.
Maybe during the winter months, when I don't fish anymore, I should expand on them.
I once read a quote from an outdoors writer, the guy that wrote Twelve Angry Men, that if it weren't for winter he would have never written anything.
What can I say? I enjoy reading somebody who quotes the author of Twelve Angry Men.
ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA
With all the high water this year, I had gotten out of the habit of talking with guide ``Buster'' Culjan. Yesterday, I called him again and it was nice to chat fishing and life with him again. He had a helluva float trip up north.
Here's Buster's report:
River is normal, fishing is decent for a mixed bag of smallmouth, largemouth, sauger and white bass on small shallow crankbaits or bladebaits around rip-rap, pea-gravel bar or bridge abutments. Drum are hitting crawlers, catfish are decent on leeches in eddies, or cut shad or Sonny's dipbait otherwise.
The river was about as pretty as I have seen it when wading an hour or so on Sunday, but didn't catch squat. But conditions sure look perfect.
From Ed Mullady:
Kankakee River in very good fishing condition. In Indiana, largemouth bass good at Rt. 41 Area to State Line on *plastic worms *crawlers *imitation frogs.
Catfish good on *minnows *cheesebaits.. Catfish also good at Point and where Yellow River joins the Kankakee.
In Illinois Croppie, Catfish and Rock Bass good around Momence. and Aroma Park.
At Kankakee State Park, some nice smallmouth bass on *Keeper Hooks & Twister tails *minnows *crankbaits. Try around Carly Island and Timothy Island.
Wilmington Dam--Catfish continues good on *minnows*chicken liver*cheesebaits. Walleye fair on *jig and minnow *jig and crawlers.
``Catfish Dave'' Bradigan sent this:
I WENT OUT FRIDAY AFTERNOON 4:30 TO 8:00 WITH MY BROTHER SCOTT. WE CAUGHT FIVE . I HAD THREE AND SCOTT TWO . RANGING FROM 2 TO SIX POUNDS. SUNDAY AFTERNOON MYSELF AND FELIX WENT OUT 4:00 TO 7:30 AND WE CAUGHT NINE. I HAD SIX AND FELIX THREE. RANGING FROM THREE TO SEVEN POUNDS. I ALSO CAUGHT TWO RED HORSE AND FELIX CAUGHT ONE MASSIVE SOFT SHELL TURTLE. ORIGINALLY HE THOUGHT HE WAS SNAGGED UNTIL HE WALKED DOWN TO IT AND THE BIG TURTLE STARTED THUMPING . I CAUGHT ALL OF MY FISH ABOVE THE POWER LINES. FELIX MISSED A BIG ONE IT CUT HIS LINE ON ONE OF ITS BARB. ANYWAY CATS ARE BITING STRONG. DEAD CALM YESTERDAY ON THE RIVER . NOT A LICK OF A SUMER BREEZE. JUST A SNAP SHOT DALE. RIVER IS IN GREAT WADING SHAPE AND THE CATS ARE BITING . ALSO SEEMS LIKE THEIR A LOT MORE CLAMS MUSSELS IN THE WATER THIS YEAR. RIVER IS CLEARING UP. I CAN SEE THEM LIVE AND BUSTED UP .
And I enjoy snapshots, especially of the beloved Kankakee.
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: Perch are in good, inside and out, at Montrose, Park Bait reports. Otherwise, fish panfish around weed pockets or rock bass in the harbors. Mik-Lurch reported boaters taking some perch in Cal Park (spinners and soft shells are best). Capt. Bill Kelly reported the R4 is the hot bite for big coho and rainbows, while ``The Wreck'' (80 degrees out of Diversey 8 1/2 miles) in 75-80 has an good mixed bag. There's mainly coho east of Diversey in 70-90, with lakers out in 90-120. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters seconded ``The Wreck'' and reported good action at T marker.
NORTH POINT: Poteshman reported solid trips (10-20 fish) mainly fishing the hill in 50-110 feet on both sides of the state line. The surprise is steelhead making up about 30-50 percent of the catch, but there's plenty of nice kings and coho with a few lakers and the occasional brown. It's a good solid bite, very best is predawn.
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
For D&S Bait, go to dsbait.com
Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports sent this:
The fishing has gotten a little better...either we've adapted, the fish have adapted or our expectations just got lowered.
Actually, water temps have pretty much stabilized in the high 60's to just over 70 degree range. Slower and smaller seem to work for most species, though musky seem to want things fairly quick.
Musky: Fair to Good. Some good reports from anglers using bucktails over weeds, fish seem to be responding better to blades than anything else. Nice fish in the low to mid 40" range. Wind making drifts rather fast, but the lack of clouds helping move fish.
Pike: Fair to Good. Live bait anglers still reporting good action while still fishing suckers. Spinner baits, chatterbaits on days of west winds or in afternoons.
Perch: Fair to Good. Perch making their presence known in 8-10' weeds. Slip-floats with medium leeches or 1/16oz jigs with 1/2 crawler. Nice 7-10" perch with the occasional 11".
Largemouth: With cool weather, slow plastics are key. Wacky worming (Yums, Senkos), pre-rigged worms, jig and pig best.
Smallmouth: Fair. Tube jigs, spider grubs and large leeches. Fish outside weed edges, rock humps. If weather warms these fish will take off.
Bluegill: Fair. Some fly anglers catching gills on wet flys, sponge spiders. Tiny jigs tipped with worms, small leeches also good. Nice gills to 9+" over this week.
Crappies: Fair. Fish submerged weed tops with bright jigs (Gapen Freshwater shrimp, bright mini-mites) small minnows below floats.
Walleye: Poor-Fair. Under right conditions (rare) fishing good. Key on overcast mornings or late evenings. Leeches and crawlers best bets.
It's been a quiet summer so far in both numbers of people on the water and action. A shift back to our prevailing W by SW winds would definitely help, all this n wind is keeping temps down.
Mik-Lurch said perch (some are doing better than others) are decent at Cal Park, Gary Light, the Lake Street pier, the Donut and the mouth of the Ditch. Spinners and soft shells are best. There's lots of steelhead up the creeks. On the big lake, meat rigs and Magnum spoons are producing lots of good kings in 72-90 feet. Bluegill are good in the front at Willow Slough
ST. JOSEPH AREA, MICHIGAN
BJ Sports reported some skamania off the piers Tuesday. Steelhead are good at the Berrien Springs dam, a few monsters toward 18 pounds. Perch were being caught in 35-45 feet south of the piers. On the big lake, salmon and a few steelhead are in 75-100 feet.
It was a big fish Saturday with a 7.05-pound walleye, a 31-inch catfish and a 43-inch muskie. Angel reported crappie being caught in the deep trees and over structure on minnows; Bass on the deeper drop offs, over the rock piles and along the deeper weed lines He reports walleye are strange this year with more big fish caught in the deep trees than before, leeches are best. Remember the bluegill open is Saturday.
For more reports, click here.
Mik-Lurch reports trolling crawler harnesses or Shad Raps is producing nice walleye.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT