Going into a long holiday weekend, let me digress into one of my favorite ruminations on local ponds and lakes around Chicago fishing to open the Midwest Fishing Report.
Here's my theory on that: Everybody should have a favorite nearby (and that's the key word, nearby) pond or lake they learn and know. It should be a place close enough for quick getaways, close enough that you can fish for only half an hour and not feel like you wasted an hour drive.
That's one of the essentials in life, at least in my world.
Even 16-year-old Mike Jarvis gets that. See the DuPage ``puddle,'' where he caught his Fish of the Week.
For me, the spot now is our town pond. I know I can catch something there, and it is a two minutes away. It's not a hotspot, per se, but it's good enough that combined with closeness, it's good for me in my situation, and friendly enough for the kids too.
When we lived on the North Side, I had several certain spots within walking or biking distance on the North Shore Channel and, if driving, several options at Montrose harbor.
When we lived in the southwest suburbs, it was two separate stretches of DuPage River, a couple of pools on the Lily Cache Creek (mainly for bullheads, but that's something), and a park district pond off Black Road (I think it was with the Joliet Park District, but I'm not sure).
My point is find those spots and make them your own.
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 email@example.com.
During July, perch fishing on Lake Michigan is closed for those 16 and older in Illinois; however, those 15 and younger may catch 10 daily. Those with valid Indiana licenses may fish the reciprocal waters.
KANKAKEE RIVER VALLEY FISHING DERBY
The derby continues through Sunday. So far the glamour fish are a 14-8 catfish (Darrel Powers of Bradley), a 15-12 rough fish (Kevin Ballard of Kankakee) and a 7-4 walleye (Justin Sims of Bradley). It's $20 per family. Click here for info.
Bullfrog season in Illinois runs through Aug. 31. A sport fishing license is required. 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. Daily bag is eight.
Summer is here. There's been some good largemouth, early and late on most area lakes and ponds; otherwise it is primarily bluegills on weed lines or weed pockets.
Ken Gortowski sent this:
Well, my last prediction about the Apple River failed. The river did hit my magic wading number of 350 cfs for a brief moment, but how was I supposed to know the last push of rain would go through that area. I'm not the weather god Tom Skilling you know. But based on what I'm looking at now, I'll make a good bet that by the end of day Wednesday it will go below the 350 cfs mark. Which would make Thursday and Friday excellent days to go fish it if someone has the time during the week. Beat the weekend warriors, especially on a holiday weekend.
Only one way to know, go check the real-time stream gauge for the Apple.
For an overview of nearby river conditions, click here. I included most individual river reports, but will again probably update the rivers later this week.
BIG GREEN LAKE, WISCONSIN
For guide Mike Norton's report, go to www.nortonsfishingandhuntingadventures.com, then click on fishing, then lake report.
CHAIN O'LAKES AREA
The lower river between the Algonquin and McHenry dams remained no-wake as of Tuesday. Click here for updates from the Fox Waterway Agency.
Triangle Sports reported good white bass on Bluff and Marie on spinner rigs or live bait, try in 8-12 feet. Play the current in the river or on lakes (Marie or Bluff) for walleye; leeches best. Muskie are best early and late; fish weedy cover. Catfish are good (some 6-pounders), try Marie, Grass or Fox. For bluegill, fish shaded cover. Crappie are on a evening bite.
For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/
More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.
From Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass on Monday:
I fished 9 more hours , for my persistence I got 3 smallies(at north pier) 13-15 inch on andys home made football jig with the caterpillars I plucked out of the trees on the bank. I noticed the guy with the leaf blower a few times blowing them in the water and the bass and panfish eating them up (every day about 9am). Then I went too the south branch (Loomis slip) picked up 20 or more 7 inch small mouth on a beatle spin but one 17 inch smallie 2 and a quarter pounds ! Also many blue gill .
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
MAZONIA: Best choice for panfish, both by boat or bushwhacking. If I get time to play over the holiday weekend, this will be a destination. HEIDECKE: Mik-Lurch reported drifting leeches on slip bobbers produces some walleye; for crappie, try by buoys. LaSALLE: Mik-Lurch reported blues in the deep holes in the first pool; hybrids there too, higher on liver.
DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES AREA, WISCONSIN
DELAVAN: Guide Dave Duwe sent this:
Delavan Lake 6/27/10 through 7/4/10
The past week has been one thunderstorm after another, but if you could avoid the heavy rain and lightening, the fish were very active. As a rule, I noticed most of the fish have remained shallow. The only thing that could explain this is likely the rain. The rain must be cooling the water temperature enough to keep the fish shallow. Typically, most of the fish should be on the deep weedline, however I'm catching most of my Largemouth bass in 8-9 ft of water.
Northern Pike this past week has been simply outstanding. You have been able to catch as many pike as you have lively suckers for. The best presentation has been either lindy rigging medium suckers or using Thill slip bobbers for the suspended fish. Last week, a lot of fish were over the 35 and close to 40 inch range. The best location was by Belvidere Park down to Browns Channel. The key is to keep moving and try to find the active fish. With the bite is good as it is, it isn't hard to catch 20-25 pike in a 4 hour stretch.
Largemouth bass are still on two different patterns. The biggest fish are on the deep weedline in 15-18 ft of water. However, most of the fish are in the 8-9 ft depth range. The water temperature in the shallows is conducive to the Chug bug bite. Chrome and Blue is the best color. I have also been Wacky rigging green pumpkin All Terrain Stiks or fishing live nightcrawlers. The key to the presentation is finding locations on the south shore that have scattered weeds with a sand bottom. Most of the locations have far too many slimy weeds to fish effectively, so you need to search out the ideal spots. For the deep weedline fish, I have been lindy rigging or split shot rigging live nightcrawlers in 15-18 ft of water. In past years, the bass would have been schooled by now so you could fish in just a few spots. I've been moving around a lot and picking up fish here and there.
Bluegill fishing has been great on the weedline in 12-15 ft of water. The best location has been by the Yacht Club, the island and by Willow Point. I've been split shot rigging leaf worms while back trolling against the wind. Most of the fish have been coming off of the initial fall of the leaf worm. Some days are harder to catch the fish over 8 inches, but if you keep moving you will catch them.
Walleyes have been biting on nightcrawlers and leeches. The best presentation has either been on the split shot rig or fishing a lindy rig in 15-18 ft of water. The best location has been from the Yacht Club west towards Willow Point. There hasn't been a very large concentration in any one spot, so I have been back trolling to find the aggressive fish.
Crappie fishing has been rather slow. Most of the fish have moved out on the deep weedline and have suspended. Due to the aggressive nature of the other species, I haven't been fishing them too much. Most of my clients haven't wanted to keep crappies this late into summer since the meat gets soft. The crappies that are being caught have been caught on plastics. Purple or Chartreuse have been the best colors especially when fishing on a 1/32 oz Arkie Jig.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
GENEVA: Duwe sent this:
Lake Geneva 6/27/10 through 7/4/10
Unlike last year, the summer weather patterns are a bit more normal. Most of the fish are coming out of their late spring, early summer pattern and are going to start to move to the deep water that Lake Geneva offers. I would have to say that most of the fish can still be caught in 12-15 ft of water for now. That will typically change after the 4th of July.
Northern Pike have been scattered throughout the weed flats. They can be caught on Rapala Husky Jerks or White spinner baits. The best depth is 8-12 ft of water. The best location is Williams Bay or Trinkes Bay. With the water temperature the way it is, they will slowly be moving out to the thermocline. It is likely that within the next week, you won't be catching any fish shallow, you'll need to look for them in 27-30 ft of water. Once on the thermocline, it is a good choice to use a lindy rigged ¾ oz walking sinker and sucker. The best locations for this is by Black Point or in the narrows on the north shore.
Largemouth bass can still be had in the 10-18 ft depth range. With the warm weather, they have been sporadic throughout the water column. The rain has been determining the depth of the fish. Most of the fish have been caught drop shotting small plastics or live nightcrawlers. Look for the fish by Linn Pier or in Trinkes Bay. There hasn't been a day where you can't catch at least 10-12 fish in the last few weeks.
Smallmouth bass have moved deeper due to the warmer weather. Most of the fish are in 18-20 ft of water. The best presentation is drop shotting or Carolina rigging either small plastics or live nightcrawlers. Look for the fish by Black Point or by the Military Academy.
Rock bass continue to be everywhere. They will readily bite a split shot rigged nightcrawler. The best locations that I've found are by Belvidere Park or by Coleman's point. The best depth has been 10-12 ft of water.
Walleyes are biting at night. The best time to try for them is midnight until 3 a.m. You want to troll the weed flats from 12-15 ft of water. Most people are trolling Rapalas or Walleye Bandits. Chrome and Blue or Chrome and Black have been consistently producing. Look for the fish in Trinkes or Geneva Bay.
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, click here or call (309) 547-2730.
SHELBYVILLE: Guide Ken Wilson--(217) 454-2672--out of Lithia Marina reported white bass ``on fire'' on the north end, trolling crankbaits in 12-14. Crappie are fair, walleye are slow. Lake is up 9 feet and rising, launches are OK. For info from the Corps, call (217) 774-2020.
EVERGREEN: As of this morning, the staff fishing report had not been updated. When it is, it will be posted here.
POWERTON: Summer hours--6 a.m.-8 p.m.--are in effect.
From Frank Macikas:
As with the last few weeks not a lot to report. River is still high and very fast. Flows have been holding around 1300 cfs for the last 4 days straight. Hopefully with no rain this week levels will come down quickly and be in good shape for this holiday weekend. I will keep you updated as the week progresses.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
The lower river between the Algonquin and McHenry dams remained no-wake as of Tuesday. Click here for updates from the Fox Waterway Agency.
Gortowski sent this:
I got out on Friday when the Fox was flowing at just under 3000 cfs and before more rains fell. The stretch I went to should have produced, but other than a couple of lost fish, nothing to report. I've commented recently on how something has changed since we had that big flood event of September 2008 when the river topped out at around 19,000 cfs. The stretch between Montgomery and Yorkville has not been the same since. It could very well be attributed to the fact that I can no longer get out when the conditions are ideal and can only get out when I can. Fish are still caught, but I have not had days like years past since that flood.
Spoke to one of the land owners along the river down from Orchard Road. He reported the same lack of fish all along that stretch. Fish just haven't been in their usual spots since that flood.
Also years ago, after another not so high flood event, I helped with a shocking survey in Batavia. Months after the flood event the minnow population was down from normal and I was told it could take a good year for it to recover to pre-flood conditions. That could make a difference and I suppose anything is possible.
The last of the weekend rains brought the Fox up to 3800 cfs, higher than it has been in well over a month. The creeks around me I like to fish suffered the same fate. So at the start of one of the longest dry spells we've had in quite some time, getting back down to near normal levels will take a little longer. Basically wasting a few gorgeous days as we wait. For the holiday weekend things should be pretty good. No more rain please.
I think it should be made clear in my reports to you, and so anglers don't think I'm blowing smoke up anyone's butts, that I primarily fish what I call the Middle Fox. It's rare that I fish north of Aurora anymore and I never go north of Les Arends Forest Preserve in Batavia anymore.
90 percent of the fishing I do on the river and all of the creeks I mention, are down stream of Montgomery. I never fish dams. I avoid anything resembling an urban area like the plague. So far this year I've fished as far downstream as Millbrook and if the river would ever settle down, I'm going further. The creeks take me all over the place, as long as they're connected to the Fox. I never fish at their mouths. That's where everyone else goes.
So, if anglers are doing better further north, I've passed on your info and hopefully someone will eventually get you consistent reports. In 14 years of visiting the local fishing websites, I've noticed that the river gets much more pressure from Geneva all the way north. When anglers are complaining about fishing pressure I just shrug my shoulders like I have no clue what they're talking about. I think in over 3 years now I've run into 6 other anglers where I go. I'm going to have to start looking for less crowded spots.
River conditions and therefore fishing results, could be completely different the further north you go of Geneva. Case in point, when I was out Friday the river clarity was barely 6 inches in the stretch I was fishing down from Montgomery, but someone up in Elgin posted a picture that included the water and it sure looked like a good 18 inches of clarity and they had better fishing results than I did. Water clarity makes all the difference in the world. I pointed out that between Elgin and Montgomery were a fair amount of creeks and they were all flowing mud.
ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA
The river is expected to fall below flood stage later this week, so use caution when boating here.
Ed Mullady sent this:
Kankakee River and its creeks, ditches, clearing and dropping some. Fishing good in both Indiana and Illinois parts of river. Try areas near the bank, at creek and ditch mouths, along weed beds and riffles.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
Rickard's reported good walleye at the C Can on the north end of the firing range, north of The Finger and northwest of West Sister for smaller eaters. Bigger fish are east of Kelleys.
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
PERCH NOTES: For July perch regs, see top. The bad thing is the fishing is picking up. The Salmon Stop even reported some decent shore action at Waukegan, suggesting boaters should be looking shallow. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said they have been finding them pretty good in the weed beds off Navy Pier. That suggests to me it might be worth an exploring trip with my kids in July to Navy Pier to see if we can catch some in the weeds. ``Jumbo Jimmy'' Baczek said they were finding them pretty good in the weed beds on the west side of Burnham on Monday, so did Henry's . Unfortunately, as of July 1, the season shuts down for those 16 and older.
CHICAGO: Harbor fishing is solid for rock bass, with other panfish tight to the weeds. Capt. Bill Kelly reported good lakers 60 degrees out of Diversey in 90-110 feet on big Dodgers and flies. There's coho, kings and steelhead in 45-60 from Burnham to the T marker. R4 has been slow.
WAUKEGAN: Salmon Stop reported decent salmon in 70-90 south early on glow spoons or white glow Dodger and glow tinsel fly.
NORTH POINT: Poteshman said fishing has been good all over. Fishing (kings, coho, steelhead) has been good in 40-60; if that changes, slide out deeper to the hill. He reminded some fish are up higher, so don't just focus down low, and use a mix of spoons and Dodgers and flies.
RICHARD J. DALEY MEMORIAL FISHING TOURNAMENT: Fish may be weighed at Henry's, Park Bait or Vet's. In July, eligible fish are carp, catfish, coho, chinook, steelhead and perch (for those 15 and younger).
CHICAGO'S FISHERMAN'S PARKING: The $10 parking passes for the small fishermen's lots at Burnham and DuSable harbors are available at Henry's.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
D&S Bait reported good bluegills on Monona; some perch on weed lines; muskie improving on Monona and Waubesa and smallmouth decent on Mendota are on the bars in 15-20 feet. For D&S Bait, go to dsbait.com
MISSISSIPPI RIVER: SAVANNA:
Miller's Sports Center reported rising water, up about 2 feet, making for slow fishing. There's some walleye on the wing dams. Trick is dealing with the current.
Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports sent this:
Passing storms and rain kept anglers off the water at times this past week. When anglers did venture out, most were greeted with varying degrees of success.
Musky: Good-Very Good. Musky active prior to fronts and during overcast days. Lots of reports from anglers targeting other species having bass, walleye and panfish being taken by muskies this week. Good surface bait action (top water by Smity, Gooch and Sennett). Also bucktails and spinnerbaits. Most action up and over weeds in 7-12'.
Northern Pike: Good-Very Good. While not as active on the surface, very active chasing spinners and spinnerbaits. Work fast moving saftey pin style (Bonnie Baits, Reed Runners) over weed tops in 4-10'. Soaking large chubs and suckers under a slip float also effective.
Largemouth Bass: Good-Very Good. Making their presence felt as anglers fishing the first two species also catching good #'s of larger (to 20") fish on lures meant for Musky/Pike. Under last weeks conditions, plugs, x-raps, shallow shad raps, rattle traps as well as spinnerbaits and chatter baits very effective. A few high pressure days this week will probably slow things down to a plastic bite. Top water (Torpedos, chug bugs, jitter bugs) also hot!!!
Walleye: Good. Good weather for Walleyes. Still using a lot of red tailed chubs along with leeches. Outside weed edges best, but on dark days finding walleyes moving into weeds of 6-8' to feed on small perch.
Bluegills: Good. Many gills in weeds. Worms, small leeches, mini-mite jigs. Fish the same 6-8' weed beds. Not much for deeper gills yet.
Smallmouth Bass: Good. Not their weather but nice fish over 4#'s caught this week. For the artificial lure angler, cast 3" tubes on a 1/4 oz head out from weed edges or over gravel humps. X-large leeches also tough to resist.
Crappies: Fair-Good. Finding crappies taking up residence over weeds in 8-12'. Far cast 1/32 oz jigs with a 1-2" twister tail over weeds till fish are found. Continue with twister or set up with small minnows or mini-mite jigs 2" under small float.
Not much rain in forecast. Rising temps should be good for anglers targeting Smallmouth and Bluegills. Higher pressure could slow Walleye, Musky bite.
EAGLE RIVER: Creative Brilliance sent this report for the Chamber of Commerce:
(Lead): Water temps slowly rising and are in the low 70s in the Eagle River
Musky in the Eagle River area are putting on a very good bite. Fish 15
feet of water or less around weed edges. Use small bucktails such as a
Mepps Musky Killer, spinner baits "burned", small minnow baits "twitched" or
crankbaits. While it's an all day bite, action peaks early and late in the
With the mayfly hatch ending, walleye action in the Eagle River area has
improved. Fish 15 feet of water or less around weed edges. Use a 1/16 ounce
jig with a fathead minnow or a leech.
Northern in the Eagle River area are putting on a good bite. Fish 10 feet
of water or less, with the northern holding in the weeds. Use a small
bucktail or a bass style spinner bait.
Smallmouth bass in the Eagle River area are in 10-20 feet of water holding
on break edges over hardbottom (sand/rock/gravel), in the Eagle River area.
Use a 3 inch tube, a 1/8 ounce jig head with a leech (can be used with a
tube or separately), or a plastic crawfish. In the evening, topwaters like
a Heddon Torpedo, or a Zara Spook (even buzz baits) are providing some good
Largemouth bass in the Eagle River area are in 10 feet of water or less
holding in the weeds, associated with structure, like docks, downed trees,
brush piles or stumps. Use a plastic worm rigged wacky, or a buzz bait. In
the evening try a Heddon Torpedo or a jig and a pig.
Crappies, bluegills and perch are hanging together in the Eagle River area.
Fish 15 feet of water or less in and around weeds. Use a crappie minnow or
chunk of crawler under a slip bobber, or a 1/16 ounce jig and a small
minnow. Crappies and gills will suspend up and down the water column, with
the perch fairly tight to the bottom. Good action.
Mik-Lurch reported good perch on inside of Cal Park breakwall. If Cal Park weeds are not improving, try deeper. Donut by Port of Indiana also producing perch. Skamania are on the mud line out of the Ditch, 2-7 a.m. is best; also some steelhead at the Michigan City pierhead on cooked shrimp under a bobber, down about 4 or 5 feet, early (3-7 a.m.) Creeks are dropping and clearing, steelhead hitting on spinners or floating shrimp under bobbers. Trollers are taking salmon on the state line. Willow Slough is weeded over, so a cane pole is mandatory.
OREGON: Jan Prose at TJ's Bait/Tackle & Canoe Rental sent this:
River is up a foot or so, but it looks like a nice week ahead. Mostly catfish being caught, some nice size in 3-5 pound range, still on dip bait, shrimp and cut bait. A few flatheads in smaller sizes being caught. Carp are biting on worms. A few walleye in the deeper holes.
ST. JOSEPH AREA, MICHIGAN
BJ Sports reported perch in 40 feet south of St. Joseph by the new water tower. Storms slowed piers, but fishing for skamania and catfish should rebound by the weekend.
Lakeside reported water in the upper 70s and summer patterns: crappie are in the cribs; boaters are doing better for bass than shore guys by working deep weed lines; shore fishermen are doing well for perch, bluegill and catfish working weeds in the bay. NOTE: There will be fireworks over the lake at dusk Sunday night
For more reports, click here.
SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT
From the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report:
In Kenosha the trolling bite remains consistent, with good catches coming from as shallow as 40 feet of water, to as deep as 100 feet or more. Nearly all methods have produced fish at times. Fishing in the Kenosha harbor has been improving steadily, especially in the evening hours and into the night. Silver & green spoons as well as glow in the dark have been catching fish, as have tube jigs. Most fish have been brown trout, and activity has been good from the Best Western all the way out to the ends of the piers. Perch fishing has been slow from the piers, but better from Southport marina, especially in the early morning hours. Live bait has accounted for a large number of perch. Boats out for perch have been having a good bite in the mornings. Minnows have been the most consistent producer, but others are having luck with jigs and plastic.
In Racine trollers have been catching decent numbers of coho and chinooks. Fish have been near shore, and the best catches have come in less than 60 feet of water. Shore fishing in Racine has been good the past several days, despite the muddy water being discharged from the Root River. The north pier has had the clearest water, but the fewest fish. Perch fishing has been fair to good, with fish being caught in nearly all manners from south pier all the way to the wastewater treatment plant. Along with the perch, there have been browns, rainbows and even a few coho hooked recently, many by those targeting perch and spoons accounted for the remainder. For those fishing in boats, the perch bite has been fair to good, with the breakwalls and the bubbler providing good action at times. Minnows and crab tails have both produced, as have jigs.
In Milwaukee trollers have been catching coho and chinooks, along with a few rainbows and lake trout. Spoons have taken the majority of fish, and the best colors have been watermelon, white, and blue. The most consistent depths recently have been 40 to 60 feet of water, and most fish have been caught straight east of the harbor or north off the filtration plant. The hours before sunrise and after dark have been most productive for trollers. For shore anglers in Milwaukee, the most consistent spot has been McKinley pier. Live alewives fished off the bottom have taken browns and chinooks, and perch have been taken on plastics. Boaters launching at Bender Park and fishing for perch have been catching good numbers at the boils off South Milwaukee, and near the Oak Creek Power Plant. Small minnows fished about a foot off the bottom have produced.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN:
River is coming down and warming. Guide Bill Stoeger reported crappie and bluegill (some still had eggs Friday) picking up. There's some catfish and walleye (drifting with crawlers) being caught in the river.
There's the usual summer bass and bluegill. Mik-Lurch said there's some walleye on the Indiana side in 10-15 ridge. Find them slow trolling Rapalas, once found, drift with a leech.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT