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Midwest Fishing Report: Catfish, perch & variable rivers

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Catfishing is going strong, as it should be in the heart of summer; perch fishing for all reopens on the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan on Sunday; and the historic weekend storm split conditions around Chicago fishing when it comes to rivers, all in the Midwest Fishing Report.


Let's tie it all together with this report from ``Catfish Dave'' Bradigan, from the Kankakee, one river not impacted much by the storms:

Dale here are the 10 Cats we caught Sunday morning form 8:30 to 12:30. Really nice fish going 5.0 lbs with my brother Scott catching one going 8 to 9 lbs. River is still in nice shape but the rain coming down from all the creeks was starting to muddy up the river Close to 50 lbs of cats .We also went out Thursday after work and caught four Cats 4 to 5 lbs. Once again the bite is good and the Cats are quality . Btw we fillets these out and had a nice Catfish fry Sunday evening.

That's doing it right.

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


Perch are ``all over, all sizes,'' as Mike Repa at Park Bait at Montrose put it. Kids have been catching them in Chicago harbors. The Salmon Stop reported kids ``going crazy'' off the Waukegan piers. 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. Looking at the weather forecast, it is hard to predict if the cold shoreline water will hold and keep the perch close for the Sunday reopener. Those with valid Indiana licenses may fish the reciprocal waters, though Cal harbor has been slow. For Chicago kids (15 and younger), the Richard J. Daley Memorial Fishing Tournament has perch open in July.


Bullfrog season in Illinois is June 15 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.


For an overview of nearby river conditions, click here. The Fox, DuPage and Des Plaines are all receding from floods. Fish tributaries or work shoreline eddies and pockets. All the same, I included individual reports for the Fox, DuPage, Illinois and Kankakee below.


For guide Mike Norton's report, go to, then click on fishing, then lake report.


The river to no-wake restrictions on Monday, however we heard it will be lifted before the weekend. Check regularly.

Triangle Sports reported leeches or crawlers are best for walleye around the current areas. Another good bite has been white bass in the river. Expect bass to be revitalized on near-shore brush and shoreline structure.

Don Letrich reported:

Hi, I just finished 2 days of fishing chain. I started fishing scum frogs in the slop. A few hits but I was unable to set hook, this fishing is a challenge! Any way this is what I learned C J Smiths did not have any big suckers, when I asked why they never have them, he said the GUIDES come in around noon and buy him out. We interesting that you never hear of suckers for bait by them...always lures. I do see a lot of giant plugs and I see them producing muskie; but I hardly ever see sucker fishing with the beachball bobbers, maybe they are fishing suckers in a different way. So I can say that fishing is still slow and water is high temps at 89 at surface water.

For more reports, see


Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass sent this:

Chicago river report, north pier nothing after 2 hours temp 71 degrees, south branch some small bass and sunfish (slow) temp 69 degrees. River very busy ....


BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Close is 8 p.m. On cloudy days or during low light, Mazonia lakes are a good option. The south ramp at Braidwood is closed for an extension. When it is finished, the north ramp will be closed for the same.


DELAVAN: Guide Dave Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake 7/25/10 through 8/1/10
Fishing remains fantastic. The fish are in their mid summer pattern and they have schooled up and can be caught if you find the schools.
Northern Pike fishing has been relatively slow this week. I think most of the problem is that the bluegills have slid off the weedline and are in 18-24 ft of water. The few pike I've been catching have been in 22-24 ft of water. The pike are getting filled up on the small bluegills. Either that or the anglers are so good there aren't any left. The best locations that I've found have been by Willow Point or by Belvidere Park.
Bluegills are literally everywhere on the lake. If you find a weed line, you will find the bluegills. Unlike prior weeks, the bluegills schools are all integrated with different size fish. You can fish a school and catch big ones, even though there are small ones present. The biggest fish I've caught have been by Willow Point or Belvidere Park. The best depth has been 20 ft of water. I've been casting the split shot rigged leaf worm and catching all I care to catch.
Largemouth bass are schooled up really heavy right now. They can be caught on jigs and split shot rigged nightcrawlers. The key is finding areas with rock and weed. They are schooling up very heavy. At certain times last week, I fished for four hours with a guide party and never left the first location. The key is to stay in a location where the fish are feeding, if you catch one, you should catch many.
Walleye Pike have been a bit slow. The only fish I've heard about have come from trolling crank baits in 20 ft of water, right off the weedline. The best location is by Delavan Lake Marina or by Belvidere Park. You want a crank bait that dives 16-18 ft and then troll it at 1 ½ - 2 mph. The best color has been pearl.
Crappies have again been biting over the medium depth weeds in 12-15 ft of water. They can be caught by the Oriental boat house or by Assembly Park. The best approach is small plastics, try purple or chartreuse. The fish have been on the smaller side, the average size has been about 8-9 inches.
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 7/25/10 through 8/1/10
Fishing on Geneva remains very consistent. There are fish to be caught every time out. The best bite is the Northern Pike and Walleyes after dark.
Northern Pike fishing has been excellent. Most of the fish are being caught in 30-32 ft of water. The best location is in Fontana or the north shore in the narrows. The best presentation is lindy rigged medium suckers right on bottom. Most of the fish can be seen using your electronics. I typically will not fish a spot unless I see active fish.
Lake Trout are being caught on the main lake basin. They are in 108-120 ft of water, 70-80 ft down. Nickel/blue and nickel/green spoons have been the best presentation. I have been doing a big circle from Conference and Cedar Point. The best bite still remains ½ hour before sun up and ½ hour before sun down.
Perch have been very aggressive. They have been in the 10-12 ft depth range. They can be caught on ½ nightcrawlers or fat head minnows. The best location has been by Rainbow Point or Knollwood. The biggest issue as always is the size, you need to sort through a lot of small fish to get to the keepers.
Rock Bass have moved deeper. They are in the 14-18 ft depth range. They can be caught on split shot rigged nightcrawlers. The best location has been by Elgin Club or by Maytag Point. With the water temperature being so warm, their meat is getting soft. I wouldn't recommend keeping them this time of year.
Walleye Pike fishing has been good at night if there is some wind. Without wind Lake Geneva is a dead sea for Walleye. The best location has been by Fontana Beach or Abbey Springs. Work a depth of 16-18 ft of water with medium diving crank baits. I prefer chrome/black Walleye Bandits.
Largemouth Bass can be caught in the shallows or on the deep weedline. The shallow fish can be caught on split shot rigged nightcrawlers or on top water lures. The best location has been Trinkes Bay or by Linn Pier. I've been working a depth of 10-12 ft. Some of the largemouth are starting to school on the hard rock bottom in 18-25 ft of water. They can be caught Carolina rigging Arkie Crawlin' grubs or drop shotting 4 inch finesse worms. In either case, green pumpkin is the only color to tie on.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
Daily Reports
7/24/10 - Lake Geneva - Cloudy and Rainy, water temp 81 degrees, winds out of the SW at 10 mph. Caught 13 northern pike and 6 bass. The pike were caught in 32-33 ft of water. The best location was in Fontana. Some of the bass were caught on top water lures, the rest on split shot rigged nightcrawlers near Belvidere Park. We've had some crazy weather, it was great that I was able to get out because it was productive.
7/23/10 - Delavan Lake - sunny, water temp 82 degrees, air temp 85 degrees, winds light out of the SW at 5 mph. Caught 23 bass and a bunch of bluegills. All the fish were caught in 15-18 ft of water. The best approach was split shot rigged nightcrawlers. The best location was by the gray condos.
7/22/10 - Delavan Lake - cloudy, big threats of Thunderstorms, water temp 81 degrees, air temp 85 degrees, winds SW at 25-30 mph. Most people wouldn't have fished in these conditions. The tornado storms were going off as we came off the lake and T-storms were in the area. We fished for 3 hours before we were chased off. We ended up with 17 largemouth - 5 were legal. I had everything I could do to keep the boat in the right spot while back trolling into the wind.
7/21/10 - Delavan Lake - sunny, 85 degrees and humid, water temp 81 degrees. Winds light out of the SW. Caught 29 bass- 3 were legal, and 1 northern pike. Fished in 15-20 ft of water. All fish were caught on split shot rigged nightcrawlers.
7/20/10 - Delavan Lake - sunny, 90 degrees and humid, water temp 82 degrees. Winds light out of the SE. Caught 12 bass and a bunch of bluegills. I had a couple of young anglers aboard. Once we figured out where the fish were, we caught a bunch. The best depth was on the weed line in 15-18 ft of water.
7/18/10 - Lake Geneva - sunny, 90 degrees and humid, water temp 81 degrees. W winds at 10-15 mph. Caught 6 largemouth, plus some bluegills, rock bass and perch. Fished 10-12 ft of water with nightcrawlers and top water lures. The fish were caught in Trinkes and by Colemans Point. All 6 of the bass were legal.


SHELBYVILLE: Lake is high, launches are open but some beaches are closed, and 85 degrees. Guide Ken Wilson--(217) 454-2672--out of Lithia Marina reported white bass so good they are a ``nuisance'' while trolling for crappie. Good-sized catfish are being caught drift fishing on the north end. For info from the Corps, call (217) 774-2020.

EVERGREEN: Site staff sent this:

Fishing on Evergreen has been fair in recent weeks. Hot air temps and warm water have slowed down the fishing. Crappie limits are still being caught on a regular basis using minnows in 20-25 ft. of water suspended midway. Saugeye reports have been few and far between with some smaller ones being picked up here and there on humps and off of points. We have had some nice reports of Bass being caught during early morning hours or late evening on top water baits around weed beds and lay downs. Catfishing has been fair with most being caught at night using livers and stink baits.

Any updated fishing report will be 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.

POWERTON: Scheduled to reopen to fishing on Thursday. Summer hours--6 a.m.-8 p.m.--are in effect.


From Frank Macikas on Sunday:

Made it Weigand Park around 5:30 and fished until around 7:30. I dont need to tell you conditions; everyone knows its flooded. That section is flowing at 1780 cfs and at normal stages its around 100. I did manage to pick up two largemouth dragging a chigger craw slowly up the submerged gravel path that leads down to the river (first pic). It may have been the same fish but the second one seemed a little bigger but not sure; I'll let you decide. Have a couple other spots I want to try so maybe tomorrow after work.


The river is coming off flood stage and is at high water. Check latest at Fox Waterway Agency

Ken Gortowski sent this:

Didn't get to go out before the rains so I have no fishing report this week. The river came up like a shot to 9000 cfs, but it's dropping pretty quick. Only a couple of brief rain periods in the next week or so and hopefully they won't include another 6 to 9 inches of rain. In a 24 hour period the river has dropped 2000 cfs. If that keeps up things might be okay for the weekend. I'm hoping the creeks come down by then, which they should. There are spots I haven't been to in a year.


River crested short of flood and is receding, debris dissipated. Catfish have been fantastic, there's some white bass at creek mouths, reported Thom Matejewski at Time on the Water Outdoors.


River is in the best shape of local rivers. Catfishing has been good, see Bradigan's report at top.

Ed Mullady sent this:

Indiana: Kankakee State F&W Area: Largemouth Bass good in area on *minnows *plastic worms*spinner Baits.
Smallmouth Bass good near Point, north of English Lake on medium sized minnows *nightcrawlers*spinnerbaits.
In Illinois....Smallmouth Bass good around Rudecki Isld and Lake Alexander Camp near Momence on *Mepps #2,#3 Spinners *jig and double twister tails *minnows.
Kankakee River state Park good near Carly, Rex and Gordon Islands for smallmouth bass, catfish.


Rickard's reported walleye east of C Can on the Canadian line and some on the rock piles off the islands. perch are best on the west side of Kelleys and north of Ballast. For Ohio DNR report go to and or call (888) HOOKFISH.


For perch, see top.

CHICAGO: There's been good sheephead from shore, especially at Montrose. Capt. Bill Kelly reported good kings and some rainbows and browns in 35-60 feet east of Burnham and between the Wilson crib and six miles south of the R4, however, if the cold water leaves that could change. On Monday, Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters reported doing better in 100-120 feet. Kelly reported good lakers 60 degrees out of Diversey in 90-120 feet.

WAUKEGAN: Salmon Stop reported most still finding salmon in 30-60. Some steelhead are being taken off the piers and even a few kings.

NORTH POINT: Poteshman reported excellent kings on the hill, straight out and north to Wisconsin, best mornings. But there is also a good bite for everything out deep (180-300), but that varies daily.

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 .


For D&S Bait, go to


Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports sent this:

Weather finally stabilized some up here. The rain that was forecasted for all last week didnt make it (sorry Milwaukee). Fish responded better, especially the bass and panfish, to the consistent weather.

Largemouth Bass: Very Good. Lake type and time of day dictating what to use. Top water HOT!! plastic frogs in the slop, Jitterbugs, Spooks along shallow weed edges, Nice LMB to 20" this week on surface, early AM and dusk. During day, start with fast moving Crawks (Rattle Traps, Shallow Shad Raps), Spinners (#3 Mepps Aglia) on Spinnerbaits (Boonie Baits) over 6-8' weed flats. Once detron slows, plunk pockets with Jenkos, Yum Dinkers set wacky style. Jig and Pig combos , 7" plastic worms rigged Tekas style and Wolly Bugs also addictive.

Bluegills: Very Good. Responding very will to stable weather. Fish 8 to as deep as 14',suspended small leeches, worms on jig, tiny plastics. Look for suspended gills starting to move to outside weed edges.

Smallmouth Bass: Good. Tubes (3") on 1/8 oz - 1/4oz heads worked off gravel bars and along coontail edges of 14-18'. Big leeches on 1/16 - 1/8 oz plain jig heads as well as frozen soft shells accounting for big smallies to 21" this past week. #7 Shad Raps worked over 10-12' short (sandgrass) flats in crawfish patterns deadly.

Musky: Good. Best day times action on Bucktails (fluted blades) over 6-10' cabbage beds. On lakes with Cisco, counting down big rubber baits (Meddusas, Bulldawgs) best. At dusk and after dark, top water lures moving fish. Pacemakers, Top Raiders, Tallywackers type baits worked fairly shallow (10 to as little as 3') best.

Crappies: Good. Setting up in deep water cabbage beds of 10-14'. Work tiny Gapon, Freshwater shrimp, 1" Twistertails on 1/22 or jigs to locate fish. Small floats suspending small minnows 2' from surface catching lots of nice 10-11" eaters with a few 13-14" slabs thrown in.

Northern Pike: Good. Spinnerbaits (Boonies), Chatterbaits and Shallow Shad Raps getting good response from pike in 6-10' weeds. #3 or #4 Mepps also effective, gold, orange, and brass blades best. Jig chubs in same weeds if bite slow.

Yellow Perch: Good. Most reports of eaters (8-9") with some nice 10" plus fish on Minocqua Chain. Frozen soft shells best over deep sandgrass for large fish. Medium leeches, 1/2 crawler in 8-12' weeds on most bodies of water.

Walleye: Fair. Tough mid-summer bite. Crawlers best on light jigs or drift spinner rigs along hump breaks in 18-24'. Dawn and Dusk best.

Witnessed a lot of evidence of fish eating crayfish (Bass regurgitating, and in Pike AND Walleyes in fish house). Seems earlier than usual (typically I see Smallies and Walleyes feeding on soft shells heavily in late August). For what ever reason use this to your advantage. This week be it artificial lure profile, color(orange, brown) or scent (artificial spray or even just crawlers) to entree any these species.

EAGLE RIVER: Creative Brilliance sent this report for the Chamber of Commerce:

- - Good to excellent bite for northern and largemouths, with good action
for smallies, and a variable fair to good bite for musky, walleye, and
panfish in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.

- - Exceptional catfish and bass bite, with very aggressive musky action,
along with strong panfish hits, and a solid walleye and northern bite; with
black bear hunters getting ready for the upcoming season -- all going on in
and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River of Wisconsin's Marathon and
Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau).
WEEKLY OUTDOOR AND FISHING REPORTS, and calendar highlights:

***Eagle River, Wis. (VILAS COUNTY) -- as of July 27, 2010:

(Head): Good to excellent bite for northern and largemouth, with good action
for smallies, and a variable fair to good bite for musky, walleye, and
panfish in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area

(Lead): Water temps vary, but generally are in the low to mid 70s in the
Eagle River area.

The northern bite in the Eagle River area ranges from good to excellent.
Fish the weeds in 4 to 12 feet of water, using a spinnerbait, or a jig and a
chub or minnow. Remember the larger northern will generally be deeper, but
will not provide the same level of action that shallower running fish will.

Largemouth in the Eagle River area are putting on a very good bite. Fish
shallower weeds in less than 10 feet of water, related to structure such as
docks. To locate the largemouth throw a spinner or buzz bait, and once
located switch to a Senko or other plastic for maximum action.

Smallmouth bass are skittish, but putting on a good bite in the Eagle River
area. Fish break edges with rocks in 8 to 14 feet of water. It helps if
wood is present. You can use plastics, but most action is coming on
crawlers and leeches. You're going to have to make long casts and use light
line, because the smallies while hitting well can be very skittish. Be

There is no real pattern for musky right now in the Eagle River area. While
the bite is variable, patient musky hunters are getting some good numbers,
with a mixed bag on sizes. Some of the musky are suspending in shallower
weeds (fish thick weeds and edges of those weed patches - - particularly
when fishing the Eagle River Chain of lakes) and some around deeper humps.
You have to move around and test the various areas. Successful anglers are
using bucktails, surface baits, and a lot of plastics. Bait size is "middle
of the road." Not real small, and not real big. Best colors are black,
brown, orange, chartreuse or combinations of same. Action depends on the
weather conditions to a great extent. Peak bite is usually later afternoon
into evening or early morning.

Walleye in the Eagle River area starting to move to rocky points and deeper
humps in 15-25 feet on deeper, clearer lakes, and 8 to 12 feet on most
smaller lakes. There are also some fish relating to weeds, with weed
walleyes usually in the 6 to 12 foot depth range. For the rock and hump
walleyes use a leech or a crawler, and for the weed fish, use a minnow.
Best times to fish are early morning and late afternoon into evening. There
is an all day bite, but heavy boat traffic has inhibited the action during
the day.

The panfish bite in the Eagle River area has been fair to good. The crappie
are suspending, with a few in the weeds. Not a lot of action from suspended
crappies, as they don't seem to be real hungry when they're suspending. Use
a little jig, tube or pinkie tipped with a minnow. Bluegills are relating to
deeper weeds, with a few suspending. Use a chunk of crawler or a small
leech for the gills. Perch on stained lakes are in the weeds with the
walleyes in 6-8 feet of water. On the deeper, clearer lakes, the perch are
on the mud flats in 15-25 feet of water. Use a crawler or a minnow.

(Report for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce based on Creative
Brilliance interviews with Eagle River guides "Muskie Matt" of Wild Eagle
Lodge, "Ranger Rick" Krueger of Guide's Choice Pro Shop, and Mat Hegy).
Contact info for Eagle River:
* Eagle River Chamber of Commerce; 800-359-6315; 715-479-6400; e-mail:; web:
* "Muskie Matt", 715-891-5980; e-mail:
* Mat Hegy, 715-571-7544, e-mail:
* Guide's Choice Pro Shop, guide/owner "Ranger Rick" Krueger 715-477-2248
* George Langley, Eagle River Fishing Guides Association, 715-479-8804.


Mik-Lurch reported a few perch outside of Pastrick and inside of Hammond. There's salmon in front of Gary Light, northeast of The Gong and in front of Burns Ditch. Not sure if steelhead pulled into the creeks or not with the rain.


BJ Sports reported perch in 25 feet, north and south of the piers. In the river and off the piers, catfish, smallmouth and walleye are good. Summer steelhead run has been slow.


Lakeside reported lake is 81 degrees, decent shape. Crappie are being taken deep in the trees and cribs; bluegill on outside weed line; bass are deep in the lily pads or down 17 feet in the deep trees; a few walleye on leeches on the edge of the weed lines; and catfish are decent, try the barn foundation. Surprise is more perch than bluegills.

For more reports, click here.


From the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report:

Southern Lake Michigan Fishing Report: July 26, 2010
Kenosha Co.

In Kenosha trollers have been catching some chinooks and coho in 60 to 100 feet of water. J-plugs, spoons, and some flies have all taken fish. Some rainbows have also been reported from trollers in 200 to 225 feet of water. Fishing in the Kenosha harbor has been spotty, with some browns, chinooks, and coho taken near the Holiday Inn in the early morning and later evening hours. Alewives and spoons have produced the most. Perch anglers have occasionally been catching a few off of the south pier and in Southport Marina, and the boats continue to catch some at the bubbler. Both crab tails and minnows have produced.
Racine Co.
In Racine the bite has slowed somewhat for trollers, but some chinooks, coho, and browns have still been taken in 25 to 45 feet of water on spoons and J-plugs. Trout and salmon fishing off the piers has slowed significantly, and perch fishing from shore has been hit-or-miss. When the perch are biting, crab tails, minnows, and green plastics have all been effective. Boats looking for perch have taken limits at the south breakwater on crab tails, minnows, and small shiners.
Milwaukee Co.
In Milwaukee trollers have been catching mostly chinooks, along with a few coho and rainbows. Fish have been caught in 60 to 80 feet of water, and spoons have taken the majority of fish. Perch anglers fishing from shore have had some limited success at Cupertino pier and the Lake Express Ferry dock. Small shiners have produced the most when fished early in the morning.


Mik-Lurch reported OK walleye on the Indiana side on leeches, otherwise it is summer patterns for bass and bluegill.



Fishing Headquarters



MICHIGAN DNR REPORT,1607,7-153-10364-34956--,00.html






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Tons of algae floating all thru the water column in the Kankakee River State Park area. Be prepared to pick it off your line.

Kankakee Bayous Indiana

The topwater bite is still on, I caught 18 bass over 14" just yesterday...the algae bloom is providing lots of shade from the heat. Look for duckweed patches and fish the edges.

The mosquitoes are still terrible, but the topwater action will make you forget they're there.

River came up a few inches, seems to have washed most of the floating algae away. Bottom still covered though.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on July 28, 2010 8:31 AM.

Stray Cast: Cold, warm, Bears, Clark & Addison was the previous entry in this blog.

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