Chicago Sun-Times
Stray Casts will intelligently report and observe, hopefully with a touch of wit, on daily occurrences, reports and releases related to Chicago-area outdoors from bucks to bass to birds to bugs

Midwest Fishing Report: Changing rivers & perch

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

Changing rivers and lakefront perch lead this Midwest Fishing Report.


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


The head captures both the changes in our rivers, most are actually down or dropping and clearing quickly, and changes made last weekend by fishermen whose usual rivers were still too high to wade or too dangerous to float.

Frank Macikas, who gives weekly reports on the DuPage River, sent this instead and the photo above from the Vermilion:

It seems like I have been sending you the same thing every week; river is high and muddy. I didn't even attempt to fish the Dupage this weekend or any other river in the immediate area. With all the rivers around here being blown out constantly I have started traveling a little further to find water that is fishable. Over the last few weeks I have fished the Mazon a few times and this past weekend I fished the Vermilion at Matthiessen State Park. Both rivers have some of the most beautiful scenery and both have great fishing. I managed around 15 smallies over the two days with one being a 18". Saturday we had quite a few smaller fish but that is where the numbers came from; Sunday was a topwater bite with 3 fish landed one around 16-17" and had a really nice one break off. We saw that fish jumping trying to shake the chug bug for the next half hour. I will definitely be back there in September for a morning wade and then an afternoon Dove hunt. With more rain in the forecast for this week this weekend will be a crap shoot as far as conditions go. Its official - I am so very sick of all this rain.

He's right on the beauty of both rivers. I think the Vermilion at Matthiessen SP is one of the most beautiful stretches of water in Illinois, worth going just to be there. Fishing only adds to the experience.

Ken Gortowski, he of the Fox River reports, sent this:

I decided to skip the Fox altogether and look for wading opportunities. Only two that I could find that I mentioned to you last week, the Vermilion and the Mazon. Since both of these start there flows from the south they were spared the flooding of further north. The Mazon was extremely low and since it was closer I decided to go to that river in order to learn it better. I recall mentioning many years ago that wading fishermen need to take advantage of extreme low water situations in order to learn their waters better. Low water reveals just about everything.

Had to hike a bit to get to worth while pools, but the perseverance paid off. Wound up with 9 smallies, a couple of catfish and a good handful of rock bass. The big deep pools were flowing so slow that I decided to use topwaters on the lake like surface. Picked up a couple smallies on that and a couple more nice blow ups.

The treat of the day was the fossil hunting. Found a few ferns imprinted into old sand stone. I once knew the age of the deposits in the Mazon area, now I don't care. They're old, probably in the few millions of years. To hold that in your hands and realize what a blip humans are in the span of time has always fascinated me. Remember man that you are dust and to dust you shall return. The finale of that line should say . . . and when the last of you depart this earth, the earth won't give a damn.

Probably a little darker world view than expected in a fishing report. But there's something to mull there.


This remains the most important in Chicago fishing. As of Tuesday, shore fishermen were doing well at Montrose, Diversey and Northerly Island/Burnham, however, it takes sorting for keepers, according to Park Bait and Henry's. Mik-Lurch and others reported boaters doing well off Navy Pier; good keepers take sorting. In Waukegan, Salmon Stop reported shore fishermen catching some off the government pier while boaters were focusing in 45-48 feet to the south.


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.


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


As the report mixed in the Fish of the Week showed, white bass are very good. Triangle Sports reported also reported catfish are good on crawlers or stinkbait; walleye are excellent around main lake points and bridges; bluegill are good shallow around shaded cover and muskie very active.

No-wake restrictions have been lifted, other than the no-wake from the Stratton dam downstream on the Fox. Click here for updates on status.

For more reports, see


Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass sent this:

Chicago river fishing report: south branch, small bass and a few 13-15 inch hitting gold beetle spins and pop rs at Ashland blue gills hitting rebel craws. All stopped today(Tuesday) when DNR came threw and started shocking fish looking for Asian carp. Went home after two hours and not one bite.


LaSALLE: Time on the Water Outdoors reported drifting with cut bait over deep holes taking big blues.

BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Mazonia lakes are one of my higher picks on overcast days or at morning and evening.


DELAVAN: Arden Katz reported ``unbelievable'' bluegill in 15-18 feet on hellgrammites or trout worms.

Guide Dave Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake 8/8/10 through 8/15/10
Fishing remains very good. The only problem is the extensive boat traffic. Even during the week, there are between 100-200 boats fishing. To avoid most of the boat traffic, you need to try and get out when the weather looks questionable.
Largemouth bass are still loosely schooled up. They are not as tight as they were 2 weeks ago. However if you catch one, you should be able to catch 2 or 3. Look for the fish on the deep weedline in 16-18 ft of water. A good approach is swimming an All Terrain swim jig in black/blue or green pumpkin. Another approach to catching the largemouth bass is in the scum layer near the boat channel or in Viewcrest or Highlands Bay. The best lure I've found is the Money Hound or Money Frog. The fish are in 3-4 ft of water under the duck weed.
Bluegills can be caught in the 20-22 ft range. They are actively being caught on red worms or leaf worms. You can either fish for them on a slip bobber or a split shot rig right beneath the boat. The best location has been by Willow Point or by Assembly Park.
Northern Pike has been a little slow. The best action has been on slip-bobbers just off the weed edge. I will use Thill bobbers with a #1 hook positioned 13 feet down in 17-18 ft of water. In weeks past, the poles positioned right underneath the boat have been producing most of the action, however, with all the bluegills in the deeper water; that bite has slowed.
Walleye pike have been biting while trolling medium diving crankbaits in perch pattern or crappie pattern. Look for the fish by 3 flags or by Willow Point. With all of the forage in the 20-24 ft range it has been very hard to catch many fish.
Crappies are in the shallow weeds in 12-15 ft of water. They can be caught on small plastics or slip bobbering medium fat head minnows. The best location is by Browns Channel or just west of Willow Point. If you are going to fish for crappies, you need to bring a cooler of ice so you can ice them down immediately as they are already soft.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
Daily Reports
8/8/10 - Delavan Lake - cloudy with rain, 75 degrees, winds were out of the west at 10 mph. Water temp 79 degrees. Caught 15 largemouth - 3 legal, 1 walleye - 22 inches, and 10-12 bluegills. All the fish were caught on nightcrawlers fished on a split shot rig in 16-18 ft of water. The best location was by 3 flags.
8/7/10 - Delavan Lake - cloudy, 75 degrees, water temp 80 degrees. Winds SW at 10 mph. Caught 9 largemouth -2 were legal, and a few bluegills. This was cold front conditions so fishing was a bit tough. We managed to get the 9 fish before the rain drops hit.
8/5/10 - Delavan Lake - sunny, 80 degrees, water temp 80 degrees. Winds out of the west at 5 mph. Caught between 100 and 200 bluegills. We kept 40. Most of the fish were caught in 18-20 ft of water be Willow Point. Fished red worms beneath the boat.
8/4/10 - Delavan Lake - sunny, 86 degrees, water temp 80 degrees. N Wind at 5 mph. Caught 6 northern pike, 8 largemouth -2 were legal, and 30 bluegills. All the fish were caught in 18-20 ft of water. Finally the pike are biting on lindy rigged suckers underneath the boat. Most of the Pike were on the small side. The best location was by Willow Point or by the Yacht Club.
8/3/10 - Delavan Lake - sunny, 86 degrees, water temp 80 degrees. Winds SE at 5 mph. Caught 3 northern pike and 12 largemouth, 2 legal. Fished off the deep weedlines. Nightcrawlers and suckers produced most of the action. The best depth was 18-19 ft of water.
8/1/10- Delavan Lake - sunny, 82 degrees, water temp 78 degrees, light winds out of the west. Caught 200 bluegills, kept about 90. Fished with a bunch of friends that wanted fish fry. The best depth was 19-20 ft of water. Leaf worms with a single hook produced most of the fish. To catch our 90 keepers took about 1 1/2 hours. I figured out that I'm not a fan of cleaning fish!

GENEVA: Duwe sent this:

Lake Geneva 8/8/10 through 8/15/10
Fishing on Lake Geneva is really pretty good right now. With the traffic on Delavan, it may just be the better choice.
Smallmouth bass are in the 22-25 ft depth range. The best approach is lindy rigging live nightcrawlers or drop shotting 4 inch green finesse worms. What you want to look for, are the small points in the lake such as Linn Pier or Black Point. You need to use your locator to find the groups of fish. Don't bother if you don't see them. They are pretty spread out this time of year and will only be where the bait fish are.
Bluegills are in deep water, in 18-20 ft. They can be caught by Elgin Club or in Williams Bay around Cedar Point. The best approach is fishing straight beneath the boat with a leaf worm or a red worm. Some of the bluegills have been 10-11 inches in size. You need to move around to catch the bigger fish. Smaller fish can be caught in the 8-10 ft range, but the monsters are down deep.
Northern Pike are on the thermocline in 35-40 ft of water. The best location is by Fontana Beach or on the north shore of the narrows. You want to lindy rig medium suckers on a 24 inch snell. Like the smallmouth bass you want to see the fish on the fish locator before you start fishing in a location.
Yellow perch are starting to move shallow, in 12 ft of water. Look for the hard bottom and the scattered weeds. Good locations to check are by Knollwood or Rainbow Point. Fishing them on a small Thill slip bobber tipped with a small fat head minnow is always the best approach. You will need to sort through a lot of fish because the bigger fish can be elusive.
Lake Trout are being caught in the main lake basin. 65 or 75 ft down in 108-120 ft of water is where they are positioned. The best time to catch them is 5 a.m. until about 6 a.m. After that, the fish will move to the bottom and it's tough when they get that deep. Chrome/Blue or Chrome/green spoons have been the most productive.
Walleyes continue to bite on windy nights. The best locations have been by Trinkes or Williams Bay. The best approach has been Walleye Bandits or Rapalas fished behind Off-Shore planer boards. You want to fish half way down in 16 ft of water. Don't bother for them if the wind isn't there.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


From Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament

First we had heat, then a flood, and now major heat. Repeat process if

The flood waters from two weeks ago have finally subsided and the
river is finally back in shape for some wading and boating. However,
the fishing remains poor and we are having trouble catching a break as
far as good fishing conditions are concerned.

Few reports are out there, and those who may be fishing right now
remain quiet. Hopefully heat stroke has nothing to do with it.

Despite that, best bets are for Pike (small), Channel Catfish, and
Largemouth Bass.

All three species are being found from the same areas right now.
Deeper pools with current, weedbeds, downed wood, bridge areas, and
places that are in direct shade from the hot sun. Pike and Bass are
responding to spinnerbaits, in-lines, buzzbaits, and crankbaits with a
fast retrieve. For Cats, you can probably catch them on anything right
now because they seem to be everywhere.

Early mornings before it gets hot, and evenings, and middle of the
night offer, by far, the best angling opportunities and feeding
windows. If daytime fishing, look for shaded areas near shore. A
degree or two difference could make all the difference in the world
right now.

USGS gauge showing a 3.75. In other words, the river is saturated and
soggy, but good, with poor water clarity. Water temperatures also
registering at 80-degrees.

Lastly, few reports of Smallmouth Bass on the DPR creeks such as
Hickory Creek. Small, but fun action size. At other places like Salt
Creek, few reports other than an abundance of Carp.


SHELBYVILLE: Guide Ken Wilson--(217) 454-2672--out of Lithia Marina reported good white bass early on topwaters or trolling otherwise; good catfish drift fishing on the north end and some crappie trolling crankbaits.

For info from the Corps, call (217) 774-2020.

EVERGREEN: TOTWO reported good crappie down 3 or 4 feet in 15 with some saugeye mixed in. Any updated staff 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.


The no-wake remains from the Stratton dam downstream. Click here for updates on status.

Gortowski sent these suggestions for the ongoing high water:

If you must, it looks like high, fast and muddy techniques on the Fox River will rule for some time. The sporadic rainfalls called for may not raise it anymore, but they'll probably keep the river from dropping quickly any time soon. This is a game of inches, more than a few inches from structure will likely result in nothing. I would wander the shores on the west side in St. Charles from the dam down. The island park in Geneva with it's limestone walls, then all the rip rap further down. For the naturalists, Glenwood Park in Batavia, walk the shore south, you'll figure it out. For those that want something in between, start at the Montgomery dam on the east side, walk the bike path and fish every tiny current break you can get to for the almost two mile hike.


Thom Matejewski at TOTWO reported good catfish on cut bait, some sauger on the flats and white bass off the rip-rap.


River is in wonderful shape. Norm Minas reported a good day with 22 smallmouth and seven channel catfish with a jig-and-pig in the fastest water he could find on Monday.

Ed Mullady sent this:

River is down and in good fishability!
POINT, N. of English Lake: Catfish good on *Crawlers*minnows *cheesebait.**Pike good on big minnows.
Bluegill good at Horseshoe Bend. Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass good on *spinners *jumbo red worms.
LA SALLE F&W Area: Bluegill good along quiet parts of shoreline, mouths of bayous on *redworms*small spinners.
Some Pike on big minnows, Weedless Dr. Spoons.

ILLINOIS: Momence Area, Good smallmouth and largemouth bass. Best on live minnows *plastic worms *jig and twister tails *spinner baits.
Kankakee Area: Catfish good around River Road Park and Cobb Park. *minnows *chicken liver*cheesebaits.
Kankakee River State Park: Smallmouth Bass good around *mouth of Rock Creek *Bryan, Gary, Amy Islands on wtd. Keeper Hooks & Twister tails*Mepps #2#3 Spinners. *Live minnows.
WILMINGTON DAM Area: Catfish good on *plastic grub and cheesebait*live minnows. *Smallmouth Bass good on *minnows *crawfish(live or artificial), Spinners.


For Ohio DNR report go to and or call (888) HOOKFISH.


For perch, see top.

CHICAGO: Capt. Bill Kelly reported a mixed bag of kings, rainbows, lakers and some coho in 90-115 feet east of the Carter Harrison to the Car Ferry; good rainbows in 50-60 east of Wilson crib to east of Evanston with some small kings and small lakers mixed in. On Tuesday, Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters caught all five species, mainly lakers and steelhead, around the R4.

WAUKEGAN: The Salmon Stop reported some salmon down 75-90 in 100 to the south.

NORTH POINT: Poteshman reported good steelhead and coho with a few kings in 250-300.

RICHARD J. DALEY MEMORIAL FISHING TOURNAMENT: Fish may be weighed at Henry's, Park Bait or Vet's. In August, the species are carp, catfish, panfish, steelhead and chinook.

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:

Solid Summer patterns developing as heat keeping lake temps up. As expected, high temps/skies mean best fishing early and late in the day.

Largemouth Bass: Good - Very Good. With exception of new high pressure, bass very active. Wacky style senkos/dingers in weeds of 8-14'. Shaking 4" worms on 1/8 oz jigs and swimming senkos also working for day time anglers. Towards evening top water tearing up the action. Buzz baits, plastic frogs, hula poppers all producing lots of fish in the 14-17" range with 18-20" fish not uncommon.

Smallmouth Bass: Good - Very Good. Sandgrass flats in 14-22' of water. Lift/drop chomper skirted grubs, Caroline style. Light 1/16 -1/8 oz jig with large leech or whole crawler or soft shell crayfish. Tubes in brown color patterns, also drop shotting 2-1/2" gulp minnows.

Bluegills: Good. Finding nice gills schooling over deep water, along coontail edges or over weed covered humps. Small leeches hard to beat. Count down small jigs or slip float half crawlers 10-12' down over 18-20' edges.

Muskie: Good. Heat bringing back good evening bite. Loud surface lures (pacemakers, Top Raiders, Creepers) at dusk/after dark. Daytime work bucktails fast over weeds. Bulldawgs, Medussas over open water where ciscos present.

Northern Pike: Good. Heat slowing action. Spinnerbaits, Daredevils over 6-10' weeds in am before sun shuts bite down. Soak big chub/sucker along coontail edge of 14-20' for shot at larger fish.

Crappie: Good - Fair. Depends on how bright. Some anglers finding crappies moving out to deep weed edges, holding 2-3' from bottom in 18-20'. Small minnows, tiny tubes best.

Yellow Perch: Good - Fair. Liking heat. Fish with live bait up on top of weed flats of 8-12'. Work pockets not #'s but nice 9-11" fish on medium fats, leeches.

Walleye: Poor - Fair. Good catches at night, daytime is rough. Night anglers set up on off shore humps by 7 pm. Work jig/crawler combos on lighted slip floats with leeches. Nice fish to 27" from larger lakes.

Surface temps on lakes hitting 75-78 degrees and probably will continue to rise further. Leeches getting tough to come by, double hook and keep away from unwanted panfish. Luckily crawlers working just as well. No cold nights in this weeks forecast so things should stay same. Fish early/late.

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

Walleye in the Eagle River area are holding on the outside of weed edges in
10-15 feet of water. The walleye at this time of year, would normally be
moving to rocky areas, but seem reluctant to do so this season, and are
still generally hanging around weeds. Use a jig and a fathead minnow or
leech. Best bite is late afternoon into evening.

The musky bite in the Eagle River area is very sporadic. The musky are
"moody" because of the long period of warm weather. Look for an early
morning, late afternoon, or cloudy day bite. Best baits are bucktails,
spinners and surface baits. The musky will readily chase down surface baits
during a "feeding spell." A lake bloom of algae is beginning to appear on
some of the Eagle River Chain of 28 lakes. The water will look like "pea
soup," but the fishing can be very good during a "bloom." Use bright
colored baits and do a figure 8 at the end of each cast. Muskies will use
this murky water as a type of structure and will approach your boat to hit a
bait, with explosive force.

Northern action is good in the Eagle River area. Fish 15 feet of water or
less in and around weeds. Use a bass style spinnerbait, Husky Jerk, or a
medium sucker minnow under a slip bobber.

Smallmouth bass action has been good along break edges in the Eagle River
area. Fish 10-20 feet of water, and use a 3 inch tube, plastic crawfish, or
a jig and a leech. A topwater in the evening is proving successful, as

Largemouth bass in the Eagle River area are hanging in 8 feet of water or
less in and around heavy weed growth, holding near structure (docks, drowned
wood, stumps and brush piles). Use a jig and a pig (jig tipped with a piece
of pork rind), a topwater like a frog or mouse, or a weedless Texas Rig with
a plastic worm.

Panfish in the Eagle River area, are all pretty-much together. Fish 15 feet
of water or less in or near weeds. Crappies and bluegills will suspend at
varying depths, and perch will stick near the bottom. Use a crappie minnow
or chunk of crawler under a slip bobber.

(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 those trying are focusing on perch around Chicago; otherwise the creeks are slow (an odd thing this summer) and Wolf Lake is seeing minimal effort.


OREGON: Jan Prose at TJ's Bait/Tackle & Canoe Rental sent this:

The river is coming down really slow, we had an additional 5" of rain last week, so it almost flatlined for a few days! As far as I know the river is still closed. But I hope that changes soon! As far as fishing, mostly carp and catfish are being caught. Catfish were biting on dip baits at Castle Rock State Park. At the dam, cut bait and minnows were bringing in some nice channel cats. Dustin Logan caught a 25" walleye at the dam 8/5.
That's about it.


Denny Sands at Lakeside sent this on Monday:

Check out this monster Muskie caught today. 49 1/2", 30.65 pounds, caught by the entrance to the No Motor Zone.

The unknown angler kept the Muskie to get it mounted.

This has been a week for big fish with the new Lake Record Catfish, several 20+ inch Bass and now this big Muskie.

It is not just the weather that is hot at Shabbona, the fishing is also!!!

Dave Todd of Shabbona caught the record cat (22.75 pounds, 35 inches) on chicken liver) on Saturday, Gary Berg at Lakeside reported catfish and bass the top bites, mostly in the weeds. Perch have been the surprise bite of the year, better than bluegill.

For more reports, click here.


From the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report:

Southern Lake Michigan Fishing Report: August 9, 2010
Kenosha Co.

In Kenosha trollers have been catching some small chinooks in 50 to 75 feet of water. J-plugs, spoons, and some flies have all taken fish, and silvers and greens have been the most productive colors. Some rainbows have also been reported from trollers in 200 to 220 feet of water. Shore fishing in Kenosha has been generally slow for trout and salmon anglers but perch anglers have been catching some 10-11 inch "keepers" off the south pier early in the morning. Both minnows and plastic jigs have been producing. Kenosha boaters looking for perch have been catching some at the rock breakwall, but action has been slow at the bubbler.
Racine Co.
In Racine some chinooks and coho have been taken by trollers in 125 to 150 feet of water. Blue & silver spoons and J-plugs have been catching fish. Rainbows have also been biting in 200 to 220 feet of water. Shore anglers fishing for trout and salmon off the south pier have taken a few steelhead on blue & silver and green & silver spoons. Perch anglers fishing from shore have been catching some limits of 10 inch fish near the Pershing Park launch. Boats looking for perch have taken fair numbers at the south breakwater on crab tails, minnows, and shrimp.
Milwaukee Co.
In Milwaukee trollers have been catching mostly chinooks, along with a few coho. Fish have been caught 30 to 40 feet down in 90 feet of water, and spoons have taken the majority of fish. Shore fishing effort in Milwaukee remains low, and few fish have been reported.


River's Edge


Guide Bill Stoeger reported:




Fishing Headquarters



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






No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL:

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on August 11, 2010 6:25 AM.

Stray Cast: Crosstown floats was the previous entry in this blog.

Charles Demuth: Doves, lines & squirrel is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.