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Midwest Fishing Report: Perch & rising rivers

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Perch reopening on the Illinois lakefront and rising rivers highlight this Midwest Fishing Report.

We'll get to and lead with perch, the big story in Chicago fishing, but as I wrap up the online MFR another massive red blob on radar is pounding most of the Chicago area with yet more storms, so check on rivers before going.

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 fishing reopened Sunday for all on the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan. And thousands lined the Chicago lakefront. Click here for my story on fishing around dawn at Northerly Island. The bite was tough there Sunday morning, but by Tuesday things had dramatically rebounded. Steve Palmisano of Henry's reported a much stronger bite Tuesday in the weed beds at Burnham. Mike Repa at Park Bait said Tuesday morning that it was ``a slaughter'' at Montrose. At Waukegan, Salmon Stop reported perch fishing is going off the piers on just about everything.

For boaters, there was a knot of boats fishing the weed beds off Navy Pier on Sunday and doing well, though it took sorting for keepers according to both Mik-Lurch and Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters.

In Indiana, Mik-Lurch reported some perch off Michigan City and Burns Ditch.


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.


As the Fish of the Week shows, and there are many like it, this has been a good summer for fishing bluegill and bass from local ponds and lakes. Learn one nearby, even it is just the local retention pond. That's especially true if you have kids.


For an overview of nearby river conditions, click here. This is really important as conditions will be changing again today after the latest round of storms.


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


The Chain and Fox from Stratton Dam to the Wisconsin line remains at no-wake; Stratton dam downstream on the Fox is closed to boating. Click here for updates or call (847) 587-8540.

Fishing under no-wake can often be outstanding, and that is way it appears to be. Guide Darrell Baker reported outstanding multi-species action. Walleye are good around bridges and other current areas.

Don Letrich sent this:

I am glad to report that Thursday and Friday were good Bass days! In the shallows by the piers and lily pads. Fish on ScumFrog and Small bobbers & night crawlers { juicy ones} and Striped White bass in 6 foot. "honey hole " I have been taken to. Caught on 3 inch minnows on bottom with small shot. Channel cats too. I have been told this hole produces Musky too! I couldn't get suckers but will get them this week. The weather was much cooler/cloudy and water high so No Boat traffic, maybe that is why the bass are active?

I thought the fish were dead; nope just not hitting where I was fishing. Oh yes my fishing partner caught a 15 inch walleye on a night crawler at 7 foot hole near Grass Lake Bridge. All thrown back.

For more reports, see

More Chain info at


Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass sent this:

Chicago river report; south branch small mouth and large mouth hitting white spinners, blue gill hitting beetle spins (yellow) ;north pier, one 3 pound blue catfish on night crawler on slip bobber some small blue gill on rebel grasshopper


Mazonia lakes should be a good option, especially considering how many cloudy days we are having and are forecast. In this weather and these water conditions, I do not recommend fishing the cooling lakes.


DELAVAN: Guide Dave Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake 8/1/10 through 8/8/10
As it turns out, you just can't beat Delavan Lake right now. There are multiple species that are active and when you have size and numbers you can't go wrong!
The Northern Pike are still being caught off the weedline in 19-20 ft of water. Suckers are the only bait to use. The size of the suckers doesn't matter as much as it has in the past weeks but I still prefer a medium sized bait. Because there are a lot of bluegills on the weedlines, fishing for pike has been a little slower as they are feeding heavily on the small bluegills. What I have been doing this week, I have been fishing slip bobbers with medium suckers. The straight line approach beneath the boat hasn't been as effective. Most of the fish I've been catching have been caught while casting the weedline about 12-15 ft down in 20 ft of water. Look for the fish near the Oriental Boat house, the Yacht Club Point and Belvidere Park.
Bluegill fishing has been simply fantastic. The biggest fish are in the 15-20 ft depth range. On Sunday, we launched at 6:30 a.m. and we had enough to clean by 8:00 a.m. Five of us caught 90 keepers and it took longer to clean them than to catch them. The best location was by Willow Point and Assembly Park. We caught our fish straight lining leaf worms beneath the boat.
Largemouth bass are still schooled up. They are in the scattered weeds with hard rock bottom. Look for the fish by 3 flags or by the Yacht Club. They can be caught on nightcrawlers fished on a split shot rig or by drop shotting 4 inch plastic Yum worms. I have also caught quite a few bigger fish by slip bobbering medium suckers in the 12-15 ft depth range.
Walleye remain a bit slow. I've been catching one here and there but there has been no real consistency. The fish I've been catching have been inter-mixed with the bass in 15-19 ft of water. I do believe that the bigger fish are suspending over the main lake basin, but I haven't had the opportunity to go look for them.
Crappies have been fantastic. They are in the 12-15 ft depth range. Look for the fish by Willow Point and east of Browns Channel. They are being caught on small plastics. Purple or chartreuse are the best colors. I haven't been fishing them too much because they are a bit too soft for a good fish fry. The bluegills are a better eating fish right now.
Good Luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave
Duwe at 608-883-2050
Daily Reports
8/1/10- 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!
7/31/10 - Delavan Lake - cloudy/misty, 75 degrees, water temp 79 degrees, light winds out of the west. Caught 2 walleyes and 13 bass - 2 were legal. We caught most of our fish on split shot rigged nightcrawlers. The slip bobber rig sucker has also been producing all this week.
7/30/10 - Delavan Lake - sunny, 80 degrees, water temp 81 degrees, W wind at 5 mph. Caught 12 largemouth bass - 7 were legal, 1 Northern Pike and a bunch of bluegills. Most of the fish were on nightcrawlers. We had great success on slip bobber rigged suckers too. We caught 1 Largemouth over 20" on a sucker.
7/29/10 - Delavan Lake - sunny, 85 degrees, water temp 81 degrees, N wind at 5 mph. Caught 1 17" smallmouth, 13 largemouth - 3 were legal, 3 northern pike, 1 walleye and 40 bluegills. Most of the fish came off of nightcrawlers. I did start fishing slip bobber rigged suckers and caught some of the nicer bass. The best location was by 3 flags and the Oriental boat house.
7/28/10 - Delavan Lake - sunny, 85 degrees, water temp 81 degrees, N wind at 10-15 mph. Caught 16 largemouth - 7 were legal, 2 Northern and 1 19" Walleye plus about 50 bluegills. Everything was caught on nightcrawlers except the pike which were caught on suckers.
7/27/10 - Delavan Lake - sunny, 86 degrees, water temp 81 degrees, SW wind at 10-15 mph. Caught 14 largemouth and 3 northerns. The northerns were caught on suckers, the bass were caught on nightcrawlers. The best depth was 18 ft of water.
7/26/10 - Delavan Lake - sunny, 85 degrees, water temp 80 degrees, W wind at 6-10 mph. Caught 2 walleyes, 7 northerns, 13 bass - 4 were legal. Caught the walleyes and bass on split shot rigged nightcrawlers. The Northerns came on suckers. The best location was by the Yacht Club or by Belvidere Park.

GENEVA: Duwe sent this:
Lake Geneva 8/1/10 through 8/8/10
It's a bit hard to find time to get out on Geneva these days. Delavan is just out producing Geneva at the moment, but that's not to say that Geneva doesn't have some excellent fishing right now too.
The Northern Pike are on the thermocline in 34-38 ft of water. Look for the fish in Fontana, Williams Bay or in the narrows. Medium suckers on a lindy rig are producing most of the action. A quality depth finder is crucial. You don't want to fish for them unless you see them on the screen.
Perch have been in the 12-15 ft depth range. They can be caught on small fat head minnows or on small leaf worms. The best location is by Knollwood or in front of Rainbow Point. You want to fish a Thill slip bobber with a #12 hook.
Bluegills can be found in the 18-24 ft depth range. They are being caught on small leaf worms or wax worms. The best location has been by Elgin Club or on the weedline by Trinkes. I've been slowly back trolling into the wind and keeping the boat in 19 ft of water. Some of the big gills have been in excess of 10 ½ inches.
Lake Trout are being caught in the main lake basin 80-90 ft down in 106-110 ft of water. Nickle/blue or Nickle/green spoons are the only bait to try. The best time of day for the Lake Trout is dawn and dusk. Try for them about an hour before dawn and an hour before dusk. You need a good fish locator but if you find them, you can catch them.
Walleye Pike have been biting at night, but it still depends on the wind. If it's calm, don't even bother launching your boat. If it's windy, you need to troll medium diving crank baits in 15-16 ft of water. I prefer the Walleye Bandits in chrome/blue or chrome/black. I've been letting out 100 ft of line on 10 lb test behind the planer board. The best location has been by Geneva Bay or by Fontana.
Largemouth bass have been either deep or shallow. The shallow fish are in 10-12 ft of water are being caught on chrome/blue or chrome/black Chug Bugs. Look for the fish by Williams Bay or by Trinkers. The deep fish are being caught on Carolina rigged Zoom lizards in green pumpkin. Look for the fish by Linn Pier or by Colemans Point. I've been positioning the boat in 25 ft of water casting to the hard bottom on the points.


SHELBYVILLE: Jim Giglio sent this report:

My son Chris and I got there at 7 am Saturday and immediately were into fish as the first bay we ran into near 9th st had fish { whites and largemouth } hitting shad on top , we moved to a point and again had surface action with largemouths 2 to 3 lbs . By around 9 this stopped and we headed to point #3 and the flats for the whites and were soon into a very large school that another fisherman had found and invited us to join him, we caught a lot of fish on little georges and stayed in the general area for the next few hours with mixed success { full sun and very hot } The pleasure boaters were out and it was unbelievable how many boats were on the water causing the rest of the day to feel like we were in a blender with large wakes everywhere. Fished till 11am today caught 2 dozen whites and got off the water before the blender started and headed home.

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

EVERGREEN: Any updated fishing report will be posted here. Site staff sent this note about the weekend:

The Main Recreation Area (East) Boat Launch WILL BE CLOSED from 6:00 p.m. on Friday, August 6th, 2010 to 1:00 P.M. on Saturday, August 7, 2010 for the OPEN WATER SWIM EVENT. Fishermen/Boaters are asked to use the White Oak (West) Boat Launch during these closure times. The Main Recreation Area (MRA) and Campground facilities remain open. Also, a portion of Evergreen Lake will be closed to ALL watercraft traffic. The area from the Boat Rental south across the lake and east will be closed from Midnight to approximately 1:00 P.M. Saturday, August 7, 2010. This includes the area around Deer Island , Six-Mile Creek Bay , and around the Boat Rental facility.

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.


From Frank Macikas:

Well Dale looks like this weekends plans for that float trip are out the window with last nights storms. Shorewood is pushing 3000cfs and will continue to come up so maybe if it breaks the banks again I will try some flooded areas. Other than that looks like its out for at least another week or more. I'm getting really tired of all this rain.

It is getting old.


From the Stratton dam downstream is closed to boating. Check updates at or (847) 587-8540.

Ken Gortowski sent this:

Actually got out over the weekend and did the high, fast and muddy fishing thing. Bores me to tears, but I was determined to get something for my efforts and it worked. Had on and got to see the biggest walleye I've ever hooked only to lose it when it took off into the fast water and headed off down stream. Picked up and got hit by a few smallies fishing tight to the limestone wall in Geneva. All fish were relating inches from the shore whether man made or natural current breaks.

I have a feeling the river won't be coming back down to normal for some time. More rain the next few days with a nice dry stretch afterward, but I think it's going to be too little too late. I can only hope this next dry stretch brings the creeks down. I miss hitting them.


I would suggest checking river levels later today. Before the latest round of weather, catfish were very good and there was some white bass around the creeks.


As of this morning, it was still in excellent shape, actually the rains probably helped some. For river fishing, this is the spot in northeast Illinois right now. Both Mik-Lurch and Ed Mullady reported good panfish in the quieter sections in Indiana.

Mullady sent this:

Fishing is good on the Kankakee!
In quieter parts of the river in Indiana, numerous bluegill on worms have been caught. Nice sized smallmouth and largemouth bass also good>
in ILL from IN State Line thru Momence both smallmouth and largemouth bass being caught on *spinnerbaits *jig and double twister tails *minnow shaped crankbaits *live minnows.
River guide Matt Mullady and his clients have been catching many nice smallmouth bass in the Kankakee area. Matt experienced a nice fight when an 8 lb. catfish grabbed his imitation hellgrammite. This time of year many of the river catfish take spinners, plugs, imitation plastics!
Kankakee River State Park and Wilmington area also good for smallmouth bass and rock bass.


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


For perch, see top.

CHICAGO: Capt. Bill Kelly reported 60-80 feet is producing a mixed bag with lots of small lakers, then in 90-120, there are bigger lakers and rainbows. Poteshman said that 60-130 feet from the wreck on out has been good for steelhead, kings and lakers. BTW, Poteshman reported catching one big king just off the Chicago shoreline shallow and suggested it might be time for shore guys to think about trying for salmon in the middle of the night.

WAUKEGAN: Salmon Stop reported some steelhead off the pier too. Poteshman reported lakers starting at Waukegan reef.

NORTH POINT: Poteshman said straight out is best, right on the border, in 250-300 feet for a mixed bag with lots of steelhead. Mornings on the hill are also producing a few big kings.

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 Mike Mladenik of sent this:

August is the best month for topwater!!

The last few days have been producing some Giant Smallmouth.
We are catching them in the weeds, tight to wood and over rocks.
They seem to be everywhere and very active. Both the Wacky Worm
and the Hubs Chub are the HOT BAITS.


Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports sent this:

Fishing in the Northwoods has finally settled into some form of a pattern...good for some species...not so good for others.

Largemouth Bass: Good to Very good. The thing is the bass have moved to either deep weed lines (12-16') or up in very shallow water under floating vegetation and lily pads. For deep fish work edges Senkos, Dingers wacky style or jig/pig combo. Deep diving cranks also effective. For shallow "slop" fish, plastic frogs, weedless spoons, buzz baits and the old reliable Jitterbugs and Hula Poppers are best. Very nice fish to 20+" a daily happening.

Smallmouth Bass: Good to Very good. Work deep gravel humps, sandgrass flats and coontail edges. Carolina rig Chompers skirted grubs, work tubes and countdown lipless rattle baits (Rattle Traps, Rattlin Raps) as well as banging deep diving cranks on rock humps of 10-14'> Jig and leech/crawlers also very effective. At dawn cast twitch baits (Rattlin Rouges, X-raps) inside weedlines to intercept cruising smallies feeding on shallow minnows.

Muskie: Good. Best action at dusk, after dark. Topwater action best (Pacemakers, Tallywackers, Top Raiders). A 48" fish from Minocqua Chain leads weeks report. Daytime action tough with boat traffic, work big plastics deep.

Bluegills: Good. Lots of action for live bait anglers working deeper weeds. Some good topwater action using poppers during evenings.

Perch: Good. Either 6-8' weeds with leeches or minnows or deeper sandgrass of 14-22' using 1/2 crawler or soft shells (frozen).

Pike: Fair to Good. Spinnerbaits, spoons, chatterbaits over weed flats of 6-10'. Jig and chub if action slow. Most reports of smaller pike 20-24" with fish of 28-32" here and there.

Walleye: Poor-Fair. Best bet to target deep clear lakes drifting Lindy style rigs with crawlers, big leeches during day. Depths 18-30' depending on light. At nigh (best) sit on humps with lighted slip floats and biggest leeches you can find. Mostly fish over 20" this way (remember these are the good spawners) up to 27".

Surface water temps from low to mid 70's everywhere> Lots of weed growth, big schools of bait fish to contend with. The topwater action for bass, musky (even some pike) has been the talk. Should continue in the evenings as long as nights stay warm.

EAGLE RIVER: Creative Brilliance sent this report for the Chamber of Commerce:
Water temps remain in the low to mid 70s in the Eagle River area.

Northern action in the Eagle River area is very good. Lots of smaller fish
being caught. Fish 4 to 12 feet in and around weeds, remembering that while
you'll get less action, the bigger northern will usually be deeper.
Anything flashy will work, along with a jig and chub.

Smallmouth are less skittish than they have been, and are hitting strong in
the Eagle River area. Fish hardbottom areas with wood in 5-15 feet of water.
Tubes, plastic crayfish, leeches and crawlers on a jig are all working well.
You can now fish closer to your boat, as the smallies aren't spooking like
they were.

Some big bluegills are being taken in the Eagle River area, on an aggressive
bite. Fish weedlines in 6-12 feet of water using a slipbobber or small jig,
tipped with a chunk of crawler. There's a lot more entertaining action for
the kids fishing shallower weeds, albeit the bluegills are smaller.

The musky bite in the Eagle River area is decent, but can be erratic.
Anglers are seeing good numbers of fish, but there are just an average
amount of hard hits. There are some trophies being caught, including a 52
incher about a week ago. Fish the deeper weeds, in 8-16 feet of water off
the structure a bit. Bucktails and jerkbaits will work, with topwaters
being successful in the evenings. The action is there, but this is truly
"musky fishing," where patience and lots of casts will ultimately pay off.
There are peak windows during the day that can't be predicted that well,
with the morning and evening bite consistently best.

Largemouth action in the Eagle River area is pretty good. Use plastic worms
and topwaters in the "thick stuff." Anglers aren't using live bait much,
because the panfish will gobble it up, before the largemouth get to it. The
largemouth are in heavy cover relating to structure, like docks. Fish less
than 10 feet of water, with some nice largemouths being caught in 2-3 feet
of water right under docks.

Good numbers of perch are being caught in the Eagle River area, but don't
expect a lot on size. The perch are hanging out near the bottom in structure
or weeds from 4-12 feet of water. Use a chunk of crawler, small leech, or

Walleye action in the Eagle River area is fair to good. Anglers are getting
fish, but they're working for them. The weeds are somewhat thicker than
last year, and the fishing is more challenging. Fish deep weeds and rocky
areas in 8-24 feet of water (depth, as with all fishing depends on the size
of the lake, and will vary). Minnows, leeches and crawlers are all working,
along with trolling with crankbaits, where legal.

Some nice sized crappies are being caught in the Eagle River area, but the
action is sporadic. The larger number of crappies are suspending in deeper
water, but the bite is not that strong. In the evening, fish the shallower
weeds, and the bite improves. There aren't that many crappies in the weeds
as opposed to those suspending, but the bite is better. Use a minnow under
a slip bobber or a small jig.

(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 said salmon are solid in 65-76 feet, mainly toward Illinois waters. The creeks have been slow.


Guide Jay Angel ( sent this:

Water temps were in the low '80's and the water clarity was good.

Bluegill fishing was excellent with many of them being caught over the shallower rockpiles using waxworms. Fish ranged in size from small to around 8 inches.

Walleye fishing was good using leeches over the deeper rockpiles. Bounce your leeches off of the bottom of the lake for best results.

For more reports, click here.


From the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report:

Southern Lake Michigan Fishing Report: August 2, 2010
Kenosha Co.

In Kenosha trollers have been catching some chinooks and coho 30 to 40 feet down in 70 to 90 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 as well as perch anglers. Kenosha boaters looking for perch continue to catch some at the bubbler or near the jetties off of 75th Street. Crab tails, minnows, and spinners have all produced at times, but most perch have been on the small side.
Racine Co.
In Racine some chinooks and coho have been taken by trollers in 90 to 110 feet of water. Spoons and J-plugs have been catching fish 40 to 60 feet down. Rainbows have also been biting in 200 to 220 feet of water. Trout and salmon fishing off the piers has been slow, and perch fishing from shore has been hit-or-miss. 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 in 40 to 60 feet of water or deeper, and spoons have taken the majority of fish. Shore fishing effort in Milwaukee has dropped considerably, especially off McKinley pier. 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. Boaters fishing perch at the boils off South Milwaukee have been catching some on small shiners, but the bite has been slow overall.



Fishing Headquarters



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






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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on August 4, 2010 7:53 AM.

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