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Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes around Chicago fishing

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Several fishing events highlight this lakes section of the Midwest Fishing Report; otherwise the brutal heat is the lead.

This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears on the Sun-Times outdoors page on Wednesdays. I posted the rivers section earlier.

If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at


The blow on Monday really set things back, but the hope is the southwest winds will make perch explode before the hated July closure in Illinois arrives.

REMINDER: On Sunday, the hated July closure for perch fishing in Illinois waters begins; however, those 15 and younger may catch and keep 10 perch daily in July.

DERBY: On the last day for perch fishing on Saturday, Henry's eighth annual perch fishing derby will be held at Northerly Island. Registration begins at 4:30 a.m. Fishing 5-9 a.m. It's free with prizes.

CHICAGO: Park Bait reported some being caught at Montrose again on Tuesday, it remains minnows or soft shells. Reports have slowed and been variable, too; but I would expect that to change over the next few days. Winds dramatically slowed boat fishing.

WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop said some perch are being caught off of the government pier, slowed since last week; one day end of the pier is best, the next it is the middle. Before the blow, boaters found them in 30-60.

INDIANA: Mik-Lurch reported a pack of boats working Cal Park in 12-17; also some at Burns Ditch.


The Kankakee River Fishing Derby is Friday through July 8.


The 23rd annual Skamania Mania event is Saturday and Sunday at Michigan City, Ind. The 12 largest steelhead win gift cards to Cabela's. Weigh-in is at the Steelheaders tent on the south side of the Michigan City harbor.


The heart and heat of summer arrived early. For bass, it is either topwaters or buzzbaits early and late for bass or working for many species in or around the weeds.


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


From licensed guide and trapper Phil Schweik and guide Glenn Moberg of Hooksetters Guide Service:

(Head): Good action for walleye, crappie, musky and bass, with lots of
hunters starting to bear bait; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin
River in Wisconsin¹s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and

Walleye are active in the central Wisconsin area.  A lot of nice fish are
being caught in 10 to 14 feet of water along deep weed edges on jigs tipped
with minnows.  We are also seeing some nice fish coming on crankbaits like
Rapalas and Bombers, late in the day as they move up shallower in the weeds.

The crappie bite in the central Wisconsin area has never really slowed down
all season long.  We have been catching a lot of nice fish in 10 to14 feet
of water, mostly while targeting the walleyes.  Jigs tipped with minnows
have been working for us, but to catch the larger ones try suspending a
minnow under a slip bobber about 5 to 7 feet down.

The musky action in the central Wisconsin area has been very good this year,
and it looks to be one of the best starts in recent memory.  Most of the
action has been on bucktails, but we have been seeing some good action on
top water baits along with a few fish on jerkbaits, crankbaits, and rubber
baits like Bulldawgs.

The bass action in the central Wisconsin area has been consistent with nice
catches on every trip.  Fish in the 15 to 28 inches range are common along
with a few nice bass up to and over 20 inches.  Most of the bass are holding
in 2 to 5 feet of water associated with rocks, but we are seeing a few of
the bass holding tight to wood cover along the shorelines.

A lot of hunters in the central Wisconsin area started bear baiting this
past week, and with a little luck their locations will start seeing some
activity.  For bait and locations start by finding a spot that is far from
human contact as bears don't like a lot of activity.  deep, impenetrable
ares far from roads are good places to start.  We look for large tangled
thickets of briars and tag alder swamps as they are great locations to place
a bait station, especially if there is water nearby.  Try setting up at the
edge of these areas under a blow-donw or hollowed out stump.  Use parties
for bait as well as old cookies and candies, or anything sweet. We like to
use molasses as a base along with some liquid smoke for additional scent.
Remember that your bait must be totally concealed under the blow-donw or
stump, and hidden from sight to avoid non-target species.  With a little
luck you should start seeing some activity at your stations.

I will be honest, I leave the bear paragraph in because where else where you find a bear report mixed with a walleye review?


Staff at Triangle reported water is getting low, but walleye remain good early and late; leeches are best, on slip-bobber or split-shot rigs. Catfish are good on stinkbait, crawlers or leeches. Bluegill are good, find shade. For white bass, drift to find them, then set up on any of the lakes.

For more reports, see

More Chain info at


DELAVAN: Arden Katz reported ``suicidal bluegill'' in 12-15 feet on trout worms and hellgrammites. Guide Dave Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake 6/24/12 through 7/2/12
Fishing on Delavan Lake has been fantastic. Almost all of the species of fish are biting. The only thing that hampered fishing last week was the strong SW wind, but if you could manage the wind, you could catch fish.
Walleye fishing has been good at dusk and dawn. They are positioned on the main lake points in about 20-22 ft of water. The best approach is lindy rigging leaches or nightcrawlers and slowly back trolling. It seems that a 24 inch leader with a chartreuse hook has been really productive.
The bluegills have moved out of the shallows. The bigger fish can be caught in 16-18 ft of water. You want to use a small leaf worm or red worm. I personally have been using just a small hook and fishing under the boat. Once you find an active school it doesn't take long to catch a limit. Good locations have been by Browns Channel or by Willow Point.
Largemouth bass are positioned on the outside of the weedline in 16-18 ft of water. Good locations have been by the Yacht Club, just west of Willow Point and by Belvidere Park. The best success for me has been medium diving crank baits or a split shot rigged nightcrawler. A secondary bite has been around the piers. The bass like areas where there is hard sand bottom with just a little slimy weed. My favorite docks are on the north shore.
Northern Pike action has been moderate. The best bait continues to be medium suckers fished on a lindy rig. The best depth is 16-18 ft of water. The fish still have not schooled up, that is probably a week away yet. I'm just getting a couple every trip. Good locations include Belvidere Park or Willow Point.
Perch have been biting by the Township park. They are in 10-12 ft of water. The best approach has been slip bobbers with hellgrammites. There are quite a few small ones so you need to do some sorting. This bite should last for most of the summer.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

Daily Reports
6/24/12 - Delavan Lake, sunny, 75 degrees, light winds out of the west, water temp 74 degrees.  Caught about 150 bluegills, 4-5 largemouth bass and 1 walleye.  The bluegills were caught on red worms fished with a small split shot. The walleye was caught on a lindy rigged leach.
6/23/12 - Delavan Lake, sunny, 75 degrees, SW wind at 5 mph.  Water temp 74 degrees.  Caught 16 largemouth bass, 8 were legal, 4 walleyes and 2 northern, one was 33 inches.  The legal northern was caught on a nightcrawler, the walleyes were caught on lindy rigged jumbo leaches.  The fish were positioned on the outside of the weedline.
6/21/12 - Delavan Lake, Sunny, 85 degrees, NW wind at 10 mph.  Water temp 74 degrees.  Caught 16 largemouth, 1 walleye, 1 smallmouth and 1 northern.  The best location was in 18 ft of water off the weed points.  Caught most of the fish on split shot rigged nightcrawlers.
6/20/12 - Lake Geneva, Sunny, 93 degrees, SW wind at 25 mph.  Water temp 74 degrees.  Caught 9 largemouth, 5 were legal.  Due to the strong winds, the only location fished was Trinkes.  The best depth was 12 ft of water.
6/18/12 - Lake Geneva, sunny, 90 degrees, S wind at 25 mph.  Water temp 70 degrees.  Caught 7 smallmouth bass, 1 largemouth bass and many rock bass.  Due to the strong south wind, the only place you could fish was by Abbey Springs and the Military Academy.  The best depth was 10 ft of water.

GENEVA: Duwe sent this:

Lake Geneva 6/24/12 through 7/2/12
Fishing continues to be very good. The best action on the lake has been largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and rock bass. Largemouth bass have been positioned in the shallow weed flats while the smallmouth bass have been on the break line.
Largemouth bass fishing has been excellent. The best location has been by the Military Academy, Trinkes and in Williams Bay. The depth varies from day to day. I usually start in 8 ft and go as deep as 14 ft of water. Once you find the active fish, they've been pretty easy to catch. Pre-rigged worms in purple and black have been producing a lot of fish. You want to use a very slow methodical retrieve.
Smallmouth bass have been off the break lines in 14-16 ft of water. They can be caught on white hair jigs or on lindy rigged nightcrawlers. The best location has been by the Yacht Club and by the Military academy. Some of the days last week, when the wind was blowing, they were stacked up and you could catch a bunch.
Rock bass have been positioned in areas with hard sand bottoms with scattered weeds. The best location has been by Colemans Point and by Elgin Club. Nightcrawlers fished on a split shot rig have been producing a lot of fish. The best depth has been 10-12 ft.
Bluegill fishing has been excellent in Geneva Bay. The best depth is 7-8 ft of water. The best bait has been leaf worms fished on a bobber. You want to position the bait about 1 ft above the weeds. The fish have been done spawning for about 2 weeks. As the water warms, they will be heading into deeper water. Once they go deep, they become very nomadic and difficult to pattern, but if you get on a school you will catch a bunch.
Walleye fishing has been good. They've been biting at night in 14-15 ft of water. The best bait has been large perch colored stick baits that dive 8-10 ft. The best location has been by Trinkes or Abbey Springs.
Northern Pike still remain shallow and have been hard to catch. With the warm weather, the thermocline should be forming in the next week or so. Then the northern pike action will improve greatly. After the 4th of July, I start targeting the pike. The best approach is a lindy rigged sucker in 27-30 ft of water.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


REND: guide Jason Johns posted on Facebook that channel catfish are the best, but crappie limits were still being caught on Tuesday. The Army Corps reported bluegill and channel catfish as excellent.

EVERGREEN: Ray Thompson forwarded a report by a bass fisherman (crankbaits/spinner baits) catching nine muskies, mostly smaller, on Friday. . . . Any updated fishing report from site staff will be posted here.

POWERTON: Summer hours--6 a.m.-8 p.m.--are underway.

EMIQUON: The 2012 permits are available for fishing at Emiquon from Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown.

HENNEPIN-HOPPER LAKES: They will be closed again for 2012 as work on common carp removal continues.


From the Wisconsin DNR report on Monday:

Green Bay Fishing Report: June 25, 2012
Brown Co.
Green Bay: In the Lower Bay, fishermen were catching walleye with better success out of the Metro ramp up to University Bay. Perch numbers are low; there are fishermen out there targeting them, but with very limited success.
Fox River: In the River, fishermen were targeting walleye, but it is starting to slow down. The walleye that were caught were by jigging. Some fishermen were reporting catching smallmouth bass up by the dam casting crank baits. Catfish, sheepshead and carp were being caught by boat and shore fishermen up and down the river.
Suamico/Geano's Beach: Fishermen were targeting walleye, but the numbers are low. Fishermen were using crank baits half the time and crawler harnesses the other half of the time.
East Shore
Overall the fishing pressure was low compared to last week at all locations. The weather was warmer during the week which raised the water temperatures a little bit from 68 degrees at Little Sturgeon Bay/Sawyer Harbor to 74 degrees at Chaudoir's Dock/Bayshore Park.
Bayshore Park: At Bayshore Park, fishermen were targeting walleye and perch with the numbers being low during the week. Fishermen used night crawlers and minnows for perch and crank baits and crawler harnesses for walleye. They are also catching catfish, sheepshead, and gobies. One fisherman also caught a whitefish on a crawler harness.
Chaudoir's Dock: At Chaudoir's Dock, fishermen were targeting walleye, perch, and some were targeting catfish. They used night crawlers/minnows for perch while using tubes with worms for catfish. For walleye, fishermen were using crank baits and spinners (gold, black, and purple). A pier fisherman caught a northern pike and a bullhead using an artificial grub. Sheepshead and gobies are still making appearances.
Sawyer Harbor: In Sawyer Harbor, fishermen were targeting perch and smallmouth bass. They were using minnows for perch and artificial bait (jigs, grubs) for smallmouth bass. Fishermen were also catching gobies and sheepshead.
Little Sturgeon Bay: On Little Sturgeon Bay, off the pier fishermen were targeting perch, bluegill and rock bass using night crawlers. Boaters were targeting smallmouth bass and perch. Perch numbers were low, but smallmouth are still going good. The fishermen used jigs and spinners (green/pumpkin in color) for the smallmouth bass, and they were caught in about 5-7 feet of water. Sheepshead and gobies are still very numerous.
Oconto Co.
Extreme heat, heavy rains, and high winds last week kept fishing pressure low. Some panfish and a few smallmouth were being caught downstream from the Stiles Dam using live bait and bobbers. With rain and wind fishing on the Bay was slow with few boats venturing out.
Marinette Co.
Extreme heat, heavy rains, and high winds last week kept fishing pressure low. Shore fishermen at the Peshtigo Harbor are catching a mixed bag of smallmouth, catfish, and freshwater drum, still fishing with live bait. Boaters out of Klingsborn landing and fishing the upper Peshtigo report catching pike, smallies, walleye and drum, casting crank baits and fishing jigs and minnows or plastics. Salmon and trout fishermen have been doing well fishing the Green Island area as well as Seagull Bar in 40 to 50 feet of water, with Kings in the 14 to 17 pound range and browns weighing in between 4 and 8 pounds. Find the schools of bait fish, and you will find the trout and salmon. Spoon colors do not seem to be a factor at this time.


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


For perch, see top.

CHICAGO: Capt. Bill Kelly of Leprechaun Charters reported good fishing in 80-130 feet east of the Chicago harbors: coho are in the top 50 feet, best on small Dodgers and flies; kings are in the middle, best on spoons or big Dodgers and flies; lakers are on the bottom, best on smoke or silver Dodgers and green crinkle or Blue Boy flies. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters reported lakers, coho, steelhead and kings in 85-120 north of Montrose.

WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop reported coho are high in the water column in 40-70 feet; bigger fish are taking a white fly and white Dodger in 90-150 down 60-90.

NORTH POINT: Poteshman reported good coho, some steelhead and a few big kings just past the hill in 100-150 feet.

CHICAGO FISHERMAN'S PARKING: The fisherman's parking pass--$10 for two months and available at Henry's Sports & Bait--is needed to park south of the main building at Northerly Island. . . . That's the same pass good for the small fishermen's lots at Burnham and DuSable harbors.

DALEY DERBY: In June, the species are carp, catfish, perch, coho and Chinook for the Richard J. Daley Memorial Sport Fishing Derby are perch, coho and chinook. Check fish in at Henry's Sports & Bait. Derby runs through September with cash prizes for the heaviest three fish from selected species caught around Chicago each month.


Click here for D&S Bait.


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

(Head): Excellent northern bite, with very good to excellent action for
panfish, good to very good action for muskies, and a fair to good bite for
walleyes in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.

Water temps are from the mid to upper 70s, and fishing action continues to
be very good in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.  Some of this report is
based on one of your editor's own fishing escapades in Eagle River.  If you
haven't fished in Eagle River, you're missing one of the greatest angling
opportunities anywhere.

All of the various species are pretty-well situated in one general area:
Shallow water (8 feet or less  -- with fish biting in as little a two feet
of water), in and around weeds, including weed edges.  Best action remains
on the Eagle River Chain of 28 lakes (largest freshwater chain of lakes in
the world). 

The northern bite is just plain excellent in the Eagle River area.  We "tore
them up" big-time fishing two to six feet of water right in the heavy weeds
or just off the weed edge, using a 1/8th ounce chartreuse jig and a minnow.
A Husky Jerk (minnow or walleye pattern), a small bucktail, bass style
spinner bait, or a small Mepps will also work.  All day, very aggressive,
strong bite.  Most of the northerns are on the smaller side, with a big
lunker here-and-there; and those smaller northerns are perfect for pickling.

The panfish bite (crappies, bluegills and perch) is very good to excellent
in the Eagle River area.  Fish in the weeds in two to eight feet of water.
The perch will be tight to bottom (some excellent jumbos in the mix), with
the crappies and bluegills suspending just on top of, or near the top of the
weeds.  Use a chunk of crawler or a small crappie minnow on a small jig or
under a slip bobber.  All day bite.

The musky bite varies from good to very good in the Eagle River area, and is
day dependent.  Lots of follows, and some nice muskies over 40 inches are
being taken (and hopefully immediately released after you take some photos).
Fish eight feet of water or less in the weeds themselves, or off weed edges.
Use a "regular size" (nothing too small or too big) sized bucktail, top
water, or spinner bait.  Regular retrieve, and for sure always do a "figure
8" when your lures nears your boat.  All day bite, with peak action near

(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.

MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt's Island Sport Shop sent this:

Cool nights, high pressure following warmth and storms have the fishing in a bit of a flux. Morning temps in the high 30's to low 40's has dropped water surface temps to the high 60's in the A.M. Lots of sun and air temps in the 70's have crept water temps into the low 70's, but barely.
Walleye: Fair. Going good till cool nights. Best using leeches and crawlers around drowned wood since high pressure moved in. Prior to that; crawlers, leeches and red tails on cloudy days over humps of rock/gravel in 17-25'.
Musky: Fair. Best on dark bodies of water using brightly colored bucktails and twitch baits; prior to fronts action very good, though last couple of days things have cooled.
Northern Pike: Fair. Live Chubs on jigs with wire leader best for reluctant biters. Some action on Boonie Bait spinner baits worked moderate speed over weeds.
Largemouth Bass: Fair. Surprising since now is the time this species dominated the local catches. Best on Senko worms in heavy weeds.  Live bait anglers doing best on leeches. Cool weather has kept top water bite off.
Smallmouth Bass: Fair. Deeper water best. Work leeches or suckers (3-5'') on lindy rigs over gravel humps in 20-28'. Tubes and creature baits picking up some action, if fished on ¼ oz or heavier jigs.
Bluegills: Fair. Cool temps have pushed gills from shallows. Concentrate out in 6-10' weeds till warmer weather returns. Worms, small leeches best.
Perch: Fair. Needs for water to warm into 70's to turn on. Medium leeches, fatheads on slip bobbers in 8-12' weeds producing some action.
Crappie: Poor-Fair. Few reports. Some nice crappies (11-13") being caught by walleye anglers (leeches) and bass anglers (spinner baits) but overall action is slow.
Daytime angling usually poor during high pressure. Last week's storms brought good fishing between bouts. Warmer temps expected this week, thus was definitely an unexpected downturn in the action. Though some last minute reports we are hearing shows signs of improvement.


For perch, see top. Mik-Lurch reported another pod of steelhead should be in front of Michigan City later this week. Best has been rattling bodybaits or orange spoons. Kings (meat rigs, spoons, Dodgers and flies) are everywhere, lots of big ones; coho, too, in the magic 60-70 feet range.


Click here for info and reports.


From the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report on Monday:

Southern Lake Michigan Fishing Report: June 25, 2012
Kenosha Co.
No report.
Racine Co.
Those fishing from shore have had their best luck throwing spoons while soaking live bait on the bottom at low light. Anglers were catching browns from the pier and in the harbor. Trollers have had great success with dipsey divers and flies along with trolling spoons in anywhere from 40 to 80 feet down in 50 to 105 feet of water depending on the day. Anglers were focusing mainly on coho and Chinooks, though the fish have seemed to be more spread out in recent days. A few rainbows were picked up as well. Perch fishing is relatively slow from shore with the best rigs being minnows under a slip bobber. Those jigging for perch down at the rock wall by Meyers ramp have had much better success with minnows under slip bobbers and picked up an extra perch throwing small crank baits. After an hour and a half after sunrise, perch fishing slows considerably.
Milwaukee Co.
North Shore: Trolling for Chinooks and coho, along with a few lake trout and rainbows, has been moderately successful. Most trollers have been focusing in 60-105 feet of water with baits about 30-60 feet below the surface. The best baits have been spoons of various colors and dipsey divers with flasher/flies. Flasher/flies of white, blue, and watermelon have produced the best. Fishing on the pier has picked up recently with Chinooks, browns, and rainbows caught on live bait rigs of alewives. The shoreline along Summerfest is producing a few browns, with the most successful presentations focusing on minnows with a few additional fish being caught on spoons. Perch fishing was successful off of McKinley pier within an hour and a half of sunrise, with the most successful rigs being minnows under a slip bobber or shrimp.
South Shore: Trollers have been catching a variety of species including: coho and Chinook salmon along with rainbow and lake trout. Spoons in a variety of colors were landing Chinooks, and flies were bringing in coho. Trollers were anywhere from 60-105 feet of water with baits set about 30-60 feet below the surface. Fishing under the Hoan Bridge has been slow. A few small browns have been caught off of Grant Park and along the Oak Creek power plant fishing pier, along with only a few perch at the pier as well. Perch fishing at the boils and off of Oak Creek has yielded fish, but the bite seems to slow down within an hour and a half of sunrise.
Ozaukee Co.
Port Washington Ramps: In Port Washington trollers have been catching mostly Chinooks, along with some coho and rainbows in 60 to 125 feet of water. Spoons as well as dodger and fly or flasher and fly combinations have been productive.
Port Washington Harbor/Shore: Angler activity has been low.
Port Washington Pier: Port Washington anglers fishing off the pier have been catching a mix of browns, rainbows, and Chinooks, as well as a few perch and whitefish. Alewives have taken the most trout and salmon, and perch have been taken on small minnows or plastics.
Sheboygan Co.
Sheboygan Ramps: Trollers in Sheboygan have been catching decent numbers of Chinooks, coho, and rainbows. Fish have been around 60 to 70 feet of water early in the morning, and then have been moving deeper to the 110 to 140 foot range as the sun gets higher. The rainbows have come from the top 30 feet of water, but the salmon have been deeper. Spoons have taken the majority of fish, but flasher and fly combinations have also produced.
Sheboygan Piers/Shore: When conditions are good nearshore, anglers fishing off the Sheboygan piers have been catching a mixed bag of browns, Chinooks, and rainbows, and fish have been taken on spoons and alewives. A few whitefish have been caught off the piers as well.
Amsterdam Rd. Ramp:


Tyler Harmon messaged,

Steelhead hit or miss, but when you hit it right its good. Thats about all Ive had time to do/check into


Mik-Lurch reported jumbo leeches starting to take some walleye again.



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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on June 27, 2012 7:08 AM.

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