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Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes around Chicago fishing

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Summer patterns settle in, including hints of better perch fishing on southern Lake Michigan, for this lakes section of the Midwest Fishing Report.

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


Topwaters or buzzbaits are taking bass mornings, as nominations for Fish of the Week have shown. Norm Minas said he has been switching to spinner baits evenings for bass. Some bluegill still are holding eggs.


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 across the board, with walleyes, crappies, bluegills,
bass and muskies all hitting; in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin
River in Wisconsin¹s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and

Walleyes in the central Wisconsin area have been holding tight to points on
wind blown shores usually in 6 to 10 feet of water.  Jigs tipped with
minnows have been the best bait, but we are seeing a few nice fish coming on
crawlers and leeches as the water temperatures are now in the 70s.

The crappies fishing in the central Wisconsin area has been good.  We have
been finding plenty of them suspended in about 12 to 15 feet of water.  Most
of the fish are holding 5 to 7 feet down and are being caught on slip bobber
rigs baited up with small jigs, tipped with tiny minnows or plastics.

Anglers looking for lots of action should target bluegills right now in the
central Wisconsin area. We are catching a ton of them holding in about 3 to
6 feet of water right in the weeds.  Early int he day the gills are hunkered
down right in the weeds, but as the day progresses you will the fish move up
towards the surface to basically "sun" themselves  All you need is a small
hook baited up with a worm.  Set this below a bobber at the appropriate
depth and get ray for the action to start.

The action for bass has been very good in the central Wisconsin area, and
with the warmer water temperatures, we are starting to see the topwater
action picking up.  Most of the fish have been holding in about 2 to 6 feet
of water associated with rocks and wood.

The spring musky bite in the central Wisconsin area has been very good and
we are catching quite a few nice fish.  Most of the action this past week
has been working shoreline structure along the main river and by working the
deeper weeds on the main lake.  Medium sized bucktails like the Slowie
Slippery Sam in orange or chartreuse are working as well as twitch baits and
crankbaits in firetiger and perch patterns.


Staff at Triangle reported walleye with leeches the No. 1 bait on main lake points. Bluegill are also excellent shallow. Catfish are good on most lakes. Pike are good around creek mouths. For white bass, try for suspended fish down 12-15 feet in deeper water; drift around to find them. Carp are good on strawberry doughbait. Muskie are fair; try topwaters.

For more reports, see

More Chain info at


LaSALLE: As of Tuesday, the lake is still open daily.

HEIDECKE: Should be the time for walleye.

BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Mazonia would still rank as one of my top picks for this week. If you're just looking for a place to take the kids for action, go to the south shore at Braidwood and you can catch all the small catfish you want with some bluegill mixed in.


DELAVAN: Guide Dave Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake 6/11/12 through 6/17/12
Fishing on Delavan continues to be phenomenal. The best action is on spawning bluegills and largemouth bass. The boat traffic and fishing pressure remain very high. Try for early a.m. or late p.m. for the best results.
Bluegill fishing can be had in 8-9 ft of water or in the shallows in 3-4 ft of water. The bigger bluegills are being taken deeper. By far, the best location has been by Browns channel. My brother-in-law and son caught a limit of 50 fish in less than 2 hours. The best approach is trout worms fished on a single hook with a small split shot. Let the worm free swim to the bottom. They also tried to fish with bobbers but with the bobbers they ended up catching smaller fish. For the shallow water fish, try either hellgrammites or small red worms fished beneath a Thill slip bobber. Look for the fish by Willow Point or Lake Lawn Lodge. Look for sand bottom with scattered weeds.
Largemouth bass have two patterns working at the moment. They can be caught on Texas rigged Senkos in 8-9 ft of water or fishing split shot rigged nightcrawlers on the weedline in 17-18 ft of water. The main lake points seem to hold a lot more fish. The sheer numbers have been caught on Texas rigged Senkos. The best location has been by Browns channel or by Lake Lawn Lodge.
Smallmouth bass are off the weed edge in 18-20 ft of water. All of my success has come off of split shot rigged nightcrawlers. The best success has come by Browns Channel or by Willow Point. I caught several fish last week over 18 inches. The time of day doesn't seem to matter, but you need to keep moving to find the active fish.
Walleyes are off the weed edge in 20-22 ft of water. They are aggressively biting on nightcrawlers or leeches. The best approach is either lindy rigging them or fishing a split shot rig with a big sinker. The best location is by Willow Point or by the Yacht Club. The best time to fish is in the low light condition at dusk and dawn.
Northern Pike fishing has been very slow for me. I have caught some smaller fish in the shallows in 6-8 ft of water. I've yet to catch a good one on the deep weedline. Some other anglers are catching them, but I don't think I've found the active fish yet. I've been bringing suckers every trip out but not having any success.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

Daily Reports
6/10/12- Delavan Lake, sunny, air temp 85 degrees, water temp 69 degrees, winds SW at 15 mph.  Caught 10 largemouth, 3 were legal, 3 smallmouth, 1 was legal and 4 walleyes.  Today we had to search for the fish.  They were anywhere from 10-17 ft of water. Most of the success on the walleyes came on a chartreuse painted hook.  The bass are still shallow, however the smallmouth and walleye are on the weedline in 15-20 ft of water.
6/9/12 - Delavan lake, sunny, 88 degrees, water temp 69 degrees.  SW winds at 20 mph.  Caught 4 walleyes, 10 largemouth and 1 smallmouth bass.  We fished nightcrawlers on a split shot rig.  Again, the walleyes all bit on painted chartreuse hooks.  The best location was by Browns channel and by Willow point.
6/8/12 - Delavan Lake, sunny, 85 degrees, winds SW at 15 mph.  Water temp 66 degrees.  Caught 15 largemouth bass.  The bass were positioned on weed points.  We caught the fish on split shot rigged nightcrawlers.
6/5/12 - Delavan Lake, sunny, 77 degrees, SE winds at 10 mph.  Water temp 66 degrees.  Caught 10 largemouth bass and 4 walleyes.  The walleyes were caught on the deep weedline in 20 ft of water.  The key was a painted chartreuse hook.  The bass were caught on the weedline in 12-14 ft of water.
6/4/12 - Delavan Lake, sunny, 77 degrees, water temp 65 degrees.  Winds SE at 10 mph.  Caught 10 largemouth, 1 northern pike and 1 smallmouth bass.  We were fishing 8-9 ft of water by Browns Channel.  A split shot rig with a nightcrawler was the best approach.

GENEVA: Duwe sent this:

Lake Geneva 6/11/12 through 6/17/12
With the official start of summer just days ago, the fishing has greatly improved. The only problem with the start of summer is the excessive boating action. You want to fish really early in the a.m. or late in the p.m. to avoid the jet skiers and pleasure boaters.
Largemouth bass have been biting in the shallows in 8-10 ft of water. They are biting on Texas rigged Senkos or a split shot rigged nightcrawler. The best location has been by Trinkes or in Geneva Bay. You want to fish the boat docks or just in front of the boat docks where there is weed growth. The fish are just preparing to spawn or are just starting. The bigger fish are coming really early in the a.m. in low light conditions. Once the sun is up high, they get a bit spooky.
Smallmouth bass have completed their spawn. They are still associating with their spawning flats. However, they are keying on the ample supply of bait fish in the lake this year. So you need to keep moving to find the aggressive fish. My best location has been by the Elgin Club in 12-15 ft of water. The best baits have been casting Kahlins grubs in avocado pepper or dragging nightcrawlers on a split shot rig.
Rock bass fishing is completely awesome right now. If you can't catch a rock bass right now, check to make sure you have a hook on. The best depth is 10-12 ft of water. The best location is everywhere. They seem to be biting on anything you put in the water. I've been catching most of mine on split shot rigged nightcrawlers.
Perch remain by their spawning grounds in 10-12 ft of water. They are associating with scattered weeds. Look for the fish by Rainbow Point or by Knollwood. Prepare to sort to find the keepers. The best approach is slip bobber rigged small crappie minnows.
Lake Trout fishing has started to heat up. The fish are in the main lake basin 110 ft down in 140 ft of water. They can either be caught on spoons or a dodger and fly combo. The key is either blue or green in both bait types. You want to fish them when they are suspended in the water column right at first light.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


REND: Army Corps of Engineers reported largemouth (bridges or along rocks), crappie (in 6-10 feet) and bedding bluegill as excellent.

EVERGREEN: Time on the Water Outdoors reported crappie continue to be limit-good, but it takes work. Any updated fishing report from site staff will be posted here.

POWERTON: Catfish are the best bite. 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:

Brown Co.
Fox River: In the River, fishermen are targeting walleye with some catching their limits. Lots of catfish and sheepshead are also being caught. Some fishermen are seeing the occasional musky. For bait, the fishermen were using cranks baits and crawler harnesses. Suamico/Geano's Beach: At Suamico and Geano's Beach, fishermen are targeting walleye, but most are smaller in size so not many fishermen are hitting their limits. There seems to be more activity at University Reef, with some walleye being a bit bigger in size. Sheepshead are still abundant. Fishermen were using cranks and crawler harnesses for bait.
East Shore
This week, the temperatures were warmer with warm winds and brought the water temperature back up a to about 65 to 70 degrees in most areas. On Little Sturgeon Bay and Sawyer Harbor, the water temperature was in the high 50's to low 60's. Bayshore Park: Bayshore Park was busy all week and weekend with fishermen targeting walleye and some of them looking for perch. Some fishermen were catching their limits of walleye, but most fishermen were reporting catching lots of smaller walleye that were not of the legal size limit. Catfish and sheepshead are still very high, while white perch and some white bass are making appearances. The bait of choice was crank baits and flicker shads (purple or gold). Chaudoir's Dock: Chaudoir's Dock was a little slow at the beginning of the week. The fishermen were targeting perch using minnows and night crawlers for bait. Towards the end of the week and on the weekend, fishermen were targeting walleye mostly, with some looking for perch. They were catching the walleye in about 12 to 15 feet of water using flicker shads (black and silver, purple, copper, and gold), crank baits, crawler harnesses and some live bait (night crawlers). They ranged in size from 15 to 24 inches and about .5 pounds to 4 pounds. Sheepshead are still very numerous and some fishermen are starting to see some white perch. Sawyer Harbor: Sawyer Harbor was a little busy at the beginning of the week with fishermen targeting perch and smallmouth bass. Some rock bass were also caught. The bait of choice was tubes and twisters (green in color), live (night crawlers) and crank baits. Little Sturgeon Bay: Little Sturgeon Bay was slow with fishermen looking for perch using night crawlers; only a few were caught. Other locations: No fishing activity at Red River, Sugar Creek, or Fish Haven.
Oconto Co.
Fishing pressure was light to moderate depending on the wind. Water temperatures on the Bay are in the low to middle 70's. Fishermen at the Stiles Dam are catching bluegill using slip bobbers or dead drifting the current seams with worms. Some nice smallmouth are still being caught downstream from the Highway 141 Bridge to the mouth of the river. Tube jigs and plastics are working well, along with minnow and jig heads. The walleye bite from the mouth of the Pensaukee River to Oconto Park II has slowed since the week before. Trolling crawler/harness or Rapala's in 12 to 16 feet of water is what is working.
Marinette Co.
Fishing pressure was light to moderate depending on the wind. Water temperatures on the Bay are in the low to middle 70's. Boaters on the lower Peshtigo River have reported catching pike, smallmouth, catfish, and fresh water drum, drifting and using jig heads and live bait or plastics. Bay fishermen from the mouth of the Peshtigo to the Menominee River are catching browns and kings trolling spoons in 40 feet of water. Color does not seem to matter; find the schools of bait fish and the trout and salmon will be close. Fishermen on the Menominee River are catching some walleye, catfish, rock bass, and fresh water drum, using live bait, plastics, or trolling stick baits.


Click here for the Lake Erie prospects, a fun and informative read. For Ohio DNR report go to and or call (888) HOOKFISH.


CHICAGO: Outstanding coho action keeps going. Capt. Bill Kelly of Leprechaun Charters reported lots of coho 70 degrees out of Diversey and east of the R4 in 90-140 feet; some kings and steelhead mixed in with lakers on the bottom. Perch reports have been up and down. Park Bait reported some limits again Tuesday on the outside at Montrose. Soft shells or minnows are best depending on the day. Henry's reported spotty action at other harbors, including Burnham/Northerly Island. Mik-Lurch reported boaters taking perch off Navy Pier, key is finding weeds (good areas are No. 18-24 on the breakwall); or try inside of Burnham. Henry's reported some smallmouth in downtown harbors.

WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop reported good perch off the end of government pier on large minnows; boaters are working 60-65 straight out and south. Boaters are working 30-90 feet with Dipsy Divers, Yellow Birds and tinsel flies for spring coho and smaller kings; 90-130 for kings, browns and coho; or 120-220 for big lakers on the bottom and big kings near the bottom.

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):  Good to excellent fishing continues in the Eagle River, Wisconsin
area, with action coming from musky, walleye, northern, crappie, bluegill
and perch

Water temps in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area are in the mid 60s, and the
quality of the fishing is making a lot of anglers very happy.  For the best
all-around action, try the Eagle River Chain of 28 lakes (largest freshwater
chain of lakes int he world).

Musky in the Eagle River area are in 7-8 feet of water or less around weeds.
Use small to medium bucktails or spinner baits, and use a fast retrieve.
All day bite.  Good to excellent action.

Walleye are putting on a good bite in the Eagle River area.  Fish 10 feet of
water or less along weed edges.  The walleyes will be tight to bottom.  Use
a 1/16th or 1/8th ounce jig with a minnow.  All day action.

Northern continue on a feeding rampage in the Eagle River area.  Fish 10
feet of water or less in and around weeds.  Use a small bucktail, a Husky
Jerk in a minnow or walleye pattern, or a bass style spinner bait.  Good to
excellent action.  All day bite.  Remember, the bigger northerns will
usually be deeper.  The action may be somewhat slower when fishing deeper,
but the fish you catch could turn out to be a real lunker.

Crappies, bluegills and perch are hanging out in the same general location
in the Eagle River area.  Fish 10 feet of water or less in and around weeds.
The perch will tight to bottom, with the crappies and gills suspending near
the tops of the weeds.  Use a chunk or crawler or a crappie minnow under a
jig or a slip bobber.  Good to excellent all day action.

(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:

Wind once again has made angling difficult here in the Northwoods.  Water temps are climbing and most everything is still 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule.
Bluegills:  Excellent! Biggest drawback is wind.  Gills spawning all over.  Large colonies of beds.  Poppers on fly rods or behind spinning floats taking lots of fish.  Small leeches, worms, tiny tubes and plastics all scoring.  These fish are very vulnerable during this time, think of the future, harvest a few males from each colony, don't keep 'em all - and let the hens go for better fishing in the future.
Pike:  Very Good.  One guide reported a 42" (C & R).  Lots of active fish on Boonie Bait Spinnerbaits, Mepps #3 spinners and jig/chub combos.  Fish active and chasing Shallow Shad Raps over weed tops also effective in 3-8' weeds.
Largemouth Bass:  Very good.  Wacky worming during the day and top water in the evening.  Shallower water of 3-8'.  Lots of action on live leeches meant for walleyes. 
Crappies:  Good.  Larger lakes seeing good action in 9-11' off weed edges on tube jigs, 1" twisters.  Lots of good 11-12"ers and a few to 14". 
Musky:  Good.  Bucktails top choice for moving fish towards dusk, though recent heat should make top water choice once wind lays down.
Smallmouth:  Good.  Fish scattered but nice smallies in upper teens being caught on X-Raps, Husky Jerks over 8-12' breaks.  Large leeches on jigs also effective.
Walleyes:  Fair, but improving.  With some signs of Hexigema hatches still on some lakes, walleye bite hasn't come back yet.  Crawlers and redtails have been best choice by guides.  Crawlers over deeper mud and redtails for weed fish.  Night fishing has been good during recent weather.
Perch:  Fair.  Not a lot of perch reports, attention mostly on gills and crappies.
Lots of lakes saw surface temps hit low-mid 70's this past week.  With gills and pumpkinseed all that's left to spawn and major bug hatches out of the way, summer patters should start setting up.  A forecasted cool front mid week may be a hiccup but things should pick up from here.


Mik-Lurch reported some good perch Tuesday at Michigan City in 17-23 feet; some east of Gary Light. The good salmon spring keeps going with lots of coho, some kings and steelhead in 65-120 feet. At Willow Slough, panfishermen are doing best for big bluegill fishing sticks in open water instead of reeds. Just a few steelhead showing up at Michigan City and the mouths of the creeks.


Bass fishing remains good as Lakeside's bass open on Saturday had two bass topping 4 pounds, including the best went 4.45 pounds. Henry's reported good catfish, too. Click here for more info and reports.


From the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report on Monday:

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 conditions, but success was very limited. Anglers were catching browns and coho 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 70 to 120 feet of water depending on the day. Anglers were focusing mainly on coho and were picking up Chinooks as well. Also, rainbows and lake trout were caught on similar presentations.
Milwaukee Co.
North Shore: Trolling for Chinooks and coho has been successful. A few lake trout and rainbows have been picked up with the salmon as well. Most trollers have been focusing in 75-130 feet of water with baits about 40-80 feet below the surface. The best baits have been spoons of various colors and dipsey divers with flasher flies. Flasher flies of white and blue have produced the best. Fishing on the pier has been very slow in recent days with only a few coho and Chinooks caught on live bait rigs of alewives during low light times of day. Throwing spoons off the pier has had little to no success. The shoreline along Summerfest is producing a few small browns with the most successful presentations focusing on minnows with a few additional fish being caught on spoons. 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 70-125 feet of water with baits running on 5-7 color lead core or down riggers set about 40-80 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.
Ozaukee Co.
Port Washington Ramps: Low recorded angler activity. Anglers harvesting chinook salmon, lake trout, coho salmon and rainbow trout in 45-180 (mainly 60-120) feet of water on flashers or dodgers and flies as well as spoons. Port Washington Harbor/Shore: Low recorded angler activity. Port Washington Pier: Low recorded angler activity. Anglers harvesting brown trout using alewives.
Sheboygan Co.
Sheboygan Ramps: Moderate recorded angler activity. Anglers harvesting chinook salmon and rainbow trout in 50-130 feet of water on spoons. Sheboygan Piers/Shore: Low recorded angler activity with the most activity on the south pier. Some anglers having successful harvest of whitefish, brown trout, and rainbow trout using alewives and spoons. Amsterdam Rd. Ramp: Low recorded angler activity.


Tyler Harmon messaged that warm water slowed steelhead on Lake Michigan, but perch fishermen are out. Panfish are good on inland lakes.


Mik-Lurch reported good walleye (17-23 inches), leeches are taking the majority.



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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on June 13, 2012 8:35 AM.

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