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Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes around Chicago fishing

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Summer weather and hopes that perch will fully kick in lead this lakes section of the Midwest Fishing Report.


Park Bait sent this photo of some fine perch from Tuesday morning at Montrose.

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


With southwest winds, the hope is perch will explode before the July closure in Illinois.

CHICAGO: ``It is good enough to keep us interested,'' said Steve Palmisano at Henry's. ``We are seeing six and eight with a few limits. In general, it seems to be building. The wind is the right direction. Go early and late.'' Minnows are taking fish, but the bite turns toward soft shells. Park Bait reported good perch Tuesday at Montrose, some inside too; and at Belmont and the mouth of Diversey. There's some around Burnham/Northerly Island. Boaters have had a tough time off Navy Pier; just a few, mainly around the weeds.

WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop reported perch slowed Monday, before that boaters were doing well in 30-60 feet. Shore fishing is spotty.

INDIANA: Mik-Lurch reported some limits of perch, mainly smaller, east of the Donut outside the Ditch.


Summer is settling in, it's 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 fishing continues across the board, with walleyes, crappies,
smallmouth bass and muskies all hitting - -and bear hunters starting to look
for baiting and hunting locations; all in and amidst the lakes and the
Wisconsin River in Wisconsin¹s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee
and Wausau).

Walleyes in the central Wisconsin area have been hitting well this past week
on jigs tipped with minnows as well as jigs tipped with crawlers.  Most of
the action is coming in 6-10 feet of water associated with channel edges and
either rock or wood.

The crappie bite is good in the central Wisconsin area with nice catches
coming from suspended fish holding in about 12-16 feet of water.  These fish
can be caught by running tiny jigs tipped with small minnows or plastics set
under slip bobbers at about 5-7 feet down.  Don't be afraid to try different
depths as one day can be very different from the next.

If you're looking for steady action, and want some real excitement try
targeting smallmouth bass in the central Wisconsin area.  They are
aggressive, easy to catch, and will give you an aerial display that is
second to none.  We have been catching a lot of these hard fighting
bronzebacks on top water baits and spinner baits while working shallow rocks
and shoreline wood in 2-4 feet of water.

For you musky hunters, the bite is on in the central Wisconsin area.  We
have been catching some real nice fish on plastics and topwater baits.  We
have been concentrating our efforts on weeds in the mid-depth range (6-8
feet of water) along with working outside current breaks off the Wisconsin
River channel in all waters.

For the upcoming 2012 black bear hunting season in the central Wisconsin
area, this is a good time to start acquiring property and finding locations
for hunting and your bait stations.  With about three months until the
season opens, this is also a good time to start stocking up on bait and
finding places where you will be able to get or purchase bait.


Staff at Triangle reported excellent bluegill near shore. Catfish are very good on stinkbait, leeches or roaches; Grass and Fox are best. Walleye are good on main lake points or wind-blown shorelines, Bluff and Petite are best. White bass are decent, Marie is best

For more reports, see

More Chain info at


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

BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Site staff reported 94 degrees at Braidwood's south end Tuesday. Plenty of small catfish and bluegill to be caught.


DELAVAN: Guide Dave Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake 6/18/12 through 6/24/12
Fishing on Delavan Lake has been fantastic. You need to get to the lake early because the fishing pressure has been extraordinary from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. The best bite continues to be the largemouth bass and bluegills. The bluegills are in 12-14 ft of water and the largemouth bass are in about 12-15 ft of water.
Largemouth bass can be caught in 12-15 ft of water. Either casting medium diving crankbaits or a split shot rigged nightcrawler are working. The best location has been the weedline by Belvidere Park or by Willow Point. The fish have not schooled up yet. I've been catching a couple of fish here and there and then I need to move. I caught several fish in excess of 5 lbs last week.
Bluegills are in the 12-14 ft depth range. They appear to either still be spawning or just coming off the spawn. There isn't a problem catching a nice limit of fish. The best presentation has been leaf worms fished on a single hook on a split shot. You want to cast out and let the bait do what it will do. The best location has been by Browns Channel or West of Willow Point.
Northern Pike fishing has been slow for me. According to the bait shop, pike action has been very good. I've found it a little slow but the fish I am catching are in 15-20 ft of water. They are biting on lindy rigged suckers. The best spot has been by Belvidere Park or just west of the Yacht Club. With the warmer weather, the pike fishing will continue to improve.
Walleye fishing has been good during early a.m. or later afternoon. The fish are biting on nightcrawlers or Jumbo leeches. The key is 20-24 ft of water. They are biting just west of the old Marina or by the Yacht Club. A split shot rig with a painted hook or a lindy rig with and 1/8 oz walking sinker have both been working.
Crappie action remains very consistent. They are just off the weed line in 12-15 ft of water suspended about 3 ft under the surface. The best approach is casting a 1/32 oz jig with a purple or chartreuse plastic. The best location is east of Willow Point or west of the Yacht Club.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
Daily Reports
6/16/12 - Delavan Lake, sunny, SW winds at 10 mph, water temp 71 degrees.  Caught 10 largemouth- 3 were legal, 1 walleye, 1 smallmouth and 2 northern pike.  The northern pike and smallmouth bass were caught on lindy rigged suckers in 15-20 ft of water.  The largemouth bass were caught on split shot rigged nightcrawlers in 15 ft of water by Del Mar subdivision.
6/15/12 - Lake Geneva, sunny and 80 degrees, water temp 69 degrees, SW winds at 15 mph.  Caught 11 largemouth, 1 smallmouth and a bunch of panfish. The fish were caught in 12 ft of water on split shot rigged nightcrawlers by Trinkes.  The only depth producing was 12 ft of water.
6/14/12 - Delavan Lake, sunny and 65 degrees, water temp 70 degrees, Winds S at 10-15 mph.  Caught 1 northern,1 legal walleye, 2 smallmouth and 10 largemouth bass.  The northern pike was caught on a lindy rigged sucker.  The bass were caught on the deep weed line in 16-20 ft of water.  The key was to keep the boat away from the weed edge.  The fish were a bit spooky this day.
6/13/12 - Delavan Lake, sunny, air temp 66 degrees, water temp 70 degrees. Winds E at 5 mph.  Caught 4 smallmouth, 1 Northern, 1 legal Walleye and 13 largemouth bass.   The fish were in the shallows in 2-3 ft of water.  The fish we caught appeared to just complete spawning.  The key was a long cast to the sandy spots.  The best location was just east of the Oriental boathouse.

GENEVA: Duwe sent this:

Lake Geneva 6/18/12 through 6/24/12
Fishing has been very good. The water has warmed to approximately 70 degrees. The largemouth bass are coming off the spawn and the Lake Trout have been aggressive.
Largemouth bass have finished spawning and are in 10-12 ft of water. They can be caught on a weightless Senko or a nightcrawler split shot rig. The best location has been by Trinkes or in Geneva Bay. The key is to keep moving. The time of day will dictate the depth of water they are in. You want to start out shallow and move deep. Occasionally the fish are in 16 ft of water, but start and 10 ft and work your way deeper as needed.
Rock bass can be caught in the shallow areas with a lot of rock. The best depth has been 12-14 ft of water. The best location has been by Belvidere Park or by Elgin Club. The rock bass haven't been associating with the heavy weeds, so look for hard bottom with scattered weeds. The best approach has been split shot rigged nightcrawlers or small white hair jigs.
Lake Trout are located in the main lake basin. Look for them in 110-140 ft of water. The key is to fish them at first light or at dusk. The best approach has been a Silver Dodger and green or purple fly. You want to keep the bait approximately 69-79 ft down on your down rigger.
Walleye fishing has been good when there has been an adequate chop on the lake. The best location has been by Fontana Beach or by Trinkes. You want to troll medium diving crank baits on planer boards about 8 ft down in about 12-15 ft of water. Remember, the best time is between 11 pm and 3 am.
Smallmouth bass have completed their spawn and have become very sporadic. They are still close to their spawning flats but they are chasing pods of minnows. They can be caught on white hair jigs or a split shot rigged nightcrawler however the numbers just aren't that high. I've only been catching one or two per trip.
Bluegill fishing has been very good. The bigger bluegills have been in 10-12 ft of water. The best locations are Geneva Bay or Trinkes Bay. You want to use a split shot rigged leaf worm or ½ of a nightcrawler. The best approach has been drifting or slowly back trolling the bait.
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 reported excellent largemouth, crappie, channel catfish and crappie (6-10 feet).

EVERGREEN: 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:

Brown Co.
Green Bay: In the Lower Bay, boaters are doing well for walleye, but their numbers are starting to slow down. It seems like the fish are moving to deeper waters, about 10 to 20 feet is where more fishermen are trying to target walleye. Fox River: In the Fox River, shore fishermen were reporting catching carp, catfish and drum. The catfish were being caught on cut bait and night crawlers, while the carp were favoring corn and dough bait. Boats on the river were catching walleye occasionally up by the dam; otherwise fishermen are catching smallmouth bass on crank baits. Suamico/Geano's Beach: At Geano's Beach, fishermen are bow-fishing for carp in the shallow waters and in the south end of the bay. Fishermen were reporting good numbers of carp with that fishing technique. Suamico River: Perch fishing is slow in all areas, although a few are starting to come out of the Suamico River as well as a few northern pike.
East Shore
This week was a little slow all over, but mostly had warm weather with some wind. The water temperatures are still a little cooler from where they have been. Ranging from about 70 degrees up on Little Sturgeon Bay and Sawyer Harbor at the end of the week to about 67 degrees by Chaudoir's Dock and Bayshore Park. Bayshore Park: At Bayshore Park, fishermen are targeting walleye and perch; shore fishermen were looking for catfish. Walleye caught were about 18 inches in length and about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds. They were caught in about 10 to 15 feet of water. The walleye numbers are starting to diminish, and many of them that are caught are under the size limit. Fishermen were using crank baits and flicker shads for bait (gold, purple, black, and silver were the best colors). Some fishermen are starting to target deeper waters, about 20 feet maximum, looking for walleye. Night crawlers with jigs were the most used when targeting perch. Lots of sheepshead and gobies were being caught with a few catfish as well. Chaudoir's Dock: At Chaudoir's Dock, fishermen were targeting walleye and perch. Perch are starting to be seen more, but the numbers are still low. They were using crank baits and spinners for walleye and night crawlers on a jig or just night crawlers for the perch. Sheepshead/drum are still very high. Sawyer Harbor: In Sawyer Harbor, shore fishermen were targeting perch, rock bass, and smallmouth. Only a few perch and rock bass were caught. Many gobies were also reported by shore and boat fishermen. They were mainly using night crawlers and crawlers on a jig for bait. Little Sturgeon Bay: On Little Sturgeon Bay, fishermen were targeting mostly smallmouth bass, and a few were looking for perch. One walleye was caught, with some sheepshead and rock bass. Fishermen were using night crawlers, crawler harnesses, cranks, spinners and gulp for bait, with purple and gold being the most successful.
Oconto Co.
Low water levels in the rivers and windy conditions on the Bay have slowed the fishing effort and the catch rates this past week. The catch rate for panfish at Stiles Dam has slowed considerably this past week, with few fish being caught. Smallmouth fishermen on the Oconto River are also reporting low catch rates. Walleye and perch fishermen on the Bay from Pensaukee Landing to Oconto Park II report few fish being caught due to strong winds and 2 to 4 foot waves.
Marinette Co.
Low water levels in the rivers and windy conditions on the Bay have slowed the fishing effort and the catch rates this past week. Drift fishing the mouth of the Peshtigo River is yielding a few walleye and catfish, but boaters are reporting difficulty in maintaining a decent drift pattern due to wind. Low water on the Menominee River has pushed much of the fishing action from the Highway 41 Bridge to the mouth. Some nice walleye are being caught trolling crawler/harness with catfish and fresh water drum mixed in, from the Turn Basin to the mouth of the Menominee. When weather permits Bay fishermen are catching browns and salmon in the areas of Seagull Bar and Green Island. Browns are being caught in the 40 to 50 range of water while Kings are in 70 to 90 feet. Find the bait fish and you will find the trout and salmon.


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


For perch, see top.

CHICAGO: Outstanding coho action keeps going. Capt. Bill Kelly of Leprechaun Charters reported lots of coho in 100 feet east of the Car Ferry and on out with lakers on the bottom. He said one boater caught all five species east of the R4 over the weekend in 120. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters reported outstanding coho in 80-120 feet; and plenty of fish by the R4.

WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop reported boaters finding kings and coho in 40-60, others going out to 150-200.

NORTH POINT: Poteshman reported good coho on Monday in front of the nuclear plant in 50-60. There are lots of fish, but they are scattered; some of his charters have gone as far north as Racine. It's mainly coho with a few kings.

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 northern bite, with musky, walleye and panfish all
providing good action in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.

Water temps in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area are in the low 70s, and the
fishing remain consistently good.  You'll find all the species generally in
one area:  10 feet of water or less in and around weeds. The Eagle River
Chain of 28 lakes (largest freshwater chain of lakes in the world) is still
providing the best fishing action in the Eagle River area.

Musky are putting on a good bite in the Eagle River area.  Fish 10 feet of
water or less in the weeds.  One day the muskies will be in 2-3 feet of
water, and the next day 8-10 feet of water.  It's day dependent, so try
different depths until you find the fish.  Lots of follows, and some nice
strong hits.  Don't forget to always use a "figure 8" when your lure nears
the boat.  Use a small bucktail, crankbait, or topwater.  Your retrieve
should be medium to fast.  All day bite.

Northern are still hitting hard in the Eagle River area, providing a good to
excellent all day bite.  Fish 10 feet of water or less with the northerns
holding in the weeds themselves.  Use a small bucktail, a Husky Jerk in a
minnow or walleye pattern, or a bass style spinner bait.  Some nice
northerns are being caught, with the bigger ones usually somewhat deeper
(albeit, not as much action).

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

Crappies, bluegills and perch in the Eagle River area are all locating in 10
feet of water or less in the weeds.  The perch will be tight to bottom, with
the crappies and gills suspending up and down the water column in the weeds
themselves.  Use a chunk of crawler or a small crappie minnow under a jig or
a slip bobber.  Good all day bite.

(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:

Summer patterns have begun to set up.  Daily changes in the weather may alter bites here and there, but overall, things look fairly consistent with a late June/early July bite.
Pike:  Very good.  Anglers targeting pike have been having good success casting shallow raps, ratllin raps, chatterbaits and spinnerbaits over weeds of 4-8'.  Musky anglers reporting lots of pike hitting bucktails and twitch baits meant for muskies in the same waters.
Walleye:  Very good.  With bug hatch out of the way, walleyes holding along 14-23' weed edges taking crawlers, big leeches and redtails.  After dark, target shallower edges of 8-10' or cast Rallin Roughes over weed tops to catch fish of 18-26".
Musky:  Good.  Bucktails and spinnerbaits over weed flats.  Some top-water action, though this will probably heat up as surface temps increase.  After slight cool down and high pressure, muskys found in 14-18' holding near weed clumps where bluegills have moved.  Crane baits twitch over clumps producing fast reaction strikes.
Largemouth Bass:  Good.  Considering this past weekend was the opener, not great.  Wind and fronts put fish out from shoreline cover.  Deep weed edges best with creature baits, beaver style baits and wacky worms best along 10-16' weeds. 
Smallmouth Bass:  Good.  Anglers twitching Husky Jerks and X-Raps around flooded timber experiencing nice action of fish to 20".  On deep lakes, schooling smallies taking leeches on 1/8oz jigs.
Bluegills:  Food.  Bite slowed as spawn finishing up and fish scattering somewhat.  Wind has made top water fishing with poppers tough.  Best to use small leeches under floats in weeds adjacent to old spawn beds.
Perch:  Fair:  Conditions windy for finding perch.  A few fish on 1/2 crawlers meant for walleyes.
Crappie:  Fair.  Same as with perch.  Not a lot of anglers targeting due to the wind.
Water temps have slid back into high 60's.  Storms of late keeping temps from rising.  Take advantage of clouds for shallow water action.


For perch, see top. Mik-Lurch reported good steelhead at the mouth of the Ditch and Michigan City, especially for trollers with J-13 orange Rapala or orange spoons. Others are floating spawn. Boaters continue to do unbelievably well for coho in 65-80 feet with some bigger fish in 80-110. The new UV spoons are working well.


Click here for 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 rivers are very low and warm; steelhead are slow; best is inland lakes for bass and panfish, mornings and evenings; perch are going good on Lake Michigan.



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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on June 20, 2012 10:44 AM.

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