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Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes around Chicago fishing

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It is waiting time for the fall run of salmon and a dramatic coming switch toward fall like weather 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


Lakeside at Shabbona Lake holds a final salute to summer with its Catfish Open on Saturday. Here are the details from Denny Sands:

Catfish Open Saturday, August 18th

Catfish is King for the Day on Saturday, August 18th at THE SHABBONA LAKE CATFISH OPEN!!! 

Concoct your best stink bait, brew up your best chicken liver receipt and put on the liver hook and head for Shabbona Lake. The catfish have been very active this warm summer and they have provided many a battle for an unwary angler. 

Shabbona Lake's record Catfish is a whopping 22.75 Pounds caught August 7, 2010, by Dave Todd on Chicken Liver.
The catfish open is also a family event !!! You can combine your family's best catfish to weigh in your six fish limit.

Weigh ins, at Lakeside Bait, Tackle & Boat Rental, begins at 6 AM and closes at 7 PM.

Fishing Open Rules

Saturday, August 18th, 2012 - 4th Annual Catfish Open Sponsored by Cabela's Outdoors of Hoffman Estates - Heaviest Limit of 6 Catfish will win a gift card from Cabela's Outdoors. 

Please stop and sign in at Lakeside and donate $5.00 to our walleye restocking fund, to double your first place prize to $200, before you going fishing.

The Catfish must be caught and "weighed in" at Shabbona Lake during the fishing open hours of 6AM to 7PM. 

1st Place gets $100.00 Cabela's gift card ($200.00 Cabela's gift card if you donate to our walleye fund. You must donate and sign in at Shabbona Lakeside before going fishing to be eligible for the extra $100.00)

2nd Place gets $50.00 Cabela's gift card

3rd Place gets $25.00 Cabela's gift card

How fishing open winners are decided.

Catfish Open: Heaviest Limit of 6 Catfish - This is a family event and family members may combine their 6 heaviest Catfish.

For updates - check


A change is coming, I already notice fish moving to other areas on our local town pond. The heat wave is a thing of early summer, by the weekend, we will be in something much more like September or October weather.


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):  Musky, walleye, panfish and bass are hitting well, with bear season
less than a month away, and activity ramping up at baiting stations; all in
and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin¹s Marathon and
Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau).
Musky action in the central Wisconsin area has picked up in the past week,
with some nice fish being caught, and one giant, going a whopping 53 inches
long (ALL musky are immediately released -- or should be!).  A lot of the
muskies are coming, during low light periods, with the largest ones coming
right at, or after dark.  the muskies have been biting on jerkbaits like
Suicks, big bucktails, like the Cowgirl, and topwater baits like the Top
Raider and Stomper.

Walleyes have been biting regularly in the central Wisconsin area, with good
action coming from 8 to 12 feet of water.  Most of the action is coming on
crawlers and leeches, but with the lower water temperatures this past week,
we had some good action on minnows as well.

Panfish action (crappies and bluegills) has been great in the central
Wisconsin area, with good catches of both coming regularly.  The crappies
are suspended about 5 to 7 feet down over 14 to 18 feet of water, and can be
caught by drift fishing deeper areas with baits set at appropriate depths.
The gills are holding in deep wood and weeds and can be caught on tiny
1/32nd ounce jigs tipped with a chunk of crawler or small plastic.  For the
best success work the set-up with and without a bobber to target different
depths along the wood and weeds.

Bass in the central Wisconsin area are biting well, with most of our fish
coming from rocks and wood in 3 to 6 feet of water.  We are catching our
bass on plastics or jigs tipped with crawfish imitating plastics in brown or
green, worked very slowly across and through the structure.

Bear season in the central Wisconsin area is less than a month away, and we
are seeing a lot of nice bears at our baiting stations.  Most of the
activity has now shifted from night time to a lot of daytime activity.  We
are seeing bears in our stations as early as 1:00 pm in the afternoon.  To
keep the bears interested in our baits we have been changing our baiting
material each time we go out.

Forgive me, but I love a bear report with my fish.


Staff at Triangle reported bluegill are good around shoreline areas; walleye are improved, look for them bunched around bridge areas and main lake points and taking crawlers, leeches or fatheads early and late; catfish (3-5 pounds) are good on crawlers or stinkbait; crappie are fair late evening or early morning, muskie are slow.

For more reports, see

More Chain info at


BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: With the weather change, I would expect more to try, especially at Mazonia lakes


DELAVAN: Guide Dave Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake 8/13/12 through 8/20/12
With the cooler weather, the fishing has moved slightly more shallow for the largemouth bass. The northern pike fishing is still a bit elusive.
Largemouth bass have been biting both in 6-8 ft of water or as deep as 20 ft of water. The best approach has been drop shotting green pumpkin worms about 1 ft above bottom. I like the Yum Houdini worms. For live bait fishermen, it's hard to beat a split shot rigged nightcrawler or a medium sucker fished beneath a Thill big fish slip bobber. The best location has been by the Yacht Club or by Willow Point. Early morning hours also see success with top water lures. You want to fish chrome/blue or chrome/black Chug bugs or Pop R's.
Bluegill fishing remains excellent. The best location is in 30 ft of water. The fish are suspended 10 ft down. The best location has been by Assembly Park or by the Township park. The best presentation is using Thill slip bobbers and leaf worms. A secondary pattern, although not as productive, is right off the weedline in 20 ft of water. These fish are right on bottom but they tend to be a little smaller.
Northern Pike fishing has been very slow. The best success has been in 30-35 ft of water. I haven't been fishing them that deep because I'm fishing for multiple species at the same time. They are being caught on lindy rigged suckers. The best location is by Belvidere Park or by the old Boy Scout camp on the west end.
Walleye fishing has been spotty. The best time to fish is just before dawn or in the evening. Lindy rigged leeches are producing most of the fish. The best location has been just west of the Yacht Club or by the Oriental boathouse. It has been a struggle to catch any legal fish lately.
Crappie fishing has been excellent once you find the fish. The best time to fish is in the early morning hours. It's easy to see where the fish are when it's flat calm as the fish are feeding on bugs on the surface. The fish can be caught on small plastics, purple and chartreuse are the best colors. The fish aren't associating with structure, they are roaming with the availability of the food source.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
Daily Reports
8/11/12 Delavan Lake, sunny, 72 degrees, water temp 76 degrees. N wind at 15 mph.  Caught 22 largemouth, the biggest was 21 inches and a bunch of bluegills.  Most of the fish were caught on split shot rigged nightcrawlers, however we also had success with slip bobbered medium suckers in 6-9 ft of water.
8/9/12 Delavan lake, cloudy and 70 degrees, water temp 74 degrees.  E wind at 13 mph.  Caught 14 largemouth and 30 bluegills.  The fish were off the weedline in 16-20 ft of water.  The best presentation was a nightcrawler fished on a split shot rig.
8/7/12 Delavan Lake, sunny, 70 degrees, W wind at 10 mph.  Water temp 79 degrees.  Caught 10 largemouth bass and 20-30 bluegills.  The fish were shallow today in 5-6 ft of water.  Most of the fish were caught on a split shot rigged nightcrawler.  The best location was by Del Mar.
8/6/12 Delavan Lake, sunny, 79 degrees, water temp 78 degrees.  West wind at 15 mph.  Caught 5 largemouth bass, 1 northern pike and a bunch of bluegills.  The fish were off the weedline in 12-14 ft of water.  The best location was by Belvidere Park.

GENEVA: Arden Katz reported good bass drop-shotting with finesse worms while set up on the sides of points. For smallmouth, he set up in 30 feet and cast in; for largemouth (up to 5 pounds), he set up in 20 and cast in.

Duwe sent this:

Lake Geneva 8/13/12 through 8/20/12
As the end of summer nears, the boat traffic has been decreasing as the weeks go by. The cooler weather may also be contributing to the reduction. Some of the best fishing is ahead of us in fall. After Labor Day, we see some of the best catches and opportunities for trophy fish.
Smallmouth bass are in the 20-25 ft depth range off of weed points. The best location has been by the Military Academy or by Fontana. The best approach has been lindy rigging nightcrawlers or jumbo leeches. Drop shot anglers are also catching quality fish.
Largemouth bass remain in the deeper water from 20 ft down to 30 ft. You want to check the weed points or little changes in the weedline. Most of the success is coming either dragging a nightcrawler or Carolina rigging green pumpkin 6 inch lizards. When Carolina rigging Lake Geneva, I prefer a ½ oz sinker and a 24 inch leader, if I'm fishing less than 20 ft of water. Anything over 20 ft, I switch to a ¾ oz sinker and a 24 inch leader. Early morning and evening top water action can still be effective. You want to find the emergent weeds, which is difficult to find on Geneva, but they are there. Look for these spots by the Military Academy or by Linn Pier.
Northern Pike fishing has been steady. The fish are in 35 ft of water tight to bottom. They can be caught by lindy rigging suckers or chubs if you can find them. I continue to use a ¾ oz walking sinker with a 24 inch leader. The best location has been in Fontana Beach or off of Maytag Point.
Lake Trout fishing continues to be good. The fish are still in the main lake basin in front of Williams Bay. Look for them 90-100 ft down in 112-120 ft of water. Dodger and Flies have been producing most of the fish. You want to use a small nickel dodger with a green or purple fly.
Walleye fishing has been very good at night. Last week, some real hogs were caught. The best time to fish for them is midnight to 3 a.m. Most of the success is coming off of large Rapalas trolled straight behind the boat. A little wind also helps. The best location is by Abbey Springs or Yerkes Observatory.
Bluegill fishing has been very good in 18-20 ft of water. The best location has been by Elgin Club or in Geneva Bay. You want to use leaf worms fished on a split shot right on bottom.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


EVERGREEN: Any updated fishing report from site staff will be posted here.

POWERTON: Fish kill hit this lake hard. Summer hours are 6 a.m.-8 p.m.

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.


The Wisconsin DNR fishing report was not updated.


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


Waiting on shoreline return of fall salmon and some semblance of a perch fishery.

CHICAGO: Capt. Bill Kelly of Leprechaun Charter said, `Due to high northeast winds and hot water, fishing is spotty in all locations from 70-225 feet.'' Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said 150 and deeper has some kings and lakers. Perch are not around.

NORTH POINT: Poteshman reported better fishing than in Chicago in 150-250 and beyond, varies daily. He is fishing 70 down to the bottom with wire dipseys, 400-foot copper and deep downriggers for kings, coho, steelhead and lakers.

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 August, the species are carp, catfish, panfish, steelhead, Chinook and perch for the Richard J. Daley Memorial Sport Fishing Derby. 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 action for northern and panfish, with walleye,
largemouth and smallmouth bass providing a good bite, and musky fair to
good,all in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.

Water temps have dipped just a skosh and are hovering in the mid 70s- - but
the fishing action remains "hot" in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.  Best
all around bet for success for most species is the Eagle River Chain of 28
lakes (largest freshwater chain of lakes in the world), with the clearer,
deeper lakes in the Eagle River area, the better choice for smallmouth bass.

Northern in the Eagle River area are locating in 10 feet of water or less in
and around weeds. Use a Mepps #4, spinner bait, or a Husky Jerk in a minnow
or walleye patter.  Action has been good to excellent.  All day bite.

Panfish (crappies, bluegills and perch) are putting on a good to excellent
all day bite in the Eagle River area.  Fish 10 feet of water or less in and
around weeds. Perch will be tight to bottom, with the crappies and gills
suspending up and down the water column.  Use a chunk of crawler, or Berkley
Gulp under a slip bobber.

Walleye in the Eagle River area are locating off of break edges in 10-25
feet of water.  Use a jig and a leech or a jig and a half of a crawler.  The
walleye are tight to bottom.  All day bite, with a peak in the evening.
Action is good.

Largemouth bass in the Eagle River area are putting on a good all day bite.
Fish 10 feet of water or less in and around structure- - docks, weeds, lily
pads, brush piles, and downed trees.  Use a top running plastic frog or rat,
a jig and a leech, or a plastic worm rigged Texas style.

Smallmouth bass in the Eagle River area are locating on clearer, deeper
lakes.  Fish break edges in 12-30 feet of water over hardbottom areas
(rocks, gravel, or sand). The depth will vary and is day dependent.  Use a
plastic tube, plastic crawfish, jig and a leech, and at sunset try a
topwater.  Action has been good, with a pronounced peak in the evening.

Musky action in the Eagle River area is fair to good- - and improving.  Fish
10 feet of water or less, in and around weeds.  Use a medium sized bucktail,
topwater, jerkbait or crankbait -- they're all working.  Use a
medium/moderate retrieve, and be sure to do a "figure 8" when the lure gets
near your boat.  All day bite, with peaks in the evening.

(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:

Mid August is showing some signs of turning things around for anglers targeting certain species.  While the cool nights have slowed the bite for some in the Lakeland area - in general fishing overall has improved.
Musky:  Good to Very Good.  Action on bucktails, spinnerbaits and top-water lures picking up.  Finding fish early, late and on cloudy days up in weeds of 4-8' and also utilizing piers.  Top lures this past week - Rizzo Wizz, Whopper Ploppers, #700 series Buchertails.  Mostly low 40" fish, but one 52"er reported.
Bluegills:  Very good.  Very active around weeds of 6-10'.  Taking small tubes, Charlie Bees, Mini mites and small crawlers, leeches.  Some very nice gills off the larger lakes to 9".
Walleyes:  Good-Improving.  Cooler temps seems to have turned these fish on.  Deep lakes and some of the Flowages seeing increased action.  Full crawlers and XL-Jumbo leeches on the deeper lakes, fish cruising to flats of 8-14' during low light, working deep hump bases during day.  On Flowages large fatheads in drowned timber in 12-16'. 
Crappie:  Good.  Moving up onto 10-14' weed tops.  Watch for feeding near surface on schools of tiny minnows on calm days.  Tube jigs, beetlespins, and small to medium fatheads.  Nice fish of 11-14+" this week.
Largemouth Bass:  Good.  Action not as hot as weeks past but still good.  Five inch worms fished Wacky Style (Senkos, Dingers, Slop Monsters) and creature lures in heavy weeds best.  Musky's may have moved into the shallow weeds.  This may be keeping this bite down from what it was.  Top water bite over slop good towards dusk.
Northern Pike:  Good.  Action picked up this past week on Boonie Bait spinnerbaits, Chatterbaits and Daredevles.  Weed tops of 5-10' best. 
Smallmouth Bass:  Fair-Good.  Seem to be absent from some of their favorite haunts as of late.  Some very early action up shallow (inside weed lines) on x-raps.  Off-shore humps and deep coontail edges of 14+ feet best.  Big leeches and crawlers tops.  Drop-shotting 2 1/2-3" Gulp minnows and Craw Pappis working.
Yellow Perch:  Fair-Good.  Deeper weed flats starting to show better numbers of perch.  1/2 crawlers, medium fatheads on slip-floats or jigs.  Deep sandgrass fish taking soft shells. 
Surface water temps ranging high 60's to low 70's.  With panfish suspending off weed edges, walleye and musky bites improving with cool nights.  Looks to be a typical August.


As noted in the rivers section of the MFR, a fresh batch of fish (mainly steelhead, but some salmon, too, blasted into Trail Creek in the past few days. Mik-Lurch catfish everywhere. Boaters are going out very deep to either Illinois or Michigan waters for spotty salmon and trout. Willow Slough is still producing some bluegill. Wolf Lake is slow.


See top for Catfish Open.

Denny Sands sent this link for some great shots of Shabbona Lake fishing.

Click here for info and reports.


The Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report was not updated.



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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on August 15, 2012 6:29 AM.

Stray Cast: Dunn & muskie fisherman was the previous entry in this blog.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Hunters and fishermen increasing is the next entry in this blog.

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