Some perch reports in southern Lake Michigan highlight this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; but th… – Chicago Sun-Times

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Some perch reports in southern Lake Michigan highlight this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; but there is also the usual summer mix of steelhead, bass, coho, catfish and bluegill around Chicago fishing.
Last week, guide Mike Norris texted the photo at the top and this from Big Green Lake in Wisconsin:
Leighton Cooper from Northfield with a Big Green Lake smallmouth she caught with a swim jig
He added
“She was a gamer!”
Norris’ usual weekly report on the Green Lake area is below.
SOUTHERN LAKE MICHIGAN PERCH
Some are around.
CHICAGO: Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:
There has been perch off and on. I’ve got a couple guys that have been finding some everyday, and the ones they are catching are really nice size. Last week before the storms there was a couple mornings early that a few guy’s got there limit but that was before all the weather changes. Basically it’s pretty hit or miss you just got to get out there and give it a try. . . .
WAUKEGAN: Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed:

. . .
Harbor fishing turned really, really good with nice perch and bass caught. Perch wanted little panfish jigs dressed with waxies. . . .
Capt. Scott Wolfe
School of Fish Charters/ Manipulator630-341-0550schooloffishcharters.com

INDIANA: Capt. Rich Sleziak of Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Indiana texted:

. . .
Some perch action in 15 to 30ft of water west of the mouth of burns ditch and east of the doughnut. You must move around and pick away at them
. . .

Cristina Petrites at Stan’s Bait & Tackle Center in Hammond emailed:

. . .
Perch fishing getting better every day. Some anglers have been limiting out in a couple of hours; others have had a more challenging time with limits being caught after fishing most of the day. Regardless, they are being caught! Beemoths, red worms, crawfish, & smaller minnows are what we’ve been getting the most requests for.
. . .

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN: Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said winds kept perch guys off the lake on Monday and Tuesday, but before then some were being found in 23-50 feet off the pumphouse south of the St. Joe pier.
DERBY NOTE
The Kankakee River Fishing Derby was moved to Friday, July 9, to July 18. Click here to check updates
ILLINOIS FROG SEASON
Illinois’ bullfrog (only) season runs through Oct. 15. A fishing license is required. “Bullfrogs may be taken by hook and line, gig, pitchfork, spear, bow and arrow, hand, or landing net.” Daily bag limits eight, possession limit 16.
LAKEFRONT PARKING
Chicago Park District’s parking passes for the fisherman’s parking lots at DuSable and Burnham harbors are on sale at Henry’s Sports and Bait in Bridgeport and Park Bait at Montrose Harbor.
Readers suggest SpotHero app downtown. Otherwise, here are some basics: Foster (free street parking or pay lot); Montrose (now a mix of metered and free street parking); Belmont (pay lots on north and south sides); Diversey (pay lot or street parking); DuSable Harbor (pay lot or fisherman’s lot); Northerly Island/Burnham Harbor (meters, pay lot or fisherman’s lot); 31st/Burnham (meter parking between McCormick Place and 31st Street Harbor); Oakwood/39th (meters); 63rd Street/Casino Pier (pay lot); Steelworkers Park (free street parking at east end of 87th); Cal Park (free parking).
AREA LAKES
It’s summer, go for largemouth early and late with topwaters; otherwise, fish bluegills on the weed lines or weed pockets.
And think big, as in see this note from the Forest Preserve District of Will County:

Forest Preserve’s Big Fish Contest begins July 1
The Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Big Fish Contest begins Thursday, July 1, and runs through Tuesday, Aug. 31, at Monee Reservoir.
Prizes will be awarded in three categories for biggest bass, catfish and panfish by length. Even if you don’t have the biggest fish in one of the three categories, there is a chance to win a prize just for entering because one overall winner will be chosen at random from all entries. The contest is free and for ages 16 or older. Registration is not required.
To participate, just bring your catch to the Monee Reservoir Visitor Center, and staff will measure, photograph and record the fish to enter you in the contest. All the fish photos will be included on the visitor center’s Big Fish Contest display. Winners in the 2021 contest will be announced September 1.
The 248-acre preserve features a 46-acre lake. The lake is stocked with bluegill, black crappie, largemouth bass and channel catfish. And the visitor center offers fishing poles for rental and fishing licenses for purchase. The visitor center also offers bait, tackle and snacks for sale. Monee Reservoir is located on Ridgeland Avenue, south of Pauling Road in Monee Township.

BRAIDWOOD LAKE
Open daily 6 a.m. to sunset. Click here for the preview.
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA
Staff at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said largemouth moved off beds to shallow weeds; crappie are suspending in open water; bluegill are shallow, some are still on beds; catfish are best at night in the river; a few walleye, best in the river north to Wisconsin line.
NOTE: Check updates on water conditions at foxwaterway.com or (847) 587-8540.
NOTE 2: The Stratton Lock and Dam is open 8 a.m. to midnight through Sept. 30.
CHICAGO RIVER

Jeffrey Williams with a nice crappie from the Chicago River.

Provided

Jeffrey Williams messaged the photo above and this on Sunday:
Multi species were caught, 2 crappies(11 and 12 in), a decent size rock bass, a green sunfish(beautiful colors underneath him), all were caught on a underspin jig with gulp minnows. Carp was the last fish caught as i was packing, he was 8 lbs
DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN
Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake 7/5/21 through 7/12/21
Fishing remains excellent. With the warmer weather, the northern pike have been biting very well. Northern Pike have been great. The fish are off the weedline anywhere between 20-25 ft of water. Look for the fish by the gray condos, willow Point or the west end by the island. The best approach is lindy rigging suckers. I fish the suckers on a 6500 Abu Garcia with a bait clicker, so when the fish bites, it will click out line and indicate that a fish is on.
Walleye fishing has been average. The fish are on the weedline in 15-24 ft of water. The fish I’m catching are on nightcrawlers fished on either a lindy rig or a split shot rig. This week it was kind of a battle to catch a legal fish. Every trip out I caught a couple but nothing to brag about. The best locations are by Browns Channel or west of the Yacht Club.
Largemouth bass can be either caught on the deep weedline in 17-20 ft or on top water lures first thing in the a.m. The best bait is chug bugs or white buzz baits. It’s best to work a depth of 8-10 ft. The fish I’ve been catching on the deep weedline, I’m catching on split shot rigged nightcrawlers. You want to concentrate on inside turns or the points on the weedline. A few fish have also been caught drop shotting Berkeley Gulp.
Bluegills are done spawning. They have moved out on the deep weedline. The nicer fish are in the 22-26 ft depth. Fishing so many nightcrawlers, I catch many right off the weedline. Some of the fish are in excess of 10 inches. Nightcrawlers or small leaf worms are the best approach.
Crappies have pulled off the weedline. They are suspending in 15 ft of water. The best approach has been purple plastic. Look for the fish over by Browns Channel or west of the Yacht club. I use a 1/32 oz Arkie Jig and a 3/0 split shot 1 ft above the jig. That allows you to cast a good distance and the fall rate is very effective.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

DOWNSTATE
POWERTON: Hours are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Sept. 30.
EMIQUON: Access permits and liability waivers are again required. They are available Tuesday to Saturday at Dickson Mounds Museum, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Reopens May 15. Open through Sept. 6. Closed Mondays (except Labor Day). Check regulations at http://www.wetlands-initiative.org/dixon-paddling-fishing.
SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing.
FOX RIVER

Simone Ziller with a good catfish from the Fox River.

Provided by Dicky’s Bait Shop

Dicky’s Bait Shop in Montgomery emailed the photo above and this:

Weekly Fishing Report from Dicky’s Bait Shop
This week, the water level on the Fox River in Montgomery has returned to the extreme low levels we were at prior to the rain storms 2 weeks ago. The fishing picked up above the dam briefly while the water level was up but has since declined. However, our customers have had good success fishing below the dam. I’ve included a photo of Simone Ziller, 6 years old, who caught this 20 lb catfish off the bank of the Fox near Oswego. The photo was submitted to us by her father, Bernard.

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,
I fished a couple of different Fox tribs before the extreme heat of the holiday weekend hit. One of the streams was still high and off-color from recent rains. I couldn’t fish my usual “milk run,” so I headed way upstream, near the source, until I found water clear enough for fly fishing. No smallmouths up there at the moment but I did get an assortment: chubs, shiners and rock bass. At least I know what the smallmouths are eating to get so big. I tried a different stream to the northeast of the first stream the next day. It is a higher gradient and usually clears up quickly enough after rain. It had dropped, but was still more off-color than I’d have liked. I did catch some sunfish and a few small smallmouths. And I do mean small: the two weight, my usual brook trout rod, was not too much gun for them. Judging from his reaction, I really startled a kingfisher who was patrolling under the canopy of trees; he must not have expected anyone to be there.

GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN
Arden Katz said there are two good bites now: a night bite for smallmouth in 15-20 feet on the south side of the lake on drop-shots or early or late in Geneva Bay for largemouth.
Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 7/5/21 through 7/12/21
Fishing continues to be excellent. The bass bite is very steady and other species are now starting to turn on! The only problem has been excessive boat traffic with the holiday weekend but we’ve come to expect that.
The largemouth bass I’ve been catching are in medium depth weeds in 12-14 ft of water. The best presentation has been an Arkie Finesse jig with a green pumpkin Yum Houdini worm. The bass have been biting on the fall and on the initial shake of the rod. I vibrate the rod 5-6 times as soon as the jig hits the bottom and then check the weight and usually the fish is on the bait. During some guide parties the jigs have been out performing nightcrawlers. The best location has been Trinkes or in Williams Bay.
Smallmouth bass fishing has been slow for me. They started to move deep and I haven’t been catching many. I would look for them on the drop off near the spawing flats. The Military Academy and Rainbow Point are good locations to start with. I would use Lindy rigged nightcrawlers and start in 18-24 ft of water.
Lake Trout are biting in the main lake basin. I’ve been fishing 100-120 ft of water catching suspended fish at first light. The bait of choice are nickel and blue spoons. The fish have been suspended 85-95 ft down. The average weight thus far has been around 10 lbs.
The big bluegills are still aggressively hitting. The best depth is 17-19 ft of water. Most of my success is coming off of leaf worms or ½ nightcrawlers. I’ve been straight lining the worms underneath the boat with a small hook and split shot. The best location has been Elgin Club and Maytag Point.
Some Walleyes are being caught at night while trolling crank baits. Use Bandit shallow Walleye crankbaits or Rapala’s fished on planer boards. There has been a lack of floating weeds on the lake so trolling has been fairly easy. The best locations are Abbey Springs or Fontana Beach.
Northern Pike will be picking up in about 10 days once the Thermocline starts. I’ll be starting to try for them the 2nd week of July.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

GREEN LAKE AREA, WISCONSIN
Guide Mike Norris emailed:

Fishing Report 7/5/2021
Mike Norris
Big Green Lake – The bass have moved deeper, and we are catching both largemouth and smallmouth bass early in the day on topwater lures out to 40 feet of water. Right now, an Evergreen Custom Topwater lure in the bone color is luring in bass up to 5 lbs. Walleye fishing is good early and late in the day with crawler harnesses trolled over and just outside the deeper weed edges.
Little Green Lake – I am getting reports that largemouth bass fishing has slowed with the warmer weather, but muskie fishing remains good. Crappies are still the main attraction out in deep water, but bluegills are hanging in and around fallen trees along the shoreline and can be caught on redworms suspended on a small jig beneath a float.
Fox Lake – With weed growth maxing out, many anglers have turned to the frog bite to battle Fox Lake’s largemouth bass. Try the grass matted areas in “The Jug” with an artificial frog. Bass can also be found around Dead, Elmwood, and Brushwood Islands. Cast a Senko to the shoreline and work it back slowly.
To book a guide trip reach out to me via my Facebook page at mike.norris.7773 or email me through my website at www.comecatchsmallmouth.com

GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WISCONSIN
Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.
HEIDECKE LAKE

Bob Johnson’s daughter Taylor caught and released fine smallmouth bass on Heidecke Lake.

Provided

Bob Johnson emailed the photo above and this;
Dale -I had an opportunity to get my daughter back on the lake before she heads home to Texas. It was a pleasure watching her land some quality Smallmouth from the smallmouth factory, Heidecke Lake. I switched up lures going to a 3/8 ounce jig tipped with a crawfish tail in black and blue. Taylor used soft baits Green Pumpkin or black finesse worked well. “ Catch and Release” for another day.
Open 6 a.m. (6: 30 bank fishing) to sunset. Click here for the promising preview.
ILLINOIS RIVER
River on a steady drop down below flood stage at Starved Rock and LaSalle
KANKAKEE RIVER
See derby info at the top.

George Peters caught largemouth bass in the backwaters of the Kankakee River.

Provided

George Peters emailed the photo above and this:
Hi Dale, . . . coming down to fishable level. Backwaters clearing enough to get Largemouth close to banks. Without big rain east in Indiana or south toward the Iroquois river, conditions should be ok by the weekend. G. Peters
LAKE ERIE
Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.
LAKEFRONT

Bernard Ziller with the bounty of Lake Michigan.

Provided by Dicky’s Bait Shop

Spotty perch reports come from shore anglers, while boaters and charters report changing but generally good salmon/trout.
Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed the photo below and this:

Things changed quickly this week. We had the best fishing of the year early with a typical catch attached. Limits were the rule in 80 to 120. Things got tougher as the week went on. I know from my Chicago buddies things picked up fir them so I assume the Waukegan fish moved South. There are still coho and kings around on 60 to 100 mainly. They are coming in really shallow to feed but not staying there. Running flies from Jimmy Fly and Lake Michigan Angler in Blue, Aqua and Green 3 or 4 inches behind Red or chrome stubby Dodgers from 10 to 50 feet took the coho. For some coho and kings, Warrior XL size spoons in Those same Blues, Aqua and Green were good. Lance’s Two Face and Two Face continue to be standouts.
Harbor fishing turned really, really good with nice perch and bass caught. Perch wanted little panfish jigs dressed with waxies. The bass I saw were on live minnows, artificials weren’t working.
Capt. Scott Wolfe
School of Fish Charters/ Manipulator630-341-0550schooloffishcharters.com

Fishing was outstanding out of Waukegan a few days ago.

Provided by School of Fish Charters

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said fishing is as good as good as it can be, lots of coho around off both Chicago and North Point, primarily in 60-120 feet for coho, there’s a couple kings interspersed once in a while and a couple steelhead; ; Chicago is still good for lakers, too. “Definitely a good time of the year and there is a lot of bait around so we should keep the fish,” he said.
Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait texted:
No perch reports. River fishing improving. A few crappie reports still at wolf lake. Not much else. Take care
Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:
There has been perch off and on. I’ve got a couple guys that have been finding some everyday, and the ones they are catching are really nice size. Last week before the storms there was a couple mornings early that a few guy’s got there limit but that was before all the weather changes. Basically it’s pretty hit or miss you just got to get out there and give it a try. There are some really nice rock bass at the mouth of the harbor. The Smallmouth are just swimming by and teasing, seems like the weather’s got them not wanting to hit either. I haven’t heard anything else. Have a great week!
LaSALLE LAKE
Open daily 6 a.m. to sunset. Click here for the preview of prospects.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
Click here for the update from D&S Bait.
MAZONIA

Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed, “A peaceful morning coming to an end.”

Provided

Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed the photo above and this:

Hey Dale,
Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing.
Southern strip pits have been very good for bass. Many 1 1/2 pounders could be had. Work top water bait at first light across the top of the weeds.. Best bait has been a Berkley choppo. As the sun becomes higher in the sky, work a senko wacky rigged along the outside weedlines.
Here is the nature pic of the week. A peaceful morning coming to an end.
TTYL

Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Husker OutdoorsWaterwerks fishing team

Both units are open for fishing 6 a.m. to sunset.
MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN

Guide Mike Mladenik emailed, “A big river smallmouth crushing a topwater bait is as good as it gets!”

Provided

Guide Mike Mladenik of bigsmallmouthbass.com emailed the photo above and this:

As I predicted the topwater bite has been excellent. Topwater fishing on the Menominee River will peak in late July and August. Prop baits are working best.
Case Magic Stiks and Wacky Jacks are hot when smallmouth are tight to the bottom
feeding on crayfish. The 1/0 Spearpoint GP Finesse Hook is a must when rigging Wacky Style. When the bite it tough my River Swimbaits are getting the job done. When using swimbaits we have also catching some walleyes and pike.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN
Kurt Justice at Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua emailed:

Great weather for the celebration of the 4th of July brought lots of people to the Northwoods and lots of boats (of all types) to the lakes of the Northwoods. Hot weather has shot lake water temps up over the weekend, with reports of surface temps over 80 degrees!
Largemouth Bass: Good-Very Good – Early in week, following high pressure and cool nights, mornings were tough, but as temps rose action increased. When things were tough, slowly working Wacky Worms or Ned Rigs through the thick weeds enticed reluctant bites. As things warmed, working swim jigs, tubes a little quicker and high through weeds better. Hot evenings providing good top-water action on Frogs, Pop-R’s and Jitter Bugs!
Smallmouth Bass: Good-Very Good – Heat pushed some Smallie action out on humps where drop-shotting and fishing football jigs/creatures producing. Also working deeper coontail edges using the same techniques and heavy tubes also picking up nice fish in 14-18’.
Bluegills: Good – Gills active in cabbage of 8-12’ taking small leeches, worms or Mini-Mites tipped with waxies.
Musky: Good – Fast bucktail retrieves, swim baits moving fish still in weeds. Top-water action improving with heat, Top Raiders and Whopper Ploppers catching fish.
Northern Pike: Good – Spinner baits, chatter baits and Rattle Traps worked at weed top level popping fish. Swim baits in the 4” range, especially those on a lipped jig head producing well.
Yellow Perch: Good – ½ crawlers, frozen soft-shell craws and medium leeches in deeper cabbage pockets (8-12’) and along coontail edges with sandgrass nearby in 18-22’.
Crappies: Fair-Good – Some very big slabs (13-15”) being caught in unusual areas! Anglers finding these fish in 3-5’ weeds, very unusual with surface temps as high as they are. Mini-Mites, tiny tubes and small Gapen Fresh Water Shrimp jigs tipped with waxies, under very small floats or without with long cast needed not to spook fish.
Walleye: Fair – Bite windows small. Locations vary by lake type and even on same lakes! Some weed fish by working redtails or full crawlers on weedless jigs. Others out over off shore humps of gravel or sandgrass using big leeches or Walleye suckers on Lindy style rigs.
A cool down following this hot weekend, with some rain, and lows in mid-40’s with highs in mid-70’s will make for pleasant weather, but once again, plan for changing patterns or bites due to this unstable pattern.
Kurt Justice
Kurt’s Island Sport ShopLike us on FaceBook

NORTHWEST INDIANA
See the Fish of the Week, caught by Robert Buckmaster, for an idea of the steelhead that are around.

Capt. Rich Sleziak posted on the Facebook page of Triplecatch Lake Michigan Sportfishing, “Happy 4th of July from Triplecatch!! 30 salmon by 8 AM! Thank you Jessie and crew.”

Provided

Capt. Rich Sleziak of Triplecatch Charters texted the photo above and added this note:
Still great action in 70ft of water. This was July 4
Here is his general fishing report from Slez’s Bait in Lake Station:

Action around the 3 corners area still good dodgers and Flys and spoons doing the job.
Some perch action in 15 to 30ft of water west of the mouth of burns ditch and east of the doughnut. You must move around and pick away at them
Catfish good at night in deep river and burns ditch triple s stinkbait does the job.

Christina Petrites at Stan’s Bait & Tackle Center in Hammond emailed:

Hi, Dale! I hope you & your family enjoyed the holiday. Here’s what’s happening in our area:
Perch fishing getting better every day. Some anglers have been limiting out in a couple of hours; others have had a more challenging time with limits being caught after fishing most of the day. Regardless, they are being caught! Beemoths, red worms, crawfish, & smaller minnows are what we’ve been getting the most requests for.
Bass are doing pretty well recently; Smallmouth Bass started quite an upswing as of late, with nightcrawlers, larger minnows, & crawfish being the baits of choice. They’ve been very close to shore in shallow waters, on the hunt for the smaller fish fish that hug the shoreline.Stripers have also been caught in huge numbers, with shad & shrimp working well.
Channel Catfish are doing great! Pine Lake, Wolf Lake, & Burns Ditch have been hotspots as of late. Large-sized catches are the norm, with Liver, Green & Jumbo Nightcrawlers, & Dough/Stinkbait having the most success.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
Click here for the Wisconsin DNR’s report, usually on Tuesday or Wednesday.
SHABBONA LAKE
Staff at Boondocks reported bluegill are close to shore and in the trees; crappie and walleye are mostly in the trees; smallmouth and walleye are along the dam face; hybrid stripers are going on jigheads and chicken liver, mostly in deeper water.
All concessions are going. Site hours through Oct. 31 are 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily
SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT
Click here for the southern Lake Michigan reports from the Wisconsin DNR.
SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN
Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said winds kept perch guys off the lake on Monday and Tuesday, but before then some were being found in 23-50 feet off the pumphouse south of the St. Joe pier; a few steelhead off the pier; it is mainly catfish and some smallmouth in the river.
Paddle and Pole hosts the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder Camera.
WOLF LAKE
Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait texted:
A few crappie reports still at wolf lake.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN
Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:
The water is starting to drop, with temps holding in the mid to upper 70’s. Crappie are in the wood and near current breaks. Bluegills should start any day. Walleye action has slowed.

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