A few early kings on shore: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

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The first early reports of Chinook around southern Lake Michigan come in and those lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report going into Labor Day weekend.

Tom Platt at Henry’s Sports and Bait sent the photo above of Thomas Stillo with Chicago lakefront king caught about 11:45 a.m. Monday.

Platt messaged:

Took about 17 min to get in. Was caught very deep 20+ feet down slow rolling a spoon with twitches every few feet.

MFR for Chicago fishing appears in a condensed form Wednesdays on the Sun-Times newspaper outdoors page. The sprawling raw-file report is posted here online on the Sun-Times outdoors page.


CHICAGO:  Tom Platt at Henry’s said a few reports of catches are beginning, see photo at the top,  at such places as 87th and 95th. Stacey Greene at Park Bait said the first catches began at Montrose, and the first night action came Monday night.

WAUKEGAN: There’s been some good action here.

Lori Ralph at The Salmon Stop, Inc on Facebook shared this post and photo from Tim Barry:

Saturday Waukegan harbor. Throwing glow cleo that my buddy Kyle picked up at the salmon stop.

NORTHWEST INDIANA: Capt. Rich Sleziak  at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind., texted:

As soon as a decent rain comes a push of fish coho and few kings will come in

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN: The Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report had a few kings and browns at Kenosha; and some kings at Racine.


Bullfrog season in Illinois is open. Daily bag is eight. Bullfrogs may be taken by hook and line, gig, pitchfork, spear, bow and arrow, hand, or landing net.


Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this week’s fishing:
Area creeks- smallmouth continue to be excellent. Crawfish indicators and Midwest rigs fished below riffles have been the best areas.
Below is a thick 18 inch one of my friends landed. True trophy.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Husker Outdoors
Waterworks fishing team


The one surprise was Tom Platt at Henry’s saying there are some relatively early reports of crappie going in the forest preserves.

For the Labor Day weekend, I would target the weeds or near the weeds for better bluegill and try for bass early and late.

Pete Lamar sent this:

Hi Dale,

I’ve done the usual pond/lake and Fox tribs fishing in Kane County this week.  I caught fish, but all were small.  Even after dark on some of the ponds that hold big fish, all I caught were small largemouths.



Click here to find river closures listed by the Illinois DNR. Go to http://water.weather.gov//ahps2/index.php?wfo=lot to check area water levels and projection. To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to http://waterdata.usgs.gov/il/nwis/current/?type=flow


Site staff reported 98 on the south Monday, 90 on the north. Tom Platt at Henry’s said crankbaits are taking bass. Braidwood is open daily. Through Sept. 10, close is 7:30 p.m.; from Sept. 11-24, close is 7 p.m.; from Sept. 25-Oct. 7, close is 6:30 p.m. Final day of fishing is Oct. 7.


No update.


Art Frisell at Triangle Sports and Marine said white bass are good on the down-wind side in 8-12 feet in main lake basin; walleye are going on main lake points or bridge areas; muskie are picking up; bluegill are fair with dirtier water.

For more info and lake updates, go to Fox Waterway Agency or call (847) 587-8540.


No update from Capt. Pat Harrison of Pat Harrison Outdoors.


GENEVA: Dave Duwe sent this:

Lake Geneva Fishing Reports 8/28/17 through 9/3/17

The cooler than normal August continues.  This is the coolest I’ve seen the water temps this late in August in a number of years.  The good news is that the fishing overall has been steady and normal for this time of year, although the fish are a bit shallower.

Largemouth bass fishing has been excellent.  The best depth I’ve found has been 10-12 ft of water.  The fish are concentrated in and around weed flats, such as South Shore Club, Coleman’s Point and by Linn Pier.  The best approach has been drop shotting 4 inch Chompers Finesse worms or slow rolling white spinner baits.  The bass are about 8 or 9 feet shallower than is typical for this time of year.

Rock bass are again showing up in the 12-14 ft depth range.  They can be caught on split shot rigged nightcrawlers or leeches.  I’ve been catching them slightly deeper than the largemouth bass.  They are starting to become very aggressive.  The average size are the big 10-11 inch fish.  The biggest concentration I’ve found is by South Shore Club.

Bluegills still remain in the deep water.  I’m finding most of the large bluegills and pumpkin seeds 15-17 ft of water.  The best location has been by Elgin Club and Gage Marine.  They can be caught on split shot rigged nightcrawlers or leaf worms fished straight beneath the boat.

Smallmouth bass fishing remains spotty.  I’ve been getting a few off main lake points like Black Point and Rainbow Point.  I’ve been catching them either lindy rigging nightcrawlers or drop shotting four inch finesse worms. The active fish have been found tight to the bottom in 17-20 ft of water.

Northern Pike fishing has been slower than normal due to the cooler waters.  I’m catching one here or there but I’m not finding heavy concentrations in the deep water.  The best location is by the beach in Fontana or on the north shore in the narrows.

Muskies are starting to become active in the shallows.  I’ve seen quite a few chasing my hooked rock bass.  I’ve been seeing most of them in the 12-14 ft depth range by Linn Pier or by Gage Marine.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water.  For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063

DELAVAN: Dave Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 8/28/17 through 9/3/17

Fishing on Delavan Lake remains inconsistent.  One day its fantastic and the next its very challenging.  I believe this is caused by the inconsistent weather pattern and the cooler than normal temperatures, the lake is 5-10 degrees cooler than normal for late August.

The good news with the cooler water temperature is that the walleyes are showing up earlier in the year.  I’m starting to catch a few each time out.  The best depth is 22-25 ft of water.  I’m catching them on lindy rigged nightcrawlers.  Main lake points are currently the best place to try for them, with Willow Point getting the nod as the best location.

Largemouth bass fishing has been great.  The fish are in 12-14 ft of water.  The one thing different than normal is that the fish aren’t in big schools so you need to move around more to find the active fish.  I’ve been keeping the boat moving and not spending much time in any one location.  They can be caught on nightcrawlers or drop shotting wacky rigged worms or small finesse worms.

With the cooler than normal water temperature, smallmouth bass fishing is improving.  I’m starting to pick some up on medium suckers or on lindy rigged nightcrawlers.  It seems that the best depth is 18-20 ft of water.  The best location has been by DelMar or just west of the Yacht Club.  The smallmouth action will continue to improve as the fall approaches.

For me, northern pike fishing has been very slow.  I think the fish are shallower than I’ve been fishing.  I’m catching one here or there but nothing with any consistency.  I’m basically still just dragging medium suckers around the weed edge in 15-17 ft of water.  It make sense to look in 12-14 ft of water with shallow diving crank baits in a perch pattern.

Bluegills are in the 12-13 ft depth range.  They’ve been schooled up in front of the beach by Township Park or in front of the point at Assembly Park.  The best approach is either a wax worm on an ice jig in chartreuse color or a leaf worm fished on a small split shot drifted right above bottom.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water.  For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063


No update, other than the story on the shovelnose sturgeon carcasses found near Lemont.


SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing said that on Kinkaid, good crappie are begin caught on visible structure, schooling bass are in the back of coves; on Rend, catfish are good and there’s decent crappie shallow with jig and minnow or slip-cork and minnow. LAKE SHELBYVILLE:  Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide Service said crappie are going on slip-cork rigs or jigs in 10-12 feet, let wind blow them over brush; double-jig rigs are taking white bass on wind-blown banks, look for gulls and cast tight to shore. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: The final day is Labor Day. Click here for complete list of regs and details. EVERGREEN LAKE: Larry Dozard of larrysfishinghole.com sent this:

 Evergreen Lake BAIT SHOP and BOAT RENTAL Hours:  6:00 am to 6:00 pm Daily
NOTE – During the weekdays staff is not present, please press buzzer on the front of the building 
   for assistance or call the Visitor Center at (309) 434-6770.

POWERTON: Boat and shore fishing is open. Hours are 6 a.m.-8 p.m. 


Pete Lamar sent this:

Hi Dale,

I’ve done the usual pond/lake and Fox tribs fishing in Kane County this week.  I caught fish, but all were small.  Even after dark on some of the ponds that hold big fish, all I caught were small largemouths.  The tribs were as low and clear as I’ve seen them; there was almost no current in some places.  It was a real mixed bag: smallmouths, rock bass, sunfish and even a couple of largemouths, which I’d never caught before in the these small streams.

On such small clear streams, I try to avoid wading (in order not to spook fish) unless the bank vegetation is impenetrable.  I found another good reason to stay out of the water unless it’s absolutely necessary:  I got within a couple of feet of a well-camouflaged snapping turtle before I noticed it.  He was large enough to do some serious damage to a toe, finger or fly rod tip.



No update.


No update this week from Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay.

Wisconsin DNR report is usually posted Tuesdays and includes reports from both the bay and lake sides.


Lake is open daily 6 a.m. (6:30 shore side) to sunset.


B & B Live Bait–(815) 433-0432–in Ottawa is open.


Capt. Rich Sleziak  at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind., texted:

Not many fish around the ditch a small batch came and went up the creek rain is what we need
Groups still doing steelhead on spawn saks in trail creek
As soon as a decent rain comes a push of fish coho and few kings will come in
Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map. Access points for Little Cal and Salt Creek, which are closer to Chicago than Trail Creek, may be found at littlecal_saltcreek_access.


River is wadeable for the holiday weekend.

Larry Green and Charlie Mack have been catching, among other things, some big catfish and carp.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this week’s fishing:
Kankakee River- Focus on current breaks for bass and walleye. Bridge pilings were especially good using a 1/0 keeper hook and Erie darter. Fish seemed to take to the slower presentation this week. Water clarity was slightly more stained from the early week’s rain. Wading conditions are still very good.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Husker Outdoors
Waterworks fishing team

Check with Nick Carr at Kankakee River Trading Post.


Click here for the Ohio DNR’s annual fishing prospects. The Ohio DNR has general Lake Erie info and a fishing report.


Shoreline salmon at the top.

CHICAGO: Tom Platt at Henry’s said there are some perch in the harbors, especially south, cloudy days are better; smallmouth are being caught around and outside of the harbors.  Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said lakers are the top bite, when weather allows, between the Wreck and the R4, depth varies daily; occasional king, coho and steelhead.

WAUKEGAN: Capt. Scott Wolfe of School of Fish Charters and president of Trollers Unlimited sent this report:

Hi Dale –

The unrelenting North and East winds continue to make fishing tough for salmon and rainbows.  Fishing for lake trout is excellent and ok for Brown trout.  Lake trout limits or near limits have been the norm, 150 feet and deeper.  This past week spoons out produced the typical Dodger and Mo Rig setups for us.  Warrior UV Blue Dolphin and UV Hey Babe and Badger Tackle  Fish ‘n’ Chips and Monkey Puke patterns trolled from 90 feet to the bottom were best.  After taking the lakers we have tried for staging kings in 70 – 100 feet.  The prior three weeks we had done very well for kings there.  This week it was all brown trout in that area.  Each trip we got a couple of bonus browns in addition to the laker limits.  The browns were coming on orange spoons like the Warrior Agent Orange or Fin Girl.  Lead core lines 5 to 10 colors were best.  A couple of boats on Saturday got steelhead way out in 300 feet trolling spoons fast in the top 50 feet of water.  I was hoping to try that Sunday, but the waves were too bad and we had to cancel trips Sunday and Monday. A Wisconsin friend trolled the harbor mouth at Racine on Saturday and got a few big kings even though the water was 70 degrees.  Usually Waukegan’s kings are about 1 – 2 weeks behind Racine, so I expect that maybe this weekend, but certainly the following week there should be kings for the shore fishermen (which I am as well).

We have our last  split/shared trip of the year this weekend (9/3) and we still have a couple of spots open. $110/ per person. We will go for our trout limit early and then either head deep for steelhead or shallower targeting kings during the sunset bite, the weather and waves will dictate which. It’s the chance for anglers who can’t get a group of 6 to split a charter or pay for the whole boat themselves to get out on a professional boat with two USCG Master Captains aboard. We also have the afternoons of Saturday and Monday, Labor Day open for private full boat charters.

Have a great week.

Capt. Scott R. Wolfe

NORTH POINT:  Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said that is mainly lakers with coho and a few kings and steelhead mixed in; mornings are better.


The cooling lake south of Seneca is open daily, 6 a.m. to sunset. Also, boaters should be aware that there will be no launching if wind is 14 mph or higher.


Check the latest from D & S Bait on Facebook.


Through Sept. 10, close is 7:30 p.m.; from Sept. 11-24, close is 7 p.m.; from Sept. 25-Oct. 7, close is 6:30 p.m. Oct. 7 is the final day, except Monster Lake remains open year-round.

Check with Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington.


Check with Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service sent this:


Check the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report, which generally comes out Tuesdays for updates.


MINOCQUA:  Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua, Wis. sent this:

It’s been a slow summer for musky reports, but things started kicking into gear this past week as good reports came flooding in.  Not only for the big fish; walleye ,bass and crappie action also picked up.                      

Water temps are slowly cooling, most reports are of lake surface temps in the 67-68 degree range. Could be the corresponding moon phase, but it was a nice pick up in action all the way around.

Musky:  Good-Very Good – Hair and Blades providing the best action.  Finding fish up in 7-12′ weeds.  Some good top-water reports on Whopper Ploppers.  Nice fish including a 50″ that took top honors in the World Musky Hunt!

Crappie:  Good-Very Good – Big slabs being found in among deep wood, deep transition breaks and suspended.  Jig and crappie or medium fatheads.  2″ twister tubes, trollers on Flowages using small hot in tots.

Walleye:  Good – Work deep gravel humps during low light – mud flats and transition zones during daylight.  Use 1/8- 1/4 oz. jigs with large fats or 1/2 crawlers. In Flowages, still Eye’s working deep wood, as well as, some in wind swept weeds on small chubs.

Largemouth Bass:  Good – Some good spinner bait bites as well as plastics worked over weed tops in the form of pre-rigged worms.  Some top-water action on the warmer days.  Wacky worming, as usual a good back-up plan.

Smallmouth Bass:  Good – Smallies working on gravel humps feeding on remaining crayfish and sculpins. Tubes and creature baits such as chomper skirted grubs.  Drop-shotting also scoring well.

Northern Pike:  Good – Nice action on spinner baits, spinners and Chatter baits.  Jig and live chubs or 4 1/2″ swim baits.

Yellow Perch:  Good – Weed edges of 8-12 feet.  Also deep wood, 1/2 crawlers and medium fatheads.

Bluegill:  Good – Still finding suspended fish outside coontail edges of 14-18′. Tiny jigs tipped with waxies, small leeches and small Gulp-Alive waxies.

Speaking of Leeches, very hard to find, pick up any you can find as supplies are scarce.

A little weather mid- week but outlook good for weekend.  Temps good for active fish, good time to cast some artificials.

Kurt Justice
Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
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EAGLE RIVER: B+L, from reports from Colin Crawford of Colin Crawford Guide Service for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce, sent this:

Fishing Report 

Panfish: There are still perch in the weeds and you can find some moving into the rock piles using a slip bobber tipped with minnows or tossing a 1/8th oz. jig with a small minnow seems to be doing the job. Crappies are in the deeper weeds and around structure. Slip bobber rigs with a hook and minnow or a jig and plastic should do the trick. Bluegills are up in the shallows on the warmer lakes; slip bobber rigs baited with red worms or waxies will catch these. Remember we do have panfish regulations on a few of our lakes in the area.

Bass: Largemouth can be found in the shallow weeds and around docks; and they will be caught using top water and spinnerbaits. Smallies are in and around the rocks and can be caught by using small crankbaits and jerkbaits.

Northern: These fish will be found in and around weeds, so pitching jig and minnows or small spinnerbaits and spoons will get their attention.

Walleye: We are casting 1/8th oz. jigs tipped with live bait. Depending on the depth that you are fishing is when you might need to go heavier with your jig.

Muskies: Bucktails and jerkbaits are working, along with top water. These are your go to baits for a while now.


Capt. Rich Sleziak  at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind., texted:

Salmon trout fishing offshore has slowed down but some fishing being had 180 and deeper way offshore not many going. Not many fish around the ditch a small batch came and went up the creek rain is what we need. Crappie good under bridges in lake George in hobart on minnows. Perch not many people tryin at all if u do try 40 to 50 ft xl fatheads. Groups still doing steelhead on spawn saks in trail creek. As soon as a decent rain comes a push of fish coho and few kings will come in

NOTE: Remember he is at summer hours (5 a.m.-8 p.m.) until Labor Day. WILLOW SLOUGH NOTE:  J.C. Murphey Lake is open through Labor Day, then closed Sept. 5-24. LAKER REMINDER: Indiana now has a daily bag of three lake trout on Lake Michigan, to match Michigan. Illinois’ daily bag remains at two.


No update.


The Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report is generally posted on Tuesday and includes a Root river section. Click here for the stream flow update, which can be really important for how good the fishing is.


Phil Schuman at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said perch remain good, but they are deep (50-60 feet), mainly north of the pier; boaters are going to 100-120 feet for kings and lakers.


Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.


Clint Sands at Lakeside said muskie are going on topwaters and bucktails; catfish are good; bass are being caught on topwaters; there’s decent numbers of crappie but it takes sorting for keepers; walleye are decent vertical jigging around weeds in 10 feet.

Park is open 6 a.m.-10 p.m.  Lakeside goes to 6 a.m.-6:30 p.m. beginning Tuesday. After Labor Day, the restaurant is open weekends.

Here are the hours for Lakeside for the next few months:

Shabbona Lakeside is now OPEN for the SEASON

Lakeside will be open everyday, 7 days a week,

April 11th to September 5th 6 AM to 7 PM

September 6th to September 30th 6 AM to 6:30 PM

October 1st to October 10th 6:30 AM to 6 PM

October 11th to October 31st 7 AM to 5PM

For more information and reports from Lakeside, go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.


The Wisconsin DNR posts a report during open water at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html. It is usually posted by Tuesday afternoon. Streadsm flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow.


Sturgeon season opens Saturday. Click here for regulations and information.


No update.


Guide Bill Stoeger said white bass are being caught mornings and evenings in town at Fremont; there’s a few walleye coming upriver; and it’s been the best year for bluegills in five years.


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