Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: First early shoreline kings, perch, lakers, catfish, hot or notDale Bowmanon August 24, 2021 at 9:53 pm

The first early Chinook come to shore close to Chicago and lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; but there is also fishing for perch on southern Lake Michigan in Indiana and Michigan and for bluegill, catfish and bass on inland waters in the heat.

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters texted the photo at the top and this on Friday:

10 lb Catfish caught today aboard the Massive Confusion in 145 fow off Chicago on a 12 color lead with an orange Stinger Spoon by the young lady in the picture

Lake Michigan holds its surprises.


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.


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).


BIG FISH: The Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Big Fish Contest at Monee Reservoir runs through Tuesday, Aug. 31. Click here for details.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a local, late-summer largemouth bass.Provided

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

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing.

Area lakes-fishing has seen excellent with the consistent weather pattern we are in.

Bass have been very good early on spro frogs in the thickest slop you can find. This technique is not a numbers game, but will catch the bigger bass in the system. Evening hours work a baby 1 minus over the top of weeds.

Bluegill remain up shallow and are good on a variety of plastics during morning and evening hours under a slip float.

Here is the nature pic of the week. If you build it they will come.


Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

An interesting weekend of fishing. I did my first night-time fishing for bass in months. There was a lack of preparation, but dumb luck saved the day. Kane County lakes and ponds tend to be pretty clear, so I prefer a new moon and/or a lot of clouds-i.e., dark conditions-for night fishing. I didn’t realize that Friday was a full moon. Fortunately, it was a late moon rise; I had about an hour of prime conditions after sunset before the moon got high enough to throw a lot of light. Good numbers of bass landed, but they were sluggish when hooked, probably due to high water temps and low oxygen content. I’m going to leave them alone for a few weeks, until we get a few nights in the 50s. There are enough cool-running streams in the area to keep me busy until then.

. . .



Dwayne Armstrong had a good day for big catfish and eater-sized ones at Braidwood Lake. Provided by BoRabb Williams

BoRabb Williams texted the photo above and this on Sunday:

Dwayne Armstrong had a CLASSIC Day at Braidwood Saturday with 4 Blues over 15lbs

Open daily 6 a.m. to sunset. Click here for the preview.


Art Frisell at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said bluegill are excellent shallow early and late, other times they’re deeper on ice jigs, waxies or spikes; catfish are excellent on stinkbait, crawlers, large or medium roaches, try main lake points like for walleye; white bass are good in the heat in 8-10 feet on small minnows, spikes or light jigs, use countdown-method to find them; walleye are fair on leeches or crawlers, back to bridge areas and main lake points with hot water; try crappie deeper in 10-15.

NOTE: Check updates on water conditions at or (847) 587-8540.

NOTE 2: The Stratton Lock and Dam is open 8 a.m. to midnight through Sept. 30.


Jesse Gonzalez with his PB carp from the Chicago River.Provided by Jeffrey Williams

Jeffrey Williams messaged about his brother Jesse Gonzalez:

my brothers PB

23 pounds 35 in


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 Mounts Museum, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Open through Sept. 6. Closed Mondays (except Labor Day). Check regulations at

SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing.


River is very low with little flow.

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

An interesting weekend of fishing. . . . There are enough cool-running streams in the area to keep me busy until then. Speaking of cool streams, I fished a new stretch on one of my favorites over the weekend. As is typical, the water was cold, even in late August. I know all about the differences between stream trout, steelhead and smallmouths, but I’m beginning to think that there are far more similarities than differences. Find the favored habitat-wood is good; foam is home; rocks rock-and the fish will be there. Trying to coax a hooked smallmouth out from under a downed tree brought back a lot of memories of steelhead fishing in Indiana.


In this heat, I suspect that the cooler tributaries are a better choice.


Arden Katz said largemouth bass were good in 8-12 feet around the docks on the west side of Geneva Bay; pumpkinseeds and bluegill were good on the north side of the lake in 17-20 feet from “The Narrows” west.


Guide Mike Norris emailed:

Fishing Report – 8/22/2021

Mike Norris

Big Green Lake – Bluegills remain excellent outside of weedlines and in 20 – 30 feet along drop offs. There are plenty of medium sized gills, but you will find the bigger gills just outside of the pack. Try to find unpressured areas away from the community spots for gills exceeding 9 inches. Fishing for both largemouth and smallmouth bass remains steady. You must work the rocky drop-offs and deeper weedbeds to catch them. Jig and crawfish combos, drop shots and working a plastic worm on a shakey head jig are all working. It took 22.37 lbs. last Sunday to win an Angler’s Choice bass tournament held on Big Green. The big fish for the contest was a 6.05 lb. largemouth bass.

Lake Puckaway – Frog fishing lily pads is producing catches of largemouth bass up to 3 lbs. The best pads to fish are in the Fox River downstream of Lake Puckaway. Bluegills and crappies are being caught along main lake weedlines.

To book a guide trip reach out to me via my Facebook page at mike.norris.7773 or email me through my website at


Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.


George Peters with a smallmouth bass from the Kankakee River.Provided

George Peters emailed the photo above and this about the state of the river:

“coming down from last weeks central Illinois rain. Bright color baits show up best in stained water, fishing should improve without more rain. G, Peters

Bob Johnson emailed the photo below and this:

Hi Dale -Back to Kankakee River Saturday morning with some of the same Smallmouth action just slowed down some most likely from heat. Water temps were at 80 with water slightly stained at around normal pool. Surface lure bite was not happening but crawfish imitators were. I tossed a texas rig 1/16 oz lead and 4/0 off shank with crawfish tail. Also used Berkley max scent for a couple Bass. Catch and release

Bob Johnson with a Kankakee River smallmouth bass.Provided


Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.


The wait is on for shoreline kings, with a smattering of catches early.

Dan Leslie at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan said they just starting to see some kings and steelhead from the pier on Saturday when the water temperature dropped, orange seems to be the color; then water warmed on Sunday and it shut down; boaters are either working out deep or in 70-90 feet.

Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait texted:

Interest is building!! Hoping for a nice run.

People are ready for the run of kings.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

Still not a thing just a few carp in the harbor

Another big catfish comes from deep on Lake Michigan, this time on the Confusion C4.Provided

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said they caught another 12-pound catfish on the Confusion C4 Tuesday in 140 feet on lead core. Otherwise, lakers off Chicago remain good with occasional kings and coho in 110-200 feet of water; out of North Point, some good steelhead (troll faster with spoons) in 200, with plenty of lakers, a few coho and an occasional king.

Capt. Scott Wolfe of School of Fish Charters emailed:

The late summer/fall pattern is fully set up.

Lake trout limits with most being over 15 pounds every trip. A few bonus steelhead. Mature coho and 3 year old kings in the mix. 110-150 feet deep like always. Jimmy Fly Mo rigs in green and gold on the bottom. Warrior Spoiler Spoons 10 to 30 feet off the bottom and on coppers and leadcores. Keep a couple of lines higher in the water column, 50-60 feet down for the bonus fish.

The mature kings should be in the harbor this weekend. Definitely by Labor Day weekend, which is been the best harbor king fishing the past several years.

In the harbor, both bass and northern have been taken casting. It’s very weedy this year. Any presentations you can work through the weeds works. White spinner baits have been good for us and are easy to use, a plus for me.

We will be targeting trophy trout the rest of the year. The late season pattern is off to a great start.

Capt. Scott Wolfe

School of Fish Charters/Manipulator

Talking fall patterns.


Open daily 6 a.m. to sunset. Click here for the preview of prospects.


Click here for the update from D&S Bait.


Both units are open for fishing.


Tyler Clark with a largemouth bass on a one-day license in Minnesota.Provided

Tyler Clark emailed the photo above and this:

Another MN one day license

Gladstone Lake near Brainerd.

Thanks for sharing that (maybe) tiger Muskie in the Chicago River! Very cool!

It was very cool.


Christian Howe emailed:


It is my pleasure to send you my first fishing report in over a year. I’m finally back on two feet and confident enough sit in a boat to fish.

The fishing gods must have been looking down on me and the kids today. We had a ball with nearly non-stop panfish action. Bluegill and RedEars are in the weeds, mainly cabbage in 6-9ft with small perch mixed in. The mother load of nice keeper perch are deeper, over grass adjacent to mudflats in 16-20ft. Crawlers are taking most of the fish on a simple split-shot and hook. Bass are relating to the wind n an almost puzzling way for me. I didn’t see a bass until I fished the “walleye” chop on the windswept shores. Twister tails on an 1/8oz jig and shallow diving cranks have been real good. I tried bottom-bouncing crawler harnesses for walleye during the with no luck.

After supper and getting the kids into bed I ventured out after dark and trolled #9 original rapalas and husky jerks over cabbage beds and put 11 walleye, 5 largemouth, 2 smallies in the boat. Oh. And a bluegill. I’ll chalk this all up to the blue moon Sunday, and me making up for lost time. And boy did I need it.

Side note, due to the drought up this way the sugar males are turning red and the birch are showing early signs that change is in the air. The could be a year when colorama peak hits in mid September.

Thanks Dale, I hope to see you soon.

So good he is back, out and about again. Been too long.

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

Odd to be moving into the second half of August and seeing water temps rise and no sign of signals of Fall yet. Some patterns have not set up as usual for this time of year.

Bullheads: Very Good – On bodies of water with good numbers and size, surprisingly showing up on slip-bobber rigs baited with medium fatheads being fished for crappies. Fish of 11 – 14″ being caught.

Smallmouth Bass: Good – Smallies beat action coming along coontail edges and off shore rock humps using Ned rigs and drop-shot rigs. Some very nice fish reported this week topped by a 6 1/2 # caught be an 11 year old working a crawler harness!

Largemouth Bass: Good – Top-water action during the last two hours before dark best using Whopper Ploppers and Choppers. Wacky Worming and jig/creatures combo in green weed patches for daytime!

Bluegills: Good – Best outside deep coontail edges using small leeches. Some popper action towards dusk on the warm evenings.

Northern Pike: Good – Spinner baits and chatter baits on cloudy/windy days, but with most days sunny, live chubs and suckers on jigs or under floats producing better.

Yellow Perch: Good – Fair- Some nice perch (9-11″) along breaks in 10 – 12′ where wood is present is best. 1/2 crawlers or medium fatheads.

Crappies: Fair -Good- Off and on action, but some big slabs recorded including a verified 17″ SLAB caught (8/23). Fish not bunched but all seem to be found in 12-17′ near wood or deep coontail.

Walleye: Fair – Need to pick your battles. High skies with little wind tough. Opportunities on mornings with fog or evenings best. Retails and crawlers best.

Musky: Fair – Poor – Not getting many good reports and most from anglers catching mid-30″ fish over weeds in 12′ of water or less.

We’ll see what the upcoming week brings. Overcast and chance of rain will made walleye anglers happier.

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop

It feels good to have somebody mention bullheads.


Capt. Rich Sleziak texted, “A nice king caught in 40 feet of water outside of Burns Ditch aboard Triplecatch on Saturday.”Provided by Triplecatch Charters

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

Some nice kings are being caught out of portage in 40ft of water not a lot of fish but some good ones for sure.

Perch action from the portage to Michigan city in 20 to 35ft of water was good up to Saturday then the wind blew on Sunday and shut down fishing.

This weeks forecast looks good the perch bite should happen baby golden roaches best bait.

Willow slough still giving good panfish up pretty good action using jumbo red wigglers and waxworms


Click here for the Wisconsin DNR’s report, usually on Tuesday or Wednesday.


Concessions are going. Site hours through Oct. 31 are 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily.


Click here for the southern Lake Michigan reports from the Wisconsin DNR.


Thumper at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said the good news is the perch are in, generally in 40-45 feet, from north of the St. Joe pier south to “The Chalets;” in the river, smallmouth, catfish (some good catches) and a few walleye are being caught, expect steelhead soon with cooler water; boaters are working 120-140 for coho, lakers and very few kings.

Paddle and Pole hosts the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder Camera.


White bass from the Wolf River.Provided by Bill Stoeger

Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted the photo above and this:

Another specie of fish is beginning to show up in the river that most haven’t seen since May. Crappie are also moving in with the high water from recent rains. There were a few walleye taken in the Fremont area, but it’s a bit early to say the fall run is starting.

Nicely turned.

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