The first kings come for shore anglers in Chicago, hook-and-line sturgeon season opens Saturday in Wisconsin and the outlook is more stable for the holiday weekend in this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.
The fall return of Chinook is on around southern Lake Michigan, even in Chicago.
Jason “Special One” Le texted the photo at the top and this on Saturday:
First king in Chicago
My boi Dong [Ho] today at Montrose
Le also posted this video on his YouTube channel
On Monday, he followed up with this from Montrose:
Fresh kings are in
On Monday, Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:
yay we got a start4 that I know of this morning
Late Tuesday morning, she added:
I’m at the shop and the update is there was a couple more caught this morning for sure
Dan Leslie at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan said kings are in and they are overnight bite right now on a plethora of spoons, especially glow; seeing a couple steelhead, too. “What I would tell them to do is use a spoon, then have aa night crawler or a minnow about 3 feet down under a bobber for steelhead,” Leslie said.
Things are more waiting or anticipating on the South Side, as Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait said people are getting their rods and nets ready for the salmon.
STURGEON IN WISCONSIN
Hook-and-line sturgeon season in Wisconsin opens Saturday, Sept. 4, and runs through Sept. 30. Click here for the details.
Season opens Saturday, Sept. 4, and runs through Sept. 30. If harvesting a sturgeon, a valid fishing license and a sturgeon harvest tag are required. Watch for tags on the dorsal fin of lake sturgeon. If a tag is located, anglers should submit the date of catch, location and tag number, color and material composition (i.e. metal or plastic).
Click here for the harvest areas.
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.
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).
Ken “Husker” O’Malley and a local largemouth bass.Provided
Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed the photos above and below, and this:
Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing.
Area lakes-fishing has been very good despite the hot temps. Early morning hours and last hour of light are the best times.
Bass are excellent working a BPS wacky stik-o along the outside weedlines. June bug has seen the best color. Evening work a Storm chug bug over the top of weeds for some exciting top water action.
Bluegill have moved away from the shorelines. They can be found along the outside weedlines adjacent to deeper water. A variety of plastics under a slip float will entice the active biters.
Here is the nature pics of the week. Another day coming to an end.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Waterwerks fishing team
Ken “Husker” O’Malley’s weekly nature photo.Provided
Open daily 6 a.m. to sunset.
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA
Art Frisell at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said catfish are really good on crawlers, stinkbait and large roaches, all over; bluegill are excellent on chartreuse ice-fishing jigs with spikes or waxies; walleye are around bridges and main lake points, try a split shot and a hook, floating jighead or slip-bobber rig with crawlers or leeches; crappie fair early morning; muskie are slow.
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.
DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN
Dave Duwe emailed:
Delavan Lake 8/30/21 through 9/6/21
Largemouth bass are still on the rocky points. When you find a school, it’s possible to catch 15-20 fish. They can either be caught drop shotting small 4 inch worms or fishing nightcrawlers on a split shot rig. Look for the fish in 15-20 ft of water. The best location is by Del Mar or by the Yacht Club.
Northern Pike fishing has been very slow. I’ve been dragging suckers around all week and didn’t catch one fish. I still believe that the bluegills are so thick on the weedlines that the pike simply aren’t hungry for anything else. I’ve tried both lindy rigs and slip bobbers without success.
Bluegills for most of the week have been just outside the weed edge in 15-20 ft. However, on Sunday 8/29/10 they were very difficult to catch. I don’t know if it was the time of day or if the fish have moved. I was fishing anywhere between 14 and 27 ft without much success. Leaf worms or red worms have been producing and the best approach has been fishing straight beneath the boat or using slip bobbers. Try for them 1 ft above the weeds.
Crappies continue to be very active. They are on the weedline in 14-16 ft of water. They can be caught on small plastics. Chartreuse or purple have been producing most of the action. Look for the fish by Browns Channel or Willow Point. For live bait fishermen, if you find a nice school, a small fathead minnow fished on a Thill bobber will produce a lot of action as well.
Walleye fishing has been kind of slow. I’ve been catching them here or there but not in any great numbers with any consistency. Most of the time, I’ve been fishing in 15-17 ft of water. I think that the walleyes are a little deeper in 22-24 ft of water on the outside of the weedline. The best approach to catch them is chrome and blue jigging Rapalas.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the weedline. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
HENNEPIN-HOPPER: IFinal day of the season is Monday, Sept. 6. Check regulations at http://www.wetlands-initiative.org/dixon-paddling-fishing.
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.
Continues low and clear.
Dicky’s Bait Shop in Montgomery reported relatively slow overall, but the Monsters on the Fox Tournament Series had quite the overnight tournament over weekend with top two spots catching 78-10 and 77-9 for a five-fish limit. Biggest flathead went 36 1/2 pounds. Dicky’s has some suckers and muskie suckers now.
Pete Lamar emailed:
With the weather we had last week-unpleasant for me; dangerous for the fish-I spent much of the time catching up on tying flies. Best to be prepared for what’s coming: six more weeks of trout season in Wisconsin; salmon, steelhead and Lake Michigan browns running soon; bass, bluegills and eventually crappies on local waters until ice-up.
I did get out for a couple of hours yesterday when the heat and humidity finally broke. A lot of active smallmouths on the Fox tribs, but most were small. Some big bass were spotted, but unfortunately they spotted me first in the low clear water. One big smallmouth chased a frog up onto the bank only a couple of feet from where I was standing. That gives me a good idea what fly pattern to use on my next outing. the Fox itself continues to be as low and clear as I’ve ever seen it.
I am going to ask to see the frog fly.
GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN
Dave Duwe emailed:
Lake Geneva 8/30/21 through 9/6/21
Northern pike fishing has been all right but nothing like it normally is this time of year. The pike are in 30-38 ft of water. They are being caught on lindy rigged medium suckers. Look for the fish by Fontana Beach, the north shore in the Narrows or by Linn Pier. You really have to fish for them this year, a good day on the water would be 10 fish in 6 hours, last year I was averaging 10 fish in 4 hours. Keep moving to find the active fish.
With the cooler water, the perch are starting to move into the shallows. The best location is by Knollwood or by Belvidere Park in Fontana. They are in 10-12 ft of water and can be caught on leaf worms or small fat head minnows fished on a slip bobber. The average size is kind of small so you need to sort through a lot of fish to get a limit.
Some smallmouth bass are being caught between 27 and 33 ft of water. They are not as abundant as recent years so patience is a virtue. I’ve caught some lindy rigging nightcrawlers or lindy rigging yellow perch that I’ve caught in the lake. Remember, the smaller the weight, the better. The wind will dictate my weight size. As a rule, I will use a 1/4 oz walking sinker, if there is no wind, you can get by with 1/8 oz. Look for the fish by Fontana Beach or by Elgin Club by the big slide.
Some lake trout are being caught in the main lake basin. They are being caught at first light in 115 ft of water, 70-90 ft down. Nickle/Blue or Nickle/green spoons are always the best bait.
Largemouth bass are being caught on the weedline. The best approach is Carolina rigging green pumpkin lizards or drop shotting Gulp finesse worms, also in green pumpkin. Good locations are Trinkes or by Belvidere Park. I like working a depth of 20-25 ft of water. Some of the fish caught last week were the 3-4 lb fish that we like to see.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. Have a great Labor Day. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
GREEN LAKE AREA, WISCONSIN
Guide Mike Norris emailed:
Fishing Report – 8/29/2021
Big Green Lake – Both largemouth and smallmouth bass remain active, and I am finding them just outside the weeds in Dartmouth Bay, Quimby Bay, and Sugar Loaf. Move slowly along the deep weed line while paying close attention to your fishing electronics. Anchor or go to spot lock on your trolling motor when bluegills light up the screen. The bass will not be too far behind. Speaking of bluegills, fishing for them remains excellent. Try drop shot rigs to catch the bass and bluegills. Red worms threaded on a small jig which is suspended beneath a float is also common method I and others use for catching hand-sized gills which can be found in 20 – 30 feet of water. Lake trout fishing is fair right now. Anglers are trolling spoons for them in deep water. Look for lake trout to move shallower in September and becoming easier to target.
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.
Busy or not, Heidecke Lake continues to produce, such as this smallmouth bass over the weekend.Provided by Bob Johnson
Bob Johnson emailed the photo above and this;
Hi Dale -Heidecke Lake was a full house Sunday morning with the usual local crowd and a tournament involving Minooka High School.Smallmouth were active despite added pressure and summer heat. I had success staying with jigs and crawfish trailer. Top water bite was inactive.
Open 6 a.m. (6:30 bank fishing) to sunset.
Bill “Garman” Meyer with his PB northern pike from an Illinois River backwater.Provided
Bill “Garman” Meyer emailed the photo above and this:
No, not gar yet, but another toothy predator. The northerns were fierce today on jumbo plastics in a weedy Illinois River backwater. Landed two 30″s, a 33″, and my PB 38″ pike. Had at least 8 bite-offs (including a 40″+) even though I was using 20# braid. Going after ’em tomorrow with a steel leader. Ran into some nice bowfin and bass last time out there too.
I love when “Garman” sends reports, even when it is for more than gar.
George Peters with a good smallmouth bass from the Kankakee River.Provided
George Peters emailed the photo above and this:
Hi Dale, fished the kkk way up above Momence this week. Bass are up here too like this 18″. Water still high from storms but this week should be better. G. Peters
Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.
Shoreline salmon report is at the top.
Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said that out of Chicago it’s lots of lakers with the occasional steelhead and coho, mornings are best, afternoons tougher, in 110-180 feet. Out of North Point, there’s quite a few steelhead and lake trout with the occasional coho and king from 120 on out.
Capt. Scott Wolfe of School of Fish Charters emailed:
Fishing was great this week for lake trout, steelhead and coho and good for chinook. Anywhere from 55 feet of water out there are fish. The thermocline was 50-55 feet. Lots of mature coho getting ready to spawn, lots of steelhead and lake trout are there with them. The best area for coho and an occasional king turning dark was 70 to 90 feet. The best area for lake trout with good numbers of steelhead and smaller 3 and 2 year old kings was 120-150. The mature kings are really turning and will be in the harbor any day. For rigging, 4 to 10 color lead cores and 2 colors of lead off downriggers 30 to 40 down are best for the coho, steelhead and small kings. Spoons with patters like Warrior Green Menace, Frostbite, Voodoo and UV Hey Babe. The spoons colors seem to change daily, even hourly, so experiment. For the Lake trout, Jimmy Fly Mo Rigs in white and Little Boy Blue behind big 12″ flashers were best run a few feet off the bottom. 300 coppers with magnum Warrior Voodoo, Frostbite and Green Menace took some too.
In the harbor no luck for kings yet, but they are poking in and exploring there. I personally haven’t seen any but guys on my dock saw some rolling this week. A couple of guys bass fishing reported doing really well this week. The bass and northerns seem to really feed heavily just before the kings move in and then hunker down and became hard to catch for about a month when the kings arrive.
Attached is me with a 15# steelhead caught Saturday on my boat on a Warrior Riverside Striper spoon. The biggest steelhead I’ve taken in about 3 years and one of the longest I’ve ever caught. There are some real bruisers there right now.
Capt. Scott Wolfe
School of Fish Charters/Manipulator
Capt. Scott Wolfe with a 15-pound steelhead caught Saturday on a Warrior Riverside Striper spoon.Provided
Open daily 6 a.m. to sunset.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
I was testing out a kayak with our youngest son last week and, even in the heat of the day, I made about 30 casts while he was paddling far out and caught about eight fish, a mix of big bluegill and small largemouth bass.
Bill Lanham emailed, first I’ve heard from him in a while:
Mother Nature has certainly been defining the Dog Days of August for us and it takes a few adjustment to fill our creels during this scorching heat. Any mid-day fishing should be done indoors, under the cool breezes, which only air conditioning can provide, not on any reclaimed strip pit; it’s just too darn hot for man and fish both. Early morning and late into the evening are the periods to escape the swelter and hunt out those bluegills, redears and crappies in more reasonable temperatures. Each of these species are actively feeding during the lowered light levels, chasing plankton as they rise from bottom and fill the upper water levels of the lakes. Once the plankton settles back to bottom, the fish can be found suspended in their comfort zone, which looks to be between 20 and 24 foot down in most areas of the lakes and particularly up against the falling breaklines of offshore structure. Now is the time to use live bait to put the odds in the favor of the angler looking to fill his basket for dinner. Go early or go late to find those willing biters.
Both units are open for fishing.
MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN
Smallmouth bass on the Menominee River.Mike Mladenik
Guide Mike Mladenik of bigsmallmouthbass.com emailed:
The topwater bite continued on the Menominee River in August. We had only 4 days this summer that we did not catch smallmouth on topwater! This great topwater bite should continue through mid-September. Lots of quality smallmouth were also caught on Case Magic Stiks rigged with Spearpoint hooks.
The fall bite should be awesome on the river. I still have some prime late September and October dates open so if interested let me know ASAP.
Kurt Justice at Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua emailed:
The Lakeland area is still in the throes of a warm spell! (Pretty dramatic, eh?)
Actually, the further north you go you’ll see signs of the coming season, but around here, lake surface temps are still in the mid 70’s and only a very few trees have shown any color.
Some submergent plants are dying off, putting certain weed beds into no-swim zones it seems. Best bets are coontail (doesn’t die) offshore humps of sandgrass or rock/gravel or drowned wood. Many of these areas showing fish, yet tough to get bites at times.
Smallmouth Bass: Good-Fair – Fish aforementioned gravel humps or coontail edges using drop-shot 3″ minnow imitations, 3″ Wacky Worms or live crawlers. On lakes, depth ranging 14-24′, on flowages 6-14′.
Largemouth Bass: Good-Fair – Have to move away from dying weeds to entice fish to bite along edges. Wacky worming and drop-shotting effective along 12-16′ edges. A few reports of top-water action on evenings.
Yellow Perch: Good-Fair – Deep sandgrass using 1/2 crawlers on Lindy or drop-shot rigs. Flowage Perch in the wood of 12-14′.
Northern Pike: Fair – With weed beds in flux, Pike very scattered. Some along deep coontail, others in green narrow leaf cabbage taking jig/chub combos. When water temps drop below 70’s, look for Pike to get more active and chase spinner baits, Mepps and chatter baits with a little more resolve!
Walleye: Fair – Catches vary day to day, sometimes with small windows of opportunity while biting on large fatheads, medium redtails or crawlers. If you can find a cabbage bed without dying weeds, fish it! Otherwise work deep humps, wood.
Crappies: Fair – Also very spotty! Some deep wood fish, but many reports of sitting over tight-lipped fish. Some big slabs to 14+” this past week, but not a lot of catching.
Bluegills: Fair – The one bright spot was the flying ant hatch that happens every year about the 3rd-4th week of August. If you happen to be on the water and it’s relatively calm, you can have a blast with small dry flys or poppers. Other than that, Gills have been somewhat slower than usual.
Musky: Poor – Not getting many reports of anglers moving fish. Many smaller lakes have algae blooms making sighting tough on follows. Best on surface lures or bucktails with large fluted blades.
The slightly warmer than usual late August temps, algae blooms and dying weeds have made for below typical late August fishing (which is typically tough anyway). Friday’s forecasted dip in temp for a high may trigger some interest, but it looks as if temps will remain in the mid 70’s for the rest of the weekend.
Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
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Lake Michigan success on Triplecatch Charters.Provided by Capt. Rich Sleziak
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted:
Kings outside burns ditch in 40ft of water caught aboard Triplecatch.
Some action out of burns ditch mainly a morning bite mag spoons and plugs doing best.
Perch action was really good but slowed down some last couple days 20 to 35ft of water from dune state park and east all the way to Michigan city
Slezs bait shop will be open 5am to 7pm all weekend and on Labor Day
Christina Petrites at Stan’s Bait & Tackle Center in Hammond emailed:
Hi, Dale! Finally…some cooler weather to encourage anglers to make use of those last relaxing, pleasant fishing days of summer. Here’s what’s been going on the past week:
Fishing continues to stay steady for trollers fishing out of Hot Spot areas like New Buffalo, Portage, & Hammond Marinas, & St. Joseph, with a good number of Trout & Coho fishing in waters 130-180 FOW.
Perch fishing really picked up last week, with good numbers of perch being caught from The eastern portion of the slips on Lake Shore Drive (the Indiana section) to Michigan city and further East to St. Joseph; the best action is 30-50 FOW. Beemoths, crickets, & red worms have been going like crazy.
The river anglers are still catching Walleye and Catfish. Nightcrawlers are working well for both; leeches & doughbait/stinkbait hitting nicely respectively. Wolf Lake has been having moderate success with Northern Pike and Walleye; other inland lake catches remain just OK.
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
Click here for the Wisconsin DNR’s report, usually on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Staff at Boondocks reported fishing was slow with the heat, should pick up with cooler weather, but catfish were busy on chicken livers, primarily, with a few panfish around the weeds.
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.
Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said there’s perch in 42-50 feet off “The Chalets;” for silver fish, it is better south of St. Joseph in 110-150, down 70-90; nothing off the piers.
Hook-and-line sturgeon season opens Saturday, Sept. 4. Details are at the top. Check with River’s Edge.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN
Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:
Not good this week. Had 5 to 8″ of rain throughout the area, the river is still rising and should crest Thursday. This will bring fish into the river, but it’s very slow now