Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: It’s summer, pick your fish and go, inland or on Lake MichiganDale Bowmanon July 20, 2021 at 10:24 pm

The many choices of summer lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.


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).


The Forest Preserve District of Will County offers a taste of night fishing:

Midnight Madness: 7-11:59 p.m. Saturdays, July 24 and Aug. 21, at Monee Reservoir, Monee Township. Free, all ages.

Let the kids stay up late and bring the family to enjoy fishing under the stars at the Forest Preserve District’s Monee Reservoir. The parking lot is well lit, and the shoreline is accessible. Bring a flashlight and bug repellent. The concessions building will be open for sales; no boat or equipment rentals will be available. Registration is not required.

Joel Wilson found good crappie fishing at a forest preserve. Provided by Bob Johnson
Joel Wilson found good crappie fishing at a forest preserve.
Provided by Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale –

Buddy of mine Joel Wilson caught some nice Crappie on a small spinnerblaid at a forest preserve pond. I believe the total count was 15.

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

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing.

Area lakes-the cold front slowed the bass bite some. Fast moving baits were replaced by plastics. Pitch senkos on weedless hooks into open pockets along thick weeds. Watermelon has been the best color.

. . .

Here is the nature pic of the week courtesy of Hailey O’Malley. Hitching a ride.


Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team

A natural hitchhiker. Credit: Hailey O'Malley
A natural hitchhiker.
Hailey O’Malley


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


Art Frisell at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said white bass are probably the top bite, best on Fox, on small minnows or spikes; catfish are good, as always, on medium roaches or stinkbaits; walleye are fair, mostly around current areas or main lake points, leeches top bait or troll crankbaits shallow; bluegill are fair on small ice jigs, best on Spring.

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.


Jeffrey Williams with his PB channel catfish. Provided photo
Jeffrey Williams with his PB channel catfish.

Jeffrey Williams messaged the photo above and this on Thursday:

new PB from the river

He’s also finding crappie.

I fished and watched others Friday and the bluegill were active.


Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake 7/19/21 through 7/26/21

Fishing overall on Delavan remains very consistent. There are many anglers trying to test their talents on the wary fish.

Yellow Perch have been biting in front of Township Park in 12-14 ft of water. Locate yourself in front of the beach area for the best success. The best presentation has been using Thill slip bobbers tipped with a leaf worm or a hellgrammite. Most of the fish have been positioned a foot off bottom. The other method for using the leaf worms is fishing a split shot rig straight beneath the boat.

Northern Pike fishing has been up and down. Earlier in the week you could catch as many pike as you had suckers. It did slow as the week went on however. The best success has come off of medium suckers fished on a lindy rig. The tight schools have dispersed so it’s been kind of hit or miss as you troll down the weedline. The best location has been west of Willow Point in 20 ft of water.

Largemouth bass remain on the deep weedline. They can be caught on nightcrawlers fished on a split shot rig or drop shotting 4 inch finesse worms. They haven’t been schooled as heavy as they were in past years. The key is to keep your boat moving to find the active fish. In years past you could sit on a school for 4 hours and catch them non-stop but that isn’t the case this year yet. The best location is by the Island or by the Village Supper Club.

Walleyes have remained consistent. The best action has been coming after dark. However, I’ve been catching fish during the daylight too. I’ve been averaging a legal fish every other trip. My best success has come off of leeches or nightcrawlers. I’ve been using lindy rigs with an 1/8 oz sinker or a split shot rigged nightcrawler.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


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.


Dicky’s Bait Shop in Montgomery reported slow, other than catfish. A 22-pound flathead caught by the North Aurora dam.

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

Only creek fishing on which to report this week. I didn’t fish the Fox, but it was low and clear (clear by Fox River standards anyway). It’s also pretty warm and there seems to be a lot of algae above the dams; that’s got to be making oxygen scarce. I did fish a couple of tributaries. They came up in last week’s rains, but were dropping fast (but still off color) when I fished them. Good numbers of fish around, but they were in a neutral mood. Some would eat; others would follow the fly and take a half-hearted bite at the tail; the rest wouldn’t show any interest at all. There is a lot of food-minnows, crayfish, frogs, tadpoles and grasshoppers-around, so that should influence our fly/lure/bait choices.


Arden Katz said night fishing is best on south side from Military Academy west with drop-shots in 16-20 feet, biggest largemouth 4 1/2 pound, also smallmouth and some rock bass.

Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 7/19/21 through 7/26/21

Lake Geneva continues to be really good fishing but it also continues to be super busy with pleasure boats. Plan to fish early a.m. or late p.m. for a safer, more productive trip.

Lake trout continue to bite in the main lake basin. The best time to try for them is early a.m. as the sun in coming up. Look for the fish 90 ft down in about 110-118 ft of water. The best action has been on nickel/blue or nickel/green spoons. I’ve been placing the lures 40-50 ft behind the down rigger balls.

Walleye continue to bite decently at night. The best hours to try for them are 12 a.m. to 4 a.m. They tend to bite better when there is a slight chop on the water. Try #13 Rapalas in fire tiger or chrome and black for the most action. The best location has been by Yerkes Observatory or Trinkes.

Largemouth bass are on the deep weed points in 20-25 ft of water. Look for the fish by the 700 Club, the west side of the narrows or by Colemans Point. With the fish so deep, the best presentation is Carolina rigging green pumpkin lizards or drop shotting Yum Hoodini worms. Some of the fish last week were over 5 lbs. A lot of fish are still shallow so the early morning top water bite is still productive. You want to use chrome/blue or chrome/black chug bugs.

Rock bass fishing has been excellent in 12-15 ft of water. The fish are biting on split shot rigged nightcrawlers or small white hair jigs. The best location has been by the Military Academy or by Colemans Point.

Smallmouth bass fishing has been improving. They are on the deep weed points like the Military Academy or the 700 Club. They are aggressively hitting nightcrawlers fished on a lindy rig. You want to fish a 24 inch leader and the lightest sinker you can get away with. I’ve also been using a heavy lindy rig with a small perch and catching several really nice fish. Both northern pike and smallmouth bass have been biting on the small perch. I’ve been fishing them almost exclusively in greater than 20 ft of water.

Northern Pike action has been improving with the heat. Most of the action has been in 35-40 ft of water. The best location has been by Fontana Beach or the hump in Williams Bay. There aren’t the numbers as there were in recent years, so if you catch one in 15-20 minutes you are doing well. The good news is that the average size is quite a bit larger. Remember you need a 32 inch fish if you want a keeper.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


Randy Poenitsch with a largemouth bass from Fox Lake, Wisconsin. Provided by Mike Norris
Randy Poenitsch with a largemouth bass from Fox Lake, Wisconsin.
Provided by Mike Norris

Guide Mike Norris texted the photo above and emailed this:

Fishing Report 7/19/2021

Mike Norris

Big Green Lake – Smallmouth bass are in their summer pattern, and I am catching them along weed lines in 14 to 18 feet of water. Swim baits, drop shot rigs and structure jigs with beaver tail plastics are all accounting for smallmouths up to 4 pounds. Water clarity remains good on Big Green and the bite should continue to be good with stable weather forecast for this week. Largemouth bass can be found in shallow weed pockets and under piers.

Fox Lake – Largemouth bass are right up to the shoreline throughout the lake. Try casting Senko’s right up to the shoreline rocks. Expect the bite to come on the initial drop. We are also finding bass along the edges of the rock piles to the west of Elmwood Island. Walleyes are active and anglers are trolling crankbaits and crawler harnesses along breaklines in 12 to 15 feet of water.

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.


Ken “Husker” O’Malley holds a smallmouth bass from Heidecke Lake.

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

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing.

. . .

Heidecke-water temps are 74-75 with a slight algae bloom. Smallmouth, while running on the small side, have been decent on chatterbaits, drop shotting, and pitching jigs with craw trailers. Start shallow along the rock dikes and gradually work deeper as the morning hours progress.

. . .


Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team

Bob Johnson with a couple good smallmouth bass from Heidecke Lake. Provided photo
Bob Johnson with a couple good smallmouth bass from Heidecke Lake.

Bob Johnson emailed the photo above and this;

Hi Dale –

Heidecke did rebound as expected with weather change. Smallmouth once again were caught using 3/8 oz jig and black and blue crawfish tail. Also caught a few on black finesse worm on a shaky head. Had some hits on drop shot but couldn’t land any. Caught a (small) Crappie today too, rare for Heidecke lake.

The crappie isn’t rare, it’s the small part that is rare.

Open 6 a.m. (6:30 bank fishing) to sunset. Click here for the promising preview.


George Peters holds a good smallmouth bass from the Kankakee River. Provided photo
George Peters holds a good smallmouth bass from the Kankakee River.

George Peters emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale, sorry about last weeks report. Overnight thunderstorms near Watseka pushed the water up again. Hopefully that’s it for an unusual July, Got this 18″ near shore, water clears near the banks first, G, Peters


Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.


Drum are going at Montrose Harbor. Provided by Jason Le
Drum are going at Montrose Harbor.
Provided by Jason Le

Jason Le texted the photo above and this on Monday:

On yesterday and today at Montrose harbor

When I commented that they seemed the right eater-sized, he replied;

4lbs is the biggest

I Don’t see any sizes bigger yet

But there are big ones is coming

Staff at Henry’s Sports and Bait said there are some trout around the lakefront; smallmouth are around to a lesser degree than during the spawn, but some being caught; pike are around, too, but less aggressive.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor said that it is quiet, except that drum are being caught, especially on the Montrose Horseshoe.

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said fishing is mostly lake trout out of both Chicago and North Point; there are the occasional stelehead, occasional coho and a few kings; in 130-160 feet off Chicago and 160-260 out of North Point; so-so at North Point, better numbers off Chicago but it is a long ride; fish are on the bottom and suspended, spoons are more important lately, slow trolling is key.

Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed:

Hi Dale

Waukegan boat fishing was inconsistent and unpredictable this week. We had terrific trips, followed immediately by trips where it was tough to get a handful of bites. The fish seem scattered and all are deep. The shallowest fish we took all week was 71 down on a downrigger and most were below 100 feet. It seems you can take a boat about anywhere from 110 feet out as far as you can go and have about the same success.

On the positive side, fish are still there. Sometimes a week of NE winds will move all the fish out of the area, but that was not the case. There are fish to be taken, roughly 1/3 kings, 1/3 coho and 1/3 lake trout. We had kings up to 22# this week and most trips have had multiple kings. There are still coho too. They haven’t pushed back to the Platt River yet.

For tactics, downriggers below 100 feet, 300 and 450 copper lines and wire divers out over 150 feet took fish with metal Luhr-Jensen dodgers and big white, green and Aqua combinations from Smokin Fish and Jimmy Fly and Warrior spoons also in green and white patterns, like Two Face, Lance’s Twoface, Hey Babe, Colville Crusher, and Green Spoiler all worked.

No report from the harbor. I didn’t have time to fish it and got no reports. If anyone did anything from shore they were tight-lipped about it.

Capt. Scott Wolfe

School of Fish Charters/ Manipulator


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.


Guide Mike Mladenik holds a smallmouth bass for a young client. Provided photo
Guide Mike Mladenik holds a smallmouth bass for a young client.

Guide Mike Mladenik of emailed the photo above and this:

The topwater bite continues on the Menominee River and Prop baits are the bait of choice. We are also catching some smallmouth with poppers.

Water levels are dropping to normal water summer levels something we have not seen over the past 2 years. Some of the largest smallmouth were caught in non typical summer spots. The big fish are not feeding on crayfish and prefer baitfish. Find baitfish and you will find big smallmouth.


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

–More mild like Northwoods summer weather has prevailed with temp fluctuations not so severe as to throw patterns off. This being said, not everything has been “hunky dory”, but many species are reacting well to this summer pattern.

Largemouth Bass: Very Good – The Boys (and Girls) of Summer! Mornings through afternoons in thick cabbage beds. Work swim jigs, swim baits, pre-rigged plastic worms, and spinnerbaits mid-range through cabbage of 7-12′. Not so active? Go deeper with Ned rigs, Wacky worms, and jig and creature combos. Evenings are a great time for topwater action on buzz baits, frogs, Whopper Ploppers, and jitter bugs! Lots of action and size this week!

Smallmouth Bass: Very Good/Good – While some nice fish are being found shallow (hunting in 6-8′ cabbage) for numbers work off-shore humps of 16-24′ using drop-shot rigs, football jigs with plastic craws and Ned rigs.

Bluegill: Very Good/Good – Active with water temps in the 70’s. Work deep outside weed edges to find suspending gills 6-8′ down along 16-22′ coontail using small leeches and jigs with tiny plastics. Evenings using poppers on small “ants” or sponge spiders in the shallows.

Northern Pike: Very Good/Good – Better during the early A.M. using spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, and 4″ swim baits over and through 6-9″ weeds.

Musky: Good – Topwater action good with evening and early mornings using loud tail baits (Whopper Ploppers and Top Raiders) followed up by more subtle top baits such as Creepers and Hawg Wobblers.

Yellow Perch: Good – Lots of perch activity in weeds on medium fatheads, leeches, and pieces of crawler. A few reports from anglers fishing deep sand grass on frozen soft shells.

Crappie: Fair – Scattered and hard to locate #’s. Small 1-2″ twister tails on 1/32 – 1/16 oz jigs worked through weed tops is best

Walleye: Fair/Poor – Following reports of other mayfly hatches last week, walleye understandably slow. A few nice fish here and there but mostly smaller fish in heavy weeds in the A.M. Small chubs on 1/2 crawlers best.

While walleye and crappie action still off, overall other species biting better this past week. For action and fun, summer bass can’t be beat!

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Capt. Rich Sleziak posted on Facebook, “Great Tuesday morning catch with a great crew aboard Triplecatch Lake Michigan Sportfishing Charters !!”
Provided from Facebook

Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted the photo above and this:

Mix bag action out of burns ditch portage Indiana

Fishing on the lake has been steady spindoctors and flys and spoons best.

Catfish on triple s catfish bait good at night at the portage lakefront river walk

Perch spotty not a lot of groups out since last report

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

Hi, Dale. I hope you’re doing well. Here’s what’s going on this week.

Fishing remains strong out of the local ponds & lakes, as well as Lake Michigan access points near East Chicago & Hammond & the Port of Saint Joseph. Trolling in waters of 125-175 FT using small spoons, spin doctors, & meat rigs.

Perch fishing is steady with some very nice size perch. Minnows & Beemoths are going like crazy.

The Walleye fishing on the rivers has picked back up.

Lots of Smallmouth & Catfish are also being caught.


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


Staff at Boondocks reported some keeper walleye on Monday in the deep trees and the road bed; catfish are doing well; largemouth are also going around.

Concessions are all open. 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.


Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said perch are slow, some in 40-50 feet off the Chalets or Warren Dunes; salmon/trout are fair 70-150 feet on north troll.

Paddle and Pole hosts the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder Camera.

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