Midwest fishing report Rescheduled: The first “Rockin’ the Rock Bass” fishing derby at Jackson Park, Northerly Island and Montrose Harbor has been rescheduled for July 23.
Drought option 1: Lakefront: The big story has been salmon and trout for boaters near the R-4 buoy northeast of Chicago. Capt. Bob Poteshman reports mainly kings, 2- to 4-year-olds, with scattered steelhead and browns and a few coho or lakers. There was a knot of big browns straight out of Montrose last week. But most boaters are heading to the R-4, though Poteshman said there’s fish in 40-70 feet from Burnham to the R-4. The Salmon Stop reports fish between 70 and 90 feet down 40-60 on big silver Dodgers and white or powder blue flies, or any purple spoons. South to Lake Forest has been good in 40-60 feet, according to Poteshman. There’s good fish straight out of North Point, on both sides of the state line, right on the hill. “It’s a mixed bag of patterns,” Poteshman said. “Put a bunch out and find the one that works.” There’s not much on the surface, pretty much from Leadcores on down. From shore, the best action remains rock bass, reports Henry’s. Those taking advantage of the new program to allow kids 15 and younger to fish for perch (daily bag of 10) during July are having best success at Waukegan and Montrose on minnows or soft shells.
Drought option 2: Big inland lakes: Try the bigger inland waters. Such as Shabbona Lake in DeKalb County. Lakeside reported with Tuesday’s overcast improved fishing for bass and muskie. But by the weekend, it will be best to work in the weeds or on the weed lines (inside from shore, outside from boat). Henry’s recommends the bigger forest preserve lakes like Monee Reservoir in Will County or Tampier, Busse and Skokie Lagoons in Cook. Evening fishing at Deep Quarry, which is open until 11 p.m., in DuPage is a good option, according to Kolar’s.
Chicago’s urban rivers: Decent: Chicago River has been fair. On Monday, Illinois Outdoors’ Don Dziedzina and Rich Komar did decent on largemouth in the Cal up to the O’Brien Lock; tight to shade in the sun, scattered otherwise.
Chain O’Lakes area: Decent: The Chain remains low so use caution. Triangle reports continuing good bluegill on shorelines or tree areas, excellent catfish on stink bait and crawlers. With the overcast weather, topwater action for bass and muskie should remain strong. Muskies are going all day, topwaters early and late, jerkbaits during the day. White bass are excellent on wind-blown shorelines on Bluff and Petite on leeches, leaf worms. Crappie are best on Marie in 8-12 feet. Walleye are best morning or evening with leeches or crawlers, try Marie, bridge areas or any current area like main lake points.
Cooling Lakes/Strip Pits: Fair: It’s summer, water’s very hot. Probably best is Heidecke for catfish or drifting for walleye. On cloudy days or very early or late, the Mazonia lakes are good for multiple species. Mazonia and Heidecke are both in the 80s. Site staff reported 90s at both ends of Braidwood, which has good catfish and bluegill. Hatchery staff reported 90 at the LaSalle intake Tuesday morning. LaSalle, Braidwood and both Mazonia units are open seven days a week, 6 a.m. to sunset. Heidecke is open Wednesday to Sunday; it opens at 6 a.m. for boaters, 6:30 for shore anglers and closes at sunset.
Delavan Lake, Wis.: Decent: Midwest Fishing Report friend Arden Katz reports bass are so good on crawlers or jumbo leeches that he isn’t even trying for panfish.
Downstate: Heavy rains from Dennis will alter conditions in southern Illinois, otherwise it’s general summer conditions. Carlyle: Early Times “Reel In Big Cash” promo has already had four of 50 tagged bass registered. It continues through July with a chance to catch a $50,000 fish. Shelbyville: WGCI’s night host Victor DIZZ Blackful reported some nice walleye late night from shore with jigs and crawlers. Guide Mary Satterfield reported the lake is several inches below summer pool and in mid-80s. Some white bass are deep (10-15 feet), others are shallow. She said some crappie on the ledges mixed with the white bass, scattered good largemouth and sporadic good walleye. Evergreen: Site super Mike Steffa said catfish are “sizzlin’,” best in years, on dipbaits. Bluegill are very good, size and numbers, near structure close to shore. Bass are good on crankbaits off points, humps and breaks.
Fox River: Western Suburbs: Decent: Probably the best shape of local rivers, even so, it’s low. Riverside reports decent smallmouth action, especially for fly fishermen with Clouser Minnows or Woolly Buggers. Catfish continue good on liver or live bait. Drum remain steady. White bass are improving right at the dams.
Illinois River: Starved Rock area: Decent: Cajun’s reports good catfish (Sonny’s, shrimp, crawlers) from shore (state park and grain elevators) and boat. There’s some white bass early on bladebaits, jump spot to spot. Drum remain good, especially on crawlers. River remains very low.
Kankakee River: Decent: River remains very low (Dennis remnants could help), very wadeable. The most interesting fish from the Kankakee River Valley Fishing Derby, which ended Sunday, were the 14-pound, 2-ounce channel catfish Tom Palhegyi of Sauk Village weighed at River Trading Post, the three top largemouth all being heavier than 4 pounds, and 8-3 walleye caught by Jim Schopf of Momence. Ed Mullady reports good smallmouth throughout in low light. Catfish are good, as are largemouth in ditches and bayous with enough water.
Madison Lakes, Wis.: Good: D&S Bait reports excellent panfish on Waubesa and Monona; there’s bigger bluegill on Kegonsa, but it’s variable. Some perch on Mendota; decent muskie on Monona, even on topwaters.
Northwest Indiana: Fair: For perch, the best action has shifted east from Gary Light all the way around to New Buffalo, Mich., according to Mik-Lurch. Best has been Lake Street. For salmon and trout, near the wreck is best. Stocking note: To improve the shoreline fishery, the Indiana DNR planned to stock Michigan City harbor with about 40,000 5-inch brown trout on Tuesday. The browns come to Illinois in exchange for Indiana-born skamania.
St. Joseph area, Mich.: Good: BJ’s reports steelhead, kings and coho are stacked up in front. Pier fishermen are catching steelhead on shrimp under a bobber or spoons. For boaters, kings and coho are good as shallow as 40 feet to as deep as 90. Perch fishing continues best from New Buffalo to Bridgman. Not many steelhead in the river yet; it needs water.
Waterfowl seasons: State waterfowl biologist Ray Marshalla said the duck season is on the edge between a liberal 60-day one and a 45-day one. He called three Great Lake states and found Wisconsin with 317,000 mallards, Minnesota with 237,000 and Michigan with 230,000 for 784,000. Added to the 6,755,000 in traditional surveyed areas, the total is 7,539,000 mallards, lowest number of breeding mallards since 1993. However, 3.9 million ponds (up 56 percent from last year) could tilt the numbers toward a liberal season. He expects a slight increase in Illinois’ Canada goose quota, mainly because the percent of MVP Canada goose in the harvest dropped from 38 percent to 35, based on band returns in the most recent three-year period. Waterfowl blinds: Draws on three Mississippi River pools will be held from 10 a.m.-noon Sunday: Pool 21, Twin Oaks Sportsman’s Club, Quincy; Pool 22, South Side Boat Club, Quincy; Pool 24, IDNR office, Pittsfield.