Midwest fishing report – Lakefront perch: On Monday, perch season reopens for all ages (daily bag of 15). During July only those 15 and younger may fish perch (10 daily). From reports, the shoreline perch will be tough to nonexistent. Boaters should do well outside of Wilmette harbor, by the R2, by the R4 or just south of Waukegan off Highland Park.
Area lagoons/lakes: Fair: The scattered rains and cooler weather should help aerate the water and improve fishing — and dispositions. Guide “Jimmy T” Templin of Ed Shirley’s said the first couple of hours have been producing some bass in the northern lakes; JJ’s reports those getting out are taking largemouth in the last two hours on most southern lakes.
Chain O’Lakes area: Decent: Walleye should improve dramatically with the increased flow, use light line with Lindy Rigs or quarter-ounce jigs; Marie or Route 12 and Grass Lake bridges should be best. Triangle reports good crappie in 8 feet on small fatheads on Marie and Bluff. Catfish are excellent on crawlers and stinkbait, especially on Fox or Grass. Bluegill are excellent; Petite and Bluff are best. White and yellow bass are strongest on Petite and Bluff, work in 8-15 feet.
Cooling Lakes/Strip Pits: Hot: Best news is Heidecke, open daily now, expects to have a concessionaire by next week. Water at Heidecke and the Mazonia lakes warmed well into the 80s. Both sites are decent options early and late, or on overcast days. With the heat wave, Braidwood and LaSalle are not recommended because of stressed fish.
Delavan/Geneva lakes, Wis.: Decent: The WDNR reports steady pike on deeper weed lines with suckers. On Delavan, largemouth continue good on the deep weeds. Jimmy T. reports a decent early bass bite deep (20 feet and beyond) on Geneva with drop-shots or plastic worms.
Downstate: Summer: Catfish are the most consistent throughout, but smallmouth are decent in streams. Evergreen: Site super Mike Steffa reports some crappie on trolled crankbaits in 12-15 feet; saugeye are decent vertical jigging in the same depths. Catfish and bluegill continue strong.
Fox River: Western Suburbs: Fair: Riverside reports extremely low water and fish are stacked in the pockets or holes with water and oxygen. Crawlers are the best all-around bait for catfish and drum. For smallmouth, try topwaters or Mepps.
Illinois River: Low: Starved Rock area: Guide Buster Culjan said white bass are decent early (up until 9 a.m.) on bladebaits, some are even up to the dam. Catfish are fair until noon, best on shad; second is Sonny’s, then crawlers. Drum continue decent on crawlers. Rains may help the river slightly.
Kankakee River: Fair: Even in the low conditions, Ed Mullady reports catfish and smallmouth continue strong. Largemouth may be the surprise of 2005 and continue strong in bayous and backwaters holding water in the drought.
Kenosha/Racine, Wis.: Decent: There are a few browns from shore in Kenosha, but it’s mainly a trolling bite deep in 100-150 feet, according to the WDNR.
Lakefront: For perch, see top. It is a good time for charters and bigger boats chasing kings. The harbors have decent rock bass and other panfish near the weed lines or in the weed pockets. Smallmouth continue strong, especially near current areas such as harbor mouths. Trollers off Chicago are working south to north of the R4 and east to the deeper water for mostly kings with a few steelhead, browns and coho mixed in. Off North Point, Capt. Bob Poteshman reports good action from inside the hill on out, best from 50-180 feet for mainly kings, occasional steelhead and lakers, and the odd coho. Try mostly deeper presentations, Leadcore, Dipsy Divers, etc. But especially around the Wisconsin state line, the cold water layer is relatively shallow. Spoons or big flies and big Dodgers are the ticket. Courtesy note: With some of the newer techniques, such as Leadcore, be aware the lines can be hundreds of feet behind the boats. Leave adequate space, especially if trolling in or near a cluster of boats.
Madison Lakes, Wis.: Good: D&S Bait reports continued steady bite drifting for suspended panfish. Smallmouth are improving on Mendota.
Northern Wisconsin: Decent: After early-week storms, weather should settle for a perfect weekend. Tom Skonie reports good crappie on the Flambeau Chain in the cabbage and sand grass (5 to 9 feet) adjacent to deep water, especially if the wind is blowing in. Otherwise, smallmouth in the rivers or over sand grass flats are the best bet, followed by largemouth in the slop early and late.
Northwest Indiana: Decent: Mik-Lurch reports a few perch on the shoals, inside Buffington; and deep by the Gong. Salmon continue good, some kings reported with tags from Lake Huron, in 85-120 feet, depending on winds (GPS 5120). Meat rigs with herring are the hot ticket for salmon. Fair salmon action off Michigan City. Trail Creek has lots of skamania, rains should make the fish less spooky.
St. Joseph area, Mich.: Decent: BJ’s said kings remain good in 60-105 feet, more on spoons, but a few on J-plugs or Dodgers and flies. Perch picked up again in 20-25 feet, some limits up and down the coast on Saturday. Catfish and smallmouth are OK in the river.
Shabbona Lake: Decent: Lakeside hopes better weather should pull fish closer to surface, but the focus should remain around or in the weeds for bass and bluegills. Catfish continue decent in the bays or on the weed lines with liver or crawlers. A few muskies last week in the trees.
Ducks: State waterfowl biologist Ray Marshalla reported the Flyway Council recommended a 60-day duck season with a daily bag of six: four mallards (two hens), three scaup, two wood ducks, two redheads, one black duck, one canvasback and one pintail. Canvasbacks would be open 30 days, but pintails increased to the full 60 days. Scaup are recommended at a full season with a daily bag of three. Scaup is the one proposal most likely to be altered. Canada geese: The proposed breakdown for Illinois’ total allocation of 80,600: North 25,800; central, 38,900; south, 8,200. Goose season would be 86 days with a daily bag of two. Squirrel: Season opens Monday and runs through Jan. 20, but is closed during firearm deer season. District wildlife biologist Bob Massey reports the drought has caused very poor mast production, which means squirrels could be ranging far afield in quest for food. Controlled pheasant: Friday is the last day for the second random drawing at Chain O’Lakes SP, Silver Springs SP, Ramsey Lake SP and Horseshoe Lake SP. Go to www.lrsidnrpermits.com. Waterfowl blind draws: On Saturday: Blanding’s Landing WA; Chain O’Lakes SP and Redwing Slough/Deer Lake NA; Des Plaines CA; Kankakee River SP and Momence Wetlands; Mazonia SFWA; Shabbona Lake SRA; Sinnissippi Lake; William Powers SFWA. On Sunday: Anderson Lake CA; Clear Lake at Sand Ridge SF; Lake DePue SFWA; Marshall SFWA; Meredosia Bay; Rice Lake SFWA: Sanganois CA; Sparland Unit of Marshall SFWA; Spring Lake SFWA and Pekin Lake SFWA; Starved Rock SP; Woodford SFWA. Deer: Apply for youth deer permits Monday through August 12.