Chicago fishing: River smallmouth; inland largemouth, bluegill and channel catfish; Lake Michigan coho

Chicago fishing: River smallmouth; inland largemouth, bluegill and channel catfish; Lake Michigan coho

Larry Jennings with some of the bounty from LaSalle Lake. | Provided

Action picked up, especially inland, for smallmouth, largemouth, bluegill and channel catfish, and that leads this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Smallmouth bass on area rivers along with largemouth bass, bluegill, and a building bite on channel catfish inland lead this sprawling raw-fie Midwest Fishing Report.

Larry Jennings messaged the photo at the top and this:

Great day at LaSalle!!Blue, channel cats and the Strippers were on fire

LaSalle was one of the most intensely and successfully fished waters at IDNR sites that reopened on Friday.


During Free Fun Weekend June 6-7, people may fish without a license or trout/salmon stamps (other regulations apply) and no state park admission stickers are required.

Click here for more details.


Word should come this week on when the Forest Preserves of Cook County will reopen the trout lakes. I will post at when the word comes.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed:

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing.

Area lakes-bluegill are on their beds now. Find them, and bass are not far behind. The senko bite is starting to take off. With the weeds getting higher on flats, the frog bite is starting to become productive. Remember the 5 count before setting the hook. It’s easy to forget the first time out.


Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team

Tim “Spike” Davis with bluegill on the fly. Provided photoProvided
Tim “Spike” Davis with bluegill on the fly.

Tim Spike Davis messaged the photo above and this:

Didn’t make it to LaSalle but visited a friend’s pond with one of my wife’s students. Haven’t used a fly rod in years but caught a bunch of fighters on a woolly bugger

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

I didn’t fish all that much this past week, but did have one interesting outing. I was targeting bass after sunset on a local pond. Things started well: I landed a good-sized bass, as well as some unusually large bluegills that were able to eat a popper that I’d have thought far too big for them. There was a hatch going on-it wasn’t close enough for me to say for certain, but I think it was caddis-and there was a lot of activity with fish eating the flies. Then a strong northeast wind kicked up and shut everything down. Everything except the bullfrogs that is. This pond has a lot of bullfrogs and they were and are LOUD this time of year regardless of conditions.



Hours are 6 a.m. to sunset.


The upper Fox River and the Chain are open while the lower river remains closed as of Tuesday afternoon. Updates on water conditions are at or (847) 587-8540.

About the reopening of the Chain, proprietor Greg Dickson at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said, “Time to turn your hat around and let the wind blow through your hair,”

NOTE: The Stratton Lock and Dam, beginning Monday, June 8, will be closed Mondays and Tuesday, then operating Wednesday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to midnight.


The Riverwalk remains closed.

Oscar Santos sent a photo I can’t show about a big carp from shore and this:

Please don’t give up my fish are HITTING HARD on the Chicago River

Jeff Nolan texted the photo below from boating downtown on Sunday.

The Chicago River with its bridges up during the protests over George Floyd’s death. Photo provided by Jeff NolanProvided by Jeff Nolan
The Chicago River with its bridges up during the protests over George Floyd’s death.


Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake 6/1/20 through 6/8/20

The warmer water temperatures have improved fishing greatly. The storm fronts throughout the week did little to negatively affect fishing. The fish are starting to act like they normally do this time of year.

Largemouth bass are spawning in the shallows. Look for them in 1-4 ft. of water, they are guarding their nests and chasing away the pesky bluegills. Last week a lot of really big fish were caught, some of the fish weighed in at close to 6 pounds. The best locations are bays with sand bottom. Look for the spawning fish by Lake Lawn Lodge and the north shore piers by Willow Point. Jigs and night crawlers have been producing most of the fish. The water is very clear which makes sight fishing much easier.

Smallmouth bass have been in 15-24 ft. depth range, on the break lines. I caught several nice fish this week. I was using night crawlers fished either on a lindy rig or a split shot rig. With the clear water, the lighter the weight the more productivity you can have and less problems with the weeds. The fish I caught have not spawned yet.

Bluegill fishing has been all right. Some of the fish are in the shallows preparing to spawn and others are still very deep. When I was fishing on Saturday I found several schools of large bluegills in 30 ft. of water. All the fish that I caught were full of spawn. A good depth finder is a necessity when trying to locate schools of deep pan fish. The best baits continue to be leaf worms or red worms. For the deep fish, I straight lined beneath the boat about a foot off bottom. If the weather stays warm all the fish should be up shallow spawning.

Northern Pike are still available in the shallow bays. White spinner baits and perch colored crank baits are producing fish. Slip-Bobbers fished with suckers are also producing a ton of fish. The best depth to work is 6-12 ft. of water. As the water warms the pike will move further out on the weed line until they reach their summer pattern in 16-25 ft. of water.

Crappies are prevalent all over the lake. Pretty much every spot I’ve tried I’ve found fish. The only problem is that most of the fish I’ve been catching are in the 6-7 inch range so you need to do a lot of sorting to catch a good meal. The crappies have not yet spawned. They are located on the outside of the weed edge in 12-15 ft. of water. The fish are suspending and can be easily caught using small twister tails or cubby jigs. White, yellow and chartreuse have been the best colors.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063


EMIQUON: Basically, go to the launch. General information at

SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed, but may reopen later.


Larry Narro with a DuPage River smallmouth bass. Provided photoProvided
Larry Narro with a DuPage River smallmouth bass.

Larry Narro messaged that he had to get out too on Monday and was into smallmouth:

Me too , dupage is at the perfect level, caught 10 in 2 hrs

On Tuesday, he added with photos to back it up:

Dupage is on Fire


The lower river remains closed as of Tuesday afternoon. Updates are at or (847) 587-8540.

Charles Zheng with a good Fox River smallmouth bass. Provided photoProvided
Charles Zheng with a good Fox River smallmouth bass.

Charles Zheng emailed the photo above and this:

Hey Dale,

Good morning. Just wanted to tell you of a great day on the Fox River in Lake County. Landed 11 Smallmouth, with the biggest around 4 pounds! Took 5 minutes to fight the fish, was only possible with my father’s help in grabbing the fish. Most fish were around 1.5 lbs, almost all fish were near the bank under any cover.


Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 6/1/20 through 6/8/20

With the cooler spring the lake seems to be about two weeks behind schedule as far as fishing goes.

There are a lot of smallmouth bass in the shallow flats making nests and cruising. They are still relatively easy to catch for the sight fishermen. Some of the smallmouth have been almost 5 pounds. The best depth seems to be 9-12 ft. of water. The best locations are by Elgin Club and Cisco beach. The best bait has been jigs or white tube jigs. There are some fish still on the outside breaks in the 16-20 ft. depth range. These fish can be caught on a night crawler fished on either a lindy rig or a split shot rig. Smallmouth fishing should be pretty good for the next few weeks.

Largemouth bass are shallow and are preparing to spawn. Look for them around the boat docks. Most of the fish are cruising looking for their spawning area. The most consistent success has still been in the Abbey Harbor, fishing around the boat docks. Most of the fish have been caught on night crawlers or jerk baits. With the clear water the fish have been quite spooky. Remember to keep a good distance when sight fishing, it will improve your results.

Rock bass are biting literally everywhere. They are being caught mostly on night crawlers and small jigs fished with a twister tail. Any color seems to work just fine. It has been nothing to go out and catch 50-100 of them. The best depth has been 9-12 ft. I’ve been fishing areas close to where the smallmouth typically spawn. Areas such as the Elgin Club, Maytag point and Bigfoot beach are all pretty good.

Some crappies are showing up in the shallows as they prepare to spawn. They are around boat docks in Bigfoot beach bay. The best depth has been 8-10 ft. The best approach is fishing a small shiner on a slip bobber. This fishing should remain consistent for the next few weeks.

The bluegills are starting to show up in pretty good numbers in the shallow bays. The best location was Geneva Bay, fishing in 5-6 ft. of water around the moored boats and by the Riviera Pier. You have to sort through quite a few small ones but could catch a nice meal if you are persistent.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063.


Saturday’s Fox Lake guide Trip netted 65 fish. A mix of bass, pike and walleye. Photo provided by Mike NorrisProvided by Mike Norris
Saturday’s Fox Lake guide Trip netted 65 fish. A mix of bass, pike and walleye.

Guide Mike Norris texted the photos above and emailed this:

Fishing Report 06/01/2020

Mike Norris

Water temperature on Big Green Lake finally reached into the low 60’s but anglers are not seeing major movements of smallmouth bass into shallow water areas. Largemouth bass remained the most sought after gamefish on Big Green as of last weekend. I expect things to change in the next week or so if the predicted warmer weather becomes a reality.

Fox Lake is producing lots of gamefish right now. Largemouth bass are post spawn and catching them can be sporadic, but I am hooking a few good ones in areas where I find new weedgrowth. The northern pike fishing in insane. I had several instances in the last week where my guiding clients and I are hooking into three pike simultaneously. Crappies are a little slow, but bluegills are on beds. Chatterbaits and spinnerbaits remain the best lure choice for bass and pike. Try redworms or wax worms for the bluegills.

Fishing is also good on Little Green Lake. Bluegills are coming into shore to spawn and largemouth bass are cruising the inside weed edges. Crappies are biting out in the open basin.

Phone me at 630-842-8199 to book a guided fishing trip or contact me through my website at


Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay emailed this:

Morning fellas,

Here is a quick update

The reports from out on the big lake are getting better and better as they usually do this time of year. Good numbers of Rainbows and Lakers are getting caught and now some Kings are showing up. As shallow as 60 feet of water out to that 300 foot mark has been the best depth. A mix of flashers and fly combinations along with spoons working well right now.

Bass fishing has been great throughout the area as those fish move through the different stages of the spawn. There are bedded fish, post spawn fish and pre-spawn fish depending which part of the county you are in. Howie’s Shorty tubes, paddle tails, hair and marabou jigs, A-rigs, spy baits along with a good jerk bait bite going on

The Walleye fishing is starting to pick back up again in the area. Chaudoirs Dock, Hendersons Point and Larsens Reef just a few of the more popular spots to try. Trolling with flicker shads and minnows, husky jerks and Bandits along with crawler harnesses and casting with tubes, paddle tails, hair jigs and rippin raps all good options.

Pike fishing is also still going good in our area. Little Sturgeon, Rileys bay along with Sawyer Harbor and Sturgeon Bay all good areas. Casting and trolling large stick baits, spoons, plastics and spinner baits along with dragging around suckers minnows all good options


Lance LaVine

Howie’s Tackle
1309 Green Bay Rd
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
Ph: 920-746-9916


Hours are 6 a.m. to sunset.

A Heidecke Lake crappie. Provided by Jeffrey AyeskiProvided by Jeffrey Ayeski
A Heidecke Lake crappie.

Jeffrey Ayeski messaged the photo above and this:

Took mom to heideke lake yesterday caught this 14 in ch crappie 2 walleye lg mouth and several crappie said this place was far she caught all the fish while i got 1 fish all day Dorothy Ayeski 14 inch crappie

And added:

Like the redneck crappie slab checker? (below)

Redneck crappie measurer. Provided by Jeffrey AyeskiProvided by Jeffrey Ayeski
Redneck crappie measurer.


George Peters emailed this:

Kankakee river coming down from flood last week. Smallmouth close to shore in quiet water. Spinner baits and jigs with trailer getting fish up to 18”. George peters Plainfield

On Tuesday he added this and the photo below:

smallmouth still going 17 and 18”

rock bass starting with water temp nearing 70 degrees nice 12” fish on small jig. G. Peters Plainfield

George Peters with a good rock bass from the Kankakee River. Provided photoProvided
George Peters with a good rock bass from the Kankakee River.


Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.


The Chicago harbors, lakefront and Riverwalk remain closed, though reopening is at least being discussed. Chartering outside of Chicago resumed Friday.

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said that North Point varies, but some OK fishing with some nice coho, the occasional king and deep lakers; try between the hill and 200 feet. Should start seeing a shallower any day.

Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed:

Hi Dale

Fishing in Waukegan had been fair overall with some days very good and other days slow. We have had continued Easterly winds but lots of switching from NE to SE that has mixed up the water. Some days the 50 to 90 foot range was good. But other days the fish have been off there. Deeper waters of 150 or deeper have been slightly more consistent. The deeper waters have still not had great fishing. Catches in both areas have been dominated by coho and lake trout. Reports of nice kings here and there. This weekend it looked like the steelhead were beginning to arrive. These typically come in good numbers late in June. The whole lake has been a bit early this year and the steelhead seem to be following that trend. If this early pattern keeps up, we may see kings coming in shallow early August this year.

Hot lures this week were spoons early in the week, then flys over the weekend. Mid range spoons in green and blue green of Warrior XL Colville Crusher, Warrior Green Menace, Hey Babe and Blue and Green Dolphin on downriggers 40 to 60 down took lakers and coho. The same spoons on leadcore and 100 to 200 foot coppers worked too. Over the weekend more coho came in and dodger fly combos on 2 color leads and slide divers run just far enough from the boat that you lose sight of them in the water were best with Jimmy Fly Green Liz, Blue Liz and Lime Ricky. The lake trout over the weekend started hitting the Jimmy Fly Mo rig Laker Taker rigs, the more traditional laker rigs with bright green patterns the best ones.

After 3.5 weeks with absolutely no West wind, we are supposed to get some this week. This should trigger more coho, steelhead and hopefully kings to come in later this week.

Capt. Scott Wolfe

School Of Fish Charters

Be aware that Waukegan went to an all-ages curfew of 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Monday, June 1. Click here for more details.


Hours are 6 a.m. to sunset. Might have been the hot spot of the reopened IDNR sites.

Mike Joho with a bass from LaSalle Lake. Provided photoProvided
Mike Joho with a bass from LaSalle Lake.

Mike Joho emailed the photo above and this:

Hello Dale, long time reader from Joliet. I was at LaSalle Saturday. I was totally surprised trailer lot was only half full when we left at 2pm. Got in line at 4:30am & was only boater there until about 5:30. Lots of shore fishers. Water was 95 around Veterans Point, 85 almost everywhere else. We got a mixed bag, mostly on crankbaits. Lots of small smallmouth, 1 small striper, a few 2-3# drum, my partner got a nice bluegill( on crankbait) I got a 2# largemouth & had one 4.5# slip out of my hand when I tried to land it. I usually fish the lake early in year & do not like it when water gets too warm. Thanks keep up good work, Mike Joho

He added:

Forgot to mention a few catfish caught, would have kept a couple if water was cooler.

Darryl Turner sent the photo of an 18-pound blue catfish below and emailed about people:

South bank was full I’m on the other side of the lake

He later added:

Finished Saturday off with 15 blues these was the last two ten pounders I caught.

Darryl Turner with one of many big blue catfish on reopening weekend at LaSalle Lake. Provided photoProvided
Darryl Turner with one of many big blue catfish on reopening weekend at LaSalle Lake.


Click here for the update from D&S Bait.


Hours are 6 a.m. to sunset. In my few hours on Monday, I certainly found about everything hitting.


Guide Mike Mladenik of emailed on Thursday:

Smallmouth are crushing Case Magic Stiks on High Falls Flowage. The walleye bite has also been great.

Over on the Menominee River there is a great topwater bite. The summer topwater bite will be awesome.

The warm weather is here and water temps are on the rise. Smallmouth and all species are active. The next several weeks will produce good fishing. I have open dates throughout the summer.


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

Late May cold front put the brakes on the area fishing this past weekend. Temps into the low 30’s with frost warnings can do that. Fishing that was great for many anglers Wed/Thur took a turn by Sat/Sun. Good news is warm weather already coming back.

Bluegill: Very Good-Fair – Gills flocked into shallows, but pulled out with cold. Best on small leeches, worms, Mini-Mites and waxies. Gills moved back out to 4-6’ depth with chill, but expect to find them back in shallows by mid-week.

Smallmouth Bass: Very Good-Fair – Bedding starting on some lakes. Where committed, males guarding nest hitting 3 & 4” Wacky Worms and Ned Rigs as well as muds and large – XL leeches. Others still at staging hitting lipless cranks and X-Raps.

Yellow Perch: Good-Fair – Schools of Perch were being found in relatively shallow water (3-6’) taking thunderbugs, medium leeches and medium fatheads until cold broke up schools and pushed them out. Check shallows again as water warms.

Largemouth Bass: Good-Fair – Slowed with cold. Prior to, fish warming shallows using floating Rapalas, TRD Ticklers and 3” swim baits on light jig heads.

Northern Pike: Good-Fair – Bite best on live chubs or suckers as fish got neutral. Some action on 4” swim baits.

Walleye: Fair – Colder temps slowed weed bite. Leeches best in 8-12’ cabbage over weekend. Prior to, same fish in 3-5’ cabbage.

Crappie: Good-Fair – Spawn over. Anglers were finding some shallow males in places, but gone by weekend. Use minnows when bite tough. Back to swimming small jigs with tails as water warms.

Musky: Fair After such a great opening weekend, time for these fish to rest a little I guess. Not as much action, but still some high 30” to low 40” fish reported on wizards and small twitch baits.

Big, fast storm blew in mid-day (6/1) followed by warmer air. Surface temps that fell 10-12 degrees over weekend should start to get back into the low/mid 70’s from the low 60’s they fell to.

Smallmouth Bass will be going strong this weekend. Remember to let these fighters go – besides season doesn’t open until the 20th!

Thank you,

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
Like us on FaceBook


Lee Sczepanski with a mess of fish while kayaking at Willow Slough. Provided photoProvided
Lee Sczepanski with a mess of fish while kayaking at Willow Slough.

texted the photo above from Willow Slough and this:

Didn’t go farther than the spillway

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said that out of East Chicago there’s some coho and lakers north of The Gong in 60-80 feet with the occasional king; south winds on Tuesday should clean and cool water near shore.

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

Bluegill’s bedding good pine lake Laporte and Willow slough giving em up good crickets and red wigglers best baits must move around for best results

Catfish starting to be caught really good on triple s stinkbait the new name for Sonny’s stinkbait all area rivers and creeks giving em up

A nice mix bag of salmon and trout being had from 65 ft to 100 ft of water straight out of burns ditch fishing east towards Michigan city dodgers and flys and spoons best

People fishing everywhere there is water maybe the beloved pastime of fishing is back in peoples life to stay only time will tell

I think he is right on with that last sentence.

A good day on southern Lake Michigan. Provided by Capt. Rich SleziakProvided by Capt. Rich Sleziak
A good day on southern Lake Michigan.


Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said coho are being caught in 50 and out to 250 feet in the top 35-40 straight out and south; a few kings, too, and lakers on the bottom.


Site hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Lakeside (6 a.m.-7 p.m.) is open with boat rentals (6:30 a.m.-6 p.m.). Pokanoka’s Cafe is open seven days with limited-menu takeout. Camp store is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Staff at Lakeside said walleye and bass are going; crappie are about to be done spawning, some on south end; bluegill are getting ready to bed.


Lake is open on both sides of the state line.

Ed Van Cleave emailed about opening day at William Powers SRA:

Kim & I hit Wolf Lake at 7:30 am and didn’t leave until 12 pm. Nice big gills, red ears & war-mouth yesterday. Most of them were 8 to 10 inches. All on Henry’s crawlers.

Ed V.C.

Latest Category Posts