Big Chinook start toward shore around Chicago fishing to lead this sprawling raw-fie Midwest Fishing Report, but there is also the start of the delayed Kankakee River derby and the opener for hook-and-line sturgeon in Wisconsin.

Early Sunday morning, Capt. A.J. Cwiok emailed the photo above and this:

They have arrived in Waukegan!!

He said the biggest one went 24 pounds.


Traditionally, the first rumors of lakefront Chinook start around Aug. 10 in our area. Obviously, 2020 is not a normal year. But finally, I heard from Cwiok in Waukegan and I heard of a few on the Chicago lakefront over the weekend. However, the Chicago lakefront remains officially closed. The Chicago Park District has not indicated when the lakefront would officially reopen for anglers.


The Northern Illinois Anglers Association will hold its 37th Kankakee River Annual Fishing Derby, beginning Friday, Sept. 4, and running through Sept. 13. Because of the pandemic, it was delayed from its traditional early summer slot. Details are at


Hook-and-line sturgeon season opens Saturday, Sept. 5, below the Dells dam (and other spots across Wisconsin) and runs through Sept. 30. A permit is needed if you plan to keep fish, minimum length is 60 inches. For details, go to


The parking passes for the fisherman’s parking lots are not being sold while the lakefront remains officially closed.


Bullfrog-only season runs through Oct. 15 in Illinois. Daily bag is eight.

A couple key notes from the Illinois DNR:

A sport fishing license is required to harvest bullfrogs. Bullfrogs may be taken by hook and line, gig, pitchfork, spear, bow and arrow, hand, or landing net.

No person shall harvest bullfrogs or any other reptile or amphibian by commercial fishing devices, including, hoop nets, traps or seines or by the use of firearms, air guns or gas guns or during bowfishing tournaments.


Closures are on for the Dresden Island, Marseilles, Starved Rock, Peoria and LaGrange locks on the Illinois River to facilitate major repairs.

Here are the two lead paragraphs from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois – Beginning July 1, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District is temporarily closing the Dresden Island, Marseilles, Starved Rock, Peoria and LaGrange locks on the Illinois Waterway to facilitate needed repairs and maintenance. The closures, which will be conducted simultaneously to limit impacts to navigation, are scheduled to last through late October.

During the closures, no vessels will be able to pass through the closed locks. Navigation on the rest of the river, between the locks, will be able to continue without impact as water levels will be maintained at a normal level throughout the season.

Click here for details on the timing and other details on the closures.


A little more rain would help many ponds and lakes, but otherwise for the weekend, I would suggest working the outside weed lines or weed pockets for bluegill. As to bass, see next.

Ricardo Cantu with a Lockport largemouth bass. Provided photo

Ricardo Cantu with a Lockport largemouth bass.

Ricardo Cantu emailed the photo above late last week and this:

Hey Dale I got this bass just now on a plastic worm and it’s been tough to get a fish, we need rain as these ponds are down a lot, take care be safe.

Rico from Lockport Illinois

Pete Lamar emailed the report below:

HI Dale,

Only one outing on which to report this week. I did not visit any nearby creeks because of the lack of rain and low water levels. I went out in the morning-not as early as I’d have liked though-to a local forest preserve pond. The air temperature never reached 60 degrees and that was a welcome change from the previous week and a half. Fish were much more active with the cooler temperatures. A combination of bluegills and bass; nothing huge, but good numbers. If I keep movement to a minimum, which is a good idea anyway, bullfrogs will come right out of the water towards me. Something worth catching is usually chasing them when that happens.

. . .


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

Hey Dale,

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

Area lakes-the bass bite continues to be the best during evening hours. Work a variety of Texas rigged plastics along the outside weedlines. Shorelines adjacent to deeper water have been holding the active fish.

. . .


Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a late summer largemouth bass. Provided photo

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a late summer largemouth bass.


The cooling lake in the southwest corner of Will County is open daily 6 a.m. to sunset.


Brad Irving at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said more and more white bass are being caught, best on Bluff and Petite; catfish continue good on cutbait and stinkbait; with very low water, there are few reports on walleye.

NOTE: Check updates on water conditions at or (847) 587-8540.

NOTE 2: The Stratton Lock and Dam is closed Mondays and Tuesdays, operating Wednesday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to midnight. It will close for the season on Sept. 14.


Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake 8/31/20 through 9/7/20

With the stable weather fishing remains very consistent on Delavan Lake. You really want to get out early in the a.m. or late afternoon to avoid some of the traffic and the excessive heat.

Walleye fishing has slowed a bit. You are still able to catch a few fish everytime out but the numbers have decreased slightly. I’ve been catching most of my fish on the drop off in 16-24 ft. of water. I’ve been either using nightcrawlers or leeches fished on a lindy rig or a split shot rig. Most of the action is coming off of Assembly Park or by the Yacht Club. Last week the morning produced most of the fish but I was still catching fish here and there in the afternoon.

Largemouth bass fishing has been outstanding this past week. I’m catching most of my fish on the weed line in 15-18 ft. of water. I caught several legal fish last week. They were caught on nightcrawlers fished on a split shot rig. I caught the fish near the Oriental Boathouse and by Assembly Park. A 19 inch fish weight close to 5 pounds was the best one caught this week.

Northern Pike fishing has been awesome. Last week I was catching a lot of fish but the size has been smaller than recent weeks. The best bait remains the suckers fished on a lindy rig. I’ve been lindy-rigging them in 20 ft. of water. I was fishing near the gray condos or by Browns Channel.

Bluegill fishing has been awesome. The fish are either in 20-24 ft of water or 15-17 ft of water. They are located about 6 inches to 1 ft off bottom. The average size has been decreasing weekly. I think the tremendous pressure these fish have been under has reduced the size. The best location has been in front of the Township Park, Lake Lawn Lodge or the Island on the west end of the lake.

Perch fishing has been pretty good. The fish have been biting on hellgrammites or ½ of a nightcrawler. The best depth has been 17-19 ft. The best location has been on the west end of the lake by the Island.

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


HENNEPIN-HOPPER: The final day is Monday, Sept. 7.

Here is the word from The Wetlands Initiative:

Paddling and Fishing at the Dixon Refuge

Hennepin & Hopper Lakes are now open for summer paddling and fishing! The opening was delayed this year because of COVID-19 but you still have plenty of time to enjoy the lakes before the season ends on September 7.

As usual, the lakes are closed on Mondays during the summer season except for Labor Day. For all other paddling and fishing rules, please click here.

And many thanks to everyone who has been following the special health guidelines while using the Refuge trails during the COVID-19 epidemic. We want all our visitors and restoration staff to stay healthy!

POWERTON: Closed through Sept. 15.

Here is the word from the IDNR:

Powerton Lake SFWA to be Closed for Levee Repairs: Powerton Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area near Pekin will be closed Tues., Aug. 18 – Tues., Sept. 15 while maintenance repairs are made on the Powerton Lake levee. Powerton Lake is the cooling lake for the NRG Powerton Generating Station and NRG is coordinating the project.

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

SHELBYVILLE: Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service said crappie are biting, best is long-lining a two-jig rig in 10 to 12 feet at 1 mph; largemouth are active shallow early morning, then go deeper; white bass and catfish are slow, probably partially because of a tremendous shad hatch; lake is about 4 feet above normal summer pool.

REND LAKE: Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing said at Rend catfish are very good, whether drifting or sitting, on Triple S, shrimp or shad; crappie are scattered and in virtually every depth, key is to keep moving around a lot and use minnows.

LAKE OF EGYPT: Johns said bass are schooling, you can get them early on topwaters, then later on such things as


Arden Katz said, even with the cold snap, he’s still finding good smallmouth bass with a few largemouth and a couple walleye fishing in 18-25 feet with drop-shot rigs. He said panfish took work than usual to catch in the bays.

Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 8/31/20 through 9/7/20

Northern Pike are still biting on the thermocline. I’m finding bigger fish 35 ft and deeper. The smaller fish are readily available in the 29-35 ft range. I’m still using lindy rigged suckers on 17 lb. Test line. The best locations for me have been the east side of Williams Bay and down in Fontana. I’m catching several smallmouth on the smaller lindy rigged suckers also when fishing for pike.

Largemouth bass are biting on surface lures. I prefer the chug bugs or the PopR’s. The best depth has been over the shallow weeds in 10-12 ft. of water. Largemouth have also been located on the weedlines in 12-20 ft of water. I’m either drifting a split shot rigged nightcrawler or Carolina rigging. The best baits last week were either a 6 inch zoom green/pumpkin lizard or a green/pumpkin centipede. The best location has been by Knollwood or by Linn Pier.

Smallmouth bass fishing has been improving. I’m catching several fish on live suckers in 30-35 ft of water. The best concentration however is in the 20-25 ft. range. I’ve been using nightcrawlers on a lindy rig with an 1/8 oz walking sinker and a 18 inch leader. The best locations have been off the weedlines by Coleman’s Point, Elgin Club or by the Fontana Beach.

Walleye fishing remains consistent. Like always, they are only being caught at night. Trolling crank baits or crawler harnesses have been producing nearly all the fish. The best depth has been on the weedlines in 15-17 ft of water. Look for the fish near Trinkes or in Geneva Bay.

Crappie fishing has been very spotty. Most of the crappies I’ve caught or heard about being caught have been in the weedline in 12-15 ft. of water. The best location has been by Williams Bay or by Conference Point. The best bait for crappie have been either a cubby jig or a small tube bait, smoke colored works well.

Bluegill fishing remains excellent. The best depth has been 20-25 ft of water. The best bait has been small pieces of nightcrawler or red worms. The best success has come straight lining beneath the boat and slowly drifting. I’ve been fishing them by Elgin Club and by Gage Marine.

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


Larry Shane, from Marquette, Wis., with a 10 1/2-inch Lake Puckaway bluegill.  Photo provided by Mike Norris

Larry Shane, from Marquette, Wis., with a 10 1/2-inch Lake Puckaway bluegill.
Provided by Mike Norris

That’s not just a bluegill, it’s a freak.

Guide Mike Norris texted the photo above and emailed this:

Fishing Report 8/31/2020

Mike Norris

Lake Puckaway – Heavy rain last week increased the current flow in Lake Puckaway and pushed the panfish back out of the river and back into the lake. Nonetheless fishing remains good for bluegills measuring up to 9 inches and perch up to 11 inches. Rig up a jig tipped with a red worm, suspend it 18 inches beneath a float and fish adjacent to weed edges at the west end of the lake where formed by current flowing out of the Fox River. A few big crappies have also been caught utilizing this technique.

Beaver Dam Lake – Shore anglers are starting to see crappies and a few walleyes show up. Most of the action is taking place on the south end of the lake with anglers using bigger minnows or small shiners beneath a float. The WDNR opened the dam located at the south end of the Beaver Dam Lake to reduce water levels in the lake after last week’s heavy rains and shore fishermen are now catching walleyes in the public access area adjacent to Haskell St below the dam.

Fox Lake – With continued hot weather fishing slowed down last week on Fox Lake. But rain and cooler air temperatures arrived late last week and there are signs fishing is picking back up. Flor largemouth bass look for areas tight to the edge of the cattails that remain in the shade. Try casting jig and pig combos up into the shady areas.

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


Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.


The former cooling lake near Morris is open daily 6 a.m. to sunset.


Pete Riedesel (see Fishin Friend Guide Service on Facebook) continues to find a good topwater bite for bass.


DERBY: The Northern Illinois Anglers Association’s 37th Kankakee River Annual Fishing Derby begins Friday, Sept. 4, and runs through Sept. 13. Details are at

Water is extremely low.

George Peters with a Kankakee River smallmouth bass. Provided photo

George Peters with a Kankakee River smallmouth bass.

George Peters emailed the photo above and this:

Kankakee river about as low as record 1988 level. Fish have been hit hard. I hope everyone is being careful on c and r. The big river derby is coming up since it was postponed this spring. Let’s all give the fish a break. G. Peters

Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed:

Hey Dale,

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

. . .

Area lakes-the bass bite continues to be the best during evening hours. Work a variety of Texas rigged plastics along the outside weedlines. Shorelines adjacent to deeper water have been holding the active fish.

Kankakee River-levels are very low and clear. Many areas with no current are choked with grass. Focus on faster moving water with riffles and current breaks will produce good numbers of smallmouth. Jackall cover craws and TRD’s have been the best baits.


Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team


Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.


The Chicago lakefront remains officially closed, but people are doing a lot of things on the lakefront, including fishing by walking or biking in. Fisherman’s parking passes are not being sold while the lakefront remains officially closed.

Even with the official closure, there have been reports of some lakefront kings in Chicago. And readers have sent some good tales of big drum, too.

Surprise of a catfish while trolling on Lake Michigan. Provided by Confusion Charters

Surprise of a catfish while trolling on Lake Michigan.
Provided by Confusion Charters

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters texted the photo above on Friday and this:

7 lb catfish today from Chicago in 160fow

Then, on Monday, he reported good lake trout off Chicago in 100-130 feet in the morning, in the afternoons, as deep as 160-180, they’re biting on about everything and scattered all over the water column; mornings a bit better. Out of North Point, he said it is mainly lakers with a few steelhead, coho and an ocassional king, best 130-200 feet between North Point and Waukegan; also some good lakers outside of Julian’s Reef. “I would not say, `Lock and Load,’ but it is still good fishing,” he said. “Weather has been a little tougher, so small boaters need to pay attention to that.”

Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed:

Hi Dale

The big news this past week was that chinook moved into the harbor. Quite a few were taken in the low light hours. A few were taken during the day, but the evening was better. Glow cranks and glow spoons both took fish. The custom painted glow flicker shads from Lake Michigan Angler and glow Luhr-Jensen Krocodile spoons worked. FIshing was slow for the resident bass and pike, which is typical. When the salmon move in it seems to basically scare the resident fish and they really turn off. To catch them this time of year finesse presentations and live bait worked in the rocks for bass is the best bet.

Trollers continued to take limits of lake trout in 120 to 140. The traditional Mo Rigs (Spin n Glo with a fly) by Jimmy Fly on downriggers near the bottom and larger spoons on copper lines like magnum and standard Warrior spoons produced well. The blues and greens out produced the orange, pink and yellow patterns.

Some boats targeting staging chinook did well but on brown trout and next years coho in 50-70 feet. Not many chinook caught but if boats want to troll and not target lake trout, working that area with J-Plugs and spoons can produce some browns and maybe a staging king. Lines should be checked frequently for tiny coho in that area.

West and Southwest wind in the forecast should keep the kings active in shallow and will hopefully move the 3 year old kings and steelhead that are now mostly in the Northern part of the lake back down to us this week. The great lake trout fishing should continue as well.

Capt. Scott Wolfe

School Of Fish Charters


The cooling lake, south of Seneca, is open daily 6 a.m. to sunset.


Click here for the update from D&S Bait.


Lakes are open daily for fishing 6 a.m. to sunset.


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

Leading up to a late Labor Day weekend, a windy and wet weekend kept participation down on the water this past week. Good fishing was had by those finding the place and times.

Largemouth Bass: Good-Very Good – Look to thicker cabbage flats and wok with jig/creature combos, Wacky Worms or Neko rigs. Swimming a 4” worm or swim bait also working when Bass “in the mood” to chase. Top-water action remains good on the warmer, calmer evenings.

Bluegill: Good-Very Good – Where and when possible (due to wind and rain) nice Gills of 8-9” (with a few honest 10” ers) reported in weedy bays on Mini-mites, small jigs and even small crappie minnows. Best in the lee sides of lakes where sun warmed water a few extra degrees.

Northern Pike: Good – Still best on spinner baits and chatter baits over cabbage beds of 6-10’. Live chubs or suckers on cooler mornings, snake through heavy weeds on weedless jigs and light wire leaders.

Smallmouth Bass: Good – Most relating to coontail edges, though reed edges also pulling off some good action as well. Drop-shotting 3” minnow/worms, as well as Ned rigs. Also action on lipless cranks (Rattle Traps/Rattlin Raps) along same edges. Some rock bites, but not hot.

Musky: Fair-Good – Most action past week in shallower water on bucktails, spinner baits and gliders with “tails”. Should see action pick up as waters start to slowly cool off.

Crappie: Fair-Good – While not being found “bunched up”, some anglers finding fish in thick, narrow leaf cabbage of 8-12’. Slip-floats and small minnows best for neutral fish, but twitching small, tinsel tailed jigs through tops of same weeds fastest way to produce once fish on feed.

Yellow Perch: Fair – Not a lot of reports. Most from anglers finding Perch in heavy cabbage picking off small crayfish, this is where ½ crawlers on orange or brown 1/32 oz jigs shine.

Walleye: Fair – Mixed reports from deep wood, some on rock to #’s of small fish up in weed edges. Crawlers and redtails top choices, a few row trollers reporting fish starting to drop down in water column for those after suspended fish.

Week’s forecast looks good for Friday and Saturday, clouds and light rain should mean good Sunday until evening. Drop in temps for Monday could be start of next stage into early fall, anglers can’t wait!!

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
Like us on FaceBook


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

Hey, Dale. Took me a little longer, but here’s what I have:

~Salmon: fishing remains strong with a few more fish showing up; trollers are finding success in 120-170 FOW just a couple miles south of the harbor. Portage river walk/Burns Ditch doing fairly well.

~Perch: fishing has slowed down a lot with just a few fish being caught

~River fishing for Walleye & small mouth is staying very strong; pier fishing much slower. Leeches & Nightcrawlers working well

~Catfish: strong at Dowling Park, local ponds in Chesterton, Coffe Creek, Lake George, & Wolf Lake on livers & Nightcrawlers

~Bluegills/Sunfish: moderately well in local lakes/ponds on red worms, small lures, & beemoths


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


Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said drum, smallmouth, flatheads and catfish are going in river; on Lake Michigan, it is mainly lakers in 160 feet, some salmon remain out deeper; perch are spotty, try around 40 feet.


Clint Sands at Lakeside said muskies picked up over the weekend, all on bucktails; crappie are going, mainly on minnows down 5-10 feet in the cribs; walleye and hybrids are slow with the shad hatch.

Site hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Lakeside (6 a.m.-7 p.m.) is open with boat rentals (6 a.m.-6 p.m.). Pokanoka’s Cafe is open daily, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; after Labor Day, the cafe will go weekends only. The camp store is open 5-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, noon-8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, and 8 a.m.-noon Sunday.


Click here for the southern Lake Michigan reports from the Wisconsin DNR.


Hook-and-line sturgeon season opens Saturday, Sept. 5, below the Dells dam (and other river spots across Wisconsin) and runs through Sept. 30. A permit is needed if you plan to keep fish, minimum length is 60 inches. For details, go to


Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:

Walleye bite has been fair, jigs tipped with crawlers. Some good perch action in the bayous and river. Gills are starting to show up in the wood along the shore