Midwest Fishing Report
Written by Chicago Sun-Times   
Wednesday, 06 July 2005 13:26
Kankakee derby: Nearly every Kankakee River access had cars and/or tents Friday evening on the opening day of the 22nd annual Kankakee River Valley Fishing Derby. It continues through Sunday. Entry is $20 per family. The interesting leading fish were catfish (13 pounds, 1 ounce), caught by Steve Goldman of Crete; northern pike (7-10), caught by Darrell Benoit of Bourbonnais; and walleye (8-3), caught by Jim Schopf of Momence.

Lakefront perch: Season: In Illinois, yellow perch on Lake Michigan are closed in July for those 16 and older. As an experiment, those 15 and younger can keep up to 10 yellow perch per day in Illinois waters. The season is open in Indiana. Reciprocal waters: Regulations on fishing the reciprocal waters were simplified last year: ''Illinoisans holding both a resident Illinois license and a nonresident Indiana license can fish in the reciprocal area, taking the daily limit for whichever state they choose, but not for both states. The place from which an angler launches a boat does not impact his or her rights under the agreement.'' You must have a nonresident or resident Indiana license to fish the reciprocal waters for perch in July. Report: Mik-Lurch reports the best numbers are outside of Pastrick on minnows and jigs on the bottom. Bigger fish are coming on spinners and soft shells. Bigger perch are being found by Gary Light and Lake Street. A shore angler reported a limit on spinners and crawlers at Pastrick. Action around Cal Harbor is mixed. To take Illinois kids perching during July, Montrose, Navy Pier and Northerly Island are best.

Area lagoons/lakes: Fair: For bass, guide ''Jimmy T.'' Templin had sound advice: ''Get out and fish in the weeds. Get away from where they spray.'' JJ's reports decent largemouth in the last couple of hours at most lakes. Jimmy T. says Independence Grove (small fee for nonresidents of Lake County) has boat rental with better panfish and decent bass.

Chain O'Lakes area: Decent: The Chain remains low, so use caution when boating. Triangle reports good bluegill on shorelines or tree areas and excellent catfish on stink bait and crawlers. Crappie are best on Marie in 8 to 12 feet. Walleye are best morning or evening with leeches or crawlers; try Marie, bridge areas or any current area such as main lake points. Muskies are going all day; use topwaters early and late, jerkbaits during the day. White bass are decent on Bluff and Petite.

Cooling lakes/Strip pits: Fair: The fish kills on Braidwood and LaSalle were minor. Water at both sites remains warm, but it's cooler than last week. Hatchery folks report the LaSalle intake was down to 89 degrees by Monday. Midwest Fishing Report friend Bill Anderson reports water in the 80s on Heidecke with decent catfish action and a smattering of other fish. Both Mazonia units are worth some effort early and late or on cloudy days. LaSalle, Braidwood and both Mazonia units are open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to sunset. Heidecke is open Wednesday to Sunday. It opens at 6 a.m. for boaters and 6:30 a.m. for shore anglers and closes at sunset.

Dells area, Wisconsin: Decent: Mike Sparacio tells MFR that crappie are fairly easy to find near weeds or wood on Lake Redstone. Walleye and bass have moved deeper.

Fox River: Western suburbs: Fair: River came up a couple of inches but remains at summer low. Riverside reports good catfish on stink bait or chicken liver and decent smallmouth, mostly on live bait. Drum are very good on crawlers. A few more white bass at the dams or discharges.

Geneva Lake, Wis.: Decent: Jimmy T. reports decent bass action deep (20 to 25 feet and deeper) on live bait or drop-shotting.

Illinois River: Starved Rock area: Low: Water came up a couple of inches, but it remains low. Guide Buster Culjan reports drum (crawlers) and catfish (shad, jumbo leeches or Sonny's) are the best bite. Try crayfish at night for cats, too. There are some white bass on bladebaits from the mouth of the Vermilion to Senachwine Lake. A few walleye and sauger from shore at the Peru rocks. The extremely low Vermilion has good catfish and smallmouth in holes early and late.

Kankakee River: Fair: For derby info, see top. The rain Monday was not nearly enough to have much effect on water levels, which are reaching critical stages, especially in the creeks, ditches and bayous. Ed Mullady reports catfish is the best bite on chicken liver, cheesebait, soft shells and large minnows. For smallmouth, try weeds, spillways and James and Christine islands in the state park.

Lakefront: Decent: For perch, see the top. Chicago: The harbors are loaded with rock bass; some bigger bluegill, too. There are largemouth throughout the harbors, some smallmouth at the harbor mouths. Henry's reports good browns straight out of Montrose. Capt. Mike Okoniewski reports good kings, coho and steelhead in 33 to 60 feet 40 degrees out of Diversey on spoons such as North Port Nailers and Dreamweavers. Waukegan: Salmon Stop reports some kings, steelhead and a few coho in 40 to 70 feet on white and pearl flies down 30 to 60 feet. Look for the thermal breaks. North Point: As Capt. Bob Poteshman put it, ''This goofy weather is turning them back on.'' A good mixed bag of kings, coho and steelhead straight out in 30 to 70 feet, mostly on spoons such as Stingers or Dreamweavers but also on Dodgers and white or aqua Howie flies.

Madison Lakes, Wis.: Good: D&S Bait reports excellent bigger bluegill, crappie and perch on Waubesa. Some perch on the weed lines on Monona and Mendota (smaller and scattered).

Northern Wisconsin: Decent: There was good weather for the holiday weekend. Consistent weather should make for a good summer pattern on fish this week. Most or all mayflies hatches are over. Bass are more active than walleye. Leeches and crawlers are working best as bait for most species.

Northwest Indiana: Decent: For perch, see the top. Mik-Lurch reports a variety of kings out of Michigan City in 52 feet down 35 feet with Blue Dolphin spoons. There are some steelhead in the same area. The rain Monday should pull some steelhead into the creeks. On Wolf Lake, buzzbaits are the best bet for largemouth.

St. Joseph area, Mich.: Decent: BJ Sports reports good steelhead on the piers the last few days. Otherwise, boaters are working 40 to 90 feet out for limits of good kings, some steelhead and coho on Dodgers and flies or spoons. Perch remain good from Bridgman to New Buffalo, but some all the way north to South Haven. The rain brought a few steelhead up the river Monday, but probably not much farther than Pipestone. Catfish are decent in the river, which is low and warm.

Shabbona Lake: Fair: Lakeside reports some big catfish, including an 18-pounder in the no-motor zone Thursday, on stink bait. Catfish are being caught primarily from shore. Some decent bluegill on the edge or in the weeds. Crappie are in the deep cribs or trees (8 to 10 feet). Scattered big largemouth in the weeds or weed lines; small smallmouth on the dam face. Walleye, perch and muskies are slow. Water is 82 degrees.

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