Northern Illinois Fishing Report - August 23rd, 2013
Lake Michigan: According to fishing reporter Cory Yarmuth, the trout and salmon bite has dropped off a bit with the fish pushing out a bit deeper. The boats are finding the fish in the 80-100 feet of water range in the morning and the fish are pushing out to the 100-120 feet range later in the day. Fish are being caught from Chicago all the way up to the state line.
There have been reports of a lot of kings as well as some decent numbers of steelhead. As of late, small- and medium- size spoons and J-plugs have been the top producers. Baits run on eight to 10 colors of leadcore on a board have been deadly. Fishermen have been finding that speeds of 2.4 to 2.8 mph on the GPS have been best. Spoons that have been hot are Bloody nose, Hey Baby, Monkey Puke, and of course glow colors in the early morning and sunset. The bite is fast and furious at daybreak and sunset, but fish are being caught all day long. Some boats are venturing out to the deeper water in 180 to 200 feet of water and finding quite a few steelhead. The steelies are taking orange crush spoons in the top 35 feet of the water column
Watch the winds, and if we get some west winds for a day or two, the cold water will push in, and on those days, there have been reports of kings and steelhead caught from the piers in Waukegan and Kenosha. Casting spoons and inline spinners have been taking most fish. Also fishing an alewife on a bottom rig has also been known to produce a nice fish or two.
The perch fishing has been on and off from the shore up north. The city is a different story. Casting spinners with softshells or shrimp near the weed beds seems to be the presentation of choice. The fish are spread out right now and most fishermen are catching, but the size is down.
Chain: Bass have moved up into the slop and are very active attacking scum frogs and other weedless baits. Work the pockets in the weed growth with heavy jigs and also don’t hesitate to back off and fish the outside weed edges in the deeper water. The bass will be cruising these weedlines looking for an easy meal. Fish have been reported to be most active in the upper lakes. The boat docks have been holding good fish, but bigger fish have been found in the weeds and around the channels.
The panfish bite is good as usual and the boat docks are offering good structure and shade for the fish. Wax worms on a single hook or on a white shrimp under a slip float have done really well. Work the areas in 7 to 8 feet of water near the weeds. The crappies are suspended over deeper water as well as some of the larger bluegills. Watch your graph on the breaklines and you will find the suspended fish. Minnows or jigs under a float or small crankbaits have put some good limits into the boat. In the evening hours, watch for birds and surface splashing and you will find the white bass. The whites have been schooling the minnows and busting the schools at the surface. Cast inline spinners or small crankbaits into the action, and it will be non-stop fish while the school is around.
The walleye bite has really died down, but fish can still be found in the evening. Catch the fish as they move up from the deeper water into the weedy areas. Twitch baits like x-raps as well as the standard jig and minnow combinations have been catching fish. Concentrate on deep water near current areas. The upper portion of the Fox has been producing walleyes. Troll shadraps on long lines and change up your speeds to trigger a strike.
The muskies are hit or miss, but big fish are out there to be had. The best fishing has been in the early morning hours on black bucktails and twitch baits over the weed beds or on surface baits worked slowly. The bite dies down early so it’s best to get out before sunrise and get in on the early morning action. Some fish have been caught trolling the main basins of the lakes. Smaller baits seem to be producing better than the larger baits
Braidwood: The catfish bite is really hot and heavy. Both shore and boat fishermen have been showing good catches of fish, however the overall size is small. Cut bait as well as stinkbait have done well for the smaller cats, but larger baits are key to the larger cats. The panfish bite is good, but the size of fish is small.
Bass are being found with spinnerbaits and crankbaits near the secondary drop-offs.
Heidecke Lake: The walleye bite is day to day, but the best bite has been trolling shad raps or nightcrawler harnesses. It really hasn’t mattered if you are on the north or south side, both sides are producing nice fish when you can find them. The stripers are also being caught trolling minnow baits or by shore fishermen fishing chicken livers on the bottom.
The bass bite, both large and smallmouth, has been really slow. Fish a Carolina-rigged finesse worm parallel to shore fishing the transition of the rock to mud bottom. The fish are using this structure as a place to ambush prey.
There have been several reports of good muskies being caught on the lake. These fish are really starting to show up in good numbers and smaller twitch baits are the key to catch them. The north side has been producing a bit better than the south, but it is just good to see these fish starting to show up in numbers.