6/1/2023 Waukegan Harbor Fishing Report

This has been one crazy season so far ya’ll. It’s the end of May going into June and we already have a fall fishery set up. There are a lot of nice kings getting caught and we wouldn’t be surprised if they break the 30lb mark by September. Additionally, the steelhead that normally show up in August are already in the waters too with some 12-14lbr’s getting caught. Coho and lake trout are in the mix as well. We’ve been fishing between 90’ - 150’ of water between the stacks and Great Lakes with the 120’-145’ being the best right now. 

  • Steelhead are coming on 2 - 4 color lead cores with orange and yellow spoons. 
  • Flasher flies are producing kings, coho and lake trout on the wire dipsys w/ magnum divers at 2.0 setting back between 90’ -125’. White flashers with aqua or green flies have been best on dipseys and riggers. 
  • Riggers - we are really moving about the water column depending on where we are marking fish. The UV Bloody Nose, Wonderbread, and Happy Meal between 50’ to 110’ down in the column on riggers and a white flasher/white and pearl fly is working too. 
  • 6 - 10 color lead cores with green RV Flounder Pounder and blue RV Flounder pounder have remained unchanged and are producing multiple species, as well as, the UV Blue Dolphin and PK Special. 
  • 150’ - 300’ coppers with spoons are working. The 300’ copper is popping some jumbo suspended lake trout with a magnum kavorkian spoon. 
  • Now that the alewife spawn is complete, it’s time to downsize to regular spoons. Magnum spoons will pick up more lake trout, especially on the long copper lines. 
  • Speed has been between 2.4 - 2.8 mph 

Basically, if you are in the right water level and have those baits placed correctly in the column your gonna catch fish. Hang on because you just don’t know what’s gonna be on the end of the line. 

If your struggling to catch, play with speed direction because it is critical getting those dialed in. You can read about that in last weeks blog on the website - It looks to be a good weekend upcoming - Fish On!

Tip of the week - Dipsy Divers

As we’ve mentioned in the past if we could only run one dipsy diver it would be the wireline. In the spring just put a 20lb mono leader on it about 80ft long. Change the dipsey size as the season goes along. Also, every dipsey diver comes with a dive chart which is highly recommended to have with you if you are new to fishing dipseys. But we will discuss them all in the following…

The Dipsy Diver is an invaluable asset in completing the V-pattern of the spread and moving lines away from the boat. The Dipsy attaches to the main line followed by a snubber, with the exception of mono main line. From the snubber a fluorocarbon leader of 30lb test 4-5’ in length is all that is required and terminated to a quality ball bearing snap swivel. From the swivel comes the lure of choice, but we most often only run dodger/fly or flasher/fly combos on the dispeys on any kind.

Please don’t forget that the Dipsy diver is directional for port or starboard. Boats without down riggers can effectively run these straight behind the boat in the 0 position on the base plate. However when running down riggers we want to direct the dipsey. Which ever side of the boat the dipsey is running on, take a look at the dipsey from the top side at an angle as it would be running and the lead disk should be toward the bottom or water line. It’s a rookies mistake not to do so. Some folks even use red dipsys for port side and green for starboard. This is actually quite helpful to do so… Trust us!

Mono line dipseys we’ll run a 000 Luhr Jensen which is 3 1/4” round and has a max running depth of 35’. We reserve these for early in the season when we run double dipsys per side for coho. Because we’re running them on medium action rods and the mono has a fair amount of stretch in the line even on short set backs we do not use a snubber. We keep the ring on this dipsy to achieve depth without as much line out. As a rule 1.5 foot of line out = 1 foot of dive depth.

Our second dipsy that we’ll use in the spring and transitioning into later spring is the 001 Luhr Jensen which has a max running depth of 50’. This is why it becomes limited as we move toward later spring and fishing deeper in the water column. We run this size dipsy on braided line to better cut into the water column. Because braid has no stretch and our rods are moderate action, we use the snubber to assist in absorbing the fishes fight and to help it stay hooked up. Without the snubber it’s pretty easy to pull the hook or straighten the barb resulting in a lost fish. Again we keep the ring on this size dipsy too. As rule with this diver size 1.5 foot of line out = 1 foot of dive in the column. We use 2.5 foot of line out to 1 foot of dive once we pass 1/2 it’s max dive distance. 

Running double dipsys per side seems to be unheard of in some boats, but when the bite is on the dipsy, you want two per side… believe us. We only run double dipsys per side when we are not fishing deep. I.e. early season coho fishing. Our braided dipsy runs to the inside on a 1.5 setting and the mono dipsy toward the outside with a 3 setting. 

Once we have the need to fish deeper in the water column as we already do, the wireline dipsy rods come out and we only run one per side. The reason for the single dipsy per side is to avoid tangles in the other lines especially the second dipsey because as we know these fish get ornery. On the wireline we place shrink tubing two beads and then connect the dipsey using a simple loop knot. We then slide the beads over the tag end put a few twists in the tag end and mainline, slide the shrink tubing down of the twisted wire and heat it till it’s secured. This allows for a clean finish and prevents getting stabbed by the wire line. 

Our wireline dipsy rods are specific for their use on medium heavy weight with moderate action. We use 7 strand wire and a 003 Luhr Jensen Dipsy without the ring, otherwise referred to as a mag diver which has a max running depth of 100’. Again we use a snubber directly following the dipsy in arrangement of hardware followed by the leader and snap swivel with a 100lb rating. The swivel size is upgraded for these divers because of the constant stress. We run the mag Dipsy on a 2.0 setting so when we hook up we hopefully stay out of the lead or copper lines running above or beside. Given our trolling speed and line out we use as a rule 2.5 foot of line out = 1 foot of dive in the column. We’ll be maxed out at 250 foot of line out. 

Real quickly lets discuss snubbers. There a variety of kinds, but we’ve experienced failures of the snubbers that appear to rubber tubing with white ends and monofilament line inside of it a.k.a. bungees. They also tend to dry rot after a couple seasons. With that said, we prefer the 12” clear single or twisted snubbers, have not experienced failure, and find they hold up well for multiple seasons. These work great with both braided and wireline. It is important to inspect the snubbers as well as the leaders to be sure there or no nicks of frays in either. If so, don’t be lazy - replace it or retie it!


Welcome to Spendthrift Charters!

Frequently called the "Best Chicago Fishing Charters" in Chicagoland and proudly serving the Chicago and Waukegan, Illinois areas for over 40 years, Captain Jerry Nied has been chartering the finest of fishing trips. Spendthrift Charters is one of the largest fishing charter fishing vessels available on Lake Michigan today. We currently have three 39-ft Tiara ships to satisfy every fishing need, no matter the size of the group. Captain Jerry is a full time U.S. Coast Guard and licensed captain. Fishing charters are available 7 days a week. Call now for the next available Chicago fishing charter departure time!

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