LaSalle Lake--long lines, inane 4 p.m. close, full parking lot and all--remains the hot spot and tops the Midwest Fishing Report.
Jay Angel sent this photo of George with a nice bass from LaSalle along with a report from late last week.
But there's also issues with the hot perch fishing at 92nd and 95th. On the good side, there's a coho derby at Montrose on Saturday and the MWC tournament at Spring Valley on Saturday and Sunday.
This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays. Normally, I post the online MFR by Wednesday morning.
If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at email@example.com.
Once again, let's start with LaSalle.
Remains the top fishing spot for everything from bass to stripers, which is why there are still lines and a full parking lot, even during the week.
I had hopes that the inane 4 p.m. might lift this weekend, but that doesn't appear to be the case. Cross your fingers, come April 1 (next Wednesday), when the lake is scheduled to return to seven days a week, the close time should return to dusk. Until then, the 4 p.m. close remains and it is closed Monday and Tuesday.
Considering the forecast for this weekend and the Illinois reopening, I think maybe some of the fishing pressure may ease on LaSalle.
Angel sent this report from late last week, and from other reports, I think it holds pretty well:
``Water temperatures ranged from 56 degrees in the harbor to 86 in the warm arm.
The good bass bite was on the south dike of pool 3 where water temperatures ranged from 75 to 80 degrees. Large and smallmouth bass where caught there using crankbaits or wacky rigging Yum Dingers.
Hybrid stripers were caught on the north dike of pool 2 using chicken livers. The stripers were 10 feet down in 13 feet of water. Some stripers were caught by trollers.
Both long-time Perch America mover Lloyd DeGrane and C. Eric ``Mac'' Sloan, new owner of Mac's Bait Shop on 75th, report poaching and irresponsible handling of the hot perch bite around 92nd and 95th. The daily bag remains 15, and culling a small perch by throwing it off a high bridge is ethically little different than poaching.
A more complete post is here.
Henry's is holding a coho derby (free and with prizes) at Montrose from 6-11 a.m. Saturday. it's for both rod and reel fishermen or powerliners.
The 23rd Masters Walleye Circuit tournament is at Spring Valley this weekend. Weigh-ins begin around 1 p.m. at Barto Landing Saturday and Sunday. Spectators should park at Hall High School, then ride the free shuttle to Barto. The site for Spring Valley Walleye Club is here.
Many reports of good bass and spotty crappie on retention lakes, farm ponds and public lakes. In fact, I received some that in any other weekend would have been Fish of the Week, a couple I will hold for slower weekends.
DUPAGE NOTE: All fishing at Silver, Deep Quarry and Grove is closed until the opening of trout season on April 4.
TROUT NOTE: Other stocked area waters that will open to spring trout--Axehead, Belleau and Sag Quarry East (Cook), Gebhard Woods pond (Grundy), Bird Park Quarry and Rock Creek (Kankakee), Big Lake at Silver Springs State Park (Kendall), Sand Lake at Illinois Beach SP and Banana (Lake), Lake Atwood and Piscasaw Creek (McHenry) and Lake Milliken (Will)--are closed to trout fishing until April 4.
For an overview of nearby river conditions, go to this NWS site.
River conditions have stabilized enough that I have included individual river reports, including the season's first for the Des Plaines.
BIG GREEN LAKE, WISCONSIN
For guide Mike Norton's report, go to www.biggreenlakefishing.com, then click on fishing, then lake report.
CHAIN O'LAKES AREA
Cool water (low 40s) has kept the bite on the tough side, need a good warm-up to really kick it.
Triangle reports crappie are starting on small fatheads in channel mouths. Walleye, mostly males, are fair, look for fish shallow on wind-blown shorelines. Look shallow for bluegill. White bass are slow.
The Fox Waterway Agency lists a no-wake in the river from Algonquin to the Stratton lock and dam.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
LaSALLE: See top.
BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Site staff report 78 degrees on the cool side, 84 on the hot at Braidwood with Mazonia lakes in the upper 50s. Hours are 6 a.m.-7 p.m.
HEIDECKE: Opens April 1.
DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES AREA, WISCONSIN
On Delavan, guide Dave Duwe reports crappie and bluegill in 3-4 feet on slip bobbers, ice jigs and small minnows or waxies. On Geneva, there's crappie and bluegill in the Abbey harbor. Williams Bay and Fontana should be ice free shortly.
DES PLAINES RIVER
Andrew Ragas of Fishing Headquarters sent his first report of the year:
With the receding floods and warmer air temperatures (finally!), my friends and I have officially begun our 2009 season on the Des Plaines River and its smaller tributaries..
On the Des Plaines, a few anglers have been concentrating their efforts in backwater areas in hopes of catching some spawning Pike. For this, search for marshes and shoreline vegetation - you will need waders to access these fish. Likewise, some have been catching fish from deeper calm-water pools with timber, and away from current. Floats and live-bait along with slow-rolling spinner baits and bucktails, and even smaller swimbaits have been getting some action. Water temperatures are around the 40-degree mark so the best is yet to come in terms of spring feeding activity.
Not much yet on Walleyes and/or Sauger. They should be running any day now in search of hard-bottom areas with current to prepare for the spawn (at least they try, unsuccessfully). Will check this coming weekend during our night-time wades with friends and hopefully we will have something worthwhile to report on for next week.
As for the DPR tributaries such as the Salt Creek, some anglers have been targeting undersize Musky up near Busse Lake but to no avail (why?). Some scattered Walleye reports as well but due to lack of credible sources who fish the northern parts, I cannot confirm this on first-hand basis.
However, elsewhere at the creek over the weekend in DuPage County, my friend Tim Bixter and I found a few 16 to 20-inch Walleyes staging near shallow areas with current and rock. Water temperatures are barely hovering over 40-degrees so S-L-O-W presentation should be followed until at least the first week of April. We have been finding our fish on jigs and minnows, and jig/plastic combos. It's a very light bite so be patient out there. Also, a few Bass and small Pike have been thrown into the mix as incidental catches but nothing noteworthy for us to talk about.
After the next warm-spell, the fishing should really improve for all species
SHELBYVILLE: For more, call (217) 774-2020.
EVERGREEN: If there is a fishing report, it is posted here.
POWERTON: Winter hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
SPRING: The IMTT tournament on Saturday was tough, coming off extensive and successful netting of muskies by the IDNR last week. But Ron Rodak of Oak Forest, who partnered with Bob Jeffries of Palos heights, caught and released the only recordable muskie, this 43.5-inch muskie.
The next IMTT tournament schedule is April 19 on Heidecke.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
The river remains high but fishable. The Fox Waterway Agency lists a no-wake in the river from Algonquin to the Stratton lock and dam.
Ken Gortowski suggests feeders may be better both for clearer and warmer water. An extended report (very extended rumination) is here.
ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA
River remains at flood at LaSalle, and likely will be close through the weekend. But it is fishable and plenty of sauger are being caught, both from a trip I did on Monday with Roy Vivian and from reports by ``Bait Shop Bob'' at Riverview Marine. Remember the MWC tournament is this weekend at Spring Valley.
Another option is fishing at Ottawa, where levels are down and that area is off limits to the MWC.
Hennepin and Barto Landing are open for launching. Site staff hope to open the launch at Starved Rock later this week, maybe even by Thursday.
The Indiana portion remains at flood stage, the Illinois side is high but fishable. Henry's reported walleye in the Rock Creek area. In both states, the creeks and ditches are in much more better shape than the river.
Ed Mullady sent this:
As of right now, the Kankakee is going down. Indiana still flooded some. Shore fishing allowed at Kingsbury F&W Area *LaSalle F&W Area --Black Oak Bayou open for fishing. Time for bass, croppie, bluegill. White Oak Bayou launch open; try for bass, croppie. Water in the river here is high enough that boats cannot get under bridges. I recommend keeping off the river from a safety standpoint until boat fishing goes down considerably. Rainfall will bring it up even higher on the danger list.
In Illinois, some walleye around Momence on *Jig and Minnow*Countdowns*Rattlin' Rogue.
Kankakee Dam through LeVasseur Park fair for small walleye. Catfish and some walleye fair along Kankakee River State Park...Wilmington Area, some walleye around Island Park.
Creeks and ditches in Illinois part of river down to fishable conditions.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
CHICAGO: Hot spot for perch remains in the river at 92nd and 95th, there's some perch at Navy Pier. Henry's reported one surprise is North Side powerliners taking steelhead or browns on minnows, not just crawlers or squid. Park Bait reported some trout at Montrose on Tuesday, some perch at Belmont over the weekend.
WAUKEGAN: Salmon Stop reported fair salmon and trout on a variety of baits on government pier and south rocks, a few perch off the end of government.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
For D&S Bait, go to dsbait.com
Shorelines are starting to give way and driving is iffier with most lakes holding 12-15 inches of ice. Island Sports reports crappie remain good.
Mik-Lurch reported steelhead in the lower section of the Little Cal, perch at Gary Light and good crappie in Wolf's corn channel and at Cedar Lake.
ST. JOSEPH AREA, MICHIGAN
BJ Sports reports steelhead are going at Berrien Springs, for boaters and shore fishermen on Wobble-glows or spawn.
The piers are producing whitefish and the occasional coho and brown. I was there over weekend and action was spotty, but apparently the whitefish picked up early this week.
Typically, a peak time for muskie and early crappie.
For more reports, click here.
River's Edge said lots of slot walleye being caught, and smallmouth are improving. The river is up slightly.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN:
Guide Bill Stoeger said lots of walleye, mostly males, are in the river, being caught drifting and jigging or fishing river rigs. River is largely open, though there was some ice by New London on Tuesday.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT