Crappie are no surprise this time of year, even with this weather.
Though we don't see that many like this 15-incher faithful reader Nicholas Sellers caught ``at a local pond.''
But it is a surprising run (relatively speaking) of smelt. That and the Shabbona Walleye Open headline the Midwest Fishing Report.
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.
Let's start with smelt.
A fair run of smelt is one of the surprises of the spring. Last week, some reports were as high as 100 per night at Montrose and Belmont. Those have been the two better spots, but 31st has also had some consistent reports in the dozens. Park Bait said those doing better are reporting that a second run comes through later in the night.
Smelt netting may begin at 7 p.m. Netters must be out of the parking lots by 1 a.m.
SHABBONA WALLEYE OPEN
Lakeside hosts a walleye open on Shabbona Lake from 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Saturday. Top legal fish earns $100. If it beats the lake record of 9.9 pounds, add another $100; and an additional $500 if it bests the state record of 14 pounds.
I've done this a couple times, and it is fun. I can't make it this year, but would love to. The DNR surveyed last week and netted some fish at that lake-record size. So there are some there.
Go to www.shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.
Despite the variable weather, there's been some decent catches of bass and crappie, such as Sellers' catch. ``Mac'' Sloan at Mac's reported Saganashkee Slough has had decent crappie, bluegill and bass when weather allows, and a few walleye at Tampier.
I would think this weekend, action around the area should be much better.
For an overview of nearby river conditions, go to this NWS site.
Waters are generally spring high, but very fishable with some good catches of walleye and sauger. Individual river reports are below.
BIG GREEN LAKE, WISCONSIN
For guide Mike Norton's report, go to
www.nortonsfishingandhuntingadventures.com, then click on fishing, then lake report.
CHAIN O'LAKES AREA
This may finally be the weekend when fishing really takes off.
Arden Katz said the key for bluegill is keep moving around. ``Some channels are loaded, some have none,'' he said. ``If you don't catch a fish in 10 minutes, get out of there.''
Triangle expects the warmer weather should really drive the walleye into the shallows, obviously the fish on the southern lakes are already farther along.
More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.
As first reported in the Sun-Times last year, ``the walleye regulation for the Fox Chain O' Lakes, from the Wisconsin state line to the Algonquin Dam and Nippersink Creek upstream to the Wilmot Rd. Bridge, has been changed. Effective April 1, 2009, anglers are allowed to harvest one additional walleye from 14 inches to 18 inches long. These size walleye are generally males and rarely grow beyond 18 inches long in this system. This change in regulations was inadvertently omitted from the 2009 Illinois Fishing Information booklet. The new regulation should read: 3 fish greater or equal to 14 inches and less than 18 inches and 1 fish greater than 24 inches.''
Todd Carlander sent a cryptic video of slab crappie swimming in a bucket, so as not to give any more details. Crappie are on.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
LaSALLE: Still would be the top pick for multiple species. Ed McCain of Mik-Lurch had an excellent outing Friday catching blue catfish (to 12 pounds) on cut channel cats. Several readers also did well for hybrids. Bass have gotten tougher. Mike Lynch said water temperatures have dropped.
BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Braidwood is 57 degrees on the north end, 63 at the south. Mazonia lakes are in the low 50s.
HEIDECKE: Fishing has been tough with the weather, but there's been some decent muskies and at least one nice hybrid caught by Jeff Derbas on Friday. It was 30 inches and estimated at 10 pounds, said Paul Strand.
DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES AREA, WISCONSIN
Guide Dave Duwe reported a few crappie and bluegill on Delavan. Geneva is still running about 40 degrees.
EMIQUON: On Monday, Emiquon Preserve near Lewistown opens to restricted boat fishing.
Interested parties may request a permit and complete list of rules between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown at 10956 North Dickson Mounds Road. There is no fee for this access to Emiquon.
No gas powered motors are permitted, and bank fishing is not allowed. Persons under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult while on the Preserve.
For more, check with The Nature Conservancy at (309) 547-2730.
EVERGREEN: Mike Steffa said crappie are doing fairly good and a few muskies are being caught.
If there is a fishing report, it is posted here.
SHELBYVILLE: For more, call (217) 774-2020.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
Water levels are dropping some and boating restrictions were lifted, but the main focus remains on feeders, which should warm the fastest this weekend, and shoreline eddies and pockets.
Ken Gortowski has one of his ruminations at http://www.wadauwant.com/wd_journal/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=272&p=725#p725
I still could use a regular hard-core fisherman for weekly reports.
ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA
The river remains high but fishable with smaller sauger being caught and some big white bass starting at the dam, according to ``Bait Shop'' Bob at Riverview Marine.
He said the launches at Starved Rock, Spring Valley, Hennepin and Henry launches are open. And also remember he has applications for the Fox Valley Area Anglers white bass tournament on May. 9.
The river is receding and clearing (God I hope, I do have the itch). This may be the weekend.
Here's Ed Mullady's take:
The Kankakee River is still high, but clearing in some areas.
In Indiana, Catfish continue to hit good on minnows, night crawlers. Some walleye also with best fishing around quieter shorelines. Some fishing in the "Point' Area. Largemouth Bass and croppie better around Black Oak Bayou.
Illinois: Momence area smallmouth bass and croppie being caught on spinners, jigs, minnows. Kankakee River State Park offers some walleye and smallmouth bass. Good time to try around Timothy Island and Bryan Island. Minnows, jigs crankbaits.
Wilmington Island Park good for catfish, some smallmouth bass.
If the rain stays away, river could be more fishable by this week end!
Harborside reported fair mixed action on steelhead and browns with some starting to be taken with spoons and crankbaits.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
It's been a non-stop easterly blow for days on end. That may change by the weekend.
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
CHICAGO: For smelt, see top. The best bite remains perch in the river at 92nd and 95th, but keepers take work and sorting. Otherwise, the blow limited shoreline action.
Park Bait reported some coho with a few browns at Montrose and Belmont. Mac's reported some coho on crawlers at 63rd and a few large browns.
Mac's reported some smallmouth starting in southern harbors, but I suspect that is still a week or so away in most harbors.
WAUKEGAN: The Salmon Stop said before the blow, perch were going straight out in 55-65 feet on Friday. A few fish off the piers off the piers before the blow.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
D&S Bait reported best panfish action in Monona Bay, other action OK around the parks on Mendota. Catfish action should take off shortly. For D&S Bait, go to dsbait.com
This is the weekend to watch it or know what you are doing.
Here's the take of Minocqua guide Kurt Justice at Kurt's Island Sport Shop:
Ice conditions are deteriorating. Smaller and darker lakes are unsafe. There is fishable ice on larger lakes, but be very careful.
Lake Tomahawk, Minocqua, Big Arb have ice thickness of 14-20" as of Sunday night (4/12). Big Arbs south end has a little more than that. A few more days of 50+ degree weather will probably end most lake's access.
Crappies have done best after dark on bright sunny days. Perch and bluegills fair to good but requires work to get decent catch.
The pond behind our shop is about 15% open. Once open entirely Lake Minocqua usually out in 7-10 days.
Please be very careful if you choose to fish, otherwise wait until the opener.
Capt. Bob Poteshman reported one of the best coho runs in a few years, despite the dirty water. He said best has been red or clown Dodgers and nugget flies. Both he and Mik-Lurch said there's been a good bite right outside of East Chicago Marina to the Hole-in-the-Wall when weather allows; otherwise it is in the shipping channel. Mik-Lurch said when weather allows Gary light should return as a top spot.
ST. JOSEPH AREA, MICHIGAN
BJ Sports reported some coho off the beaches with spoons. Lots of suckers and a few steelhead at Berrien Springs, but Niles is probably a better steelhead choice.
REMINDER: As of April 1, three rods are allowed. John Speckine at BJ's suggested one with spawn or crawlers on the bottom, another floating those and one rod for casting the one of the classic spoons.
See top for walleye open on Saturday. For more reports, click here.
River's Edge reports lots of slot walleye, but the spawn is on, and there's decent smallmouth. River is OK.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN:
Guide Bill Stoeger said the walleye have started coming back from the spawning marshes, and action picked in town on Monday. Both drifting with jigs or working river rigs is producing. Stoeger reported good numbers of bigger fish too. That was backed up by a photo for a 27-inch, 8-pound walleye caught by faithful reader Joe Navarro.
Mik-Lurch reported a few walleye. With the better weather, more fishermen should be out for bass and crappie too.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT