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Midwest Fishing Report: Hoping for better (photo added)

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Today's weather may bring back fishing by the afternoon, but otherwise it has been a tough stretch for fishing in the Midwest Fishing Report.


Although Greg Kaye likes to send reminders that cold-water largemouth can be good:

I caught this nice bass on April 4 at the Bass and Gill Club in Plainfield. Even though the water temp was only 49 degrees, that fish was sitting in just 2 feet of water. She blasted a Rat-L-Trap in chrome-blue. She weighed about 4 and a half pounds. The cold water bite can be SO awesome!

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

There's a couple bright spots, but any way, here it goes.


I hope the warmer weather today (pushing 60) will turn local ponds and lakes back on, especially in shallower back areas on the north sides of the waters. But for the past week, water temperatures have been collapsing back into the mid and lower 40s and fishing has been tough.

Otherwise the big story is the trout opener on Saturday. At least that was a decent day.
Area stocked waters include Axehead, Belleau and Sag Quarry East (Cook), Silver, Deep Quarry and Grove (DuPage), 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).

Those 16 and older need a fishing license and $6.50 inland trout stamp. The daily bag is five.

I touched a few hearts and tempers with my note about why our family doesn't do catchable trout.


For an overview of nearby river conditions, go to this NWS site.

Though conditions are tough, I did individual river reports. With the high water or flooded areas, key is working shoreline eddies and there have been some good reports of scattered walleye and sauger.


For guide Mike Norton's report, go to, then click on fishing, then lake report.


Arden Katz reported bluegill and some crappie in the channels. The key was finding the warmer ones. On Saturday, he tried 10 channels and the ones as warm as the upper 40s produced, while those in the low 40s did not. He was using spikes and a Rat Finkee under a small Thill float.

``If we get three 60-degree days, they should be ass-kicking [in the channels],'' he said. Actually, I'm guessing even by this afternoon action could be picking up.


Decent bluegill and crappie reports from shore pockets, downtown and on the North Side.


LaSALLE: Still a top spot for multiple species, though not as explosive as the first couple weeks. It is open daily now until sunset.

BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Maybe the bass are truly slowly making a comeback. Witness this report of the 65-team tournament in the wild weather on Sunday.

First from Chris Murphy, IVBM vice president:

They carried on through driving winds and rain, hail and sleet. No, we're not referring to mailmen, just another Illinois Valley Bassmasters Braidwood Buddy Bass Tournament.

IVBM would like to congratulate the top three teams at our 2009 15th Annual Braidwood Lake Buddy Bass Tournament.
1st Place Kyle Danhausen and Dany Chhay 3 fish, 9.62lbs; 2nd Place Kevin Rebouche and Donotas Jacklis, 3 fish, 9.52 lbs; 3rd Place Dave Getz and Jim Rura, 3 fish, 9.50lbs. Big Bass went to Justin and Neal Romines at 3.83lbs.

With 30+ mph winds, downpours and hail, extraordinary time, effort and assistance was provided in getting all 65 teams into the water for a safe launch, which blasted off around 7:30 Sunday morning. Again to ensure their safety, participants were given the option to load in at either the South or North ramp after the 3:00pm check-in.

Over 70 fish, tipping the scales beyond 177 lbs were brought to the table. 11 limits of three 15" fish were weighed in. With fish averaging over 2.5 pounds, IVBM is confident that our efforts in helping rehabilitate Braidwood Lake is paying off. The answer is YES! Braidwood Lake is on it's way back.

Then from Richard Newell, IVBM president:

Congratulations to anyone that braved the elements and fished out there. I wish I had a check for all of you ( I Dont ) Braidwood is better but lets not start getting too excited. We still need to do a lot more work out there. We are now catching 15" fish stocked from just over 3 years ago. They do grow much faster in warm water. Work still needs to be done. Help Braidwood Lake by also fishing the "Find a Cure" Tournament on May 30th. The proceeds to that tourney all go to charity. Exelon has been a friend to us at IVBM and also a friend to Braidwood Lake. With continual habitat and stockings from the IDNR we will have our fishery back someday. I ask that you all help take care of it. In case anyone is interested and hasn't seen it, there is an article from the February Bassmaster Magazine about Braidwood Lake and The IVBM. If you are interested email me back and I'll send it to you. See you next year.

HEIDECKE: Fishing was tough for the opener. See here. And it hasn't gotten much better with the water cooling back toward the low 40s.

However, there have been a few nice muskies, including the 27-pound tiger caught and released by Bryan Melant opening morning. It was Fish of the Week, and I think it ranks as the third biggest tiger caught in Illinois.

Launch opens at 6 a.m., shore fishing at 6:30 a.m.


Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle said boaters are doing well in the channels of Delavan for crappie and bluegill. On Geneva, around Covenant Harbor has been good for big bluegill. Apparently, the surveys on Geneva are turning up some nice fish. I will try to track that down.


EMIQUON: The Nature Conservancy project near Lewistown will open on a limited basis to fishing and boating on April 20. The lake fascinates me and I hope to give it a shot. Here is the release with details from TNC.

Emiquon Preserve Opens for Public Fishing and Boating

PEORIA, Ill. --
The Nature Conservancy announced today that boating and fishing will be permitted at the Emiquon Preserve on a limited basis. The wetland restoration project is located near Lewistown, Illinois, and will be open to anglers and boaters with permits between sunrise and sunset beginning April 20, 2009.

The Emiquon Preserve is part of the Conservancy's restoration work throughout the Illinois River watershed. Goals include the conservation of ecological processes and the plant and animal communities in the watershed. Through a cooperative fisheries management agreement, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has stocked Emiquon with 1.7 million fish of 30 different species.

"Boating and fishing opportunities will be offered as a public service and to share some of the many multiple-use benefits provided by restored wetlands," said Jason Beverlin, Director of the Conservancy's Illinois River Program.

Interested parties may request a permit and complete list of rules between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. after April 3 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. Those interested in financially supporting the Conservancy's work are encouraged to become a member of the organization at

SHELBYVILLE: For more, call (217) 774-2020.

EVERGREEN: If there is a fishing report, it is posted here.


It's still time to focus on feeders or shoreline eddies. Witness Todd Carlander reporting a 10-pound catfish.

The no-wake remains in effect from Algonquin to the Stratton lock and dam, according to the Fox Waterway Agency .

Ken Gortowski has one of his cryptic reports posted here


The river is now projected to remain at flood stage into early next week at LaSalle. Ottawa, forecast to drop below flood today, or Morris are probably better destinations for the weekend.


The river is at flood stage on the Indiana side and forecast to remain at flood at Momence through Friday; Wilmington is forecast to stay under flood stage.

Ed Mullady sent this brief note:

The Kankakee is back up to very high conditions and muddy. Catfish are hitting good in both Indiana and Illinois--mostly on minnows or cheesebaits...Size ranging from 3 to 11 pounds.
Some roads flooded as well as areas near river. Best to call ahead to see what the particular part of the river is reachable!


Harborside posts some reports at


For Ohio DNR report go to and or call (888) HOOKFISH.


Weather has limited effort and access. Even powerliners have had a tough time.

CHICAGO: There continues to be perch action in the river around 95th and 92nd. Park Bait reported a couple coho inside at Montrose Tuesday afternoon. Weather has limited powerliners.

WAUKEGAN: Salmon Stop reported a few browns and steelhead. On Thursday, a boater reported some perch in 65-75 feet straight out.

SMELT: The season opened last Wednesday with better results than expected, but that simply means at least a few were netted. See here.

Remember the basic rules: Netting may begin at 7 p.m. Netters must be out of the parking lots by 1 a.m.


For D&S Bait, go to


From guide Kurt Justice of Kurt's Island Sport Shop:

Not much different here. It hasn't been warm enough or even sunny enough to melt the ice. Thickness on the larger lakes remains about 20-24"+. Action can't be described as hot, but with time, anglers making some nice catches.

Crappies: Good. You would think the action should be better, could be the angler pressure or just the weather. Minnows have continued to do well for tip-down anglers, there is a small contingent of anglers heading out after dark catching crappies on tip-downs with minnows. During the tougher day bites, #8 rockers or moon glos tipped with chena, plastic or waxies best.

Perch: Good. Larger fish showing up more frequently, deeper sandgrass flats of 18-25'. Use pimples, Halis to drop wigglers down quickly, but tip-downs with rosie reds, small crappie minnows also working. Fish to 13" reported in deep water, some anglers catching weed related perch in 7-12'.

Bluegills: Good. Small, dark jigs tipped with single red spike or dark plastic best. Warmer times of the day seem to be more active. Punch a lot of holes.

With as much ice as we have, expect good conditions through this weekend. Some shorelines on the north shores have pulled out, but most lakes walkable or save for ATV use. Be careful on small lakes as the ice will go quicker on these.


The lake is chocolate milk. Which is too bad, because guys are anxious to get back at the jumbo perch off Gary Light. Otherwise, Mik-Lurch reported some coho inside at Burns Ditch.


BJ Sports suggested maybe checking back next week when the river settles down.


Lakeside said crappie are hugging the bottom in the cold water, so try the bottom of the cribs instead of the tops. Just a few reports of smaller muskies and some largemouth on ChatterBaits.

For more reports, click here.


River's Edge reported that good walleye action continues, mainly on jig and minnow, Huskie Jerks, etc., and smallmouth are improving. River is OK.


Guide Bill Stoeger said walleye remain steady, but he thought spawning may begin as soon as this weekend. ``It's been a super run so far,'' he said.



Fishing Headquarters



MICHIGAN DNR REPORT,1607,7-153-10364-34956--,00.html






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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on April 8, 2009 6:43 AM.

Make that a pure muskie from Heidecke Fish of the Week (updated) was the previous entry in this blog.

More Melant Muskies is the next entry in this blog.

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