With a string of days in the 70s and 80s, it was a fishing weekend of note: big largemouth, a near-record smallmouth from Lake Michigan and a monster muskie from Wolf Lake.
This is the Maple Lake fish caught by Jason Curci:
Here's a pic of a nice largemouth I caught out of Herrick lake on Monday April 27th, and another out of Maple lake on Friday April 24th. The one in the first pic was 21 inches and 4lbs 14oz caught on a chrome/black jerkbait, the other 18.5 inches about 3.6lbs caught on an XCalibur lipless crankbait(red)..
Caught 23 bass at Herrick, all under a foot long then finally nailed the mother. The one at Maple was the only fish caught all day
This weekend may not be quite as perfect. It looks like the rivers may be running high and dirty, and the weather forecast not as good. But for boaters, perch have been good off Waukegan and northwest Indiana, and that should peak over the next week or so.
Wisconsin's traditional opener for fishing looks solid, and leads 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.
Inland fishing season opens Saturday for walleye, sauger and northern pike. The southern zone bass season also opens, while the catch-and-release bass season (artificial lures and barbless hooks) in the north opens Saturday and runs through June 19. Muskie opens Saturday in the southern zone, the northern zone opens May 23.
A fuller report is posted here.
Suggestions for Wisconsin openers are below.
Many area lakes had good action, I suspect as much for the beautiful weather drawing out fishermen as for the fish. For some reason, Maple continues to be the hot lake for the year.
Chris Howe sent this:
The crappie have been hitting hard the past few days, even with the weather near the boat rental at maple lake. By some crazy luck i caught 5 on a #11 rapala in shiner pattern while fishing for bass. There has also been a good minnow bite, on bobbers about 1.5ft down. This is by far the best i have seen maple in years.
White Sox fan
For an overview of nearby river conditions, go to this NWS site.
Despite the high, dirty water, I have included individual reports.
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
With the forecast and the water already high, this is a good time to monitor Fox Waterway Agency. As of Wednesday morning, only the lower river from McHenry to Algonquin was under a no-wake restriction.
With the high water, Triangle suggested looking for fish shallow. Bluegill are decent, crappie are in the channels, better toward evening or morning, small minnows or spikes. Walleye are improving post-spawn, large fatheads or bigger roaches; Marie best in 8 feet. Catfish are picking up on crawlers or stinkbait. Muskie are good on small jerkbaits or bucktails.
PMTT: For the second weekend, there's a major muskie tournament, this time the PMTT based out of the Thirsty Turtle. For public details, go to promusky.com.
McHENRY LOCK: Beginning in May, because of funding issues, the IDNR will have the Stratton lock closed on Mondays and Tuesdays (with the exception of holidays). Hours of operation on Wednesdays and Sundays will be from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The lock will be open from 10 a.m. to midnight on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Holiday hours will be from 10 a.m. to midnight.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
HEIDECKE: Lake is turning on, as the IHSA bass fishing sectional showed Tuesday. The winning team from Grant Park also reported catching 10 keeper-sized walleye and nice hybrids.
``Catfish Dave'' Bradigan sent this photo and report from Sunday:
My buddy Zee was at Heidecke and has been catching some nice fish . Last Saturday everyone was catching fish even young children. Zee caught two walleyes 19 & 18.5 inches lost another three fish and let go 5 walleye between 14 to 16 inches long. All on crawler and from shore. Four decent strippers and four smaller ones. Water is warmer at Heidecke the dams will follow suit in about one week. Here is Zee Drnovsek from the North side of Chicago.
LaSALLE: Winds have been the big story. The IHSA bass fishing was forced to be postponed three times already. And at least one boat sank over the weekend. But if the weather allows, this is still a top pick for multi-species action.
BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Closing time is now 8 p.m. The Mazonia lakes have hit 60 degrees, which means the next couple weeks should be peak. Braidwood also warmed up, 80s south, 70s north.
DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES AREA, WISCONSIN
Guide Dave Duwe said bluegills are prespawn shallow at Delavan. He expects bass to be shallow for the opener and pike around the shallow weed beds (6-8 feet). Geneva remains cool with decent panfish at Abbey harbor and Trinkes, Duwe expects smallmouth to be suspended in 12-15 for the opener.
EMIQUON: Emiquon Preserve near Lewistown is open to fishing. Numbers of bass has been the high point. Interested parties may request a permit and list of rules between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown. There is no fee. No gas powered motors are permitted, and bank fishing is not allowed. For more, call (309) 547-2730.
SHELBYVILLE: For more, call (217) 774-2020. Here's part of the report from the IMTT tournament over the weekend:
Last weekend wind, rain, fluctuating water temperatures and water levels, made the muskie hunters on Lake Shelbyville really have to work for their prized catches. It wasn't just on Lake Shelbyville; most of the state was feeling the effects of the same extreme conditions. Air temperatures reached the 80's and water temperatures varied from the mid to high 50's on the main lake, to mid to high 60's in some of the bays and coves. But the wind was the major issue, ranging from breezy, to gusty, to "Hold on to the equipment!!"...hard, producing waves exceeding 3 feet on some of the wind-blown points Twenty-two teams fished hard for the two-day event, bringing in four muskie Several very nice bass, walleye, and some big crappie were also caught, but only muskie scored points. The winning team of David Eichelberger and Tony Carswell caught two fish (39" & 38-1/8"), Duane Landmeier and Victor Fox captured second with Duane's 43" beauty. Duane's catch also won the Big Fish Award. Third place went to Don Gibbs, and his partner Tom Humrickhouse, with Tom's 34-1/4" fish, caught just before noon on day 2.
EVERGREEN: Here's the fishing report posted here:
Clarity: 6" - 2 Feet
Temps: Mid-Upper 50's
Level:2-3 Inches Over Capacity & Rising
The fishing report is almost identical to last week, with the only change being a few more bass are being caught. Crappies are mostly being caught on the south end of the lake in the coves on plain tube jigs or tipped with a minnow. Most are still small, but we have been getting reports of more keeper sizes. Saugeyes are being caught mostly over at the Pumphouse and the east end of the Big Flats on lead heads tipped with a crawler. The bass are picking up somewhat. Most are shallow near structure with baits worked slowly. The muskie are still pretty slow. We have had reports of a few follows, but that is it.
Bowfishing - Not much to report here. Not much activity in the shallows yet. Still probably a week or two away
POWERTON: Summer hours (6 a.m.-8 p.m.) start Friday.
SPRING: Bass fishing continues excellent when weather allows, according to site super Stan Weimer.
HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Site super Rick Seibert said the lake reopens to the public (public days are Fridays and Saturdays) on Friday. Full memberships are available by calling (815) 481-0778. Special regulations apply: no bank fishing or bellyboating, kayaks, canoes and boats with either electric trolling motors or oars are OK, boats with gas motors are not allowed, worms and wax worms are OK, minnows are prohibited.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
As of Monday, the Fox Waterway Agency lists the river as no-wake between Algonquin and McHenry.
This portion of a note sent from Ken Gortowski pretty sums up:
Continued rain will continue to screw things up. Would like to see the creeks clear up. No interest in fishing the river. You can probably run what you ran last week for the next three weeks.
ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA
River is at flood stage at Morris and Ottawa. It is expected to remain at flood stage at LaSalle into next week. Before that, the white bass were going.
River is high and dirty. Before the big rains, Norm Minas sent this:
Smallies are prespawn. most walleye postspawn although a couple spewing eggs taken last weekend. The catfish are hitting cranks and rattle baits as well as the usual stuff. No great numbers of rock bass but those taken are larger specimens.
Ed Mullady sent this:
Overnight rains have brought river up again and muddy. Could be in better shape by the weekend if rain stops.
*Catfish continue to hit good in both Indiana and Illinois on *minnows *cheesebaits. Eddie Keller weighed n a 6,7 and 10 lb. catfish at Kankakee River Trading Post. Smallmouth Bass have been hitting good in Momence Area and through Kankakee River State Park. Rock Bass hitting in both creek mouths and river shorelines.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
Weather has been the problem. Staff at Rickard's just laughed when I called Tuesday.
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
Weather has been the big limiting factor.
SMELT: Netting ends Thursday for what has been a surprisingly decent year.
CHICAGO: Smallmouth are coming into the shoreline, witness the FOTW caught by Joe Egan and weighed at Henry's . Capt. Bill Kelly reported coho, lakers, browns and a surprising amount of lakers outside of Chicago Light in 30-35 feet.
WAUKEGAN: When weather allows, the perch bite remains good straight out in 55 feet, according to Capt. Bob Jenkins.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
D&S Bait said typically a there's a good walleye bite at night, casting (3-8 feet) or trolling (8-15) off the points. Panfish are spotty, should be better. Water levels are up, but manageable.
For D&S Bait, go to dsbait.com
Guide Kurt Justice sent this:
A few heat spells, storms, a little rain (not enough) and wind has almost all ice from lakes (word from Fence, Tomahawk and Trout not in, but should all be good by opener).
Flowages (Willow, Rainbow) very low, cedar falls ramp still unusable as of last report. Rainbow scarily dry.
Gradual warming trend should be good for spawn, many lakes finishing up before opener.
No definite surface temps (some in mid to high 40's during Friday's pre storm heat) but low to mid 40's should be expected.
Target males still hanging around gravel spawn beds, 1st deep breaks for females and any green weeds on small shallow lakes.
Bait Note: Redtail and black chubs very scarce from bait dealers, leeches, fatheads, suckers good.
When the weather allows, perch have been good off Gary Light in 44-50 feet, said Capt. Chuck Weis. ``They will probably be there through the full-moon phase [May 9],'' he said. His best success has been with orange or red flies.
Mik-Lurch reported when weather allows, there's lots of kings and coho from Michigan City to Hammond in 20-28 feet.
Cedar is turning on for crappie.
ST. JOSEPH AREA, MICHIGAN
BJ Sports reported some coho and browns off the piers, even charter boats were in the river. Walleye season opened Saturday.
Guide Jay Angel sent this:
Water temperatures are in the mid 50's.
Crappies are being caught in the deeper waters of the no water zone. Also look for them over the deeper fish cribs or brush piles.
Use minnows and small bobbers for best results. Look for crappies to move into the shallows in a couple of weeks.
Some real hawg bass have been caught recently. Cast rattle traps in the shallow waters of the bays.
A 30 and a 29 inch long walleye have been caught recently by an angler casting original floating rapalas.
For more reports, click here.
As the FOTW showed, there's been some interesting catches, such as the 48 1/2-inch muskie caught by Alex Porubyanski. Otherwise, Mik-Lurch reported walleye improving and some decent bass action.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT