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Ironic? Midwest Fishing Report

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This finally looks like the best fishing weekend of the year, and it comes on a holiday weekend. Hallelujah.

May many fish like this and other species be caught with and without irony.


I suspect a lot of big largemouth, like this Dan Cahill of the Garfield Ridge neighborhood near Midway caught in the southwest suburbs, will be caught this weekend as fish pull up. Cahill explained:

Caught this beautiful 5lber out of a quarry I like to tap on the southwest side suburbs on Saturday. She hit like a freight train out of the weeds. I started fishing tournaments for the first time this season as a co-angler and my total weight has added up to only .88lbs so far. Haha, damn irony! Fish was released.

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

We open with an update on Wolf River white bass and the hot bite for trollers off North Point.


On Monday, Fremont guide Bill Stoeger said white bass were in and out of the shallows. He was still catching mainly males with flies on river rigs. With water around 57 degrees, he figured by today or Thursday the spawn should really take off. ``Lilacs are blooming, they have to take off,'' he said.


Capt. Bob Poteshman said, ``This is the time.'' For the past week, action has been hot in 100-200 feet from the Wisconsin line to off the nuclear plant for mainly coho with some big kings, steelhead and lakers mixed in. Everything has been working from Yellowbirds on the surface to deeper presentations.


Looking at the forecast, I think it will be a top weekend for shore fishermen, for those picnicking at forest preserve lakes or town lakes. Just about every common species should be relatively shallow. Some lakes and ponds may even see some defining weed growth finally by the holiday.


For an overview of nearby river conditions, go to this NWS site. I included individual river reports because the rivers are finally receding, even the Illinois is projected to be below flood by next week at LaSalle.


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


Triangle reports bluegill are the best bite, up shallow around trees and docks. Fish are good around bridge areas, leeches are top bait as water warms. White bass are good, start in 8 feet with small minnows. Look for crappie toward evening in channel mouths. Pike are good around creek areas. Muskie are fair, look for fish coming off the spawn. Catfish are good, Grass is best.

The lower river is open but no-wake, check the latest at Fox Waterway Agency at Fox Waterway Agency or (847) 587-8540.

McHENRY LOCK: Holiday hours on Monday are 10 a.m.-midnight. Other than holidays, the lock is now closed on Mondays and Tuesdays because of funding issues. 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.


LaSALLE: Still a top choice for multi-species action. ``Bait Shop Bob'' Hennig at Riverview reported big blues and some hybrids.

BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Mazonia lakes would be my pick for the weekend. Ed McCain agreed and said the monster bluegills are coming up shallow.

From a weekend outing at Braidwood, Bill Anderson sent this:

I caught 9 Bass in 3.5 hours this morning but nothing worth bragging about. I got some really nice photos though. Water temp was 74 at the north ramps to 87 at the hot side buoys

The site goes to an 8:30 p.m. close on Sunday.

HEIDECKE: Water level is dropping, so more boats should be able to get under the bridge. Bait fishing is producing best for walleye and hybrids. Could be a top weekend, but I thought that last weekend and struggled in the post-frontal conditions Saturday.


Arden Katz reported good bass in the shallows of Delavan on plastics tight to cover. With water hitting the 60s, he expects this to be the weekend for bluegill taking off.

On Geneva, Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle said largemouth and bluegill are being taken in the Abbey, some smallmouth are good on points on leeches or Chompers skirted jigs. Crappie are in and out at Geneva.

Como is slow.


From Andrew Ragas, Counselor of the Fish Parliament

This past week has been very slow on both the DPR and its creeks. Water levels have finally fallen on the DesPlaines to a respectable level (850CFS over 830) in which some anglers are finally wading. Not many reports of any kind are out there, but water temperatures are between 60-65 degrees and Crappies are on the verge of spawning in the backwaters at any time. The only respectable thing to mention is that Channel Catfish are finally being found and taking live, or cut baits in areas with some current and deeper water nearby.

As for the creeks, the fishing has been very tough since the start of last week. The associates and I have been doing our routine evening wades but with nothing much to show for the efforts. Many people have been shore fishing for Carp on the Salt Creek, and are having some success with them. Fish between 10-15lbs are the common size, and when nothing else is biting, like right now, they are really fun to target. That obviously holds true if you are in pursuit of a strong and tiring fight. If you want to try something new, find larger pools where the fish congregate, throw out some chum (corn, or dough mix), let out a few lines off shore, and get ready - they will come!

As for all other fish, Crappies are in the process of spawning, and Bass are soon to follow. Not many reports coming from either fish because of that, and due to poor fishing conditions; Green moss and algae has exploded all along the creek bottom which in turn is making the fishing and catching for all species difficult. It should clear, however, by next week.

With the receding water levels and lack of inconsistency like at the creeks, the DesPlaines should be much better overall as days go by for most gamefish species.


EMIQUON: Emiquon Preserve near Lewistown is open to fishing. 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.

Guide Jay Angel sent this:

I was on Evergreen [Tuesday]. Crappie fishing was nothing short of fantastic. The crappies were up in the shallow near shore waters. Anywhere there was timber by the shoreline you would find crappies.

Crappies ranged in size from 6 - 11.5 inches long and were biting best on Mini Mites. Use a Mini Mite about 12 inches under a small bobber for best results.

Saugeye anglers were also doing well on the big flats using crawler rigs in 10 - 16 feet of water. Saugeye fishing is fair.

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

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Site is open to public fishing on Fridays and Saturdays. Site super Rick Seibert said bass fishing is pretty good, and the crappie will start pretty quick.

POWERTON: Summer hours are 6 a.m.-8p.m.

REND: Catfish are excellent. With the high discolored water, bass and crappie are fair.


From McHenry to Algonquin is no-wake, check the latest at the Fox Waterway Agency at Fox Waterway Agency or (847) 587-8540.

Ken Gortowski has a creek report posted here and general holiday suggestions posted here.


River is finally projected to drop below flood at LaSalle next week. Until then, Ottawa is probably a better river option.


May this finally be the weekend where I get to play on the Kankakee. It is receding and stabilizing enough that I have hope.

Ed Mullady sent this:

The Kankakee is still high, but if weather forecast of balmy weather occurs, fishing conditions should be much improved by end of this week.
In Indiana, LaSalle F&W Black Oak Bayou produced some good smallmouth bass even with water high. Greenwood Bait, north of English Lake reports some good croppie catches. Most are fishing in ditches leading to the main river.
In Illinois, Catfishing has been good throughout river. Nick at Kankakee River Trading Post at the State Park reported many nice catfish some 3 to 8 lbs. in size were being brought in to be weighed. Cheesebaits, minnows, crawlers are working.
Some good sized rock bass are being caught, and the smallmouth bass should pick up as the river drops.


Harborside said shore fishermen are taking some panfish, but boaters are taking a good mix of big salmon and trout, including 18-8 king and a 10-4 coho in the last week.


When weather allows, Rickard's trollers are doing well between North and Middle Bass on the Canadian line, off Clinton reef off Catawba Island with worms harnesses and dragging harnesses between Green and South Bass.

Perch are being caught east of the airport off Kelleys and southeast of Ballast.

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


CHICAGO: Capt. Bill Kelly said over the weekend the hot bite was off Evanston in 15-25 feet for coho, otherwise there are coho found between Wilson and Carter Harrison cribs and there's browns outside of Chicago Light in 30-35 feet.

Park Bait reported some better perch action Tuesday at Montrose, and coho were being taken on the horseshoe. Smallmouth should be good or improving.

RICHARD J. DALEY MEMORIAL FISHING TOURNAMENT: In May, perch and coho may be entered at Henry's, Park Bait or Vet's.

WAUKEGAN: Salmon Stop reported mainly coho are between from 15-40 feet on the surface on tinsel flies and Dodgers, also more of a mixed bag in 70-120 feet. Perch 40-70 feet, just south of Waukegan. Shore fishermen are taking perch off end of government pier with fatheads on the bottom, coho with spoons and fishing crawlers or spawn for browns.

NORTH POINT: See above.


D&S Bait reported crappie on Monona and Waubesa in the 5-8 feet. Muskies have been active on Waubesa. On Mendota, catfish are good on the north side and smallmouth are good on shoreline points in 12-18 feet.

For D&S Bait, go to


Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports sent this:

Cold mornings, high winds and snow-yes snow on May 16 sort of put the brakes to the nice slow warm up we were having this spring. Most lake surface temps dropped back into the low 50's. Weed development is behind and the hot post spawn walleye bite hasn't happened yet. Crappies are keeping things interesting though.

Crappies: Good to Very good. Cool to cold weather has kept the crappies at a pre spawn stage. Check outside typical spawning areas of 6-8' with scattered vegetation. Gapen fresh water shrimp, pinky jigs and tiny spinners working well on warm afternoons. Cold mornings minnows are best.

Walleye: Fair. Late mornings through dusk best (though 33", 13#9oz monster caught at 2 am by local row troller). With water temps low and weed growth behind, finding any green weeds and slightly warmer temps key to coaxing bite. Minnows best bet, few reports of leech bite. If waters warm to high 50's bite will start.

LMB: Good. Catch and release only. Lots of bass moving into any warm, soft bottomed bays available. Spinnerbaits good choice.

Pike: Fair. Live bait under floats best. Some interest on #3 Mepps.

Bluegill/Perch: Few reports but participation light due to high winds and concentration on crappies.

With forecast of 70's through the weekend water temps should rise enough to bring crappies into spawn, muskies should also come shallow and with higher water temps, minnow and insects should draw walleye in to feed. Should be a big crappie weekend.

MUSKIE: North zone muskie season opens Saturday.

WALLEYE BAGS: On Friday, daily walleye bag limits will increase on 255 lakes in the Wisconsin Ceded Territory to reflect spring spearing harvest by six Wisconsin bands of Chippewa Indians. See extended release here.


Mik-Lurch reported good smallmouth (a 6-2 was caught Monday near Pastrick) on Poor Boys. Perch are recovering from the spawn, it usually takes a week for the bite to come back. Coho and some kings are being caught in 50 feet in the top 35 coho with meat rigs or Dodgers or flies or magnum spoons (Natural Born Killer is hot). There's decent crappie by the dam at Willow Slough.

HOLIDAY NOTE: East Chicago Marina (formerly Pastrick) has plenty of day slips for boaters.


Jan Prose at TJ's Bait/Tackle and Canoe Rentals sent this:

River level is going down, it's warming up, I think it's going to be a good one. Nothing much to report other than catfish is your best bet presently. Liver, cheese bait, worms, shrimp, just about anything is working about the same.


Lakeside said with lake warming from 64 degrees, the weekend should be ideal for shore fishermen. Saturday was good with 4.7 pounds (10-fish stringer) winning the crappie open and a 7.3-pound, 29-inch walleye caught along with several good catfish.

Angle sent this:

I predict that the crappie spawn will be at its peak this weekend. Crappies are in the shallow water, but they will not be there for very much longer. Crappie fishing is fantastic.

I have heard numerous reports of bass in the shallow near shore waters in the last week. I think they are going to begin spawning anytime now. Bass fishing is slow, but will improve dramatically in the next week.

For more reports, click here.


River's Edge reported smallmouth, white bass and crappie picking up. Walleye are fair to decent. River is normal.



Fishing Headquarters



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






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1 Comment

The Chain O Lakes fishing blog and forum is another good resource on what fish are biting where on Fox lake and the surrounding Chain. They just had their second tournament last weekend, last year they had to put up with bad weather with a hurricane blowing up from the Gulf, this year the weather could not have been better.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on May 20, 2009 9:22 AM.

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