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Midwest Fishing Report

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Status of the Wolf River white bass and weekend events top this week's 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

We begin with the status of white bass on the Wolf.


Fremont guide Bill Stoeger said weekend rains slowed the white bass run. He was catching mainly males on Tuesday and with the cooler water, they were primarily fishing flies on river rigs. When the water warms again (likely by the weekend), the shallows will go again and just about everything will work. Of the females he cleaned Monday, only one was close to spawning, so he figures there's at least two weeks of the run to go, depending on weather and water temperature.


Henry's Sports, Bait & Marine host Hank's Carp Classic on the Chicago River, east of Columbus, from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday. It's free with medals and prizes, and generally some quality fish are caught. And it's one of the neatest fishing settings around. Call (312) 225-8538.


With fish coming shallow, Saturday should be perfect for the crappie open (heaviest individual stringer) from 6 a.m.- 7 p.m.. Go to


John Rinchich just retired but Mike Albertson will keep JJ's going in Bridgeview. Should be a week to trigger many species as the water warms into the 60s. Mik-Lurch reported some better crappie at Powderhorn.


For an overview of nearby river conditions, go to this NWS site. I included all the usual rivers this week. Let's hope none get blown out today.


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


The Chain and upper river reopened to boating on Tuesday; however, the lower river is open but no-wake. Check the latest at the Fox Waterway Agency or (847) 587-8540.

Triangle said most fishermen are focusing shallow with the high water for bluegill and bass, and the walleye are relating to current (especially Route 12 bridge). Northern lakes have been best for crappie. For white bass, try current areas, especially if river opens to boating.

NOTE: holds a tournament out of Baja Benny's from 6 a.m.- 1 p.m. CORRECTION Sunday. Details are here.

McHENRY LOCK: 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.


HEIDECKE: If I had to pick this might be my choice for the weekend. Mike Lynch of sent this:

The walleye bite is starting to pick up, Live bait fished slow has been the best but trolling cranks has produced some nice fish.
Last week all of the fish were caught in 15-20 foot of water, today a couple of fish were caught in the 15-20 range but the best bite was very shallow 3-5 foot Pulling spoonplugs/cranks very fast.
The water is very clear with a bit of bloom and very high, not many boat making it under.

LaSALLE: Henry's still lists this as a top all-around pick.

BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Mazonia lakes are in the low 60s, meaning this might be the weekend to be there. Braidwood is 84 south, 80 north. Primarily catfish and bluegill.


Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle said in 5 feet is producing lots of crappie and bluegill around the yacht club on Delavan and some largemouth are going topwaters. Geneva needs to warm, but the Abbey is still producing largemouth and bluegill.


From Andrew Ragas, Counselor of the Fish Parliament at

River has been okay, but the creeks are going much better right now, which is where I am doing the bulk of my fishing at right now.

On the DesPlaines, water levels are still a little high for safe wading and boating, but shore bound anglers are been having some success with Pike and Crappies. Find slackwater pools with some depth, dunk a few minnows whether it be by float or on jig, and catch some fish. Water temperatures are sitting between 55-60 degrees, and water flow is at 1,000 CFS in Riverside/Lyons. Once it drops down to 600CFS, you can expect to see me and others comfortably wading at any wadeable stretch of river starting next week.

As for the creeks such as the Salt and various smaller DPR tribs, the fishing has been worth the effort. Higher water forced us to dabble the shoreline structure over the weekend but as of now we are finally back in the water, wading. Feeding windows have been all over the place as of late but my crew, consisting of Tim Bixter, and I have been getting into small schools of Crappie (some size - catch & release recommended) and some Largemouth Bass (no size) during the evening hours - starting at 6pm, with later on towards dark being the best. It's been all jig & plastic (twisters/grubs), but some anglers are finding success by fishing and drifting minnows below floats. Fish are staging near current in deeper pools, and are beginning to congregate around timber and wood with some depth and hard bottom.


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.

EVERGREEN: From staffer Brad Wood:

Fishing report this week is almost identical to last weeks. Several reports of Crappie being caught. Still lots of smaller ones being reported, but we have had lots of keeper size being caught also. Largest crappie reported this week was a 16" female full of eggs caught and released in the campground cove. Saugeye are still doing well. There has been several reports of anglers catching there limit on Saugeye. They still seem to be doing well on crawlers. Bass reports are few and far between, but they are being caught. Catfish are starting to bite this week as well. Muskie seem to still be pretty slow. There was one 36" Muskie reported this week caught on a leech from the shore.
Bowfishing - Carp and Quillback are up in the shallows, and are being taken at night.

If updated, it will be posted here.

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Site is open to public fishing on Fridays and Saturdays.

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


River is no wake from Algonquin to McHenry, check latest at Fox Waterway Agency.

Ken Gortowski sent this link-- added this:

Funny how the fish pick and choose the creeks. I hear a few miles inland on Ferson Creek north of St. Charles, there were swarms of carp.

So the guy fished for carp.

Gotta love it.


The river was forecast to drop below flood stage at LaSalle overnight. The state park has its launch open. Riverview Marine reported decent white bass action and launches at Spring Valley and Hennepin open, but Peru is not. Ottawa would be the other good choice.


If water levels don't get goofy, this might be my first wade into the mighty Kankakee.

Ed Mullady sent this:

Fishing has picked up very good on the Kankakee.
In Indiana, the Point, north of English Lake, has been giving up good numbers of bluegill and croppie in the ditches here. The same has been true in ditches around Grand Kankakee Marsh.
Dick "Flip" Phelps, Cedar Lake, IN has been catching all kinds of fish in both Indiana and Illinois portions of the Kankakee.
Mike Lee, of Frank's Bait Shop in Momence weighed in a 36" northern pike weighing 10 lbs. this past weekend. Smallmouth Bass, Rock Bass hitting good this area, as well as catfish.
In Kankakee River State Park area, Diana, at the Trading Post, reports good fishing for smallmouth bass, rock bass, catfish Try around islands, creek mouths.
Wilmington Dam and Island Park good for *smallmouth bass *rock bass, catfish.
River Guide Matt Mullady reports nice catches of bigger smallmouth bass *rock bass and some walleye.
Fishing is getting better if we can keep the water level decent


Rickard's reports limits of walleye around Niagara reef casting and dragging harnesses; trollers are doing well north of Kelleys and between North and Middle Bass on the Canadian line.

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



It's waiting on perch to come to shore, as Mike Repa at Park Bait said, ``They're not here. We're just waiting.'' Otherwise, something has pushed the smallmouth out, the spawn may be off several weeks. Capt. Bill Kelly reported boaters are taking browns and a few coho at Chicago Light and the R-2; and some coho shallow off the Wilmette condos and nice coho in 45 feet east of Wilson.

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 said the coho are here. On Tuesday, boaters were catching them in front of Great Lakes with tinsel flies and 00 Dodgers on the surface. Perch remains strong between 40 and 60 feet south of the harbor. Shore fishing for perch is spotty, browns and steelhead has been a bit better on spawn or small shad.


For D&S Bait, go to


Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports gave this over the phone today: Cold nights have made afternoon fishing far better than mornings and has slowed weed growth. But some lakes like Trout and Fence have had some good walleye hanging around spawning areas, otherwise work the flowages (extremely low). Overall, the walleye are good, but you have to move around. He thinks some of the best post-spawn bite is to come with warmer water and weed growth.

Crappie are good on warmer days, sometimes very shallow to stage to spawn (spawn is still several weeks away), tinsel jigs or mini-mites are good. Pike are active.

If you're planning a trip, he thinks next week and the week after should have the best May fishing.


Smallmouth have slowed, Chicago area is better.Mik-Lurch said perch slowed, but if they are found, limits can be taken. Bluegill are improving at Willow Slough. Salmon and coho moved deeper, but some big coho already.


I think this is the first time, I listed the Rock this spring.

From Jan Prose at TJ's Bait/Tackle & Canoe Rental:

The river has been up most of the spring. Catfish are biting on liver, cheese bait and worms, no reports of any flatheads yet. Some small mouth and walleye on minnow and twister tails. Not much else to report.


BJ Sports reported the weekend blow slowed boat salmon fishing, but they were picking up kings and coho deeper (100-120) on Tuesday. Smallmouth (catch-and-release only) are decent in the river, which is starting to settle down enough for some walleye too.


Shore fishing is on. Lakeside reported several big bass, best 5.72 pounds, and lots of crappie along the shoreline. See above for Saturday's crappie open.

For more reports, click here.


Mik-Lurch reported crappie shallower, walleye being caught on leeches and occasional big pike and muskie.



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 May 12, 2009 11:16 PM.

Blue Fish of the Week was the previous entry in this blog.

42-pound flathead & 15-pound channel: Fish scraps from IHSA bass fishing is the next entry in this blog.

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