Coming off a holiday, I think Raul Garcia Jr. summed up one of the best measures for Chicago fishermen: Was it worth the drive?
He sent this for Fish of the Week. It didn't make it, but it sure made a nice addition to the Midwest Fishing Report as a fine example of the largemouth bass being caught around the Chicago area:
Hey Dale. Caught this 22" Largemouth at Shabbona Lake yesterday. Tough day out there with all the wind and some rain, but did get a few bites on my plastics. Bass weighed in at 5 lbs. even. And caught it on a 7.5" Yum Ribbontail Worm on a 2/0 keeper hook. Took the 70 mile trip back to Chicago as a happy man! Thanks bud.
Asked if he kept it or released it, he e-mailed, ``DEFINATELY RELEASED IT. MAYBE NEXT TIME SOMEONE CATCHES IT IT'LL BE A 7 POUNDER.''
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Garcia's bass, perch coming in, a charity bass tournament and the Daley Derby highlight this week's MFR.
We begin with lakefront perch.
June 1 is the traditional date for perch to arrive on the Chicago shoreline. May be a couple days early. Park Bait reported some limits all over Montrose Tuesday and Mike Repa weighed a 15 1/4-inch perch at 1 pound, 9 ounces in the morning. Henry's reported some perch at 39th and 63rd; Northerly Island, Monroe and DuSable have been spotty, but that will change. Weather will be the complicating factor, but it looks like they are here, finally.
EXELON NUCLEAR'S ``FISHING FOR A CURE''
The eighth annual charity bass tournament benefits autism this year. I will be fishing it with Jim Giglio again this year. Hopefully, we will do better than the last couple years. Paul Dempsey said 70 boats were signed up by Tuesday. Call him at (815) 417-3184. Entries will be accepted Saturday, too. Details are at exeloncorp.com/programs/fishing.
RICHARD J. DALEY MEMORIAL SPORTFISHING DERBY
Through May, perch and coho may be entered. In June, it blows open with carp, catfish, coho, chinook and steelhead being added. Fish may be weighed at Henry's, Park Bait or Vet's.
It was touch and go whether the derby would go this year, so I think it is worth mentioning the sponsors who stepped up: Capt Al's Charter Service, Chicago Sportfishing Association, Henrys Sports, Bait & Marine, Henry Palmisano Memorial Fishing Foundation, Capt Randy's Charter Service and Westrec Marinas.
This is one of the better times to fish local lakes and ponds. Bass are bedding or will be on most waters. Bluegill are pulling up.
For an overview of nearby river conditions, go to this NWS site. I included individual river reports for most rivers.
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
Triangle reports bluegill are excellent. Walleye are the No. 2 bite. Fish leeches or crawlers (in that order) around bridge areas or main lake points, early and late. Muskie are coming off the spawn, should be biting. White bass are fair, Petite is best. Look for fish 8 feet or shallower on wind-blown shorelines. Catfish are fair on stinkbait, crawlers or leeches; as the spawn goes bite will kick in. Crappie are slow, fish main lake points for suspended fish.
For more reports, check Fox Lake Fishing..
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.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
HEIDECKE: Giglio reported an excellent Monday with a Mepps on the center dike, catching five smallmouth, four hybrids and eight walleye.
Guide Mike Lynch e-mailed,
``With the front moving in over the weekend the fishing at Heidecke slowed a bit but fishing was still fair. Live bait fished slow along ledges still being the best presentation.''
LaSALLE: Lynch e-mailed,
``The fishing at lasalle has been very good for big bass and big blue cats. Everything from trolling to bobber fishing produced good catches over the long weekend.''
BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Again, the Mazonia lakes would be one of my top picks for multiple species action. Braidwood has the big tournament on Saturday (above).
DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN
Arden Katz said bass remain shallow, but the best news is the big bluegills moving up. He has been catching them by the piers, keep moving until the right pier is found.
I&M CANAL: ``Bait Shop Bob'' Hennig at Riverview said big bluegills are being taken in the Bureau County section.
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.
EVERGREEN: From Tuesday's staff report:
Water Clarity: 6"-3'
Level: Just over capacity
Temps: Upper 60's Low 70's
Fishing has been great according to the reports flooding into the Visitor Center this past week. Saugeye are really starting to turn on. There have been several reports of keepers being caught on both night crawlers and plastic tube jigs tipped with night crawlers, wax worms, and power-bait. Many of the reports on Saugeye have been from anglers fishing from the banks or at the pumping station. Crappies are also still doing well. Reports of over 100 fish per day being caught are common this week, with a good amount of them being keepers. The fish are still shallow, but seem to be moving away from the shore as the spawn reaches the end. There has been reports of a few Bass being caught in the last week, but no lunkers. If anyone is catching Muskie let me know, because I have heard very few good reports. Catfish have been doing well in the past weeks. Several 7-10 lb fish have been reported. The largest one being a 10 lbs 3 oz. fish that was caught on crawlers. Other big fish to report on in recent weeks are a 13 1/2" Crappie on a tube jig and a 24 1/2" Saugeye caught on a minnow.
Bowfishing-Mike was out last week and reported that they did well, with many fish being shot. Fish are still being found in shallow grassy areas.
If updated, it is posted here.
SHELBYVILLE: For more, call (217) 774-2020.
HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Site is open to public fishing on Fridays and Saturdays.
POWERTON: Summer hours are 6 a.m.-8p.m.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
From Ken Gortowski (in case you haven't figured out, I enjoy reading him):
The writings not as good as I thought it used to be, but I'm having as good as a time as ever.
ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA
Hennig reported some catfish from boat and shore in slack water. River is projected to fall below flood at LaSalle by Sunday. Spring Valley launch is open.
It's starting to tick me off. I have not waded my favorite river yet this year. And this weekend might be iffy at best.
River sage Ed Mullady sent this:
Kankakee River in Indiana: catfish fishing continues good. Some good-sized bullheads
were caught from Miller's at Horseshoe Bend as well as catfish. LaSalle F&W Area giving up good sized bluegill at Black Oak Bayou along with some largemouth bass.
In Illinois: Catfishing good from Lake Alexander Area through Momence Dam on *chicken liver *stinkbaits*minnows. Rock Bass fishing good along most shorelines on *minnows*worms *spinners.
Kankakee River Trading Post next to Kankakee State Park reports many fine catfish being caught throughout the river. Running from 6 to 9 1/2 lb. in size.(Baits:*minnows, worms *stinkbaits. Rock bass good throughout. .
Wilmington Area: Catfish good. Smallmouth Bass good on *crankbaits*live minnows *Mepps #3 Spinners.
From faithful reader Bill Buchhaus:
3K update......... River is about 2 ft higher than 2 weeks ago.... LIMITED shore line access... high current. Last Friday afternoon , smallies still hitting soft plastics in creek runoff eddies....small target areas because of high water. Will take a week with no rain to bring back down to more accessibility.....Most islands completely submerged.
My marker island at Aroma Park did not even have weed tops showing on Sunday.
Check the latest at Harborside.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
CHICAGO: See above for perch. Smallmouth are bedding in the harbors.
For boaters able to get out, Capt. Bill Kelly reported excellent coho on Dodgers and flies from the apartments to Tower Road in 25 feet or in 30-50 feet a mile north and south of the R-2.
NORTH POINT: Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said, ``It is as good as it gets.'' A few fish on the beach and mid-ranges, but most are in 100-200 feet. Some big kings on the hill early, some steelhead and lots of coho (2 pounds to more than 10 pounds). ``As many rods as you can put out, the better,'' Poteshman said.
He said south of Kenosha, Wis. has been good too. The lake is loaded with bait.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
For D&S Bait, go to dsbait.com
MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN/MICHIGAN
Guide Mike Mladenik of BigSmallmouthBass.com sent this
With the 60 degree water temps. smallmouth are very active.
It's the peak May time for northern Wisconsin.
Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports sent this:
A very nice weekend matched up with some equally nice fishing over the Memorial Day Holiday..
Walleye: Good to very good. Some cold, clear mornings meant a change in location and a bite occurring later in the day. Good reports came from anglers jigging medium redtails out in mud flats of 14-20' away from still slow growing weed beds on natural lakes as well as in deeper wood along river channels in the flowages. On Sunday as surface temps rose into mid 60's, leeches became effective for walleyes over the same mud.
Crappies: Good to very good. On some lakes fish hard to find, but many still staging and spawning just beginning while a few small lakes it may be over. Big fish to 15+" this weekend with plenty on the 11-13" range. Jigging tiny jigs over sparse weeds in as little as 2-3' effective. The tinsel on the freshwater shrimp jigs very effective. Small Charlie Brewer slider jigs, mini-mites also hot.
Pike: Good to Very good. Live bait anglers jigging black chubs through sparse green weeds of 6-10' getting a lot of action as well as nice fish to 31". Casting x-raps in same areas also very effective.
Musky: Good. Largest fish reported over the weekend 49 1/2" with another 45 1/2" caught Sunday. Small twitch baits (Cranes, X-raps) and small bucktails worked over shallow weeds best. Lots of fish sighted as spawn finishing up. Smaller males the most active.
Largemouth Bass: Catch and release until June 20, but lots of great action. Twitchbaits, spinner baits over dark (mud) bottomed flats with weed growth best. Bass very active in shallows staging for spawn.
Smallmouth Bass: Good. C & R also. Small males moving into make beds - spawning to take place over next two weeks as lake temps crack into low 60's. Tube jigs, plastic craws, lizards best. Fish coming in shallow to search out spawn sites.
Bluegill: Fair to Good. Action picked up on warmer, calmer days. Worms, waxies always good. Try thunderbugs for bigger gills.
Perch: Poor to Fair. Few reports, most panfish anglers targeting crappies
Mik-Lurch reported perch remain in recovering mode, bite is tough but should take off by the weekend. Smallmouth are around the rocks around the harbors and discharges. Coho and kings are being caught past The Gong in 60-72 feet.
Big bluegill are very good at Willow Slough.
Catfishing should be on the upswing over the next week or so.
As to crappie and bass, guide Jay Angel sent this:
Water temperatures were varying from 69 - 72 degrees.
Crappie fishing was excellent. Crappies are about done spawning but you will still find them in the shallower timber of the no motor zone and the main lake for the next week.
Crappies are also beginning to show up on the deeper structure of the main lake such as fish cribs and brush piles.
Crappies are being caught using minnows and Mini Mites.
Bass fishing is slow because most fish are on their beds. Some bass are being picked up in the bays and a few are being caught on the dam face. Look for bass fishing to pick up any time now.
For more reports, click here.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN:
Fremont guide Bill Stoeger said white bass are slowing, the spawn has peaked. Still plenty of males, probably another good males. Any rock shorelines have been good.
Mik-Lurch reported walleye are good on fatheads or leeches at Wolf Lake.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT