Lakefront perching, the start of bullfrogging in Illinois and finally hints of summer patterns headline 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
We begin with lakefront perch.
CHICAGO: Shoreline perch are here and not here. We need Gertrude Stein, but Mike Repa at Park Bait will do. ``With these winds, I have no idea,'' he said. ``I don't know what to tell you any more.'' On Monday, the bite was scattered around Montrose; on Tuesday, it was focused on the south rocks and south pier. It had been primarily a minnow bite, but Tuesday soft shells were working more. Steve Palmisano at Henry's said, ``Guys are using a lot of minnows, but guys getting bigger perch are using soft craws.'' To avoid having soft shells stolen by gobies, he suggested, ``Work above gobies with spinners or jigs or with slip bobbers set above the gobies.'' Other spots he suggested were 63rd, 39th and around McCormick. ``We are just waiting for stable weather,'' he said. ``Winds are switching north, east, west, south. Conditions continue to change, confusing the fish and the anglers.'' ``Jumbo Jimmy'' Baczek leads the Richard J. Daley Memorial Fishing Tournament for June with a 1 pound, 9 1/4-ounce perch caught around Burnham.
WAUKEGAN: The bite varies from 40 to 70 feet with fatheads on crappie rigs on the bottom. But, ``you never know where you are going to find them,'' said Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop.
INDIANA: Capt. Chuck Weis of Ace Charters said, ``Expect an explosion of perch here pretty soon, it is usually between the 6th and 10th when it goes.'' For now, he is catching ``no numbers, but quality (12-14 inches)'' perch off Gary in 48-52 feet. Glow beads are best for him. Cal Park has been improving. Mik-Lurch said the other good spot has been the shoals by the point of Inland.
Bullfrog season opens Monday: Here's the details from the IDNR regs:
A sport fishing license is required to take bullfrogs. Bullfrogs may be taken by hand, pole and line fishing methods, pitchfork, landing net, bow and arrow or bow and arrow device, spear or gig. Firearms, air guns, gas guns or commercial fishing devices such as dip nets, hoop nets, traps or seines are not allowed in the taking of bullfrogs. Bullfrogs may be taken from June 15 to August 31 (both days inclusive). The daily limit is 8 bullfrogs with 16 bullfrogs being the possession limit.
Bluegill are shallow on most lakes, bedding already on southern ones. And it is becoming prime time for frogs and other topwaters early and late for bass. Mik-Lurch measured a 15 1/4-inch crappie from Powderhorn.
For an overview of nearby river conditions, go to this NWS site. Individual river reports are below.
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
Influx of current has turned on walleye around current areas, bridges and the river; leeches working best. Catfish are good on crawlers and stinkbait. Triangle suggests for bluegill to focus around the spawning areas; crappie are good, evening and mornings, near the current areas; white bass are good in 12 feet on gold hooks and small minnows or No. 1 Mepps, Marie or Petite are best. Muskie were excellent last week in 8-12 feet; Marie was best.
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.
For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
LaSALLE: Still the spot for big blues and decent hybrids and bass.
BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Forecast for overcast days should make Mazonia lakes, a must-go. I will be gone, otherwise it would be my choice this weekend.
HEIDECKE: Walleye remain good. Concessionaire reported another 10-pounder. Live bait remains best for walleye. Catfish and hybrids are improving; bass are fair. Overcast days could make this a top choice this week. I had a fair morning--walleye, smallmouth, hybrids, sheephead--with my friend Pete Riedesel on Friday, despite high skies. Guide Jay Angel sent this:
Water temps are also in the low 70's. Most boats are getting under the bridge. My boat was about one inch too tall.
Walleye fishing has slowed, but some anglers are still catching them.
Hybrid striper fishing is slow, but we managed to catch a couple of good ones last Saturday. Here is a photo of one of them that we caught. This might sound hoky, but we had a bigger one break the line on a tackle busting run! It was very exciting.
DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN
Arden Katz reported the bluegills (up to 9 1/2 inches) are shallow. He uses Polaroid sunglasses and his trolling motor to locate fish, then casts toward them with ice jigs and spikes. After he catches four or five, he rests the spot, then returns in 20 minutes or so. Eggs are still tight, so the good bite should go for awhile yet. Bass are tough.
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: The latest fishing report is posted here.
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
Catfish time is here. As to primarily smallmouth wading, Ken Gortowski recommends pearl and pumpkinseed/chartreuse twisters and the usual 1/16th ounce jigs. He is also catching creek chubs in the creeks.
The poetry of his last outing may be viewed and read here.
ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA
River is finally down and near normal. ``Finally, a good report,'' said ``Bait Shop Bob'' Hennig at Riverview. White bass and catfish are being caught around rocky areas. Lots of small saugers are being caught by trollers; better ones are tough.
River is in good wadeable shape, barring things getting too heavy today and tonight.
Ed Mullady sent this:
Catfishing continues good on the Kankakee in both Indiana and Illinois. Many are using
*minnows*crawfish*cheesebaits*chicken liver to tie into some good sized catfish. Penny at Greenwood Bait Shop, near English Lake, reports largemouth bass good in the area of the Point on leeches. In Illinois: Walleye fair around Momence, Aroma Park, Kankakee State Park and
Wilmington. Smallmouth Bass good on *crankbaits *Jig & Twister tails *minnows.
A good Father's Day gift is the Kankakee River Atlas of Fishing Maps(1 for Illinois, 1 for Indiana).Available at river oriented stores. For information on ordering, . Phone:815 932 7285 during business hours or e-mail email@example.com.
Check the latest at Harborside.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
For perch, see top.
CHICAGO: Smallmouth are coming off the beds, some better catches again. Capt. Bill Kelly reported coho are best east of Diversey in 45-65 feet on Dodgers and flies. Other pockets included east of the Wilson crib in 65-95 and around the R4 in 50-80. Some browns around the R2. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said, ``If you find a spot where you catch fish, stay there.''
RICHARD J. DALEY MEMORIAL FISHING TOURNAMENT: In June, carp, catfish, coho, chinook and steelhead are eligible. Fish may be weighed at Henry's, Park Bait or Vet's.
WAUKEGAN: Salmon Stop reported coho in 30-40 or 90-120; mostly on Dodgers and tinsel flies, mainly on surface presentations.
NORTH POINT: Poteshman said fishing is ``fantastic.'' Afternoons can be spottier than morning. They are mainly fishing coho in 30-80 feet. Fish are biting a little deeper. The better rods have been those with Leadcore or Dipsys. But he also said, ``You still want your whole kitchen sink out there.'' Though he recommended, ``For the small boaters with six rods, I would go with downriggers and Dipsys.'' He sticks with bigger Dodgers and big Howie flies.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
For D&S Bait, go to dsbait.com
Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports sent this:
Cool weather continues, but a few species are determined to make a go of it.
Smallmouth Bass: Very good. Either in the spawning mode or setting up in the pre-spawn. Smallies are very aggressive. Pre-spawn fish hitting #8 and #10 X-raps with vigor. Spinner baits, #3, #4 Mepps as well as lipless cranks are hot. Spawning fish not responding as well to surface due to cold, but taking plastic lizards, worms and tubes. Please release quickly if you are finding bedding fish.
Bluegills: Very good. Not bedding but staging pre-spawn fish taking small leeches, thunderbugs, small minnows as well as artificials such as mini-mites, tiny tubes, #1 twister tails. Very nice fish reported including good numbers of fish to 9 1/2" on Minocqua chain along 4-6' weeds.
Largemouth Bass: Good to very good. Mostly pre-spawn staging, but a few early bedders committed already. Senko style worms hot up in weeds. Pre-rigged plastic worms and twitching Rattling Rouges also very effective.
Pike: Good to very good. Loving this cold weather. Jigging chubs on wire leaders. Casting spoons, chatterbaits with moderate retrieves. Twitchbaits also cashing in. Good numbers of 24-27"ers reported with fish to 30".
Walleye: Fair to good. Slowed mid-week but improved with lower barometer and cloud cover. Still a strong minnow bite. Redtails or dace, fish 6-10' early/late - deeper weeds or mud mid morning. Leech bite kicking in. A few nice low 20" fish early am on X-raps.
Musky: Fair to good. Some open water fish hitting big plastics, Grandmas up high in water column. Shallow water fish taking bucktails and twitch baits in 2-8' weeds with right low light conditions.
Perch: Fair. Not a lot of reports. Use medium leeches, fatheads or thunderbugs. Concentrate in calmer, warmer bays of weeds in 6-10'.
Crappies: Fair. Best action over for a bit. A few lakes with heavy populations of smaller fish active, but big fish not set up yet. Try casting beetlespins, Charlie Bees to locate active fish in standing curly leaf cabbage of 8-10'.
The constant cool weather has continued to throw a monkey wrench into things, but fish are feeding well enough to make things interesting. Just a prolonged mid-may season.
For perch, see top. Mik-Lurch reported coho and lakers are being taken in 70-120 feet. Smallmouth are pulling off the beds on the lake. Bluegill remain good at Willow Slough.
OREGON: Jan Prose at TJ's Bait/Tackle & Canoe Rental sent this:
Saturday was the Cabela's KingCat Fishing tournament, and it was tough going. There was a cold front Fri. and it really slowed things down. Sunday was a better day after the rain. Seems like there's always something!
I've gotten reports of a 25 pound flathead caught on the west side of the dam. And a 27" walleye caught on the west side on a jig and minnow. Catfish are biting better on worms from the shoreline and dip bait.
ST. JOSEPH AREA, MICHIGAN
BJ Sports has sketchy reports of coho deeper than 120 feet on the big lake; and a few steelhead and browns, and lots of sheephead and catfish off the piers. A few perch north of the piers by boaters. Walleye are rated good in the river. Big bluegill reported in dead waters on the river, such as near the Berrien Spring ladder. Sister lakes are hot for the muskie and pike.
We are around catfishing time. Otherwise, Angel sent this:
Water temperatures have finally hit the low 70's.
Bass fishing is good but this is a strange year. I personally spotted a few bass still on their beds but in the same day also caught some using summer presentations.
I caught a few on what weedlines I could find and caught some more in the East Bay and a few were caught on the dam face. Bass were caught using both soft plastics and crankbaits.
Crappie fishing is still fantastic. They have moved out of the shallow water and are now being caught over the fish cribs and the deeper brush piles. The crappie pictured here was caught last Friday evening using a Mini Mite over a deep brush pile. It was 14 feet down over 17 feet of water.
And he added this late Tuesday:
Had a great night on Shabbona on tuesday, June 8th. While working the weedlines, stumps and dam face with Yum Dingers we caught 4 largemouth bass over 4 pounds including a 19.5 inch long monster. All of these fish were big and fat! What a thrill.
We also caught a couple of nice big smallies, The biggest of which measured 15,5 inches long.
Photos are of Michael McDowell, 18 of Bloomington with the big fish we caught on the 8th. He had a great night and was sent home just giggling.
For more reports, click here.
Mik-Lurch reported good action for walleye, decent for crappie. And there's some good walleye, such as the 10-pounder for Fish of the Week.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT