If you're not looking to sneak in some fishing today or tomorrow, something's the matter. The weather looks just beautiful to kick in fishing for this 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'll open the walleye open at Shabbona Lake on Saturday.
SHABBONA WALLEYE OPEN
The annual walleye open at Shabbona Lake is 6 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Saturday. I've done this a couple times, it will be interesting to see if the timing is right for a good fish this time. Lakeside will award $100 for heaviest legal walleye, another $100 for a lake record (9.9 pounds) and another $500 for a state record (14). By Saturday, conditions may be conducive to a good walleye. Go to shabbonalake.com/online.html or (815) 824-2581.
Crappie are still the most consistent bite, but bass should take over today and tomorrow with the rapidly warming water. Mac's Bait reported decent crappie in the Chicago lagoons, Tampier, Maple and Saganashkee Slough. Before the weekend cool down comes, today and tomorrow are probably good times to put in an hour or so at your favorite local pond or lake. And I plan to take my own advice, maybe both days. SPRING TROUT: Not sure how many are still catching spring trout, but Click here for the statewide info on spring trout season. Pickerel, Grove and Silver lakes in DuPage County are also stocked.
For an overview of nearby river conditions, go to this NWS site. Individual reports are posted 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
Triangle Sports reported crappie are No. 1, most back channels are loaded. Bluegills are good on ice-fishing jigs tipped with spikes or waxies tight to cover. Catfish are good, try crawlers first, then maybe stinkbait as the water warms over the next couple days. Pike are good, try Johnson spoons, Dardevles, spinner baits or roaches around creek areas. For walleye, focus on bridge areas or on any weeds on the northern most lakes. White and yellow bass are decent, start with spikes or minnows in 10 feet and look for schools. Muskie are fair.
For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/
More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
HEIDECKE: By Tuesday afternoon, the lake had warmed near the magic 60 number. This might be a top choice over the next couple days. Graybeard's (open daily at the launch) reported water reached the upper 50s on Tuesday and walleye started going much better on a jig and minnow. Before then action had been slow, though guide Jay Angel (email@example.com) reported a few hybrids by those trolling shad-bodied lures in 12 feet. Launch opens at 6 a.m., bank fishing at 6:30 a.m. Close is dusk. LaSALLE: Time on the Water Outdoors in Spring Valley reported good catfish and hybrids. Angel reported water 85 degrees in the warm arm to 55 at the ramp with fair bass in pools 1 and 2, and fair hybrids by trolling crankbaits on the shallow flats. LaSalle Lake opens at 6 a.m., and closes at sunset. BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: If I had to guess, Mazonia lakes should be peaking this week. Braidwood is decent for catfish action.
DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES AREA, WISCONSIN
Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle reported more bluegill and crappie on Delavan near Assembly Grounds and in the Lake lawn harbor.
DES PLAINES RIVER
From Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament www.fishing-headquarters.com:
Here is this week's story -
The fishing has been weird all over from the river to its creeks.
Other than water temperature and level fluctuations, I have no other
The key parts are this: April 12, 2010:
After a period of some recent high water, the river is getting back to respectable levels in terms of fishing and wading. The gauge is currently at 4.10 with a flow of 1100. Temperatures are holding steady in the 55 to 60 degree range.
At the moment, the fishing can be summarized as weird along the lines of inconsistent, and as a result, angling pressure has been fairly light all along the river. However, best bets on catching fish are still on Northern Pike with nothing much of anything else. Go figure.
Fish up to the mid-20's are commonly being reported mainly in the southwest suburbs with the best action taking place in mid-afternoons and early evenings. Larger fish being found down south, with smaller fish mostly up north.
Dan Sims reports that most active fish are in close to shoreline cover and are "All over Mepps spinners with #2, #3, and #4 blades." In addition to that, anglers are also having success throwing jerkbaits and drifting shiners beneath floats. Best areas with active fish at this time are deeper pools and shoreline eddies, emerging mid-river weedbeds, and laydowns.
Besides, the river, the creeks at this time are showing the most signs of species diversity. Small Walleyes, decent Largemouth Bass, Carp, and even more Pike. Most fish are being caught around dusk and into early evenings on minnowbaits around current areas with hard bottom.
SHELBYVILLE: Guide Ken Wilson--(217) 454-2672--out of Lithia Marina reported good crappie in 4-6 feet, right on the wood and ready to spawn. Largemouth are starting on shallow crankbaits or white spinner baits. Walleye slowed below the spillway (gates are being slowed to fill the lake). For info from the Corps, call (217) 774-2020. EVERGREEN: Time on the Water reported saugeye starting. Any updated staff report would be posted here. SPRING: Multiple reports of multiple muskies, including a couple good ones, by beginning guide Pete Riedesel (firstname.lastname@example.org) on fun fishing trips. POWERTON: Winter hours remain in effect, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. EMIQUON: Emiquon Preserve near Lewistown is open, haven't heard much. 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.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
Ken Gortowski sent this:
Friday on Windy City Fishing after giving away all my high water spots I signed off with this . . . Watch, the fish will disappear for the weekend.
Based on the responses I've seen on my site, Windy City and Fishing Headquarters, I jinxed the weekend. If any caught much, I don't know about it. . . . I did hit the creeks and on Saturday it wasn't hot and heavy, but catching an 18 inch smallie 9 miles up from the mouth in April doesn't suck. Sunday I started out trying one of my favorite high water spots in Batavia only to get horribly bored with it all in a half hour. Wound up on more creeks. Here's the links, but it's registered users only on my site. I put up semi abbreviated posts on Windy City and Fishing Headquarters. . . .
Kind of hard to tell guys to go do high water fishing when the fish aren't cooperating. Did notice a fair amount of spawning movement with the different carp and suckers. When they get going, the smallies get out of the way and the bite dies till the others are done spawning and gone. At least that's my theory. Been tracking that for 14 years, so I might be slightly right. Or not.
I'll be hitting a creek after work this week. What's that tell you.
That creeks might be the best choice?
ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA
Levels are settling down quickly. Time on the Water reported good sauger in 6-10 feet north of the Peru flats. and some big white bass starting out deep.
River levels coming down nicely. Ed Mullady sent this:
The Kankakee is dropping and clearing in most locations. Creeks are near or at normal level.
Walleye improving in Momence, Kankakee, State Park, Wilmington Dam area on jig and minnow in Illinois.
In Indiana, good at mouths of ditches at the Point and through the river on jig and minnow, jig and crawler,
Croppie good in and at mouths of bayous in both Indiana and Illinois on *pinkie jigs *#1 spinners *minnows
Catfish continue good throughout the river on *minnows*worms*cheesebaits.
From the Wisconsin DNR:
In Kenosha steelhead fishing on the Pike River has been slow. In the harbor anglers are catching a few steelhead and browns on white tube jigs or spawn sacs.
Check the latest at Harborside.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
CHICAGO: Smallmouth action, as reported by Carl Vizzone last week, picked up on various slow presentations from shore downtown. Park Bait reported powerliners are taking coho and an occasional brown at Montrose and Belmont. Henry's reported a few coho and trout around Burnham (John Donlon caught a 27-inch steelhead there last week). Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters reported just a few fish around the gap at Cal harbor. WAUKEGAN/NORTH POINT:
Poteshman reported perch just beginning in 50-70 feet out of Waukegan. For salmon and trout, best has been from Great Lakes south. Few trying out of North Point, Poteshman suggested trolling off the beaches. CHICAGO SMELT: Slow. Nets may go in at 7 p.m. Netters must be out of the parking lots by 1 a.m. CHICAGO'S FISHERMAN'S PARKING: The $10 parking passes for the small fishermen's lots at Burnham and DuSable harbors are available at Henry's.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
For D&S Bait, go to dsbait.com
Island Sports reported fair fishing with the cool water and yo-yoing temperatures.
Capt. Chuck Weis of Ace Charters reported reported smaller perch on Tuesday, but action remained decent though scattered from 46 to 56 feet. Mik-Lurch seconded best perch is off Gary Light. If weather allows, this perch bite will be one of the area's best. Poteshman said coho picked up Tuesday from the Hole-in-the-Wall to the shipping channel with a few steelhead, browns and kings, too.
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
From the Wisconsin DNR:
Root River Fishing Report for April 12, 2010
Water and flow conditions
Water levels have fallen significantly, but still remain a bit high. Clarity is beginning to come back, but it still remains poor. Another day or two of good weather (no rain) and the river should be in great shape for the week.
Fishing above the weir
With the high water fish have been able to pass over the weir dam and have been concentrating up at the Horlick dam. With the higher water many fish have been holding in the eddies and the current seams, but as the water levels drop, fishing in the faster gravel areas should pick up significantly. With the high water larger flies in either black or fluorescent will work. Now is also a good time to fish spawn sacs in the slower deeper pools to catch the fresh fish that are still waiting to spawn.
Fishing below the weir
Again, with the high water fish have been concentrating below the weir in Lincoln park, although there have still been a few fish holding in Island park. Fish the deeper holes with either spawn sacs or with large black or bright flies and be patient, the fish will not move too far with the clarity as poor as it currently is. This coming week could be good as water levels drop and we could see another good batch of fish in to spawn.
Sucker populations are very high throughout the river and now longnose have joined the white suckers.
Click here for updated Wisconsin DNR Root River reports.
ST. JOSEPH AREA, MICHIGAN
BJ Sports reported a few jumbo perch off the pier, otherwise it is browns, suckers and catfish off the piers. Not much to report at Berrien Springs, but skamania should start within the next week or so.
See above for walleye open. Angel reported water hovering in the mid-50s with fair crappie on deeper structure with minnows. Overall action should dramatically improve as the water warms this week. For more reports, click here.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN
Guide Bill Stoeger reported fair action: a few walleye coming back and a few white bass coming up, and some nice perch at Osh Kosh.
Mac's reported soft baits taking bass on the Illinois side. That should only get better with warm-up.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT