Lakefront perch and smallmouth lead this Midwest Fishing Report.
This is the kind of perch that Dieter, Hans and Martin brought in Tuesday morning in 65 feet off Waukegan. The best bite has moved north. Thanks to Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop for the photo.
The other good bite is smallmouth bass on the Chicago lakefront.
That's a rare photo of Ken ``The Lakefront Lip'' Schneider looking somewhat ridiculous in his ear-protecting fly fisherman's hat: He e-mailed:
Here's a few of the Smallmouth Bass I caught fishing from shore in downtown Chicago last week. The largest was just over 18 1/2 inches. With most fish in 17 inch range. The smallest was 14 1/2 inch. It's just getting better and better. (Thank you Goby)
I know the weather doesn't look ideal this weekend, but the fishing might be pretty good, not just on the lakefront but in the rivers and lakes.
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.
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Bass were starting to move up, but the string of cold mornings pushed them deeper again. Crappie remain decent and bluegill are starting. Mac's reported panfish taking crickets and waxies in the Chicago lagoons.
For an overview of nearby river conditions, go to this NWS site. Most individual river reports are made this week.
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
With increased water depth, panfish exploded. Arden Katz reported catching a couple hundred bluegills late last week. Triangle Sports seconded the excellent report on crappie and bluegill in the backwaters and channels, the south bay of Channel has been hot. Walleye have been good, especially around current (river or around bridges). Water is in the mid-50s. Catfish are fair. CHALLUNGE: The 15th Challunge on the Chain is Saturday. Click here for details from the Fox River Valley chapter of Muskies, Inc.
For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/
More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
HEIDECKE: The bite took off last week, but has been spottier since. If stable moderate weather comes, this could be the big-fish hotspot. LaSALLE: Ed McCain of Mik-Lurch reported good catfish and blues. Other fishing, particularly bass, have been tougher. BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Weather knocked back the Mazonia lakes, but it is near prime time. Catfish remain the top bite at Braidwood.
DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES AREA, WISCONSIN
Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle reported spotty but nice crappie on Delavan in 7-8 feet and spotty shallow bluegill; a few lakers on Geneva on the north shore of the Narrows and Rainbow Point near Fontana.
SHELBYVILLE: Guide Ken Wilson--(217) 454-2672--out of Lithia Marina reported good crappie shallow (4-6 feet) on jig and minnows on slip corks and white bass on wind-blown points on crankbaits or spinners with a few walleye mixed in. Below the spillway is slow. For info from the Corps, call (217) 774-2020. EVERGREEN: Guide Jay Angel reported crappie are good on shallow wood. Staffer Brad Wood said crappie are taking about anything with some saugeye action, bass starting and muskie slow. The boat rental is open Friday through Sunday. Updated fishing reports are posted here. SPRING: Guide Pete Riedesel (firstname.lastname@example.org) reported decent muskie action over the weekend, but the weeds are coming up quickly and the bite will be tougher. POWERTON: Winter hours--8 a.m.-4 p.m.--are in effect through April. 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.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
Ken Gortowski sent this late Tuesday:
Fished a quarter mile long stretch of the Fox on the east side of Orchard Road. River is in perfect wading condition. Picked up two smallies at the very beginning and two more at the very end. I'll take it for an hour and a half on the way home from work. Looks to me like you can fish anywhere, river or creeks, till the rains come.
The bug hatch was absolutely amazing. Looked like a fog lifting off the river, but it was just bugs for as far as you can see. Because of this the carp were already in the slack areas with their big pig lips sucking away at the surface. Any fly guys ever wanting to try to sight fish for carp with caddis imitations, the next few days is the time to try.
Looks like a fair amount of rain heading this way starting Friday, of course. Next few days is a good time to go try for just about anything.
Earlier, he e-mailed,
Sounds to me for the next few days you can pick a spot on the river or a creek and go fish it. Something will probably be there.
ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA
Cajun's reported white bass being caught around Plum Island, around the mouth of Vermilion and off the cornfield flats; just a few catfish. Angel reported some white bass up the Vermilion on bright blade baits. Cajun's reported some sauger and walleye around Plum Island while Time on the Water Outdoors reported a better bite around the Peru flats.
Lilacs are blooming along the river valley, a sign smallmouth are going.
Ed Mullady sent this:
The Kankakee is at normal level, clearing nicely.
In Indiana, some smallmouth and largemouth bass caught at Kankakee F&W Area *Point, north of English Lake and LaSalle F& W Area. Good on plastic worms *spinners*minnows.
Walleye good at Point north of English Lake . on jig and minnow. Also pike up to 32" in size here.
Illinois: Momence area good for walleye on *jig and minnow*spoon & pork rind*jointed plugs.
Kankakee River State Park some walleye, croppie good in shore line areas.
Wilmington Dam thru DesPlaines Conservation Area *walleye fair to good.
Catfishing continues good throughout river on *cheesebaits *minnows*crawlers.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
CHICAGO: Park Bait reported coho and browns on the Montrose horseshoe and, on Tuesday, good perch came up on the Montrose shoreline, including a jumbo topping 1 1/2 pounds. Otherwise, the hot bite have been smallmouth (see photo above). Mac's reported one smallmouth on the South Side ``bigger than a kitchen sink.'' (Photos to come we hope.) Henry's reported spotty salmon and trout from shore. Both Mik-Lurch and Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said coho are packed off Cal Park, with some browns, kings and steelhead mixed in; he also reported boaters taking some around Chicago Light. WAUKEGAN/NORTH POINT: Salmon Stop reported outstanding perch on Tuesday, including one weighing 2 pounds, in 65 feet with fatheads off the bottom. See the opening photo. Poteshman said perch are best off the nuke plant; and salmon, mainly coho, are good and scattered from the beach to 20-30 feet from Waukegan to North Point; best on dodgers and flies. CHICAGO SMELT: Slow. Nets may go in at 7 p.m. Netters must be out of the park 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, click here.
Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports sent this:
High winds kept most anglers at bay (get it?) till Sunday when things calmed down enough to get out. Most attention is on crappies, which seem to be holding in 5-8' weeds and taking small jigs or minnows. Water temps running about 48-52 degrees.
Those high North winds kept surface temps from rising much this past week. The cool nights (30's) are also holding lake temps down.
We need rain. Many lakes are low.
Bait shouldn't be hard to get as redtails are running early, so should be in good supply come opener.
Capt. Chuck Weis of Ace Charters said the perch bite slowed on Tuesday. ``You have to watch your graph and fish fish,'' he said. ``There are no big pods of fish.'' Drifting has been a must. He is working in 46-56 feet. Mik-Lurch said off Gary Light remains best. Both Mik-Lurch and Poteshman reported coho are packed off Cal park, with some browns and kings mixed in. Shoreline smallmouth action is going. Mik-Lurch reported some coho off the Hole-in-the-Wall. Willow Slough is producing bluegill and crappie.
OREGON: Jan Prose at TJ's Bait/Tackle & Canoe Rental sent this:
Small mouth are picking up. They've been catching them on a paddle tail in blue or chartreuse and a minnow. Catfish are coming in on worms and dip bait. Several good sized ones caught along the shore line. River is coming down steadily, pretty good conditions at this time. More rain to come....
ST. JOSEPH AREA, MICHIGAN
BJ Sports reported slow fishing in the river and the big lake.
Angel sent this:
Water temps are in the high 50's.
A 19.5 inch long walleye was caught this Saturday by an angler using a Lindy Rig tipped with a nitecrawler.
A 21 inch long largemouth bass was caught in the shallow waters of the northeast bay by an angler casting a rattle trap.
Crappies are being picked up using slip bobbers and minnows over the campground cribs and standing timber in the entrance of the no motor zone. Crappie fishing is fair.
For more reports, click here.
SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT
In Kenosha trollers have started catching coho. Look for coho to start moving further north as the spring progresses. In the Kenosha harbor steelhead and brown trout fishing has been slow, but anglers have been catching a few crappies on small fatheads near the boat launch. Steelhead fishing on the Pike River has been slow.
Root River: Water levels are still slowly dropping and are now are just about at "normal" levels. Clarity has improved greatly in the past few days and sight fishing is now again possible. The weir is now closed and fish have an open passage upstream. As a result, no area has been proving best. Steelhead fishing is starting to slow down noticeably as most fish have completed spawning, but there are still a few finishing up. Most of the steel left have been actively spawning on gravel beds with good current flow. There have been a few fish as well holding in the deeper pools, most of these fish have completed spawning and are recovering in the river before moving back to the lake. Flies have been best when fishing for spawning fish. Small natural flies as well as egg imitators have been working best. For the fish holding in the deeper areas, spinners and drifted spawn have been producing a few fish...Sucker numbers are also beginning to drop slowly. Fish were processed at the Root River Steelhead Facility on Wednesday, April 14, and the facility has been shut down. An additional 32 steelhead were passed upstream, for a total of 363 this season.
In Milwaukee anglers fishing the Milwaukee River along the wall under the Hoan bridge have been catching a few browns on spawn and shiners, but overall fishing has been slow. In the Milwaukee River anglers have been catching a few steelhead on yarn flies at Kletzsch Park, but numbers of fish have dropped here in the past week. Steelheading on Oak Creek and the Menomonee River has been slow. Boaters working in and around the gaps in the Milwaukee harbor continue to catch browns and lake trout. Both jigging and trolling small crankbaits have been effective.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN:
Guide Bill Stoeger reported there's scattered white bass coming up while lots of walleye are coming down. Water is in the mid-50s, a few more degrees and the white bass run should go.
Mik-Lurch reported walleye improving. Bass should go better again when the weather settles.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT