Norm Minas sent an interesting note about prowling the Kankakee during the high water Tuesday, as did Ken Gortowski on the Fox. That and the white-bass run on the Wolf River lead the Midwest Fishing Report.
Minas will fish in anyting. The photo above was at ice-out on the Kankakee three years ago when he helped me catch my first smallmouth in 32-degree water.
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 email@example.com.
Here's Norm's thoughts:
Out busting brush along the flooded riverbanks is always good for the soul. Today, I spotted a big smallie working up a flooded fishermans path with it's back sticking out of the shallow water. I pitched a weighted keeper hook with a 5 inch Kalins Twister about 3 feet ahead of the fish. As soon as the lure hit the water the smallie zoomed in on it. In a heartbeat or two I saw the line twitch and felt the fish grab the lure. As soon as I set the hook all hell broke loose. The fish flipped up out of the water and changed direction, heading back to the path thru the weeds to the river. This old fart was closer and quicker and I had the only route of escape blocked. After that it was frantic fury in that narrow passage way as the fish splashed me liberally. I think it ended up with more water on my face, glasses, waders and weeds than was left on the flooded path. It taped out at a little over 18.5 inches.
Less than ideal conditions in the eyes of most as I had the river to myself. Good things come to those who put the time in under all conditions.
BEST BET: WOLF RIVER WHITE BASS
The white-bass run is back on track on the Wolf in central Wisconsin. On Monday, Bill Stoeger reported white bass back in the shallow. The Fremont guide expects the water to hit 60 this week. Of 165 caught on Monday, he said about 10 percent were ready to spawn. ``This is the time,'' he said. ``All hell is going to break loose. I don't care where you are on the river.'' Flies, minnows and flies, river rigs or jigs and minnows are working. He said guys should start using spinners too. The peak should be a week to 10 days, and the run should go well into June.
DALEY DERBY UPDATE
Unofficially, the first notable fish came for the Richard J. Daley Memorial Fishing Tournament. Park Bait said a 7-12 coho and a 1 1/2-pound perch were brought in this week. In May, eligible fish are coho and perch. Register fish at Henry's, Vet's or Park Bait. For info, go to henryssports.com.
Henry's reported customers picking up more largemouth on farm ponds and forest preserve lakes. Anglers Outlet reported some decent crappie at Monee Reservoir. Mac's said there's been action for bluegill and crappie, size is largely small, in the Chicago lagoons.
For an overview of nearby river conditions, click here. Despite the high water, I included most individual river reports.
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
As of this morning, the entire system remained under a no-wake restriction. Check here for latest on those restrictions.
High-water and no-wake can offer some of the best fishing on the Chain. Triangle Sports reported walleye are excellent with the current, look around current areas against structure with large fatheads or leeches as best bait on slip-bobber or Lindy rigs; if trolling, try Wally Divers and Frenzies. Bluegill are shallow, most shorelines are good. Catfish are good, coming toward the spawn; stinkbait or crawlers are best. Crappie are fair, look in and around channel mouths; muskie are fair, look for better feeding activity. White bass are fair, but should improve, look around in 8-12 feet; Marie is best.
For more reports, see click here. FoxLakeFishing.com has its big spring tournament at Port of Blarney on Sunday.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: The Mazonia lakes are in their peak period. Now is the time. Closing time goes to 8:30 p.m. on Sunday and will hold there through June. Exelon's Fishing for a Cure tournament is Saturday on Braidwood. HEIDECKE: Mik-Lurch reported decent catfish and walleye. This should be a prime week here.
DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES AREA, WISCONSIN
DELAVAN: Arden Katz reported bass are on the beds and better bluegill action. He said eggs are still hard in the bluegill, so the bite should go a couple weeks. Guide Dave Duwe sent this:
Delavan Lake 5/17/2010 through 5/23/2010
The cool spring and windy conditions continued this past week. It was difficult to get out on the water. There is still quite a few fish in the shallow waters.
Crappies are in the shallow weeds in 6-8 ft of water. They are being caught on slip bobber rigged minnows or on small plastics. The best location is the buoy line in Highlands Bay or by Browns Channel. For the small plastics, try purple or chartreuse. I fish on a 1/32 oz Arkie Jig.
Bluegills are in two locations. A lot of smaller fish are in the 1-2 ft depth range with the bigger fish being in 6-8 ft of water. The fish are being caught on wax worms fished on ice jigs or with leaf worms fished on a slip bobber. Look for the fish by Willow Point or Viewcrest Bay.
Largemouth bass are cruising in the shallow weeds in 3-4 ft of water. Some of the fish I saw this week looked like they were trying to spawn in the cold water. They really didn't enjoy a bait being thrown at them and were very shy to bite. The best location was Viewcrest Bay or Browns Channel.
Northern Pike are still on the shallow flats in 8-10 ft of water. They can be caught on white spinner baits or Rapala Husky Jerk baits. The perch pattern seems to be the best choice. The best location is by Assembly Park or Lake Lawn Lodge.
Walleye fishing remains very slow. I haven't heard of anyone catching any with any consistency. They too are in the shallow weeds in 8-10 ft of water. Look for them by the Oriental boat house or the island on the west end.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
5/16/2010 - Delavan Lake, water temp 56 degrees, winds E at 15 mph. Air temp 55 degrees. Caught about 30 bluegills, kept 15. Fished with bobbers and leaf worms. Fished by the golf course and the west end by Viewcrest. Fished anywhere from 1-8 ft of water.
5/15/2010 - Lake Geneva, water temp 54 degrees, winds E at 10-15 mph. Air temp 55 degrees. Caught 8 largemouth, rock bass and bluegills. Fished in 4-5 ft of water. Caught the fish on split shot rigged nightcrawlers. Fished in Geneva Bay most of the time.
5/14/2010 - Delavan Lake, water temp 55 degrees, winds SW at 10-15 mph. Air temp 50 degrees. Caught 8 largemouth and about 15 bluegills. Fished in 3-4 ft of water. The bass were caught on nightcrawlers and All Terrain Stiks. The west end was the best.
GENEVA: Duwe sent this:
Lake Geneva 5/17/10 through 5/23/10
With the weather patterns such that they are and the depth of Lake Geneva, the lake is still very cool. The most consistent fishing is in the 3-4 ft water depth range.
Smallmouth bass have been sporadic. If you can find the bait fish, you will likely find the smallmouth. They can be caught on hair jigs or a smoke colored twister tail. The fish are suspended 6 or 7 ft down in 15-20 ft of water. The best location is Elgin Club or the Military Academy.
Largemouth bass are in the shallows in 3-4 ft. Look for the fish in Geneva Bay or by Williams Bay. Nightcrawlers fished on a split shot rig are producing a lot of action. Water temperatures are too cold and the fish aren't even close to spawning yet.
Perch can be caught in the 8-10 ft depth range where there are scattered weeds and hard sand bottom. They can be caught on slip bobbers fished with minnows or nightcrawler pieces. Look for them by Knollwood or Rainbow point.
Bluegills and Rock bass are around the boat docks. The best location is Williams Bay or Geneva Bay. Worms fished on bobbers have been producing most of the action. The best depth is 3-4 ft. Be prepared to sort, the numbers are decent but there are a lot of small fish in the mix.
Northern pike are in the shallow weeds. The best depth is 8-10 ft of water. They are being caught on Lindys Shadling, the perch color has been producing the best for me. Another good bait is a white spinner bait, in a slow rolling retrieve.
SHELBYVILLE: Guide Ken Wilson--(217) 454-2672--out of Lithia Marina reported jig and crawler taking walleye on main lake flats; white bass on trolling crankbaits or jigs on main lake points and crappie are spawning and biting shallow. Lake is 2 feet below summer pool, but rising, and 64 degrees. For info from the Corps, call (217) 774-2020. EVERGREEN: Any updated fishing report will be posted here. POWERTON: Summer hours--6 a.m.-8 p.m.--are in effect. 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
Check latest on no-wake restrictions at Fox Waterway Agency.
Gortowski sent this from a Tuesday outing:
Need some stomping Muddy Waters riffs going in the background for this one.
Didn't feel like hanging around the house. The day started nice and sunny. Picked the creek that had come down the most to go do some exploring. It was still up, but I've fished it at worse times. Covered from the mouth to about a quarter mile in. Clarity was about a foot, but the river was so far into the creek that it all but killed the current. I've done well in years past under these conditions, wasn't meant to be today.
Squeaked out 2 landed smallies and 2 missed ones for all the work put into it. The fish were definitely not in attack mode. All of them were hooked when I was half paying attention and just letting the lure hang and swim around. Didn't know a fish was even on till I tried to move the lure and felt the weight. One had some pretty good weight to it and I was much too slow on the hook set.
The river was even muddier and I didn't bother casting into it. Nothing more depressing to a river fisherman than looking at flowing mud. Considered stopping at a couple of places, but by then the wind gusts had given me a headache and I was done with it.
Monday's rain did nothing to the water levels. One more chance of rain on Friday that I don't think will amount to much, than a string of days in the 80's. This could be good as the water drops and the water temps go up. Fish have to eat at some point.
ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA
The river at LaSalle dropped below flood stage on Tuesday and is receding.
Ed Mullady sent this:
The river is slowly receding, still murky, but fish are being caught!
Catfishing continues good throughout river on catfish cheese on *plastic grub or worm" designed to hold the bait *chicken liver *minnows *crawlers.
Both smallmouth and largemouth bass are being caught in both Indiana and Illinois.
Smallmouth on *minnows*jointed plugs *#2 Spinners; Largemouth on *minnows *plastic worms *fluorescent colored lures.
Much of the fishing is along the shorelines, mouths of creeks and bayous.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
From the Ohio DNR report--wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH--
Walleye fishing slowed over the past week, but there was still good fishing around the western basin. The best fishing was around Niagara Reef, "D" can of the Camp Perry firing range, from Green Island to North Bass Island, and also north of Kelleys Island. The jigging bite is ending and most casters are switching over to may fly rigs or drifting bottom bouncers with worm harnesses. Trollers are catching fish on worm harnesses with inline weights or with crankbaits.
Yellow perch fishing has been best around Kelleys Island and between Marblehead and Kelleys Island. Perch spreaders with shiners fished near the bottom produce the most fish.
Weather limited access, but it should settle by the weekend. CHICAGO: Park Bait reported good perch action at Montrose on Monday, then weather shut it down; some steelhead and coho too. Capt. Bill Kelly reported a few browns and coho off Chicago Light, nice coho off Evanston landfill (see Fish of the Week), a mixed bag south of the R4 in 50-60 feet and limits of lakers with a few rainbows and small kings east of Diversey in 70-110. Smallmouth action continued relatively strong late last week from shore. WAUKEGAN/NORTH POINT: Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters reported nice coho on the beach (15-50 feet) from North Point to Waukegan, best on Dodgers and flies (blues, greens, tinsels, teals, pearls). There's a good deep-water bite in 100-250 feet for those braving conditions. Perch are tough. Salmon Stop reported some coho in 40-60 feet, and shore fishermen taking a few coho on spoons and a few perch off the end of government pier. 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
Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports sent this:
Week of stable "May" like weather has things looking up. Water temps are rising, fish that seemed ready to spawn weeks ago before being shut down by the cold are getting ready to get back at it.
Smallmouth Bass: Good - Very good. Staging up tight, in some bodies of water (dark flowages), cruising shorelines setting up nesting sites. (Actually some nesting going on already). Many anglers having best luck on tubes, fluke type plastics. Warm evenings bringing surface action on chug bugs. Husky Jerks, X-raps producing outside spawning flats. All catch and release!!
Crappies: Good-Very Good. Crappies moving back into shallows. Lots of action with fish to 15" caught this week. Crappie minnows rule... But lots of anglers taking nice catches on Gapen Freshwater shrimp, mini-mites, Charlie bees and Chippewa Charlie jigs as well as the 1" Gulp Alive minnows, with lake temps averaging mid 50's now and highs to near 80 degrees by weeks end crappies should be back to bedding this weekend.
Walleyes: Good. With high skies early mornings and evenings (especially evenings) best. Lakes exceptionally clear due to lake of rain (no water movement). Fish deeper than usual. Wood key on Flowages at least 7-9', weeks in 12-16' on lakes. Dace minnows, redtails, large fats. Some after dark action on #5-#7 Shad Raps on tops of 7-10 bars.
Northern Pike: Good. Jig and Chub action starting to give way to Spinnerbaits, #3 Mepps. Large River Shiners below slip bobbers helped anglers to catches of Pike to 28" this weekend. Paddletail soft minnow baits also hot (4-5")
Bluegill: Fair-Good. This species will really turn on this week. Once lake temps hit 60 degrees plus gills will start moving into shallows. Waxworms, leafworms and thunderbugs. Also some top water popper and dry fly action occurring in the back bays for the fly rod enthusiasts.
Largemouth Bass: Good. With smallies moving in this species taking a back seat. Best action on senko style worms plunked into week pockets. Pre-rigged worms also scoring when worked over 6-8' weed beds.
Yellow Perch: Fair. Not as much interest with Crappies moving in, some very nice jumbos being caught in shallows of 1-3' by anglers targeting crappies and gills. Warmer weather will improve this bite.
With lakes so low, use caution motoring. Water is very clear, take advantage of low light periods (dawn, dusk), after dark and cloudy days. Use neutral colors (blue, green) for Walleyes on clear lakes. Forecast is very stable and typical for the second half of May. Should be a good week.
EAGLE RIVER: Creative Brilliance sent this report for the Chamber of Commerce:
Water temps in the Eagle River area are in the 60 degree range on
smaller lakes, and 56 or so on the bigger bodies.
Walleye action is good in the Eagle River area. Fish the weedlines in 6 to
8 feet of water. Use a 1/16 ounce jig and a medium fathead, or try a slip
bobber rig. It's an all day bite, especially on the Eagle River Chain of 28
lakes (largest freshwater chain of lakes in the world). The walleye are
pretty much near the bottom.
Northern are in the same spots as the walleye in the Eagle River area. Fish
6 to 8 feet in and around the weeds, using a jig and a larger fathead. Or
you can use a plastic like a Twister Tail, or try a spinner bait in
chartreuse and white. All day bite. Most of the northerns are being caught
incidentally to anglers going for walleye, rather than being specifically
The crappies in the Eagle River area are on their beds, spawning. Fish 2 to
3 feet of water, using a crappie minnow or a small plastic. Very good
action, which should continue for another week or so.
Perch are hanging with the walleyes in the Eagle River area. Fish weeds and
the weedlines in 6 to 8 feet of water. Use a crappie minnow. The perch
will be near the bottom. The action is real good for perch, and local
guides say that it should continue through Memorial Day.
Mik-Lurch reported when weather allows boaters have good salmon (kings and coho) in 45-75 feet in front of Gary Light and Burns Ditch, down 25-35, on meat rigs, flies and spoons. Perch are slow. Willow Slough remains a top choice for bluegill.
OREGON: Jan Prose at TJ's Bait/Tackle & Canoe Rental sent this:
River came up about 5 feet last week, not much action over the weekend, some big carp biting on worms and corn, and they have been catching mostly sheephead. Not much to report, but the river is coming down each day, we should be in good shape for the weekend.
ST. JOSEPH AREA, MICHIGAN
BJ Sports reported good salmon in 120 feet, down 55. River is high but receding.
This should be the best fishing weekend of the spring, both crappie and bass should be in or moving to the spawn, Denny Sands of Lakeside said. Bluegill are starting to show near shore too. He reported a 5.2-pound largemouth on Tuesday and several nice catfish caught over the weekend. For more reports, click here.
SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT
From the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report:
Southern Lake Michigan Fishing Report: May 17, 2010
In Kenosha trollers continue to catch good numbers of coho from 180 to 200 feet of water. Cracked ice or blue spoons or orange dodgers with small flies fished 70 to 90 feet down have been taking fish, and early mornings have been best. Shore fishing in Kenosha remains somewhat slow, and nearshore water is dirty.
In Racine trollers fishing offshore have been catching limits of coho, along with a few chinooks and rainbows, in water 140 to 240 feet deep. The coho and rainbows have been hitting in the top 50 feet of water, and the chinooks have been 80 to 120 feet down. The coho have been hitting orange dodgers and blue or green flies, and the chinooks have been taking white or silver flashers with blue flies. Nearshore waters in Racine are still muddy after last week's rains, but shore fishing should improve as the water clears.
In Milwaukee trollers have been catching decent numbers of chinooks, coho, and rainbows. Peanut flies fished 60 feet down in 120 feet of water have taken the most fish. Overall, Milwaukee shore fishing remains slow.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT