Perch on the Chicago lakefront and Wisconsin's free fishing weekend lead this Midwest Fishing Report, but, considering the storms overnight, I am going to hold off on area river reports until later today or tomorrow as a separate report.
Too bad on the rivers report. I had planned to start today with a new contributor in Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass. He sent a wonderful report and should become a regular.
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.
CHICAGO LAKEFRONT PERCH
The great bite in Chicago fishing is starting. With warming waters, the bite is switching toward soft shells, both Park Bait and Henry's reported. Park Bait reported some limits off the Montrose horseshoe on Monday. Henry's reported decent shore action from 63rd to Montrose, inside and out of the harbors. Unofficially, it looks like a 1-10 perch, caught from Monroe harbor, topped the Richard J. Daley Memorial Fishing Tournament for May. Boaters have mixed reports, but that should become more consistent over the next few weeks, especially in the weed beds off Navy Pier and around Cal Park.
WISCONSIN'S FREE FISHING WEEKEND
Wisconsin's free fishing weekend on Saturday and Sunday is a week earlier than most. Here are the details:
All waters of the state are open, including Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and rivers bordering Wisconsin. Residents and nonresidents of all ages can fish without a fishing license (or trout or salmon stamps) over these two days. However, all other fishing regulations apply, including how many fish anglers can keep and limits on the minimum size of fish they can keep.
There's also some related free stuff this weekend from our northern neighbor:
On State Park Open House Day [on Sunday], no admission stickers are required on vehicles entering state parks, forests and recreation areas, and trail passes are not required for bicyclists, in-line skaters, or horseback riders using state trails that normally require a trail pass. In addition, Saturday, June 5 is National Trails Day and fees are waived to use all DNR-managed state trails on that day as well.
Bedding bluegills are the top bite on local ponds and lakes. Largemouth in post-spawn are the No. 2 bite and should settle into that early morning and evening summer bite. Recent storms should increase flows into some ponds and lakes and enliven fishing. Catfish stockings in the lagoons are beginning.
For an overview of nearby river conditions, click here. I will post river reports separately later today or tomorrow after there is a better idea of the levels forecast.
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 bluegill (ice jigs and wax worms) and catfish (stinkbait No. 1; otherwise crawlers or leeches) are the top bites. Walleye are good, leeches are No. 1 bait, in and around the current areas. Muskies are excellent on topwaters or Cowgirls. White bass are good, start in 8-12 feet.
As of early this morning, there were no restrictions on the Chain, however, it might be a good idea to double check at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.
For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/
Nolan will start doing regular reports on the river. I look forward to them and hope you do too.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
HEIDECKE: On an outing with Capt. John Mannerino (click here for his site) on Monday, we had good action on walleye with bottom bouncers or Lindy rigs and crawlers or leeches. Hybrids and smallmouth are decent. Haven't heard much on catfish. LaSALLE: Guide Pete Riedesel (firstname.lastname@example.org) reported decent action for catfish, fair hybrids and slow bass. BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Mazonia lakes would be among my top picks for the week, especially with cloud cover forecast several days. Catfishing remains the main bite at Braidwood.
DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES AREA, WISCONSIN
KIDS NOTE: Lake Geneva Fishing Club's free kids fish outing is at Big Foot Beach State Park in Lake Geneva on Sunday. Click here. DELAVAN: Guide Dave Duwe sent this:
Delavan Lake 5/30/10 through 6/6/10
It's great to see that the warm water has finally got the fish active. The fish are in various stages of spawning. Largemouth bass are just finishing and the bluegills are spawning now.
Largemouth bass have moved from the shallows and are on the deep weedlines. The best depth is 15-20 ft. I caught a few fish over 19 inches last week. The bass are being caught on medium suckers and on nightcrawlers fished on a split shot rig. Look for the fish west of Willow Point or by the island. Some bass are also being caught on Bandit 300 series crankbaits cast to the 12 ft depth with weeds. Perch pattern has been producing most of the fish.
Walleyes have moved deeper in the water column and are also on the deep weedlines in 16-18 ft of water. They can be caught on lindy rigged nightcrawlers or leeches. You want to use a 24 inch leader and a chartreuse painted hook. Assembly Park and the Village Supper club are good areas that have been producing most of the action. Another approach would be casting weed jigs tipped with one half of a nightcrawler and work it through the weeds.
Bluegills are in the 3-5 ft range spawning and in the 12-15 ft weedline. For the shallow fish, a small bobber and leaf worms are producing most of the action. For the deeper fish, I've been using a split shot rig with a small nightcrawlers or leaf worm. The best location has been by the Yacht Club or the Oriental boat house.
Northern Pike are very aggressive right now. They are also on the deep weed lines and can be caught on lindy rigged suckers. It's nice to see how healthy the fish look, by the end of the summer (after being hooked several times) they get to look pretty beat up. A good location is Browns Channel.
Crappies can be caught on small plastics fished on a 1/32 oz jig head. They are in the weeds in 10-12 ft of water. Look for the fish by Browns Channel or by the island. I use a slow stop and go retrieve when bringing the jig back to the boat. That seems to work well.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
5/30/2010 - Lake Geneva, sunny, 85 degrees, water temp 65 degrees, light winds out of the south. Caught 3 smallmouth, 1 largemouth and a plethora of rock bass. I had a bunch of kids out fishing so todays effort was focused on numbers. We fished 10-12 ft of water. Caught about 150 fish total.
5/29/2010 - Lake Geneva, sunny, 80 degrees, water temp 65 degrees, light wind out of the East. Caught 2 smallmouth and many bluegills, perch and rock bass. Fished throughout the whole lake but couldn't get any of the big fish to bite. Fished a water depth from 3-15 ft.
5/28/2010 - Delavan Lake, p.m., sunny & 80 degrees, water temp 67 degrees. E wind at 15 mph. Caught 1 largemouth, 2 walleyes and 5 northern pike, the largest was 31 1/2 inches. Fish were on the weedline in 15-20 ft of water. The pike were caught on suckers. The walleye and bass were caught on split shot rigged nightcrawlers.
5/25/2010 - Lake Geneva, sunny & 85 degrees, water temp 62 degrees. SW winds at 5 mph. Caught 4 smallmouth and a whole lot of rock bass. The smallmouth were still spawning. A lot of them were sitting on their beds. With the overabundance of rock bass, it was difficult to get a bait to the smallmouth bass. The largest smallie was about 17 inches
GENEVA: Duwe sent this:
Lake Geneva 5/30/10 through 6/6/10
Finally the fish are starting to bite on Lake Geneva. The panfish are just incredible right now, so if you have kids, now is a great time to get them out fishing with you. The action is almost non-stop. This past week I caught an 11 inch sunfish and bluegill so it's not all about action, there are also some quality fish to be had.
Smallmouth bass, as of Sunday the 30th, most of the fish are still on their beds spawning. It was hard to get live bait past all the panfish to catch the smallmouth bass. I saw most of the beds in 10-12 ft of water. Belvidere Park and the Military Academy had most of the fish. I was using a split shot rigged nightcrawlers and small plastics. Green pumpkin grubs seemed to work the best.
Largemouth bass are in the shallows also spawning at this time. Look for the fish in Geneva Bay or by Trinkes. I caught some on split shot rigged nightcrawlers and a split shot rigged with a 4 inch Zoom lizard. The best depth seemed to be 3-5 ft with scattered weeds and a hard sand bottom.
Rock Bass can be caught just about anywhere on the lake. You can catch as many as you have nightcrawlers for. The best depth seems to be the 8-10 ft range. The highest concentration of them that I found was in Fontana. You don't need anything special to catch them, just a hook and some live bait.
Perch can be found by the Military Academy and by Colemans Point. I've been catching them on nightcrawler pieces fished on a single hook with a very light weight. Again the problem is catching some fish that are over 6 inches long. I think you can catch bigger ones if you use minnows. When fishing with minnows, I will always fish them on a slip bobber rig.
Bluegills are in the 4-5 ft depth range. They can be caught on leaf worms fished beneath a bobber. The best location is by Trinkes and in Geneva Bay. A lot of the bluegills were in the 8-9 inch range, like I said earlier, I did catch several over 10 inches this week as well.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
SHELBYVILLE: Guide Ken Wilson--(217) 454-2672--out of Lithia Marina reported white bass are excellent; busting shad early, later try trolling crankbaits. Walleye are good around points 3 and 5. Crappie are fair. There's good walleye/sauger, keepers take sorting, below the spillway. Water warmed close to 80. Lake is normal summer pool. For info from the Corps, call (217) 774-2020. EVERGREEN: Site staff reported this:
Fishing was good over the weekend. Crappie are still doing well with most being caught in 15-20 ft. of water with tube jigs and minnows. Saugeye continue to be hot with lots of keepers being caught in the last few weeks, mostly on crawlers. Bluegill are doing well along weeds and rip rap with wax worms. Catfishing has started to pick up with some good size to them.Any updated fishing report will be posted here. EVERGREEN WEEKEND NOTE: Site staff also sent this note:
The Main Recreation Area (East) Boat Launch WILL BE CLOSED from 6:00 p.m. on Friday, June 4th, to Noon on Saturday, June 5th, 2010 for the Tri-Shark Triathlon. Fishermen/Boaters are asked to use the White Oak (West) Boat Launch during these closure times. Campground facilities remain open. Also, a portion of Evergreen Lake will be closed to ALL watercraft traffic. The area from the Boat Rental south across the lake and east will be closed from Midnight to approximately 10:00 a.m. Saturday, June 5th, 2010. This includes the area around Deer Island , Six-Mile Creek Bay , and around the Boat Rental facility. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.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. POWERTON: Summer hours--6 a.m.-8 p.m.--are in effect.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
Rickard's reported the walleye bite finally picked up some earlier this week. Casters are doing best around H Can, Scott's Point Shoal and Chickenolee Reef (Canadian waters). Trollers are doing well north of Kelleys. Perch have been best at the southeast corner of Kelleys and just east of Ballast.
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
CHICAGO: For perch, see top. Shoreline smallmouth remains decent. Capt. Bill Kelly reported decent action in 50-70 feet east of the Wilson and up to the car ferry; lots of salmon in 70-105 with a good pile of lakers at 105. It's big Dodgers and flies for the lakers, small Dodgers and flies for the coho. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said the morning bite is good for coho. WAUKEGAN: Salmon Stop reported variable perch off government pier and a few salmon casting off the piers. Boat fishing is scattered for salmon. NORTH POINT: Poteshman reported 150-200 is good for trollers with some steelhead showing with the kings and coho. Before it is bright, there's some salmon on the hill. Wide spectrum of baits and depths are working. RICHARD J. DALEY MEMORIAL FISHING TOURNAMENT: Fish may be weighed at Henry's, Park Bait or Vet's. In June, the species are carp, catfish, perch, coho and chinook. 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
EAGLE RIVER: Creative Brilliance sent this report for the Chamber of Commerce:
***Eagle River, Wis. (VILAS COUNTY) -- as of June 1, 2010:
(Head): Good fishing action for everything in the Eagle River, Wisconsin
area muskies, walleye, northern, bass (catch and release only for bass),
crappies, bluegills and perch.
(Lead): Water temps on the Eagle River Chain of Lakes (largest freshwater
chain of lakes in the world), are ranging from 72-74 degrees.
Guides and anglers both are very happy about the fishing action in the Eagle
River area. It's good all the way around, and it's an all day bite for
everything. We had previously mentioned that knowledgeable locals and
guides were predicting a very good fishing season this year in Eagle River,
and the predictions are coming true. Come up and "get your share" of the
fishing action, and all the pristine beauty and activities that Eagle River
provides in such abundance.
Muskie are locating in the weeds in 10 feet of water or less in the Eagle
River area. Small bucktails and minnow baits are working when "twitched".
Best depth ranging from 4-8 feet. The muskies are in their summer locations
because of the warm weather Success is coming on a medium fast retrieve -
-not painfully slow nor burning fast. Lots of follows, along with a number
of "nips", and some welcome strong bites. One of our guide sources --
Muskie Matt - - saw a 41 incher floating belly up - -still alive, but he
couldn't save her. He was very saddened and urges muskie hunters to
practice good release, especially during this very warm weather.
The walleye and perch in the Eagle River are hanging together in 5-10 feet
of water in the weeds. Find one, and you'll find the other. Action is good
indeed, perch action at times is furious- - with VERY GOOD numbers of 12
inchers being caught. Lots and lots of fun! Both the walleyes and perch
will hit a jig and a fathead, and you may want to slip bobber the bait for
Good action for northern in the Eagle River area. Fish 10 feet of water or
less in and around the weeds. Husky Jerks, spinner baits, and #4 and #5
Mepps are all working. Don't forget- - that normally the bigger northerns
will be deeper, albeit with less action than the smaller fish which will
generally locate higher in the water column.
Bass in the Eagle River area are finishing up their spawn, and starting to
transition from their beds DIRECTLY to their summer haunts, bypassing their
spring mode this year because of the very warm water temps. The largemouth
will move to shallower heavy weeds, cover, brush piles and sunken wood, and
anglers are using Texas Rigs with plastic worms, jig and a pig (that's a jig
tipped with a hunk of pork rind), and topwaters (topwaters working early and
late). The smallies are locating over hard bottom areas, with rocks and
boulders in 15 feet of water. Use a tube jig, jig and a leech, or spinner
bait. Anglers can at least surely try the bass spawning beds first -
-(shallow sand/gravel bottom, 2-5 feet of water) - -as some of the bigger
females will stay on their beds a bit longer than the smaller fish. Don't
forget: Right now bass fishing is all strictly catch-and-release.
Crappie are hitting in 10 feet of water or less (anywhere on the water
column), locating in and around weeds in the Eagle River area. Use a
crappie minnow on a slip bobber, or a jig. Good action.
Bluegills are in their spawn, and will finish up in the next number of days
to a week, plus or minus, in the Eagle River area. Fish 5 feet of water or
less over sand bottoms. Use a crawler on a slip bobber, Beetle Spin or Mini
Mite. Good action.
(Report for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce based on Creative Brilliance
interviews with Eagle River guides "Muskie Matt" of Wild Eagle Lodge,
"Ranger Rick" Krueger of Guide's Choice Pro Shop, and Mat Hegy).
Contact info for Eagle River:
* Eagle River Chamber of Commerce; 800-359-6315; 715-479-6400; e-mail:
email@example.com; web: www.eagleriver.org
* "Muskie Matt", 715-479-8086; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
* Mat Hegy, 715-571-7544, e:-mail: email@example.com
* Guide's Choice Pro Shop, guide/owner "Ranger Rick" Krueger 715-477-2248
* George Langley, Eagle River Fishing Guides Association, 715-479-8804.
Mik-Lurch reported smallmouth everywhere on the lakefront. For salmon, best has been in 65-75 feet northeast of the Gong; some lakers too. Willow Slough is good for bluegill.
ST. JOSEPH AREA, MICHIGAN
BJ Sports reported bluegill and bass are good on inland lakes. Boaters are in 110-180 feet for lakers and some salmon. Sheephead and catfish started in the river.
Lakeside reported lake warmed to mid-70s and bluegill have come in to spawn, good time fish from shore. More than two dozen muskies were caught one day last week, mostly on Rat-l-traps; since muskie have been more spotty. Catfish up to 9 pounds were good over the weekend, from shore or boat; primarily on stinkbait or livers. Crappie and bass moved toward summer range.
For more reports, click here.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN:
Fremont guide Bill Stoeger reported water temperatures shot up toward 80, so walleye and white bass slowed. He thought the good bluegill bite should go soon.
This is the time when summer patterns for bass should set up and bluegill should be bedding. Mik-Lurch reported jumbo leeches are taking some walleye.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT