The three Cs of April--coho, crappie and cooling lakes--again lead this Midwest Fishing Report.
This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears on the Sun-Times outdoors page on Wednesdays, well, it is the lakes and areas section.
If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at email@example.com.
SOUTHERN LAKE MICHIGAN SALMON/TROUT
One of the better springs for coho goes on. INDIANA: When weather allows, boaters are doing incredibly well. Mik-Lurch reported coho scattered from 10-40 feet. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters reported Hole-in-the-Wall has been best, but the usual spots are giving up fish. He said Dodgers and peanut Howie flies (green, gold, aqua) are best. CHICAGO: Shore fishermen continue to pick up nice coho, especially at Montrose, but up and down the Chicago lakefront, according to Henry's and Park Bait. Powerliners are doing best, but casters are also picking up fish. There's a smattering of browns and steelhead, too. WAUKEGAN: Salmon Stop reported good coho from shore, primarily on shiners. There's a few browns being taken on the bottom. Boaters are working 15-30 feet, right in front or between the harbor and ``The Stacks.'' NORTH POINT: Poteshman said coho are going right in front of the harbor mouth to the nuke plant.
SHABBONA LAKE WALLEYE OPEN
The Walleye Open is 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday on Shabbona Lake. Go to shabbonlake.com or call (815) 824-2581. There are good cash prizes for the biggest legal walleye, any lake-record walleye and state-record walleye. I would love to see any of them.
There's still a smattering of smelt being caught on the Chicago lakefront, primarily at Montrose. From what I saw Friday night, the majority of the catch is tiny yellow perch. But it is kind of neat to at least see a few smelt in buckets.
Crappie remains the top bite on area ponds and lakes, though more bass started to go over the weekend.
From Ed Schmitt, what I think is a helpful note about the coming weeks and kids fishing: Click here for the full note.
It's not much, but it was a lesson learned.
For the next few weeks every pond, lake, puddle, and reservoir will be hot on the trap bite. It's not the most exhilarating type of fishing, but it's something that you just can't fight. If you've got the time, you might as well take advantage of it and give it a shot.
I find this kind of fishing great for kids that have graduated from bobber watching while they play in the mud. Give them a medium action spinning outfit rigged with 10lb. mono, tie a 1/2-oz. rattletrap, and let them cast away on one of those moderate Spring afternoons.
BIG GREEN LAKE, WISCONSIN
For guide Mike Norton's report, go to www.nortonsfishingandhuntingadventures.com, then click on fishing, then lake report.
From licensed guide and trapper Phil Schweik and guide Glenn Moberg of Hooksetters Guide Service:
(Lead): With extended cold temps a good number of central Wisconsin lakes
still have safe ice, but caution is definitely needed as there are thinning
ice areas, as well as strong currents which degrade the ice. Best suggestion
is to hire one of the central Wisconsin area's excellent guides who will put
you on fish, in safety.
The open water spring walleye run has begun and the walleyes are biting.
There are also some good ice fishing opportunities remaining in the central
Walleyes are pretty much the main focus right now in central Wisconsin.
With many options for getting out on the water, and a few good landings
open, anglers are taking advantage of a great early season bite. Most
walleyes are coming in 12 to 17 feet of water along channel edges, with
1/8th and 1Ž4 ounce jigs tipped with fathead minnows the bait of choice. Weed
Weasel jigs will help you stay out of the snags and tipping them with added
plastics will help you catch larger fish. Don't be surprised if you pick up
a straggler perch, crappie or catfish, as all of these species are present
in the Wisconsin River system, and will take the same presentation as the
walleyes. As the water continues to warm, look for the walleyes to start
moving shallower and to be holding along shoreline structure and rocks or
gravel bars. Throw small crankbaits like the new UV Thunderstick right up
in the shallows, for active fish. Running these new bright UV baits has
translated into having great success in the stained water.
Panfish anglers continue to have a great season on the ice in the central
Wisconsin area. With the extended cold many of the area lakes still have
ice that is safe for travel, and anglers are taking advantage of it
(remember the old axiom: "There is no such thing as safe ice"- -so use
extreme caution, especially at this time or year). Crappies are now
suspended right up under the ice in anywhere from 4 to 8 feet of water, and
can be caught by running small teardrop jigs tipped with waxies or spikes
right under the ice. If you can get your bait past the crappies that are
higher up in the water column, you will find the bluegills holding anywhere
from 1 to 3 feet off the bottom, and as you get even closer to the bottom,
the perch are holding tight, and can be caught within a foot of the bottom.
The same baits will work for all species of panfish right now, as they are
very aggressive and will take almost any offering that you present.
The regular turkey season starts on April 13th in the central Wisconsin
area, for the hunters drawn for the first week of the season. With some
areas still covered with snow, it has made it pretty easy to locate flocks
of turkeys that are still bunched up in small local areas. The key to being
successful is to get in quietly and early (well before daylight) and set up,
to take advantage of these birds still coming to the open areas that they
have been feeding in for the past few weeks.
Love those turkey notes in fishing reports.
CHAIN O'LAKES AREA
Water is in the mid-50s. Arden Katz reported outstanding bluegill on Channel on Tuesday, despite the wind, with a 1/64th-ounce jig tipped with spikes fished down 2 feet. Triangle Sports agreed bluegill are excellent. They moved shallower with the slightly higher water, try by docks and seawalls. Crappie are also hanging shallow. Walleye are spawning up shallow. Pike are improving. For muskie, try small jerkbaits or bucktails in 8-15 feet. For largemouth, focus around shore cover. Catfish are fair.
For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/
More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
Winds have limited boating efforts.
LaSALLE: Lake is open daily. Bass and blues are the top bites. But yellow bass can be a saving bite, according to guide Pete Riedesel.
BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: More tried Mazonia lakes with the weekend warm-up for crappie and bass, according to Angelo's. Best bite on Braidwood remains catfish.
HEIDECKE: Water needs to warm for best action. Angelo's reported some decent hybrids. Walleye action has been decent. Concessionaire has not been able to sell yet, so come prepared with bait and food. Hours: Daily till sunset; launch opens 6 a.m.; bank at 6:30 a.m. Level is low, so getting under the trestle should not be an issue; however, use caution when launching.
DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES AREA, WISCONSIN
Brian Gates at Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle reported a few perch in 4-5 feet on Geneva; on Delavan, boaters taking good bluegill in the channels (during the week) on the west end.
Larry Dozard of larrysfishinghole.com reported crappie were very good in ponds.
SANGCHRIS: Multiple reports of this as the hot spot for crappie, including Dozard.
EVERGREEN: From site operations super Brad Wood:
Evergreen Lake Fishing Report - April 12, 2011
Water Clarity: 6-18"
Water Level: Flowing at Spillway
Water Temp: Low 60's
Fishing has been good on Evergreen the past week. Crappie really started to bite over the weekend. A lot of limits have started to be reported on Crappie. Most bank fishermen are using minnows floated under a bobber about midway in water ranging from 10-15 ft. Boat fishermen have reported catching crappie down 10-15 feet while they drift in deeper water. Several Saugeye have been reported. Saugeye are mostly biting on crawlers, but I have had a few tell me they have caught some using minnows. Bass fishing has started to pick up. Several nice fish have been caught in the last week.
Good Luck, Brad
Any updated fishing report will be posted here.
REND: Guide Jason Johns of Todd Gessner Outdoors reported crappie moved into the brush. Catfish remain very good.
LAKE OF EGYPT: Crappie are very good, right on the edge of the weeds spawning, Johns said.
EMIQUON: Emiquon Preserve near Lewistown is open to fishing. Interested parties may request a permit (remember you need the new one for 2011) 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: Winter hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Boat and shore fishing are open.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
For salmon/trout, see top.
For salmon and trout, see top. There's small perch around, especially at Montrose and up the river around 95th. But the boaters have been finding very few at Waukegan, yet.
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.
Ice is deteriorating rapidly, might be best to call first.
EAGLE RIVER: Creative Brilliance sent this report for the Chamber of Commerce:
(Lead): Ice conditions in the Eagle River area are still OK, but erosion
continues around structure, like docks and bridges. The ice is slick, so
creepers or a traction device is recommended. Caution is certainly required
as we start to move towards ice-out.
Crappies and bluegills in the Eagle River area are in the same general
locations. Fish 15 feet of water or less over shallow lake basins, with mud
bottoms; or fish deeper weed areas in 15 feet of water or less. Both
species are suspending up and down the water column. For the crappies use a
crappie minnow under a slip bobber or tip down. For the gills use a waxie
or a spike under a slip bobber or spring bobber. Good action for both
Perch in the Eagle River area are hanging tight to bottom at outside weed
edges in 10-25 feet of water. Use a minnow or wiggler under a slip bobber
or spring bobber. Good action.
While there is good action for all the panfish, you will do some sorting, as
there is a mixed bag of sizes.
(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:
firstname.lastname@example.org; web: www.eagleriver.org
* "Muskie Matt", 715-891-5980; e-mail: email@example.com
* Mat Hegy, 715-571-7544, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
* Guide's Choice Pro Shop, guide/owner "Ranger Rick" Krueger 715-477-2248
* George Langley, Eagle River Fishing Guides Association, 715-479-8804.
MINOCQUA: Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports sent this:
While ice still covers our lakes, ice fishing is almost over.
Many lakes lost 9-12" of ice in three days. The remaining ice has gotten "punky". Twelve inches of rotting ice is not safe to walk on.
As of today, anglers are still fishing Minocqua, Big Arbor Vitae to name a few but only Big Arbs south side will be fishable by weeks end.
Anglers reported decent catches of crappies over the weekend during the daytime using plastics and Chena on #8 rocker jigs. Better action was after dark using minnows on tip-downs.
Bluegills are responding to small #12 - #10 Gill pills and Dot jigs tipped with a single spike, waxie or piece of dark plastic.
While some anglers reporting ice to 15", it is not good ice. Nighttime temps just below freezing are skimming shorelines up, be very careful should you decide to go.
For salmon/trout, see top. On days when boaters can reach it, the perch fishing has been very good in 50 feet north of Gary Light, according to Mik-Lurch. Reports of several 2-pound perch. Fish tight to the bottom, but if fishermen feel a small fish, they should reel it in slow, so release can be safer. Willow Slough has improved bluegill, big redears and crappie.
Tyler Harmon's report:
Lake Michigan fishing has greatly slowed down for both pier and boat anglers in this part of the state. Best bet is to fish for browns in the low light periods of the day. Use live minnows or chunk spawn on bottom. The steelhead run is starting to wind down. But on a good day you can sit and just watch them on the gravel doing there thing. Sucker run is starting to wear down as well. Night crawlers have been the best bait; fished right on bottom. Catfish are starting to feed a bit more on the river and will take the usual night crawler or other fresh minnows like fatheads fished on the bottom. On the inland lakes both crappie and gills are still being caught on bobbers, and small artificial lures like tubes and jigs. In general we are at a "crossroad" fishing wise. At the end the month many things will be opening and it is never a bad thing to be prepared for. Pike And walleye season reopen on April 30. Catch and release Bass season also opens the same day. Reminder to all that the daily walleye possession limit for Michigan waters changes May 1st. Also on April 30 the local streams open up for trout fishing. So there is a lot to look forward to and hopefully some good fishing to be reported in the near future. Tight lines everyone.
See above for Walleye Open Saturday. Lakeside is open. Staff reported some crappie over the weekend. For more reports as the lake changes into spring, click here.
Mik-Lurch reported some night walleye, especially around moving water. Otherwise, there are crappie on the sides of both states.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT