If you're planning holiday weekend fishing, I would suggest thinking more of early May than late May or early June. With that, to the lakes/area section of the Midwest Fishing Report.
Overall, it looks like a promising weekend for lake fishing, as long as you adjust for cooler than usual water conditions and weed growth, etc.
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. The rivers section was posted earlier.
If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bass have been up and off beds, depending on the lake or pond. On some warmer ponds and lakes, even bluegill were bedding. That may change again with the cool-down and rains. If we get warmer weather for the holiday, just about everything should be up.
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 reported walleye are good, bite is changing to crawlers and leeches, around current areas and the river. Keep moving to find good bluegills, if warm weather comes that bite should rebound. Muskie are good shallow. For white bass, look around 12 feet; Marie best. Catfish are fair.
For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/
More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Mazonia is top choice for multiple species for the holiday. Mik-Lurch reported some 20-pound range blues on big hunks of cutbait at Braidwood, otherwise the best action is bluegill and channel catfish. Closing time extends to 8:30 on Sunday.
LaSALLE: Would still be one of my top multiple-species picks.
HEIDECKE: Should be in the peak. Should be a top choice for walleye and hybrids. Bobby Valenti boated a 27-inch hybrid.
DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES AREA, WISCONSIN
DELAVAN: From guide Dave Duwe:
Delavan Lake 5/22/11 through 5/29/11
Fishing on Delavan Lake continues to be excellent. The best bite on the lake has been the Largemouth bass which are now spawning. Northern Pike are also a great bite and are active in the weed flats.
Northern Pike are being caught on medium suckers and large golden shiners. The best depth is 9-12 ft. Look for then in the weed flats such as the Highland Bay, Viewcrest Bay and by Browns Channel. I did experiment trying locations that I don't normally check and caught fish. I found the depth range is the most critical element for success. I positioned the bait 2-3 ft off bottom.
Largemouth bass are shallow. You can find the fish in 3-4 ft of water in the shallow bays. Look for the fish in Viewcrest Bay, Highlands Bay and the golf course to the outlet. The best success is either coming on Senko type lures or a split shot rigged nightcrawler. I will normally fish my Senkos Texas rigged but some success has also come from Wacky rigging the Senkos in the middle.
Crappies have been scattered. They are in 3-4 ft of water and as deep as 12 ft of water. They are still full of eggs and should be spawning this week. I've been catching them on small purple plastics or slip bobbering small fat head minnows. The biggest concentration has been in Viewcrest Bay. In the coming weeks, this bite should improve as they finish spawning in pull out of the shallows.
Bluegill fishing has been average. There are quite a few fish shallow however they are very easily spooked due to the clear water. The best bites still remain in the channels, but with the warmer weather the weed growth has exploded making some areas now un-fishable.
Walleye fishing has been a bit slow. The only good action has been at night trolling shallow diving crank baits on the edge of the weedlines. Look for the fish by Browns Channel or by the Yacht Club. The best bait is a 200 series Bandit Lure in white pearl.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
5/22/11 - Delavan Lake, 80 degrees, sunny, water temp 60 degrees, W wind at 20 mph. Caught 12 largemouth, 2 northern pike and 12 crappies and bluegills. Fishing was good, except for the desired species of crappie. Most of the game fish were caught in the first 1 1/2 hours of the trip. We spent 3 hours trying to find the crappies with little success. The normal haunts were closed due to high winds.
5/21/11 - Delavan Lake, 55 degrees, cloudy, water temp 60 degrees. Caught 21 largemouth, 2 northern pike and 7 crappies. The bass were caught by Lake Lawn in 3-4 ft of water. They were caught on Senkos and nightcrawlers. The pike were caught on slip bobbers in 10-11 ft of water. Crappies were caught on small plastics.
5/19/11- Delavan Lake, sunny 75 degrees, winds NE at 4 mph. Water temp 60 degrees. Caught 11 Northern Pike and 11 Largemouth bass. The Northern Pike were caught on golden shiners fished on a Thill slip bobber in 10-11 ft of water. The best location was by Browns Channel. The bass were caught by Lake Lawn in 3-4 ft of water. They bit on nightcrawlers.
5/17/11 - Lake Koshganong, 65 degrees, winds E at 15 mph. Water temp 58 degrees. Caught 3 walleyes and 3 white bass. Trolled Lindy Shadlings at the mouth of the Rock River by Newville. We were fishing 5 ft of water. We had the crank baits set 25 ft back behind the planer boards.
5/16/11 - Delavan Lake, 38 degrees, winds E at 15-20 mph, water temp 55 degrees. Caught 6 largemouth bass - 2 legal, and several crappies and bluegills. Fishing was slow due to the cold front. Fished 3-4 ft of water. Used nightcrawlers on a split shot rig.
GENEVA: From Duwe;
Lake Geneva 5/22/11 through 5/29/11
Lake Geneva fishing is finally starting to improve with the warmer weather that we've had. The fish are starting to move closer to the spawning areas.
Smallmouth bass are suspended in 15 ft of water. They are actively chasing pods of bait fish. They can be caught on small minnow type lures or casting hair jigs. The fish are anywhere from 5-10 ft off bottom. The best locations are Maytag Point, Elgin Club and Belvidere Park. With warmer weather, the smallmouth bass should be spawning in about one week.
Bluegill fishing has been all right. They are in the shallows in 3-5 ft of water. This time of year, the panfish are accessible to shore anglers. People in Williams Bay and Geneva Bay are having success off of the Municipal piers. Most fish are being caught on slip bobbered leaf worms.
Rock Bass are starting to become active. They can be caught on fat head minnows or ½ nightcrawlers. The best success is coming out of 10-12 ft of water. The best presentation is a split shot and a single hook. Look for the fish by the Military Academy or on the west side of Black Point.
Walleye fishing has been very slow. I've not heard of any success so far this year. The water needs to warm up a few degrees to make them active. Like always, the night bite is the only way to go. Trolling crank baits will work after the warm up.
Largemouth bass are biting in 3-5 ft of water. The best location is Geneva Bay and Abbey Harbor. They can be caught on a split shot rigged nightcrawler or on a Senko type lure. Green pumpkin is the best color. The largemouth spawn is about 2-3 weeks away.
Northern Pike remain in the shallow weed flats. They can be caught slip bobber fishing large golden shiners. The best success has been coming in Fontana Beach or in Williams Bay off of the beach. The best depth is 12-14 ft of water. Position the bait 2-3 ft off the tops of the weeds. The northern pike will come up and grab them.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
EMIQUON: The best spot for largemouth in Illinois. 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.
SHELBYVILLE: Walleye are good, but white bass are so excellent trollers can't keep them off the crankbaits when working main lake ledges and points, said guide Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service. Crappie are post-spawn, soon the bite will be trolling deeper water. Walleye are good below the spillway mornings and evenings.
EVERGREEN: Time on the Water Outdoors reported good crappie in 10 feet of water, down 4 feet; saugeye mixed in.
Site staff sent this report.
Evergreen Lake Fishing Report - May 24, 2011
Level: 1 inch above Capacity
Temp: Mid-Upper 60's
Clarity: 1-5 Feet
Crappies are still being caught, but have slowed down slightly. Most coves are still producing with a jig and minnow still being the preferred bait. The saugeyes are starting to pick up nicely, with a lot of eater sizes being caught. We have been getting reports from crappie fishermen catching saugeyes in with the crappies. Jig and crawler or jig and minnow best for the saugeye. Bass are fair with a lot of smaller ones being caught near shoreline cover. The muskies are slow with some reports of follows, but no takers. The catfish are slow-fair with some reports trickling in.
Any updated fishing report will be posted here.
MID-STATE STRIP PITS: Larry Dozard of LarrysFishingHole.com reported outstanding bluegill action as they bed.
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
From the Wisconsin DNR report:
Green Bay Fishing Report: May 23, 2011
Fox River: Anglers have been finding numbers of large catfish around the bridge pilings with some fish pushing 15 lbs. Most have been using cut bait to entice the catfish. Lower Bay: Anglers have been fishing walleye in the shallows in 4-10 feet of water with good catches of fish. Salmo Hornets in hot colors have been producing well for most fishermen.
Sturgeon Bay: Anglers have found it tough to find walleye due to the constant windy conditions over the last week. Most have been trolling cranks inside the bay with some success. Smallmouth bass have started showing in good numbers the last few weeks with some fish topping out around 6 lbs being caught. Most fishermen have been targeting the warmer water in the back of the bays. Tube jigs or small jerk baits have been working the best. Northern pike have been active with large pike being caught by walleye and bass fishermen. Little Sturgeon Bay: Smallmouth have been the hot bite the last week or so with some big bass being caught in shallow water. Most anglers have been using jigs to catch fish. Anglers are reporting water temperatures in Little Sturgeon Bay between 50-60 degrees. An occasional pike is being caught as well; most anglers have been finding them in 5-10 feet of water. Bayshore Park: Perch fishing has been good for the anglers willing to put in their time with some 10 inch perch being caught. Most have been fishing 15-30 feet of water. Anglers fishing early in the morning produced the best catches. Minnows and leaf worms were the bait of choice. Walleye fishing has been a bit slow but is now picking back up. Most have been trolling harnesses or cranks. Anglers are finding walleye in 10-30 feet of water. Chaudoir's Dock: Anglers have just started perch fishing with mixed reports. Most have been targeting 25 feet of water. Minnows on slip bobbers worked the best. Walleye fishing has been slow with a few fish being caught trolling cranks.
Fishing pressure during the week was moderate and heavy on the weekend, with many shore fishermen trying their luck. Water temperatures are in the 60 degree range, although the water is a bit high and murky. Stiles Dam fishermen are catching some nice panfish on the north and south side of the dam; crawlers and minnows fished in conjunction with a slip bobber works well. Down from the dam some nice smallmouth, carp, redhorse suckers, and the occasional pike are being caught. Walleyes were snapping in the bay in front of the Pensaukee River. Some nice limits were reported caught on crawler/harness in 3 to 9 feet of water. The bass bite in the lower Pensaukee is also picking up. Walleye fishermen from Oconto Breakwater Park to Oconto Park II are reporting some nice catches of fish trolling crawler/harness and stick baits. The bullhead bite is on at Oconto Park II fishing on bottom using crawlers in the launch area.
Fishing pressure during the week was moderate and heavy on the weekend, with many shore fishermen trying their luck. Water temperatures are in the 60 degree range, although the water is a bit high and murky. The Peshtigo Harbor area fishermen are keying on smallmouth, pike, and still catching a few walleye in the river proper. High water has kept the fish numbers down a bit. Some musky action is being reported by fishermen launching out of Klingsborn's landing using big stick baits. Shore fishermen on the Menominee River have been catching a mixed bag of carp, rock bass, and walleye fishing a modified crappie rig set up. Musky fishermen have been successful fishing the breaks and islands in the river throwing spinners and stick baits.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
CHICAGO: Perch and smallmouth are slow, if weather ever allows water to clear, they should rebound. Capt. Bill Kelly of Leprechaun Charters reported limits of lakers in 80-105 feet, coho slowed off the Wilson crib and some coho and rainbows east of the R4.
NORTH POINT: Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters reported outstanding coho through Tuesday morning, before the north winds, on Dodgers and flies. The key this spring is moving around to find cleaner water after the blows, that should hold true again for the holiday weekend. But the coho are there big time
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.
RICHARD J. DALEY SPORTFISHING DERBY: Runs through Sept. 30. In May, the species are coho and perch. Register fish at Henry's Sports & Bait, Park Bait or Vet's Bait. Go to henryssports.com or call (312) 225-8538.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
D&S Bait reported decent panfish on Monona over emerging weeds in 8-10 feet, and good catfish on Mendota.
MINOCQUA: My buddy Pete Riedesel had his young son along for a weekend outing and reported stunning action on pre-spawn bass.
Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports sent this:
Spring has been slow in developing here in the Northwoods. Water temps still hovering in the 50's, weed growth is weeks behind schedule. The late spring has thrown off typical May patterns for post spawn walleye and spawning crappies. Mid week morning temperatures were in the 30's with cloud cover. This won't help with either the lake temps or the weed growth.
Walleyes: Good. Due to late spring, better than average sized walleyes (recovering post spawn females) are being caught in and around deeper wood (10-16') and rock. Redtailed and black chubs best for these larger fish (think about releasing these girls, they are spawners). Some action in weeds of 6-10' using dace or large fatheads for eaters (15-20"). Lots of anglers reported C & R of 23-27" walleyes this weekend.
Pike: Good. Find standing weeds. Jig and chub combinations best overall. #3 Mepps spinners, #9 floating rapalas in perch patterns also effective.
Crappies: Fair-good. Not what is expected for this time of May. Only a few small lakes seeing spawning. With little weed growth, drowned wood (trees, bush) holding staging fish. Minnows under floats accounting for majority of catches, but casting small tubes, Charlie Bees, 1" twister tails also effective and a good way to locate active crappies.
Largemouth Bass: Good. Catch and Release season. Fish from 14-20" with one exceptional 22"er caught. Best using 7" worms rigged texas style in 5-8' weeds. Lots of incidentals caught by walleye/pike anglers on jig/chubs. One angler reporting surface action on small lakes with heavy vegetation.
Smallmouth Bass: Fair. Catch and Release season. Cool water holding smallies out. Best around drowned wood. Jig and leech or jig and chub, wacky worms, tubes best.
Bluegills: Fair. Cool weather holding this species back. Best to fish afternoons as water warms with worms, small leeches.
Perch: Fair. Shallow water vegetation. Minnows under floats in 4-7'.
Musky: Season opens Saturday. Key on shallow, weedy areas where smaller fish are. With cool water temps, smaller twitch baits (6" grandmas, cranes), small bucktails (500 series bucker, #5 Mepps) and small 6" gliders.
Weekend outlook has temps topping out in 60's, lows in the 40's. Walleye anglers key on existing weeds, wood. Crappie anglers continue to work staging fish. If they don't come in soon, the crappies may miss their spawn on some lakes. Bass should only pick up and we should see some good musky action.
Mik-Lurch Mik-Lurch reported kings, coho and lakers in 65-75 feet, down 40-50 feet, on meat rigs on Spin doctors and spoons. Smallmouth and perch are tough. Crappie and bluegill remain good at Willow Slough through Tuesday.
Crappie are the top bite, as the Crappie Open proved on Saturday. The other top bite is bedding largemouth. Bluegill have not pulled up, don't know if that will happen in time for holiday fishermen or not.
For more reports as the lake changes into spring and summer, click here.
From the Wisconsin DNR report:
Southern Lake Michigan Fishing Report: May 23, 2011
Kenosha trollers have, at times, had success fishing offshore in 150 to 250 feet of water. Flies have been successful for coho, and chinooks have been taking spoons.
In Racine, fishing for coho has been very good with most action in 15 to 30 feet of water. Coho have been hitting orange dodgers combined with small flies in green or blue. There have been a Chinooks caught with the coho, and they have been taking spoons in blue or orange.
In Milwaukee trollers have been successful fishing for coho. Peanut flies in blue or green have taken fish nearshore in 20 to 30 feet of water. The Bender Park boat launch has been reopened, and trollers fishing that area have been catching coho around the boils. When the winds are consistently out of the west, Milwaukee shore anglers have been able to catch some salmon off McKinley pier as well.
Mik-Lurch reported walleye picked up again on the Indiana side. Looking at the forecast, I think bluegill should provide action for shore fishermen for the holiday on the Illinois side.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT