Chicago Sun-Times
Stray Casts will intelligently report and observe, hopefully with a touch of wit, on daily occurrences, reports and releases related to Chicago-area outdoors from bucks to bass to birds to bugs

Midwest Fishing Report: Areas/lakes

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

Lakes and local ponds have been the spot in this stretch of continued varied weather and lead this Midwest Fishing Report, I might add the white bass action on Lake Shelbyville, too.

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

Let's lead with a reminder.


Indiana's Free Fishing Weekend is Saturday and Sunday, but it applies only to Hoosier residents. Click here for some organized options.


As the Fish of the Week show, largemouth are prime on area ponds and lakes now. Should be the prime week for bluegill and redear, too. This is just a good comfortable time to fish local ponds. Do it.


For guide Mike Norton's report, go to, then click on fishing, then lake report.


From licensed guide and trapper Phil Schweik and guide Glenn Moberg of Hooksetters Guide Service:

(Head): Musky opener! - - Walleyes, crappies, bluegills and smallmouth bass
hitting strong, all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River of
Wisconsin's Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau).

With water temps in the upper 50s, the muskies are a few weeks behind
schedule in the central Wisconsin area. With that said, look for the
muskies to be holding up very shallow in less than 3 feet of water. Small
spinner baits and bucktails will be your best bet along with 6 inch twitch
baits like Bucher Shallow Raiders, Tyrrants and Jakes. Work these lures
along shoreline areas and in shallow bays with any wood ore newly emerging
weeds. Don't rule out top water baits either as some nice muskies were
taken at the opener. Take a crack at a menacing top water lure that just
seemed irresistible to some of the "big girls." And musky hunters were not
surprised as they got a smack from a big northern, as there are plenty of
them holding out in the same general areas as the muskies are right now.

The smallmouth bass action in the central Wisconsin area has been
outstanding, and some very big fish are being caught - -up to 21+ inches.
Look for these aerobic fighters to be holding tight to shoreline structure
and around any submerged woods in less than 4 feet of water. Chub Bugs and
Heddon Torpedoes will work on top and a jig and pig (jig tipped with a hunk
of pork rind) or a small crankbait on the bottom. Either of these
presentations will draw aggressive bronze backs from their structure and
create an attack that you will remember for a very long time. These hard
hitting, strong, fighting fish will anyone the fishing experience of a

Crappies have really been the bread and butter of anglers in the central
Wisconsin area. The crappies have been holding in less than 3 feet of water
and for the most part any submerged wood or shoreline reeds have been
literally infested with them. Small minnows set about one foot under a
bobber of Cubby Mini Mites rigged the same way will pull these feisty slabs
from cover to your waiting net. Don't try to pull these slabs from the
water and swing them into the boat, once hooked, because of their weight and
paper thin mouths, they will tear free and will be gone forever.

The bluegills in the central Wisconsin area are starting to move in and some
nice bull gills are being caught in water as shallow as 6 inches! Look for
shoreline brush or weeds along with any wood in less than 3 feet of water.
These areas are bluegill magnets. A hook and warm under a bobber is all you
need to catch bluegills, but an experienced angler can try tiny spinners or
mini cranks to target the larger ones.

Walleyes, walleyes, walleyes - -that's the "tune being sung" in the central
Wisconsin area.
At this time of year all you hear is usually that post spawn walleyes are
quite lethargic. Many anglers are targeting musky, panfish or bass, and are
overlooking some of the best walleye fishing of the year. These fish have
spawned and moved off to summer haunts, and can be easily taken by working a
jig and a minnow or jig and a crawler. Right now the walleyes are holding
in a variety of depths of water, along rocky shoreline structure, and wood.
To get these generally night time feeders, you need to drop your
presentation right in front of their nose. A properly placed cast, in and
around structure will almost always get a reaction from a feeding walleye.
Early morning hours and evening hours are the best on most bodies of water,
but these fish can also be taken from the stained waters of the Wisconsin
River and its backwater areas during mid day hours.


With warming waters, bluegill in the channels are the top bite. Triangle reported catfish improved, too; Grass, Fox and Marie are best. Crappie are good, slabs being taken, look in channel mouths. Walleye are good around current areas and bridges on Lindy rigs with blade spinners or on floating jigheads. Muskie improved on main lake points near deeper water. Some good-sized white bass are being taken, look on Marie or Petite.

For more reports, see

More Chain info at


BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Angelo's reported bluegill, bass and crappie going at Mazonia. Catfish remain the top bite at Braidwood, for bigger ones go to cut bait. Close is 8:30 p.m.

LaSALLE: The guys I talk to who are regulars haven't said anything recently.

HEIDECKE: Crappie catches are going, but walleye take sorting for keepers, according to Mik-Lurch.


DELAVAN: From guide Dave Duwe:

Delavan Lake 5/29/11 through 6/5/11
Happy Memorial Day! The official start of summer is here, too bad the weather hasn't been all that cooperative. It is improving though and we are expecting seasonal temperatures for the coming week.
Northern pike fishing remains excellent. The pike are in 11-13 ft of water on the weed flats. They are being caught on Thill slip bobbers fished with small suckers or large golden shiners. You can still get away with using golden shiners because the water temperatures are cold enough. With warmer water, the golden shiners tend to die quickly at which point I will switch to all suckers. Most of the action is coming out of the Highlands bay or by Browns Channel.
Walleye fishing has been good at night. A good night is about 10-15 fish. With clear water the fish are in 10-15 ft of water. Medium diving crank baits or Smithwick rattling Rogues are producing most of the action. The best color is chrome/blue or fire tiger. Good locations are by Willow Point, Assembly Park and by Browns Channel.
Bluegills are in two patterns. They can be caught in 3-4 ft of water and I've also caught them in 11-12 ft of water. With the cooler water, they have not spawned yet. The bigger fish that I've found tend to be in the deeper water by Browns Channel. The best approach is slip bobbering them with a Thill slip bobber and a piece of nightcrawler or a leaf worm. Some of the bluegills I caught last week were over 9 inches.
Largemouth bass are still trying to spawn but they are bit screwed up with the cold water. Most of the fish are 3-4 ft of water. They can be caught on Yum Dingers. Green pumpkin or the root beer colors are the best choice. Look for the fish in Highlands Bay, Viewcrest Bay or by the golf course at Lake Lawn.
Crappie fishing remains very steady. Most of my fish are coming out of the 11-13 ft depth range. They are being caught on slip bobber rigged fat head minnows or on small plastics. The best colored plastic seems to be purple. Look for the fish by Willow Point or by Belvidere Park.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

Daily Reports
5/29/11 - Delavan Lake, 56 degrees, foggy and cloudy, winds calm, water temp 58 degrees. Caught 11 largemouth, 1 walleye and 4 northern pike. All the fish were caught on split shot rigged nightcrawlers in 3-4 ft of water near Lake Lawn Lodge. The northern pike were caught on large golden shiners near Browns Channel.
5/28/11 - Delavan Lake, 40 degrees, cloudy, winds W at 15-20 mph. Water temp 58 degrees. Caught 14 largemouth, the biggest was just shy of 5 lbs. and 5 northern pike. Fished nightcrawlers on a split shot rig in 3-4 ft of water. Fished by the outlet and by Lake Lawn. Northern Pike were caught on large golden shiners fished on a slip bobber in 11 ft of water. The key was keeping the bait 2 ft above the weeds, we were fishing near Browns Channel.
5/27/11 - Lake Geneva, 55 degrees, sunny, wind E at 15-20 mph. Water temp 56 degrees. Caught 9 largemouth - 3 were legal, 3 smallmouth - 2 were legal. Fished in Abbey harbor with nightcrawlers on a split shot rig. Did catch one of the bigger largemouth on the top water lure. The smallmouth bass came by Belvidere Park and by Elgin Club. The bite was pretty slow.

GENEVA: From Duwe;

Lake Geneva 5/29/11 through 6/5/11
Happy Memorial Day, let the lake festivities begin! With continued cooler temperatures the lake is still pretty cold but an expected warm up this week will really help get the water temps up and the fish in some more normal patterns.
The smallmouth bass are still in transition. I've seen some that are spawning and some that wish they were. Most of the fish are suspended in 12-15 ft of water. The best location is by Belvidere Park and Elgin Club. Most of my fish are coming off of fat head minnows or white hair jigs. The fish are not associating with the bottom, they are suspended in the water column 3-4 ft off bottom.
Rock bass are aggressively hitting throughout the lake. The bigger fish were caught at Belvidere Park last week. Pretty much every place I fished last week we caught rock bass. They were biting the white hair jig and the nightcrawlers equally as well. The best depth was 12 ft and less.
Largemouth bass can be caught in the shallows. My best success was in Abbey harbor which is the warmest water on the lake. I was throwing split shot rigged nightcrawlers. Some of the bass I caught this week were over 3 lbs. I did fish in Geneva Bay with limited success. The day that I fished there, the water temp was 5 degrees less than the rest of the lake. Once the water temps increase, fishing should improve greatly. One of the spots I would check next week is Trinkes Bay in 5-6 ft of water. You either want to fish a split shot rigged nightcrawlers or cast a Senko in green pumpkin color.
Bluegills are in and around the piers. They can be caught on leaf worms fished beneath a bobber and a small ice jig. The best location is by Williams Bay or Geneva Bay. You can sight fish them to catch the bigger fish. There are a lot of small ones mixed in with the bigger fish. With warming water temp the bluegill fishing will also improve.
I haven't fished for or heard of anyone catching any Walleyes yet. I assume that the bite is the best at night in the shallow weed flats. Try for them in 10-12 ft of water and try chrome/blue or chrome/black Rapala Husky jerks.
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 of Lithia Guide Service reported excellent white bass on main lake flats or points trolling with small crankbaits, some walleye, too. Crappie slowed. Walleye are good below the dam evenings.

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.

EVERGREEN: Site staff sent this report.

Evergreen Lake Fishing Report - May 31, 2011
Water Conditions
Level: Flowing at Spillway
Temp: Upper 60's
Clarity 1-5 Feet

Saugeye are about the best bet this week. They are being caught in shallower water usually in 10 ft. or less. Target humps, flats and off of points. Trolling with crank baits, jigs/minnows, and jigs/worms are all producing nicely. Crappie are still being caught, but have slowed slightly. Bass are doing well on top water baits. There are still a lot of little Bass being caught, but several lunkers have been reported. Bluegills are being caught along weeds and rip-rap on wax worms and small pieces of crawler.
Good Luck, Brad

Any updated fishing report will be posted here.


For Ohio DNR report go to and or call (888) HOOKFISH.


CHICAGO: The best news might be the perch Park Bait reported off the east jetty at Montrose Tuesday morning. Capt. Bill Kelly of Leprechaun Charters reported good lakers in 105-115 feet. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters reported good kings and coho scattered in 65-100, best on Dodgers and Howie nuggets. Water needs to clear for the shoreline smallmouth to improve.

WAUKEGAN: Salmon Stop reported good action in 80-105, between Waukegan and Great Lakes, 40-65 down, for coho and big kings (up to 19 pounds). Smaller boats are trolling shallower and picking up some. A few perch reports deep (55-60 feet). Shore fishermen are taking a few perch off the end of the pier, a few coho and steelhead, too.

NORTH POINT: Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters reported good coho and kings on the hill (90-120), straight out and to the nuclear plant; a few nice steelhead. He said there's some nice coho on the beach for small boaters, too.

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. Species for June are carp, catfish, perch, coho and chinook. Register fish at Henry's Sports & Bait, Park Bait or Vet's Bait. Go to or call (312) 225-8538.


EAGLE RIVER: Creative Brilliance sent this report for the Chamber of Commerce:

(Head): Musky slow at the opener, with northern and crappies providing good
action, and walleye, and perch fair in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.

The musky opener in the Eagle River area was slow. The action for musky will
pick up immediately with a consistent warming pattern. Water temps are in
the upper 50s to low 60s. Best success came when anglers fished shallow
weeds (2 to 6 feet) in dead or emergent weed growth. Small baits with a
slow retrieve provided the most consistent bite. Minnow baits, #5 Mepps,
six inch Jakes, and Husky Jerks all gained some follows and bites.

Walleye in the Eagle River area are locating outside of weeds in 6 to 15
feet of water. A jig and minnow fished around sunset provided the best
action. The bite in general is fair.

Northern are providing some good action in the Eagle River area. Fish in 10
feet of water or less in and around weeds. Use a jig and a minnow, northern
sucker under a slip bobber, a Husky Jerk or small spinner bait. Good,
aggressive bite.

There's a good crappie bite in the Eagle River area. The crappies will vary
from 2 to 12-14 feet of water depending on the day. They're hanging out
near or in new and emergent weed growth, or dead, standing weeds. The
crappies are generally suspending 2 to 5 feet off the bottom. Use a crappie
minnow under a slip bobber.

Perch in the Eagle River area are in 3 to 8 feet of water, in and around
weeds, and are tight to the bottom. Use a crappie minnow under a slip
bobber, or fathead minnow on a jig. Action is fair.

(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:; web:
* "Muskie Matt", 715-891-5980; e-mail:
* Mat Hegy, 715-571-7544, e-mail:
* 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:

Not a bad fishing weekend weather wise. A little cool in the morning. Wind didn't get bad till Monday. Fish not cooperating as well as hoped, but things look to be on the upswing.

Walleye: Fair-Good. Lack of weeds still holding back a lot of anglers from finding consistent catches. Where new weed growth can be found, jigging medium redtails, dace or fatheads effective. Deep gravel humps at dusk and any drowned wood in deeper water holding walleyes. A few anglers reporting catches on leeches around wood.

Crappie: Fair-Good. A few shallow lakes, lake channels and bays have seen some spawning activity. On most lakes, crappies still staging. With recent warm weather, they will either be in this week or miss their chance all together. Small jigs, tubes, minnows 3-4' down over standing cabbage holding crappies. Anglers reporting good catches of 10-12" fish once located, many sitting out in 8-12' of water.

Musky: Fair. Not a great opener. Surprisingly few reports from small dark lakes. Deeper, clear lakes producing best on small gliders, twitch baits and bucktails. Some nice 39-43" fish reported for the short season.

Largemouth Bass: Good. Some very nice fish in the 3-5# range being caught from 3 to 8' weeds. Most of the larger fish taken on lures meant for pike and musky. Anglers using twitch baits (Husky Jerks, X-raps, Rattlin Rouges) finding larger fish in shallow. Plastics taking more numbers but not the size.

Pike: Good. Large chubs, suckers on jigs or under floats. Working sluggo style plastics for bass also scoring well. Nice fish to 30" this week with one exceptional 40" taken on jig/chub.

Perch: Good. Feeding in and about any available weeds. Gulp minnows on 1/32 oz jig, medium leeches and fatheads all producing. Find fresh weeds in 6-8' of water. Fan cast to locate active fish.

Bluegill: Good. Not in yet! Water needs to warm, but small leeches, pieces of worm, tiny 1" Gulp fish fry on 1/64 oz jig in 4-6' of water.

Smallmouth bass: Just starting to move in to bed. Jig and creature, tubes good for windy days. Go up top with Chug Bugs, Jitterbugs on calm days for the most fun.

After mornings in the 30's (and 20's) last week, warm trend should really help spur water temps and weed growth. Bug hatches and baitfish moving into shallows. This is a good sign.


Mik-Lurch reported salmon scattered from 70-200 feet, and smallmouth improving with clearing water on Lake Michigan. Willow Slough remains good for bluegill and crappie, hitting in the front now, too.


Lake is normal pool but murky. On Memorial Day, Lakeside reported perch and bluegill were best with catfish improving. Lake should clear by weekend for better fishing. NOTE: The muskie rescue scheduled for today below the dam has been postponed.

For more reports, click here.


From the Wisconsin DNR report:

Southern Lake Michigan Fishing Report: May 31, 2011
Kenosha Co.
Kenosha trollers have had their best success with coho, and a few rainbows and lake trout have also been harvested. The best water depths have been 45 to 60 feet, with some boats reporting success in 100 feet of water. Orange dodger and fly combinations have been consistently catching fish, and some anglers also reported success with stick baits. Very little shore fishing activity has been reported in Kenosha.
Racine Co.
In Racine the weather stabilized somewhat by this past weekend and allowed for better fishing conditions. Boats have been doing well with some limits of coho taken, but only an occasional Chinook has been harvested. Some of the best success has occurred just outside the Racine Reef in 40 to 60 feet of water, with fish being harvested from 20 feet down all the way to the bottom. Surface water temps have been 48 to 49 degrees. Orange dodger and fly combinations have been the preferred lures with blue and silver, and orange peanut flies reported to be popular choices. Very little effort has been seen in shore fishing activity.
Milwaukee Co.
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.
Ozaukee Co.
Port Washington Ramps: Fishing pressure has been moderate to high at times. The catch rate has remained relatively good, but not quite as high as it was last week. The water temperature has ranged from 48 to 52F nearshore, and fishing has been best around 70 to 140 feet of water. Trolling with flies has been the most productive, and coho salmon have been the main catch, with a few lake trout and chinook salmon mixed in. Port Washington Power Plant: Fishing pressure at the power plant has been light, with very few fish being caught. The water temperature is around 54F, and the powerplant is still pumping water. Most anglers have been casting spoons or spinners, with mostly small, stocker-size brown trout being caught. Port Washington Pier: Fishing pressure on the pier is moderate, but catches have been inconsistent. The fishing has been very hit or miss with a few coho salmon being caught on alewives and spoons.
Sheboygan Co.
Watch out for the orange flags and buoys that mark commercial fishing trap nets set in Lake Michigan. Steer clear and give these markers a wide berth to avoid getting tangled and capsizing. Learn where the nets are set on our Trap Net page.
Sheboygan Ramps: Fishing pressure on the lake has been moderate with very hit or miss catches. Most anglers have been having success trolling flies and orange dodgers. The water temperature has ranged from 48-52F. Depths of 30 to 45 feet of water have been the most productive, and coho salmon have been the main catch, with a few lake trout and Chinook salmon also being caught. Sheboygan Piers: Fishing pressure has been moderate, but the catch rate has been low overall, although a few fish have been taken. Most anglers are casting spoons or alewives. The few fish that were caught were mainly coho salmon, with a few chinook salmon also reported.


Mik-Lurch reported walleye are decent on the Indiana side. Bluegill should be a prime species this week in both states.



Fishing Headquarters



MICHIGAN DNR REPORT,1607,7-153-10364-34956--,00.html






No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL:

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on June 1, 2011 9:11 AM.

Midwest Fishing Report: Rivers section was the previous entry in this blog.

Shabbona Lake: Muskie rescue Saturday is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.