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Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes section

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A very weird time sets up with this extended warmth, and that results of that heat is the main theme in this Midwest Fishing Report.


That's Jason Fox with a crappie from a northern Cook County lake.

This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears on the Sun-Times outdoors page on Wednesdays.

If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at

There are many good bites, including for largemouth bass on nearly all public lakes, but the best is probably for perch on southern Lake Michigan.


It started like crazy for boaters out of Indiana over the weekend. I had readers sending reports of perch to 15 inches and easy limits out of East Chicago. Mike Starcevich at Mik-Lurch said, ``This is the best perching since the March three years ago, and it is getting ready to blow that away. Even some perch on the rocks at Gary Light. The lake looks like the Caribbean.'' In Indiana, there's also catches at Portage and the Hole-in-the-Wall.

From Chicago shore, there are perch being caught, but it takes sorting for keepers. Ed Schmitt ( sent this Tuesday morning:

There are perch around Dale. No jumbos this morning, but I could have left with a limit of fish if I kept fish under 10". Fish were relating to artificially lit water before sunrise, and shoreline rocks after sun up. Small plastic minnow imitating jigs took all the fish.

Weather looks relatively stable for the next 10 days or more. I tend to think Starcevich might be right that they will spawning next month.


Henry's eighth annual Coho Derby is Saturday. Register on the north seawall between the Adler and the Shedd, beginning at 6:30 a.m. Fishing is 7-11 a.m. Go to or call (312) 225-8538.


Water warms through the 50s on most lakes, higher on ponds. Steve Palmisano at Henry's Sports & Bait reported crappie going at the usual spots, such as Monee Reservoir and Saganashkee.

Jason Norris of sent this:

Fishing at Busse, Skokie Lagoons and Beck is excellent! Lots of largemouth bass reported on the boards during the past week. I had one of my best weeks at Busse with 9 keeper bass between 16-18". Another Busse regular also did extremely well.

Lipless crankbaits, rattling crankbaits, Minus 1's have all been hot. Jigs and soft plastics have also gotten some bass, but the rattling crankbaits seems to be the way to go.

Here's links to some of the reports if you'd like to see, all with some great pics and from good sources...

Busse Lake Posts

Skokie Lagoons Posts

Beck Lake Posts


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): Ice fishing season is done but spring walleye is heating up; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River of Wisconsin's Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau). Editor's Note: The season for walleye and northern has closed on most waters in northern Wisconsin. Remember that the walleye and northern seasons on many waters of the central Wisconsin area DO NOT CLOSE, and you can fish for those species. Before you fish for walleye and northern in central Wisconsin, check with the local DNR to make sure that the water you may want to fish in central Wisconsin remains open.

With the warm temperatures we are pulling the plug on ice fishing for the season. The ice in many areas is almost gone and even further north it is honeycombing and dangerous. Even with 14 to 20 inches of ice the strength when honeycombed is not there and can be very deceiving and dangerous.

Now with that said lets move on to open water fishing.

Here in the central Wisconsin area the season remains open year round for walleye and northerns on the Wisconsin River and this is the time of the year to catch quite a few nice walleyes and maybe even that 10+ pound trophy! With the rapidly raising water levels from spring run-off walleyes will seek refuge in deeper pools or areas with slower current sometimes deep eddies or even backwater areas. Target walleyes in these areas with brightly colored lead head jigs tipped with fathead minnows. The key to catching fish and not just fishing is to keep your presentation slow and right on the bottom. Walleyes are not very aggressive right now but can be caught by finding their location and by keeping the bait in their strike zone for a longer period of time.

Good luck and remember to be safe especially with the cold high water.


Arden Katz reported excellent crappie in the channels Tuesday on white Mini-Mites with spikes. Greg Dickson at Triangle suggested trying the channel mouths, too. Walleye fishermen are doing best on main lake areas of Pistakee and Marie.

For more reports, see

More Chain info at


BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Bass continue strong. Site staff reported 87 degrees on the south, 80 on the north, Monday. Close goes to 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. HEIDECKE: Reopens April 1. LaSALLE: The cooling lake south of Seneca is o;pen Wednesday through Sunday only, 6 a.m.-12:30 p.m., in March. Best is hybrids from the south bank on chicken livers. Bass have been OK for boaters and shore fishermen. Bluegill are excellent on the east bank.


DELAVAN: Brian Gates at Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle--(262) 245-6150--lots of crappie (6-7) and bluegill (3-5 feet) in Lake Lawn, Assembly Grounds and both sides of the island. GENEVA: He said perch, they take sorting, are being caught in 5 feet; bluegill take sorting in Abbey harbor. PELL: Gates there's been some good bluegill and some crappie.


SHELBYVILLE: Guide Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service--(217) 454-2672--said ``the bite is on'' for crappie shallow on white tube jigs. Water is 62 degrees. EVERGREEN: Thom Matejewski at Time on the Water Outdoors reported very good crappie, very shallow. The 2012 permits are available here, too. Any updated fishing report from staff will be posted here. POWERTON: Boat and shore fishing is open. Site is open daily 8 a.m.-4 p.m. EMIQUON: The 2012 permits are available for fishing at Emiquon from Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown. HENNEPIN-HOPPER LAKES: They will be closed again for 2012 as work on common carp removal continues.


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


CHICAGO: Arden Katz reported good browns at Diversey. Carl Vizzone reported bass and crappie very active in the harbors. He caught his first 18-inch smallmouth of the season from shore the past week. The shore bite for coho has slowed; boaters continue to do phenomenally well. Schmitt also sent this on his perch outing at Diversey, ``I also got a bonus brown trout on my way out. Last cast fish throwing a white X-Rap. I gave the fish to a fellow that rode his bike in and looked to be fishing for food. Always happy to help others put food on the table and the karma doesn't hurt either.'' That's the way to do it. WAUKEGAN: Salmon Stop staff reported browns, coho and steelhead being caught off all three piers. Boaters are working that 20-foot range for spring coho. CHICAGO FISHERMAN'S PARKING: The fisherman's parking pass--$10 for two months and available at Henry's Sports & Bait--is needed to park south of the main building at Northerly Island. . . . That's the same pass good for the small fishermen's lots at Burnham and DuSable harbors.


EAGLE RIVER: Creative Brilliance sent this report for the Chamber of Commerce on Sunday, so keep that timing in mind:

(Head): SPECIAL ALERT! Ice fishing over in Eagle River, Wisconsin

The lakes are opening up in Eagle River, Wisconsin and ice fishing season is over.

Get your boats and gear ready. Open water fishing will begin very soon --and that includes the legendary ice-out perch bonanza in Eagle River.

(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: Kurt's Island Sport Shop staff reported lakes opened up this week.


For perch, see top. Mik-Lurch reported coho are slowing for shore fishermen, but coho and browns are going good for boaters, especially those working discharges early. Willow Slough has exploded for bluegill and crappie.


Lakeside is open. Water warms through the 50s.

You can check updates on Facebook.


Tyler Harmon messaged that ``coho fishing is about shot, this warm weather has shut it down. Steelhead are still moving but the bite is about dead. . . . panfish are hitting in area lakes, variety of plastics, and live baits catching them.''


Starcevich reported bass are on their beds. That's just incredible.



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This weather makes me think of how water disappears on the beach before a tsunami hits.

or Mint might be thinking metaphorically of the summer of 1995.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on March 21, 2012 6:36 AM.

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