Weather, particularly wind and cold has been the defining factor, has been the defining factor, but there are pockets of decent fishing for the lakes section of 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 section. I posted the rivers section off earlier.
If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at email@example.com.
SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN OPENER
With walleye, pike, stream trout and catch-and-immediate-release bass seasons opening Saturday in the lower peninsula, this leads. Tyler Harmon messaged,
I would expect good fishing for the cool water species. Bass it will depend on the weather, but some big girls should be looking to the shallows. Plenty of males should be shallow already. Passing fronts will push them on and off.
If we ever string together a few warm nights again, bass should pull up. Otherwise, there's been steady bluegill bite at most lakes and ponds. Crappie have been probably the most consistent bite. Henry's reported good crappie at Maple.
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:
(Head): Bass and walleye still biting well and Turkey season starting off
with a bang in the central Wisconsin area.
For you river rats out there, the walleye bite is still going strong in the
central Wisconsin area. . We are seeing a lot of nice fish in that 15 to 19
inch range with a few nice slot fish up to 28 inches being caught. Most of
the fish that we been catching have been in shallow water with rocks in
anywhere from 3 to 5 feet deep. We are, though, seeing a few fish starting
to move into their summer haunts and we are starting to get some
transition-area fish in 6 to 10 feet of water. Most of the fish we have been
catching have been on jig and minnow combinations usually tipped with a
minnow but sometimes plastics like the Berkley gulp or the new Impulse
It¹s been a good spring for smallmouth and largemouth bass action in the
central Wisconsin area. With the water temperatures moving up in the 50°
range we¹re seeing a lot of fish in shallow rocks and wood. To target these
bass we¹re throwing lipless cranks and jigs tipped with tubes and plastics.
We¹re also throwing small Rapala crankbaits in fire tiger and orange.
With the water temperatures in the low 50s, the crappies haven¹t quite yet
moved into their spawning areas in central Wisconsin. We¹re still seeing a
lot of fish in 8 to 12 feet of water but that doesn¹t mean they¹re not
active. We¹re catching quite a few fish on 1/16 ounce jigs tipped with
small fathead minnows. Most of the time we¹re setting them on slip bobber
rigs set so the baits are suspended several feet off the bottom. Another
method is just plain swimming the jigs through the water at different depths
without a bobber and covering several different levels of the water column.
2012 spring turkey season in the central Wisconsin area:
The 2012 spring turkey season is starting off very well in the central
Wisconsin area. We are seeing a lot of birds in the fields and they are
readily coming to our calls and decoys. Most of the action has been early
and late in the day but we are seeing some mid-day activity more so when it
One of the things that we have noticed as being a magnet for the turkeys
this year is freshly-plowed fields. We are seeing a lot more activity in
fields that have been freshly turned over versus fields that have not yet
Another device that has been very good to us when it comes to hunting
turkeys has been the B-mobile Turkey decoy. We set that decoy out 20 to 30
yards in front of us and facing towards us at a 45 degree angle and then put
a hen decoy approximately 5 yards in front of him and when another Turkey
sees it... Oh BOY!!!!!!! He can¹t resist seeing another Tom Turkey on HIS
field with one of HIS hens and he comes directly to it just like he was on a
string. So grab your gun or bow, get a B-Mobile decoy and head out to a
freshly plowed field. The turkeys are waiting for you!
That should do for the daily ration of fowl and fish.
CHAIN O'LAKES AREA/UPPER FOX RIVER
Arden Katz reported bluegills in the channels, but fronts made a tougher bite. If weather breaks, they will bust out. Staff at Triangle reported walleye the best bite, around current areas with leeches or large fatheads. Crappie are good. Perch have been good on tinsel flies with small fatheads. Catfish and white bass are fair.
For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/
More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
Wind and weather limited effort. BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: As the IHSA sectional showed on Monday, bass are good at Braidwood. Close goes to 8 p.m. on Sunday. HEIDECKE: Walleye are the steadiest bite. Friday's IHSA sectional had its best bass catch, and lots of muskie (click here for Fish of the Week example) and walleye. The former cooling lake near Morris is open daily. Launch opens 6 a.m.; bank fishing, 6:30 a.m. Close is sunset. LaSALLE: Wind really has been the determining factor. It forced postponement of the IHSA sectional Friday, then shortened it Monday. Today should be a good window.
DELAVAN/GENEVA AREA, WISCONSIN
DELAVAN: Guide Dave Duwe sent this:
Delavan Lake 4/22/12 through 4/29/12
Only a few weeks to go until opening day and I can hardly wait. At least the bluegill bite has been good this week; it's enough to tide me over until game fish season begins. Even though the spring was warm, the cold night time temps lately have caused the water temps to fluctuate between 46 and 49 degrees and the fish aren't biting all that well.
Bluegill fishing has been good in 3-4 ft of water. Concentrate in the channels like Viewcrest and the Highlands. The best bait has been wax worms fished on an ice jig. The fish have been biting as soon as it hits the water if you have found an aggressive school. In the shallow waters there are a lot of small fish, so you need to spend some time sorting. This past Sunday, we caught 100 fish but had to sort out over ½ of them.
Crappies have been biting in the 6-8 ft depth range, 3-4 ft down. They are biting on plastics, purple or chartreuse are the best colors. You can also catch them on slip bobber rigged small minnows. Look for the fish in Viewcrest Channel or in the Highlands. You want start at the buoy line and move toward shore. I did try in Lake Lawn Lodge with limited success. The fish seem to be quite a bit smaller there.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
4/22/12 - Delavan Lake, 40 degrees, winds out of the E at 20 mph. Water temp 49 degrees. Caught 100 bluegills, kept 40. The best presentation was a bobber fished with a wax worm. Most of the fish were caught in 2-3 ft of water. The fish were in the boat channels.
4/21/12 - Lake Koshkonong, 35 degrees, winds E, water temp 46 degrees. Caught 1 walleye and 10 white bass. Fished by Newville. Most of the white bass were caught trolling in 5 ft of water. Chrome/blue were the best colors for the #5 shad rap crankbaits.
GENEVA: Duwe sent this:
Lake Geneva 4/22/12 through 4/29/12
The water temperature remains cold. The cool nights have made fishing tough this year. The best bite on the lake remains yellow perch as they continue to be in the shallow waters. Remember that Opening Day is the first Saturday in May.
Perch fishing has been good in 3-4 ft of water. The best location has been by Fontana Beach, Rainbow Point or by Knollwood. You want to look for the hard sand bottom with scattered weeds. The best presentation is Thill slip bobbers fished with a fat head minnow. As a rule, the bigger the minnow, the bigger the fish. Move around if you aren't finding success because the fish have been very aggressive if they are there.
Bluegill fishing has been very good in Trinkes or around the piers in Geneva Bay. The fish are in 3-4 ft of water. They are biting on wax worms or garden worms fished on an ice jig. Fish the bluegills 1-2 ft down beneath your bobber. You need to keep moving to find the bigger fish. They are really schooled up right now and if you find a couple of bigger fish you should find more big fish.
Lake Trout fishing has been very good off the beach in Fontana or off Black Point. The best presentation has been shiners fished beneath a slip bobber or casting small crankbaits. You want to mimic the bait fish in the lake for the best success.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
POWERTON: Boat and shore fishing is open. Site is open daily 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Summer hours--6 a.m.-8 p.m.--begin Tuesday. Blues, flatheads and channel catfish have been the primary bite; smallmouth have been slow, according to site super Stan Weimer.
SPRING: Those prefishing for the big bass tournament this weekend have been catching some, according to Weimer. But the up and down weather really impacts this lake. That weather have made for tough crappie fishing.
EMIQUON: As usual, there have been days with unbelievable fishing reports. I haven't made it there yet this year. The 2012 permits are available for fishing at Emiquon from Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown.
EVERGREEN: Any updated fishing report from site staff will be posted here.
HENNEPIN-HOPPER LAKES: They will be closed again for 2012 as work on common carp removal continues.
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
From the Wisconsin DNR report:
April 23, 2012
The week was quiet at all locations. The temperatures dropped and it was very windy with rain on a few days. The weekend, however, brought warmer temperatures, sun and fishermen. Bayshore Park: At Bayshore park there were 14 boat trailers and two pier fishermen. Five walleye were caught in total, but three walleye were kept using flicker shads and crank baits. They ranged in sizes of 21 1/2 inches to 23 inches and from about 4lbs to 5lbs. The water temperature was 47 degrees on the Bay. Chaudoir's Dock: There was lots of activity at Chaudoir's Dock. There were 15 boat trailers and a total of 12 walleye were caught, but three walleye were kept ranging in sizes of 19 inches to 24 3/4 inches and from 3 lbs to 6 lbs. One fisherman also caught a whitefish, a perch and a smallmouth bass (all released). Flicker shads and rapalas were the favorable baits used. Sawyer Harbor: Over at Sawyer Harbor, there were a few trailers at Potawatomi Park and there was one trailer at Idlewild Park. Little Sturgeon Bay: The end of the weekend had good fishing activity on Little Sturgeon Bay; there were several boat trailers. One fisherman caught 1 walleye, 1 northern pike, and 6 smallmouth bass. Another group caught three smallmouth bass.
As a result of rain, snow, and wind, on almost a daily basis, fishing pressure has been light. Water temperatures are in the mid to upper 40's. Bluegill and crappie continue to provide some good fishing opportunities at the Stiles Dam. Crawlers and minnows used either with a slip bobber or free floating has been working well. Smallmouth continue to bite on both the Oconto River and the Pensaukee. Stick baits and plastics are working well. Walleye fishermen out of Oconto Breakwater Park and Oconto Park II have been having success in 7 to 10 feet of water trolling crawler/harness.
As a result of rain, snow, and wind, on almost a daily basis, fishing pressure has been light. Water temperatures are in the mid to upper 40's.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
Weather has been the limiting factor. Should have a window today. CHICAGO: Before blows, smallmouth were showing up in the harbors. On Tuesday, Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters found lakers in 35-45 feet off Chicago. WAUKEGAN/NORTH POINT: Perch are spotty at best for boaters. Poteshman reported good coho in 150-200 on red Dodgers and peanut flies; a few lakers and kings mixed in. SMELT: Smelt netting, the great vanishing tradition of Chicago fishing, ends Monday night. Nets may be set at 7 p.m. Netters must be out of the parks by 1 a.m. 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.
MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN
Click here for D&S Bait.
EAGLE RIVER: Creative Brilliance sent this report for the Chamber of Commerce on Sunday, so keep that timing in mind:
(Head): Crappies and perch putting on a fair bite in the Eagle River,
The water temps in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area have risen to the upper
40s, but that¹s still a bit cool, so the panfish action continues to be
somewhat slow. Anglers are definitely catching fish, but they¹re not
³jumping in the boat.²
Crappies in the Eagle River area are locating in 12 feet of water or less
and that¹s day dependent. If the water warms, the crappies will be caught in
about 5 feet of water. If it is cool throughout the day, the crappies will
be locating in 12 feet of water. The crappies are hanging a couple of feet
off the bottom. Fish areas with weeds, or off break edges, near weeds. Use
a crappie minnow under a slip bobber or small jig. All day bite.
Perch in the Eagle River area are tight to bottom in 10 feet of water or
less. The perch are a little shallower than the crappies, but not by much.
Fish shallow weeds or just off of break edges near weeds. Use a chunk of
crawler or a crappie minnow under a slip bobber. All day bite.
Best chance for fishing success right now remains the Eagle River Chain of
28 lakes (largest freshwater chain of lakes in the world).
(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: Kurt Justice of Kurt's Island Sport Shop sent this:
Morning temps last week hit low 20's, but highs 40's to low 50's by afternoons. A definite move to the shallows as the lakes warm each day. Again afternoons best. Measure water temps range 48-52 degrees with calm, sunny water the warmest.
Crappies: Good. Afternoons finding fish moving shallow to 4' and even less at times. Crappie minnows under small floats with little or no weight best. Tiny 1/64 oz hair, plastic or tinsel jigs drifting below wind blown floats also effective.
Perch: Fair-Good. Small to medium fatheads, or 1/2 crawlers below floats in 5-8' with soft bottoms and scattered weed and wood best.
Bluegills: Fair. Wait till afternoons to fish. Use waxies or leaf worms and pitch to shallow of 5' or less in calm sunny bays from long distance so as not to spook fish.
Panfish has definitely picked up as the week has moved along. Some anglers actually rating the crappie fishing as very good. With a continuing, gradual warm up these bites will only get better.
Weather has limited effort on Lake Michigan. There should be a window today. Tough stretch other than Wolf (see below).
Denny Sands at Lakeside caught big bass (up to 5 pounds) up shallow on Tuesday, twitching a floating Rapala next to stumps. At Friday's IHSA bass fishing sectional, most bass were caught on ChatterBaits in the weeds. Crappie are good, best in the cribs on minnows down 4 feet. A few smaller muskies have been boated.
SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT
From the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report:
April 23, 2012
Small browns and a few small coho have been caught on the east side of the Racine harbor on blue spoons. Trollers report some success catching a few browns on spoons and crank baits in 25-40 feet of water. The water in and around the harbor has been dirtier than normal with an east wind blowing in.
North Shore: When winds are light browns are being caught in the harbor, between the gaps and outside the breakwater on various colors of spoons including blue and green. A few coho are also being picked up with similar presentations. Fishermen on McKinley pier have picked up a few brown trout while throwing spoons or fishing with minnows. The shoreline along Summerfest is producing a few browns with the most successful presentations focusing on minnows and spawn sacs with a few additional fish being caught on spoons. Those anglers trying for perch have a picked up an only a few on minnows on the bottom. South Shore: With changing winds the past few days, very few fishermen have been out. Trolling flicker shads in bright colors and flies have brought about the greatest success for catching browns. Fishing under the Hoan Bridge has been slow. Rainbows were seen moving up Oak Creek again, but with little fishing pressure not many were caught. A few browns have been caught on the Grant Park pier. Milwaukee River: Water was dirty and the water flow was up as to be expected with recent rainfall. No anglers were spotted fishing for steelhead. Water temperatures readings were around the 47 degrees in the shallows due to cool mornings and recent rainfall. Menomonee River: No anglers were present fishing for steelhead on the river. The remaining anglers had switched their efforts to fishing for walleyes in the deep holes. Anglers were still reporting some success right at daybreak and again at dusk while with leeches on the bottom or below a bobber. Water temperatures readings were approximately 47 degrees in the shallows. Unlike the Milwaukee, the Menomonee was relatively clear with a medium to low flow rate.
Fishing pressure has been low in Port Washington. A few boaters have been successful catching brown trout in the harbor area between the piers. Blue spoons have been the favored bait. Sauk Creek has high water after rain late last week, and the average temperature is 44 degrees.
The Sheboygan lakefront has had very little fishing activity in the past week due to strong winds and high waves. On the Sheboygan River anglers fishing for northern pike with golden shiners at the Kohler Dam have been quite successful. The river has high water after recent rains with an average water temperature of 42 degrees.
Henry's reported pike and bass good in Illinois. IHSA sectional Friday had good bass. Mik-Lurch reported walleye on Indiana side are the best bite on a jig and minnow, leeches or trolling with Shad Raps.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
Water Dog Journal
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT