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Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes section

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With the return to more typical spring weather and cooling waters, crappie are taking the lead in the lakes section of the Midwest Fishing Report.


The Jarmon family of Joliet caught these nice crappie at Rend Lake on Sunday.

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


Lakeside is holding ``Going For The Illinois State Record Muskie'' Friday through Sunday at Shabbona Lake, which has produced four state record muskies. It's free, and timing could be good. Click here or call (815)824-2581.


Season opened Saturday with nearly perfect weather. I suspect most have been caught, but there will be some around for persistent sorts. An inland trout stamp is needed for those 16 and older. Daily limit is five. Area waters include Axehead, Belleau and Sag Quarry East (Cook County); Silver (DuPage); Gebhard Woods State Park Pond (Grundy); Rock Creek at Kankakee River SP and Bird Park Quarry (Kankakee); Big Lake at Silver Springs SP (Kendall); Sand Lake at Illinois Beach SP and Banana Lake (Lake); Lake Atwood and Piscasaw Creek (McHenry) and Lake Milliken at Des Plaines Conservation Area (Will). Click here for the complete listing for Illinois.


On some lakes and ponds, water is even dropping into the 40s. Crappie are the best bite, but most effort over the weekend was on spring trout. This weekend looks for favorable for general fishing, especially crappie and bluegill.


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): Solid walleye bite, with both largemouth and smallmouth bass on the move, and wild turkey season starts April 11th, with very good success projections from the Wisconsin DNR ; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River of Wisconsin's Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau).

This past week has been very good for walleye fishing in the central
Wisconsin area. We have been catching a lot of fish averaging 40 to 80 per outing but a lot of those fish have been small males in the 14 to 17 inch range that have been staging in water depths from 6 to 14 feet deep.. We are also seeing some of those big females in the 20 to 30 inch range and most of them have been caught in very shallow water less than 3 feet deep. Most of our action is coming on 1/8th and 1/4 ounce jigs tipped with minnows being dragged right on the bottom in the deeper areas. When we are targeting walleyes up shallow we are running medium sized crankbaits like Rapalas and Thundersticks in chartreuse and orange and tossing them right tight to shore.

The bass have been active this past week in the central Wisconsin area, and we have seen quite a few nice fish in the 3 to 5 pound range with a couple that might even push the 6 pound mark. Most of the bass have been up shallow holding on rocky shorelines in less than 4 feet of water but we did catch a few deep water stragglers in 16 to 20 feet of water this past week. The bass have been hitting a variety of baits including jigs tipped with plastic tails like tubes, crawfish, and twister tails along with a few nice fish on crankbaits like shallow shad raps and Rapalas in orange or Firetiger patterns. The key to getting the bass to strike is to keep your presentation very slow at this time of the year as the water temperatures are still in the upper 40's to low 50's.

Spring turkey season starts on April 11th in the central Wisconsin area and from what we are seeing a lot of the birds are still grouped up and holding on or near specific fields. Not all of the birds are still grouped up as we have seen a few lone toms on different fields and in the woods but a majority of the birds still seem to remain in large packs. One way to be successful this season is to do some good scouting and to find active fields with birds coming to them. Once you have located a productive field with birds on it do your early morning homework and who knows you may get lucky and end up coming home with a nice tom turkey. Indeed, the Wisconsin DNR is projecting a very successful spring hunt.


Arden Katz reported some channels are loaded 50-50 bluegill and crappie; key with the low water is finding the right channels. Staff at Triangle reported perch are also good; try in 8-10 feet on Marie or Bluff. Pike are good throughout along or around creek areas and on Deep and Loon. Muskie are fair on small jerkbaits or bucktails; Fox or Pistakee best. Use caution navigating with low water.

For more reports, see

More Chain info at


BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Cool down slowed fishing on Mazonia lakes. It was 87 on the hot side at Braidwood. There was a problem with a late opening over the weekend at Braidwood, hopefully that has been settled. Close is 7:30 p.m. HEIDECKE: Walleye reports are improving. The former cooling lake near Morris is open daily. Launch opens 6 a.m.; bank fishing, 6:30 a.m. Close is sunset. LaSALLE: The lake is back to daily operation from 6 a.m.-sunset. Reports have been fair.


DELAVAN: Guide Dave Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake 4/8/12 through 4/15/12
The nice spring weather continues. Overall pan fishing has been pretty good, the warm sunny days seem to improve the fishing. Only a couple of weeks until opening day, and I can hardly wait.
Bluegill action seems to be the most consistent bite. The fish I've been catching have been in 3-4 ft of water. Look for the fish by the outlet dam and by the channels. Ice jigs tipped with wax worms seem to be producing most of the action. One location that hasn't been very good this year has been the boat launch channel. The water has been consistently dirty most of the year.
Crappie fishing has been just average. You can catch some in Highlands Bay or Viewcrest Bay. With the water being so clear, they've been kind of spooky especially with the boat traffic. The most consistent tactic is fishing a small black or purple plastic beneath a slip bobber. I've been fishing 6-8 ft of water. The fish are slightly down about 2-3 ft. I like to make sure to use the smallest bobber possible.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
Daily Report
4/8/12 - Delavan Lake, 50 degrees, Winds N at 20 mph. Water temp 48 degrees. Caught about 30 bluegills. The fish were caught in 3-4 ft of water. The best success was on wax worms fished on a small chartreuse lindy jig. We only fished about 2 hours dueto the holiday.
4/7/12 - Pleasant Lake, 60 degrees, winds SW at 10 mph. Unknown water temp. Caught about 30 bluegills, kept 10. The fish were in 6-8 ft of water. Red worms on a small ice jig seemed to be the best. The fish were caught by the Girls Scout camp. Tried in a couple of shallow bays without success.

GENEVA: Duwe sent this:

Lake Geneva 4/8/12 through 4/15/12
Although the spring has been a nice one, we've had some cool nights and that is keeping the water temperatures from warming the way we like in spring. The most consistent bites remain in the Abbey Harbor or in Trinkes Harbor. If you are going to fish the main lake, Knollwood and Belvidere Park have been producing perch
Perch are being caught on slip bobbers with fat head minnows. Work a depth of 6-8 ft of water. You want to look for scattered grass patches for the best success. This is the only time of year that I will anchor almost exclusively while fishing the slip bobbers.
The bluegills and crappies have been in the Abbey Harbor and Trinkes Harbor. Small ice jigs tipped with wax worms are catching most of the fish. The water depth is about 3-4 ft. The best bite remains in the early morning or right at dusk.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


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.

POWERTON: Boat and shore fishing is open. Site is open daily 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

HENNEPIN-HOPPER LAKES: They will be closed again for 2012 as work on common carp removal continues.


From the Wisconsin DNR report:

Green Bay Fishing Report: April 9, 2012
Brown Co.
No report.
East Shore
Rainy and windy weather kept fishing pressure to a minimum this past week. Sawyer Harbor: There was one boat at Potawatomi Park in Sawyer Harbor; they were fishing for walleye but they only caught two smallmouth bass and released them. There were also a few shore anglers looking for crappie and bluegill, but none were caught. Sunset Boat Launch: One group of walleye anglers caught three and kept one. The walleye they kept weighed 1.85 kg and measured 600 mm in length. Their preferred bait was gulp on a jig. Red River Park: At Red River Park there were many families netting white suckers. In total 20 were caught and 16 were kept ranging in all sizes.
Oconto Co.
With morning temperatures in the high 20's and high's in the low 50's water, water temperatures at the landings are around 50 degrees, with good water clarity. Fishing pressure has been moderate to heavy. At the dam at Stiles suckers are the predominate species, and only a few walleye are being caught using Rap's and small spoons. Oconto Park II remains the hot spot with fishermen trolling 4 to 8 feet off shore catching a mixed bag of pike, walleye, and browns. Most fishermen are using spoons or stick baits, although crawler/harness are producing good numbers of fish.
Marinette Co.
With morning temperatures in the high 20's and high's in the low 50's water, water temperatures at the landings are around 50 degrees, with good water clarity. Fishing pressure has been moderate to heavy. Boaters and shore fishermen are catching walleye, pike and a few browns at the mouth of the Peshtigo River. Boaters are drifting the river and jigging with live baits and plastics, while shore fishermen are using mainly stick baits and spoons. At the dam in Peshtigo suckers dominate the water world but there are still some walleye and trout to be found. Fishing on the Menominee River for walleye has slowed with a good number of suckers being caught. Some smallmouth are starting to show up and being caught on stick baits. Trolling has been the preferred method for walleye and browns both in the river and on the Bay.


Click here for the Lake Erie prospects, a fun and informative read. For Ohio DNR report go to and or call (888) HOOKFISH.


Again a blow has backed down fishing in recent days. CHICAGO: A few smallmouth being caught in the harbors. Capt. Bill Kelly of Leprechaun Charters reported his shakedown cruise found limits of lakers in 30-50 feet east of Wilson to 30-50 east of Evanston, surface to bottom; salmon are spotty. Park Bait reported a few browns and coho at Montrose. WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop reported boaters going to 180-200 feet for salmon. A few perch, when weather allows, in 40-70 feet south of the harbor. Some steelhead and coho from shore. NORTH POINT: Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters reported coho, kings and lakers scattered from surface to bottom in 80-200 feet, summer-like pattern. SMELT: I heard of one smelt at Montrose, otherwise it has been dead for the great tradition of Chicago fishing. Smelt netting runs the month of April in Chicago. 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.


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): Good perch action, with crappie fair, in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.

Water temps in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area are holding in the low 40s.

Perch are putting on a good bite in the Eagle River area. Fish 6 feet of water or less in back bays, with muddy bottoms and scattered weeds. The perch will be pretty tight to bottom. The Eagle River Chain of 28 lakes (largest freshwater chain of lakes in the world) is providing the best opportunities for perch right now. Use a crappie minnow or a chunk of crawler under a slip bobber or small jig. All day bite.

The crappies are just starting to come on in the Eagle River area, but the bite is not quite as good as the perch. Crappies are holding a couple of feet off the bottom in 10 feet of water or less, with mud bottoms and scattered weeds. Use a crappie minnow under a slip bobber or small jig. All day bite, with the action generally fair, but slowly picking up.

(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 Justice of Kurt's Island Sport Shop sent this:

This unusually long open water "pre-season" (we were still ice fishing last year at this time) has kept most anglers off the water. Those who have gotten their boats ready and have an itch have been scratching it with some very good panfishing.

Crappies: Good-Very Good. Afternoons are best as morning temps in the high 20's- low 30's are cooling down the action. As temps increase in the afternoons, work 7-12' weeds with tubes, Gulp-Alive minnows, floats with crappie minnows, small rosies are also effective. On calm sunny days crappies found in 1-2' of water mixed with gills- these fish are very spooky and are harder to catch.

Yellow Perch: Good-Very Good. Many reports have perch not spawned out yet. Shallows of 4-8' over dark bottoms best. Small to medium minnows, 1/2 crawlers on 1/3oz or jigs best.

Bluegills: Good. Anglers tossing wax worms on ice style jigs 2-3' below small floats getting lots of action and some nice meals on the lee sides of the lakes receiving the most sun. Leaf worms and Gulp waxies also good choices for bait.

With surface temps yo-yoingfrom dawn to mid afternoon anglers are doing best to fish late morning till dusk. Lots of active bass, pike and walleyes which are not legal to fish for yet are being caught, so be sure you know the regs before wetting a line.


Wind slowed access and effort on Lake Michigan, but it should settle in time for perch to rebound by Friday and Saturday. Smallmouth are good inside and out of the harbors. Mik-Lurch reported kings outside of the Ditch, 45 feet seems to be the magic depth. Coho are scattered. Lakers are good at the Gong, both Mik-Lurch and Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters reported. Cold weather and water slowed the panfish bite at Willow Slough, but I would expect some rebounding by the weekend.


From the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report:

Southern Lake Michigan Fishing Report: April 9, 2012
Kenosha Co.
No report.
Racine Co.
Along the Racine shoreline browns and coho have been caught on the east side of the harbor on spoons of various colors with blue being the most productive. Minnows on a slip bobber also picked up fish throughout the day. On the Root River, steelhead fishing has slowed considerably. Fishing pressure is relatively low, although a few steelhead have been caught throughout the river. Both small flies and spawn sacs have taken fish. DNR crews finished spawning steelhead at the Root River Steelhead Facility on April 2. A total of 233 fish were processed this spring, including one Chinook salmon. Both Chambers Creek and Ganaraska strains of steelhead were spawned, and our egg collection goals have been met. The facility will reopen in the fall for the salmon run.
Milwaukee Co.
North Shore: Winds have dictated fishing success, when winds are light browns are being caught in the harbor, between the gaps and outside the breakwater on dark color spoons, including blue and green. A few coho and lake trout are also being picked up with similar presentations. The shoreline along Summerfest is producing some 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 only a few on minnows fished on the bottom. Anglers on McKinley pier have picked up a few brown trout while throwing spoons or fishing with minnows. South Shore: With changing winds the past few days, few fisherman have been out. Those that have braved the wind have reported browns and lake trout caught out of both Bender and South Shore Park. Trolling flies and flicker shads in bright colors have brought about the greatest success. Fishing under the Hoan Bridge has been successful depending on the day. Using minnows under floats and casting spoons could result in catching a limit of browns or not catching any, depending on the time and day itself. Very few rainbows were caught up Oak Creek recently, but those caught were taken on flies. A few browns have been caught on the Grant Park pier as well. Milwaukee River: Steelhead fishing has slowed considerably in the Milwaukee River, but a few bass and northern pike have been caught near Estabrook Park. Water temperatures readings were in the mid-50s. Menomonee River: Menomonee River steelhead angling has been slow as numbers of fish in the river continue to decrease.
Ozaukee Co.
Port Washington Ramps: Low recorded angler activity. Anglers catching brown, rainbow and lake trout on stickbaits in 20-30 feet of water. Some anglers are stating to catch chinook and coho as well. Fish cleaning station at the marina is still closed. The marina normally opens their cleaning station in mid April but is hoping to open it sooner, but some minor reconstruction and the water not turned on yet has the station remaining closed. Port Washington Harbor/Shore: Low recorded angler activity. Anglers catching only freshly stocked brown trout (under 9 inches). Port Washington Pier: Low recorded angler activity. Some brown and rainbow trout being caught on plastics. Port Washington Power Plant: Low angler activity. Brown trout successfully being caught on spawn sacs or spinners. Also catching a fair number of small stocked brown trout (under 9 inches). Sauk Creek: Clear waters with and average temperature of 44 degrees. Fish cleaning station is still closed. Parks and Recreation is hoping to have their fish cleaning station open by mid or late this coming week. However, the bathrooms at this cleaning station are open.
Sheboygan Co.
Sheboygan Ramps: Low recorded angler activity. Some anglers catching brown trout in 10 feet of water with crankbaits. Fish cleaning station and restrooms at the Deland Ramp are open for the season. Sheboygan Piers/Shore: Low recorded angler activity. Some anglers catching brown trout on spoons. Fish cleaning station and restrooms on the south pier are open for the season. Sheboygan River: Extremely low recorded angler activity. Pigeon River: Low recorded angler activity. Crystal clear water at a moderate level and an average of 50 degrees. Weedens Creek: Low recorded angler activity. Edgewater Power Plant: Low recorded angler activity.


Tyler Harmon messaged, "Not much going on here fishing wise, seen a few nasty looking spawned out steelhead on my river adventures this past weekend. Its been cool and windy not much going on in the inland lakes, perch are done spawning or close to it, crappies should be done spawning as well. Gills will start looking to spawn here before long, when ever it warms up again. Suckers still running in the river good."



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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on April 11, 2012 8:09 AM.

Stray Cast: McNeil, pike & smallmouth was the previous entry in this blog.

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