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Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes around Chicago fishing

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Bedding bass on inland lakes and salmon fishing on Lake Michigan, including some big kings already, lead this lakes section of the Midwest Fishing Report.


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

Normally, I post Wednesday mornings,

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


Coho on Lake Michigan.


Bass bedding on ponds and lakes.


The Daley Derby is open. Here are the details:

Rules and Regulations
Tournament Time Period: May 1 - September 30, 2012

Please read these Official Tournament Rules and Regulations carefully.

The Richard J. Daley Memorial Sport Fishing Derby is a fishing contest in which winners are determined by the weight and length of specific species of fish submitted by the contestants.

The Tournament is open to all ages. There are no fees to the public, although participants 16 years and older must have a valid Illinois Department of Natural Resources Fishing Licenses, purchased prior to the submission of a fish to the contest.

Eligible Fish Entries: Fish caught in the Chicago River, the Chicago Park District Lagoons and along the Lake Michigan shoreline and harbors within the city limits of Chicago are eligible to be entered in the contest. Contestants may fish from shore or watercraft. Fish caught from Charter Boats or personal boats on Lake Michigan must be caught from boats that leave from and return to a City of Chicago boat launch or harbor on the day the fish was caught. Fish must be fresh - they cannot have been frozen. The judgment of whether or not a fish has been frozen and is thus in-eligible for entry in the Tournament remains at the discretion of the weigh-in station. The Richard J. Daley Memorial Sport Fishing Derby reserves the right to retain any and all submitted fish. Contestants registering perch the month of July must be under the age of 16. An ID will be required.

Seven species of fish are eligible to be entered into the contest: Coho salmon, Chinook salmon, Steelhead, Perch, Carp, Catfish and Panfish (defined as Bluegill, Rock bass and Crappie). Largemouth and Smallmouth bass, Northern Pike and Gobies are not eligible.

Prizes: There are First, Second and Third place prizes for each of the seven categories of fish. First, second and third place are determined by the weight of the fish in pounds and ounces. In the event of a tie in weight, the longest fish as measured in inches to 1/8 of an inch, will be declared the winner. In the event of a tie in length, the winner will be chosen by drawing from the names of the entrants of the fish. The name drawn will win the place for which the fish qualifies: the other name(s) will go to the next place down, bumping the winner of that place to the next place down the list. (Example: If two Perch are the same weight and length, and both would qualify for First Place, a drawing would determine which fish is first. The other fish would automatically occupy second place. The Perch originally sitting at second would be bumped to third place fish and the third place fish would drop out of contention).

First place pays $100, Second place pays $75, and Third place pays $50 for each period. An angler can win 1 cash prize only during entire contest. Contest postings are updated each day and available for public viewing a Henry=s Sports & Bait Shop, 3130 S. Canal St., Chicago, Illinois. For more Tournament information call Henry=s Sports & Bait (312) 225-8538 or email Prize money will be awarded in the form of checks at the R. J. Daley Memorial Sport Fishing Derby Awards Ceremony, Saturday, October 27, 2012 at Henry=s Sports & Bait at 11:00a.m. All cash prizes not picked up that day will be mailed to the winners within 5 days of October 27.

Registration Location: Henry=s Sports & Bait, 3130 S. Canal St., (312)225-8538, Park Bait Company, 600 W. Montrose Ave., (773) 271-2830.
The five prize periods are: May 1 - May 30, June 1 - 30, July 1 - 31,
Aug 1 - 31, and September 1 - 30, 2012

Eligible Fish Monthly







Bass are bedding on many lakes and bluegill are pulled up. I think crappie are done spawning on most lakes. I find that in conditions like this, the inflows are often the best spot to fish because of food being washed in.


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): Crappies, walleye and bass action is very good, with musky season
open; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin¹s
Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau).

The lilacs are blooming and the crappies are biting in the central Wisconsin
area.  It is that time of the year again when the crappies have moved up to
the shallows to begin their spawning ritual.  Most fish will be suspended
around shoreline timber and brush, but a few will be located alongside
shallow stumps.  To target these feisty panfish all you need is a bobber and
a hook baited up with a small minnow.  Toss it towards the structure and
wait for the bobber to go down.  Some savvy anglers are using ultra-light
spinning gear and tossing Mini Mites (a tiny jig with a worm like tail)
right up to the structure and slowly working it back.  This method can
create fast and furious action when you get into them.

Walleyes in the central Wisconsin area have moved to their summer
destinations.  Most fish can now be found holding around submerged wood or
roaming the vast flats in search of food.  To target the roaming predatory
fish try long line trolling Husky Jerks and Shad Raps in 8 to 12 feet of
water.  Put a small split shot about 18 inches ahead of the bait to help[
get it down and to eliminate debris from hanging up on the lure.  For the
walleyes hunkered down in the brush and wood try ultra-small weedless jigs.
These tiny weedless jigs will work their way into the brush and allow you
the opportunity to get the fish you normally wouldn't ever see.  One note:
Once you hook up with a walleye in the wood don't hesitate to haul it out
immediately; any split second decision to wait and the fish will be tangled
in the brush and you will be out of luck.

The action for bass in the central Wisconsin area has been very good this
past week and anglers in search of action can count on these fish to be
eagerly waiting for them.  Most action has been from rocky shorelines in
less than 4 feet of water by anglers running crawfish imitating crankbaits,
jigs tipped with plastics, and a few on top water baits.

Musky season is underway in the central Wisconsin area and a lot of people
are anxious to hit the water in search of  ol' greenback.  For early season
muskies try running small bucktails and twitch baits.  A good bet for early
season action is to target shallow weeds and rocks in less than 5 feet of
water.  Work your baits slowly and methodically as the water is still cold
and fish can be very lethargic at this time of year.


The best bite is bluegill shallow, and that should only improve with the warm-up. Triangle staff reported crappie good in the evening, walleye taking leeches on Lindy or slip-bobber rigs on main-lake points; for muskie, try small jerkbaits or bucktails; and white bass are good in main lake basins.

For more reports, see

More Chain info at


HEIDECKE: I had multiple reports of walleye guys doing well. Remember, be patient and prepared with only the one temporary launch. Lake is open daily until sunset. Launch opens at 6 a.m.; bank angling, 6:30 a.m.

Ken ``Husker'' O'Malley sent this report:

Hey Dale,
I hit Heidecke on Friday. Post frontal conditions. Blue bird skies, cold morning temps, and NE winds! Great fishing conditions. Considering the conditions, we did pretty good. Walleye, white bass, crappie, and stripers were caught. The jig bite went away by 8:30, so I grabbed the trolling rods and started to cover water. That was a good decision as the biggest fish of the day came on crawler harnesses. Water temps were 65 to 66 with clarity at about a foot. Temporary launch is not as bad as everyone has said. Yes you need patience, but is perfectly fine for launching boats. I would recommend two people though.
Here are a few fish from the day.

Ken "Husker" O'Malley
"Tame that water and remember to practice CPR!"
Water Werks Fishing Team 


LaSALLE: The lake is open daily, 6 a.m. to sunset.

BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Hours are 6 a.m. to sunset. Once again, as water temperatures warm through the 60s, this should be the prime time for Mazonia lakes. REMINDER: Anchoring outside the restricted area on the north end of Braidwood, then casting in is illegal.


DELAVAN: Guide Dave Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 5/27/13 through 6/3/13

Fishing is really very good and improving daily. The bass and bluegills spawn is mere days away. Most fish are starting to move into the shallows in 1-2 ft of water. Boat traffic for this time of year is still very low due to the cool water temps. Bluegill fishing is improving daily. The heavy spawn should happen within the next few days. I've been starting to pick up some bigger fish in 2-3 ft of water. The best bait is a small Thill bobber with a red worm. Don't be afraid of the green slimy weeds, the fish are underneath them. You just need to cast around them. Most of the fish are coming when you find the hard sand bottom in places like Viewcrest and Browns Channel. Largemouth bass are spawning in 3-4 ft of water. They are located in Highlands Bay and in front of Lake Lawn Lodge and in Viewcrest Bay. Like the bluegills, they prefer sand bottom for spawning. The best approach is fishing weightless Senkos in green pumpkin or root beer colors. The water remains very clear so long casts are necessary. Northern Pike action remains constant in the 9-10 ft depth range. I've been catching all my fishing on medium suckers fished beneath a Thill big fish slip bobber. I've been anchoring and casting with the wind to keep the baits away from the boat. The best location has been by Browns Channel. With the cooler water temperatures, the walleye are throughout the water column. I've caught fish as shallow as 3 ft and as deep as 23 ft. Some of the fish I've caught have been on nightcrawlers and some have come off of fathead minnows. With stable weather, the fish will become easier to pattern. My biggest walleye to date was 19 inches caught in 3 ft of water caught in front of Lake Lawn Lodge. I've caught several others on the deep break by the Yacht Club with fathead minnows. Crappie fishing has been improving. They are on the weedline in 10-12 ft of water. The best bait is purple or pink plastics, cast out with a slow retrieve. They tend to bite when you pause the bait for a second or two, they like the free fall of the lure. I put the plastics on a 1/32 oz jig head with a small split shot positioned 12 inches above it. This aids with longer casts. This past week, I've been picking up some really nice yellow perch in 3-4 ft of water. They are scattered in with the spawning bluegills. The best bait has been the small round hellgrammites fished beneath a Thill bobber. The best location is by Belvidere Park or Willow Point.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

Daily Reports

5/26/13 - Lake Michigan - sunny, 55 degrees, SE wind at 5 mph. Water temp 47 degrees. Caught 10 coho salmon in about 1 hour. Fished with Brew City Charters. Thanks Todd!

GENEVA: Duwe sent this:

Lake Geneva Fishing Report 5/27/13 through 6/3/13
This has been one of the coldest springs I can recall. The smallmouth bass are just starting to spawn and most years they would be totally done by now. Overall fishing has been improving daily with the warmer weather. Rock bass are starting to show up everywhere around the lake in 7-12 ft of water. The best approach is a split shot rigged fathead minnow drifted or motor trolled at a very slow pace. The best location has been by Belvidere Park or by the Military Academy. Largemouth bass have been moving in the shallows. The best depth is 3-7 ft of water. They are located in and around the piers on the north shore. The best approach is fishing a Senko in green pumpkin or a split shot rigged nightcrawlers. They are preparing spawn and will be aggressively hitting for the next week. Some of my best fish last week were caught in Abbey Harbor by the outwash of the docked boats. Smallmouth bass still remain scattered. They are located in and around the spawning flats. They have not begun to spawn that I've noticed. The fish I've caught have been by Belvidere Park or Elgin Club. Most of the fish I'm catching are on a split shot rigged minnow or on white hair jigs. The split shot rigged minnows are being drifted across the bottom, while the hair jigs are being fished 3-4 ft up off bottom trying to imitate a shiner. Yellow Perch action has been very good by Knollwood or by Belvidere Park. The fish are in 7-9 ft of water. They can be caught on Thill bobbers fished with a small fathead minnow. You want to position the bait 1-2 ft off bottom. Sand bottom with scattered weeds have been the key locations for success. Northern pike remain in the shallow weed flats in Fontana, Williams Bay or Geneva Bay. The best approach is trolling large perch colored spinner baits at about 1.5 mph. Look for the fish in 10-12 ft of water. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


POWERTON LAKE: Reopening is postponed indefinitely because the record flooding delayed the work on the levee trees.

EVERGREEN: The 2013 passes are available. Any updated fishing report from site staff will be posted here. The bait shop and boat rental should have expanded hours now, I just have not seen them.


Click The Wisconsin DNR report for any updates.


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


CHICAGO: Water needs to settle for shore perch to reestablish. Andy Mikos reported four species (coho, laker, king and steelhead) east of the R4. Capt. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters reported good coho, a few big king, lakes and steelhead in 60-100.

Andy Mikos sent this report: Attached is a picture of a king [at top] caught Sunday on my boat in 105' of water east of the R4. The fish was caught on lead core w/ a black fin tuna spoon. We caught 4 different species (coho, laker, king and steelhead)in our mixed bag. If the weather finally settles fishing could be phenomenal.

WAUKEGAN: Like other lakefront spots, coho are the top bite. Perch reports have been non-existent.

NORTH POINT: Poteshman reported a reported a good band of fish from North Point through Racine from the hill to 250. But he said there's also fish on the beach in the dirty water. He picked it as the best salmon spot right now on southern Lake Michigan.

CHICAGO PIER PASSES: Good time to remember the $6 pier passes for Chicago harbors, except 31st, are available at Henry's Sports & Bait.

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 any updates from D&S Bait.


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

Had to be on a Holiday Weekend when fishing shut down around here! After a few weeks of excellent walleye, very good pike, crappie fishing, east by southeast winds moved in bring cold and dropping water temperatures by 6 to 8 degrees on average and pretty much shutting down most of our hot action.
Musky:  Good.  The one bright spot.  Reports of good musky action using twitch baits and small cranks in shallows on the smaller to mid-sized lakes where musky have finished spawning.  Most reports were of 34-40" fish, probably mostly males, but a few upper 40"ers including one 48"er caught.
Pike:  From poor to Good.  Started out poor, but action as of this morning is very good.  Lots of fish taking jig/minnow combos in green weeds in 6-8' key.  If no green, no fish.,
Crappies:  From poor to fair and improving.  Cold pushed fish deeper, but as temps gradually move back to 60 degrees, crappies moving back up to stage.  Once temps hit 63 degrees and up, watch for bedding to begin. 
Smallmouth Bass:  Poor-Good.  As this species settled into new temp, action picked up on crawfish patterned crankbaits.  They are starting to stage prior to holding up to spawning areas, should also be receptive to tubes and creature baits.
Walleye:  Poor-Improving.  After having the door slam shut with cold, we saw some signs of improvement with gradual temperature rise.  Today walleye bite actually good despite continuing east/southeast wind.  Jig/minnow best under cooler temps, though signs of insect and leeches in walleye's stomachs.
Largemouth Bass:  Poor-Fair.  Picking up.  Some large bass in the 18-20" range.  Most caught targeting walleyes on chubs.
Perch/Bluegill:  Poor to Fair.  Few reports with recent colder temps.
Musky, crappie and smallmouth anglers should watch for a change of wind and increase in temperature to improve these fisheries.  Crappies should really take off.  Pike, walleye and panfish will improve also with a change in wind direction.
The first annual Great Rock Bass Fishing Tournament will be held on Minocqua on June 15.  This benefits the northwoods wildlife center.  Rock bass will be used to feed Raptor Residents there.  For more info go to
Kurt Justice
Kurt's Island Sport Shop

EAGLE RIVER: On Sunday, Creative Brilliance sent this update for the Chamber of Commerce:

(Head): Musky action at the opener was fair to good; northern and panfish
good to excellent, with walleye and bass (bass are strictly catch and
release right now) fair to good.  All in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.

Water temps in the Eagle River area are in the mid 50s to low 60s.  Best
consistent fishing action right now is on the Eagle River Chain of 28 lakes
(largest freshwater chain of lakes in the world).

Musky action at the opener in Eagle River was fair to good.  Anglers were
catching some muskies (hopefully all were released), and the action will
markedly improve as the water warms.  Fish 10 feet of water or less in and
around weeds.  Use a small bucktail, a glide bait, like a six inch Phantom,
or a small crankbait.

Northern are providing a good to excellent bite in the Eagle River area.
Fish 10 feet of water or less in and around weeds.  Use a Husky Jerk (minnow
or walleye pattern), a northern sucker under a slip bobber, or a bass style
spinner baits.  All day action.

Crappies, bluegills and perch are all hitting in the Eagle River area.  Fish
15 feet of water or less off of break edges or weed edges.  The perch are
tight to bottom, with the crappies and gills suspending up and down the
water column.  Use a small jig and a minnow, a chunk of crawler or a chunk
of crappie minnow under a slip bobber.  All day action.  Bite is good to

Walleye in the Eagle River area are in 5 to 12 feet of water in and around
weeds and are tight to bottom.  Use a 1/16th or 1/8th ounce jig tipped with
a fathead minnow. All date bite, with peaks in the evening.  Action is fair
to good.

Bass in the Eagle River area are still on their beds on the smaller lakes.
Bass are strictly catch and release right now.  Local guides urge anglers
not to harass the large females who are on their spawning beds.  Use a jig
and a minnow, Carolina rigged plastic, or a crank bait.  All day bite.  Fair
to good action, which will improve greatly as the water warms.

(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.


Big lake needs to settle and clear for the salmon and trout patterns to reestablish. Mike Starcevich at Mik-Lurch reported good redear and bluegill at Willow Slough; good redear, bluegill and crappie on Pine and Stone.


Clint Sands at Lakeside reported at least 12 muskie caught over the weekend. Walleye are picking up on leeches or crawlers under slip bobbers on the road bed. Crappie are back in the cribs.

Lakeside will be open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. for spring and summer.

For more info, check or call (815) 824-2581.


Click Lake Michigan Fishing Report: for any updates.


Tyler Harmon messaged:

Catfish action has been good on the rivers, few walleye being caught as well. Freshwater drum being caught off the piers. Salmon fishing out on Lake Michigan has been on the slow side. But fish are still being caught.


Starcevich at Mik-Lurch reported walleye are good. Shore fishermen are using leeches on floating jigheads while boaters are trolling leeches or Shad Raps.



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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on May 29, 2013 6:05 AM.

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