We enter June and real summer fishing in the next week and that leads this sprawling, raw-file Midwest Fishing Report, which appears in a much condensed form Wednesdays on the Sun-Times outdoors page.
The lead photo is Marcus Benesch with one of those river surprises, a big hybrid swimming with white bass on the Des Plaines River.
Remember, perch season is closed in the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan through June 15. Staff at Tackle Haven reported perch in 45-55 feet around St. Joseph, Mich., others working in 75 feet.
Remember what Phil Schuman at Tackle Haven gave me a heads up about on a significant reg change in Michigan. Now there is a year-round, statewide catch-and-immediate release on bass, except on waters completely closed to fishing.
Marty Lakatos thought there should be this clarification would help prevent any confusion:
PLEASE NOTE – the season to keep largemouth and smallmouth bass will still open on the Saturday before Memorial Day on the inland waters and the Great Lakes or the third Saturday in June on Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair River, and the Detroit River. All possession seasons for bass will close on December 31. The regulation change allows for catch-and-release fishing all year.
Staff at Henry’s reported much going at local forest preserve lakes, best for crappie has been Saganashkee Slough.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:
Area lakes are really starting to heat up. Senkos continue to be the bait of choice. Watermelon is best bet as far as color goes. Post spawn females are starting to consistently bite along outside weedlines. Smaller males are active on the inside weedlines. Here are a few of the nicer ones.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Waterworks fishing team
AREA WATER LEVELS
Go to http://water.weather.gov//ahps2/index.php?wfo=lot to check area water levels and projection. To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to http://waterdata.usgs.gov/il/nwis/current/?type=flow
Hooksetter’s Guide Service sent this:
(Head): Musky season opens in the northern zone, with walleye, crappies and bass also hitting. Wild turkey hunters had good success, but ticks attacked hunters mercilessly; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin’s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau).
The big news has got to be the northern Wisconsin musky opener which began Saturday, May 23rd.
With great anticipation thousands of anxious anglers have been waiting for the musky season to begin. The waters of central and northern Wisconsin are going to be seething with men and women alike, pounding away with their favorite lures just looking for that first fish of the year.
Here are a few tips for getting early season muskies: When fishing lakes early in the year I usually start small and shallow looking for potential musky haunts. Start by looking for any emergent new green weeds and bays with warmer water as these will be likely locations. In these areas I like to run small bucktails, twitch baits, or jerk baits and in a few specific spots I will even throw a top water selection. Work them slowly and methodically in and out of any weeds, and along and through any visible structure. You want to maximize your fishing time in the most noticeably potential strike zone.
Dams on river sections always hold fish as do any current breaks, eddies and likely backwater locations. When fishing the river sections I usually throw bucktails and twitch baits but I won’t hesitate to bring out the rubber and run Bulldawgs in certain areas. When working areas like this run your lures slowly and methodically making sure that you cover the entire area very thoroughly. In locations like this muskies can and will move about sporadically and they won’t necessarily be in a specific location or on a piece of structure or location.
In addition to the musky opener the walleye bite has been pretty good on area lakes as well as the action for crappies and bass. We have been having very good success by working low flow areas on the river by targeting eddies and current breaks in 8 to 12 feet of water. Jig and minnow combinations seem to be working the best but we are starting catch some nice fish on plastics and crankbaits as the water temperatures continue to warm up.
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA
Art Frisell at Triangle said bluegill are good and up shallow; with the current in recent days, walleye are strong on leeches and Lindy rigs around main lake points and concrete bridges; crappie are consistent mornings and evenings; white bass are suspended and good on Marie.
For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/
Check Chain updates from at the Fox Waterway Agency or by calling (847) 587-8540.
No updates this week.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
HEIDECKE: Staff at Henry’s said walleye are good most days. Launch opens at 6 a.m., shore fishing at 6:30 a.m. Close is sunset. It is open daily. LaSALLE: Henry’s staff reported good blues and hybrids. Hours are 6 a.m. to sunset daily. There is a concessionaire with bait and food options. BRAIDWOOD: Henry’s staff reported good action on catfish. Lake is open daily 6 a.m.-sunset. MAZONIA: This should be the prime weekend for panfish and bass. Lakes are open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.
DELAVAN/LAKE GENEVA AREA, WISCONSIN
DELAVAN: Dave Duwe of FishLakeGeneva.com sent this:
Delavan Lake fishing report 5.25.15 through 5.31.13
The shallows on Delavan Lake have been inundated with the worst green slime I’ve seen in years. Fishing the shallow weeds has proven to be a very challenging endeavor. If you can remove the weeds after nearly every cast, the fish are there, but be prepared for a hassle.
Largemouth bass are in the shallows in 5-8 ft of water. They can be caught on split shot rigged nightcrawlers and green pumpkin Senkos fished either Wacky style or Texas rigged. You want to concentrate on the sand pockets within the weeds. The best location has been by Assembly Park or in front of Lake Lawn Lodge. The bass will likely spawn within the next week or so provided the weather stays warm.
Northern Pike fishing has been excellent. The fish are on the weed line in 10-12 ft of water. Most of the fish are coming off of Thill Big fish sliders fished with medium suckers. You want to fish the suckers 2-3 ft above the weeds. The best location has been by Viewcrest and by the gray condos.
Bluegill fishing has been best off the deep weedlines in 12-13 ft of water. The old Boy Scout camp or by the island are great locations to try. You want to fish small leaf worms fished on a small hook straight lining beneath the boat. Most of the fish in the deeper water have been averaging 8 inches. I’ve also been using Thill slip bobbers with a Lindy toad ice jig tipped with wax worms with decent success.
Walleye fishing has been average. The fish are on the outside of the weed lines. The best location has been by Del Mar or by the Oriental boat house. The best approach is trolling deep diving crank baits. The color patterns to use are fire tiger or crappie pattern.
Crappie fishing has been slow. The few crappies being caught have been taken on the weedline using purple and chartreuse plastics fished on a 1/32 oz jig head. I usually use a pink jig head. The depth I’ve been working has been 8-10 ft of water.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
GENEVA: Duwe sent this:
Lake Geneva Fishing report 5.25.15 through 5.31.15
Fishing overall has been average for this time of year. The fluctuating air and water temps has been a challenge. The best bite on the lake remains smallmouth bass. Hopefully with some stable weather and warm days, it will create some really good fishing in the coming weeks.
Smallmouth bass are being caught around their spawning flats. The best locations are by Big Foot Beach, Elgin Club and South Shore Club. They are being caught on white hair jigs or a split shot rigged fat head minnow. The best depths for me have been 8-12 ft of water. The hair jig should be fished suspended within the water column about 4-5 ft off bottom. Use a slow, stop & go retrieve.
Largemouth bass fishing has been good in the Abbey Harbor. The best locations in the harbor are around the boats near the prop wash holes and around the docks. Green Pumpkin creature baits and split shot rigged nightcrawlers are producing most of the fish. Try for them in the early morning because as the day wears on it becomes crowded with boat activity. Another location that is producing some fish is near the Riviera Docks and by the bouys in Geneva Bay.
Rock bass are starting to show up mixed in amongst the smallmouth. The bite has been relatively slow yet as the smallmouth are biting more than the rock bass, but as the water warms it will be reversed with more rock bass than smallies. The best location for the rock bass has been by Belvidere Park in Fontana.
The best bluegill fishing, like the largemouth, is in Abbey harbor. You want to fish leaf worms fished under a bobber. You will have to do a lot of sorting to catch some decent fish. The harbor is great for bluegill and largemouth because the water temperature is about 6-7 degrees warmer than the main lake.
Crappies are starting to show up. They’ve been pretty scattered up to this point. The few I have caught have been on white hair jigs in 12 ft of water by Uhliens creek.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
DES PLAINES RIVER
Marcus Benesch sent this:
River levels are finally normal all over the river. Clarity is still poor, but improving. Rock bass have been active in the northern sections. Lots of action using hair jigs or twister tails. Channel cats have also been getting more aggressive, have been catching them on spinners and cranks.
In the southern reaches of the river the white bass have been stacking up in the shallows. Had a lot of success Sunday with a homemade spinnerbait worked near the warm eddys adjacent riffles.
While fishing for whites today I hooked into a whale. This by far is the biggest of those escapee hybrids I’ve ran into on the river. I think its funny how I consistently find these hybrids running with whites when they end up in the river. Took a few photos and released the beast without a measurement. I wouldn’t be surprised if I dont catch a bigger bass from the river ever again.
SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide Service. LAKE OF EGYPT/REND LAKE: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. EVERGREEN: Remember that there are new saugeye regulations with a daily bag of three with a minimum of 18 inches. Mike Steffa sent a note that the road is completely open now. He also sent this basic info:
Bait Shop: Monday – Thursday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. & Friday – Sunday from 6 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Boat Rental: Open ONLY Friday – Sunday from 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Expanded Hours Beginning Memorial Day Weekend!
POWERTON: Both shore and boat fishing are open. Hours are 6 a.m.-8 p.m. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Lakes will reopen this year at an undecided date. EMIQUON: Call (309) 547-2730.
No report this week.
No update this week.
No update this week from Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay.
The Wisconsin DNR posts a report, typically updated on Tuesdays at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html
Illinois Valley Outdoors, which is in the former Time on the Water Outdoors buildings at Spring Valley, is open with basics, including bait, crankbaits and plastics. The phone is (815) 663-1000.
Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.
Norm Minas sent this:
river has been dropping steadily, below normal levels, better than a foot of visibility, though stained. water temps maxed out at 72 degrees. algae better in many places , still getting it on crankbaits where it’s at but just some on the hooks and the bill, not a complete green goo job . some emergent vegetation out on the flats, water willow 6 inches or so in height, green and leafing out at the top.
rain not much of a problem, weather man missed again. sunny to overcast depending on the day. same deal with the wind, varied thru the weekend. first bikini hatch of the year .
avoided the masses by wading out as far as possible and/or getting well beyond the access points.
the female smallmouth I’ve been catching still had full egg sacks. I’ve been avoiding known spawning areas so I can’t say for sure what’s happening there. when I walked up to take a look most of them were not being fished, not sure what that means on a holiday weekend. the best known crick was another story as usual, almost more guys on the crick than fish in it at some points when I looked . cpo’s keeping an eye on it from what I saw.
with the lower levels the fish had definitely moved off shore . I fished heads and tails of riffles, cobblestone flats off the main channels, current seams, bridge pilings and around rock bluffs that had deeper water at least near by.
a rattlebait was the primary lure, square bill cranks, single spins, chatterbaits, swimbaits and magnum flukes on unweighted ewg hooks filled out what worked. I never fished a bottom bouncing jig at all, no need to .
excellent numbers and size on the smallmouth , some of the biggest on the magnum flukes. I tossed them on top of the riffle and just let them drift down.
had two decent catches of walleye as well, both on rattlebaits on cobblestone flats off the channels in 2 to 4 ft of water .
handful of cats most on chatterbaits, two really nice ones on the rattlebaits in the same area as the walleyes.
smattering of gar landed, more hits than landed for sure.
one pike about 26 to 27 inches on a singlespin behind a boulder just inside a seam .
the rattlebaits worked best at the head end of riffles, the square bills at the tail . single spins tight to bridge pilings and pulled around the downstream side was a nice option, never got a fish on the upstream part, kinda odd
CHICAGO: Staff at Henry’s said smallmouth are the key focus on the lakefront, with the largemouth bite in the harbors picking up; a few straggler coho and browns around for shore fishermen. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said lakers were good off Chicago by the wreck; there’s coho in front of Montrose and by the Chicago Light breakwall. WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop texted that boaters are working in 40-60 feet well south of the harbor; pier fishing is on and off. NORTH POINT: Poteshman said some kings, rainbows and plenty of coho are being caught in 80-200 feet.
MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN
Check reports by Gene Dellinger at D&S Bait.
MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN
Check with Mike Mladenik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service.
MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:
Minocqua Area Fishing Report
If I had wrote last week’s report 8 hours later, I would have downgraded everything to poor! Thankfully bites started inching up from the pit that was last Tuesday’s cold and snow, with bites improving each day since.
Perch: Good-very good. Perch seem to be turning on as lots of anglers found these fish in waters of 8-12’ weeds in great numbers feeding on medium fatheads meant for walleyes on jigs or slip-bobber rigs. While lots of small fish must be sorted through, plenty of 8-10” perch with occasional 11-12” are being caught.
Crappies: Poor-very good. Mixed reports. This is the species (beside musky for the opener) that most people target on Memorial Day weekend. Must say, results were all over the board. Some anglers found great success finding crappies that committed to spawning in the shallows. On a lot of lakes, crappies that got pushed out due to the cold last week seemed to be out of the dating game. Female crappies with undelivered eggs were being caught in 12-15’ depths with eggs showing signs of being past spawning phase and will be reabsorbed over the summer. With the cooler temps (55-60 degrees) over the weekend, minnows seemed to work best.
Musky: Fair-good. Not a lot of reports in as of yet on catches, but, good numbers of raised fish. It could have been the pressure, the nice weather brought out a lot of anglers.
Walleyes: Fair-Good. Oddly enough, afternoons and evenings out did mornings as walleyes responded better as the temperatures rose. Early in the week, deeper water was best as in 12-16’ depths. As the weekend progressed, fish moved onto shallow flats of 6-10’ taking dace, fatheads and redtails on 1/16oz weedless jigs.
Pike: Good. They got more aggressive as the week moved on. Jigs with spinners tipped with chubs or mud minnow as well as #3 Mepps in the same 6-10’ flats as the walleyes were feeding. Also paddle tail grubs on 3/8oz jig heads worked over weed tops.
Largemouth: Fair-goo. Action is improving as water warms. While a few reports on top-water, the majority of action sub-surface on tube jigs and wacky worms.
Smallmouth: Fair. Season still catch and release only. Use x-raps in 8-12’ of water adjacent to small gravel/sand shorelines for these pre-spawning fish.
Bluegill: Fair. Cooler temps pushed this species out of shallows in many areas. Anglers fishing thunderbugs and small leeches had some success in 10-14’.
Bluegill bite will get better as waters warm this week, a couple of days in the 80’s mid week will shoot temps up nicely into mid to upper 60’s. Saturday’s forecast of a drop into the upper 50’s/low 60’s could hurt, but, warmer weather returning should put us on track for an improvement in fishing.
Minocqua, Wi 54548
EAGLE RIVER: This report came 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, Mat Hegy; and Eagle River hunting enthusiast, Dan Anderson:
(Head): Musky opener is a success – -action good to excellent, with northern and panfish also putting on a good to excellent bite, and walleye and smallmouth bass good ; all in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.
Water temps at the surface are in the upper 50s in the Eagle River area – and with the now ever increasing water temps, fishing action has picked up accordingly.
MUSKY: Very good opener in the Eagle River area- – still one of the best, if not THE best musky fishery in Wisconsin. Fish 10 feet of water or less off of break edges as well as in and around weeds. Use a small bucktail, glide bait or twitch bait like a large Husky Jerk. Keep your retrieve moderate – -nothing real fast. All day action, with peaks coming in the evening. The bite is good to excellent.
NORTHERN: Fish 10 feet of water or less in the weeds. Use a Husky Jerk (minnow or walleye pattern), a white bass style spinner bait, or a northern sucker under a slip bobber. All day aggressive action with the bite good to excellent.
PANFISH: Crappies, bluegills and perch are off of break edges and weed edges in 10 feet of water or less. The perch are tight to bottom, with the crappies and gills suspending anywhere in the water column. Try the tops of weeds, for sure. Use a chunk of crawler, crappie minnow, or micro-plastic on a small jig or under a slip bobber. All day action and the bite is good to excellent.
WALLEYE: Walleye are tight to bottom off of break edges in 10 feet of water or less. Use a 1/16 ounce jig and a fathead minnow, or try a small Rapala, as they’ve been working nicely. All day action, with peaks in the evening. The bite is good.
SMALLMOUTH BASS: Fish hard bottom sand or gravel areas in six feet of water or less. There are still bass on their beds, but they’re getting near to finishing their spawn. Use a #3 Mepps extra deep, the old tried and true three inch tube on a jig, or a jig and minnow. All day action, and the bite is good. Don’t forget- – smallmouth bass in the Eagle River area are strictly catch-=and-release until the harvest season begins on June 20th.
Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said there were good reports of coho and browns at Cal Harbor over the weekend. Staff at Mik-Lurch said there were some coho on the mud line at Portage. Willow Slough slowed on panfish.
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
The Wisconsin DNR Root River Report is generally posted on Tuesday.
ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN
At Tackle Haven, Capt. Eric Conder of Big Charter Charters said coho, smaller steelhead, scattered lakers and a few kings are mostly in 80-120 feet, though others out deeper; mix of lures, including heavy spoons, are working. Pier is slow with the usual river fish.
ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA
Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.
Staff at Lakeside said muskie remain very active; largemouth are bedding; smallmouth good near the dam.
Lakeside is open 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
For more information and reports from Lakeside, go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.
The Wisconsin DNR report is at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html. They are generally posted by Tuesday afternoon. Stream flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN
FREMONT: Guide Bill Stoeger said on Tuesday, white bass moved back in for the third time to spawn. “We are getting a lot of big fish,” he said. “Spinners, jigs, river rigs, just about anything is working right now.” He is talking about lots of big females being caught.
Arden Katz said over the weekend that they did better on white bass when they moved from mob scene in town and went up to railroad near Red Banks; just had to be where fish are and any minnows and Wolf River rig or jig worked.