Flowing waters & summer, maybe: Chicago fishing

SHARE Flowing waters & summer, maybe: Chicago fishing

Enough water came in some areas over the weekend and coldness to make it feel like early spring, but more summer-like conditions should settle in this week and make for some more typical early summer fishing by the weekend; and there is a good white bass run continuing on the Wolf River.

This is the sprawling, raw-file Midwest Fishing Report, which appears in a much condensed form Wednesdays on the Sun-Times outdoors page.


Photo at the top is of Larry Green on a multiple species outing on Shabbona Lake.


Remember, perch season is closed in the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan through June 15. Staff at Tackle Haven reported people trying off St. Joseph, Mich., not much word on their success.


Remember whatPhil SchumanatTackle 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 Lakatosthought there should be this clarification would help prevent any confusion:

PLEASE NOTE – the season to keep largemouth and smallmouth bass will stillopen on the Saturday before Memorial Day on the inland waters and the GreatLakes or the third Saturday in June on Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair River, and theDetroit River. All possession seasons for bass will close on December 31. Theregulation change allows for catch-and-release fishing all year.


Bluegill are bedding or will be on most area waters this week.Staff atHenry’s reported fishermen trying for stocked catfish at the Chicago lagoons. Joe Sanderson messaged that crappie are going in Will/Grundy counties. I would say that is true across much of the area.

Ken “Husker” O’Malleysent this:

Hey Dale, The frog bite had really taken off on area lakes that have substantial weed growth. Evening has been better for numbers than morning, but bigger fish have been showing up in the morning hours. Spro frogs because of their casting distance has been the best choice. Trimming the legs and bending the hooks out have helped the landing percentage. TTYL — Ken Husker O’Malley Huskeroutdoors Waterworks fishing team

The frog bite coming on is one of my favorite times of the year.


This is probably a good week to check on water levels and flow. 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, walleye, bass and bluegills all hitting ; in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin’s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau). It was a good start to the northern Wisconsin musky opener last week. Quite a few nice muskies were caught with anglers reporting that they saw plenty of fish. Water temperatures remain in the mid-60 degree range but now with the recent rains this past week, water levels have risen dramatically and are at or near flood stage on some rivers and streams. With flood-like conditions anglers must look at alternative methods or secondary locations to be successful. I would start by looking at the main lakes themselves or backwater areas off the main Wisconsin River channel. From there I would target eddies’ and current breaks in the river or look for visual mud-lines where the clear water meets the stained run-off water. Despite the high water conditions the walleye bite has been pretty good. We had plenty of action this past week along with some big fish as well. Most of the walleyes were caught on jig and minnow combination but we also took several nice fish on crankbaits. We have been targeting areas in less than 5 feet of water with submerged brush that we have been finding on our locators using our side-imaging electronics The musky bite has been good this past week with several nice fish taken on bucktails, twitch baits and even a few nice fish on top-water baits. Most of the action has come on smaller baits being working in and around cover in shallow water. The action for bass has been pretty good this past week with a lot of action on jigs tipped with tubes and or Berkley Gulp.. Most of the fish have been associated with wood and or rock structure in less than 5 feet of water. The panfish bite has been fantastic this past week with a lot of bluegills now on their beds. When the gills are on their beds a simple worm on a hook suspended below a bobber is all you need to catch these feisty panfish. Some anglers go after them with fly-fishing gear and have an absolute ball with tiny flies on light line. Look for the bluegills to be hanging around shoreline structure in less than 3 feet of water, most of the time you can actually see the bluegills when they are in these locations.


Staff at Triangle said bluegill are on beds; largemouth are post-spawn; the yellow bass bite is on on Marie and the river; catfish are aggressive; and trollers in 4 feet with crankbaits are catching post-spawn walleye. Water is normal.

For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/

Check Chain updates from at the Fox Waterway Agency or by calling (847) 587-8540.


Jeff Nolan sent this:

chicago river fishing report smallmouth stacked up on main stem under new riverwalk white bass at Chump tower and Marina towers 62* South branch dead


HEIDECKE:Launch opens 6 a.m., shore fishing at 6:30 a.m.; close is sunset.LaSALLE: Remember the new regs that the wind must be 12 mph or less.Hours are 6 a.m. to sunset daily. There is a concessionaire with bait and food options. BRAIDWOOD:Lake is open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.MAZONIA: This should be the weekend, though I have said that several times now.Lakes are open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.


GENEVA:Arden Katz said rock bass are good in 14-17 feet on small jigs and maggots; largemouth are bedding; smallmouth are good on points on the west end

Dave DuweofFishLakeGeneva.com sent this:

Lake Geneva Fishing Report 6/1/15 through 6/7/15 The weather remains inconsistent so there hasn’t been much of a warm up in the water temperatures. The fishing is above average for these temps, but we’re still waiting for the great improvement to occur. The water temperature is hovering between 55 and 60 depending on location. Some smallmouth bass are starting to spawn and the largemouth are making their nests. Smallmouth bass are spawning. The best locations are by Buttons Bay, Elgin Club and the South Shore club. The most active fish are being caught in 10 ft of water. The best presentation is drop shot rigging 4 inch black finesse worms or 3 inch Sassy Shads in pearl and black. Most of the action is occurring while sight fishing since the fish are tight on their beds. For live bait fishermen, the best bet remains extra large fat head minnows fished on a split shot rig. Largemouth bass fishing is starting to improve with the warmer water. The best success has come in Trinkes Bay or by the tour boats near the Riviera Docks. Work a depth between 6 and 8 ft of water. The best success is coming off of 4 inch green Senkos or Texas rigged 4 inch finesse worms in green pumpkin color. For live bait fishermen, the best choice has been split shot rigged nightcrawlers. With the warming water temperature, the rock bass are starting to bite aggressively. The best success has been by Linn Pier or by the South Shore Club. They are being caught on white hair jigs or large fat head minnows. The best depth has been 12 ft of water. Bluegill action remains the best in the Abbey Harbor or Trinke Harbor. You want to try for them in 3-4 ft of water. The best approach is bobbers fished with leaf worms. Crappie fishing has been sporadic. The best success has been by Covenant Harbor or the east shore of Williams Bay. The best approach is smoke colored tube baits or slip bobber rigged small fat head minnows. Work a depth of 6-8 ft of water for the most action. Northern Pike action has been very slow. The only success has come while trolling crank baits or large spinner baits in Trinkes Bay. The depth range should be 10-12 ft ofwater. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

DELAVAN:Dave DuweofFishLakeGeneva.com sent this:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 6.1.15 through 6.7.15 The weather patterns remain a constant battle. The best bite on the lake is Northern Pike and largemouth bass. The shallow bite is still the way to go. The boat traffic on the warm days is increasing by the day. The best day last week was Thursday and there were in excess of 150 boats on the water. The key to fishing right now is to fish around the slimy green weeds that are pretty much everywhere in the shallow waters. Largemouth bass are being caught in Viewcrest Bay and the Highlands Bay. They can be caught on Texas rigged Senkos or a drop shot rigged 4 inch green pumpkin finesse worm. They key to the presentation is finding the areas of fishable water that are away from the green slimy weeds. With the warming water, the bluegills are getting close to spawning. The best location is by Willow Point and by Browns Channel. The bigger fish I’ve been finding are in the depth range of 6-8 ft. They can be caught on slip bobbers fished with hellgrammites or red worms. Like the largemouth bass, you want to find the pockets of sand without the green slimy weeds. Northern pike action has been very good. They are in the depth range of 10-12 ft of water. The fish are located adjacent to the weedline. They are being caught on Thill big fish sliders and medium suckers. You want to fish the baits about 1-2 ft above the weeds. The only way to fish the slip bobber rig is to anchor your boat in a likely area. My favorite spots last week were by the old Boy Scout camp and by Browns Channel. Crappie action is starting to improve. The fish are coming out of the shallow water and positioning in the weeds in 10-12 ft of water. The best location is by Belvidere condos or by Browns Channel. They are readily being caught on a 1/32 oz jig tipped with a purple or smoke plastic twister tail. I’m fishing the jigs on 4 lb test and casting out with a slow, stop and pause retrieve. Most of the time the fish are hitting when the retrieve is paused. Walleye action has been slow. The only success is coming deep in 22-24 ft of water. The best approach is either Lindy rigging extra large fat head minnows or nightcrawlers. Look for the fish by Willow point or by the Marina on the north shore. As the weather stabilizes, the fishing should improve dramatically. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


Marcus Benesch sent this:

Dale, Surprisingly the river is still in good shape after the showers we had late in the week. Clarity is poor, but flow is quite normal. Pike and rock bass are good bites in the belt of cook county preserves right now. Bridges and creek mouths are easy pickings with twister tails or spinnerbaits. Night herons are everywhere. Mosquitos? We’re still on our honeymoon, they haven’t quite hatched in force yet. I’m guessing the couple nights in 40s this week and last put a hurt on them. Marcus Benesch


EVERGREEN:Thom Matejewski at Illinois Valley Outdoors said that white bass, saugeye and crappie are being caught in weed beds in 6 feet, but with the warming weather they will likely move deeper this week. Remember that there are new saugeye regulations with a daily bag of three with a minimum of 18 inches. Mike Steffasent 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! Thank you, Mike

SHELBYVILLE:Check withKen WilsonofKen Wilson Guide Service.LAKE OF EGYPT/REND LAKE:Check withJason JohnsofBoneyard Fishing.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.


Lance LaVineatHowie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay sent this:

Hello all…here is the updated fish report for Sun/Mon, May 31st Smallmouth Bass fishing continues to stay strong throughout the Door County peninsula. The best depths have been in the 3 to 8 foot of water range and fishing bottom transitions like rock to sand, channel cuts and shallow shoreline ledges. Tubes, grubs, paddle tails, jerk baits, flukes and senko style baits all working very well right now. The Walleye action during the day continues to stay very strong especially around the southern end of the county around the Chaudoirs Dock area. 15 to 22 feet of water has been the best depth to concentrate on. Flicker Shads and Minnows, Reef Runners, Smash shads and a few fish are now coming on crawler harnesses. The night bite is still going really good basically from Henderson’s point north to Fish Creek fishing those steeper, rocky primary drop-offs with suspending baits like Rogue’s and Husky Jerks. Still not much to report on as far as the Perch fishing is concerned. Areas to try would be some of that deeper water mud off of Chaudoirs Dock north to Henderson’s Point, shallow water weed beds in Little Sturgeon, Riley’s Bay and Sawyer Harbor and the edges of shipping canal right in downtown Sturgeon Bay. Fat heads, crawlers and leafworms are generally the best live baits to have in the boat. Action out on Lake Michigan has been going quite well for Lake Trout in the shallow water and out a bit deeper. We heard of some nice catches of Lake Trout along with some Brown Trout as shallow as 10 feet of water along with some of that deeper water like from 60 to 100 feet. And assortment of flasher/fly combinations are working well along with some spoons and plugs. Thanks; Lance LaVine Howie’s Tackle 1309 Green Bay Rd Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235 Ph: 920-746-9916

The Wisconsin DNR posts a report, typically updated on Tuesdays at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html


Thom MatejewskiatIllinois Valley Outdoors said white bass are good in the mouths of tributaries, bridge abutments or pillars, best on a minnow on a floating jighead; catfish (and flatheads) are good up and down the river on cut shad or Asian carp.

Illinois Valley Outdoors  is open in Spring Valley 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.


River is high and dirty, especially from the Iroquois convergence downstream, but that should not discourage fishing asNorm Minasaptly notes with this:

I saw a channel cat come to the surface in a shallow slack spot and grab a water snake by the head, no more snake. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen that, awesome . River is still rising , over 12,000 cfs. no visibility, didn’t bother with water temps. A lot of big wood and other debris headed downstream . The good news is that the water willow is developed enough to hold all sorts of food and the predators that follow . Weather warmed as the day went on, bit windy . I covered a lot of water, no other fisherman out . Well, they missed a fantastic day of fishing . Why so many think you can’t catch fish in these conditions is beyond me. It’s actually easier location wise. You can eliminate at least 95 % of the river from consideration . Well , unless you try boating, which would be crazier than anything I’d try with all that stuff in the water. Consider how much of the food and predators are in well defined easily accessible areas from shore . I had the waders on but most of the fishing was done from shore. I only waded out enough to get better casting angles in the types of spots I know from decades of experience are safe to do so. If it wasn’t safe and I couldn’t get the casting angle I wanted, I simply moved on. A 3/8 oz chatterbait with a 6 inch Kalins musky twister tail was the most productive lure. The 4 inch Charlie Brewer twister and assorted buzzfrogs were also used as trailers. The only other lure I used was a 5 inch swimbait on a 5/0 ewg hook weightless . Most of the fish came from flooded water willow beds, Smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and channel cats in the willows. I got some on the chatterbait around bridge pilings, around rock bluffs and on the mudline on a crick. I got some gar on the swimbait a little up the crick from the mudline. 3 gar landed , 7 hit, lost two swimbaits. 3 smallmouth at the mudline on the chatterbait. 2 smallmouth on the chatterbait at the bridge pilings. 7 smallmouth on chatterbait around the bluffs. 17 channelcats on the chatterbait in the willows. 2 largemouth on the chatterbait in the willows. 28 smallmouth on the chatterbait in the willows . 62 fish total ranging in size from small to very large . An excellent day in any conditions to my way of thinking Peace Norm


Prospects look good for walleye and perch this year; smallmouth fair but improving. Click here for update. The Ohio DNR has general Lake Erie info and a fishing report.


Scott Hill from Fishing Thrills Guide Service sent this on Koshkonong:

5/29/15 Lake Koshkonong, cloudy steady light rain, 60 degrees, S winds at 6 – 15 mph, water temp 62 degrees. Caught 20 walleye, 8 cat fish, 3 white bass and 1 big perch. On our first pass trolling we caught 8 walleye and a Big perch, the approaching storm front moved in faster than expected and forced us to move to the river, We found 13 walleye most thirteen to fourteen inches 2 eighteen inches, 7 catfish fifteen to twenty inches that they kept to put in the smoker. Small jigs three inch Gulp Fry Minnows with a small chunk of crawler to hide the end of the hook. 5/26/15 Lake Koshkonong, sunny, 60 degrees, S winds at 5-10 mph, water temp 61 degrees. Caught 6 walleye, 3 white bass and 1 big crappie. Started in jigging the river found 6 thirteen to fourteen inch walleye, 2 pike . Moved on to the main lake after our lunch break and caught 13 walleye in 3- 5 ft of water on Berkeley shad raps and flicker minnows. The best location was by the Oakhill Academy to Busseyville Creek. 5/9/15 Lake Koshkonong, cloudy, winds SW at 15-10 mph. air temp 65, water temp 60 degrees. Caught 8 walleyes, 10 white bass and 1 northern. Trolled Berkeley Shad Raps and crawler harnesses. The best depth was around 5 ft of water. The best color was purple for the baits. 5/8/15 Lake Koshkonong, cloudy, winds SW at 10 mph. air temp 65, water temp 60 degrees. Caught 12 walleyes, 10 white bass and 3 northern. Trolled Berkeley Shad Raps and crawler harnesses. The best depth was around 5 ft of water.


Staff at Henry’s said the best bite remains smallmouth bedding near shore. Otherwise, the lake needs to settle after the blow for patterns to re-establish for boaters.


Gene DellingeratD&S Bait said bluegill should be back on beds by next week; catfish are cooperative on Mendota, where the water has cleared; crappie backed off. Water is in the low 60s, cooler at night.


Check withMike MladenikatMike Mladenik Guide Service.


MINOCQUA:Kurt JusticeofKurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:

6-2-15 Minocqua Area Fishing Report After another week of cold mornings and mild afternoons, it looks like the coming week should level off to more moderate temps. A stretch of relatively stable weather with highs in the low to mid 70’s every day is coming this week. That stability should help anglers pattern their favorite species. Pike: Good. Action is picking up nicely, but, for the most part smaller fish reported. Jig and chubs meant for weed walleyes are accounting for most of the action. Those targeting pike are doing well rigging 3 paddle tailed minnows or 3-4 twister tail grubs on 1/8 or 1 /4 oz jigs and worked in weed tops high in the water of 6-10’. Crappies: Good. Few reports of spawning fish. Those in the shallows being caught on traditional bobber/minnow combinations. Fish outside these areas using 1/32 to 1/16oz jig/plastic combo’s (Northland Thumpers and Charlie Bee’s doing well with the added flash of the small blade). Crappies found deeper than 10’ require some vertical techniques using jig with plastic or minnows and slip-bobbers to hold the bait at proper levels. Smallmouth Bass: Good. They are staging in many lakes, but should move up this coming week if they haven’t already. Casting suspending twitch baits outside spawning areas in 8-14’ has been the hottest technique. Try X-Raps, Shadow Rap (new) as well as Husky Jerks and Rattlin’ Rogues. On the warmest of afternoons, top water baits also working. Walleyes: Good. The best times to fish this past week were afternoons and evenings. Cold mornings put a clamp on most bites. It is still a strong minnow bite for the most part, but, leeches are starting to come into play. Casting lipless cranks over shallow sand/weed bars (Rattle Traps, Rattlin’ Raps) scoring fewer, but larger average size. Bluegills: Good. They have been seen moving into shallow on warm afternoons. Most action has been on worms, small leeches and thunderbugs. Perch: Good. Best action in the afternoons. With dragonfly hatches sprouting up, thunderbugs (dragonfly larvae) is an excellent choice on small thin wire hook below slip floats. Largemouth: Good. Go slow in the morning with plastics (Wacky worms, creature baits) then pick up the pace in the afternoons on shallow running cranks or light spinnerbaits. Musky: Fair. Fishing slowly has been best. Bucktails by far have been most effective, but bites hard to come by. Use soft bodied plastic bait as throw-back lure if followers won’t commit to bucktails. With such extremes in temps this past week (lows in upper 20’s, highs just cracking 80’s) and mixing wind, no wind, rain then cloudless skies, the stability of this coming week will be welcomed. Most lakes have surface temps in the low to mid 60’s thanks to a few hot days last week. Smallmouth Bass (catch and release until June 20th) and Bluegills should dominate action reports in the coming weeks. Kurt Island Sportshop Minocqua, Wi 54548

EAGLE RIVER:This report came theEagle River Chamber of Commerce, based on Creative Brilliance interviews with Eagle River guides“Muskie Matt”of Wild Eagle Lodge,“Ranger Rick” Kruegerof Guide’s Choice Pro Shop,Mat Hegy; and Eagle River hunting enthusiast,Dan Anderson:

(Head): Eagle River fishing picking up strongly, with musky, walleye, northern and panfish action good to excellent, and smallmouth bass, good; all in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. Surface water temps in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area still hanging in the upper 50s. Our guide sources are telling us that fishing action continues to pick up rapidly, with almost all species hitting well. Now’s the time to get up to Eagle River, hire one of its excellent guides, and enjoy some of the legendary fishing and natural Northwoods beauty that Eagle River has been famous for, for over 150 years. MUSKY: Fish 10 feet of water or less off of break edges and adjacent weed edges. Use smaller baits, including bucktails, twitch baits, crankbaits and topwaters. They’re all working. Use a regular retrieve. All day action with peaks around sunset. The bite is good to excellent. Don’t forget the old musky axiom: ALWAYS do a figure eight when your lure nears the boat. Lots of hits occur when that happens. WALLEYE: Fish break edges in 15 feet of water or less – -and the walleyes will move somewhat shallower in the evening. The walleyes are tight to bottom. Use a 1/8th or 1/16th ounce jig tipped with a fathead minnow. All day action with peaks in the evening, and the bite is good to excellent. NORTHERN: Fish 10 feet of water or less in and around weeds. Use a northern sucker under a slip bobber, a Husky Jerk in a minnow or walleye pattern, or a small inline spinner. All day action and the bite is good to excellent. PANFISH: Fish crappies, bluegills and perch in 10 feet of water or less, off of break edges or on adjacent weed beds. The perch are tight to bottom, with the crappies and gills suspending in the weeds. Use a crappie minnow, chunk of crawler, or micro-plastic, under a slip bobber or on a small jig, or try a Frizzy jig which has been working well. All day action and the bite is good to excellent. SMALLMOUTH BASS: Fish hardbottom areas in 15 feet of water or less. There are still some smallies on their beds, but not that many. Use a minnow under a slip bobber or on a jig, a Mepps #3 spinner, a 3 inch tube, or a Senko rigged wacky. All day action and the bite is good. Remember: Smallmouth bass are strictly catch-and-release until the harvest season begins on June 20th.


The Wisconsin DNR Root River Report is generally posted on Tuesday.


Staff at Tackle Haven said coho, some kings and steelhead are being caught in 80-120 feet; there’s lakers in 100-150; river is high and producing catfish, smallmouth and walleye.


Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.



Larry Green messaged that the “wipers” (hybrid stripers) were going.

He added:

Yes,I caught a smallmouth,large mouth,Muskie,walleye,crappie, bluegill, big channel cat and stripers. Pretty wild.


Lakeside is open 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.For more information and reports from Lakeside, gotoshabbonalake.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.


FREMONT:GuideBill Stoegersaid that white bass came back in to spawn with a vengeance. In this odd spring, he said it is at least the fifth time they have come back in shallow. River rigs, jigs, anything is working shallow around the grass. Should hold at least through the weekend.

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