May settles into what May can be: variable. That variability (white bass on the Wolf River, hybrids at Heidecke) and some reports on the weekend of the Wisconsin gamefish opener highlight this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.
The MFR appears in a condensed form Wednesdays on the Sun-Times newspaper outdoors page. The sprawling raw-file report is posted here online on the Sun-Times outdoors page.
The photo above came from Victor Blackful of Father Robert Basler with a good hybrid from Heidecke Lake.
Perch fishing in the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan is closed through June 15.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley(featured to the left) sent this:
Hey Dale, Bass remain excellent during early morning hours. Some bass are on their beds, while others have finished up. Good numbers are being picked up along the inside and outside weedlines depending on how cool the overnight temps get. A four inch BPS stik-o rigged wacky with a 1/0 octopus hook remains the bait of choice. Using an o-ring allows multiple fish caught on the same bait.TTYL— Ken Husker O’Malley Huskeroutdoors 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
Some solid largemouth came in during the Fishing for a Cure tournament, as well as a tournament-record catfish (12-plus pounds).
Site fishing hours are 6 a.m.-sunset daily.
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA
With increased flow, bridges and other current areas will be prime targets for walleye. Arden Katz said that he “tore up’’ panfish in channels on the weekend with micro jigs; “still eggs in crappie, I’m shocked for this late in May.’’ It is an odd spring.
Check updates at Fox Waterway Agency or by calling (847) 587-8540.
DELAVAN/LAKE GENEVA AREA, WISCONSIN
Dave Duwe sent this for Geneva: Lake Geneva Fishing Report 5/8/16 through 5/15/16 As difficult as Lake Geneva is on a typical opening day, the cool spring and cold front that greeted Opening day made Geneva even more difficult. It takes a consistent warming spring and nice sunny days to heat up a body of water the size of Lake Geneva. Fishing stays on the difficult side until the water temps increase. I’ve found schools of perch in 25-27 ft of water. It appeared that they were still spawning. The fish I caught had many of the males still milking. The schools were located by the Driehaus estate and the South Shore Club. They were readily hitting ice jigs tipped with a wax worm fished on a split shot rig. The bluegills are in 3-4 ft of water. The best location has been in Geneva Bay or outside Trinkes Harbor. I’ve haven’t found many really nice sized fish but there have been loads of 6-7 inch fish. The best approach is a Thill slip bobber rig fished with a leaf worm. Largemouth bass fishing has been very slow. The only success has been coming in Abbey Harbor while fishing a watermelon seed Senko or a nightcrawler on a small split shot rig to avoid the weeds. Concentrate on the outwash of the moored boats, these provide a great ambush point for the largemouth bass. Smallmouth bass have been spotty. They’ve been following the schools of small perch and minnow pods. I’ve caught some in 6 ft of water and some in 27 ft of water. The most consistent pattern is fishing for suspended fish 8-12 ft down in 15 ft of water. The smallmouth are pre-spawn and will be found scattered throughout the water column. I use a small white hair jig or a silver jig slowly swam back to the boat. The best location has been by the Dreihaus Estate and Elgin Club. Crappies have been biting if it’s been cloudy out. When the sun is out and coupled with the ultra clear water forces the crappies tight to the weed growth. The best location has been by Covenant Harbor, Maytag Point and the east side of Williams Bay. The best success has been on chartreuse nail tails or smoke colored small twister tails. I’ve been finding them in 9-10 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
Duwe sent this for Delevan:
Delavan Lake Fishing Report 5/8/16 through 5/15/16 Delavan Lake met opening day with a 20 degree cold front. The fishing pressure was lighter than I’ve seen in recent years and the fishing was very tough. From my own trip and discussions with others the day was met with limited success all around. Walleye fishing had only one good report and that was by casting small Shad Raps over the emerging weeds in 9-10 ft of water. Due to the ultra clear water, the only success was really early in the morning or at night. Largemouth bass fishing is relatively slow due to the weather. In the clear water you can see the bass cruising in 2-3 ft. They weren’t interested in hitting the bait however. The one interesting thing this year is that the outlet side of North Shore road is almost completely weed choked which is rare for this time of year. With a few days of warm weather, the bass fishing should explode. Northern Pike fishing has been relegated to the shallow water weed flats. Most of the success is in 9-10 ft of water. Spots like Viewcrest Bay and Highlands Bay are producing the most action. Try using Thill slip bobbers with medium suckers for the best success. Bluegill fishing has been spotty. It hasn’t been hard to catch fish, however the size has been an issue. The best spot has been in Viewcrest Bay or in Highlands Channel. The best approach has been fishing an ice jig beneath a bobber in 3-4 ft of water. Crappie fishing has been up and down with the weather. On warmer days the fish have been located in Lake Lawn Harbor, on cooler days they simply aren’t there. The best success comes from gold hooks fished underneath a bobber with a small fat head minnow. 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
HENNEPIN-HOPPER: The Wetlands Initiative will have the fishing season at the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge (Hennepin-Hopper) from May 15 to Sept 5, expect closed Mondays (open on holidays). Regulations will be the same as last year, with an emphasis on reminding fishermen there may be no large motors on boats. Click here for detailed information.
LAKE OF EGYPT/REND: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. POWERTON: Summer hours are 6 a.m.-8 p.m. EMIQUON: Because of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s shutdown, fishing and boating permits will be done at the launch. Call (309) 547-2730. SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide Service.
EVERGREEN:Mike Steffa sent this update on bait shop and boat rental:
BAIT SHOP HOURS: MONDAY-THURSDAY FROM 8-4 AND FRIDAY-SUNDAY FROM 6-4 BOAT RENTAL HOURS: FRIDAY-SUNDAY FROM 6-4 EXPANDED HOURS BEGINNING MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND! QUESTIONS? CALL THE COMLARA PARK VISITOR CENTER AT (309) 434-6770.
GREEN BAY/STURGEON BAY
No update this week from Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay.
The Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report, typically updated on Tuesdays, includes reports from both the bay and lake sides.
Continued reports of walleye and hybrids. Again would be high on my list of good spots to fish this week.
And this report from Victor Blackful sums it up:
So being a lifelong Sox fan I am not sure if Sox wins go hand in hand with great fishing but I will take it. If you head out to Hedikee take some night crawlers because Striped Bass and Walleyes have been jumping out of the lake. The bite has been on the 6. That’s 6am to 7am and 6pm to 7pm on the south side of the lake. My friend Father Basler caught this 8lb hybrd while myself and other caught ours between 5 and 6 pounds. I must say fishing has been great on Hedikee so far.
Oh, I absolutely think they go hand in hand, Sox wins and great fishing that is.
Lake hours are 6 a.m.-sunset daily.
Thom Matejewski at Illinois Valley Outdoors said before the rains, both sauger and white bass were going good. Check back later this week.
Illinois Valley Outdoors–(815) 663-1000–is open in Spring Valley.
Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.
As of now, the river is still OK and smallmouth going.
BTW: Norm Minas long-time contributor of fishing reports, has to take a break. Anybody willing to offer some help on the mighty, let me know.
NOTE: The Route 102 bridge over Rock Creek is undergoing work, which means access to the state park and Warner Bridge will require some driving around.
Remember the perch closure on Lake Michigan runs through June 15 on the Illinois waters.
CHICAGO: Best bite remains smallmouth in the harbors, as the FOTW shows. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said on days when weather allows, lakers remain good around “The Wreck’’ and the R4.
WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop texted that boats are going south to 80-100 feet for lakers and steelhead; all the way to to 280-300 feet for a mixed bag of fish; shore guys are scuffling for a few coho and kings.
NORTH POINT: Poteshman said coho are “ridiculous’’ in 250-300 feet, some steelhead and some kings, too.
LAKE KOSHKONONG, WISCONSIN
Still hearing some big catches of blues. The cooling lake south of Seneca is open daily, 6 a.m.-sunset.
MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN
Go to Facebook for the latest updates from Gene Dellinger at D & S Bait.
Open daily, 6 a.m.-sunset. I would expect this to be the best weekend of the year there.
MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN
Mike Mladeikat Mike Mladenik Guide Service sent update Tuesday:
The weather was horrible today, 45 degrees and occasional rain. We did manage to catch a few big smallmouth on High Falls Flowage The big fish of the day was a 21.5 inch hawg that was coaxed into to hitting a Case Magic Stik. It pays to be persistent!
Check the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report, which generally comes out Tuesdays for updates.
MINOCQUA:Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:
Mother Nature pulled a fast one on us. Friday’s temps cracking 87 degrees, then fell quickly by 30 degrees as a fast moving storm passed through during the night. The opener saw temps in the 40’s with North winds and a high barometer. Fishing conditions were tough, though a few bodies of water produced catches, but, those bodies were also stacked up with anglers. Not just the anxious walleye anglers were affected either. The steadily improving panfish bite shut down for the most part also. Things improved somewhat by Sunday and should through the week. The forecast looks too cool by the weekend, but, we will wait and see. Walleyes: Poor – good. Much depended on where the fishing took place. Overall more of a fair’ rating for the whole weekend, though some anglers (on flowages) did well. Most reports were of little or no walleye action. Minnows on jigs as well as slip bobber rigs did best. What looked like a good potential for a leech bite didn’t materialize when the temperature dropped so quickly. Northern: Fair-Good. They were active on the Flowages. While few targeted this species, a lot were caught by anglers jigging minnows for walleye. Crappies: Fair. The bite shut down with the cold. Fish were still caught, but, bite only slightly improved by Sunday. It was odd to catch crappies in 16’ and also in 6’ of water on the same lake an hour apart. Judging by the coloration of the males, some bedding is occurring. Minnows have been the top choice below slip floats. Lakes with water temps in upper 50’s will see the first hot action of spring, but, up and down temps could push fish out and back in. Afternoons have been best. Largemouth Bass: Fair. With the season open for this species (smallies not until June 18th), surprisingly some anglers were out targeting LMB. Due to sudden cold spell, plastics in the form of 4 wacky worms as well as small creature baits worked best. Bluegills: Poor-Fair. The few decent reports were from anglers on the flowages fishing deep wood. Friday, before the temperature change, gills were thick and hungry in the shallows. Surface temps varied widely from lows of 46-47 degrees (Trout, Fence) to highs close to 60 degrees by Sunday afternoon. Clear nights have led to cold early mornings, as temps warm in the afternoon so has the bite. Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop http://www.kurtsislandsports.com
Northern Pike: Will be in post spawn, and a jig and minnow combo along the weed edges and spoons, like the Johnson Silver Minnow, should be in your arsenal for these eager fish to bite onto. You will sometimes catch these while jigging for walleye also. Walleyes: At this time, a good mix of 1/16-, 1/8-, and ¼-ounce jigs tipped with fathead minnows, or slip bobbers. New weed growth edges to rock and soft bottom transitions should get you a good mess of eyes for a fish fry. This will be the pattern for a while. Perch: Small jigs and/or slip bobbers with small minnows on weed edges is where you will find these fish.
Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said there are lots of lakers around “The Gong.”
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station said on Lake Michigan when weather allows good lakers in 60-100 feet near bottom on tincan Dodgers and Spin’N’Glows; most coho action in 180-250 feet from Michigan City to St. Joseph, Mich scattered through the water column and best on orange Dodgers and green flies or smaller spoons in orange, chartreuse or silver.
Sleziak said when there are a couple warm days, the bluegill are fair at Willow Slough; below the Lake George dam is giving up decent number of walleye and crappie with a few pike on 3-inch twister tails and minnows; decent crappie and bass from shore or boat at Grand Boulevard.
ROCK RIVER, WISCONSIN
No update, I did not get to call Brian Gates at Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle.
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
The Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report is generally posted on Tuesday and includes a Root river section.
ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN
Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said there are a few catfish, drum and an occasional steelhead being caught off thye pier; river is high; boaters are working 130-180 feet for a mixed bag.
ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA
Click herefor reports from the Indiana DNR.
Staff at Lakeside said that about 20 muskies were reported Friday by the high school bass fishermen and other fishermen. Crappie will be spawning in the no-motor zone this weekend or next; largemouth were decent for IHSA tournament
The restaurant is open weekends. Lakeside is now open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. For more information and reports from Lakeside, go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.
The Wisconsin DNR posts a report at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html. It is usually posted by Tuesday afternoon. Stream flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN
FREMONT: Bill Stoeger said that white bass are on the cusp of spawning with water warmed into the low 60s; best is a jig and minnow; walleye remain good, best is drifting with crawlers or flies.