Finally, a weekend forecast appropriate for proper May fishing.
Aptly enough there are some previews for the Wisconsin gamefish opener on Saturday and other May signs for 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.
Rico Cantu sent the photo of a crappie above:
Hey Dale, I got this slab on a minnow jig in a will county
Gamefish season opens Saturday in Wisconsin. There are a number of previews below.
There are 22 sectionals across Illinois for high school bass fishing on Friday. Give them room to fish.
Perch fishing in the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan is closed through June 15.
Things will change dramatically by the weekend. As Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait said, “Summer-like weather should revive fish.” That’s right. I expect bass and panfish both to be shallow on most lakes and ponds.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:
Bass bite continues to be good on area lakes even with the passing cold front. Not surprising, bass did move out from the shallows with the drop in temps. Working a strike king 4 inch ocho as slow as you can possibly work a bait was the ticket. Bite was very subtle. If you felt any kind of weight, set the hook. Line watching was also key. Bass should move back in with the warm up later in the week. Bite should be very good this weekend.TTYL
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
Site fishing hours are 6 a.m.-sunset daily. NOTE: Exelon’s Fishing for a Cure is May 7. Click here for info and to register.
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA
Condtions will change dramatically by the weekend and I woul dexpect many bass and panfish to pull up shallow and into channels.
I fished with Capt. Chris Taurisano on Monday. Water had cooled to 50 on the lakes, cool as 48 in the river, best walleye fishing was south in the river or around bridges with the increased current; bluegill and crappie were up on sun-warmed shorelines.
Check updates at Fox Waterway Agency or by calling (847) 587-8540.
DELAVAN/LAKE GENEVA AREA, WISCONSIN
Dave Duwe sent this:
Opening Day is Finally Here!
Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 7th. The opening day of inland fishing season finally arrives after the long winter and cool spring. Opening day for game fish on most inland waters in Wisconsin is the first Saturday in May.
For those of us in Walworth County Wisconsin, we are very fortunate to have some great fishing lakes. Walworth county is home to one of the deepest lakes in the state in Lake Geneva as well as many smaller, shallow lakes that warm up much faster, such as Lake Como, Whitewater Lake and Lauderdale lakes.
Delavan Lake is one of the best lakes in Southeastern Wisconsin, if not the entire state. There is an abundance of both pan fish and game fish. Most of the fish are shallow in early May making for some great days on the lake.
With the cold spring we’ve had, early May might be a little tough on Lake Geneva. Such a big and deep body of water will take some time to warm up. This will lead to some sluggish fishing with inactive fish. Most of the smallmouth bass will be suspended, not associating with any structure. They also spend their time chasing bait fish pods near their spawning flats. Look for the suspended fish in 12-15 feet of water. My preferred presentations are Kalin Grubs in Avocado color fished on a darter head or Arkie Jigs Shinee Hinnee (a small crappie hair jig that resembles a shiner). The spawning flats I like are near the South Shore Club (formerly the Military Academy), Elgin Club or Knollwood.
Largemouth bass will likely be most active in the shallow bays like Trinkes, Abbey Harbor or in Geneva Bay. I like using baits such as a Yum Dingers or a Texas rigged plastic worm. Green pumpkin or watermelon are always my best colors. The larger bluegills will also be in these same shallow bays. The best presentation is Thill slip bobbers with Lindy’s Toad ice jigs. I prefer using wax worms or leaf worms.
Since Delavan Lake is so well known as an awesome fishery, it will also be one of the busiest lakes on opening day. Typically the crappie bite is good long before opening day but this year we’ve had some cool temperatures so it’s taking longer than normal for the bite to be strong. The best depth is in the 8-12 foot depth range. I like mini-mites or small plastics in purple or yellow. For live bait fishermen, Thill slip bobber rigs tipped with small fat head minnows can also produce a lot of fish. Look for the fish by Browns Channel or by the island on the west end of the lake.
Walleyes in early May are shallow. Delavan is very clear this time of year and that can make the walleyes a bit skittish. The fish are in the emerging weeds in 5 to 10 feet of water. Night or low light conditions produce the most fish. Trolling shallow diving crankbaits typically produces the most fish.
Largemouth bass will be cruising the shallows in pre-spawn. The best approach is Yum Dingers fished Texas rigged in 3-5 feet of water near the outlet and by Lake Lawn Lodge.
While Delavan and Geneva are both great for fishing, personally I prefer some of Walworth Counties shallower lakes for opening day. The lakes tend to have a much higher water temperature and that helps keep the fish more active. The smaller lakes also receive a lot less fishing pressure and can be very productive. My favorite lake choices are Whitewater, Como and Tripp lakes. Work the shallow emerging weeds in 3 to 5 ft of water for largemouth bass. My lure choices are a Booyah white spinnerbait in ¼ oz or a Texas rigged Yum Dinger in Green pumpkin. Being such shallow lakes, the weed growth can be tremendous so early May can be the best fishing of the year on these bodies of water.
Shore anglers in Walworth County can have good action as well on opening day throughout the county. Turtle creek has a decent smallmouth and pan fish bite along with the requisite suckers and carp. Shore anglers are welcome to fish in the Town of Delavan’s community park for a small fee. The Kettle Moraine State forest also has some great shore opportunities on and near Whitewater lake.
The opportunities are abundant here is Walworth County. Come and enjoy opening day. For guide parties contact Dave Duwe of Dave Duwe’s Guide Service at 262-728-8063.
DES PLAINES RIVER
HENNEPIN-HOPPER: The Wetlands Initiative will have the fishing season at the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge (Hennepin-Hopper) from May 15 to Labor Day. Regulations will be the same as last year, with an emphasis on reminding fishermen there may be no large motors on boats. 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
Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay sent this:
Hey Guys. Here is a quick update as I just got back from vacation and have a pile to do
Walleye fishing has been going pretty decent both during the day and at night for the trollers, jig fishermen and shore fishermen. At night, fishermen have been trolling the shorelines around the Old Stone Quarry, Sherwood Point and Henderson’s Point south to Chaudoir’s Dock. Trolling with Husky Jerks and Smithwick Rogues and Flicker Minnows. During the day, fishermen are finding active fish around the Henderson Point area south past Chaudoirs Dock. Basically look for some warmer water with active pods of fish and stay on top of them. Flicker shads and minnows along with Storm Smash shads have been the best trolling baits. And for the jig fishermen which has become extremely popular and very effective, concentrate in those same areas, use your graph to locate fish and throw Rippin Raps and swim baits and hold on
Brown trout fishermen are still having success trolling on the Lake side and Bay side of the peninsula fishing pretty much the same old spots we talk about. Concentrate on those transition areas like rock to sand or dirty to clean water areas. Floating Rapalas, Thundersticks and Mauler spoons have been the best baits
The Lake Trout fishing reports from some of that deeper water just to the south of Sturgeon Bay are starting to come in now. 70 to 90 feet of water trolling with Howie Flies and Mauler spoons fishing near the bottom and fishing slow is the key. There are also some Lakers coming from a little shallower water like less than 40 feet. Spoons and both shallow and deep diving crank baits will work there.
Pike fishing is still holding it’s own. Little Sturgeon, Sturgeon Bay and Sawyer Harbor all good spots to try. Live bait rigging with suckers minnows and or casting or trolling with large suspending crank baits and swim baits all good options
And the Bass opener is just around the corner and the anticipation is high and it looks like it’s gonna be a good one. There are already a bunch of incidental fish being caught by Pike fishermen and fishermen are seeing lots and lots of fish piling into those shallow water hot spots like Little Sturgeon, Riley’s Bay, Sawyer Harbor and the Sturgeon Bay Flats. So…that should be your starting spots. Look for the warmest water, make long casts and hold on cause there is a very good chance it will be over 5 pounds. Shorty tubes, Kalins Grubs, paddle tails and suspending crank baits like Lucky Crafts are a must early in the season.
1309 Green Bay Rd
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
The Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report, typically updated on Tuesdays, includes reports from both the bay and lake sides.
Multiple stories of good walleye and hybrid fishing; and a few good crappie reports last week before the cool-down. Would be high on the list of good spots to fish later in the week.
Lake hours are 6 a.m.-sunset daily.
More reports of white bass starting to go.
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.
Lilacs are still blooming and smallmouth are going; river levels and color are OK by spring standards.
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.
WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop texted that coho and browns are picking up off piers, boaters are fishing 30-100 ft. south of Waukegan, catching lakers, too.
NORTH POINT: Poteshman said that there are good coho in 230 feet, oddly enough from the surface to the bottom.
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
Gene Dellinger at D & S Bait said that yypically on opening weekend, there’s a decent night bite for walleye, shore (Yahara to Monona) and boat (best off points on Mendota), usually on Countdown Rapalas; smallmouth tend to be best on Mendota in 8-12 feet on points; usually muskie are best on Wingra; bluegill and crappie have been best on Waubesa (better quality, less numbers) and Monona (better numbers).
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
I will rerun what Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service sent last week as a preview:
Smallmouth are staging big time and by the time the Catch and Release season opens May 7 look for a awesome bite! Water levels are perfect and the water temp is gradually rising, you can’t ask for better conditions.
I still have openings Book now for prime May dates
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:
Here we are on the brink of the opener. A late one. Walleye spawning is almost completely done throughout the Lakeland Area. What anglers can expect will be a post spawn bite for the most part. Surface temps ranging from 47-53 degrees on many of the area lakes and Flowages. Following a brief recovery time after the rigors of spawning, walleyes should be on the feed.
Typical light jigs tipped with large fatheads, small suckers as well as chubs and Dace (where and when available) fished near newly emerging green weeds will probably be the top choice amongst most anglers. Look for the warmest water on the lake (can change daily with wind direction). Casting minnow style shallow running crank baits at dusk and after dark is usually a good tactic early on.
If water temps on the lake you choose hits the low 50’s, take along some leeches as they will start emerging from the mud in shallow bays. Forecast for the temperature to hit low 70’s Saturday should help as long as clouds accompany.
Crappies: Very good. In the afternoons, crappies becoming active, moving into the shallow, warmer bays – sometimes as little as 4’ of water. Long cast so as not to spook the fish. The crappies, bluegills, bass and musky being seen in the shallows mixed in with large schools of bait fish is a good sign.
Despite the late start, hopefully we will see some good fishing, but, don’t forget Sunday is Mother’s Day! Take Mom fishing.
Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
Northern Pike: Will be in post spawn and a jig and minnow combo along weed edges and spoons like the Johnson Silver Minnow should be in your arsenal for these eager fish to bite onto.
Walleyes: At this time a good mix of 1/16-, 1/8- and ¼-ounce jigs tipped with fathead minnows, or slip bobbers fished on new weed growth edges to rock and soft bottom transitions should get you a good mess of eyes for a fish fry.
Perch: Small jigs and/or slip bobbers with small minnows should work along weed edges for these fish.
Like other places, panfish and bass should pick up dramatically this weekend on inland lakes and ponds. Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted that when the weather allows, “lots’’ of lakers are being caught in 80-100 feet, Burns Ditch to New Buffalo, Mich.; a few coho and steelhead are in 190-260 feet, surface to 150 feet down, on spoons and Dodgers and flies.
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 that boat fishing is good deep (125 feet and deeper) for coho with a few steelhead and lakers, fishing surface to as low as possible; pier is slow other the occasional big catfish.
ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA
Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.
Again, another lake that should change dramatically by the weekend.
Staff at Lakeside said Bass (will be coming shallow), muskie and crappie (north end in cribs and trees) are the top bites.
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: Curt Pazdro messaged this:
Dale, The walleyes are still running in the wolf river at fremont, white bass are starting, in the deep holes caught 35 white bass and 8 walleyes my son wyatt caught a tagged walleye it was cold but an awesome weekend
Arden Katz said his best action for walleye and white bass came dragging, rather than vertical jiggins, around the Rat and upstream of it.