Being planning for the Memorial Day weekend or the muskie opener in northern Wisconsin, here’s the sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.
I expect lots of people on public waters for the Memorial Day weekend, which is why I chose the photo from Larry Green of the big largemouth bass he caught from a Forest Preserves of Cook County lake over the weekend:
20 inch,big bass on the fly 5 weight 4lb test leader released
Then he DM’ed this added information:
7ft 6inch#5wt Fly rod 4lb test pulled like a cinder block
The MFR for Chicago fishing 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.
Perch fishing is closed in the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan through June 15.
Muskie fishing opens Saturday in northern Wisconsin.
Giving some options for the Memorial Day weekend.
Pete Lamar sent this:
Lots of information here; feel free to use any of it if it seems useful. My friend fished a DuPage Co. Forest Preserve quarry last Wednesday and absolutely tore it up: a mixed bag of bluegills, redears and bass. I went there the following day and didn’t get the same numbers, but the variety was there: bass bluegills and a very small green sunfish. Friday afternoon in the rain, wind and 44 degree temps, I found some bull bluegills in a Kane Co. F.P. lake. The fish were within a foot or two of the shore. No redds were obvious, but the males were getting very territorial. Same place on Saturday afternoon, but using streamers and looking for bass. They were cooperative once the sun dropped. Didn’t fish on Sunday because the weather got even worse. . . . I did notice a lot of algae for this time of year everywhere I’ve fished. But the good news is that the fish seem to be turning on; warmer water has them feeding more aggressively. It’s a great time to be out. I think the bad weather bothers us more than the fish. Pete
Norm Minas sent this:
I found a bunch of ponds on Google Earth and yes , I know the end times draw nigh , I actually used modern technology to find fishing spots . I took a tour of 7 of the 30 odd spots today . The best one was the least developed as I thought it might be. I caught nothing but largemouth bass , I couldn’t scratch up a sunfish no matter what I tried . The largemouth on the other hand hit everthing I tried , from buzzbaits to wtd on top, crankbaits and rattlebaits, jig/plastics , wacky rigged cigar type worms to unweighted multiple hooked pre rigged worms . The other ponds were around developed areas, all suburban retention ponds . All had moderate to severe algae problems thanks to the brainwashed that crave the perfect lawn. thanks corporate chemicals . I managed to catch something from all of them but four of the remaing six have been written off as not worth the effort . I went as simple and weedless as possible , 1/6 oz jig and weightless t-rigged cigar type worm . Most bluegills, some pumpkinseeds and crappies mixed in with a handful of largemouth . PeaceNorm
That Google Earth note is not an insignificant note.
As to bass, Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed:
Hey Dale, Bass have been very good on area lakes. Evening hours have been producing good numbers. A few bass are still on the beds, but most are post spawn. Pitching a 4 1/4 inch senko along the outside edges of weed clumps has been the best producing presentation. A few bass have also been caught on spinnerbaits burned on the weed tops. If you see a front moving in, get out and fish!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
Rob Abouchar sent this:
Hi Dale The good bite continues on Braidwood for largemouth. A very good early morning bite is happening with shad possibly spawning. Crankbaits being the best bet with some topwater action as well.The Anglers Choice tourney on Sunday was won by Matt Leimbach and Nick Studeman with 3 bass weighing 11.05lbs. Second went to The team of Dave And Alec Berens. Third was taken by Dave Sanders and Pete Banach with 3 bass for 9.63lbs. Anglers Choice Braidwood division tournaments will be on a break untill September.Heading to fish Wisconsin to fish The river and Alexander Flowage. Happy Memorial Day.Rob
Braidwood is open daily. Hours through June 11 are close is 8 p.m.; from June 12-July 16, close is 8:30 p.m.; from July 17-Aug. 13, close is 8 p.m.; from Aug. 14-Sept. 10, close is 7:30 p.m.; from Sept. 11-24, close is 7 p.m.; from Sept. 25-Oct. 7, close is 6:30 p.m.
Check with Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington.
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA
James Stewart emailed the photo of the crappie and this note:
15 inch crappie from chain of lakes. Caught many more in the 12-13 inch range. Fishing the channels .. fishing 2 feet down with a minnow. Water 60 degrees. Great fish great fight. Biggest crappie I ever caught
Staff at Triangle said water in low 60s; when the sun is out, crappie and bluegill are under the piers; late-spawner bass are in the channels; walleye are good around current areas in 4-6 feet; catfish are fair, but could pick up with warming weather.
In general for water and lake updates, go to Fox Waterway Agency or call (847) 587-8540.
STRATTON LOCK: There are changes this year for the operation of the Stratton Lock at the Chain O’Lakes. Here is the word from the Fox Waterway Agency:
The Stratton Lock will open for the 2017 season on Wednesday, May 3. IDNR lock tenders will operate the Stratton Lock on Wednesdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m., and on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. until midnight through October 29. The lock will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays (with the exception of holidays) for the 2017 season. The Stratton Lock is also closed for the winter season each year from Nov. 1 through April 30. https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/WaterResources/Pages/StrattonLockandDam.aspx
Capt. Pat Harrison sent this report–“Last week due to weather I was only out once we found a few Bass along the Break walls throwing some Glo Pro crank baits pulling from the walls out bouncing bottom.”–and will have more reports next week as he just got his boat.
DELAVAN/LAKE GENEVA AREA, WISCONSIN
GENEVA: Dave Duwe emailed his:
Lake Geneva Fishing Report 5.22.17 through 5.28.17 With the up and down weather patterns of last week, fishing has been rather inconsistent. Some days the fish are biting in 4-5 ft of water and other days they can be up to 20 ft deep. If we get some consistent weather, we’ll start to see the fish in their normal spring patterns. Largemouth bass fishing has been average overall. The best action has come in the Abbey Harbor or in Geneva Bay by the Riviera pier. The best success has come off of split shot rigged nightcrawlers or 4 inch green pumpkin Senkos fished Wacky rig style. Smallmouth bass have not started to spawn due to the cold water. The fish can be caught suspended throughout the water column on white hair jigs with a pink head. The best location has been by Elgin club or Maytag point. Another option is to fish Chompers fished on a football head jig and dragging them along bottom to imitate a crayfish. For this approach, main lake points have been yielding the majority of the fish. The best depth is 8-12 ft of water. Rock bass fishing has been a little slow due to the water temperature. Fish can be caught, however the big numbers are still a couple of weeks away. Once the lake warms up, fishing for rock bass with improve dramatically. The best location has been by South Shore Club or by Elgin Club. There are still some crappies being caught on the east shore of Williams Bay. They’ve become a bit more sporadic, but some are still available. They can be caught on Thill slip bobbers in 12 ft of water fished about 1 foot above the weeds using a fat head minnow. You can also try tube jigs or twister tails in smoke color suspended in the water column about 2 foot above the weeds. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call or text Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063
DELAVAN: Dave Duwe sent this:
Delavan Lake Fishing Report 5.22.17 through 5.28.17 This spring has been crazy with up and down temps, a lot of rain and excessive wind. The fish has been tough to pattern and the bite is inconsistent. If the weather stabilizes, we should start to see some improvement as they move into their normal spring patterns. Early in the week, the water temperature was 10 degrees warmer than it is at the time of this writing. The largemouth had been very active early in the week but now they are slow to bite. As the lake heats back up, they should get hungry again. The best baits have been split shot rigged nightcrawlers or Wacky rigged root beer red flake Senkos. The best depth has been 3-5 ft of water. Smallmouth bass fishing has been spotty. A lot of the fish have been in the shallows in 4-6 ft of water. Most of the fish I’ve been catching have been by the marina at Lake Lawn. The best bait has been split shot rigged nightcrawlers. When I’ve been finding them on the main lake points, they’ve preferred split shot rigged fat head minnows. My biggest smallmouth last week was 19 inches. Bluegills have been in the 2-3 ft depth range. Most of my success is coming on the West end in Viewcrest Bay tight to shore. The best approach is small leaf worms fished about 1 foot beneath the surface. The blugills have been averaging about 7 inches with some large ones mixed in. You need to move around to find the bigger fish. The spawn is still a few weeks away. Walleyes are being caught in the mid depth weeds in 12-14 ft of water. The best location has been by Willow Point or by the Oriental boat house. The best approach is either a split shot rigged fat head minnow or an 1/8 oz jig tipped with a fat head minnow. Northern pike action has been all right in the weedy bays of Viewcrest or the Highlands. The best depth has been 10-12 ft of water. Fished a sucker minnow about 4 ft beneath the surface is the best approach. Use a Thill slip bobber and keep the bait about 1 foot above the weeds. Crappie fishing has been hit or miss. The crappies I’ve been catching have been in 10-12 ft of water. Small fat head minnows have been producing most of the action. I’ve done the best by Browns Channel or by Belvidere condos. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call or text Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063
DES PLAINES RIVER
Marcus Benesch sent this:
Dale,Water levels have settled down finally. We have water temps from the mid to low 60s. Bass seem to be more active than pike. Weeds are still low enough to get to all good spots. Probably need an airboat by June though.Marcus BeneschRiver Grove
Good to have water levels back to where Marcus is sending reports again.
HENNEPIN-HOPPER: The lakes are open through Labor Day, Sept. 4. Fishing is closed on Mondays other than Labor Day. Click here for complete list of regs and details. POWERTON: Boat and shore fishing is open. Hours are 6 a.m.-8 p.m. LAKE OF EGYPT/REND LAKE: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. LAKE SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide Service. EVERGREEN LAKE: Will find out about bait shop and boat rental hours.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
Pete Lamaremailed after some Spey casting instruction:
I haven’t fished the Fox or its tribs in some time, but I was on the river for a little while Saturday morning and early afternoon (more about that in another email later tonight or tomorrow). It rained most of the morning, but the water was still clear when I left. The water never really came up either; wading and fishing would’ve been no problem.
FOX RIVER: WISCONSIN
GREEN BAY/STURGEON BAY
Lance LaVineat Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay sent this:
Good morning fellas. Here is a quick update. I am out of the office so I have to do it from my phone. Do my best.Bass fishing has been fantastic up and down the Door County peninsula. In the spring, look for warm water pockets in whichever Bay you may be fishing and fish transition areas like rock to sand or channel cuts. Another key ingredient for fishing and Catching big smallmouth bass, especially this time of year is to fish slow. No matter what bait your fishing with, fish it slow. The best baits have been shorty tubes, paddle tails, grubs, spinner baits when you can find 60 degree temps and jerk baits like Lucky Crafts and Shadow Raps.Walleye fishing during the day has been going pretty good from the Chaudoir’s Dock area and south to the lower bay. Flicker shads and minnows, Smash shads, deep Husky jerks and some crawler harness action is now starting. To the north, from Chaudoir’s Dock north up the peninsula past Sturgeon Bay, the night bite has been better for the trollers and the shore fishermen. Casting and trolling with large suspending crank baits like Smithwick rogues and Husky jerks. And they are still catching some Walleyes rip-jigging during the day around some of the steep shoreline drops and some near shore, deep structure. The best baits have been Rippin raps, blade baits, hair jigs and paddle tails.Pike action continues to stay fairly consistent throughout the Sturgeon Bay Area and south to Little Sturgeon. Sucker minnows, large crank baits, large spoons and soft plastics all working very well.Perch season is now open, but currently have no reports due to the strong wins over the weekend. We anticipate a very good Perch season as we had a denominator fall and ice season last year. Look for new growth weed beds as the water warms and search for school in deep water mud like around the Chaudoir’s dock area. Minnows, crawlers and leaf worms generally the best baits for the Perch
The Wisconsin DNR report is usually posted Tuesdays and includes reports from both the bay and lake sides.
Walleye are on fire, as indicated by the Fish of the Week. And Joe Sanderson messaged about a young woman with a 7-15 walleye to the right). Sanderson noted that the water was 65. That’s perfect. This should be the week. I mean that enough that I plan to be out there trying.
Click here for my preview column, which included some prospects from fisheries biologist Rob Miller; good news is that walleye looked good last fall in the survey and white bass, hybrids and yellow bass were solid, too.
B & B Live Bait–(815) 433-0432–is open in Ottawa, as is Cajun’s in Utica.
INDIANA STREAMS (LAKE MICHIGAN TRIBUTARIES)
Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map. Access points for Little Cal and Salt Creek, which are closer to Chicago than Trail Creek, may be found at littlecal_saltcreek_access.
Norm Minas sent this:
Took a break from the main river for the most part each trip although i always ended up fishing the river . The river had been dropping but it was still above my personal threshhold for safe wading . especially due to my current health issues . However the creeks were in good enough shape to scratch the wading itch . Main river reports first, last trip buzzbaits on the upstream side riffle areas was the killer . Drifting a fluke from the top of the riffle into the downstream side added a couple more bass. A jig/pig dropped into a slack spot by a boulder got a decent channel cat . On the other trips it was mostly jig/pigs quartercast upstream taking bass and some channel cats. A few bass on rattlebaits on seams but that was it as far as catching was concerned . For the creeks , the last trip was buzzbaits all the way . I started with it and had so much fun with it , I never took it off . Don’t know if I could have caught more fish with something else, don’t care, I was having a blast . Did I miss some , yeah but then I always do so nothing new there. The rest of the creek trips it was a 1/6 oz jig with a soft plastic minnow with a curly tail . One trip , I hit three different creeks, it worked on everyone of them . One creek I found a large concentration of smallmouth staged at the first riffle up from the mouth . I barely has to move at all, I just made longer casts . I went by that same spot today, suckers staging . I foresee crawlers , hooks and split shot on my light action set up . peacenorm
Click here for the Ohio DNR’s annual fishing prospects. The Ohio DNR has general Lake Erie info and a fishing report.
See perch closure note at the top.
CHICAGO: Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said the best for boaters are lakers just outside of the cribs; some coho, a few steelhead, too.
NAVY PIER NOTE: The fisherman’s parking special is $6, if out by 10 a.m. Find an parking attendant after you pull in to get the special.
WAUKEGAN:Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop texted that it was about the same as last week, but weather limited action.
NORTH POINT: Poteshman said there are excellent coho in 120-300 feet, find them, a few steelhead and Chinook, too.
LAKE VERMILION, MINNESOTA
Check Jarek Wujkowski of Rodsbent Guide Service.
The cooling lake south of Seneca is open daily, 6 a.m. to sunset. Click here for my column about prospects. Also, boaters should be aware that there will be no launching if wind is 14 mph or higher.
MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN
Check the latest from D & S Bait on Facebook.
Brian Schlenger tweeted about a good day Friday:
Mazonia yesterday. Certainly wouldn’t want to be in the float tube today.
Weather may be finally cooperating for the prime time the next couple weeks for redear, bluegill, crappie, bass and catfish. Check with Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington. Close is now 8:30 p.m.
MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN
Check with Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service sent this:
Check the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report, which generally comes out Tuesdays for updates.
MINOCQUA: No update this week from Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua, Wis.
EAGLE RIVER: B+L, from reports from Colin Crawford of Colin Crawford Guide Service for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce, sent this:
Fishing Report Reminder: Catch and release for Smallmouth Bass is until June 17, and Muskie opens in the north zone May 27. Panfish: Perch will be in the new weed growth. Using a slip bobber tipped with minnows is the best bite right now. Crappies are starting to spawn on smaller, darker lakes and will continue as the water warms in the larger lakes. Slip bobber rigs with hook and minnow or a jig and plastic should do the trick. If you find some warmer water in the bays or shallow flats you might get into some bluegills too. Northern: These fish will still be found around new weeds. Pitching jig and minnows or anything that moves should be a good bet. Walleye: These are going to be moving from post spawn areas and you will have to do a little searching. They will start going to the new weed growth, and even the sand flats off the spawning areas. Pitching 1/8th oz. jigs tipped with fathead minnows or slip bobbers will catch you a nice fish fry also. Muskies: They will be starting, in progress or finishing spawning depending on the lake water temperatures. Smaller baits this time of the year are your best baits to go to right now.
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind., texted:
When the wind lets u get out on Lake Michigan fishing in 90 to 110 ft of water is good for lake trout and coho fishing surface to the bottom fish ed thru water coloum Most places gills are on the beds and good catches coming from pine lake in Laporte and the valpo chain of lakes long and loomis giving them upOver all even with this up and down weather a lot of people are out fishing
BOATER NOTE: East Chicago is closed for launching, so use either Hammond or Portage. LAKER REMINDER: Indiana now has a daily bag of three lake trout on Lake Michigan, to match Michigan. Illinois’ daily bag remains at two.
ROCK RIVER, WISCONSIN
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
The Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report is generally posted on Tuesday and includes a Root river section. Click here for the stream flow update, which can be really important for how good the fishing is.
ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN
Phil Schuman at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said coho (and a few lakers are Chinook) are good in 120-200 feet; there’s a few walleye in the river; pier fishing mostly catfish and sheephead off the piers.
ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA
Click herefor reports from the Indiana DNR.
The muskie rescue is set for Wednesday evening. Meet at 5 p.m. at the park office.
Clint Sands at Lakeside said that crappie are good in 6 feet, down 3 with minnows or soft plastics; bass have been outstanding; muskie are improving on bucktails or small crankbaits; panfish are decent; walleye slowed; water is in the low 60s with a couple feet of clarity.
Lake hours are 6 a.m.-10 p.m.
Here are the hours for Lakeside for the next few months:
Shabbona Lakeside is now OPEN for the SEASON Lakeside will be open everyday, 7 days a week, April 11th to September 5th 6 AM to 7 PM September 6th to September 30th 6 AM to 6:30 PM October 1st to October 10th 6:30 AM to 6 PM October 11th to October 31st 7 AM to 5PM
Clint Sandssent this update on hours for the bait shop, camp store and cafe.
Pokanoka’s Cafe will be opening for the season on April 8th and will be open Saturdays and Sundays 11 AM to 4 PM! The Camp Store will be opening for the season on April 7th. If you need firewood before the camp store opens for the season, see the friendly campground hosts at site 132. They have large bundles of wood available for sale. If you need anything from the camp store when it is closed. Call the bait shop and we can meet you over at the camp store so you can get anything you need. Spring hours are Fridays 5 PM to 8 PM, Saturdays 8 AM to 8 PM and Sundays are 8 AM to 12 PM.
For more information and reports from Lakeside, go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.
SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT
The Wisconsin DNR posts a report during open water at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html. It is usually posted by Tuesday afternoon. Streadsm flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN
FREMONT: Bill Stoegersaid of white bass, “As far as this weekend, it will be in the mid- to upper-70s and they will tear loose again; keep moving until you find them, don’t sit in one spot more than 10 minutes; as of Tuesday, however, water was still cold (50s) and white bass deep on river rigs with minnows. Some walleye are still being caught on crawlers.