Settling into spring: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

SHARE Settling into spring: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

The variability of spring comes much into view for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

But the key word there is spring and it really is here, hopefull see it more in force by the weekend.

Thomas Jones sent this note on the photo above:

LaSalle lake blue cat 20 lbs caught by ELder Joseph Feagin Sr. On a Golden roach minnow on 5/8 — with ELder Joseph Feagin Sr. at LaSalle Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area.

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.


The lakes reopen to fishing on Tuesday, May 16, and remain open through Labor Day, Sept. 4. Fishing is closed on Mondays other than Labor Day. Click here for complete list of regs and details.


Up and down weather is taking its toll on fishermen and fishing.

Steve Palmisanoat Henry’s texted:

Not much to report. The only thing we are hearing lately is crappie at saganaskee and wolf lake. The weather really held them back. As to bass, Ken Husker O’Malley emailed:Hey Dale, Bass continue to be up shallow on area lakes. Cast chatterbaits as a search bait parallel to the shore. This keeps the bait in the strike zone longer. When concentrations of bass are located, cast ned rigs to emergent weed pockets. Areas that have some form of current and weed clumps have been best.TTYL—Ken Husker O’Malley Huskeroutdoors Waterworks fishing team


Another week to keep an eye on water levels. Go to to check area water levels and projection. To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to


As FOTW shows, some big blues being caught. And as the IHSA tournament showed on Monday, largemouth being caught, too.

Braidwood is open daily. Hours are 6 a.m.-7:30 p.m. through May 14; from May 15-June 11, 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.


BoRabb Williams messaged that bass are going, crappie are slow.


Walleye should be going around bridges and current. The IHSA tournament on Monday, no-wake and all, did very well. Arden Katz said bluegill (eggs in them) and crappie (some still have eggs) are good in the channels.

NOTE: As of Tuesday, no-wake restrictions remained from Algonquin dam to the Wisconsin line. Check updates at Fox Waterway Agency. 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.


Capt. Pat Harrison (click here for his site) sent this Tuesday:

Last week was a rough one with the rain and weather. Saturday’s trip was cold and windy with some rain. Water was up about 2 feet and very stained moving pretty good. We worked hard for about a 1/2 dozen fish live bait was a big help waxies and large fatheads on on drop shot rigs,split shot and hook and 3/8 oz.white jig heads all fished tight against back sides of wood behind pilings etc. and tight against the walls. I was out again Monday for 2 half day trips water was worse and we where fishing in the rain. Both parties husband and wife were from out of State Arizona and Germany. They both said they were fishing rain or shine I said OK it was a wet cold windy day and the water was higher and moving faster. We did get about an hour on the first trip where wind and rain died down we managed 4 fish with the same presentations as Sunday. Second trip we spent most of the time fighting the rain and crosswinds. put in about 3 hours for one big catfish and we decided to call it. It was tough fishing but I have Great company and made some new fishing buddies. It was good to see that they really did want to fish rain or shine but it was also really cold and wet going down river to the ramp. Till next week I Hope we get some weather to Help us out. I was on the river for a Trip yesterday with all the weather and water the surface temps have dropped back down to 50 along the river walk and 55 up the north branch then 55 to 57 down the Main branch. — Thanks Pat


GENEVA: Dave Duwe emailed his:

Lake Geneva Fishing Report 5/8/17 through 5/14/17 Fishing season has finally arrived! Opening Day is the first Saturday in May for gamefish in Wisconsin. With the cooler spring, the fishing is getting off to a somewhat slow start. The best bite on the lake has been the pan fish in the shallows of Abbey Harbor or Trinkes. The game fish have been a bit sporadic so far. Smallmouth bass have been biting while using two different methods. The first is a hair jig fished suspended in the water column about 5 ft down in 12 ft of water. The best colors for the jig are pink and white. The best locations are by the South Shore club or Elgin Club. The second method is a football head jig with a root beer colored Arkie Crawlin’ Grub. The best location for this bite is the main lake point, like Maytag, Cedar and Conference Point. For right now, the green slimy weeds are not a factor when fishing on the bottom. The bass are in a pre spawn pattern. Crappie fishing has been good in Williams Bay in 10-12 ft of water. The best action is on the east side of the bay. The fish can be caught on either white plastics or small fat head minnows. The fish are located about 3-4 ft off the bottom. Largemouth bass fishing has been spotty with the cooler water temperatures. The best location for the bass are in Abbey Harbor or Trinkes Harbor. These locations have a bit warmer water than the rest of the lake which helps keep the fish more active. My best success has come off of nightcrawlers fished on a split shot rig or 4 inch green pumpkin Senkos. Perch fishing has been good by Knollwood and Rainbow Point. The perch can be caught on a thill slip bobber with a small fat head minnow fished 2 feet off bottom. The best depth is 6-8 ft of water. The perch bite will be consistent with the cooler water, once the water starts to warm they will be more difficult to locate. Lake Trout fishing is good. They are located off the shallow rocky main lake points, such as Conference Point, Black Point and Rainbow point. Slip bobbers with lake shiners are producing most of the catches. The best depth is 8-10 ft of water. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063

DELAVAN: Dave Duwe sent this:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 5/8/17 through 5/14/17 Opening Day is here! Delavan is substantially colder than typical for this time of year. Fishing is a bit more challenging that other years. Hopefully the weather starts heating up so the fishing improves. The best bite on the lake is crappies. They are in 12 ft of water about 5-6 ft down. The best location is the docks on the north shore. Chartreuse plastics fished on a 1/32 oz lead head jig are producing the most fish. I have been cruising along the shore until I find an active school. Once found, I anchor and fish that location for a while. Walleye fishing has been great at night. Look for them in 12 ft of water approximately 8 foot down. Trolling purple crank baits has been producing most of the success. The best location is by Assembly Park or the Village Supper Club. Bluegill fishing has been good in the shallows near Viewcrest channel or Highlands Channel. You want to fish a bobber with an ice jig or wax worm. Fish the ice jig about 1 foot off bottom. The bluegills are weeks away from spawning. Once they start spawning the fishing will improve and the bigger fish will be found. Northern pike fishing has been average. The pike are in the shallow bays. I’ve found fish in Viewcrest Bay, Highlands Bay and Browns channel. I have been using medium suckers fished on a 1/0 hook. The best bet is in 6 ft of water. You want to place the bait about 4 ft below the surface. I have been anchoring in scattered weeds and casting into the openings. Largemouth bass fishing has been sporadic. Due to the cooler water temperatures, the fish aren’t concentrated in the shallow waters just yet. I’ve been catching a few fish by the outlet and a few in front of Lake Lawn Lodge. The best success so far, has been on split shot rigged nightcrawler or a green pumpkin Senko. I’ve been working a depth of 4-5 ft of water. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063


No update.


Many Downstate spots continue to have high water. So be prepared.

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 ServiceEVERGREEN LAKE: Will find out about bait shop and boat rental hours.



John Heiman sent a note that big flatheads are going in the Montgomery area.

NOTE: As of Tuesday, no-wake restrictions remained from Algonquin dam to the mouth of Pistakee.

Check updates at Fox Waterway Agency or call (847) 587-8540.


No update.


Lance LaVineat Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay sent this:

Hello Fellas Here is a quick rundown on the fishing Bass fishing has been super with lots of big fish being caught. Look for the warmest water pockets in whatever bay or flat you are in basically from Little Sturgeon all the way north to the tip of the Peninsula. Fishing slow presentations with jerk baits, shorty tubes, paddle tails, Kalin’s grubs and marabou jigs. Pike fishing has been better than excellent the past month or so. The best area has been from the Sturgeon Bay ship canal south to Little Sturgeon. 5 to 15 feet of water has been the best depths. Large suspending crank baits, spoons and large suckers the best baits. Walleye fishing has been very good both during the day and at night and both trolling and rip jigging have been very effective. The better areas have been from Hendersons point south to bayshore park, Sherwood point, Potawatomi Park, downtown Sturgeon Bay and the steep shorelines to the north. Best baits…Rapala Husky jerks, Rippin raps, Smithwick Rogues, Bandits, Blade baits and hair jigs along with large sucker minnows Thanks; Lance LaVine Howie’s Tackle 1309 Green Bay Rd Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235 Ph: 920-746-9916

The Wisconsin DNR report is usually posted Tuesdays and includes reports from both the bay and lake sides.


This might be the week where the weather finally cooperates and Heidecke really turns on. 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.


The river is forecast to remain at flood stage at LaSalle into next week. B & B Live Bait–(815) 433-0432–is open in Ottawa, as is Cajun’s in Utica.


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 from Sunday:

It was just too nice a day to not go fishing , I haven’t been able to go lately, so I went . I really needed it to relieve the stress and it certainly did that . The river is dropping but still out of it’s banks . It was flowing at 18,000 cfs which is about three times the normal level . No clarity , green in color , still some debris floating downstream . Water temps were in the upper 50’s the two times I checked them . Sunshine, not much breeze , guessing upper 60’s may have hit 70 . The sun felt good on these experienced bones after all the rain and damp we have had lately . I took the medium light spin gear and the matching tackle as I was just looking to catch some fish . In fact with the stuff implanted in my body I really did not to tangle with anything too large so as to avoid pulling something out . All that mattered was hopefully feeling a tug or two at the end of my line, enjoying the weather, the outdoors and the camaraderie of the other fishermen I was sure I was going to meet . What more should you need than that for a trip like this . I fished a rattlebait along the first current seam off the shore both upstream and downstream . I continued the same in the slower water from the seam to right along the shore . I got a few smallmouth bass , enough to put a smile on my face . After that , I figured I would try for some rock bass, sunnies or crappie whatever might be in the mood . I switched to a 1/0 weighted keeper hook tipped with a 2 inch plastic leech . I started out casting as close to shore as possible as swimming it slowly as possible above the bottom . That is where I found enough rock bass to put a smile on my face . I was feeling good and back in the groove so I switched to a 1/6 oz ballhead jig tipped with a 2 inch twister tail rigged on a size 1 jig spinner . I fished that from the seam in through the entire water column . That brought some sunnies and crappies and then I knew it was enough for this trip . Feeling stress free and happy I put the gear away and went for a walk to enjoy the outdoors on this nice sunny day . I put Poco on for the ride home , it was the perfect ending to as fine a day as I’ve had for some time . Peace be unto all of you . Norm


Hmm. Poco? Haven’t heard them in a long time.

Victor “THE DIZZ” Blackful(right) sent this:

Good Evening Hey Dale I hope you got a chance to get out and wet a few lines this weekend. I decided to go hit the backwaters on the Kankakee Sunday looking for some crappie and I found a few. I got a couple really big 12 inch females that were full of eggs and this nice Bass came along and gave me a nice fight BUT the strange catch of the day was a 9 inch YELLOW PERCH. Yea a YELLOW PERCH in the backwaters of the Kankakee. I have been fishing those back water sense the age of 8 and I have never caught a yellow perch. I released it back into the river with the hopes it finds a mate and makes more. I will be on Heidakee at least three days this week. Good Fishing

Yellow perch in the Kankakee? Interesting stuff.


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. Full moon is Wednesday, May 10, a heads up for smallmouth fisherman. CHICAGO: Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait Shop said otherwise not much going. 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

Boats out past the mudline, 120 to 150 feet of water, straight out and a little south of harbor, cohos, Steelhead, and a few Lakers


Check Jarek Wujkowski of Rodsbent Guide Service.


As shown above by Thomas Jones at the top, blues are going. 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.


Check the latest from D & S Bait on Facebook.


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.


Check with Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service.


Check the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report, which generally comes out Tuesdays for updates.


MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua, Wis. sent this:

Opening weekend arrived with cold overnight temps and North by North East winds playing against most angler’s hopes. Still, its opening weekend and we get to fish so who’s complaining??Dropping night time temps and less than ideal wind direction pushed fish out of the shallows in most cases. But by working nearby depth, anglers reported some good Walleye and Crappie catches, if not by the speed and frequency they hoped for.Walleye: Good – A few pre-dawn anglers found shallow active fish by casting 3 Swimbaits as well as #7 Floating Rapalas in waters of 5’ and less. And while a few other reports of shallow catches have trickled in, for the most part deeper water of 10-20’ was required to find fish willing to feed. Thoughts are the water temp doesn’t change as drastically at these depths so fish more comfortable. While most anglers reporting catches on Dace, Rainbow Chubs and large Fat Heads on jigs, finding mostly may fly larvae (wigglers) in the bellies of Sundays catch led me to use medium leeches on slip-bobbers in 15’ of water to procure Monday’s limit.Crappies: Good-Fair – Wind and colder temps slowed this action, but some very nice 12-14 crappies caught in 15-18’ of water over the weekend. Not bunched up, so working several spots needed to catch a meals worth. Gapen Fresh Water Shrimp tipped with a small Crappie minnow.Northern Pike: Fair – Not a lot of strong reports, most from anglers targeting shallow Walleyes and these tended to be smaller Pike. Jig and minnow, as well as Swimbaits and shallow running Stickbaits intended for Walleyes best.Bluegill: Fair – While not very good Bluegill weather, a few big gills caught by anglers targeting Walleyes in deep wooded areas. As weather warms watch for this bite to get much better.Largemouth Bass: Fair-Poor – No reports of anglers targeting Largemouth though a few incidental fish caught.Early mornings have been tough with temps dipping to low 20’s by dawn. Highs in the low 60’s helping late afternoon and evening bites. While the spawn for Walleyes done on all but the largest lakes, some of the best Walleye fishing to come as shallows warm into mid 50’s and recovering Walleyes move in to feed in the shallows. Crappie, Bluegill and Bass fishermen will also see better fishing as these species will use the warming water to feed and help egg production.Kurt’s Island Sport Shopwww.kurtsislandsports.comLike us on FaceBook

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 Panfish: The best strategy for Perch is to set up slip bobber rigs either with split shots and Aberdeen hooks or small jigs tipped with small minnows around new weed growth. Crappies will be starting to stage on the smaller darker lakes that are warming up quickly for their turn to spawn. Fishing these with slip bobbers above a 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 find some bluegills too. Northern: Look around new weeds to find Northern. Pitching jig and minnows should be spot on for these water wolves. Walleye: This population is in post spawn, and you will have to fish a little deeper. The first flat off the spawning area, but pitching 1/8th oz. jigs tipped with fathead minnows, should get results. Some of the fish will have moved to the new weed growth, so slip bobbers just over and around will catch you a nice fish fry, too. Crappies: They are still coming in and can be found around lay downs and weedy areas. Similarly, slip bobbers and a minnow are the ticket for these specs.


Full moon is Wednesday, May 10, a heads up for smallmouth fisherman. Capt. Rich Sleziak  at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind., said not much with the winds and weather. 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.


No update.


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.


Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said coho, a few steelhead and lakers are being caught in 70-200 feet; pier is slow other than for catfish; river is high and slow.


Click herefor reports from the Indiana DNR.


Staff at Lakeside said largemouth are No. 1 fish now, being caught on small crankbaits to live bait; walleye and muskie are hitting the same thing; crappie are starting to move shallow; and catfish picking up.

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 or call (815) 824-2581.


The Wisconsin DNR posts a report during open water at It is usually posted by Tuesday afternoon. Stream flow info is at


Rob Abouchar emailed:

Hi Dale It was a sun splashed breezy and cool opener with wildlife in abundance. Sandhills, Eagles, Osprey, and wild turkeys to name a few were on display. Wisconsin River Merrill/Lake Alexander Merrill: The river was high and fast with recent rain so I fished Alexander Flowage. Got some nice smallmouth on Rapala Shadow Rap Suspending jerk bait. Some nice eater sized pike on white and chartreuse spinner bait. Water was in the low to mid 50’s and rising. Bright sun wind and dirty waters had walleye shut down.Rob


No update.


WINNECONNE: Gary Bloom messaged about quick limits of walleye; and there’s more walleye than white bass.

FREMONT: Bill Stoegersaid the white bass are slow, most are deep, what is being caught is on river rigs with minnows; but water is warming, maybe by the weekend they will be shallower.

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