Summer fishing? Well, spring is here: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

SHARE Summer fishing? Well, spring is here: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report


Just like that, we rushed into spring or, even, summer fishing for sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report on Chicago fishing.

As you will see from the reports below, it looks like bass woke up.

Even Dick “Quags” Quagliano–years ago we both worked on prep sports under Taylor Bell–sent the photo at the top of Jay Zitzmann of Palatine. He caught that 6-pound largemouth on a white spinner bait from a small pond around Hoffman Estates.

The Midwest Fishing Report appears on the Sun-Times newspaper outdoors page on Wednesday. The sprawling raw-file report is posted here online on the Sun-Times outdoors page.


Perch fishing on Lake Michigan is closed through June 15.


Be aware that sectionals for high school bass fishing are on Thursday statewide, [update inset] except many sites are rescheduled for many. Give the young fishermen some space. Nearby sites include Braidwood, Busse (main and south pool), Chain O’Lakes, Des Plaines River (Big Basin), Heidecke, Lake Holiday, Shabbona and Skokie Lagoons. UPDATE 2: As of Thursday morning, all the area sites, except Lake Holiday, are listed as being rescheduled for Monday, May 7.


A very different opener comes Saturday for gamefish season in Wisconsin; at least in northern areas, most of which will still be iced. I have more site specific reports below in the usual spots.


Bass and crappie. And wonderful get-your-butt-outside weather.



George Herrera sent the photo above and this explanation:

Nothing beats a Senko! Caught this on the Chicago west suburbs. Total weight 4.15 which makes it my PB



The Albright brothers sent the two sandwiching photos and this note:

A 5 lb-8oz,and a 5 lb.bass caught on south pool busse by brothers, tom and rob albright.part of a 15 bass day.all were fat and loaded with eggs. The bite is on!



INLAND TROUT: We’ve had four weekends of trout fishing, pickings may be getting slim, but I have watched people still trying. Click here for the statewide release on inland trout fishing.


Click here to find river closures listed by the Illinois DNR. Go to to check area water levels and projection. To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to




Rob Abouchar sent the photo above and this report:

Hi Dale With my partner out of the tournament this week with boat repairs I hit Braidwood early Sunday morning. When I launched with the moon setting the action started quickly along the warm side rip rap. A KVD1.5 squarebill crankbait in sexy shad color took numbers and some good size bass. Running the crankbait along the base of the rocks and in the rocks was the ticket. Tournaments were in full swing again at braidwood Sunday with Optimum Anglers Club out of the West launch and Anglers Choice on the North launch side. The Anglers Choice tournament was won by the team of Olsen and Olsen with 9.87lbs. They also landed the big bass weighing in at 4.47lbs. Nick Studeman and Matt Leimbach took second with 9.70 lbs and third went to Randy Miller and Andy Wegner with 9.45lbs. Wisconsin opener is this week and I will be heading to Merrill Wisconsin to check the house and fish the opener.Tight linesRob

I will be curious about the opening-weekend report from Wisconsin.

Braidwood is open daily 6 a.m.-sunset. Check with Jon’s Bait & Tackle Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington.




BoRabb Williams sent the photo above and this update:

Lake Calumet…. this morning….. large redear…. crappie starting to bite good Huge redear bro

This bro is a big fan of big redear. I just think they are a cool fish.


Arden Katz said crappie, with their eggs still hard, and bluegills are in the channels, best on glow jigs with spikes on white tails.

Art Frisellat Triangle Sports and Marine said muskie are improving with some of them shallow; walleye are coming off the spawn and that bite should improve as they put the post-spawn feed on.

STRATTON LOCK AND DAM: It reopened today and will be open daily 8 a.m.-midnight through Sept. 30. Click here for more info on the lock and dam.

FOX WATERWAY AGENCY: Go to Fox Waterway Agency or call (847) 587-8540.


Capt. Pat Harrison at Pat Harrison Outdoors sent this update:

Chicago River / Lake Michigan Report. Last Week we started to see a change finally. Saturday I had my boat on display at the Riverside Fishing Club Swap Meet it was a Good Time. Thank You to everyone that came out and Thank You to all that had interest in G3 Boats and my guide service. After the swap meet I headed to the river to check water conditions and spots at the ramp surface temps were 52 degrees. Larry one of the guys that has a setup at the ramp that he fishes from almost every day surprised me, He said your not going to be leave this I’m catching Perch and nice ones that’s the first time I have heard of them being caught that far down river. I think that says something about the improving water quality. That’s pretty exciting to me. Downtown surface temps were from 44 to 48. I have my U.S.C.G. inspection scheduled for Monday all gear and paperwork are in order and then it’s time to fish. I have put off almost a dozen trips due to wind weather and water temps. The river seems to turn on at about 54 to 59 degrees. I will start guiding this week Hope for a Great season. See you on the river Capt. Pat DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN

No update.


No update.


HENNEPIN-HOPPER NOTE: Fishing reopens May 15. Click here for regulations and other information.

EVERGREEN:Here are the bait shop and boat rental hours through Memorial Day weekend:

The hours will be as follows: Bait Shop: 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. 7 days/week. Boat Rental: 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. Friday, Sat. & Sun.

SPRING LAKE NOTE:Both the north and south lakes have two regulation changes. Largemouth and smallmouth bass now have a protected slot of 12-18 inches; the daily bag is three bass either under 12 inches or over 18 or some combination of three over or under. Also, the daily limit of 25 crappie may include no more than 10 crappie 10 inches or longer.

POWERTON:Open 6 a.m.-6 p.m. LAKE SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing


No update, but last week Ken Gortowski strongly suggested that with our late spring, the creeks are just starting to kick in and may last into June.


No update.


No update.


No update from Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay.

Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report/


Hours are 6 a.m. to sunset daily.


For Ottawa area, check B & B Live Bait at (815) 433-0432.


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.


Kyle Lund sent this:

Here is a Kankakee river report. Fishing is HOT HOT HOT!!! Smallies are moving into prespawn areas and eating like pigs. Creek mouths and deeper runs down stream from shallow rocky slow moving flats will have actively feeding smallies in them all day for the next couple days. Water temps around 60 should send some fish up to spawn by the weekend if not before. This will bring the time of year when wading creeks should be done very methodically as to avoid disturbing or destroying beds. Personally I leave spawning fish alone to do there thing and target cats or post spawn crappies. Remember all smallmouth are catch and release until June 15th regardless of size. If you are looking for different species to target during the spawn the catfish bite has been very steady as well. Had a report from a friend that was out 2 hours in the late morning early afternoon and got 5 cats and missed about the same. Nothing like battling a big cat on spinning light spinning gear in the current. Cats have been in the deeper holes (3-6 feet deep)washed out by upstream current and are being taken on livers and cut bait. Lastly a species that is often over looked but requires some skill and patience to catch are the roughfish. Carp, although not considered table fair by most are a blast when you get into them. Find yourself a nice slow if not still deeper pocket of water, throw out a few handfuls of canned sweet corn, toss out your line, and relax. They will show up and when they do your in for a fight. We have great fishing happening on the river now and it is only going to improve from here. Good luck and Tight lines


Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report. It generally comes out Tuesday.


Click here for bag limits and prospects for the season from the Ohio DNR. The Ohio DNR has general Lake Erie info and a fishing report.




Tom Platt at Henry’s Sports and Bait texted on this and the photo above:

Seen a couple coho caught. Fish are biting. Didn’t see any smallies but they’re active.

Capt. Bob Poteshman at Confusion Charters said lakers are very good in 40-70 feet off Chicago; coho are shallow but tough to catch with the dirty shoreline water. A few coho and lakers out of North Point, best out deep in 180-250 feet.

Cory Gecht at Park Bait reported that through Monday, powerliners are catching coho and browns at Montrose.

Capt. Scott R. Wolfe of School of Fish Charters sent this:

Hi Dale – It looks like Spring may finally be here. Waukegan fishing was good. When the weather allowed boats to get out this past week fishing for lake trout continued to be outstanding and coho are moving in to Waukegan. Large numbers of lakers can still be caught south of the harbor with anywhere from 50 to 100 feet of water producing fish. Standard laker rigs – size 0 Smoke Luhr-Jensen Dodger with Jimmy Fly Laker Skirts behind a spin n glo near the bottom on downriggers or wire divers has been best. Magnum Warrior UV Blue and Green Dolphin spoons run about 10 feet off the bottom will give anglers chances for lakers and any chinook that are moving into the area. One of my good friends boated an 18# king on a laker rig last week so they are coming in. The Magnum UV Warriors will take more kings and will take lakers too. For coho, boats Sunday were trolling the mud line that developed due to the strong winds. Coho were taken mostly in the cleaner water side of the mudline directly in front of the harbor. These first schools of coho moving in are in tight schools and trollers should turn back on them quickly if they get doubles or 2-3 quick hits. Red size 00 Luhr-Jensen Dodgers trailing Jimmy Fly Blue Liz patterns and Stanley Stinger Blue/Silver seemed to be slightly better than other patterns, but only slightly. For Chicago, fishing was slow. The wind seemed to scatter both the trout and the salmon. Catches were pretty poor compared to Waukegan with mixed bags of lake trout and coho in 50 to 90 feet. The weather forecast this week looks perfect for the coho fishing to really get going. I would advise your readers and followers not to wait to book any charters out of Waukegan or Chicago. In the last two weeks we have and several persons email and contact us through facebook asking that we let them know when fishing picks up and they will book charters. The problem is that there are few weekend spots available. In looking at the calendar, my boat in Waukegan has 4 weekend ½ day slots (6 to 8 hours) open in May and 4 in June. Our Chicago bots is about the same. People need to book their charters now because the fleet is getting full. With the warmer weather and Southwest winds this week fishing out for both Waukegan and Chicago is nearly certain to be very good by this weekend. Capt. Scott R. Wolfe Manipulator/ School of Fish Charters 630-341-0550


No update from Scott Pirnstill at Cozy Corner Cottages608-304-0371.




Darryl Turner sent this update on Saturday:

Good evening Mr Bowman still out hunting them blues kind of a strange year that 22 pounder is my largest so far at Lasalle my count is down too only 61 blues so far.The weather has been crazy but Tues suppose to very windy over 20 miles hr wind it should be a good day for landing some hogs.

Open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.


Gene Dellinger, of D & S Bait said there should be a good night bite shallow for walleye on all lakes; panfish are picking up over all in teh usual spot; he said he is uncertain on bass with the water still in 40s.

Might be worth checking later this week for the latest from D & S Bait on Facebook.


With this warmup, I think that especially the smaller lakes and water holes might be worth hitting. Check with Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington.


Mike Mladeikat Mike Mladenik Guide Service sent this:

High water on much of the Menominee River but nothing like last year. The entire river and flowages are ice free! Expect the best fishing to occur on the larger flowages with less current. Fishing should be great for smallmouth, northern pike and walleye. If you fish the right part of the river. I still have some open May dates! Book a trip Today


Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report. It is geneally out Tuesdays.


Gamefish season opens Saturday.

MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:

When will the ice be off???? My crystal ball is covered in frost, but it’s starting to defrost! As of 4/30 there was still 22 of punky ice on Lake Minocqua out in front of our shop, but it looks to be going quickly with this recent warm spell. Ice anglers are still hitting a few areas, but conditions are changing by the hour! As of this writing, ice thickness across the road from our shop dropped from 22 to 12 in one day. Those pan fishermen getting out reporting good fishing for Bluegills, Crappies and Perch, should remain good for weekend With temps in the 60’s & 70’s driving water temps up into upper 30’s, anglers finding open water will probably also find Walleyes getting ready to spawn. When will the ice be off? Check our web-site daily, or check our FaceBook page. Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop Like us on FaceBook

EAGLE RIVER: No update from B+L, from reports from Colin Crawford of Colin Crawford Guide Service, for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce.


Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind. texted:

Lake trout fishing good in 90 to 100 ft straight out of burns ditch and east towards Michigan city fishing near bottom tin can dodgers and spin n glows best Some decent kings outside mouth of port of Indiana in 35 to 45 ft of water water will be good and clean bye weekend fishing will pick up some near shore for salmon spoons and dodger fly best baitsA lot of groups doing ok willow slough gills on redworms and beemoth move around to get emWith warm weather lots of people out

That last bit is spot on. We went from an accumulating snow two weeks ago to near 90. Can’t make that stuff up.


No update.


No update.


The Wisconsin DNR’s Root River Report restarted. It is usually out Tuesday or Wednesday. Click here to see it.


Phil Schuman at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said that coho and a few kigns are being caught in 40-50 feet; there’s a mixed bag of browns, smallmouth and catfish being caught off the piers and with walleye season reopened, there’s some walleye being caught in the river.

ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANAClick herefor reports from the Indiana DNR.


Clint Sands at Lakeside said bass fishing is good; crappie are picking up again; muskie are decent (tougher in spawn mode); and the water is at 53-54.

Lakeside–(815) 824-2581–is open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Park hours 6 a.m.- 10 p.m.


The Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report restarted. Click here to see it. Streams flow info is at


No update.


Check with River’s Edge.


No update.


No update.


Gary Bloom sent this Monday afternoon:

Leaving Winneconne , weather was great. Current fast n water high. Lots if walleye being caught. We kept 10 in 2 days. 14- 18 inches. Threw at least 20 in the 8- 12 inch range back. Today stated to see spawned out females being caught up to 22 inches. White bass just started biting we caught 10 smaller makes today. Warm spell will bring lots of fish to Winneconne. Should be a great run this year. We used Oly streamer flies on river rigs. Water temp was 51 today.

Interesting that white bass are going already.

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