Chicago fishing: Coho/surprises on L. Mich. and largemouth/crappie inland lead Midwest Fishing Report

Chicago fishing: Coho/surprises on Lake Michigan and largemouth/crappie inland lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

SHARE Chicago fishing: Coho/surprises on L. Mich. and largemouth/crappie inland lead Midwest Fishing Report
Brian Czahor caught this bass in Orland Park. Provided photo

Brian Czahor caught this bass in Orland Park.


Coho and some surprises on southern Lake Michigan and largemouth bass and crappie inland around Chicago lead this sprawling raw-fie Midwest Fishing Report.

Brian Czahor sent the photo at the top and this story:

I caught this 20 inch about 5lb bass on a crankbait at a local Orland Park pond on the second cast. A guy ran out of his house with a tape measure. 20 inches. Thanks lost count after 10 bass

That’s my kind of story.


Until circumstances change for Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio/Lake Erie, there will be limited or no reports for them. I did include Kurt Justice with a report for Minocqua in the Northern Wisconsin report because he included general information that will apply more broadly as opening day (May 2) nears.


IDNR sites remained closed. Click here to read the full release.


Most area forest preserve waters are open and fishable. The biggest exceptions are those lakes stocked with trout, which are closed indefinitely to fishing until trout season opens.

Most Chicago lagoons are open for fishing.

People are getting out to their local ponds and lakes.

Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait said there are some crappie reports at the usual places such as Tampier, Saganashkee Slough and Lemont Quarries.

Kyle Svachula, on the stay-at-home from college, with a good bass from the Skokie Lagoons. Provided photo

Kyle Svachula, on the stay-at-home from college, with a good bass from the Skokie Lagoons.


Kyle Svachula messaged the photo above and the note below:

Throwback to when it was warm out at the lagoons . . . like a week ago. That time is coming again

May that true weather change toward spring come soon.

Andy Hansen and a big bass from Cook County. Provided photo

Andy Hansen and a big bass from Cook County.


Andy Hansen messged the photo above and this:

5.2 caught in cook county. Hope all is well.

May we all be well (and protect us from the idiots not taking precautions).

Mike Gruca messaged the photo below and this report from Plainfield:

Ned Rig always gets the job done

Mike Gruca with a good bass from Plainfield. Provided photo

Mike Gruca with a good bass from Plainfield. f


Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed:

Hey Dale, Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing. Area lakes- timing is certainly everything. The end of weeks temperatures and spring snow crashed water temps. The reaction bite slowed for bass. There today and gone the next. Winds didn’t allow for finesse presentations or twitch baits. The bite should improve later in the week with more stable temperatures. The pairing mallards certainly didn’t mind though. TTYL — Ken Husker O’Malley Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team

Rob Abouchar emailed the photo below and this:

Hi Dale With a renewed fishing license and new rod and reel combo staring at me I had to sneak out on Monday. I hit Twin Lakes rec Area in Palatine and Busse Lake. At Twin Lakes the water was crystal clear, cold and seemingly lifeless. Ducks, a Blue Herron and a Coopers Hawk were enjoying the windy sunny cool conditions but I could not coax a bite. A walker who was on the deck overlooking the water said he could see some giant fish in the water. I looked and there were a couple big bass locked to the bottom and motionless. Time to move on. Busse was no more active with the milky cool water having no baitfish to speak of. A muskrat swam across, and a Bald Eagle soared overhead. The first Redwing Blackbirds were present as I headed to the lot up the marshy boggy hill. Weather permitting, in the next couple weeks I will have to go to the house in Wisconsin to cut the grass...and fish a bit. I am doing some of my Home Ec. Class recipes on Video and posting to Facebook. Quite fun! And on the music front I have started posting some of my original songs, and cover songs on You tube. kinda hard to believe for a guy who thought computers would not catch on in High School...yes i’m that old. In closing; the Bulls documentary is pure pleasure. Hearing from all the people involved with no bleep outs is really great. Especially hearing it from the GOATs mouth while sipping brandy and getting ready to fire up a stogie. Tight lines and good health Rob

He got that right on “The Last Dance.” It has been a long time since a non-live sporting event has drawn me in that much.

Rob Abouchar with a photo for the times. Provided photo

Rob Abouchar with a photo for the times.

Rob Abouchar with a photo for the times.

Pete Lamar emailed:

Definitely a step back this week. It was difficult to cast in the high winds of the last few days. The only fish I caught were some small bass and nice bluegills in a somewhat sheltered corner of a small pond. No action at all on a much bigger forest preserve lake. . . .


The Alsip boat launch has been open 24 hours a day since April 1. The buildings are closed.


Chain O’Lakes SP is closed, as are all other IDNR sites, but there are public launching areas around the Chain.

Adrian Medina with a nice crappie from the Chain O’Lakes. Provided photo

Adrian Medina with a nice crappie from the Chain O’Lakes.


Adrian Medina messaged the photo above and this report on Monday:

Hey dale ! Had some really good action at the chain today , went out to try and get some eyes but no luck , but the crappies were eating today !

Arden Katz said that there are really good bluegill in the channels on a 1/64th-ounce jig with white or bubblegum tails; and there are still lots of crappie around and hitting plastics; move around to find them, once you find them, they are tight together; water is in the upper 40s to lower 50s

Staff at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said they are catching some walleye and continuing to do well on crappie.

Triangle is strictly curbside service. “Nobody comes in the store.” Call first at (847) 395-0813.

Check updates on water conditions at or (847) 587-8540.


The Riverwalk remains closed.

Jeff Nolan texted the photo below and this note:

Very strange 2 days in a row not another boat on the entire Chicago River

Jeff Nolan looking down the main stem of the Chicago River as the lone boat. Provided photo

Jeff Nolan looking down the main stem of the Chicago River as the lone boat.



Braidwood and LaSalle, as other IDNR sites, remains closed. Heidecke will reopen after the closure is lifted.


Remember, IDNR sites are closed. As of last word, the Army Corps of Engineers lakes—Shelbyville, Carlyle and Rend—are open for fishing and launching.

EMIQUON: Reminder:

Due to the COVID-19 issue, for the time being, we are not requiring people to obtain a liability waiver/permit to boat/fish Thompson Lake at the Emiquon Preserve. All other regulations, including no gas motors, remain in effect and are being enforced.

Go to

POWERTON: Closed, as are other IDNR sites. SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season.


While Silver Springs SFWA, Chain O’Lakes SP and other state sites are shut, there are other access points and launches.

Pete Lamar emailed:

Definitely a step back this week. . . . As far as the Fox tribs, I found normal-to-low levels for this time of year and crystal clear water. But no smallmouths that I could find. There were some big suckers cruising around. All the water I tried was really cold. I’m looking forward to some extended warm weather so I can try some topwater flies.

Topwater? My language of love.


Though IDNR sites are closed, there are other launches, such as Barto Landing in Spring Valley.


Though Kankakee River SP and Des Plaines SFWA are closed, there are plenty of access areas and launches up and down the river.


Chicago lakefront and Chicago harbors remain closed, as is North Point Marina and the surrounding property. Waukegan launches are open and fishing has been going.

Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan texted:

Cohoes have been on fire at the government pair all week, power lining minnows and worms and bottom fishing minnows and worms. guys are also talking about spoons, all the different flavors and colors. I tried to put pictures on the salmon stop Facebook page if you jump on that.


Lakes are closed, as are other IDNR sites.


Kurt Justice at Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua emailed:

Not so much of a Fishing Report, more of a Status Report on fishing here in the Lakeland Area. While most know by now, Wisconsin’s stay at home order has been extended through the 26th of May. State campgrounds are closed through April 30th. Here in the Lakeland Area, boat landings remain open. Guiding is considered Non-essential (except for those of us that do it for a living), so unless otherwise notified, we won’t be taking any bookings for trips between now and May 26th. It is NOT legal to operate a motorized boat on the Michigan side of any Michigan/Wisconsin boundary water (i.e. Cisco Chain, Michigan side). So know where you are at all times when fishing this area, until the stay at home in this state is lifted. We will be setting up our shop to open, for a limited number of customers at a time, here shortly. We have remained open for curb side business with the OK from our local police chief and on the premise that our business was deemed essential due to ammo sales. As we know, things can change day to day. This report was written on 4/21/20. We will try to keep you updated. Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop Like us on FaceBook


Launching is available at Hammond, East Chicago, Portage and Michigan City. Willow Slough is open.

Stephen Carroll with a good catch and story from shore at Hammond Marina. Provided photo

Stephen Carroll with a good catch and story from shore at Hammond Marina.


Stephen Carroll messaged the photo above and this report:

Fish of the week? 29 brown caught from shore at the Hammond Marina. My personal best brown. Caught it on squid. Barely fit in the net. My uncle Greg [Peters] almost lost his phone netting it. Hit next to shore on a jig n squid. Thought it was a northern at first because I’ve caught some nice ones out there, then thought it was steelhead when it started jumping out of the water. My uncle was lying on his stomach to net it. Not sure who was more excited at that point once it was finally in the net lol

The fish didn’t make FOTW, but with a story like that, it would have been FOTW in a different week. Instead, it leads the MFR.

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

Kings in decent numbers have showed up from Gary light to Michigan city in 40 to 55 ft of water some big ones too Mag spoons and spin doctors and Flys best fishing 20 to 35 down best Coho action at Gary light to cal park still good dodger flys brads thinfish and rapalas j9 doing best Crappie bite is on pretty good in all ponds and lakes find some structure ul find some crappie Rufus jr jigs tipped with beemoth or minnows on plain gold hook is the starting point When the wind isn’t blowing ther is lots and lots of groups fishing Open 5 to 5 daily come join the fun


Closed, as are other IDNR sites.


The Indiana side of the lake is open, including the Hammond launch.

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