Chicago fishing: Crappie, coho, Chinook, sort of Wisconsin opener, opening some IDNR sites

Inland crappie with coho and some big Chinook on Lake Michigan lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; but there’s also a different Wisconsin opener Saturday and some IDNR sites reopening Friday.

SHARE Chicago fishing: Crappie, coho, Chinook, sort of Wisconsin opener, opening some IDNR sites
BoRabb Williams in an artful photo with a crappie. Provided photo

BoRabb Williams in an artful photo with a crappie.

Provided photo

Crappie seem to be the lead fish, but there’s catfish, coho, Chinook and lots of bass reports, too, for this sprawling raw-fie Midwest Fishing Report; and, oh yeah, there’s a different sort of Wisconsin opener coming Saturday, May 2, and many IDNR sites reopening on a limited basis on Friday, May 1.

BoRabb Williams messaged the photo at the top and this report, which kinda sums the state of things up:

Hey Dale We’re KILLING the crappie Bro.... still dont have my boat out... they haven’t moved any boats out because of COVID19 Forrest Preserve.... South.... and LaSalle fish and Wildlife Area in Indiana...Wolf Lake Indiana too Wampum... twin Lakes and saganaskski

Crappie, fish of the day.


Click here for the list of IDNR sites scheduled to reopen on Friday, May 1.


Wisconsin reports, what we have, will be in the individual reports. I would suggest that Illinois anglers give serious thought to whether or not to head north at this time.


I am not the only forgetful one, remember to have your new Illinois fishing/hunting license if heading out Friday for the reopening of some IDNR sites.


Stay alert at for any possible updates on a possible change in the suspension of sale of non-resident licenses.


Stay alert to new postings at, particularly for sometimes rapid changes in what is open or closed and I suspect there will be word coming on at least of some of the trout lakes locally begin to open.

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. But that could be changing this week.

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 crappie reports come in all around as the interest increases. Better fishing reports but please keep them spread out.

Full-length view of Casey Rocush’s personal best crappie. Provided photo

Full-length view of Casey Rocush’s personal best crappie.


Casey Rocush sent the photo above and the note below last week:

we didn’t have a scale but I measured my fishing rod and it’s just over 17 I am from Lombard and it was caught in the southwest suburbs at a pond This is the biggest crappie I have seen in person. Taken on a 1/2oz chatter bait with a 4 keitech on the back. What do you think it weighed? It’s worth a full length shot.

Russell Pienta sent the report and photo below:

Caught a few crappie like this, this afternoon on the Plainfield Pond I always fish(only got a picture of this one though). This guy was close to 16 inches. Thanks,

Crappie in Plainfield. Photo provided by Russell Pienta.

Plainfield crappie.

Provided by Russell Pienta

Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed:

Hey Dale, Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing. Area lakes-bass are good on lipless crankbaits during early afternoon hours on sunny days. Bass are still deep with the drop in water temps. Slowly work the bait over the top of deep weed patches to draw a reaction strike from the aggressive bass. TTYL — Ken Husker O’Malley Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team

A suburban largemouth. Provided by Rico Cantu

A suburban largemouth bass.

Provided by Rico Cantu

Rico Cantu emailed the photo above and this report:

Hey Dale it must be my weekend as I got this bass on a rapala shadow rap, it was 19 inches and over 5 lb it was a pond close by my house, stay safe. Rico Cantu Lockport IL.

Jeffrey Williams messaged the photo and report below:

Well this is a 1st for me at Mckinley Park, never caught Bass this big here

McKinley Park largemouth bass. Photo provided by Jeffrey Williams.

McKinley Park largemouth bass.

Photo provided by Jeffrey Williams.

Tracy Gonzalez emailed:

my buddyjohn fahey got cabin fever asked me if I would go fishing at a pond across the street from his house in Schaumburg he had never fished before and he caught his first fish Sunday on corn on 10 lb line

Schaumburg carp. Photo provided by Tracy Gonzalez

Schaumburg carp.

Photo provided by Tracy Gonzalez

Sticking with carp, on Wednesday, Justin McGuffin sent the photo and report below:

Got this gem today. It’s a carp. A beat up, leathery mirrored carp.

Justin McGuffin with a beat-up carp on the fly. Photo provided by Justin McGuffin

Justin McGuffin with a beat-up carp on the fly.

Photo provided by Justin McGuffin


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


Chain O’Lakes SP is set to reopen Friday, May 1.

Staff at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said water levels are very low, so largemouth have pulled back, but the bluegill and crappie seem to have stayed up in the channels and on the banks.

Triangle is strictly curbside service. Call first at (847) 395-0813.

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

NOTE: Here’s the latest from the IDNR on the operation of Stratton Lock and Dam:

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related Stay at Home Executive Order issued March 20, 2020, the William G. Stratton-Thomas A. Bolger Lock facility on the Fox River in McHenry County will be temporarily closed to the public. The lock will be open for licensed commercial use Mondays and Tuesdays from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. beginning May 4, 2020. While temporary, this closure will be enforced until further notice.


The Riverwalk remains closed.


Braidwood and LaSalle remain closed. Heidecke will reopen when the closures are lifted at some future date.


Reports should restart next week.


While Des Plaines SFWA remains closed, Big Basin Marina is open.


Many of the key state fishing sites in southern Illinois are reopening Friday, May 1. The Army Corps of Engineers lakes—Shelbyville, Carlyle and Rend—are open for fishing and launching.

Scott Oglanian with a flathead catfish caught Downstate. Photo provided

Scott Oglanian with a flathead catfish caught Downstate.


Scott Oglanian caught a 37.1-pound flathead catfish on a medium heavy baitcaster last week out of the Sangamon River near Decatur.

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: Remains closed. SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed.


The Forest Preserve District of Will County eases its restrictions related to fishing and access on Friday, May 1.


While Silver Springs SFWA remains closed, Chain O’Lakes SP reopens on Friday, May 1.

Chuck Roberts with a fine Fox River smallmouth, caught on the fly.  Provided photo

Chuck Roberts with a fine Fox River smallmouth, caught on the fly.


Chuck Roberts sent the photo of a fine Fox River smallmouth on the fly.

Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait texted:

Catfish reports in the fox river.


Regular reports should resume next week.

Dave Holmquist messaged the report and photo below:

Last Sunday I posted that last week and this week were going to be big fish weeks. Monday got my biggest largemouth of the yesr and Sunday my biggest smallie on Lake Geneva. I’m happier about the smallie love those buggers 21@4-1/4lbs

Dave Holmquist with a big Geneva Lake smallmouth bass. Provided photo

Dave Holmquist with a big Geneva Lake smallmouth bass.



Though most IDNR sites remain closed along the river, there are other launches, such as Barto Landing in Spring Valley.


Kankakee River SP reopens Friday, May 1, but Des Plaines SFWA remains closed. There are plenty of access areas and launches up and down the river. Rock Creek will be open Friday for trout anglers.


North Point Marina and surrounding area is listed as reopening on Friday, May 1. As of the minute I put this up, the Chicago harbors remain closed (however, that could be changing). The Chicago lakefront remains closed. Waukegan launches are open and fishing has been going.

Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan texted:

Pier fishing still good, cohos and a few steelies. Give pier is closed today, will re open Thursday a.m. kyack reports, guys getting fish in shallow

Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed:

Hi Dale Well, even though I’m still not yet in the water I thought I’d share general Waukegan information. Coho fishing has been great. This year’s coho class held in shallow water all winter in Indiana. In my off-season seminars we predicted they were acclimated to the shallows and would hold shallow as long as the water temperature was cold. That is proving true with the coho even shallower than normal years. Boats, kayakers and shore fishermen at Waukegan are doing well. When the winds are west and the water fairly clear fishing in 15 or less feet of water has been productive. When the wind moves to Easterly, it’s is more productive for the boats to move out a little, only to the 30-35 foot range. Red dodgers and peanut flies in Greens and Purple seemed to be most productive, with silvers, golds, blues, less productive. With boats limited to 6 rods and the fish shallow, everything is off trolling boards now. Jimmy Fly Two-Tone and Mardi Gras pattens produced this week. Just a reminder that everyone needs to practice safety first. A kayaker died in Michigan last week. Off Waukegan this week a kayak flipped and there was some difficulty rescuing the kayaker. A nearby boat picked him up. Thankfully that happened in a big pack. Also this week, a close friend of mine happened to see something unusual to the east of where he was fishing. He had just taken his boat’s 10 fish limit and was starting to motor back to the harbor. He saw something moving to the East. It was a guy in a Wave Runner that lost power waiving his arms. A West wind was pushing him offshore and the water temp was 46. He had no radio and he was about to jump in and swim for it. He never would have made it. Radios are absolutely mandatory for safety this time of year. Our boat goes in May 12 now (moved back 4 times). We have reduced rates for the 2020 season to reflect lower fuel costs and to help out in a very challenging economy. The last several bookings have all been from people who have cancelled Canada and Mexico fishing trips so we are also adding multi-day trip discounts to stimulate things a bit. I know it won’t be the same as an offshore Cabo or Canada fly-in, but it will be a good time. Take care Dale. Capt. Scott Wolfe School Of Fish Charters 630-341-0550


Click here for the update from D&S Bait.


Remains closed, NOT on the reopening list.


Boat launches are open. State campgrounds open Friday. Not many docks or piers put out, so have tall boots. Be aware about social distancing in a boat, especially if not from the same household, potential fines are expensive. If coming from Illinois, I would give serious thought to postponing.

Kurt Justice at Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua will have curbside service and social-distancing shopping (very limited numbers).


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

Good fishing Tuesday morning in Indiana. Provided by Capt. Rich Sleziak

Good fishing Tuesday morning in Indiana.

Provided by Capt. Rich Sleziak

Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted the report below and the photo above:

Kings coho lake trout from burns ditch to pink house just west of Michigan city Coho with some kings mixed in around Gary light and up and down wall in east Chicago Willow slough good gills and crappie Most area lakes and ponds giving up fish when weather stays stable a lil while Slezs open 5 to 5 everyday will go to late spring summer hours in 2 weeks that is 5 to 7 daily


The ban on motorboats was lifted.

Proprietor Phil Schuman at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said to call first—(269) 925-0341—but they plan to be available Monday-Saturday. Fishing is getting better on Lake Michigan with good coho and a few nice kings; best has been south, especially around the Cook plant.


The lake reopens Friday, but have everything beforehand, because the state is not allowing concessionaires to open yet, so Lakeside is closed.


Rob Abouchar emailed the photo and report below:

Hi Dale I was in Buffalo Grove last Tuesday to pick up a TC Electronics Flashback X4 looper delay pedal for my keyboard to help along my home music production, so I stopped by Lake Arlington and Twin Lakes for a few casts. Again the water seemed cold and lifeless. Several baits went untouched so it was time to head home and play some music and test my new pedal. Hopefully with the warmer days things will pick up. I will be headed up to my home in Merrill Wisconsin this weekend for the official opener to do some fishing on the river at the Alexander Flowage. It will be a welcome getaway for sure! Being home this Spring I am enjoying having the time to really work in the yard. However the struggle to contain the creeping Charlie, dandelions and our great state flower the violet is real! More and more bird species are coming to the feeders; and some Robins are re-building a nest, or taking the materials from an old nest on my garage light to build a nest somewhere else. Plenty of time to watch the process. Tight Lines and Good Health Rob

Lake Arlington. Provided by Rob Abouchar

Lake Arlington.

Provided by Rob Abouchar


William Powers SRA remains closed on the Illinois side. Indiana side remains open, including launch in Hammond.


Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:

Hi Dale, though I’d give you a shout. Till limiting out on walleye every day, anchoring in deep water with rigs, or drifting with jigs tipped with minnows or crawlers. White bass numbers are coming up, 25 Wednesday, 63 Friday, and 77 today Not sure if our Governor’s want people traveling, but there’s a lot of Illinois fishermen up here.

As was Arden Katz, who said he had no issues. They did really well on walleye downstream of town and they wound up with a few white bass. Bought gas under $1 a gallon, too.

The Latest
The shooting happened about 6 p.m. in the 3300 block of West Flournoy Street.
In Game 1 of the best-of-three first-round series, Dolson hurt the Sky the way she used to help them win. She finished with 13 points and went 3-for-4 from behind the arc.
The Sky are the No. 2 seed and have the deepest roster in the league. They shouldn’t be in this situation, given the sacrifices and upgrades they made last offseason. Yet here they are, a game away from it all ending.
Danny Golden was released a month after the Beverly shooting that left him paralyzed. He was greeted by cheers from dozens of supporters and loved ones.
“It’s all about winning,” Andrus said before his first game in a White Sox uniform Friday at Cleveland