Chicago fishing: Walleye, crappie, coho, Chinook, bass; spring signs abound for sprawling raw-file MFR

Walleye, crappie, bass, coho, Chinook and other spring signs abound in this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

SHARE Chicago fishing: Walleye, crappie, coho, Chinook, bass; spring signs abound for sprawling raw-file MFR
Dan Potoczny and Mike Connor had a good outing off North Point Marina, including an afternoon Chinook. Provided photo

Dan Potoczny and Mike Connor had a good outing off North Point Marina, including an afternoon Chinook.


Even with the cold snap, it feels like the spring fishing for crappie, largemouth bass, walleye, coho and Chinook is building for this sprawling raw-fie Midwest Fishing Report.

Dan Potoczny messaged the photo at the top and this:

Caught him on a musselhead meat rig on a wire dipsy diver set 40 feet back in 50 fow straight out in front of North Point marina. Ended the day 13 for 18 with a few lakers, a few cohos and this early afternoon king

He added:

2 people in the boat due to regulations. My friend Mike Connor and I


Just in case access opens up, perch fishing is closed on Lake Michigan through June 15.


In general, forest preserve district and park district waters remain open, But, especially FP of Cook County and FPD of DuPage County, there are some specialized closures, generally for crowding or overuse on weekends.

As of Tuesday, the trout waters in DuPage and Cook Counties remain closed.

The art of sight fishing for carp. Photo provided by Tim Adkins.

The art of sight fishing for carp.

Provided by Tim Adkins

Tim Adkins at Henry’s Sports and Bait in Bridgeport texted the photo above and this:

Been sight-casting carp on the fly in suburban rivers and forest preserve lakes.

Mike Matuk messaged the photo below and this:

Swimjig... Personal best 4.96 lbs... 21 1/4... Lake County... Water temps were at 55. Bass were starting to make beds looking at their tails, and were swiping more than biting. Several missed bites. Fish were caught on swimjigs and lipless crankbaits.

Mike Matuk with a PB largemouth. Provided photo

Mike Matuk with a PB largemouth.


AJ Cwiok messaged:

17 1/2 inch monster, new personal best for me!! I’m back in town. Got that one at a pond in Bolingbrook

A.J. Cwiok with his PB crappie. Provided photo

A.J. Cwiok with his PB crappie.


Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed:

Hey Dale, Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing. Area lakes- The cold front has pushed both bass and crappie off the first drop. Work those drops with lipless crankbaits for bass and wedgies under a slip float for crappie. Normal temperatures later in the week will have fish starting to move up. TTYL — Ken Husker O’Malley Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team


The state park is open.

The Chain and upper river is open; as of 3 p.m. Tuesday, the lower river is no-wake. Check updates (especially later this week) at or (847) 587-8540.

Mike Matuk messaged:

Fished Lake Marie in the Chain on Wednesday. Had 2 muskies follow a chatterbait and a jerkbait to the boat. One high 30s fish, one smaller. Caught 11 inch yellow bass, drum, a cat, and an eye in 17 feet between the points. Fish were tight to the bottom biting on a 1/8 ounce jig and crawler. Water visibility was 3-4 feet.

“F. Gilligan” at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said crappie and bluegill remain close to cover shallow; some bass on area lakes are nearing spawn (still a bit to go on the Chain); walleye are up on the flats post-spawn, catfish are going shallow; muskie slowed down a bit from the hot streak.


Riverwalk remains closed.


Braidwood, LaSalle and Mazonia remain closed.

Heidecke is open and often packed, fishing varies greatly.

Pete Riedesel with a good Heidecke Lake walleye. Provided photo

Pete Riedesel with a good Heidecke Lake walleye.


Pete Riedesel of Fishin Friend Guide Service had a good outing for himself at Heidecke last week as shown by the photo above:

4 1/2 lbs on a digital scale. One other nice one and two dink muskies. Super slow.

Rob Abouchar emailed the photo below and this from Heidecke:

Hi Dale, With last weekends’ freeze warning I stayed back in Melrose park to keep an eye on the tender vegetation. The Nature sightings in the backyard were really something. First a male and female Black Headed Grossbeak appeared at the backyard feeders. I thought they were Orioles at first. The next day their cousin the Rosebreasted Grossbeak arrived. A day later I was looking out the kitchen window when the fox I saw a couple weeks ago appeared in the back yard about to walk up the driveway. I thought it was somebody’s dog at first and ran for the phone. When I found the phone and went back it was still there. As I tried to open the door for a pic the sly fox became aware of my presence and headed for the lot next door. I was able to get a short video of him curling up in the weed trees next door. After a nice Senior drive through with the teachers Monday I headed south to Heidecke Lake. I rode my bike as far as access was allowed down the center dike to try for some bass. There were a fair amount of shore and boat anglers out in the brisk conditions. There was no sign of fish moving in the shallows yet and a nice thick carpet of green slimy moss covered the rocks. The water was as clean as I think I have ever seen at Heidecke. After a few minutes of casting I hooked into the biggest largemouth I have ever caught from Heidecke. The bass hit an old Booya Boogie Bait with a Kalins Seismic shad swimbait in White. I have landed some nice smallies here but the largies have been small. This Largie was not a Giant but a good one and confirmation that there will be more and bigger bass coming from Heidecke this season. The wind was not bad at all and the ride back down the dike was very relaxing as the crepuscular rays escaped through the clouds and bounced off the surface of the lake. Tight Lines and Good Health Rob

Rob Abouchar with his best largemouth from Heidecke Lake. Provided photo

Rob Abouchar with his best largemouth from Heidecke Lake.



Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake 5/11/20 through 5/18/20 Last week fishing on Delavan was hit or miss, you could catch fish all week if you weren’t particular about the species. Largemouth bass and bluegills were the most consistent bite this week. Walleyes were very spotty. Largemouth bass are in 2-3 ft. of water. I have yet to see them start building nests but within the next week the spawn preparation will begin. My best success came on nightcrawlers fished on a split shot rig. The fish seem to prefer a cleaner bottom with none of the green slimy weeds. The best location was by the outlet, near the rocks by Lake Lawn, and in the channels. Some success last week was also seen on tube baits, Texas rigged. Smoke or blue/black were the best colors. The smallmouth bass that I caught last week were on the main lake points, such as Willow Point, the Yacht Club and near the Village Supper club. The smallies were caught on fathead minnows fished on a lindy rig. I used a 1/8 oz walking sinker and a small hook. The key to the presentation was keeping the sinker slightly off bottom to avoid the green weeds. In windy conditions, it’s better to use a larger sinker for more control. The best depth was in 14-15 ft. of water on the drop offs. A few walleyes were caught this week but it was pretty slow. Most of the success was on a white twister tail fished on a 1/8 oz jighead. Most of the fish were caught on the main lake points. I tried lindy rigging for a few hours on Friday but didn’t have any success. I think the water needs to warm up a few degrees before the fish will really become active. Bluegills have been a guaranteed bite for the last week. Some of them were in excess of 10 inches. You had to weed through lots of small ones to catch a good dinner. The best depth was in the shallow weeds in 3-4 ft. of water. I caught all of my fish on an ice jig and a small red worms fished on a bobber. Crappies were very sporadic. I spoke with several people who caught limits in 14-16 ft. of water on the west end of the lake. The bait of choice for them was small tube jigs fishing for suspended crappies. When I tried for them, they moved out of the area. The crappies will bite but it may take some searching and patience before you find an active school. With some warmer water, they too will begin spawning. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063


Des Plaines SFWA remains closed, but other access areas have eased.


Many Downstate sites, more than originally posted, reopened across the state. Click here to check list.

EMIQUON: Basically, go to launch. For general information, go to

POWERTON: Remains closed. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed, but may reopen later in the season. Click here for an update. SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide ServiceSOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing.


As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, the lower river went to no-wake, while the upper river opened to boating. Check updates at or (847) 587-8540.

Chain O’Lakes SP and Silver Springs SFWA are open.

Ricky Sjurset messaged the phoot below and this:

2 Flathead this weekend. They are agressive and ready to feed Yes Sir the Fox River. The biggest was only 21lbs..

Fox River flathead catfish. Photo provided by Ricky Sjurset

Fox River flathead catfish.

Provided by Ricky Sjurset


Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 5/11/20 thru 5/18/20 With the cool weather, the water temperatures are still hovering around 49-50 degrees. Fishing has been still relatively slow, but there are some fish being caught. Smallmouth bass fishing has been very sporadic. The best way to catch the fish are when they are on the feeding mode chasing schools of bait fish. The best locations have been by the Elgin club and by the Academy. I like to use either a Kalin grub or small tube bait, smoke color or avocado color. Some fish can also be caught on a split shot rig with a minnow. My suggestion is to keep moving and find the active fish. Look for the bass breaking the water and feeding on the surface. If you find the active fish, you will catch them. Largemouth bass fishing has been hit or miss. Most of the fish are in the shallows, preparing to spawn. People have noticed a few beds being made, however no fish are sitting on them yet. Most of the success I am aware of has come in 4-5 feet of water near shore. The people I have spoken with have caught most of their fish on a white spinner bait or a jig pitching the docks. Bluegill and rock bass fishing has been a bit slow as well. The majority of the fish are still suspending in deeper water. With warmer water the fish should be moving shallow within the next few weeks. Right now, you could look for some fish in Williams Bay or Geneva Bay in 7-8 feet of water. Walleyes are being caught at night, trolling Rapalas in 12 feet of water. The weed flats have had the must success. Knollwood, Williams Bay, and Geneva Bay are all good bets. We need some warm weather to get the fish to really start biting. Good Luck and I hope to see you on the water, for guide parties call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063.


Seeking out the warmest water for bass paid dividends for this angler. Photo provided by Mike Norris

Seeking out the warmest water for bass paid dividends for this angler.

Provided by Mike Norris

Guide Mike Norris emailed the photo above and this:

Fishing Report – 05/11/2020

Mike Norris

We are experiencing cool and windy days with near record low nigh time temperatures. This change in weather has resulted in many gamefish vacating the shallows and sliding back into deeper water. Fishing should improve later this week with warmer weather in the forecast.

Fox Lake in Dodge County has an abundance of shallow water and warms faster than other surrounding south-central Wisconsin lakes. Last week I did well there on pre-spawn largemouth bass on bladed jigs. I also received reports from anglers catching northern pike and walleye. I recommend looking to shoreline areas with good sun exposure for largemouth bass. For walleye and pike look for drop-offs with weed growth leftover from last winter and target them with jig and minnows.

Big Green Lake’s main lake temperature is hovering anywhere from 42 to 46 degrees. Nonetheless I am finding hungry largemouth bass and bluegills in the warmer water found in shallow bays and back channels. A bladed jig is also working well here for bass. For bluegill I’m tipping a 1/32-ounce jig with a red worm hung and under a float. 

Little Green Lake is good for walleyes on jigs tipped with leeches a this time of the year. Bucktails fished over emerging weed growth is also producing a few muskies. 

I’m accepting bookings for future smallmouth bass, panfish and walleye guide trips which I will implement when Wisconsin’s Safer at Home order is lifted. For more info contact me at 630-842-8199 or through my website at


Walleye bite has been outstanding, deciphering legal and ethical access is trickier.


More IDNR sites are open for launching, but Starved Rock SP remains closed.

River just dropped below flood stage at Starved Rock and LaSalle.


River is at a relatively good stage for spring.

Kankakee River SP is open, while Des Plaines SFWA remains closed. 

Aquaintances report decent catches of smallmouth in the river and, surprisingly, trout in Rock Creek.


Ohio lifted the suspension of the sale of non-resident licenses, but the request for visitors to self-quarantine for 14 days remains in effect.

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.


Chicago harbors, the Riverwalk and lakefront remain closed. North Point Marina is officially closed, but daily launch passes are being issued. Waukegan harbor area is open for fishing and launching.

Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan texted:

The lake front is still getting cohos with bait fishing, spoons, and powerlining, very nice fish. Guys are boating, the very few who are ,,, are buying t flies from us,, but no reports back. I tell guys to tell me good or bad, but I rarely hear from them. All the local crappie holes are rockin’, sm and lg fatheads. Guys trying for cats in our area, I think it’s to early

Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed:

Hi Dale Fishing in the Waukegan area was good when the weather allowed, which was only a couple of days. The wind and waves dirtied up the water shallower than 50 feet. Trollers from 50 to 80 feet took mixed catches of coho, lake trout and steelhead. Smaller size green and aqua spoons like Warrior Flutter and XL size Psycho Perch and Hey Babe trolled on 2 and 3 color lead cores were the best producers. Small peanut flies in those same colors like Jimmy Fly TwoTone and Spectra took coho off trolling boards with 5/8 oz. weights. Pier fishermen fishing the dirty water should consider using bait. The power liners took coho this week. The smell from the bait can bring in fish whereas the fish can’t see casted lures in the dirty water. It looks like another week with a lot of East and North wind so I believe the fishing pattern will stay exactly the same as above. Have a great week. Capt. Scott Wolfe School Of Fish Charters 630-341-0550


Click here for the update from D&S Bait.


John Bertholomey’s walleye from northern Wisconsin. Provided photo

John Bertholomey’s walleye from northern Wisconsin.


Ellen Bertholomey emailed the photo above and this about about her son from the northwest suburbs:

Hi Dale, Hoping you will consider my son John Bertholomey’s big walleye for fish honors. He caught and released his 30 inch walleye on a lake just outside of Minocqua Wisconsin last night while casting a Rapala Husky Jerk. Thanks,

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

Snow (not as much as south of us, but any snow in May is too much), cold, and most of all wind has made the week following the opener rather tough. Lake surface temps are lower now (40-48 degrees) than a week ago (44-55 degrees) thanks to below freezing nights. The shallows cool off every morning making late morning through dusk the best times to fish. Walleye: Good-Fair – Spawn over, the good post spawn bite is starting, but not really ramped up yet due to the cold weather. Casting minnow style baits (floating Rapalas, Rattlin Rouges) over weed tops in the evening. Jigs and minnows best when worked slowly through cabbage beds. Walleyes scattered, but as water warms, actions should really pick up by this weekend. Northern Pike: Good-Fair – Probably a better source of action than Walleyes. Live bait or swim baits worked slowly through 4-7’ cabbage. Looking, but not actively hitting spinner baits. Crappie: Fair-Poor – The cold has held this species out away from the shallows, best to work 10-12’ outside woody shorelines. Live bait best this week as water temps falling. This action will shoot up this weekend as water temps rise and fish move in to warm themselves and prepare for the spawn. Largemouth Bass: Fair – Few targeted during cold spell. Twitch baits and working Ned rigs in old weed beds where water may be 2-3 degrees warmer than rest of lake best. Yellow Perch: Fair-Poor – Few targeting with conditions. Try wigglers, small leeches or pieces of crawler in shallow, weedy flats. Smallmouth Bass: Fair-Poor – Few reports. Best in 10-14’ on X-Raps off points or bars. A nice warm up by the end of the week should really improve the action all around. Rising water temps, along with clouds and some rain will draw the Crappies into the shallows and entice the post spawn Walleyes to start feeding. Looks to be a good, if wet, weekend to fish! Thank you, Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop Like us on FaceBook


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

Slough still giving up fish for ones in boats Salmon action decent around Gary light when water isn’t dirty to bad All area lakes and ponds giving up some fish on the days it’s not crappy out Action for lakers good 70 to 90 straight out of burns ditch fishing mid way down to the bottom Water as of today really dirty out of ditch till u get to 65 ft


Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said weather has limited effort on Lake Michigan.


Lake is open sunrise to sunset. 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Lakeside remains closed


Wisconsin River smallmouth bass. Photo provided by Erik Brztowski

Wisconsin River smallmouth bass.

Erik Brztowski

Erik Brztowski mesaged the photo above and this:

Smallmouth are starting to get more and more active on the Wisconsin river. Finally seeing some top water activity. Most fish I’ve been catching have been on more finesse presentations like small jigs and swimbaits. If you can get minnows that’s also a good bet. Should be a great few weeks of fishing before the spawn.


William W. Powers SRA remains closed, but the Indiana side is open, including the Hammond launch.


Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:

Water temp was down to 50 degrees yesterday morning, still caught 31 and 1 walleye. Fishing is slow, but the fish are there. Mostly snapping rigs in the deeper water. Still a few walleye, but slow the last few days

Curt Pazdro messaged that a recent trip was awful for white bass and walleye, they switched to smallmouth for the boys.

A warmup later this week should help.

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