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Chicago fishing: All IDNR sites open on Friday and spawning activity builds along with the heat

The opening of all IDNR sites on Friday and spawning activity building along with the heat are the leads to this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Ryan Lipsett with his PB largemouth and his dad Court. Provided photo
Ryan Lipsett with his PB largemouth and his dad Court.
Provided

IDNR sites reopen Friday and spawning activity builds along with the heat to lead this sprawling raw-fie Midwest Fishing Report.

Court Lipsett tweeted the photo at the top of his son Ryan and this:

May 23

@BowmanOutside

fishing local ponds in our hood. @Ryan63588308

caught his PB

IDNR SITES

All IDNR sites (with the exception of a few historical building sites) will be open Friday. Hours will return to use site hours.

AREA LAKES

Cooper Mishka with a fine largemouth. Photo provided
Cooper Mishka with a fine largemouth.
Provided

Rob Mishka emailed the photo above and this:

Cooper Mishka

10 years old caught this nice bass in backyard pond in Downers Grove over Memorial Day weekend.

A lot of that was going around.

With the summer heat, people as diverse as Cooper Mishka above to two of the SCORE host Dans (Bernstein and McNeil on different waters) were out plying local waters over the Memorial Day weekend for largemouth bass and bluegill. I finally tried a local pond I’ve been meaning to hit for years and managed green sunfish, bluegill and redear, but no bass.

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

Not much new to report. Bass and bluegills-especially bluegills-are going strong on area lakes and ponds, even the bigger bodies of water that are last to warm up. Both species as well as the occasional crappie are willing to hit on the surface. Carp spawning is in full swing too; they’re creating quite a ruckus.

. . .

Pete

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with Memorial Day weekend success. Provided photo
Ken “Husker” O’Malley with Memorial Day weekend success.
Provided

Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed the photo above and this:

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing.

Area lakes- with continued record rainfalls over the last week, it’s important to find the clearest water possible. Bass are good on lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits.

Bluegill have starting making beds, so bass will not be far behind. Locate the bluegill and you will find bass.

Heidecke- Multi-species can be had on crankbaits. Smallmouth, walleye, and crappies are decent. Try to time your launch and exit times if possible to avoid traffic jams at the launch until the rest of the state run facilities open up this weekend.

TTYL

Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Chain and both the upper and lower Fox River are closed to boating. Check updates at foxwaterway.com or (847) 587-8540.

CHICAGO RIVER

Riverwalk remains closed.

Jeff Nolan lands his first targeted carp on a rig set up by musician Pete Galanis. Provided photo
Jeff Nolan lands his first targeted carp on a rig set up by musician Pete Galanis.
Provided

Jeff Nolan emailed the photo above and this:

Fishing report downtown still very slow a few scattered stripers Origins park the carp are slamming on the shoreline stacked up everywhere water temperature 59

He added this follow-up:

Yes caught it yesterday with Pete galanis home from tour do to covet 19 all I did was real it in he rigged everything first carp ever caught on purpose

COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS

Braidwood, Mazonia and LaSalle will reopen Friday. Hours will be the normal hours 6 a.m. to sunset.

Heidecke opened May 1 and it has been packed, but boaters have been catching crappie and walleye in notable numbers.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed:

Hey Dale,

. . .

Heidecke- Multi-species can be had on crankbaits. Smallmouth, walleye, and crappies are decent. Try to time your launch and exit times if possible to avoid traffic jams at the launch until the rest of the state run facilities open up this weekend.

TTYL

Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team

DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN

Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake 5/25/20 through 6/1/2020

Fishing has been improving by the day on Delavan. The warmer stable weather has helped quite a bit. .

Crappie fishing last week was good. The fish are in a pre-spawn stage. They are suspending off the break line in 12-15 ft. of water. The fish can be caught on slip bobbers fishing a small fathead minnow or by slowly retrieving twister tails and cubby jigs. The best colors are chartreuse and yellow. As the water warms, the crappies will slowly move in to shore to spawn. Some of my best locations last week was the Village Supper Club, the Township Park break and by Willow Point. Some of the crappies I caught were over 12 inches.

Northern Pike fishing has been excellent. The pike action still remains in the shallow bays in 8-10 ft. of water. The best baits are large fire tiger Rapala’s or small perch colored crank baits. Some of the people I’ve spoken with have had double digit days on fish, however they’ve been on the small side. Look for the fish by Lake Lawn, and Viewcrest Bay.

Largemouth bass are starting to make nests and begin spawning. Sight fishermen are having the best success. Look for them in 2-3 ft. of water, associating with hard sand. The tricky part is trying to present a bait without getting the green slime on it. I prefer fishing a Texas rigged tube bait, either chartreuse/pepper or white/pepper. This makes it easier to see when sight fishing. Live bait fishermen are still catching good numbers casting around the north shore docks and wherever the weeds will let them.

Bluegill fishing continues to be excellent. The fish are also nearing their time to spawn. The best depth is 3-4 ft. of water. Most of the fish are being taken on leaf worms fished on a small bobber. Hellgrammites will also work if you can find them. Bluegill fishing should remain good in the shallow water for another 10 days or so. After they spawn they start to go into the deeper water. Look for the bluegills by Willow Point or by Lake Lawn.

The best Walleye bite has been at night. Most of the fish are coming out of 5 ft of water near the main lake points. Such as, the Yacht Club, Willow Point and the Village Supper Club. The best bait is either a thunder stick or the Rapala husky jerk. I prefer the blue/chrome color bait. The retrieve, I typically use, is a slow reel/pause. The fish haven’t been that active so the harsh jerk is not necessary. In the next couple of weeks, the walleye should start becoming more active and be easily picked up on the weed lines. That is when the day angler will have the most success.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063

DES PLAINES RIVER

Des Plaines SFWA reopens Friday.

DOWNSTATE

Remember, IDNR sites will be open as of Friday.

EMIQUON: Basically, go to the launch. General information at http://experienceemiquon.com/sites/default/files/LakeAccessRules.pdf.

SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed, but may reopen later.

FOX RIVER

Closed to boating. Check updates at foxwaterway.com or (847) 587-8540.

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

. . .

I knew what I was going to find, but I had to look anyway. I went to some Fox tribs late last week and they were unfishable, at least with fly tackle: out of their banks and muddy. And that was before the rain on Saturday. Smallmouth would seem to be off the table for a few days at least.

. . .

Pete

GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN

Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 5/25/2020 through 6/1/2020

With the warmer weather, fishing has improved dramatically. The holiday weekend was completely crazy! Boats everywhere.

The smallmouth bass are starting to spawn. They are located anywhere between 8 and 12 ft. of water on the spawning flats, such as Maytag point, Elgin Club and Knollwood. Some of the best success last week, was by sight fishermen fishing either tube baits (white is best) or smoke colored spider jigs. Light line with spinning gear seemed to be the best approach. The bass should be spawning for the next week or so. The fish are really tight to their nests and won’t chase a live bait presentation dragged near them. This will change in the next few days. Leeches or nightcrawlers are the best live bait.

Rock Bass are literally everywhere. The best depth is 9-12 ft. of water. I’ve been catching most of them on the sandy flats. This is the best time to take a kid fishing, if you want to catch a lot of fish. Some of the rock bass I caught last week were over a pound. Rock bass fishing will remain constant for the next month. The best bait to use is nightcrawlers fished behind a small split shot, or a small pinkie jigs retrieved slowly back to the boat.

Bluegills are starting to show up in the shallows. The best locations have been the shallow weeds in Geneva Bay and Trinkies. Bobbers with small leaf worms seem to be producing most of the action. The best depth is 5-6 ft. of water. For shore fishermen, there has been good success off the piers in Williams Bay and the piers in Geneva. Bluegill fishing should improve greatly as it gets closer to the time for them to spawn.

Largemouth bass fishing has been above average. Most of the fish are now shallow getting ready to spawn. The best depth is 3-4 ft. around boat docks with a nice sand bottom. A good location last week was in the Abbey Harbor flipping around the piers and boats and in Geneva Bay flipping docks as well. Anything you prefer to flip seems to work fine, for live bait fishermen nightcrawlers are always a good bet.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063.

GREEN LAKE, WISCONSIN

Guide Mike Norris with a couple pre-spawn bass caught and released over the Memorial Day holiday. Provided photo
Guide Mike Norris with a couple pre-spawn bass caught and released over the Memorial Day holiday.
Provided

Guide Mike Norris texted the photo above and emailed this:

Fishing Report 05/23/2020

Mike Norris

We finally got warm weather here in south central Wisconsin and it paid off for anglers on the Memorial Day weekend. Shallower lakes in the area warmed to around 63 degrees but the deeper lakes remain in the low 50’s.

Beaver Dam – Crankbait trollers are doing well catching walleye on Beaver Dam Lake while other anglers are locating pods of suspended crappie with their electronics and catching them on small jigs tipped with minnows or wax warms under a float.

Fox Lake – The lack of sunlight this spring has slowed the weed growth on this lake so search around with your electronics and look for any emerging weed growth you can find. Stick baits are starting to come into play for largemouth bass here but casting bladed jigs in and around emerging weed beds remains the best way to cover water and catch numbers of largemouth bass and northern pike. Walleye anglers are reporting success casting minnow imitating lures around emerging weedbeds.

Big Green – A few smallmouth bass are showing up in rocky shoreline areas, but the main movement of both largemouth and smallmouth bass from deep water is still one to two weeks away. I’m sticking with the shallower lakes for now.

Lake Puckaway – Post spawn walleyes are filtering back down the Fox River to Lake Puckaway. Troll shallow running crankbaits on planer boards along the north shore to catch walleyes. Look for bluegill to start showing up in the cane beds.

Fishing in south-central Wisconsin is heating up and now is a time to book a guided trip. For more information about my guide service phone me at 630-842-8199 or contact me through my website at www.comecatchsmallmouth.com.

ILLINOIS RIVER

Dropping off flood from Ottawa upstream; remains in flood from Starved Rock downstream.

KANKAKEE RIVER

Off flood, but discolored and high.

LAKE ERIE

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

LAKEFRONT

The Chicago harbors, lakefront and Riverwalk remain closed, though reopening is at least being discussed. Chartering begins on Friday outside of Chicago.

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said out of North Point they are catching coho and some lake trout and steelhead and a few kings in 130-220 feet.

Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed:

Hi Dale

This week felt fantastic to us as we finally got the decks bloody on Manipulator. We did a couple of shake-down trips. Charters start this week. 60 to 80 feet of water was consistently the best depth with mostly lake trout. Laker limits were the norm with a few kings and coho in the mix. Aqua was the go to color this week. Downriggers running Warrior UV Hey Babe in XL and Standard sizes and wire divers with 11” Green/Glow ProTroll paddle and Smokin Fish Hey Babe Fly were the workhorses. I would continue to encourage trollers to run rigs targeting chinook because there are a decent number around. You will continue to get lakers and coho on those rigs. A few boats went exploring the deeper waters without much success. Shallower water is extremely murky due to the winds. There may be large number of coho there. Catching them in that water is very difficult.

Based on the weather pattern this coming week I do not expect fishing to change much with that same area being good and a good chance to catch a limit of lake trout, a trophy king and a few coho.

Capt. Scott Wolfe

School Of Fish Charters
www.schooloffishcharters.com
630-341-0550

MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN

Click here for the update from D&S Bait.

MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN

 Jeff Miller with 20-inch smallmouth bass caught on a fly rod on the Menominee River. Provided by  Mike Mladenik
Jeff Miller with 20-inch smallmouth bass caught on a fly rod on the Menominee River.
Provided by Mike Mladenik

Guide Mike Mladenik of bigsmallmouthbass.com emailed the photo above and this:

The warm weather is here and water temps are on the rise. Smallmouth and all species are active. The next several weeks will produce good fishing. I have open dates throughout the summer.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

An accidental catch of note near Mercer. Photo provided by Pete Riedesel
An accidental catch of note near Mercer.
Provided by Pete Riedesel

Kurt Justice at Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua said (I hope to have the emailed complete report tomorrow to post) that Memorial Day weekend presented lots of great opportunities as it coincided with the warmup. Not the the least of which was the rarity of muskies leading the report this early. With good reason, some anglers had multiple-fish days (as many as seven) and a walleye angler caught and released a 49-inch muskie; best baits such things as small bucktails and Crane baits.

Crappie were also very good as they moved in to spawn, they could be caught on things as varied as freshwater shrimp, small minnows, tiny tubes or Mini-Mites.

Largemouth bass were very good on on wacky worms, squarebill crankbaits, spinner baits and even some topwaters.

Pike are very good.

Smallmouth bass are good to very good, still staging, best on lipless crankbaits or leeches. Remember it is catch-and-release until June 20.

Walleye are good, target green cabbage.

Bluegill are good, warming in the shallows.

Perch are good to fair, most are incidental catches by anglers pursuing other fish.

Lots of anglers out, boat landing are packed.

NORTHWEST INDIANA

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said out of East Chicago you have to go well off shore to get out of the dirty water, but finding some good lake trout way out.

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

Coho kings lake trout 55 to 60 ft of water from the ditch trolling east towards Michigan city pockets of fish here and there best baits mag spoons orange dodgers and Flys and spindoctors and Flys

Lake trout straight out of ditch in 70 to 80 steady near bottom

Gong area out of east Chicago giving lots of lakers up

Willow slough good for boat fisherman crickets red wigglers best baits

Gills are doing ther thing in bedding time

Slezs bait shop is on summer hours now 5 am to 7 pm everyday

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN

Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said bass anglers are catching walleye in the river; boaters are catching Chinook in 80-100 feet, as shallow as 40 feet off New Buffalo; no perch yet.

SHABBONA LAKE

On Friday, Shabbona Lake will extend its hours to the usual summer ones of 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Clint Sands at Lakeside said they will be ready to go Friday and will have boat rental.

WOLF LAKE

William W. Powers SRA reopens Friday.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN (FREMONT)

Wolf River action. Provided by Curt Pazdro
Wolf River action.
Provided

Curt Pazdro texted the photo above and this:

We are up in fremont boat traffic was the worst ever.....caught 35 in the a.m. and 30 at dusk......bobbers...with minnows worked best in the shallows....all fish where down river past Chicos

He added this example of the crowds:

The local gas station was out of minnows and ice cream it was that crowded everyone came out of the woodwork....lol

Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:

The white bass spawn is for the most part over. Water temp hit 70 degrees yesterday. Should have a good week or so catching males, rigs in deep water channels.

A few walleye taken on crawlers, and gills are making beds. Northern action will pick up as the gills move shallow. Catfish have been very good, with channels up to 20 pounds. It’s a great time to fish.