Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: LaSalle opener, Braidwood brutes, coho, ice-out

LaSalle Lake reopens on Monday, some big largemouth are being caught at Braidwood Lake, coho go on southern Lake Michigan, ice-out comes, and river fishing builds for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

SHARE Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: LaSalle opener, Braidwood brutes, coho, ice-out
Scott Oglanian with a 5.1 largemouth bass at Braidwood Lake. Provided photo

Scott Oglanian with a 5.1 largemouth bass at Braidwood Lake.

Provided

LaSalle Lake reopens Monday, coho are being caught in fits on southern Lake Michigan, some big largemouth bass are being caught at Braidwood Lake, ice-out comes, and river fishing builds for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Scott Oglanian messaged the photo at the top and this from Braidwood:

I was looking for a big one and I got 1

I should say so, as he noted:

5.1 at Braidwood! Caught her in the afternoon on a jig. 14lb fc sniper Enticer jig with a rage tail trailer

About the biggest I heard of so far from Braidwood.

LaSALLE LAKE OPENER

As usual, the cooling lake south of Seneca reopens on March 15, Monday. My preview will be in Saturday’s Sun-Times. Hours are the usual 6 a.m. to sunset.

LAKEFRONT PARKING

Sale of the Chicago Park District’s parking passes for the two small fisherman’s parking lots on the Chicago lakefront (DuSable and Burnham) are ready to go as soon as official clearance comes.

Readers suggest SpotHero app downtown. Otherwise, here are some basics: Foster (free street parking or pay lot); Montrose (free street parking); Belmont (pay lots on north and south sides); Diversey (pay lot or street parking); DuSable Harbor (pay lot); Northerly Island/Burnham Harbor (meters); 31st/Burnham (meter parking between McCormick Place and 31st Street Harbor); Oakwood/39th (limited meters); 63rd Street/Casino Pier (pay lot); Steelworkers Park (free street parking at east end of 87th); Cal Park (free parking).

AREA LAKES

Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait texted: . . . Waiting for some ice to go away on small lakes. Take care

Larry Green sent his last ice fishing of the season. Credit: Andy Hansen

Larry Green sent his last ice fishing of the season

Andy Hansen

Larry Green tweeted the photo above and this:

My last hurrah for the season was good to get out. Photo by Andy Hansen

Jim Anderson emailed last Wednesday this and the photo below, capturing the essence of the joy of late-season ice fishing:

lake county Ill 54 outside temp great day late ice !

Northern pike from ate-season ice fishing in Lake County. Provided by Jim Anderson

Northern pike from ate-season ice fishing in Lake County.

Provided by Jim Anderson

Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed:

Hey Dale, Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing. Area lakes-In-between. Ice has been coming off over the past week. On some lakes the shorelines are open and others are soft. Main base under all the slush is eroding and lakes will be open by weeks end with rain in the forecast. Nows the time to organize tackle, clean and re-spool reels, and get the long rods ready.

Last sentence is words to the wise.

Pete Lamar emailed for the first time in a while:

Hi Dale, First report in a long time that doesn’t involve chopping a hole in the ice.This is from Sunday afternoon, so it may not be completely relevant even a couple of days later, as things are changing rapidly. . . . As far as lakes and ponds, there was still a lot of ice to be melted.The only open water was on some of the ponds on the north sides, where they get the most sun exposure.Again, with luck warm weather and rain will do a lot to open things up soon. Pete

BRAIDWOOD LAKE

Den Mierzwa sent this largemouth from shore at Braidwood Lake. Provided photo

Den Mierzwa sent this largemouth from shore at Braidwood Lake.

Provided

Den Mierzwa

Hey Dale got this at Braidwood today after work

Also see Scott Oglanian’s beauty at the very top of the post, which may be the biggest caught in the early going.

Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait texted this from customer reports:

. . . Braidwood very good. . . . Take care

Open daily 6 a.m. to sunset.

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Proprietor Greg Dickson at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said, “Guys are still ice fishing. Is it a situation where we recommend they go? Probably not. But they will continue fish places like Deep Lake, which holds its ice longer. In all practicality, I think the masses should be buttoning up their ice fishing gear and thinking spring fishing.”

Arden Katz, who ice fished through the weekend on the Chain said, “If I was retired, I would be out there now.” Over the weekend, he caught perch, crappie and bluegills; he fished a lot of holes, key was hole-hoping; a lot of fish were halfway down, so he jigged on the way down. Waxies are the best bait, he used them on tungsten jigs. “But I put my ice fishing gear away, I am done now,” he added.

DOWNSTATE

POWERTON: Shore and boat fishing is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

SPRING: Open for fishing.

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

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the year.

SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing.

FOX RIVER

Dicky’s Bait Shop in Montgomery reported small catfish on crawlers or shiners Monday at Aurora; a good muskie at Montgomery dam; some small smallmouth, first bites of the season, around Geneva/Batavia. Crawlers are starting to go, supposed to finally get some suckers this week.

Pete Lamar emailed for the first time in a while:

Hi Dale, First report in a long time that doesn’t involve chopping a hole in the ice.This is from Sunday afternoon, so it may not be completely relevant even a couple of days later, as things are changing rapidly. With steelhead fishing fast approaching, I wanted to practice two-handed casting.There are some spots on Fox tributaries wide enough to allow it, so I explored a couple of places along the way.There was still a lot of snow on the ground and evidently a lot had already melted:the water was high, turbid and cold-it never got to 40 degrees while I was there.Streams and rivers won’t really start to warm up until all the snow is gone, hopefully later this week.The only fish or wildlife activity I saw was a pair of bufflehead or goldeneye ducks.They saw me before they got close enough for an exact ID.This is about the only time of year I see them around here, when they make a brief stop on their way to their breeding grounds. . . . Pete

GREEN LAKE AREA, WISCONSIN

Guide Mike Norris emailed:

Fishing Report 3/8/2021 Mike Norris The Wisconsin general game fishing season closed last weekend but fishing for panfish remains open.Game fish can still be harvested on Lake Puckaway because it is part of the Fox River system, which remains open year-round in my area.We may see the end of safe ice this week with above average air temps early this week and rain predicted for Thursday. I am keeping my fingers crossed Fox Lake holds up a little longer.Shallow water ice fishing for bluegills and crappie has been exceptional there the past three weeks.Last Sunday my fishing partner caught an 18-inch crappie in 4 ft of water on Fox Lake. If the ice does not hold up, I will begin to focus on open water fishing on the Fox River in DePere, Wi.Big female walleyes are beginning to enter this river system from lower Green Bay, and it is a great time to vertical jig for walleyes which can exceed 8 lbs.To protect spawning walleyes, the WI DNR has institutedspecial regulationsfor theFox River from the DePere Dam downstream into Lower Green Bay. From March 8 to May 1, the baglimitis onewalleyewith a minimum length of 28 inches. Afterwards the regulation changes to a daily baglimitof three with no sizelimit.

GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WISCONSIN

Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report, if it is updated.

HEIDECKE LAKE

Reopens April 1.

LAKE ERIE

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

LAKEFRONT

Jason “Special One” Le sent this photo from Montrose Harbor on Tuesday. Provided by Jason “Special One” Le

Jason “Special One” Le sent this photo from Montrose Harbor on Tuesday.

Provided by Jason “Special One” Le

Jason “Special One” Le on Tuesday messaged on Instagram the photo above and this:

Chicago Powerline

A couple days earlier he captured the feeling of many with this:

At Chicago lakefront Finally they’re here At montrose

Jim Shell and his son Casey did steady on lakers and coho Saturday jigging or trolling crankbaits around Chicago Light. They also earned FOTW honors.

Ice-out lake trout at Chicago Light. Provided by Jim and Casey Shell

Ice-out lake trout at Chicago Light.

Provided by Jim and Casey Shell

Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait texted:

Coho continues w some lake trout deep. Some perch reports at 87th on the lake. . . . Take care

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor, which formally reopened Saturday, texted:

Hi Dale right now our hours are 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. 7 days a week.There are a few Coho being caught in the area also a few Browns and Steelhead. Most of the reports have been on power lines with nightcrawlers or large minnows about a 50/50 shot. I did have a customer went South to try for Coho around 87th Street and cut some really nice perch Saturday and Sunday.It is great to be back at the shop open and functional.

I love word of the perch.

LaSALLE LAKE

Reopens Monday, March 15. Preview coming Saturday in the Sun-Times.

MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN

Click here for the update from D&S Bait.

MAZONIA

Both units open.

MILLE LACS LAKE, MINNESOTA

Justin Lederer emailed from McQuoids Inn in Isle, Minn.:

Justin Lederer checking in from McQuoids Inn Lake Mille Lacs the pike are in the bays hitting 5-7 suckers. From the guys I have been talking to they are doing the best in 5-8’. You can still get perch out in the 20-30’ range they should be moving in shallower real soon as we trend into the spring thaw. The lake is still holding up pretty well for the weather we have. Open water is just around the corner season opener is May 15.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

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

Finally, a nice send off to the end of the inland gamefish season here in the Northwoods!Usually, it’s ended with little to get excited about, but this weekend anglers got out for a last chance at Walleye, Northern Pike and Largemouth, all with good results and some nice reports of large fish (Walleye to 28, Pike to 39 and Largemouth to 19). Now it’s Panfish time! Bluegills:Very Good – While some anglers still plying the deeper mud flats with success (as proof, an 11 er brought in over weekend), for the most part the shallower 6-10’ weeds doing best as Gills have been slurping up small dark jigs tipped with waxies, beaver tail or plastics (red, pink, purple, brown top colors). Crappies:Very Good – Tip-down action picking up as mild temps keeping holes open and a little water flow into holes seems to encourage bites!8-12’ tall, standing weeds best, using #8 Rockers, Little Cecils and Shrimpos to present waxies, plastics (white, yellow, silver, chartreuse) and Beaver Tail as tempters.Deep mud flat Crappies on tip-downs or glow jigs small fatheads (rosies seem to be done for the season).The deep fish bite, while still good, has slowed as fish filtering back into shallows. Yellow Perch:Good-Very Good – Congregations starting to show over mud flats.Pinhead spoons, Halis and Pimples to get down quickly – wigglers preferred, but very hard to get.Use red spikes or minnow heads if wigglers not available.Plastics with scent also viable solution. With ice thickness ranging 24-32 and little snow cover, coming rain and warm temps could eat into thickness.Slush problems from early last week are diminishing as warmth is melting snow cover.Great opportunities for late ice pan fishing in March coming up! Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop Like us on FaceBook

The ice conditions just a few hours to our north fascinate me.

NORTHWEST INDIANA

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

Yes very bizy people fishing all over around here all ice gone Gary light area and up and down the wall outside of pastrick marina good for boat fisherman using thinfish j9 rapalas and dodger and Flys Shore fishing in portage and Michigan city has been on the slow side last few days Musky suckers already in stock here.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

Click here for the Wisconsin DNR’s report, usually on Tuesday or Wednesday.

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN

Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor boaters made it out for the first time on Tuesday; anglers are able to get out on south pier at St. Joseph (fishing is slow) but not the north pier because of ice; there’s steelhead at Berrien Springs and the camera is going again. Paddle and Pole hosts the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder Camera.

SHABBONA LAKE

March site hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT

Click here for the southern Lake Michigan reports from the Wisconsin DNR.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

When I texted guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont early Tuesday, he texted:

River is open, fishing now, I’ll get back to you later

That made my morning.

Then he added this at noon:

The river is very low for this time of year. Fished 2 1/2 hrs , not a bite. This could change by the weekend, with rain in the forecast tomorrow. Still a few onthe ice, but the landings are going fast

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