The start of parking meters at Montrose Harbor leads this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report, but reports also touch on white bass, lake trout, crappie, smallmouth bass and largemouth bass.
Joseph Christopher Alfe messaged the photo at the top and this from Three Oaks Recreation Area:
Flyrod, full sink line sight fishing 20’ down. 17”+
I missed one that was bigger, may have gone 20”
Three Oaks. A rare glass calm day made for incredible sight fishing in deeper water
I mentioned that a friend has caught and released (Three Oaks is C&R) several rock bass this spring that would have easily beaten the state record.
Same I’ve broken that record there several times
Not an easy place though
Note to remember.
Be aware, the parking meters start Thursday, May 20, at some of the areas around Montrose Harbor.
Perch fishing in the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan is closed through June 15.
Readers suggest SpotHero app downtown. Otherwise, here are some basics: Foster (free street parking or pay lot); Montrose (now a mix of metered and free street parking); Belmont (pay lots on north and south sides); Diversey (pay lot or street parking); DuSable Harbor (pay lot or fisherman’s lot); Northerly Island/Burnham Harbor (meters, pay lot or fisherman’s lot); 31st/Burnham (meter parking between McCormick Place and 31st Street Harbor); Oakwood/39th (meters); 63rd Street/Casino Pier (pay lot); Steelworkers Park (free street parking at east end of 87th); Cal Park (free parking).
BoRabb Williams sent the photo above and this:
We went to Heineke 1st ..... kill em Saturday.... and Today 3..... it’s OVER...Saganashski Slough too.
Dicky’s Bait Shop in Montgomery reported some femaile largemouth starting to pull off the beds on local ponds.
Pete Lamar emailed:
I did the usual still water for largemouths and bluegills on Sunday and moving water for smallmouths on Saturday.
My daughter and I fished a forest preserve pond with a conventional fly rod rigged with a marabou leech and her tenkara rod rigged with a popper. Not much action on the popper. The water may have been a couple of degrees too cool for fish to feed on the surface. But it’s close to that time; water was in the mid-60s (I think it’s still cooler on the bigger lakes: friends fished some of them nearby and didn’t do well). Once we switched to sub-surface, we landed fish on a majority of casts, a mix of bluegills, largemouths and even a couple of what I think were pumpkinseeds. It was easily the best day of the year so far in terms of numbers. The most interesting thing was how many big bass were hanging out within inches of the shoreline. Bullfrogs were loud and getting very active; I would think the bass were waiting for them to make a mistake.
. . .
Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed the photo above and below and this:
Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing.
Area lakes- bass have been decent despite some being post spawn and a few others still on beds.
Focus along outside weedlines with slower moving baits. Best bait has been a senko wacky rigged. Colors consistently producing are watermelon gold flake and blue black.
Here is the nature pic of the week. A sunny day has this fella oblivious to his surroundings.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Waterwerks fishing team
Open daily 6 a.m. to sunset. Click here for the preview.
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA
Tucker Siminak at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said bluegill are all over the shallows; crappie are moving to the edges of the channels; largemouth are bath; catfish are good in the shallows on stinkbait or cutbait; white bass good in the river.
NOTE: Check updates on water conditions at foxwaterway.com or (847) 587-8540.
NOTE 2: The Stratton Lock and Dam is open 8 a.m. to midnight through Sept. 30.
DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN
Arden Katz said bass are in the back channels, including two up to 5 pounds, best wacky-worming; water was 62 over the weekend.
Dave Duwe emailed:
Delavan Lake 5/17/21 through 5/24/21
Overall fishing remains inconsistent. The best bites on the lake are the bluegills and largemouth bass. There has been some walleyes and smallmouth action; however the bite changes with the day so it’s pretty tough to decipher a pattern. This cold weather has not really made the fish active yet. Forecasted warm weather will approve fishing very soon.
Largemouth bass fishing has been very good for me this past week. All of my fish have been caught in the 4-6 ft water depth. I’ve been using a Texas rigged Senko or a single hooked nightcrawler. Most of the bass are still in pre-spawn however a lot of the fish I caught on Sunday looked beat up like they’ve started to spawn. With the water temperature only 58 degrees, that would be unusual. With some warmer weather and no strong NW wind fishing should improve.
Walleye fishing has been hit or miss, most of the walleyes are being caught on the weedline in 12-15 ft of water. Most of the success is coming off of slip bobbered nightcrawlers or a lindy rigged nightcrawler. The gray condos or the west end island are good choices to start with.
Crappie fishing has been very consistent. The fish are still pre-spawn on the weedline in 12-15 ft of water. It seems that the bite improves as the day goes on and the water warms from the sun. Last week the best bait was a purple twister fished on a 1/32 oz jig. The best location was by Willow Point or by the Yacht club.
Smallmouth bass are being caught on the hard bottom locations off of main lake points in 12-15 ft of water. Either minnows or deep diving crank baits have been providing some success. Some days you can get a few but other days they are elusive.
Bluegills can be caught in the shallows in 4-6 ft of water. Viewcrest Channel or the Highlands Channel are a couple of the best spots. Wax worm tipped ice jigs are producing most of the fish.
Let’s hope for some warm weather to really get the lake going. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
CARLYLE LAKE: The state finals for the IHSA bass fishing is Friday and Saturday; which means the Dam West boat ramp is closed. Click here for the note from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which includes other launching options.
POWERTON: Hours are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Sept. 30.
EMIQUON: Access permits and liability waivers are again required. They are available Tuesday to Saturday at Dickson Mounts Museum, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Open through Sept. 6. Closed Mondays (except Labor Day). Check regulations at http://www.wetlands-initiative.org/dixon-paddling-fishing.
Dicky’s Bait Shop in Montgomery reported some decent channel catfish and flatheads to 20-pounds-plus around St. Charles.
Pete Lamar emailed:
I did the usual still water for largemouths and bluegills on Sunday and moving water for smallmouths on Saturday.
. . .
I fished a Fox trib in the afternoon after the rain had mostly ended for the day. Water levels were up slightly but it was still very clear. I did see a few redds with fish lurking nearby, so some spawning is taking place. I hooked four fish and landed two, the bigger being 16 inches. The ones that escaped dwarfed the 16 inch fish. It will be warm enough to wet wade the creeks in a matter of days I think. I mean intentionally wet wade: I’ve been wet wading for weeks now by stepping into water over the top of my hip boots.
Wet wading, what I live for.
Ken Gortowski emailed the photo below and this:
Got out Sunday to a Fox River creek. Picked up one dink smallie, which I didn’t bother photographing. The creek was devoid of fish of any kind. I have a long thing in my head about that, but I’ll do a synopsis by the time I’m done.
A small stretch of this creek has a 4 foot tall exposed bank. If I dig around in the top foot, I find souvenirs of the past. In this case, buttons made from clam shells. Or at least the shell part with the holes cut out of them. So I took a picture of that. There are a handful of people that will now know where I was.
Annoying for this wade was about 20 geese that decided to walk up stream with me. I have no clue what that was all about and I’ve never had that happen before. Like me, they were just out for a stroll on a creek. They wouldn’t even fly, just followed along about 50 feet behind me. The annoying part is that geese never shut up. Wasn’t interested in conversation this day.
Okay, I’ll try to make this a synopsis, partially because I’ve covered the reasons too many times over the years…
I’ve been out 3 times in the last 3 weeks to 3 different creeks. Years past I’d be going 3-5 times a week for at least 8 weeks and hit even more creeks. Normal over the years up creeks this time of year is to easily catch 20-30 smallies on each trip. 7 on one trip, 3 on the next and 1 on the last is unheard of. For me.
Though I caught a few fish and only on one day saw some River Redhorse migrating upstream, the comparisons to years past were noticeable. The last 2 trips saw nothing migrating upstream. Even when not fishing I spend time wandering along creeks through the woods looking for photo opportunities. None of the creeks were ever high. I wouldn’t even say they were normal, but low.
I never really saw that many carp and suckers wandering upstream. Never saw smallies sitting around in the clear water. This dates back to April 1st while out wandering.
Reason is simple, we’re in a moderate drought. Haven’t had much rain around here since the end of March. Take a look at today’s (Monday) past and future radar. Lots of rain to the south and west, but it all dries up as it approaches the Chicago area. Remember the dome? I checked the USGS gauge for the Fox and the river has been either normal or below since the end of March. Pretty unusual for spring around here.
Because of that, the fish had no reason to go looking up creeks for places to get out the high water. There was no high water. This has happened in the past. I remember one time when the carp and sucker run up the Fox River during a dry spring was so thick that you could practically walk across shallow areas on their backs.
If you’ve been getting decent fishing reports out of the Fox River itself, this would explain why. Smallies should be all over the river, they’re not in the creeks.
Anyway, that was the short version. Might be the last fishing report for the year, we’ll see. I’m having a hard time getting excited about fishing the Fox River itself. Maybe if I do any interesting wandering along the river or it’s creeks I’ll send you that, with pictures.
GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN
Dave Duwe emailed:
Lake Geneva 5/17/21 through 5/24/21
With the up and down temperatures the lake remains pretty cold which is causing some inconsistent fishing. The best bite on the lake is perch and largemouth bass. Stable weather is predicted and that will help turn on the smallmouth bass and bluegills.
Largemouth bass have been biting in the shallows in 3-4 ft of water. The best location has been Trinkes or Abbey Harbor. They can be caught on a split shot rigged nightcrawler or a green pumpkin Senko. With the chilly weather over the weekend, you need to fish really slow to get the bite.
Yellow perch were biting in 6-10 ft of water. Small minnows fished beneath a slip bobber were the best approach. The best location was Belvidere Park or Rainbow Point. Overall the fish have been on the small size at 6-7 inches. You needed to catch a bunch to sort through to find decent keepers.
Smallmouth bass have been spotty. Most of the fish are caught in 15-20 ft of water suspended about 5-10 ft of water. The fish are near their spawing flats. Look for the fish by the Elgin Club, the Military Academy or Crawfords Bar. The best approach is a white hair jig swam just underneath the surface of the water. The fish are chasing the pods of minnows so once you find the minnows the bass are sure to follow.
Bluegill action has been slow. They are being caught in the shallows on leaf worms. The best location has been the Abbey Harbor and Trinkes or down in Geneva Bay by the Riviera. Look for the fish in 3-4 ft of water.
Some northern pike are being caught in the weeds in 6-10 ft of water. The fish are being caught on slip bobber rigged suckers. The best location has been in Williams Bay or the beach in Fontana. I’ve been putting out quite a few rods to try and catch them. The best presentation is to anchor your boat and fan cast the area.
Rock bass are starting to return. Soon they will be everywhere.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050
GREEN LAKE AREA, WISCONSIN
Guide Mike Norris texted the photo above and emailed this:
Fishing Report 5/17/2021
Big Green Lake – Water temps barely rose last week. At 52 degrees, smallmouth bass continue to be hard to locate and catch. Most anglers are opting to catch largemouth bass in the warmer back channels and coves. Several anglers have told me they are catching lake trout in water as shallow as 4 feet deep, which is something that is unheard of at this time of the year. With projected daytime temps in the 70’s this week I should start seeing smallmouth bass making beds in water 8 to 10 ft deep. Largemouth bass in the main lake basin will follow a week or two later.
Fox lake – Fishing for largemouth bass improved late last week daytime water temps reaching the low to mid-60s. Bass are bedding in 4 to 6 feet of water in an area called “The Jug”. Senko’s rigged wacky style with a Gamakatsu octopus hook, bladed jigs, and swim baits are all effective right now for catching bass. Try using steel leaders to prevent bite offs from the numerous northern pike you will encounter. Pan fishing remains slow but should improve with warmer temps this week.
To book me for a guide trip reach out to me via my Facebook page at mike.norris.7773 or email me through my website at www.comecatchsmallmouth.com
GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WISCONSIN
Matt “Man” Arambasich messaged the photo above and this last week:
Not sure if you need any pics for any of your articles
this is my son John Arambasich he is 13 he caught this on a tube jig in Sturgeon Bay last weekend
Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay emailed this:
Good morning fellas
Here is a very quick run-down on the fishing
The Smallmouth Bass fishing in Door County can be classed as good to very good pending on the weather conditions of course. Look for shallow water bottom transitions along with warmer water pockets in whatever area you are fishing. Make super long casts into those areas and fish extremely slow with whatever bait you are fishing. Some of the best baits this time of year include…Howie’s Shorty tubes, Flukes, ned rigs, Jerk baits and Paddle tails are all great bits in the spring.
Northern Pike fishing has been super and should stay really good at least through the 1st part of June as it usually does. Jerk baits, an assortment of plastics, some spinner baits now working along with sucker minnows. Best areas include…Little Sturgeon, Riley’s Bay, Sand Bay, Sawyer Harbor and Sturgeon Bay.
Fishing out on Lake Michigan has been good for the fisherman targeting Lake Trout in recent weeks. Up until this point there have been no King or Rainbow Trout reports other that a few random catches mixed in. We anticipate that fishing to start picking up in the next 2 to 3 weeks if the weather continues to hold.
Walleye action on the lower bay of Green Bay is still going very good for both day and night fishermen. Flicker Shads and minnows, Bandits, Husky jerks, Salmo Hornets along with crawler harnesses trolled in 14 to 25 feet of water has been the ticket there
1309 Green Bay Rd
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.
Larry Jennings messaged the photo above and this:
My Heidecke Hat Trick Walleye, Crappie, Stripped Bass , and a few Slab Bluegill
I love the concept of a Heidecke Hat Trick and think Jennings has the right one. Made me think of hat trick in other waters.
Bob Johnson emailed the photo above and this on Saturday:
Hi Dale -
Had to take advantage of overcast weather this morning at Heidecke Lake. Saw several fish caught on both sides of lake. Boated a few walleye / crappie casting for Bass so the anglers targeting those species must have done well today with overcast skies. “ catch and release”
the baits working today were jerk bait and finesse worms again.
BoRabb Williams messaged:
We went to Heineke 1st ..... kill em Saturday.... and Today 3..... it’s OVER
Open 6 a.m. (6:30 bank fishing) to sunset. Click here for the promising preview.
Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.
Jesus Arellano (Jesus312fishing on YouTube) messaged the photo above and this last week:
Brown trout are still near the downtown Chicago shoreline. I caught this trout on a flicker shad while fishing for smallmouth bass.
She was pretty fat. I’m guessing 6lbs
Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:
My fishing report has been that there’s still a few salmon and trout out on the Horseshoe on strips of alewives, there was a few caught at the mouth of the harbor on spoons I think it was Friday or Saturday I can’t remember. Sheephead on fire out on the Horseshoe on soft shells. No reports on smallmouth even though I have seen some posts on Facebook that they’ve been catching some in the harbors.
Yes the meters are in, the signs are up and they will go live on Thursday at 8 a.m. As of right now we are only metered from the bait shop down around the turn around and back. I was told the cost is $2.25 an hour. I don’t know the time maximum. Payments can be made on the parking meter app, with quarters or credit cards. They are seven day a week meters and I’m not 100% sure but I believe the times are from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Have a great week
Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said fishing is changing, little slow. Out of Chicago, even lakers are moving out deeper (past 60 feet); some bait starting to show up. Out of North Point, completely changed, lakers on hill to 200 are decent; coho are very scattered. It is jus changing; next week could be lock and load.
Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan texted:
Fish are scattered between 40 ft to 120ft,, south . Bait is scattered everywhere, birds are everywhere, so follow the birds
Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed:
Hi Dale - This past week was slower than prior weeks. However it was still good. We are usually spoiled this time of year with quick limits and easy fishing. The lake made us work for them this week. Early in the week decent trout, coho and some kings were in 80-100 feet. The coho then seemed to move to deep waters, 240 plus feet of water. Then by Sunday the 16th, the deep water shut off with poor catches for the boats going to deep water. The 80 - 100 foot level was again more productive. There were more coho to the North of Waukegan with more lake trout and kings to the South. For coho Blue/green/gold, green/gold and black patterns were best off boards. Leadcore and downrigger presentations with Warrior lures Green Menace, Bloody Nose, Sister Sledge and Steelhead Candy took the kings, many lake trout and some steelhead. Jimmy Fly Mo Rigs in Goby, Green Guy and Orange Guy near the bottom were best for laker trout.
In the harbor, there were some nice brown trout caught using different baits right on the bottom. Working soft plastics worked for a few. Others were using live or cut bait.
Open daily 6 a.m. to sunset. Click here for the preview of prospects.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
Both units are open for fishing.
I had good luck on bluegill Sunday, but only caught one largemouth even though I saw much surface activity. That was about the same as what a kayaker saw on the same lakes.
MILLE LACS, MINNESOTA
Justin Lederer emailed the photo above and this from McQuoids Inn in Isle, Minn.:
Justin Lederer checking in from McQuoids Inn Lake Mille Lacs. Our season opened Saturday for Walleye and Pike. Bass fishing is catch and release till June 3rd. Walleye are in shallower right now slip bobber and leach is producing well target 6-12 foot of water spot tail shiners and trolling cranks is also producing some fish. Hearing some walleye are being caught in the 20-30 foot range also. Smallmouth are heating up lots of reports of 21-23” smallmouth being caught this weekend. Work the 5-12 foot range around rocky shore lines. Jerk baits, tubes, and small suckers are producing. Above is Weston and his dad with a nice walleye. They joined us on an open launch Saturday evening and Weston was the star of night.
Kurt Justice at Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua emailed:
With the poplar and dogwood trees blooming, it’s a sure sign of Crappie time! Surface temps are rising quickly on lakes as warm weather with lots of sunshine is adding energy to the shallows! Oddly, not all bodies of water are seeing a rush of life to the shallows. Certain species on some lakes have held out in deeper water (Walleyes in mud flats), but this should change soon.
Crappies: Very Good – In to spawn, anglers are finding bedding fish in 1-4’ of water depending on water clarity and available backing or cover. Following a weekend of high pressure, some areas are picked over, move around to less obvious spots, but keep movement down and cast long not to spook fish.
Northern Pike: Very Good – Live bait and artificial lures all producing well as Pike active in new weed growth. Swim baits a good choice as anglers can “count down” to different depths, retrieve speed and vary action (straight, hop, etc.)
Smallmouth Bass: Good-Very Good – Catch and Release only as season not open ‘til June 19th. But action good with big fish in the 19-21” range being caught in shallows (anglers reporting bedding Smallies already) using X-Raps, Husky Jerks or going soft with plastic craws or Ned worms.
Largemouth Bass: Good-Very Good – Cruising shallows taking offerings meant for other species (Crappie, Smallmouth). Black, brown hair jigs, Ned worms, Wacky worms all good choices. Some anglers working spinner baits over 3-5’ mud/muck bottom areas also doing well.
Walleye: Fair-Good – Surprisingly, not a lot of hot shallow bites. Bright, cloudless days could be affecting, but a few days fish turned on in shallow weeds at times. Jigging leeches, fatheads, dace on 1/16 oz weedless Jacks or Invasion jigs. In some bodies of water Walleyes remaining over mud flats feeding on Mayfly larvae. In these areas small to medium leeches best.
Bluegills: Good – Lots of fish roaming shallows, mostly smaller fish. Worms, thunder bugs, poppers behind clear floats. Not a very targeted species right now with focus on Crappies.
Yellow Perch: Good – Little attention, but a few anglers targeting Perch in wood scoring nice catches on medium fatheads, half crawlers or thunder bugs.
I’ve been seeing Smallies bedding already, Musky paired up in shallows and suckers also working beds at the same time the Crappies are spawning. Not totally unusual, but as early in the month and so condensed at the same time is. Weed growth seems behind, but improving with all the recent sun and warmth. Weekend should be good, yet forecast says wet - but that can change.
Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
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Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted the photo above and this:
That’s been the norm since Saturday afternoon lake trout galore
The mix bag of everything dried up Saturday morning near shore went from 20 to 25 fish a trip to 5 so we headed to 70ft for lake trout
Been only taking a hour maybe a little more to box 6 man limits of lake trout
Bluegill bite everywhere has picked up last few days and will only get better crickets and jumbo red wigglers best baits
Catfish in the evenings at portage river walk on cut bait and triple s catfish dip bait
Starting this Friday we go to summer hours 5am to 7pm everyday
BoRabb Williams messaged:
. . . Willow Slough is popping with BIG GILLS and cats... few crappie.... WEEDS
Christina Petrites at Stan’s Bait & Tackle Center in Hammond emailed:
Hello, Dale; I hope you’re feeling great, gearing up for the sunshine that’s a-comin’!Here’s what’s been going on around here:
Fishing is really starting to heat up EVERYWHERE. Trolling on Lake Michigan remains very good, with more King Salmon showing up daily. The local Calumet, Kankakee, & St. Joseph Rivers are starting to produce some nice-sized Walleye along with Smallmouth Bass & Catfish. Spinners & Leeches have been working wonders for the former, while Nightcrawlers & Stinkbait have been going like crazy for the latter. Inland Lakes George, Pine, Oxbow have been doing well on Bluegill & still some Crappie; baits of choice have been beemoths, smaller minnows, & redworms.
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
Click here for the Wisconsin DNR’s report, usually on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said fished slowed up on Lake MIchigan with fish running as deep as past 200 feet; some catfish caught in the river and off the pier.
Site hours through Oct. 31 are 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily
Concessions are closed and for sale.
SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT
Click here for the southern Lake Michigan reports from the Wisconsin DNR.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN
Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted the photo above and this on Saturday:
White bass are spawning with water temp in the upper 50’s. Minnows on jigs or rigs working best, and some on flies. Catfish action picking up with the warm weather
Curt Pazdro messaged this photo Monday morning and this:
It was a nite bite last nite turned on at dark till 1100
Caught around 100
With water at 61.5 they should turn on with warmer weather today
I think he is right about that. He also said sturgeon were very active.