Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Lakers, crappie, Shabbona update, bass, flatheads, summer coming
Lake trout on Lake Michigan as well as crappie, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and flathead catfish on inland waters, and an update on the Shabbona Lake concessionaire are highlighted in this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report as summer seems to be coming.
Lake trout on Lake Michigan as well as crappie, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and flathead catfish on inland waters and an update on the Shabbona Lake concessionaire highlight this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report, as summer appears to be coming.
Bob Johnson emailed the photo at the top of his daughter Taylor with a good crappie from Heidecke Lake. More in the Heidecke Lake report.
Perch fishing in the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan is closed through June 15.
WISCONSIN’S FREE FUN WEEKEND
Residents and non-residents will not be required to have a fishing license or trout/salmon stamps during Wisconsin’s Free Fun Weekend, Saturday and Sunday, June 5-6. Stickers will not be needed to enter state parks and state forests. Click here for more information.
INDIANA’S FREE FISHING DAYS
Indiana residents do not need fishing licenses or trout/salmon stamps Saturday, June 5, and Sunday, June 6. Applies only to Indiana residents. Click here for more info.
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).
Radouane Ouarzazi had success Wednesday with a piece of hot dog, as he emailed with the photo above and this:
Hello I caught a 33 inch .16 POUND carp at maple lake using hot dog Yesterday at maple lake.used a piece of hot dog Thanks
Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan texted:
. . . All my small pond folks said all there favorite places were getting fish, so I would assume all small ponds are pretty good.
Wally Olson emailed the photo above and this last week:
Daughter sent me this pic of gars feeding on bluegills in shallows of Bangs Lake last weekend Wally Olson
I just find gar fascinating.
Dicky’s Bait Shop in Montgomery reported the local ponds remain very active with bass.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed the photos above and below and this:
Hey Dale, Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing. Area lakes-despite the cold front that hit after the mini heat wave, the summer pattern is setting up. Bass have been very good early morning and late evening hours. Best baits have been chatterbaits, baby 1-minus, and senkos worked along weedlines. Here is the nature pic of the week. It is time Picture curtesy of Hailey O’Malley. TTYL — Ken Husker O’Malley Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team
Hailey O’Malley has a good eye for photography.
Pete Lamar emailed:
Hi Dale, . . . The reason I did less smallmouth fishing than planned was because the pond and lake fishing was so good. There are two adjacent bodies of water in Kane County that I fish often On the smaller one, a pond, water temps had plunged during the week to the upper 50s. I caught fish on top, but not one was hooked during a retrieve; every fish came on a long pause. There were a lot of caddis around late in the afternoon. They looked to be laying eggs on the water. As cold as the water was, the fish didn’t bother them. It was a different story on the much bigger lake nearby: temps had only dropped into the low 60s and the extra couple of degrees made a big difference-bluegills were coming all the way out of the water to take the fluttering caddis on the wing. I went back the next day with my daughter and her Tenkara rod. We started with an elk hair caddis-it seemed an obvious choice under the circumstances-but had no success. We changed to a much larger foam terrestrial and got into some big bluegills and small bass. Still a fair amount of bullfrog activity around even with the colder water, for anyone interested in targeting largemouths.
Open daily 6 a.m. to sunset. Click here for the preview.
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA
Staff at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said crappie moved out of the channels and into the open water; catfish remain good on worms, crawlers or stinkbait; bass are spawning and some bluegill are moving shallow in the channels; water remains low.
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.
Jeffrey Williams messaged the photo above and this on Tuesday:
1st river crappie this year
Earlier in the week, he messaged the photo below and this:
carp biting again at the riverwalk, caught 2 this one included, 15 pounds 29 in
DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN
Arden Katz said he caught good bass shallow (3-6 feet), but the lake is generally packed with boats.
Dave Duwe emailed:
Delavan Lake 5/31/21 through 6/7/21 Fishing has been improving by the day on Delavan. The warmer stable weather has helped quite a bit. The lake was no busier this holiday weekend than any other summer weekend. I launched at 6:30 am on Memorial Day and there was no line to launch. Northern Pike fishing has been improving. 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. Crappie fishing has been sporadic, some days they are biting well and the next day you’ll get skunked. The best success has been in front of Lake Lawn or near Township Park. The fish are suspended in 8-10 ft. of water. Two presentations have been producing the most fish. The first is a small 1/32 oz. Jig fished with a small Twister tail, white and yellow seem to be the best colors. The second is slip bobber fishing for them with small minnows. 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 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
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 a customer caught a 28-pound flathead in Elgin, also a couple good ones over the weekend; the river is hit or miss (in his backyard hasn’t “had a bite in a week”) and water remains low.
Pete Lamar emailed:
Hi Dale, I had plans to spend a lot of time pursuing smallmouth this weekend, but things kind of changed on the fly. I wound up going stream fishing only on Monday. Instead of running and gunning up and down the stream, I stayed in one location and fished it thoroughly. It may not have been the best approach: I only caught one fish, a nice one, but he had only carp and suckers for company. He did hit a popper, so it’s that time of year; no use waiting any longer to fish on the surface. . . ,
GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN
Arden Katz said he caught bass, mostly largemouth and some smallmouth, in 9-12 feet at Blackfoot Beach and Williams Bay on Saturday night on drop-shot rigs. Water was 60-62 degrees.
Dave Duwe emailed:
Lake Geneva 5/31/21 through 6/7/21 Finally the fish are starting to bite on Lake Geneva. The panfish are just incredible right now, so if you have kids, now is a great time to get them out fishing with you. The action is almost non-stop. This past week I caught an 11 inch sunfish and bluegill so it’s not all about action, there are also some quality fish to be had. It has been hard to get live bait past all the panfish to catch the smallmouth bass. I saw most of the beds in 10-12 ft of water. Belvidere Park and the Military Academy had most of the fish. I was using a split shot rigged nightcrawlers and small plastics. Green pumpkin grubs seemed to work the best. Largemouth bass are in the shallows also spawning at this time. Look for the fish in Geneva Bay or by Trinkes. I caught some on split shot rigged nightcrawlers and a split shot rigged with a 4 inch Zoom lizard. The best depth seemed to be 3-5 ft with scattered weeds and a hard sand bottom. Rock Bass can be caught just about anywhere on the lake. You can catch as many as you have nightcrawlers for. The best depth seems to be the 8-10 ft range. The highest concentration of them that I found was in Fontana. You don’t need anything special to catch them, just a hook and some live bait. Perch can be found by the Military Academy and by Colemans Point. I’ve been catching them on nightcrawler pieces fished on a single hook with a very light weight. Again the problem is catching some fish that are over 6 inches long. I think you can catch bigger ones if you use minnows. When fishing with minnows, I will always fish them on a slip bobber rig. Bluegills are in the 4-5 ft depth range. They can be caught on leaf worms fished beneath a bobber. The best location is by Trinkes and in Geneva Bay. A lot of the bluegills were in the 8-9 inch range, like I said earler, I did catch several over 10 inches this week as well. 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 emailed:
Fishing Report 5/30/2021 Mike Norris Big Green Lake –Both largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing slowed with the passing of a cold front late last week, but they will return to bedding with warm up this week. Try the area east of County Hwy A for largemouth. For smallmouth look for flats adjacent to steep drop offs. Lake trout are down in 120 feet of water. Vertical jig with hair jigs for them. Little Green Lake – Cold weather coming in should knock the fish off for a couple days. Bluegills and crappies are spawning in shallow water. Largemouth bass will be right behind them. Try inside weed edges for walleye. Piers and downed timber areas for panfish. Fox Lake – Bluegills finally showing up and are biting good. Homeowners are catching them off their piers with red worms suspended below a float. Largemouth bass fishing is good on Senko’s in the Jug and just north of the golf course. To book 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
Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.
Bob Johnson emailed the photo that tops this MFR and this report:
Hi Dale - More of the same action going on Heidecke catching mixed bags of Crappie and Bass. I’m a bit surprised the Crappie are still aggressive shallow with water temps at mid 70’s and rising. Fishing the long shores of rock dropping soft plastics is working for us. Attached is a 14.5 1 1/2 slab Black Crappie caught by my daughter [Taylor]. Nice fish!! Released Bob Johnson
Open 6 a.m. (6:30 bank fishing) to sunset. Click here for the promising preview.
The river came up after the rains late last week, but George Peters emailed the photo above and this:
Hi Dale, thought you might like my fish of the year so far. This 12 Rock Bass is about as big as they get in the Kankakee River. The water is warm now so small spinners, jigs, and flys will get them. G. Peters.
He added the photo below and this:
Here is my smallie of the year, 20 about 5 pounds. this is max size for the Kankakee. Spinner baits near shoreline current breaks are the way to go. G. Peters.
Larry Coleman messaged on Monday:
Indiana must have got a lot of rain as it’s coming up and looks like chocolate milk. Actually the weed beds will be real good this coming week
Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.
Click here to see my column on the pending state-record lake trout.
Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said Chicago continues to produce big lake trout in 100 feet of water from straight off Chicago north to Julian’s Reef on such things as 10-12 leadcores; “coho fishing is light, but that could change.” Out of North Point, coho are steady with a few kings and lake trout in 160-260 feet, most coho coming on the surface on spring patterns. On Tuesday, Poteshman said, “Today almost all came in with bugs in their bellies, yesterday it was alewives.”
Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan texted:
Lake fishing on boats was good, anywhere from 60 to 120 feet, mixed bag of fish. Cohos still in flies, to target kings, go with spoons.All my small pond folks said all there favorite places were getting fish, so I would assume all small ponds are pretty good.
Open daily 6 a.m. to sunset. Click here for the preview of prospects.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
Both units are open for fishing.
MILLE LACS, MINNESOTA
Rob Abouchar emailed the photo above and this:
Hi Dale Made it to the land of the giants monday and the bass are coming onto the beds. Big bass hit a ned rig, a bubble gum senko and a jig google eyed jig with a leech. Hopefully it will continue for a couple days. What a place. Tight lines and good health Rob
Been too long since I have been up there.
Justin Lederer emailed the photo below and this from McQuoids Inn in Isle, Minn.:
Justin Lederer checking in from McQuoids Inn Lake Mille Lacs. The fishing is hot right now beautiful weather setting in this week. I was able to get out a few hrs this week and put my pb walleye and smallmouth in the boat. Smallmouth are starting to bed in 3-7 feet of water Ned rigs and tubes are working the best. Walleye are being caught all over the depth range guys are reporting picking them up in 12-15 feet off the reefs. We have been working the deeper reefs in 25-35 feet of water. Slip bobber and leech have been the go to. Come on up and enjoy one of the best smallmouth and walleye lake in the Midwest. Tight lines everyone.
Kurt Justice at Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua emailed:
Despite some very cold mornings to end the month of May, (temps in the upper 20’s at dawn and some snow), fishing remained pretty strong! Walleye: Very Good – Had to play peek-a-boo for a while, as Walleyes moved out of the shallows with cold, but bit well over deeper mud and wood before returning to shallower cover as waters warmed in afternoons. Mornings did better on minnows and crawlers but leeches much preferred in afternoons towards dusk. Smallmouth Bass: Very Good – All catch and release as Bass filling shallows and hitting top-water lures, as well as tubes, with gusto! Twitch baits and smaller Wacky Worms or Ned Worms also producing, as are plastic craws and plastic minnow imitations. Musky: Very Good – Lots of great reports from anglers catching fish in shallows on smaller bucktails (500’s), rubber tailed spinners (Wizards), and 6 twitch baits. No monsters reported here, but one father/son duo reported 9 boated Sunday along with 4 on Saturday. Largemouth Bass: Very Good – Lots of action as LMB staging in weeds outside of spawning habitat waiting for Smallies to finish. Pitching Wacky Worms tough to beat (Minnow Mike caught a 20 ½ on a Wacky) while spinner baits and chatter baits, as well as swim jigs dressed with twisters, scoring well! Northern Pike: Very Good-Good – Most on Mepps #4 and spinner baits. Though Pike seem to think at times that anything that swims by them is fair game. Crappies: Good – Moved off beds, out to tall small leafed cabbage. Tiny jigs with hair, tinsel or plastics working, as are minnows under small float. Bluegills: Good – Should improve with the coming heat this weekend. Thunderbugs, small leeches, even small minnows working. Fly fisher people reporting success towards evening on poppers and dry flys! Yellow Perch: Fair – Not a lot of reports, but most likely due to lack of effort. At the time of this writing, forecast of temps in the low-high 80’s this weekend should get the Largemouth Bass and Bluegills into shallows to spawn. Weed growth should improve and more bug hatches will be on the way. Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop Like us on FaceBook
Snow in late May? Nothing quite like spring.
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted the photo above and this:
Fishing in 65 to 110ft of water straight out of burns ditch good since Sunday once the lake finally calmed down Fish are from top to bottom dodgers and Flys and spoons and paddles and spin n glows all taking fish Gills are going good at most lakes and ponds jumbo reds and crickets best bait Catfish on cut bait and triple s stinkbait in deep river and burns ditch Look for steelhead on the piers after some hot weather and south winds shrimp on a float will do the job
Christina Petrites at Stan’s Bait & Tackle Center in Hammond emailed:
Hey, Dale. I hope you thoroughly enjoyed your holiday. Personally, I’m looking forward to the upcoming beautiful weather. Can’t wait! Here’s what’s been going on around these parts: Fishing on Lake Michigan & surrounding subsidiary inlets & lakes has really picked up rapidly after the north winds we’ve had for the last few days. The water has cooled way down & is back into the mid-40s. With that being said, trollers are catching fairly easy limits on Coho & Lake Trout. Small spoons are working best. Pier anglers are catching good numbers of Steelhead off the piers at Hammond & East Chicago Marina & up as far as St. Joseph & Saugatuck. Local river fishing remains steady for Walleye (leeches & nightcrawlers) & Smallmouth Bass (nightcrawlers & larger minnows); rosy reds have been a special favorite for both, with Wolf Lake & Willow Slough having success, respectively. The Catfish anglers are catching good amounts of cats, mostly on nightcrawlers, hornworms, & stinkbait; LaSalle, Pine, & Lake Etta have had great success lately. The waters in the inland lakes are warming up, & the bluegills (with spikes, beemoths, & leaf worms working wonders) are moving into the shallows to start bedding; Dowling Park & Powderhorn have been heard to be having excellent success rates lately.
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
Click here for the Wisconsin DNR’s report, usually on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said coho are in 120 feet, a few kings were caught in a tournament Sunday and lake trout are about everywhere.
Site hours through Oct. 31 are 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. Concessions were sold. Camp store opened on Saturday, bait shop and such should open shortly.
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 walleye bite is picking up, jigs tipped with 1/2 crawler working best. Yesterday morning we had 53 white bass, all on rigs and minnows. Going to get hot later this week, bluegills action should pick up