Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Ice-out, Braidwood hot, LaSalle opens, coho, lakers, river reports

Very good bass fishing at Braidwood Lake, a brief preview before the opener of LaSalle Lake next Tuesday, March 15, the spread of open-water fishing around Chicago, lake trout and coho on southern Lake Michigan, and the return of river reports lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

SHARE Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Ice-out, Braidwood hot, LaSalle opens, coho, lakers, river reports
Tom Starcevich with a big lake trout caught Saturday out of Portage, Indiana. Provided photo

Tom Starcevich with a big lake trout caught Saturday out of Portage, Indiana.

Provided

Very good fishing at Braidwood Lake, a brief preview before the opener of LaSalle Lake next Tuesday, March 15, the spread of open-water fishing around Chicago, lake trout and coho on southern Lake Michigan, and the return of river reports lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Tom Starcevich emailed the photo at the top and this:

37 inch lake trout on a 1oz white tube jig at Portage Indiana today

He added these details:

me and my cousinjigged up 4 Lakerstoday water temp was 33 degreesvery coldmy buddywas trollingtoday for coho he got nothingso far the cohorun is prettyslow lot’s of boats out trollingnot many coho luckilythe lake trout werebiting they were very deep 47 to 35 ft of water deadon the bottomwe workedare jigsslowlyand got a few

BRAIDWOOD LAKE

Since the reopening on March 1, there’s been some unbelievable bass fishing going on over the past week on the cooling lake in southwestern Will County, though winds closed boating Sunday.

Pete Banach sent a sample of the bounty caught at Braidwood Lake on opening day March 1. Provided photo

Pete Banach sent a sample of the bounty caught at Braidwood Lake on opening day March 1.

Provided

If you follow regularly, you know the Fish of the Week came from opening day on March 1.

Pete Banach also sent the photo above, and this:

“Easily caught over 100 fish between the 3 of us. Lots of 2 1/2 to 3 pound fish.”

See below to hear/read that assessment seconded.

James Baranski with one of many good largemouth bass caught opening day at Braidwood Lake. Provided photo

James Baranski with one of many good largemouth bass caught opening day at Braidwood Lake.

Provided

James Baranski messaged the photo above and this report:

I was first in line for opener of Braidwood with Steve McClone from Moonpie outdoors 3 years running. We got about 80 for a 2 man team. A lot of 2.5 to 3.5lbders…

I have a lot of respect for those are get into line early. What can I say? I enjoy doing it, too.

Bob Johnson with a good largemouth bass from Braidwood Lake. Provided photo

Bob Johnson with a good largemouth bass from Braidwood Lake.

Provided

Bob Johnson emailed the photos above and below, and this:

Hi Dale -Much of the same today and some surprises. My fishing partner Joel Wilson caught 2 hybrids today on shad color lipless crankbaits and the were strong healthy fish catch and release. I believe these 2 hybrids are the first to get caught on any of my boats from Braidwoodin the 30 years on that lake. The Bass fishing is still produces numbers and size today my 2 biggest weighed up at 3.5 on drop shot and 4 lbs on a Carolina right fished with a power bait general. We also had luck throwing a Ned rig and Rapala OG Tiny shad color.Jigs with a creature worked too.Looks like the hybrid stripers are going to be a pleasant surprise for many who fish for them

Joel Wilson with a good hybrid striped bass from Braidwood Lake. Photo provided by Bob Johnson

Joel Wilson with a good hybrid striped bass from Braidwood Lake.

Provided by Bob Johnson

Seems like the right place for a reminder that district fisheries biologist Seth Love would like to hear from anglers on hybrid catches at Braidwood. You can email him at seth.love@illinois.gov.

Braidwood is open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.

LaSALLE LAKE OPENER

The cooling lake southwest of Seneca, reopens Tuesday, March 15.

Biologist David Wyffels said most will be focused on blue catfish and hybrids striped bass. Bluesare looking significantly better.” Fall survey showed good increase in blues of 20-30 inches and fish of 30-35 inches showed back up. Hybrids showed good numbers in the 17-20-inch range in the fall survey. Bluegills are looking exceptionally well, quite a few in that 8-10 inch range. Largemouth bass are looking better than last year, but not like days of yore.

Site is open daily 6 a.m.-sunset. As a perched lake, boating is often closed because of high winds. Check a new number, (815) 640-8099, (815) 357-1608 for daily updates on boating.

NAVY PIER ANGLING

The north side of Navy Pier is open for anglers. The discounted parking for anglers is $9 daily, if out by 10 a.m.

LAKEFRONT PARKING

Chicago Park District’s parking passes for the fisherman’s parking lots at DuSable and Burnham harbors are on sale at Henry’s Sports and Bait in Bridgeport and the Northerly Island Visitor Center.

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).

PIER PASSES

Pier passes are good through March 31, Tuesday, March 15, then the gates are chained until boating season. The $6 pier passes, which allow legal access to select piers at most Jackson Park, Burnham, DuSable, Diversey, Belmont and Montrose harbors, may be bought at Henry’s Sports and Bait (cash only) and Northerly Island Visitor Center (credit-card only). A number of additional piers were added this year to bring the total to 31 piers.

AREA LAKES

Definitely a transition period. Ice fishing is done most areas, Ice is off in some places south, still thick some places north.

The Leyden bass fishing team got in some practice on the beautiful Saturday at Busse. Provided photo

The Leyden bass fishing team got in some practice on the beautiful Saturday at Busse.

Provided

Rob Abouchar emailed the photo left and this:

Hi Dale The long pulaski day weekend was filled with lots of fish catches as we transition from ice to open water. Friday after worka nice largemouth hit a tip up with a shiner minnow.Saturday I hit busse lake with the leyden bass fishing club.The action for bluegill was fast and steady on waxworms. When the waxworms ran out bits of Berkeley max scene bait did the trick. Lots if anglers were fishing the open water discharge and salt creek Some small bass were being caught on small minnows.When I returned home the ice was still Holding up so I set one lasttip up.Possibly the Last fish of the ice season was an acrobatic pike that broke the line and came flying out the hole onto the ice. Kind of fitting as we’ve been chasing the esox all season.With Monday off for pulaski day I hit Braidwood for some shore angling. The wind rain sleet snow and fog did not seem conducive to good fishing but some good largemouth action along the shore line on the warm side near the second and third trash can. Square bills in purple craw andsexy shad got hit hard in the rocks. The sun actually came out and the island was visible as a pelican flew high into the clear. On the music front an appearance on que 4 radio for live performances and video recording Tight lines and good health Rob.

I always enjoy the music updates. Think of it as the seasoning for the MFR.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with an open-water largemouth bass. Provided photo

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with an open-water largemouth bass.

Provided

Ken “Husker” O’Malley of Husker Outdoors emailed the photo left and below, and this:

Hey Dale, Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing. Area lakes-Open water opportunities started this weekend on lakes out south. It was good to finally breakout the long rods. Ducks and muskrats were enjoying it as well. Bass were good on lipless crankbaits worked along the wind blown north shorelines during early afternoon hours. On sunny days these shorelines will have warmer water temps and hold the most active biters. Here is the nature pic of the week. Out for a swim. TTYL — Ken Husker O’Malley Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team

Mallards swimming. Credit: Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Mallards swimming.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Greg Dickson at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said the ice is deteriorating, it is hurry and wait time.

COOLING LAKES

Braidwood is open daily 6 a.m.-sunset. See above for report on opening week.

LaSalle reopens Tuesday, March 15; Heidecke, April 1.

DOWNSTATE

POWERTON: Boat and bank fishing is open. Winter hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

EMIQUON PRESERVE: Hours are sunrise to sunset. Access permits and liability waivers are required. They are available Tuesday to Saturday at Dickson Mounts Museum, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service.

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing.

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed. Reopens May 15. Check regulations at http://www.wetlands-initiative.org/dixon-paddling-fishing.

DuPAGE RIVER

Nick Schmitt with a good smallmouth bass from the DuPage River. Provided photo

Nick Schmitt with a good smallmouth bass from the DuPage River.

Provided

Ed Schmitt emailed the photo above and this:

Hey Dale, it’s been awhile since I’ve had anything to send you, my apologies. My son Nick and I fished a section of the mighty DuPage River in Plainfield this Saturday afternoon during the warm spell and did pretty good for our first open water trip of the year. We had our best luck dragging our own custom poured darter and NED stick soft plastics, but shallow cranks and jig/craw combos also produced. We fished out of my 12’ sit-on-top kayak working areas of submerged large chunk rock in slow-moving water. Water temps were hovering around 45°F and visibility was only 12 to 15. This evenings storms and predicted cooler temps will undoubtedly change conditions, but it won’t be long and the duper will be back to floatable or wadable levels. Attached is an image of my son’s best of the day, she bumped out at 18.5 and went 2.9lbs on the digital scale. We caught quite a few more and some of them had scars and wounds from being caught before. Catch & release works and we’re big fans! We’ll be back out again soon! Ed

There’s a lot of truth to ponder in that report.

FOX RIVER

Dicky’s Bait Shop in Montgomery reported a few catfish caught on larger shiners; people trying for walleye below the dams; a few smallmouth caught.

GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WISCONSIN

Staff at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay said anglers are still getting out for whitefish, mostly in 70-90 feet. Keep an eye on conditions, if planning a trip.

HEIDECKE LAKE

Closed. Reopens April 1.

KANKAKEE RIVER

Staff at Kankakee River Trading Post in Altorf said the river is fast and high, but some anglers are catching walleye, mostly on live bait, and a few others getting few smallmouth.

LAKE ERIE

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

LAKEFRONT

Big perch caught downtown Chicago. Provided by Jason “Special One” Le

Big perch caught downtown Chicago.

Provided by Jason “Special One” Le

Arden Katz said that on Sunday at 89th he “tore up the perch. They are in there.” He was using used chartreuse Instinctrix jigs, by Panfishpro.com, with spikes.

Others seconded the good fishing for the perch over the last week.

Jason Special One Le texted the photo left and this: Over 13 inchesI never seen one of this for awhile. I caught at Downtown Chicago on Sunday,

Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait texted:

Some coho and trout mixed in from the powerline reports. By sinking a portion of a powerline one can possibly catch both coho and trout. Perch still biting at 87th!!

I like that idea.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

hopefully opening Saturday at 5 AMthat is the plan right now

LaSALLE LAKE

Reopens Tuesday, March 15. Site is open daily 6 a.m.-sunset. Preview is at the top.

As a perched lake, boating is often closed because of high winds. Check (815) 357-1608 for daily updates on boating.

MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN

Click here for the update from D&S Bait.

Pat at D&S Bait said ice is not in greatest (shores sketchy) but probably have ice fishing into next week; fishing is good on Monona Bay and north end of Waubesa; Cherokee is consistent; perch good deep on Mendota and Monona.

MAZONIA

Hours are 6 a.m. to sunset.

David Brooke emailed on Sunday:

Mazonia ice out report from today since Braidwood was closed I drove around a little bit. 3-5-22 Braidwood lake closed to boats Docs lake all bad ice Monster open 10’ at ramp, some shore water, rest looks like bad ice Gar lake open from clear end Carp lake ramp iced in for 30 yards, after that 80 or so yards of open water Bullhead aka Outhouse 70% open far as I can see, left side has ice Goose lake 5’ open at ramp, rest is bad ice. Loop road closed, I imagine because of the flooding that crosses the road in the back Bass lake, some patches of water on the main channel but mostly bad ice.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

NOTE: Inland gamefish season is closed.

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

The inland gamefish season closed with little fan fare once again. Very icy conditions made travel dangerous, so few anglers traveled much less got out on the ice.Those that did had some success, but participation was low. Crappie:Good - Nice fish up to 15 this weekend with anglers finding suspended Crappies anywhere from 16-28’ taking minnows on tip-downs and waxies on jointed pin minnows (CLAM) or tungsten Kastmasters (ACME).In cabbage of 8-12’ working vinglas and pimples 1-2’ off bottom working for those fish in shallow.Bulk of the action deeper though. Bluegill:Good – Mostly working cabbage of 8-12’.3mm tungsten jigs in dark colors (black, purple, red) tipped with mousses or waxies.Plastics in similar dark colors with red and brown (motor oil) best.Nice Gills in 7 ½ - 8 ½ range.Best morning until noonish, then again hour before dark. Yellow Perch:Good – Mud flats of 18-30’ using Halis, small PK tungsten spoons and Kasmasters to get wigglers, red spikes down to mud bottoms.Pound lure into mud, then raise 1-1 ½ ’, shake then hold still.Aggressive fish will rise 4-6’ to chase down (up) bait.Some weed Perch taking minnows or Northland Fry jigs loaded with waxies. Some nicer Pike were caught on this past final weekend of the gamefish season.Fish to 35, few Bass and even fewer Walleye it seemed. Shout out to the Wausaukee High School Ice Fishing Team who, despite bad weather, competed and took first (and second) place in the KISS Tournament this weekend. Conditions on the ice are not good for travel.With added sleet/rain over weekend, slush conditions worsening.Use tracked vehicles (snowmobile, ATV’s) for any distance travel.Stick to packed down areas for limited truck travel.Shorter distance walking using packed trails also advised.Temps from 0 degrees to mostly upper teens/low 20’s until Sunday mean little for improving conditions. Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop - Like us on Facebook

NORTHWEST INDIANA

The photo topping the online MFR indicates good lakers are around to be caught by boaters.

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

Coho spotty for boat and shore fisherman one day ok next day slow slow Coho will be here in full force any day now squid, skein, shrimp and crawlers baits to start with Some crappie caught on the warm days we had around the docks and bridge down from portage marina using minnows The ice just got off the lakes and ponds so reports on the slow side.

I think he is right that coho will really break loose any day.

Christina Petrites at Stan’s Bait & Tackle Center in Hammond emailed:

Hi, Dale!The recent, fluctuating weather, has created some challenges in the fishing world. More steady temperatures with a steady increase are coming, though! Here’s what we’ve heard recently: River fishing remains strong for both Steelhead & Walleye. Mag Lips for the former; nightcrawlers & spinners for the latter. Coho is starting to pick up on the south end of Lake Michigan. Nightcrawlers, ThinFish, & Thinfins performing well.

SHABBONA LAKE

Thinning ice with a few small openings.

In March, site hours are 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

Concessions are closed, reopening April 1.

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN

Proprietor Phil Schuman at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said a few coho were caught Saturday afternoon; otherwise it is quiet.

Paddle and Pole hosts the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder Camera.

WOLF LAKE

On Monday, BoRabb Williams messaged:

Wolf Lake.... Ice off.... almost... not Quite ... couple more days of SUN and it’s ON 4 ICE OFF!!

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:

They’re still driving on area lakes. Winnebago is giving up some nice perch. Gills, perch, and crappie are getting more active on the upper lakes . The river inShiocton came up nearly 3 feet after Saturdays rain. With the current picking up, the ice should go fast.

I don’t know about others, but I find it remarkable that not that far north of us, they are still driving on the ice.

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