Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: A good forecast for Memorial Day weekend

And a mixed bag from rivers, inland lakes and Lake Michigan share the lead to this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

SHARE Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: A good forecast for Memorial Day weekend
Chicagoan Dong Ho with an unexpected hybrid striper from the Illinois River.

Chicagoan Dong Ho with an unexpected hybrid striper from the Illinois River.

Provided by Jason “Special One” Le

A good forecast for Memorial Day weekend and a mixed bag from rivers, inland lakes and Lake Michigan share the lead to this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

And the first spring report from Minnesota comes.

Jason “Special One” Le emailed the photo of Chicagoan Dong Ho at the top and this from the Illinois River:

My buddy catch a hybrid at Illinois river

Rare catch

One joy of fishing is the surprise catches.

With the rare hybrids caught around Starved Rock, I always enjoy considering whether they were swimming up the river or down. Or something else.


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, Park Bait at Montrose Harbor, 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).


Rico Cantu with a largemouth bass. Provided photo

Rico Cantu with a largemouth bass.


Rico Cantu emailed the photo above and this:

Hey Dale got a nice bass on a senko, hope all is well , take care

Rico Cantu

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a spring crappie. Provided photo

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a spring crappie.


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

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing.

Area lakes-

Bass are mostly done spawning. A few can be taken on chatterbaits with a Keitech impact swim bait trailer. Work the bait along the first break to the drop off for active biters.

Crappie are mostly done spawning as well. Work an IJO Plastics pannie crawler under a slip float along the outside weedline for suspended fish. A few bluegill can be taken as well.

Here is the nature pic of the week [below].


Ken Husker O’Malley

Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team

Nature photo of the week with hen and ducklings. Credit: Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Nature photo of the week with hen and ducklings.

Credit: Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Rob Abouchar emailed this and the photo below:

Hi Dale

With Summer vacation officially on It was some hot Summer action for Largemouth Bass on Island Lake Sunday. The air temps cooled and the bass were hitting aggressively on 4 and 5 inch senkos in green pumpkin/gold flake baby bass and blue with green glitter in 1-6 feet of water around/under docks wood and weeds. Bluegills were on beds in the shallows and I now see why the ice fishing for gills is so good here. The numbers of big gills had me thinking of fish and fries. I did not see crappie in the shallows. I was getting bass out in 6 to 8 feet of water off shore on a white spinner bait and a bitsy bug with a sawed off senko for trailer. I was hitting weed edges and holes . Next up it’s the Wisconsin river to resume my quest for a Musky on a senko and some big Bronzebacks on Big Millelacs Lake. I love this time of year.

On the music front it was a fantastic time Saturday playing some of that good old acid rock with Midnight Mile at the bike Outfitter shop in Waucanda. The vocals are nearly done for the reggae album with a little more this afternoon and back ups later. One of the tracks we were searching for melodies to sing and wrong bass notes so we put on full auto tune and it has me sounding something like t pain drake daft punk or some rappers with marginal voices. Art Sound Artist; as I refer to him said don’t play this for anyone as we’ll need to re record it. I actually quite like it for some odd reason; but if we do re-recorded; that version is keeper.

Tight Lines and Good Health

Rob Abouchar is to the left with the group Midngith Mile. Provided photo

Rob Abouchar is to the left with the group Midngith Mile.


I want to know what that milk can is doing in the lower middle of the photo. And I want to know how many others think that is a milk can or even know what a milk can is.

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

Not much new to report this week; mostly status quo.

. . .

I forced myself to fish a new-to me-pond in the Aurora area over the weekend, rather than doing the same milk run of Kane County F.P lakes. I started on the windblown side and it was stirred up enough that I doubted any fish could see the fly. I moved over to the leeside of the pond and the water was much clearer. Small bass and respectable bluegills were feeding aggressively. Memorial Day weekend on all the area ponds and lakes should be prime as things finally warm up.

. . .



District fisheries biologist Seth Love would like to hear from anglers on hybrid catches at Braidwood. You can email him at

Open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.


BoRabb Williams with a colorful spring crappie. Provided photo

BoRabb Williams with a colorful spring crappie.


BoRabb Williams texted the photo above and this on Thursday:

This morning.... Calumet River

All 13 inch crappie except ONE... 15 and a half inch


Art Frisell a

Staff at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said everything is moving shallow; most everything is spawning including bluegill; walleye have moved out deeper; lots of catfish are being caught, mostly on cutbait not so much on stinkbait yet, though that could change with the weather forecast for Memorial Day weekend.

NOTE: Check updates on water conditions at or (847) 587-8540.

NOTE 2: The Stratton Lock and Dam has normal daily operating hours of 8 a.m. to midnight through Sept. 30.


Jeffrey Williams messaged:

My brother once again caught 2 more Carp today, as of now we caught 429 lbs of carp equalling 39 carp we caught so far. Also Rock Bass are biting pretty good on minnows along the river


Braidwood, LaSalle and Heidecke are open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.


Capt. Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake 5/23/22 through 5/30/22

The Un-official start of summer is here. Happy Memorial Day! While this weekend’s weather has been warmer than the recent days, we will need a consistent pattern of warm weather to improve the fishing dramatically.

Largemouth bass have been by the end of this past week. I think most of them are in 2-3 ft of water spawning. I prefer not to sight fish spawning fish. The cruising fish that I’ve been catching the last few weeks appear to be gone. I’m still picking up a few here and there but there is no consistency. Look for the fish near the outlet or by the Highlands or Viewcrest bays right now but please remember to take it easy on the spawning fish.

Crappie fishing continues to be fantastic. Most of the fish I’m catching are in 12-15 ft of water. I’m catching them on small plastics, purple or yellow are the best colors. Willow Point or Browns Channel are good places to start looking for them. The fish are averaging about 9 inches. The biggest I caught last week was around 13 inches but those are few and far between.

Some Northern pike are being caught in the shallow weeds. Township Park and Viewcrest Bay are producing most of the action. White spinner baits or Fire Tiger Husky jerks are both good choices. I’ve been working a depth of 8-10 ft. Live bait fisherman have had success fishing suckers on slip-bobbers.

Walleyes have been very spotty. Some people are getting a few here and there but the real consistent bite won’t happen until the water warms a little.

Bluegill fishing has been all right. Most of the fish are being caught in the 4-6 ft depth range around the piers. Look for the fish by Willow Point or by the old Boy Scout camp on the West end. Small red worms or wax worms are good bets.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Normally closed Mondays, but will be open Memorial Day.

Open through Sept. 5. Closed Mondays, except for Memorial Day and July 4. Check regulations at

POWERTON: Summer hours are 6 a.m.-8 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.


Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

Not much new to report this week; mostly status quo.

I wanted to practice two-handed casting on the Fox last night, but it was windy enough that there was a good possibility of hooking myself, so I opted for some small stream smallmouth fishing. Water was low, clear and surprisingly warm. The smallmouths were around in fair numbers. All were small. It seems awfully late in the year to me, but I know what I saw: suckers making their spawning run. I guess the cold Spring has delayed their appearance, but they are around now.

. . .



Capt. Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 5/23/22 through 5/30/22

With the warmer weather forecasted for the next week, fishing will improve greatly.

Smallmouth bass are starting to move shallow in preparation for spawning. Sunday there was a bass tournament out on the lake and quite a few people were sight fishing for them. The best depth is 8-12 ft range. Most of the fishermen were throwing grubs or jigs at the fish. Live bait fishermen are catching most of the fish on nightcrawlers. Look for the fish at the Elgin Club, Maytag Point or Geneva Bay.

Largemouth bass are in the shallow weeds. The best depth is 4-5 ft. The Abbey harbor or Geneva Bay have been producing most of the fish. All Terrain Stiks in green pumpkin or a split shot rigged Zoom lizard are both catching a lot of fish.

Northern Pike action has been spotty, however they are available. Most of the action has been on split bobbered golden shiners or casting white spinner baits. The best depth of water is 8-12 ft on the weed flats. Look for them in Geneva Bay or Williams Bay.

Bluegill fishing is starting to pick up with the warmer water. Shore fishermen are catching quite a few in Geneva Bay and Williams Bay. Most of the success is coming off of nightcrawlers and wax worms fished on a bobber. The best depth is 4-5 ft.

Perch are still being caught also in the shallow water. 8-10 ft with scattered weeds is working well. Small fathead minnows fished on a slip bobber rig are producing most of the action. Look for the fish by Knollwood or by Belvidere Park.

Walley fishing has been very good both day and night. The fish I have been catching are on large fat head minnows. The best depth has been 10-15 feet of water on hard rock bottoms. Rainbow point and Black Point are great choices.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


Guide Mike Norris emailed:

Fishing Report – 5/23/2022

Mike Norris

Fox Lake – Water temperature on Fox Lake was 64 degrees yesterday. A week ago, it was 78 degrees. Despite the fluctuation, largemouth bass fishing remains excellent. Bass are shallow in the Jug and Government areas and are falling victim to swimming ribbontail worms, Senko’s or paddletail worms on jigs. The same techniques are working for anglers chasing walleyes. This bite should remain good as warm weather is not in the near-term forecast. Crappies are staging and getting ready to spawn. Bluegills are starting to show up around piers.

Big Green Lake – Muskies are shallow and being caught by bass anglers. Try catching them in Beyers Cove, along the rocks at Blackbird Point and around emerging weedbeds in Woods Bay. Muskies are also biting well on Little Green Lake. The water is clear, and most anglers are casting bucktails over emerging weedbeds. Largemouth bass are moving shallow, and anglers can find them around the docks.

. . .

To book a guide trip reach out to me via my Facebook page at mike.norris.7773 or email me through my website at


Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.


Bob Johnson with a hybrid striped bass on Heidecke Lake. Provided photo

Bob Johnson with a hybrid striped bass on Heidecke Lake.


Bob Johnson emailed the photo above and this;

Hi Dale - Heidecke seemed to slow down on Walleye past week however the hybrids seemed to pick up. I decided to long line lures and troll, a more laid back way of fishing. Hybrids were hitting swim baits and twister tails on corners of rip rap. Water temp dropped into high 60’s. Ended up with a mixed bag of hybrids, smallmouth and walleye on Saturday. Big hybrid was around 6 lbs

I suspect this will be a packed weekend on Heidecke.

Open 6 a.m. (6:30 bank fishing) to sunset.


Smallmouth are going, as shown in the column tomorrow, May 25. Even I was catching them good. Water conditions are good, though the next couple days could alter that.


Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.


Shore action is lagging, but boaters have some action close to shore, so Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters suggested shore anglers might find it worthwhile to try for shoreline coho.

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said Chicago suddenly has a lot of coho, some good action around Navy Pier on coho with an occasional brown; otherwise lots of coho in 30 feet with a a couple steelhead; lakers and coho are also in 60 to 110 feet.

Out of North Point, coho “are rocking” from 25 feet out to 250, “a wide band, not a tight pocket. I fished in 100 foot today, but in 240 yesterday,” up and down the shoreline. A couple big kings caught recently, up to 18 pounds.

Lots of coho in the 21- to 23-inch range.

Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan had long-time local angler Ricky Verensky give this report that coho “are going crazy out there in 30-120 feet” on any color you put in front of them; 4- to 6-pound coho; in 100 feet and deeper, some good kings, too.

Capt. Scott Wolfe of School of Fish Charters emailed:

Hi Dale

Fishing was good again this week out of both Waukegan and Northpoint. Most of the week 40 to 70 feet straight off Waukegan to to North of the state line was good with a few kings mixed in with the coho. Glow spoons like Warrior’s JJF and Fighting Irish in low light took kings on downriggers 40 down. Coho in the top 20 feet on planer boards and divers with red or Yellow Luhr-Jensen dodgers and Jimmy Fly Blue/Green, Blue/Green/Gold, Green Liz and Lake Michigan Angler Green Liz and Oz patterns being best. Over the weekend the fish pushed shallower in Waukegan but deeper at Northpoint, a strange pattern which must have been caused by extreme currents we were dealing with over the weekend. We were fishing 16 to 30 feet off Waukegan, while the Northpoint boats were working 110 to 220 feet. We had a few big brown trout in the shallow water. Browns and many coho were coming on Warrior flutter spoons in Blue Dolphin and Blue/Yellow UV on down riggers jus 6 to 12 down and 40 - 60 back off the ball. The same dodger/fly combos continued taking coho in the shallow water. The shallow fish were stuffed with gobies.

Capt. Scott Wolfe 630-341-0550

PERCH: Season is closed from through June 15, on Illinois’ Lake Michigan.


Site is open daily 6 a.m.-sunset. As a perched lake, boating is closed when winds top or will top 14 mph. Check daily updates on boating at (815) 640-8099.


Click here for the update from D&S Bait, Tackle & Fly Shop .


Hours are 6 a.m. to sunset.


Justin Lederer emailed, “White claw boy Jade with a nice butterball smallmouth.” Provided by McQuoid’s Inn

Justin Lederer emailed, “White claw boy Jade with a nice butterball smallmouth.”

Provided by McQuoid’s Inn

He’s back with the Minnesota update. Justin Lederer emailed the photo above and this from McQuoid’s Inn in Isle, Minn.:

Hi everyone been a while since I made a report. Justin Lederer checking in from McQuoids Inn Lake Mille lacs. Walleye fishing has been slow post spawn has them scattered out fish that we have been finding are in shallow caught one on a tube jig in two feet of water fishing for smallmouth. Gotten a few on jerk baits in 6-10’ of water. Smallmouth have been pretty good they haven’t started the spawn yet. We have been working 2-10 feet of water of the rock points and boulders. They’re hitting on jerks tubes and Alabama rigs. Tight lines and looking forward to a great season and seeing some of you on the lake.


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

Morning temps back in the low 30’s the past couple mornings (frost on 5/23). Thank goodness for Global Warming or the lakes would have refrozen by Memorial Weekend!

The drop in temperature, wind, sleet, has caused lake surface temps to drop into the mid to upper 50’s from the low to mid 60’s. This will extend the good shallow water post spawn Walleye bite, but may put the Crappie spawn off for a bit on some lakes, here it goes…

Crappie: Good-Fair – It’s what the majority of phone calls have been about! Have they? Did they? Will they?... It’s tough to pinpoint with so many types of lakes, with water temps that vary from lake to lake. There have been signs of bedding Crappies. There has also been a lot of sign of Crappies staging (mostly females) waiting in the weeds just outside the spawning areas. Crappies typically like temps to run 64-66 degrees to spawn. We had that, whether or not they set up beds before the temps fell back into the 50’s is the question. With most lakes, once they commit, they stay (unlike my first two ex-wives), also with a warming trend coming, expect very good Crappie fishing this weekend be it pre-spawn or spawn. Be conscious of the lakes with 10 fish limits for Crappies and have fun. Small minnows, small floats and a handful of tiny tubes, mites or hair jigs should do the trick.

Smallmouth Bass: Good-Fair – Some sign of bedding Smallies on certain lakes. Others finding shallow cruisers in the AM. Tubes, swim baits and smaller flukes. The recent cold mornings has pushed the better bite to late mornings through mid-afternoons.

Walleye: Good-Fair – Action picked up after fall off early last week. Post spawn feeding in shallows. A lot of the best reports from 4-6’ with newly emergent weeds and soft mud bottoms. Jig and minnow and jig and leech combos as Walleyes feeding on midge larvae and emerging leeches in mud. More of the larger females showing up now. As with other bites, late mornings better than early.

Northern Pike: Good-Fair – Most reports from anglers working jigs and chubs for Walleye. Targeting Pike has been good using spinner baits in the ¼ oz size with plastic trailers.

Largemouth Bass: Good-Fair – Cruising dark bottoms, Largemouth Bass anglers getting action on jig/creature combos, as well as, wacky worming 4 worms in 3-6’ of water.

Bluegill: Fair – Just not prime Bluegill chasing weather. A few nice Gills eating small minnows meant for Crappies. Need warmer temps to improve this bite again.

Yellow Perch: Fair – Not many anglers targeting. Those that do catching nice Perch using medium fatheads or dace minnows around 4-6’ newly greening cabbage

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop - Like us on Facebook


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

Coho action still pretty solid from Gary light to dune state park pavilion. 40 to 50 ft of water. Dodgers and flys best but some on spoons.

Some steelhead action off the piers in portage and Michigan city. Shrimp and night crawlers fished under a float best but few caught casting orange spoons.

Crappie and gills on lake George in Hobart using minnows, jumbo reds and beemoth.

Pine lake in Laporte giving up gills for boat fisherman in the shallows jumbo reds and small leeches best.

Slez’s bait shop will be open regular hours all weekend and on Memorial Day. 5am to 6pm

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

Hi, Dale! I hope you’re getting ready for the upcoming holiday weekend & the absolutely beautiful weather that is supposed to accompany it. Fishing has been pretty awesome lately; we’ve also heard some foraging news as well…

Fishing on Lake Michigan remains good, with some nice catches of Coho & Lake Trout with a few Kings in the mix. Acid Rain & Silver Orange Green with dots Froggie Mini Streak Spoons are the best at this time.

Walleye, Smallmouth, & Catfish on the rivers are what most anglers are targeting.

The big tournaments on Lake Michigan are in there off time now, so anglers are just enjoying the fun fishing that theyre doing.

Bluegill and Crappie are really heating up on inland lakes with Beemoths for Bluegills & Minnows for Crappie. Rosy Reds seem to be working especially well for the latter.

The mushroom hunting has been really good. With the holiday weekend & some nice weather coming, the outdoor adventures will be in full force.


Victor Blackful with a smallmouth bass on a multi-species day on the Rock River. Provided photo

Victor Blackful with a smallmouth bass on a multi-species day on the Rock River.


Victor Blackful emailed the photo above and this on Monday:

Hey Dale

I am currently between Dixon and Oregon Illinois fishing the Rock. Everything is pretty much biting. If you use a flathead minnow and a jig the walleye are your best bet. Most are between 12 and 15 inches but the 20 inchers are around and a occasional Northern. Channel catfish on nightcrawlers and cut bait. Smallmouth bass are hitting Mr Twister Tails and even a few Largemouth Bass. Drum are hitting on nightcrawlers on the bottom. Water looks great and fishing is great.

I’ll try to send a few pics later today

Victor Blackful

Always enjoy bumping into or hearing from Blackful.


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


John Honiotes at Boondocks reported crappie are in the trees, the no-motor zone and the campground; walleye are behind the tree section deeper, hitting like crazy, one angler aught 67 undersized ones in a day; bass are near the banks; water is in the low 60s.

Summer hours—6 a.m.-10 p.m.—run through Oct. 31.

Bait Shop is open 6 a.m.-7 p.m. daily; restaurant, 11-8 daily.


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


Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said coho, lakers and some kings are in the top 50 feet in 120-130; walleye are steady on the river; bass season opens Saturday, May 28.

Paddle and Pole hosts the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder Camera.


“A cooler full of Wolf River white bass.”  Provided by Mike Norris

“A cooler full of Wolf River white bass.”

Provided by Mike Norris

Guide Mike Norris texted the photo above and emailed this:

Fishing Report – 5/23/2022

Mike Norris

. . .

Wolf River – White Bass fishing is excellent right now on the Wolf River from the Highway 10 bridge in Fremont down to Lake Poygan. Try trolling with spinners on three-way rigs or flies attached to a Wolf River rig. Best time to go is weekdays as it can be quite crowded on the weekends.

To book a guide trip reach out to me via my Facebook page at mike.norris.7773 or email me through my website at

Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:

The water temp this morning is 60.5. White bass are biting better now than when we had the warm weather. Walleye on jig and crawler, dragging the bottom.

Catfish are hitting a variety of baits, with fish ranging from 3 to 12 lbs.

On Saturday, Curt Pazdro, who was with his son Wyatt, the noted high school and college bass angler, messaged this and the photo at the bottom on Saturday:

White bass are on fire in fremont....bombers and blade baits...some females still in river...south of rt. 10 bridge

200 in 1 and a half days

On Sunday, Curt added:

Caught over 300 now on blade baits....caught alot of females today ... new ones coming in river system everyday...there probably be here for 2 or 3 weeks

River is full of fish biting all day

Wyatt Pazdro shows there is more than white bass coming out of the Wolf River. Provided photo

Wyatt Pazdro shows there is more than white bass coming out of the Wolf River.


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