Midwest Fishing Report: Last week’s warm weather brought out all types of fishers

With the record warmth last week, all kinds of fishing — smallmouth bass, hybrid striped bass, largemouth bass, coho, crappie, catfish, perch — lead this truly sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

SHARE Midwest Fishing Report: Last week’s warm weather brought out all types of fishers
Keerthan Krishnan traveled a long way in the Chicago suburbs to catch a big crappie.

Keerthan Krishnan traveled a long way in the Chicago suburbs to catch a big crappie.

Provided

With the record warmth last week, all kinds of fishing — smallmouth bass, hybrid striped bass, largemouth bass, coho, crappie, catfish, perch — lead this truly sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Keerthan Krishnan emailed the photo at the top and this:

I caught it floating a live minnow under a bobber. This was at a subdivision pond in Plainfield on the morning of Thursday the 13th. I grew up in Oak Park, but I now live in Gurnee. It’s quite a distance from Gurnee to Plainfield, but if I have a hunch that a certain spot will be good on a certain day, it is usually worth the trip.

First of all, it is a nice crappie, which they estimated at 3 pounds. But what really got me is the sense that the fish might be going in a certain place and spot. I know the feeling.

SHORELINE SALMON/TROUT

Victor Blackful loves Heidecke Lake, but he summed why he has not out been out there yet because of the coho run this spring on the lakefront:

Hey Dale

Any reports from Heidakee Lake yet I been meaning ing to get out there but this Coho run on the lake has been incredible. I have been fishing 95th harbor and killing them on nightcrawlers 5 ft. Down. . . .

No mushrooms yet

Tight Lines

I think mushrooms were pushed back a few days or a week with the recent weather return to winter. And he is right on the coho run.

Dr. Atul Mallik with a coho on the Chicago lakefront. Provided photo

Dr. Atul Mallik with a coho on the Chicago lakefront.

Provided

Dr. Atul Mallik emailed the photo above and this:

Dale,

After reading about Coho in your reports week in and week out, I was able to sneak away for a bit and give it a try. Ok, a few times. And I have bumped into Quinn Wunar more than once. He’s offered some tips. A really nice guy.

On a short trip on Wednesday, I caught my first coho of the season behind the Plantarium, just cooked shrimp on a size 4 Owner mosquito hook under a bobber. A small one, but it was good to be catching salmonids on the lake again! The water and wind were high and some others were having luck with jigs and lures in black pattern, others with hair jigs, black and other colors. I had a two more follows and a nibble on a rooster tail-type in line spinner with a black hackle, bigger fish but no luck.

I wasn’t supposed to be fishing at all on Thursday. But I got to the lake side of the Pipe around 5:30PM, in part from a tip from a Burnham Harbor angler who had just hooked a largemouth bass. (Lots of bass, pike and carp schooling and hanging around in that harbor, but I’ve only seen few catch any so far.) Quinn just finished another successful day and was on his way. I set up and had a few nibbles on shrimp. Another angler named Dave Gong recommended nightcrawlers and it was the right bait for the time and conditions, either on hook or on an old chartreuse hair jig from a kit. I ended up 4 and two were big enough to put up a real fight. The highlight was a 19 incher that I had to let run a few times. Thanks to Dave for help with the net. We may meet up for some powerlining if the stars align.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

Good morning Dale

Seems the nicer weather last week slowed Coho down a bit but still have some catching a few. Still on minnows, crawlers, spawn sacs, lures.

Capt. Dan Leslie at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan said . . . the coho bite goes on off the pier. Alewives were all the harbor last week, he said. He caught a two-man limit Friday in a couple hours in 25 feet on a wide variety of presentations, all on flat lines.

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

Coho action for boat fishermen last weekend slow for most coho really scattered one here and there.

Coho action on pier slowed also just a few fish caught over weekend. Winds the last few days been bad nobody really out.

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 ($20 for two months) for the anglers’ parking lots at DuSable and Burnham harbors are on sale at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor (cash only) and the Northerly Island Visitor Center (credit card only, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday, but call (312) 745-2910 first to make sure someone is there).

My column from Nov. 30, 2022, on parking the length of the Chicago lakefront is posted at https://chicago.suntimes.com/2022/11/30/23485385/chicago-lakefront-parking-fishing

SMELT

No reports.

Smelt season runs through April 30 in Chicago. Chicago Park District regulations remain the same—nets may go in at 7 p.m., must be out of the parks by 1 a.m., no open fires, no closed tents, no parking on grass or sidewalks. The park district’s informational card is available from Park Bait at Montrose Harbor and The Northerly Island Visitor Center.

AREA LAKES

Before the weather returned to a brief visit to winter, there were all kinds of reports.

Rico Cantu catching largemouth bass in the warmth last week in the southwest suburbs. Provided photo

Rico Cantu catching largemouth bass in the warmth last week in the southwest suburbs.

Provided

Rico Cantu emailed the photo above, and this Friday:

Wow fish#2 on a senko

Previously, he emailed that he started catching with a crankbait.

He followed that up with a slab crappie on a crappie jig on Friday.

Dave Kranz of Dave’s Bait, Tackle and Taxidermy in Crystal Lake and with his You-Tube channel, Dave Kranz Living the wild outdoors, texted:

Even though we went from summer like weather back to winter, the customers that fished on the snow covered day found the fish still relatively shallow. Crappie and bass are looking to spawn. I believe the full moon on May 5th will be a big factor as long as temperatures are stable and somewhat normal. The next four weeks can be some of the best fishing of the season. The warmest part of the day (afternoons) will be best.

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

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

Provided

Ken “Husker” O’Malley of Husker Outdoors emailed the photo above and this:

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap if this past weeks fishing.

Area lakes- Summer made an appearance this past week with temps in 80’s. The fish enjoyed the warmth just as much as I did.

The bass bite was hot as the temps during the mid to later afternoon hours. The best bait was a bladed jig with a On Em Bait Co. swim bait trailer. The active biters were along the break line in 7-8 fow on the wind blown shorelines.

Crappie were very good working an IJO Plastics pannie crawler along windblown shallows bays. The best color choice was pink to take the active biters. A few of the males over the weekend started to show signs of putting on their tuxedos with the warming temps in those shallow bays.

. . .

TTYL

Ken Husker O’Malley

Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team

BRAIDWOOD LAKE

Rob Abouchar holds a quality largemouth bass from Braidwood Lake, but what makes the photo special is the two members of the Leyden fishing team in the background. Provided photo

Rob Abouchar holds a quality largemouth bass from Braidwood Lake, but what makes the photo special is the two members of the Leyden fishing team in the background.

Provided

Rob Abouchar messaged the photo above and this:

Hi Dale the weather on Saturday was perfect to test the new Tracker boat the school bought for the Leyden Bass Fishing Club. A couple of the kids got fish and i ran into another Braidwood Bruiser. The largie came on a green pumpking senko with green and purple flake just outside the emerging grass. In-line spinners got a Catfish for my angler Artem, and a Bluegill for my angler Miroslav. It really hit me what a special thing it is that the school provided us with a boat as only a few years ago we had to see if there was enough interest to even have a Bass Fishing team. Big thanks to Andrew Sharos at Leyden.

Anglers at Braidwood were doing well for catfish from shore. Tournament anglers on the water repoted a toughter bite. Water temp was 81-84 midlake and cool side.

Back to Milwaukee tonight for rehearsal #3 with Gazortenplatt. Working on Yo Momma And Pygmy Twilight on a Sunday morning while watching ducks geese and squirrels frolic around the feeders is simply sulime. Tight lines

That photo makes my day.

Hybrid striped bass from shore at Braidwood Lake. Provided by Jeffrey Williams

Hybrid striped bass from shore at Braidwood Lake.

Provided by Jeffrey Williams

On Friday, Jeffrey Williams messaged the photo above and this:

Hit braid wood today but with success

Open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.

My column on prospects for fishing at Braidwood can be found here.

District fisheries biologist Seth Love would like to hear from anglers on catches at Braidwood. You can email him at seth.love@illinois.gov.

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Kyle Tepper at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said in the warmth last week, water warmed to 60 in the channels and crappie (tube jigs and plastics), perch (minnows) and bluegill (Mini-Mites, Panfishpro.com plastics) were outstanding; a few muskie on smaller crankbaits or jerkbaits; walleye guys are catching post-spawn swalleye on little swimbaits and crankbaits; if it warms up again, the white bass will start running; catfish (cutbait) and carp (corn) doing very well on Bluff.

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

NOTE 2: Stratton Lock and Dam is closed through April 30, 2023.

DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN

Arden Katz said back channels cooled to 49, but bluegill are still stacked; he caught his limit of 25 in about an hour on small plastic jigs with maggots 15 inches below a bobber. “The bluegills are insane.”

DOWNSTATE

A rainbow trout on the Hennepin Canal. Provided by Brian Van Acker

A rainbow trout on the Hennepin Canal.

Provided by Brian Van Acker

Apparently some of the trout in the Hennepin Canal were not caught until last week, as Brian Van Acker tweeted the photo above and this:

Hi Dale. Just thought I’d send this to you. My dad caught a 12-inch rainbow in the Hennepin Canal. First one ever. I’ve never caught one.

It was caught north of Sheffield.

POWERTON: Hours through April 30 are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.

EMIQUON PRESERVE: Fishing is sunrise to sunset. Access permits and liability waivers 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.

SPRING LAKE: Back to regular hours.

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season.

FOX RIVER

Capt. Dan Leslie at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan said good numbers of catfish on the Fox River being caught on Uncle Sonny’s Catfish Dip Bait.

Dave Kranz of Dave’s Bait, Tackle and Taxidermy in Crystal Lake and with his You-Tube channel, Dave Kranz Living the wild outdoors, texted:

Catfishing on the fox river is great! Use cut bait, circle hook with an egg sinker, pinch a split shot 15 inches between the egg sinker and hook.

Ken Gortowski messaged Saturday on Instagram:

Spent about 2.5 hours on 2 separate creeks this afternoon. Landed 6 smallies with the biggest at 18 inches and missed 4 others. Also landed a slimy channel cat over 2 feet long. Can’t stand touching those things.

GREEN LAKE AREA, WISCONSIN

Guide Mike Norris emailed:

Fishing Report – 4/17/2023

Mike Norris

Big Green Lake: Last week’s high record temperatures drew several fish species to the shallow bays and channels. Both bluegills and crappies were excellent in the T-Channels and the backwater marshes east of County Hwy. A. Try float fishing a jig tipped with a quarter chunk of red worm for bluegills or small minnows for crappie. I also caught some smallmouth bass live bait rigging. I located them on break lines in 25 to 35 feet of water were they were waiting for the water to warm. Lake trout are active and biting hair jigs in 60 to 100 feet of water. Unfortunately, Sunday’s cold front brought below-freezing temperatures and snow. There is a slow warming trend forecast to begin mid-week.

Lake Puckaway: Walleye fishing was excellent last week for anglers trolling crankbaits through the west basin of the lake and for anglers dragging a jig with a half crawler at both ends of the lake.

Beaver Dam Lake: Most neckdown areas at road crossings were good for crappies last week. With improving weather, the bite should pick up again later this week.

GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WISCONSIN

Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.

HEIDECKE LAKE

Dave Heinrich shows the draw of Heidecke Lake with a big walleye. Provided photo

Dave Heinrich shows the draw of Heidecke Lake with a big walleye.

Provided

Dave Heinrich learned the draw of Heidecke Lake at its best on Friday, sending the photo above and this:

My son Joe and my brother Gary has been telling me about Heidecke lake for years, so finally my brother and I made a trip on Friday. What a day we had, this was my first fish of the day. After a couple pictures we let this girl go along with all the other fish we had caught. Planning a return trip very soon! Dave Heinrich

Larry Jennings with one of his catches on a good day from shore at Heidecke Lake. Provided

Larry Jennings with one of his catches on a good day from shore at Heidecke Lake.

Provided

Larry Jennings messaged the photo above and this:

I had a great day on Heideck and a fishing story. One of these Monsters dragged my rod in the water, but continued fishing and hit the line and got the rod and the fish back What a Day

I had to smile when I saw his photo because on opening day, I fished a couple hours from the very spot he was standing and caught zilch. Amazing what a good fisherman can do and another 30 degrees warmer water.

Bob Johnson with a big walleye, one of many species on a good day at Heidecke Lake. Provided photo

Bob Johnson with a big walleye, one of many species on a good day at Heidecke Lake.

Provided

Bob Johnson emailed the photo aboves above and below, and this;

Hi Dale - Heidecke Lake today (Saturday) Water temp is at 63 degrees. This was my first trip to this lake this year I normally don’t get out until May but had a good feeling about it with all the warm weather. The lake had steady activity from Minooka high school team practicing to the avid Crappie and Walleye fisherman scattered throughout, it was busy. I personally had one of my better quality fish days. The 5 lb largemouth attached is my PB from Heidecke then add in a 4 pound Smallmouth and also weighed up a 5 lb Walleye. Also caught a Crappie long lining a white twister tail and a hungry fresh water drum. Best baits today were finesse baits green pumpkin along rip rap and chatter baits. Multi species day!!

Bob Johnson with big largemouth bass and smallmouth bass caught during a multi-species day at Heidecke Lake. Provided

Bob Johnson with big largemouth bass and smallmouth bass caught during a multi-species day at Heidecke Lake.

Provided photo

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

KANKAKEE RIVER

Dave Starshak with a ood smallmouth bass from the Kankakee River in the Kankakee River State Park. Provided photo

Dave Starshak with a ood smallmouth bass from the Kankakee River in the Kankakee River State Park.

Provided

Pete Starshak emailed the photos above and below, and this:

Tuesday on the Kankakee.My brother Dave at the state park with a nice fish on a swimbait in the morning. Me downstream quite a ways in the afternoon, with maybe my biggest smallmouth ever on the kank, on a tube. Left my scale in the car, close to 20,just under 5,big prespawn female,beautiful coloration. We didn’t talk beforehand, but obviously thought the same. Next week we might even fish together. Water still a little high,cold and discolored,spawn maybe 2 weeks out yet. Thanks Pete Starshak.

Pete Starshak with a good smallmouth bass from the Kankakee River. Provided photo

Pete Starshak with a good smallmouth bass from the Kankakee River.

Provided

I love the brothers’ angle. Well, I happen to love smallmouth in general and especially from the Kankakee.

Bob Johnson with a smallmouth bass from the Kankakee River. Provided photo

Bob Johnson with a smallmouth bass from the Kankakee River.

Provided

Bob Johnson emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale - Kankakee River is slowly clearing up and still a bit stained as of Thursday and water temp around 65. Fishing was surprisingly slow but seems to be ready to take off. I was throwing finesse baits, jerk baits but caught this smallmouth on a crankbait. Nice little fight!

Matt Mullady tested the photo below with no comment last week.

Matt Mullady with a smallmouth bass from the Kankakee River. Provided photo

Matt Mullady with a smallmouth bass from the Kankakee River.

Provided

Sometimes, the picture speaks for itself.

LAKE ERIE

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

LAKEFRONT

Jason “Special One” Le with a surprise brown fishing while coho fishing on the Chicago lakefront. Provided photo

Jason “Special One” Le with a surprise brown fishing while coho fishing on the Chicago lakefront.

Provided

Jason “Special One” Le texted the photo above and this:

Hey Dale I caught this brown trout by a surprise while I was catching coho salmon!

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

Good morning Dale

Seems the nicer weather last week slowed Coho down a bit but still have some catching a few. Still on minnows, crawlers, spawn sacs, lures. A few Perch were caught around the harbor Sunday here by a guy fishing with minnows for Salmon. I’m sure with this big weather change that didn’t last but one never knows. No Smelt reports. No Smallmouth reports. Have a great week.

The convergence of jumbo perch and coho at Waukegan this week. Provided by the Salmon Stop

The convergence of jumbo perch and coho at Waukegan this week.

Provided by the Salmon Stop

Capt. Dan Leslie at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan said they are catching perch on bigger minnows and the coho bite goes on off the pier. Alewives were all the harbor last week, he said. He caught a two-man limit in a couple hours in 25 feet on a wide variety of presentations, all on flat lines.

The bounty this week at Waukegan. Provided by the Salmon Stop

The bounty this week at Waukegan.

Provided by the Salmon Stop

LaSALLE LAKE

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.

MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN

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

MAZONIA

Hours are 6 a.m. to sunset.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

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

Fishing Report

Things are winding down on the ice fishing scene. Last week’s warm weather followed by rain (1’+ on 4/16), followed by 9 of heavy snow with lots of wind on 4/17 has made shoreline ice pull away from shore on many lakes to the point anglers couldn’t ( and probably shouldn’t) be venturing out. Ice depths that were measured to 24 on 4/12 were down to 12-14 on the 15th, with holes opening up due to flowing water. Ice was getting punky’ as water worked its way down through the ice causing fissures. 10-12 of punky green ice will not support a person’s weight as well as 3-4 of new black ice. The pond behind the shop is about 20% open so the big lake usually goes 10-14 days later.

Fishing last week was surprisingly NOT as good as expected, and I can’t at this point , in good conscience, recommend anglers heading out to the ice! best to pack it away and get the long rods out for open water.

We will update conditions as they change!

Have a Great Day!

NORTHWEST INDIANA

NOTE: The Hammond Marina Fishing Derby is Saturday, April 22, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Details at gohammond.com/events/hammond-marina-fishing-derby-2023/.

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

Perch action still decent for some boats fishing in that 55 to 60ft straight out of burns ditch and to the west. Windy last couple days nobody fishing.

Coho action for boat fishermen last weekend slow for most coho really scattered one here and there.

Coho action on pier slowed also just a few fish caught over weekend. Winds the last few days been bad nobody really out.

Crappie action going ok on pine lake in Laporte and lake George in Hobart. Crappie minnows and Rufus jr jigs tipped with waxworms doing good.

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

Hey, Dale! While the weather has cooled off somewhat, we are still having sporadic nice days. Here’s what’s been happening in the fishing world in our area:

Fishing really picked up last week with the great weather. Coho fishing on Lake Michigan was excellent. Trollers are using Thinfish & small spoons, typically bringing in limit catches of Coho, Steelhead, & a few Kings.

Perch fishing by Gary lighthouse is still doing fantastically; smaller minnows & redworms are working nicely.

Inland lakes are producing limit catches of Crappie & Bluegills; spinners & grubs are meeting with great success.

Catfish anglers are meeting with moderate success; stinkbait, cutbait, & nightcrawlers are baits of choice.

She added this:

Hey, Dale; an addendum:

Trout were recently stocked in Fox Lake; anglers are catching them like wildfire, mainly on smaller soft plastics (like grubs/shrimp).

Catfish are also being caught in nice numbers on skipjack herring specifically.

ROCK RIVER

Juan Macias with a smallmouth bass from the Rock River. Provided photo

Juan Macias with a smallmouth bass from the Rock River.

Provided

Juan Macias emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale, yesterday Saturday smallmouth were very active after sunrise on the Rock river...they was baiting all morning and after noon before coming the strong winds and rain all on minows and bobber about 3 feet deep.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

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

SHABBONA LAKE

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

Adam Honiotes at Boondocks said, when I asked for a report, “So many fish coming out of the lake last week I don’t know where to start.” In the beautiful weather last week, crappie were being caught on live bait all over, even from shore; walleye were being caught off the road bed and the no-motor zone; largemouth really picked up and a few hybrid stripers were being caught on deep-diving crankbaits. After the snow Monday, water temperature dropped to 51 by Tuesday.

Boondocks’ bait shop is open daily, 6 a.m.-7 p.m.; restaurant hours are 11-8.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT

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

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN

Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said weather slowed fishing because of the weather, boaters, when they can get out are catching a few kings and some coho in 120-180; some catfish in the river.

Paddle and Pole hosts the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder Camera.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:

The water temp was 62 degrees on Saturday, this morning 50. Walleye are still the target fish with a lot of fish returning from the spawning marshes. White bass are showing up in some of the deeper water.

The Latest
Shane Lowry thrust his way into the mix with a 62 to tie a major championship record last set just two days earlier. Bryson DeChambeau chipped in for eagle on the last hole to set off a wild celebration.
Usyk (22-0) added Fury’s WBC title to his own WBA, IBF and WBO belts with a spectacular late rally highlighted by a ninth-round knockdown in a back-and-forth bout between two previously unbeaten heavyweight champs.
Featuring pieces from more than 75 artists, the Lincoln Roscoe Art & Craft Fair continues through Sunday.
The gray colt took advantage of the muddy track just as Lukas hoped he would, pulling off the upset in a second consecutive impressive start two weeks after romping in a race on the Derby undercard at Churchill Downs.
Imanaga has the lowest ERA (0.84) for a starter, excluding openers, in the first nine starts of a career since 1913. Christopher Morel’s single and Cody Bellinger’s slide won it in the ninth.