Midwest Fishing Report features a variety of weather and fish (updated Hennepin-Hopper)

Varied weather and varied fish — muskie, coho, crappie, perch, bass, walleye, catfish — lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

SHARE Midwest Fishing Report features a variety of weather and fish (updated Hennepin-Hopper)
Dave Strobel caught his PB muskie last week at Heidecke Lake on an SS Shad.

Dave Strobel caught his PB muskie last week at Heidecke Lake on an SS Shad.

Provided by Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Varied weather and varied fish — muskie, coho, crappie, perch, bass, walleye, catfish — lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed the photo at the top of Dave Strobel, who caught his PB muskie last week at Heidecke Lake on an SS Shad.

SHORELINE SALMON/TROUT

Jason “Special One” Le with a coho from the Chicago lakefront. Provided photo

Jason “Special One” Le with a coho from the Chicago lakefront.

Provided

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

Hi DaleThey’re still around at the lakefront

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

Good morning

Coho are still plentiful. Still hitting on live bait as well as artificial. Horseshoe has been hot spot. Alewives starting to show up out there. One customer of ours caught Coho as well as Perch on the lakeside on a powerline. Perch caught early before sunrise.

Quick success on Confusion Charters Sunday morning out of North Point Marina. Provided photo

Quick success on Confusion Charters Sunday morning out of North Point Marina.

Provided

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters posted on Instagram and Facebook on Sunday morning catches out of North Point Marina:

Northpoint Marina aboard the Confusion this morning. Wow!! 32 bites in 1 hour!!

On Monday, I talked with him and he said they put in on April 13, currently operating out of East Chicago, Indiana, and North Point.

In Indiana, catching coho in Cal Harbor lately, but some are by Gary lLight, where there’s also some perch being caught; lakers are OK at The Gong.

At North Point, he called it, “Lock and load, just ridiculous. There’s a band from Waukegan to Racine [Wis.]” On Monday, catching was in 17 feet in front of the old nuke plant; generally, it’s been in 14-25. “Lots of bait and coho,” including one to 19 inches.

Capt. Dan Leslie at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan said fishing is still hot, still getting perch large or extralarge fatheads and coho from the pier; Dodgers and flies for boaters and kayakers doing well on good days, ocassional laker and occasionally a steelhead from shore or boat.

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

Coho fishing for trollers has picked up since last report the beach to 40ft from Hammond to burns ditch dodgers and flys, spoons and thinfish doing well

Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor, Mich., said kings, coho and steelhead are being caught in 40-80 feet, mostly on UV glow spoons.

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. Season ends Sunday, April 30. 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

Even with the variable weather, fish were going over the last week.

Charles Horwath with a largemouth bass from Lombard. Provided

Charles Horwath with a largemouth bass from Lombard.

Provided

Charles Horwath emailed the photo of a largemouth bass above Thursday and this:

Caught it at a lombard park around 1 p.m. Strike king 1/8 oz black buzzbait.

3 to 4 lbs. Caught on buzzbait dupage. Great fish for this old man. Take care

Bill Buchhaas with a crappie all suited in Shorewood. Provided photo

Bill Buchhaas with a crappie all suited in Shorewood.

Provided

Bill Buchhaas emailed the photo above and this:

Dale....Managed to have a black n white evening.. Black in a tuxedo and a huge white.....

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a crappie in this variable weather. Provided photo

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a crappie in this variable weather.

Provided

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-Back to normal spring temperatures, but the post frontal bluebirds slowed the bite.

The crappie moved out of the shallow bays to the first break point after the water temps dropped from the last two days. I found bluegill in the same area.

The bait of choice was an IJO Plastics twister tail in wonderbread worked slow enough just to move the tail. The bluegill actually were more active than the crappie.

. . .

TTYL

Ken Husker O’Malley

Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team

Uncertain whether a hybrid bluegill or a redear was caught in the western suburbs by Pete Lamar.

Uncertain whether a hybrid bluegill or a redear was caught in the western suburbs by Pete Lamar.

Provided photo

Pete Lamar emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale,

Numbers of fish increased this week, but with only a couple of exceptions-see attached images-most were small. All the still water I fished this week were Kane County Forest Preserve ponds and lakes. The fish in the first image was caught right after a strong storm and I thought it was a bluegill or some kind of hybrid. My boss said it looked like a redear sunfish and upon further review in An Atlas of Illinois Fishes (thanks Perry!), I have to agree with him. The bluegill was caught while bass fishing-note the white minnow pattern in his mouth-in sub-40 degree temperatures yesterday afternoon. With the cold snap of the last few days, most fish are coming from deep drop-offs on north shorelines. If the wind is blowing in that way, even better. It’s all about the warmest water right now.

. . .

Pete

Rob Abouchar’s neighbor with a crappie from Island Lake. Provided photo

Rob Abouchar’s neighbor with a crappie from Island Lake.

Provided

Rob Abouchar messaged the photo above and this:

Hi Dale with the snow and rain last weekend i stuck to dock fishing out back on island lake and came up empty. My neighbor had some success with a perch and a crappie on night crawlers. The spring birds have returned as great blue herons have been hanging around the back. The fish3club is geared up for sectionals next week at busse.

On the music front we are 4 weeks into rehearsals for Gazortenplatt and the shows coming this summer. Running back and forth to Milwaukee will hopefully payoff with some great shows .

And my day was just made with a music report inside of the fishing report.

BRAIDWOOD LAKE

Note: Constellation’s 22nd annual Fishing for a Cure, benefiting Megan’s Mission Foundation, is 6:30 a.m.-3 p.m., on June. Check constellationenergy.com

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

Art Frisell at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said crappie fishing is good on small fatheads or crappie plastics, Bluff best; bluegill slow with cold water, waxies and ice jigs under slip bobbers; walleye excellent around the bridges and main lake points on large fatheads (best) or crawlers; catfish good on large fatheads or crawlers; best on Bluff; white bass on small fatheads, move around to find them.

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

NOTE 2: Stratton Lock and Dam reopens Monday, May 1. Normal hours are 8 a.m. to midnight daily.

DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN

Arden Katz said bluegill continue outstanding in the channels, which were around 50 degrees on Monday, on spikes and 1/64th-ounce jigs.

DOWNSTATE

CLINTON: Thomas Jones messaged the photo below and this today:

Yesterday catch at Clinton lake crappies and Blue gill off 48

Thomas Jones’ catch from Clinton Lake. Provided photo

Thomas Jones’ catch from Clinton Lake.

Provided

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: It’s opening two weeks early on Monday, May 1.

Paul Botts, president and executive director of The Wetlands Initiative, just emailed:

Dale, we are opening up the fishing season two weeks earlier this year than we usually do. That means May 1st, which I just realized is around the corner and we hadn’t let you know it – sorry!

All the rules and limits and whatnot are unchanged, as is the closing date (Labor Day) — just the opening date is changed.

We’ve got the signage up at the Refuge and are about to post the opening day on social media.

Cheers,

Paul

POWERTON: Hours through Sunday, April 30, are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. Summer hours—6 a.m.-8 p.m.—begin Monday, May 1, and run through Sept. 30.

Blue catfish at Powerton Lake. Provided photo

Blue catfish at Powerton Lake.

Provided

Jeffrey Williams messaged the photo above on Tuesday and this:

Wiper was caught on a jerkbait and blue cats were caught on shad heads

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.

FOX RIVER

Russell Johnson with his personal-best smallmouth bass, caught from the Fox River. Provided photo

Russell Johnson with his personal-best smallmouth bass, caught from the Fox River.

Provided

Russell Johnson messaged the photo above and this:

Got my new personal best yesterday and my second over 20 inches in two days. This mondo was caught Around the aurora area on the fox river using a 5 inch white twister tail.she weighed nearly 5 lbs and 20.5 inches. Now is prime time for the big girls .iv been having 10-15 fish days,most of them at or over 18 inches.crazy that they seem to get bigger and bigger every year and more of them.the season is closed from April 1st-June 15th to protect the spawn!can’t wait to see a 6lber come out of the fox!

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:

Although smallmouth season is on for catch and release only the Fox River below the Algonquin,Carpentersville and Elgin dams has been very good. Use small shallow crank baits or inline spinners. A jig and a twister tail will also work for bass , crappies and white bass. Don’t be surprised when fishing with a lure when you catch a catfish! This happens all the time.

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

. . .

Change of plans with the high winds over the weekend: no chasing walleyes on Shabbona. I did some exploring on Fox tribs, down near the mouth. I found a few smaller males and lost a big female, all from the same deep pool. I used two different flies, practically identical except for weight: one was unweighted; the other had a tungsten bead head and sinks like a rock. All action came on the weighted fly. Fish were holding in the deepest water available. Even if the current at the surface is fast, at the bottom of several feet of water it will be slow enough for them to not have to work too hard. I talked to one other angler-not much fishing pressure on an afternoon that included a mix of rain and snow-and he had gotten into fish using a deep diving crankbait. His fishing partner had success with a lead head jig and plastic tail. What all of our flies/lures had in common was that they get deep fast. Fish aren’t going to do much chasing, horizontally or vertically, in water that’s barely 50 degrees.

Pete

GREEN LAKE AREA, WISCONSIN

Guide Mike Norris emailed:

Fishing Report – 4/24/2023

Mike Norris

Big Green: The smallmouth bass bite is on, but I am only catch males. The water temperature is still in the low 40s, but pre-spawn smallmouth bass fishing is good. Try vertical jigging with Damiki rigs in 24 ft of water for smallies. All bass caught must be immediately released. Lake trout up to 36 inches are active in 100 – 180 ft of water trolling with spoons and crankbaits. Anglers are still catching nice bluegills from shore in Dartmouth Bay and near Hattie Shorewood Beach, with jigs and red worms suspended from a float.

Beaver Dam Lake: Walleyes are active below the dam at Beaver Dam. Try casting jigs tipped with minnows and let the jig float downstream with the current. Crappies are active along shorelines where current flow is created by water flowing through culverts beneath roads. Try fishing with jigs tipped with minnows suspended from a float.

Fox Lake: Catch and release fishing for largemouth bass is good. Fish along the edge of the eastern marshes in the Government Area where the water is the warmest and the bass are staging to spawn. Both swim baits and chatterbaits work well.

GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WISCONSIN

Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.

HEIDECKE LAKE

Bob Johnson with a quality walleye from Heidecek Lake. Provided photo

Bob Johnson with a quality walleye from Heidecek Lake.

Provided

Bob Johnson emailed the photo above and this;

Hi Dale - Back on Heidecke lake Sunday with chilly west wind and overcast skies. Lake temp dropped down to mid 50s. The bite was pretty good catching 6 solid Largemouth and 1 Walleye using mostly crainkbaits with one bass coming on a chatterbait. Dark colors are working best. Also busted off a Musky at boat slicing my line on gill plate before I could get the net.

Bob Johnson with a solid largemouth bass from Heidecke Lake. Provided photo

Bob Johnson with a solid largemouth bass from Heidecke Lake.

Provided

My money is on Heidecke producing the next Illinois state record muskie, but then I’ve been thinking that for years.

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

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing.

. . .

Heidecke- Water temps rebounded from the cold front at the beginning of the and were at 54-55.

First up were the walleye during the minor bite window. The best bait was a 110 jerkbait with Vector Hooks tornadoes trebles worked along the break point in 9 fow.

Next up were the muskie during the mid to late morning hours. We had one 38-40 follow right to the boat on a Storm swimbait. Then a nice 34 was caught by my friend Dave on a SS shad. It was his personal best. Nothing thrills me more than someone getting a PB on my boat!!

To finish the day during the major bite window were the bass. The best bait was a shad rap worked along the wind blown shorelines. I managed my personal best largemouth for the big H.

. . .

TTYL

Ken Husker O’Malley

Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a walleye from Heidecke Lake. Provided photo

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a walleye from Heidecke Lake.

Provided

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

LAKE ERIE

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

LAKEFRONT

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

Good morning

Coho are still plentiful. Still hitting on live bait as well as artificial. Horseshoe has been hot spot. Alewives starting to show up out there. One customer of ours caught Coho as well as Perch on the lakeside on a powerline. Perch caught early before sunrise. I don’t know of anyone else trying for Perch. No Smelt reports. Until our weather gets a little more stable our hours are 5am to 7pm.Have a great week!

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters posted on Instagram and Facebook on Sunday morning catches out of North Point Marina:

Northpoint Marina aboard the Confusion this morning. Wow!! 32 bites in 1 hour!!

On Monday, I talked with him and he said they put in on April 13, currently operating out of East Chicago, Ind., and North Point.

In Indiana, catching coho in Cal Harbor lately, but some are by Gary lLight, where there’s also some perch being caught; lakers are OK at The Gong.

At North Point, he called it, “Lock and load, just ridiculous. There’s a band from Waukegan to Racine [Wis.]” On Monday, catching was in 17 feet in front of the old nuke plant; generally, it’s been in 14-25. “Lots of bait and coho,” including one to 19 inches.

Capt. Dan Leslie at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan said fishing is still hot, still getting perch large or extralarge fatheads and coho from the pier; Dodgers and flies for boaters and kayakers doing well on good days, occassional laker and occasionally a steelhead from shore or boat.

LaSALLE LAKE

Darryl Turner with one of the big blue catfish he caught Saturday in the raw weather at LaSalle Lake. Provided photo

Darryl Turner with one of the big blue catfish he caught Saturday in the raw weather at LaSalle Lake.

Provided

I couldn’t believe it Saturday evening when Darryl Turner called and reported very good fishing for blues, despite a nasty raw west wind howling into his face, then followed up with these details (he was using bluegill as bait):

Good day at Lasalle lake 28 pounder 20 ,15 ,12,two 10’s ,8 , 6 and three 3 pounders total of 11 fish

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:

Mild temps have held ice melt back for the past week. We are losing ice, but not as quickly as we would like. Overnight lows in the 20’s are keeping the daytime highs from eating away much ice, but open water is coming!

Starting mid-week (Wed/Thur) with lows above freezing (so 24 hr melt), wind and rain, I’ll predict (then deny) most lakes will be open by May 1st! Opener is May 6th. Expect a prespawn/spawn bite with this late ice out for Walleyes. Water temps should be in that sweet (38-40 degrees) spot about then on most lakes. With late ice outs, Walleyes will be wanting to dump their cargo in a hurry after the extended layover. Signs point to a good opener!

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop - Like us on Facebook

NORTHWEST INDIANA

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

Coho fishing for trollers has picked up since last report the beach to 40ft from Hammond to burns ditch dodgers and flys, spoons and thinfish doing well

Some perch still out on clay flats in 55 to 60ft of water northwest of burns ditch. Not to many boats out trying lately do to winds.

Small ponds and lakes giving up panfish using red wigglers and waxworms.

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

Hi, Dale! The weather might not be quite as nice as it was a couple of weeks ago, but fishing is still going strong. Here’s what’s been going on lately in the fishing world in our area:

Trolling for Coho on the south end of Lake Michigan is really good right now; trollers are using small spoons & Thinfish with great success. Many limit catches are being reported.

Inland lakes’ anglers are catching a lot of Crappies on minnows & Bluegills on red worms & wax worms, respectively.

The tournament season is kicking off this weekend with the Hoosier Coho Club Tournaments; the Buffalo Bill is on Friday, & the Pro Am takes place in Saturday & Sunday.

The Michigan Walleye & Trout opener is Saturday, April 29th; expect anglers to be out in full force.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

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

SHABBONA LAKE

John Honiotes at Boondocks reported crappie are being caught in the deep trees or trolling No. 5 Flicker Shads; muskie are actve; over the weekend a 5 12- and a 6-pound largemouth were caught.

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

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 kings, coho and steelhead are being caught in 40-80 feet, mostly on UV glow spoons; nothng on pier; some catfish and smallmouth in the river.

Paddle and Pole hosts the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder Camera.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

FREMONT: Guide Bill Stoeger texted:

Water temp this morning was 44.9. White bass are filling in the deep holes and current break areas. The walleye bite has been good, although a lot of 13-15 fish

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