Chicago fishing: May madness of all species, white bass to crappie

We arrived at that time when nearly all species, white bass to crappie, put the sprawling into the sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

SHARE Chicago fishing: May madness of all species, white bass to crappie
Bob Johnson with his daughter Taylor, home from Texas for Mother’s Day, was in on some walleye and other fishing on Heidecke Lake. Provided photo

Bob Johnson with his daughter Taylor, home from Texas for Mother’s Day, was in on some walleye and other fishing on Heidecke Lake.

Provided

We arrived at that time when nearly all species, white bass to crappie, put the sprawling into the sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Bob Johnson sent the photo at the top of his daughter Taylor, home from Texas for Mother’s Day, fishing at Heidecke Lake. Details in the Heidecke report.

CHALLUNGE ON THE CHALLENGE

The 28th annual Spring Challunge on the Chain, put on the Fox River Valley chapter of Muskies, Inc., is Saturday, 7 a.m.-4:30 p.m. out of Musky Tales. Details are here.

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

AREA LAKES

Ron Urick with a big largemouth bass from his special lake in Lake County. Provided photo

Ron Urick with a big largemouth bass from his special lake in Lake County.

Provided

There are some big largemouth bass being caught, such as this one by Ron Urick at his special lake in Lake County.

Walden pond 2 Yesterday 5/10/23 On a Hula Chat Well over 5lbs

Then on Monday, he texted the photo above.

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:

Bass fishing continues to be good with the spawn going on. Bluegill and pumpkinseeds are invading the shallow waters. They can be caught on a red worm, wax worm, piece of a night crawler or a Gulp 1 inch minnow.

. . .

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

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a crappie.

Provided

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

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing.

Area lakes-for many species the spawn is going strong or just finishing up.

I found some bluegill on beds this morning. Always fun just taking a moment to watch them do their thing.

The light rain on Sunday morning had the non spawners active in 5-6 fow. The bait of choice was a IJO Plastics pannie candy in Dave’s magic. It was to perfect bait to imitate a water bug.

Crappie are up shallow and on the tail end of spawning.

In order not to spoke them, a rocket bobber was needed to make long casts. The bait of choice was an IJO Plastics twister tail in unicorn/toxic. The contrast in colors had them biting with a flury of action just as the bite window was closing.

Bass were slow on fast moving baits. The finesse gear needed to be brought out.

A 4 1/2 inch stick-o rigged wacky with a Vector Hooks cut ssw 2/0 starting catching fish. What I didn’t realize was the bass are on the spawn. There was the answer to the equation. Pitching into open weed pockets was the pattern. White was the best color for the day with the stained and higher water from yesterdays rains.

Some days you just have to scrap the game plan and improvise.

. . .

TTYL

Ken Husker O’Malley

Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team

Rob Abouchar emailed the photo below and this:

Hi Dale the fishing is picking up on island lake ast the largemouth spawn continues. Small bass going on plastics or spinner baits. Bluegill are starting to spawn and can be caught on a variety of live bait and ice fishing jigs. A really big gill took a red trout worm on a ratso. These are some strong fighting gills. My great Niece Adessta is adding to her species list with a catfish on a ratfinkie with a worm. Ill be headed to Millelacs on Memorial day to chase the Minnesota state record smallmouth.

Rob Abouchar finds active bluegill on Island Lake. Provided photo

Rob Abouchar finds active bluegill on Island Lake.

Provided

Capt. Dan Leslie at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan said Sterling Lake has turned on for crappie on large fatheads.

BRAIDWOOD LAKE

Open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.

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

CALUMET SYSTEM

Many times fishing is more than fishing.

After his mother died at 95 last week, BoRabb Williams needed some therapy fishing and he found it Monday with an outing that produced crappie, perch, channel catfish and other fish.

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Arden Katz said he and Kyle Tepper caugh walleye, yellow bass and white bass with bladebaits on shorelines late last week, especially on Marie.

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

NOTE 2: Stratton Lock and Dam is open 8 a.m. to midnight through Sept. 30.

DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN

Capt. Dave Duwe emailed:

Delavan Lake 5/15/23 through 5/22/23

With a little warm weather at the beginning of the week the fish became very active, and fishing was outstanding. With some stable weather, fishing should be great.

Walleye Pike can be caught on shallow diving crank baits in 6-8 ft of water. The best time to catch the fish is in the nighttime hours. This is due to the clarity of the water, which is currently ultra clear. You want to cast chrome/blue or chrome/black husky jerks or Smithwick rogues.

Largemouth bass are preparing to spawn with the warming waters. As of Friday, May 13th I saw many fish in the shallows making beds. The best time to fish is when there is very little wind and stable warm temperatures. Most of the fish I’ve been catching are on All Terrain Sticks. Green Pumpkin or Root beer red flake are the best colors, fish them on a 3/0 worm hook. Lakeside, the new bait shop across from the launch, now carries All Terrain Stiks. The best location is anywhere there is sand bottom and scattered weeds, spots like the outlet and Viewcrest channel have been producing the best.

Crappie fishing has been very good. Crappies like the bass, are preparing to spawn. They are in 6-8 ft of water. The best locations have been Willow Point and by Browns Channel. The best presentation was a small fat head minnow fished on a Thill slip bobber. The fish are suspended so I’ve been fishing 4-5 ft down beneath the bobber.

Northern Pike fishing has been good in the shallow weedy bays. The best locations have been Browns Channel, Viewcrest Bay and the Highlands Bay. I’ve been anchoring in 8-10 ft of water and slip bobber fishing large golden shiners. It’s been pretty good action when you find active fish. Another approach is casting white or chartreuse spinner baits. I’ve seen a lot of fish caught in the boat launch channel and by Lake Lawn Lodge.

Bluegills are still loaded into the lake’s channels and shallow water. One of the things that is going on now is that the weed growth is starting to push them deeper. The best action is in 3-4 ft of water. I’ve been using leaf worms fished on a small ice jig underneath a Thill spring bobber.

With stable weather, fishing should continue to improve.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guided parties please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063.

DOWNSTATE

POWERTON: Summer hours—6 a.m.-8 p.m.—run through Sept. 30.

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.

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Site is open through Sept. 4, sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. Check regulations at http://www.wetlands-initiative.org/dixon-paddling-fishing.

SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service.

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing.

FOX RIVER

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 good. Use cut bait for the daytime channel cat. Flathead catfishing at night is also good, use a medium sucker 4-6 inches long or a bluegill. Bluegills must be caught out of the waters you are fishing.

Pete Lamar emailed the photo above and this:

. . .

I got out briefly Sunday afternoon in the rain. I tried a couple of access points farther upstream-best described as middle stretches-of a Fox River tributary. I got into a few fish, but all were smaller males. I think the bigger females are still downstream and working their ways up to spawning areas. They seem to be taking their time. Stream levels were normal for this time of year; clarity was very good. In a column a few weeks ago, you mentioned Dr. Hahn carrying vials with alcohol? I didn’t have any with me, but when I got home that evening, I noticed a tick attached just above my collarbone. I dropped it in a small specimen jar with alcohol to preserve it and turned it in to my doctor. I am now being treated preventatively for Lyme disease. Being ready to preserve a tick is good advice.

Pete

GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN

Capt. Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 5/15/23 through 5/22/23

Lake Geneva fishing is finally starting to improve with the warmer weather that we’ve had. The fish are starting to move closer to the spawning areas.

Smallmouth bass are suspended in 15 ft of water. They are actively chasing pods of bait fish. They can be caught on small minnow type lures or casting hair jigs. The fish are anywhere from 5-10 ft off bottom. The best locations are Maytag Point, Elgin Club and Belvidere Park. With warmer weather, the smallmouth bass should be spawning in about one week.

Bluegill fishing has been all right. They are in the shallows in 3-5 ft of water. This time of year, the panfish are accessible to shore anglers. People in Williams Bay and Geneva Bay are having success off of the Municipal piers. Most fish are being caught on slip bobbered leaf worms.

Rock Bass are starting to become active. They can be caught on fat head minnows or ½ nightcrawlers. The best success is coming out of 10-12 ft of water. The best presentation is a split shot and a single hook. Look for the fish by the Military Academy or on the west side of Black Point.

Walleye fishing has been very slow. I’ve not heard of any success so far this year. The water needs to warm up a few degrees to make it active. Like always, the night bite is the only way to go. Trolling crank baits will work after the warmup.

Largemouth bass are biting in 3-5 ft of water. The best location is Geneva Bay and Abbey Harbor. They can be caught on a split shot rigged nightcrawler or on a Senko type lure. Green pumpkin is the best color. The largemouth spawn is about 2-3 weeks away.

Northern Pike remain in the shallow weed flats. They can be caught slip bobber fishing large golden shiners. The best success has been coming in Fontana Beach or in Williams Bay off of the beach. The best depth is 12-14 ft of water. Position the bait 2-3 ft off the tops of the weeds. The northern pike will come up and grab them.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063.

GREEN LAKE AREA, WISCONSIN

Guide Mike Norris emailed:

Fishing Report – May 14, 2023

Mike Norris

Big Green Lake: The water temperature is 49 degrees in the central lake basin. Seek warmer waters in the T-Channels near Dartmouth Bay and in Beyers Cove up in the northwest corner of the lake for largemouth bass. Smallmouth bass have transitioned from deep wintering zones to adjacent flats in 12 – 16 ft of water. Walleyes are done spawning, and males are hitting crankbaits in five to eight feet of water. Lake trout are less affected by fluctuating surface water temperatures. Locate them with your electronics and vertically jig with hair jigs for them.

Fox Lake: With water temperature in the mid-60’s panfish are starting to move shallow, and anglers are fishing for bluegills in shallow water around the islands. Walleyes are active in five to twelve feet of water off Dead Island and Keno Point. Try the eighth-ounce jig and chartreuse twister tail combination. Largemouth bass are moving shallow, and fishing for them should improve in the next week. For bass, try stick worms, swim baits, and chatterbaits around emerging weed growth in the Jug and near Town Park.

GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WISCONSIN

Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.

HEIDECKE LAKE

Bob Johnson emailed the photo at the very top and this on Saturday:

Hi Dale - Fished today with my daughter Taylor who’s home from Texas on Mother’s Day weekend. Lake today again crowded at 6:00 a.m. launch with close to 25 boats lined up. Skies overcast and water temps around 67 lined up nicely for quality Walleye and some hungry bass. We fished for 5 hours boating almost a dozen fish losing a few as well. Catch and release, a nice day out!!

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

LAKE ERIE

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

LAKEFRONT

Jeffrey Williams with a smallmouth bass on the Chicago lakefront. Provided photo

Jeffrey Williams with a smallmouth bass on the Chicago lakefront.

Provided

Jeffrey Williams messaged the photo above and this:

Smallies are hitting good in the harbors, they look like their going after smaller presentations

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

There are still coho being caught. Also a few nice spring Kings & big Browns. No smallmouth reports.Have a great week!

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said coho are going off Navy Pier on Monday, but fishing overall slowed down over the weekend; Chicago seems better than North Point. Late last week, off Evanston was hot, still best to try in 15-35 feet to find coho with Dodgers and peanut flies. Lots of lakers on the bottom in 70-100. A few kings, mainly on spoons on downriggers. Out of North Point, try to find a pod and work it from the beach to the hill. Stick from beach to 100 feet.

Capt. Dan Leslie at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan said coho are still being caught off the pier; boaters fnding some as 20 feet, others going deeper to 50, a few kings and lakers, more of a spoon bite now.

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

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:

Hitting the midway of May already. While the season is only ten days old, it’s been a good start for Walleye anglers and picking up for those interested in other species.

Water temperatures are moving up gradually following opening week’s warm up. Most lakes in the low to mid 50’s on average with some larger lakes in upper 40’s and a couple smaller, dark lakes and flowages touching upper 50’s to low 60’s.

Largemouth Bass: Very Good – Find shallows with wood and Bass actively hitting Wacky Worms and Flukes! Lots of numbers, not as much size. Great Action!

Crappie: Good-Very Good – Reports of fish warming in shallows (3-5’) but spooky. Long cast with Rocket Bobbers and tiny minnows on #10 Aberdeen hooks with no weight to entice bites.

Walleye: Good-Very Good – On larger lakes, tail end of spawn over gravel beds at dark on minnow baits (Husky Jerks, Rattlin Rouges) or along gravel breaks with jigs and black chubs. The drop in activity on what was a great opening weekend most likely due to post spawn hangover. That bite is coming as shallows warm, leeches and insects emerge, minnows and fry return and move into shallows and Walleye follow! Good weed action to come, look for fresh greens.

Northern Pike: Good – Cruising shallow of 3-6’. Key on any green vegetation. 1/16 oz weedless jigs with guards and baited with red sided Dace. Three-inch twisters or 4 Flukes worked slowly through existing cabbage.

Yellow Perch: Good – Not targeted, but nice, post spawn Perch to 12 over weekend cruising shallows. Big Perch with slack bellies taking jig and minnow combos meant for Walleyes in 3-6’ weeds/wood.

Smallmouth Bass: Good – Not a lot targeted, but large fish to 21 (Catch & Release only). Mostly in shallows by anglers targeting Walleyes or LMB!

Bluegill: Fair – Few reports, but starting to gather in shallows for warmth!

Brown Trout: Excellent – Brown Trout?? Excellent?? Yes, excellent, I caught one without trying, first ever, 21 ½. Fought like the devil. Gotta have a trout stamp. Doubt I’ll ever see another! Excellent!

Weather looks fairly stable for the week. Maybe some rain Thur/Fri. Drop during this time, but nice gradual warm up to follow. New Moon this weekend, good time.

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop - Like us on Facebook

NORTHWEST INDIANA

Mother’s Day aboard the Triplecatch Charters out of Portage, Ind. Provied photo

Mother’s Day aboard the Triplecatch Charters out of Portage, Ind.

Provided

Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted the photo aboove and this:

For trollers coho and few kings and steelhead have been being caught trolling in 30 to 45ft of water from portage to Michigan city. Stubby dodgers and flys and spoons doing the work.

Some early run steelhead have been caught off of Michigan city pier and portage Riverwalk using shrimp under a float

Panfish action at area lakes and ponds has heated up. Red wigglers, crickets and waxworms baits of choice.

Smallmouth bass on Lake Michigan in northwest Indiana. Provided by Bob Johnson

Smallmouth bass on Lake Michigan in northwest Indiana.

Provided by Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale - Fished Lake Michigan with Tom Soence on Indiana waters Friday working crainkbaits and finesse baits. Water still chilly so fish somewhat skittish but did land a solid 4 lb smallmouth working a crainkbait in 6’ water. Drum were active so smallmouth bite hopefully will pick up soon here after.

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

Hi, Dale! I hope you & your family are enjoying this beautiful current & upcoming weather! It’s absolutely beautiful & just about everyone wants to be out in it! Fishing has been just spectacular overall. Here’s what’s been happening lately in our area:

Fishing on Lake Michigan has really picked up, with some great catches of Kings & Coho. Spin Doctors & flies have been some of the best setups.

Inland lakes are warming up, & Bluegill will be on the beds soon. Anglers are still catching some Crappies & Perch on minnows.

Bass are spawning at the moment, so…basically they are eating anything & everything that comes by their eggs & nests! Use it to your advantage…specifically, Crawfish, nightcrawlers, & larger minnows are working well.

Catfish season is upon us! Anglers are claiming very nice-sized catches, having great success on cutbaits, nightcrawlers, stinkbait. Dowling Park, the local rivers, & Powderhorn are all performing nicely.

Walleye & Pike are being caught in nice sizes & numbers at Wolf Lake, on leeches & nightcrawlers, & then shad & golden roaches, respectively.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

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

SHABBONA LAKE

Crappie from Shabbona Lake. Provided by Boondocks

Crappie from Shabbona Lake.

Provided by Boondocks

John Honiotes at Boondocks reported crappie realy going good in the no-motor zone, frankly everything is hitting, though not a lot of bluegill yet. Water is holding around 65 degrees.

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

Arden Katz and Ken Schneider caught largemouth bass wacky-worming on Silver Lake. Katz caught good bass n Powers Lake in 4-6 feet.

Brook trout from southeastern Wisconsin. Provided photo

Brook trout from southeastern Wisconsin.

Provided

Pete Lamar emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale,The attached images are from a workday with a conservation group just across the state line in Wisconsin late last week. I got there early and got in a few casts before the work began. Ordinarily, fish that fit so comfortably in my hand are not worth a photo. But brook trout are an exception. They’re all memorable, regardless of size (or to be more accurate, lack thereof). These required bow and arrow casts into an opening in a sidewalk-wide stream and then feeding line to get a drift into a downstream holding lie. The setting was beautiful; water quality was pristine.

. . .

Pete

I have all the time for native brook trout from small streams.

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 to the north of kings are in 240 and to the south kings are in 160-180.

Paddle and Pole hosts the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder Camera.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

Jim Lenc with a whie bass from the Wolf River in Wisconsin. Provided photo

Jim Lenc with a whie bass from the Wolf River in Wisconsin.

Provided

Jim Lenc emailed the photo above and this:

Dale

Wolf river in Fremont was on fire Thursday and Friday.

If you were on the right spot, pretty much every cast.

Saturday a little front moved in and water temp

dropped 3 degrees, fishing slowed up and down the river,

we still managed to net over a hundred with 3 of us in a boat.

I would say 98 percent females with a majority released back.

Jim Lenc

On Friday, guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:

Water temp this morning is 65.4 degrees. The white bass started moving into the shallows to spawn on Thursday. Catches of 100-200 are common. The walleye bite is still good , crawlers working best

Gary Bloom messaged from Winnecone about catching a mixed bag last week, then he added:

Walleye starting on leeches and floating jigs . Dragging jigs 1/2 crawler. Fishing piers are doing well

Jason “Special One” Le texted the YouTube video below of white bass action.

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