The weather may finally head finally toward the warmth of late spring in time for Memorial Day weekend in this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report on Chicago fishing.
In the meantime, enjoy the brute of a smallmouth bass brought in Day 2 of the Sturgeon Bay Open Bass Tournament. It was only 22 inches, but weighed 8.78 pounds and was caught by the team of Marty McSharry and Benny Antoniewicz (with the smallmouth) caught the 8.78-pound, 22-inch smallmouth.
As Ron Wozny, who first forwarded the photo, said, it is time to head to Green Bay.
Yes. It has been too long.
The Midwest Fishing Report appears on the Sun-Times newspaper outdoors page on Wednesday. The sprawling raw-file report is posted here online on the Sun-Times outdoors page.
ILLINOIS PERCH REMINDER
Perch fishing on Lake Michigan is closed through June 15. That closure also includes a closure on the Chicago River.
Normally, I would suggest fishing the outside weed lines during Memorial Day weekend, but we have had an abnormal lead-in this year, so things might be different.
Depending on the lake, different or multiple species are in the spawning mode.
This is how Tom Platt at Henry’s Sports and Bait put it:
Bass are doing very well but guys need to give them a breather as they spawn. Seeing lots of catfish being caught in the rivers. Crappie and gills are fired up.
AREA WATER LEVELS
Click here to find river closures listed by the Illinois DNR. Go to http://water.weather.gov//ahps2/index.php?wfo=lot to check area water levels and projection. To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to http://waterdata.usgs.gov/il/nwis/current/?type=flow
Rob Abouchar sent this report:
Hi DaleThe fourth Anglers Choice Bass Club tournament was held Sunday at Braidwood. The conditions made for some tough fishing but 3 fish limits were still brought in by many teams. The tournament was won by the team of Partak and Raimondo with a 3 fish limit weighing 11.02. They also had the big bass of the tournament that weighed 4.11. Still waiting for a 5 pounder to come from Braidwood. 2nd place went to the team of R & J Eskew. 3rd went to the team of B & K Alexander. Again anglers flipping into tight grass pockets doing well. Water temps are rising into the 70’s and will continue to rise. Get in on the hot bite at Braidwood while it lasts.I will be headed to Merrill Thursday for the holiday weekend and can send a Wisconsin River report if weather permits.Tight LinesRob
Check with Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington.
BoRabb Williams sent this:
Crappie Catfish Large and smallmouth bass …perch are EVERYWHERE IN THE CALUMET LAKE ….and River
NOTE: As of today, there is no wake from the Algonquin dam to the Wisconsin line. Check updates at Fox Waterway Agency–(847) 587-8540.
Staff at Triangle Sports and Marine said with the high and fast water, walleye are going good around bridges and current areas; bluegill are up shallow and should be there for the holiday weekend; white and yellow bass have varied greatly from day to day.
STRATTON LOCK AND DAM: Open daily 8 a.m.-midnight through Sept. 30. Click here for more info on the lock and dam.
FOX WATERWAY AGENCY: Go to Fox Waterway Agency or call (847) 587-8540.
CHICAGO RIVER/CHICAGO LAKEFRONT
Capt. Pat Harrison at Pat Harrison Outdoors sent this update:
Chicago River and Lake Front.
The weather is still throwing curve balls at us. Seems we can’t string a few Good weather days together. Surface temps on the river seem to be holding in the low fifties. I really want to see %7 to 59 degree surface temps on the river and the fish will start to turn on. Catching a few fish but nothing like it should be. I have postponed trips with locals but some of the out of state or Country clients still want to fish the area since they don’t know when they will return. They are having fun but the fishing is about 30% what it should be.
This coming week I have 4 trips on the books and I plan to get them in with some positive results does look like we have some weather to deal with but going to give it a go. Saturday I was Bangs Lake for the One Big Bass Tournament to support the Local Lions Club put on by Lake County Water Sports. It is a tournament where you bring one Big Bass to the scale 14” or larger. First Place went to Johnny Rodas a member of Cast Crew with an 18” 2.58# Fish Congrats Johnny. It was a fun day the weather was a little off as it has been so far this season but the sprits were high and the crowd had fun.
Sunday I was on the Chain of Lakes for the 3rd Annual Take A Vet Fishing Event we had over 100 Vets out this year even with the rough weather. We launched between 6 and 7 am fished till about 10 then the sky fell and all the boats headed in early. There was no lightning so the event went on with a lot of work from all involved. All the Vets and Guides were fed Thanks to the Thirsty Turtle. Ceremonies went on as planned. All the Vets were Honored Raffle went on stories were told and all Vets left with a rod and reel combo.
No one left early even tho we were all a little cool and damp everyone stayed The Sprit Of The Day Couldn’t be dampened. Hats off to all that were a part of the day and a Hugh Thanks You to Take A Vet Fishing for all you do for Our Vets. I will see everyone up in Madison in two weeks to do it again.
Till next week get out and fish and have a Great week.
—www.patharrisonoutdoors.com Thanks Pat
DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN
Guide Dave Duwe sent this update:
Delavan Lake Fishing Report 5/20/18 through 5/27/18
Fishing in the shallows remains very good. Most of the largemouth bass seem to be spawning. And the bluegills are coming up to spawn. The patterns are running about 2 weeks later than normal. Fishing overall has been very good.
Largemouth bass can be caught on two patterns; the shallow spawn, 4-5 ft depth or the deep weedline. The deep weedline has been the slower pattern since the majority of fish don’t seem to have made it out there yet, it will improve daily. The shallow fish can be caught by Lake Lawn or by Highland bay or Viewcrest Bay. I’ve been casting a Texas rigged weightless Senko. Green pumpkin is the only color I’ve tied on. The deep weedline bass are being caught on Crank Baits that are trolled or by casting nightcrawlers fished on a lindy rig. The best locations are the Oriental boathouse or by the gray condos.
This last week, I’ve been catching some nice Smallmouth off the deep weedlines. The key is the weedlines that have rocks underneath. I caught several in excess of 19 inches. My presentation is lindy rigging nightcrawlers. They could be caught casting jigs with spider grubs also.
Northern Pike have been kind of slow. The water is still a bit cold for the deep weedline bite. I’ve been dragging suckers around with very limited success. The Slip-bobber bite has been okay in the weedy bays like Highlands and View-Crest. Fish in 10 feet of water with the sucker 5 feet down.
Crappie fishing has been awesome. Most of the fish I’ve been catching are in 10-15 ft of water right on the weedline. I’ve been casting small purple plastics on a 1/32 oz Arkie jig. . Look for the fish by Browns Channel, west of Willow Point, or DelMar.
Like the largemouth bass, the Bluegills have two patterns. They are moving shallow to spawn and the bigger ones I’ve been catching have been in 20-25 ft. These fish have yet to spawn. The deeper fish have been averaging a legitimate 9 inches. I’ve been catching them on half of nightcrawlers or leaf worms.
Walleye fishing has been slow. I’ve been catching one here or there but there isn’t a true pattern. My buddies who troll for them are only reporting one or two per day. The fish I’ve been catching are all lindy rigged nightcrawlers in 20-25 ft of water. Delmar subdivision or east of Willow Point are some of my best spots.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063
DES PLAINES RIVER
DOOR COUNTY, WISCONSIN
Ed Buric sent this update from Door County:
DaleJust F Y I. A few friends and I fished Rowleys Bay and the Mink river for a few days last week.We experienced everything weather wise from dense fog, seiche conditions to strong on shore wind and waves. Needless to say boat control was an interesting challenge as boats were necessary due to the high water levels in the lake.We found the bass in a pre spawn stage just moving up into shallow water and fairly eager to take a bait. Everyone had double digit catches every day with almost all bass in the 17 to 19 inch range. We caught mostly males but the female bass we did catch were full of eggs and very heavy.Ed Buric
HENNEPIN-HOPPER NOTE: The lakes will be open on Memorial Day (normally closed on Mondays). Click here for regulations and other information.
LAKE SHELBYVILLE: Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide Service said crappie are “on fire’’ all over; a few walleye are coming shallow on shallow-running crankbaits; white bass on ledges and being caught on slab spoons; water is 74 degrees and down 3 feet from normal pool.
REND: Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing said some crappie are shallow spawning, some are out deeper on sets; bass shallow on variety of baits; catfish are spawning and up on the rocks.
LAKE OF EGYPT: Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing said crappie, to 17 inches, were deep and best caught spiderwiring; bass are pretty much everywhere and taking anything.
KINKAID: Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing said bass are going on topwaters early; crappie are in 5-15 feet on grass or wood.
CARLYLE: On Saturday, I found keeper crappie (10 inch minimum, 15 daily bag) stacked just off the riprap. They were all still loaded with eggs. Water was in the mid-70s and warming.
EVERGREEN: Here are the bait shop and boat rental hours through Memorial Day weekend:
The hours will be as follows: Bait Shop: 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. 7 days/week.
Boat Rental: 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. Friday, Sat. & Sun.
SPRING LAKE NOTE: Both the north and south lakes have two regulation changes. Largemouth and smallmouth bass now have a protected slot of 12-18 inches; the daily bag is three bass either under 12 inches or over 18 or some combination of three over or under. Also, the daily limit of 25 crappie may include no more than 10 crappie 10 inches or longer.
POWERTON: Open 6 a.m.-6 p.m.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
Ken Gortowski sent this on Monday:
Dale,The Fox River looks like it’s going to top out just shy of 8000 cfs, which is pretty high. That also means it will take a little while to come back down to normal. If any one likes to do the high, fast and muddy, extremely tight to shore fishing, now would be the time to do it.Over the weened I stopped to take a look at 4 of the creeks downstream of me. They had just come down from being a little high, were slightly stained and perfect. I’m sure they’re high now, but they should be close to normal by the weekend. Creeks drain considerably faster than the river. With the river this high, the smallies have to go somewhere and experience tells me they’ll be up the creeks. Plus they should be wade able by then too. Seems like a no brainer to me, never did like that high, fast and muddy stuff.Personally, I’d go pretty far inland on any of the creeks.On another note, went out Saturday and picked 5-6 pounds of asparagus. I have a feeling after this rain we had I can repeat that later this week. Been some fine eatin’. Too bad I can’t catch and keep a smallie now. That would be some really fine eatin’ with all that asparagus. Would make a fishing trip worth it.Ken G
I think that stream advice is sage.
FOX RIVER, WISCONSIN
GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN
Arden Katz said there were good pumpkinseeds in Geneva Bay, but you needed to look for them; water is cold, hovering around 50.
Dave Duwe sent this:
Lake Geneva Fishing Reports May 20,2018 through May 27, 2018
Due to the cool spring, fishing on Geneva has remained relatively slow. Most of the action has been coming in shallow waters, 3-4 ft deep.
Largemouth bass have been biting in Geneva Bay, Trinkes and Abbey Harbor. Most of the fish are coming in and around the tour boats. Use a split shot rig nightcrawler or a Senko in Green pumpkin. Some consistently warm weather will turn on the fish and make them more active.
Smallmouth bass have been really spotty. They are suspending out with the pods of bait fish in 12-15 ft of water. The ones that are being caught are biting on a small hair jig or a Kalin’s grub fished on a darter head. The best color is smoke and black or avocado pepper. Look for the fish by Elgin Club or by Crawford’s bar. My best success has been on main lake points like Black Point and Conference Point
Crappies have been hit or miss. One day they are in by the boat docks thick and the next they’ve moved into deeper water. Look for the fish by the Geneva Inn or by the Williams Bay piers. Most of the fish are being caught on slip bobbers and small fat head minnows.
Bluegills, like the bass, are searching for the warmest water. They can be caught in Trinkes Bay or in Abbey Harbor. The variable water temperatures have also made them spotty to catch. The best approach is a small leaf worm fished underneath a bobber.
Northern Pike have been caught in the shallow weed flats. Look for the fish in 6-8 ft of water in Trinkes bay or Williams Bay. They can be caught on shallow diving crankbaits in perch pattern or slowly trolling large spinner baits in white. The best speed is about 1 ½ mph.
Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063
GREEN BAY/STURGEON BAY
Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay sent this update:
Good morning fellas…here is what I have as far as the fishing is concerned
Smallmouth bass fishing has been fantastic with some very huge fish being caught right now. The biggest bass we have seen was weighed in during the 2018 Sturgeon Bay Open Bass tournament…a massive 8.78 pound brute was brought to the scale on day 2. Along with that giant 8 and 3/4 bass came many 5,6 and 7 pound fish, so very, very big fish getting caught right now. Look for warm water in which ever bay you are fishing and fish those areas slow with long casts. Best baits have been paddle tails, Howie tubes, jerk baits, ned rigs and hair and marabou jigs.
Perch fishing just re-opened here in our area. Look for deep mud areas and semi shallow bays with new weed growth. Crawler pieces and fathead minnows are the best baits.
Walleye fishing has been great as of late both during the day and at night. Area to fish during the day include the Henderson’s and south to the lower bay of Green Bay. Flicker shads and minnows, Bandits and deep Husky Jerks just a few of the go to trolling baits. At night, fishermen have been trolling the primary shoreline drop offs from Chaudoir’s Dock north all the way up the peninsula to Sister Bay. Suspending crank baits like Smithwicks and Husky Jerks the ticket there.
Pike fishing has been excellent as of late and should continue for while or at least until the water warms up. Little Sturgeon, Riley’s Bay, Sawyer Harbor and Sturgeon Bay all good spots to fish. Large crank baits, spoons, large plastics and spinner baits now starting to work
1309 Green Bay Rd
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report/
Traditionally, this is around the prime time.
And this report from Ken “Husker” O’Malley pretty much shows that:
Hey Dale,Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing.Heidecke- water temps are 65-66 before the cold front hit. Bass are good on crankbaits along the ripraps. Start shallow in the morning and work the bait deeper as the morning goes on. White bass are decent on a jig and gulp worm. Walleye were running on the small size while trolling flicker shads.Throw in a few drum in the mix and not a bad day.TTYL—Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Waterwerks fishing team
Lake hours are 6 a.m. to sunset daily; well, shore fishing is always scheduled to open at 6;30 a.m.
Staff at B & B Live Bait in Ottawa–(815) 433-0432–the river is high but fishable (projected to crest under flood stage today or tomorrow) and catfish are going with some spotty white bass.
INDIANA STREAMS (LAKE MICHIGAN TRIBUTARIES)
Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map. Access points for Little Cal and Salt Creek, which are closer to Chicago than Trail Creek, may be found at littlecal_saltcreek_access.
When Kyle Lund messages his report, I will add it. Until then, the river is in probably the best shape of area rivers and catfish are going.
Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report. It generally comes out Tuesday.
Capt. Bob Poteshman at Confusion Charters said lake trout are good off Chicago; coho are in two places, either shallow chasing alewives or out in 80-100 doing what he calls “bug-eaters” eating bugs up high; out of North Point, variable bite but coho and lakers. Both areas have the occasional Chinook and steelhead.
Cory Gecht at Park Bait reported a few coho and steelhead being caught around Montrose.
Capt. Scott R. Wolfe of School of Fish Charters sent this:
Hi Dale –
Out of Waukegan the week started out great with (finally) a traditional spring pattern. Limits of coho with the occasional chinook, laker and steelhead in shallow water. 15-35 feet between the two power plants – The Waukegan Stacks and the old Zion power plant site. The usual combo of 00 red Rodgers and peanut flys worked with green Jimmy Flies producing best. Best patterns were Lime Ricky, Scotty and Green Spectra. Then the big NE wind came and really shut off or moved the coho. Over the past weekend we concentrated on trout fishing with limits of big fish. Saturday we had 10 over 15 pounds. They were not coming on traditional lake trout presentations. Spoons in the middle of the water column with slide divers, 100-150 coppers and 5-8 color leads taking all the fish. Warrior Blueberry Muffin in both the Standard size and Magnum size were the best producers with Warrior Modified Blue Dolphin a close second.
Chicago remained generally slow all week. For cohos the Chicago boats had to run way north to the Wilmette area. Fishing off Wilmette in 30-50 produced some coho with no real pattern emerging. Flies, spoons and body baits all saw some action and the fish seemed scattered in the water column. Over the weekend fishing changed to targeting Lake trout with moderate success.
Capt. Scott R. Wolfe
Manipulator/ School of Fish Charters
LAKE ONALASKA AREA, WISCONSIN
Darryl Turner sent this update and the photo above on blues:
Hey Mr Bowman slow Day I think they are spawning only 6 fish a 3 two 5s ,7 ,8 and this 24 pounder 10 feet off shore on a bobber . I look over to see what that sound I was hearing and my rod doubled over and that sweet sound of the drag and the line peeling off the spool.
Lake is open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.
MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN
Should be prime time for Mazonia. Check with Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington.
MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN
Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service sent this:
May 22 Report
Great Fishing on the Menominee River
The Hot Bait has been Case Lil Magic Swims
Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report. It is generally out Tuesdays.
Muskie season opens in the north on Saturday.
MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:
Despite a couple cold mornings recently (5/20 & 5/21 were 33-36 degrees) shutting fishing down for the early a.m. anglers, fishing has been very good. Water temps sky rocketed into the upper 60’s on most afternoons, but cooled overnight into upper 50’s to low 60’s by morning.
Walleye: Very Good. Post spawn activity picking up in shallows. Green weeds key, new coontail growth or cabbage in 3-7’. 1/16 oz. invasion jigs or Jack’s weedless jigs tipped with large fatheads, dace, mud minnows, or leeches. Also 3” swim baits on 1/8-1/4 oz. heads have been hot, as have thundersticks, husky jerks, and floating rips.
On large lakes where spawn is just finishing up black or rainbow chubs, 1/8-1/4 oz. jigs on Lindy style rigs along gravel edges of 10-18’ best. Lots of nice “extras” this year, result of extended growth stocking no doubt.
Crappies: Very Good. Where committed; crappies bedding in shallows among timber. Cold nights of late have moved those just getting started back out into staging areas. Mini-mites, codpen fresh water shrimp and small hair jigs as well as the typical small minnow under a float has scored well. Lots of nice 10-12” fish with plenty of stories and photos of 13-15”SLABS!
Northern Pike: Very good. Pike are actively taking spinners (#3 Mepps) spinnerbaits and 3-4” swimbaits. Chubs and minnows meant for walleyes are also being chowed on. 4-9’ depth with good, new weed growth preferred.
Bluegills: Very Good. They are stacking up in shallows to bask in the warm water in the afternoons. Long casts with rocket bobbers into 1-3’ shallows to deliver tiny offerings of small leeches, worms, or waxies on tiny jigs. No bedding yet just soaking up the sun.
Largemouth Bass: Very Good. This species seen cruising shallows even bedding on a few small lakes. Top water action towards evening.
Yellow Perch: Good-Very Good. Working shallows taking medium fatheads and medium leeches as these fish are feeding up to recover from spawn.
Smallmouth Bass: Good. Catch and release only. Nice incidental catching of 18-20” bass by walleye and pike anglers reported.
Musky: Season opens this coming Saturday May 26th. With such warm water temps and sightings of musky spawning last week we should be in good position for some good action this weekend.
Despite losing opening weekend fun the exceptionally nice weather has made for some very successful outings this May. A week of highs in the 80’s starting Wednesday could push a lot of spawning for the nesters, crappies, smallmouth, largemouth and gills. It’s been a strange season and looks to get stranger.
The Eagle River Chain of Lakes has open water and water temperatures continue to rise. The Musky season opens this Saturday, May 26th in the Northern Zone. Bass fishing is catch and release fromMay 5 – June 15, with its season opener being June 16.
June 2 – 3 is Wisconsin’s Free Fishing Weekend – No fishing license is needed. It is the perfect time to give fishing a try. Fishing rules such as limits, size and species of fish that you can keep still do apply. For more information about available, free fishing equipment, contact the Northern Highland American Legion State Forest, Crystal Lake Visitor Center, Nicole Kloes, 3237 Crystal Lake Road, Boulder Junction WI 54512, 715-542-2075.
This week, walleye caught were mostly spawned out with a few small males still cruising the shallow in search of any late spawners. You can find this fish from 4 feet of water to 30 feet of water, with a variety of baits, including jig and minnow combos and casting perch pattern crankbaits. As the water keeps warming up, weeds will start to become more into play.
Perch are being caught on jigs and slip bobber rigs alike.
Crappies are starting to stage closer to spawning areas on the lakes that are in the warmer temperatures
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind. texted:
Please let em know I’m on summer hours now 5am to 8pm everyday yes holidays too
Here is the fishing report:
Surprisingly good catchs of steelhead off Michigan city peir shrimp crawlers best under float some big fish being caught tooOut of burns ditch and Michigan city 80 to 100 good lake trout fishing dodgers spin n glows near bottom best spoons on 300 copper good alsoLots of coho 175 to 250ft of water fishing top to 60 down dodger flys and spoons bestPotato creek state park giving up lots of crappie and gills beemoth redworms and minnows best baitsPine and stone lake laporate same thingForgot to say slough pretty decent for awhile now crickets waxworm and red wigglers
ROCK RIVER, ILLINOIS
ROCK RIVER, WISCONSIN
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
The Wisconsin DNR’s Root River Report restarted. It is usually out Tuesday or Wednesday. Click here to see it.
ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN
Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said there’s a good mixed bag of coho, lakers and Chinook in 120-200 feet; river is high and dirty.
ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA
Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.
Clint Sands at Lakeside said walleye picked up on leeches and crawlers; there’s been decent muskie action (to 44 inches); crappie are done spawning; there’s a few catfish and a few hybrids; water is around 70 degrees.
Lakeside–(815) 824-2581–is open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Park hours 6 a.m.- 10 p.m. As of this weekend, the restaurant is open daily.
SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT
The Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report restarted. Click here to see it. Streams flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow.
WINNEBAGO SYSTEM, WISCONSIN
Check with River’s Edge.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN
FREMONT: Guide Bill Stoeger said white bass are fair, they’re mostly males, best around Rat River on river rigs; walleye are decent but variable, best around Partridge/Fremont.