LaSalle Lake reopening to fishing, along with other spring signs, leads this lakes and areas edition of the Midwest Fishing Report.
Oh, you might say guys are anxious. The above photo shows the guys lined up 20 hours before LaSalle Lake reopened to fishing (just minutes ago as I type).
This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears on the Sun-Times outdoors page on Wednesdays, well, it is the lakes and areas section.
The rivers section was posted earlier.
If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at email@example.com.
Henry’s hosts its seventh annual coho derby on Saturday on the north seawall by the Adler Planetarium. Registration begins at 6:30 a.m. Fishing is 7-10 a.m. Call (312) 225-8538.
The cooling lake south of Seneca reopened at 7 this morning. It’s one of the great spring signs of Chicago fishing. In March, hours are reduced to 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Click here for my preview story and the fishing prospects look outstanding once again.
ILLINOIS SPRING TROUT
Spring trout opens April 2. I will do details in two weeks. Be aware that Silver, Pickerel and Grove in DuPage are now closed to all fishing until trout opens.
Ice fishing is done, except for pockets far north. Thursday’s weather will draw many out: Try areas that warm the fastest, northern shorelines or bays with mud bottoms.
BIG GREEN LAKE, WISCONSIN
For guide Mike Norton’s report, go to www.nortonsfishingandhuntingadventures.com, then click on fishing, then lake report.
From licensed guide and trapper Phil Schweik and guide Glenn Moberg of Hooksetters Guide Service:
(Lead): Plenty of ice in Central Wisconsin for ice fishing, and open water opportunities below area dams have anglers heading out for walleyes. With Old Man Winter hanging on a little longer than usual, ice anglers in the Central Wisconsin area have been able to capitalize on some great late season panfishing. All species: Crappies, bluegills and perch are being taken by various methods, but the most consistent technique has been vertically jigging small ice jigs in shallow weeds in 5 to 8 feet of water. Diamond jigs, Northland Fire Eyes and Moon jigs in white or blue have been the most reliable producer, along with tip downs baited with small minnows. The tip down are set at various depths to pick up nomadic crappies and perch as they roam the flats. Walleyes in the Central Wisconsin area are providing ice fishing actions for anglers who target feeder streams to the Wisconsin River, and some of its backwater areas. One angler got a 26 inch plus walleye (photographed and released!). Run tip ups baited with small suckers set close to the bottom in 2 to 5 feet of water, along or near any wood or structure. Northern activity in the Central Wisconsin area has been very good, on the Wisconsin River and its backwaters. Tip ups baited with large golden shiners have been the best bait for the most part, but dead smelt have accounted for some very large fish, so don’t rule them out. Run your baits in 1 to 4 feet of water, and suspend them about 6 inches to a foot under the ice. Anglers looking to scratch that open water itch can find good action below many of the dams in the Central Wisconsin area. Walleyes are feeding aggressively on small 1/8 ounce jigs tipped with fathead minnows or plastics, in 15 to 17 feet of water. A slow presentation is needed to be consistent, but if you have patience you can be well rewarded. Most of the fish are in that 13to 15 inch range, but some very nice eaters in the 16 to 18 inch range are being caught as well. Don’t be surprised if you hook into a real whopper, either, as the big females are bulking up prior to the spawn. For all of your deer hunters, now is a good time to start shed hunting in the Central Wisconsin area. As the snow starts to melt and shrink, dropped antlers from last year’s surviving bucks will start poking through the top of the snow layers. Start searching now and locate them before the mice do, as they will eat and destroy them as quickly as they can find them. Good areas to start looking are deer wintering areas, known feeding locations from the winter, and heavily used trails that lead to feeding and bedding areas.
I love the nod to shed hunters in this fishing report.
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA
Triangle Sports reported a few die-hards accessing small areas of ice as of Tuesday; however, even those areas are treacherous and likely not to be accessible by the weekend. Some nice end-of-the-season catches of big crappie and bluegill. Look for those hard-water crappie to move toward the ice-free channels. When all ice is gone, look for bluegill shallow. Some walleye (especially below the dams) and white bass are moving in the river.
For more reports, see click here./
For more Chain info, click here.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Mike Lynch reported good bass and catfish at Braidwood, when weather allows, on bright-colored crankbaits, blade baits and live bait worked slowly along the deep holes and along the rip-rap. Shore fishermen are doing OK on bass on small crankbaits. Ice is or will be gone from the Mazonia lakes. Hours are 6 a.m.-7 p.m. HEIDECKE: Reopens April 1.
DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES AREA, WISCONSIN
Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle said the west end of Delavan might have fishable ice into the weekend. On Geneva, a few accessing ice at Geneva Bay; that might hold for the weekend.
REND: Jason Johns of Todd Gessner Outdoors reported channel catfish are outstanding, shallow around moving water; crappie slowed some but are being caught, mainly on darker jigs. SHELBYVILLE: Ken Wilson–(217) 454-2672–of Lithia Guide Service reported crappie, take sorting, but are good on main lake cover. It’s 41 degrees on the north end, somewhat murky. Walleye and some crappie are hitting below the spillway. For info from the Corps, call (217) 774-2020. LAKE OF EGYPT: Johns said bass and crappie are good. POWERTON: Winter hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Boat and shore fishing are open. EVERGREEN: Any updated fishing report will be posted here. EMIQUON: Emiquon Preserve near Lewistown is open to fishing. Interested parties may request a permit (remember you need the new one for 2011) and list of rules between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown. There is no fee. No gas powered motors are permitted, and bank fishing is not allowed. For more, call (309) 547-2730. SANGCHRIS: Wilson said a unit is down, water in the hot arm cooled. COFFEEN: Wilson said units are down. SPRING: Guide Pete Riedesel (firstname.lastname@example.org) blogs at Heartland Outdoors about good numbers of muskies.
GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WIS.:
From the Wisconsin DNR report:
Green Bay Fishing Report: March 14, 2011 Brown Co. Voyageur Park fishermen are launching boats and fishing for walleye using jigs and minnows and lead headed jigs and plastics. Fishermen from shore are keying on areas closer to the dam with Rapalas and twister tails. Pike and perch fishermen are still present at both Sunset Beach Road and Duck Creek. Oconto Co. Goodly numbers of fishermen were present at Geano Beach fishing for perch in 8 to 10 feet of water and pike in 4 to 10 feet of water; they have been using jigs and minnows for the perch and large shiners for pike. Oconto Breakwater fishermen have been keying in the areas close to the mouth of the Oconto River searching for perch with some success. Pike fishermen are also present fishing waters from the Oconto Parks to Pensaukee using large shiners, with some success being reported. Marinette Co. The Peshtigo Harbor area has been a hot spot for pike fishermen this past week with most people fishing up to the first ice shove north of the mouth of the Peshtigo River. Fishing on the Menominee River has slowed considerably due to ice conditions, no information was forthcoming this week.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
CHICAGO: Park Bait is open at Montrose. On Tuesday, Henry’s reported some coho, browns and rainbows at Montrose; some on and off perch in the river at 95th. WAUKEGAN: Salmon Stop reported a 42-inch pike caught on a spawn sac on the harbor side of the South Rocks on Friday. Some browns off the rocks, lake side, on spawn or dead minnows; also Johnson and government piers. A few steelhead being taken on shrimp higher. No coho or perch reports. CHICAGO’S FISHERMAN’S PARKING: The $10 parking passes for the small fishermen’s lots at Burnham and DuSable harbors are available at Henry’s. Well, they are supposed to be. They were out for some days.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
D&S Bait said ice fishing should continue at least through the weekend.
EAGLE RIVER: Creative Brilliance sent this report for the Chamber of Commerce:
(Lead): Ice conditions are generally good in the Eagle River area, but there are many slippery areas, and walking can be treacherous in spots. Caution is advised. Ice fishing remains about the same as it has been in the Eagle River area, with good panfish action across the board. Crappies and bluegills in the Eagle River area locating in the same general two areas: Shallow weeds (12-15 feet of water or less), and deep mudflats, 20-30 feet of water. For the crappies use a crappie minnow or waxie under a slip bobber or tip down. For the bluegills use a waxie or spike, under a slip bobber or spring bobber. Both crappies and gills are suspending, usually within the bottom third of the water column. Good action for both. Perch in the Eagle River area are locating off of weed edges in 10-20 feet of water, and are holding tight to the bottom. Use a small minnow, waxie or wiggler under a slip bobber or spring bobber. Good action, but you’ll have to do some sorting. (Report for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce based on Creative Brilliance interviews with Eagle River guides Muskie Matt of Wild Eagle Lodge, Ranger Rick Krueger of Guide’s Choice Pro Shop, and Mat Hegy). Contact info for Eagle River: * Eagle River Chamber of Commerce; 800-359-6315; 715-479-6400; e-mail: email@example.com; web: www.eagleriver.org * Muskie Matt, 715-891-5980; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org * Mat Hegy, 715-571-7544, e-mail: email@example.com * Guide’s Choice Pro Shop, guide/owner Ranger Rick Krueger 715-477-2248 * George Langley, Eagle River Fishing Guides Association, 715-479-8804. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
MINOCQUA: Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports sent this:
Once again wind played a big factor as far as participation over the weekend, but overall fishing is improving. Bluegill: Good and improving. Action on high sky days best at dawn and from 4 pm till dusk. Moussees, waxies, chena or plastic. Small dark jigs such as darts, gill pills etc. tipped with red, black plastic tops in weeds of 7-10′. Work 2-3′ off bottom, occasionally work a bright colored rocker jig to attract attention. if gills show up and refuse bright jig, go dark and small. Crappies: Fair to Good. Anglers targeting flowages doing best on minnows and tip-downs. rosie red on glow trebles or glow #8 or #6 jigs to attract attention. To target clear water crappies work deep transition breaks in 18-26′, tip-downs with minnows work best here while crappies working the bays with 8-14′ cabbage and coontails seem to prefer slow dropping jigs (little cecils, moon glos, #10 rockers) tipped with plastics of chena. Yellow Perch: Good. While deep water anglers still popping fish from depths of 18-30′ on wigglers, small minnows. Some anglers making nice catches in 4-8′ using forage jigs tipped with waxies. Deep water seems better in am till about 11 o’clock, then starts up again around 4 pm. Make a disturbance on the bottom to bring in perch. Gold fire eye jigs tipped with waxies helped one area angler take a limit of perch to 12-1/2″ from 6′ of water (#12 gold) Drill lots of holes then work back down quickly to keep their attention. With most lakes reporting 24-26″ of ice you wouldn’t think to worry much about access. reports of temps hitting in the 50’s with mix rain could end truck traffic in a week. Keep eye on reports, this is a great time to score big catches of crappies, bluegills and perch, but our window could be shortened to the next two weeks. We will try to keep updates on our website.
Mik-Lurch reported good coho inside East Chicago Marina for shore fishermen (jig and squid under floats) and boaters are catching at Michigan City, Gary Light and Hammond. As the FOTW showed, some big browns are being caught. The water is dirty, when it cleans, perch bite should return.
In the transition period, click here for reports.
SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT
From the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report:
Southern Lake Michigan Fishing Report: March 14, 2011 Racine Co. Trout fishing on the Root River this past weekend was on the slow side. This was mostly due to the very fast flow, high water, and colder temperatures. The water clarity was pretty clear with high visibility in areas where water flow was slower. Water temperatures taken on Sunday just downstream from the dam were between 34-35 degrees Fahrenheit. Angler effort was mostly concentrated at the Horlick Dam and downstream through Quarry Lake Park. Most anglers were only able to wade in a couple feet off the shore to about knee high water. The preferred choice of bait was flies with only a couple fishermen using spawn. Anglers reported the presence of a couple steelhead tight to the dam. While they were able to hook-up a few times, landing the fish in the high flow was too difficult and limited the catch rate. A few anglers were also fishing the Lincoln Park area, both upstream and downstream from the weir. Catch rates here were also pretty low. One angler fishing Saturday afternoon was able to land one nice male steelhead that weighed 2.5 pounds. It was caught on a spawn sac between the two walking bridges. Fin clips indicated it was the Ganaraska strain. Milwaukee Co. In Milwaukee open water can be found in the lower stretches of the Menomonee River and canals, as well as faster moving stretches of the Milwaukee River. Water levels are fairly high on the Milwaukee River. Steelhead anglers have been fishing Oak Creek and the Menomonee River near Miller Park, and some fish have been taken from both streams. Spawn sacs have been the most effective bait. Fishing in the Milwaukee harbor has been slow. Ozaukee Co. In Port Washington, a few brown trout and steelhead have been caught near the power plant on spawn, and a few anglers have reported hits on shiners.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT