Midwest Fishing Report: Expanded lakes/areas report

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We are in a transition period and that shows in this lakes report for the Midwest Fishing Report: Hints of spring fishing (coho in spurts along the Chicago lakefront), yet winter punches back (snow in northern Illinois and Wisconsin this morning).


I caught this in-between icing on a lake Monday morning, which pretty much sums up lakes conditions around Chicago fishing.

This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears on the Sun-Times outdoors page on Wednesdays.

Normally, I post the online MFR by Wednesday morning. The rivers section of the MFR was already posted.

If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at straycasts@sbcglobal.net.

Let’s open with the update on the LaSalle Lake opener.


In a stunning cutback, LaSalle Lake, which reopens March 16, will be open less than half days in March. In March, the lake will be open for fishing from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.


South some lakes and ponds are completely open while north a few still have ice fishing (and may have into next week). Use common sense. Henry’s reported some of the typical lakes to the south are already into late-winter/spring crappie fishing.


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): Very favorable conditions for late season ice fishing action, with an open water option below Wisconsin River dams for a good walleye bite. With warmer temperatures and longer days anglers are getting the itch to do some open water fishing. There are plenty of opportunities in the central Wisconsin area below any one of the many dams on the Wisconsin River. Walleye are abundant, and unlike most inland waters to the North, where there is a closed season, the walleye season (northern and bass, too) remains open on many waters of the central Wisconsin area. Most anglers are tossing 1/8 ounce jigs in orange and chartreuse and tipping them with a minnow or plastic tail like a Mister Twister in yellow or white. Most of the walleyes being caught in open water are holding in 14-17 feet of water and are right to the bottom. Slow finesse jigging is the best approach to taking these lethargic biters. Ice anglers have seen one of the best years on record for panfish in the central Wisconsin area. Crappies have been very abundant and the action has been especially good on cloudy days. Tip downs baited with small minnows set anywhere from one foot up off the bottom to right under the ice in 12-20 feet of water have been the most consistent producer. Using a flasher will help determine the depth at which most of the crappies are holding on any particular day. Just because they were at one level one day does not mean that they will be holding at that same level the next. Bluegills in the central Wisconsin area have been hitting hard and are very active throughout the day. Most of the action has been coming from 8-12 feet of water in scattered stump filled backwater areas off the Wisconsin River. Small ice jigs like Creep Worms and Fiskas in orange and yellow, tipped with a waxie or a spike have been working very well. The shallow weed bite is still pretty good, as well. Look for any green weeds in 4-6 feet of water to be holding numbers of fish. Small ice jigs tipped with waxies or spikes will produce all day long. . . . Perch activity in the central Wisconsin area has been picking up and ice anglers are not only picking up good numbers, but some real decent sized jumbos, as well. Look for most of the perch to be holding tight to the bottom, associated with wood in 12-16 feet of water. Small forage minnows or fire eye jigs tipped with minnows or waxies are working.


Shorelines are giving way, however, Greg Dickson at Triangle Sports reported, “As of [Tuesday], they are still ice fishing. Shorelines are questionable, but the caps are there. It stays cold enough at night to keep flirting with it. It is a crap shoot.”

For more reports, click here

For more official Chain info, click here.


BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Mazonia has unsafe ice caps. Site staff reported 62 degrees at the north end of Braidwood, 65 at the south. Some bass are being caught, few big catfish and some bluegill. On Sunday, hours expand to 6 a.m.-7 p.m. LaSALLE: See top. HEIDECKE: Reopens April 1.


Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle said accessing the ice at Geneva may be over by today, while the west end of Delavan may be OK but the channel areas will not be.


SANGCHRIS: Ken Wilson–(217) 454-2672–of Lithia Guide Service said crappie remain very strong. On Tuesday, he was catching them deeper (8-10). REND: Jason Johns of Todd Gessner Outdoors reported crappie remain good in 4-12 feet, while channel catfish are super anywhere there’s running water. LAKE OF EGYPT: Johns said bass moved shallow. POWERTON: Winter hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Boat and shore fishing are open. SHELBYVILLE: Wilson reported some decent crappie. For info from the Corps, call (217) 774-2020. 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.


Check the latest at Harborside.


For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.


CHICAGO: Powerliners started taking some coho at Montrose last week, then the lake turned chocolately by Sunday and action ended. Shoreline coho time is here, when conditions allow. WAUKEGAN: Salmon Stop reported some browns at Government pier and south rocks on frozen shad or shrimp; a few steelhead. 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.


D&S Bait said shorelines are giving way, but ice should hold for those wanting to ice fish well into next week or beyond.


EAGLE RIVER: Creative Brilliance sent this report for the Chamber of Commerce:(Lead): Ice conditions are generally good in the Eagle River area.

The lack of snow cover is causing slippery conditions. Caution is always advised. Crappies and bluegills in the Eagle River area are hanging together in two locations and putting on a good bite. Fish shallow weeds – -15 feet of water or less, or main lake basin mud flats in 20-35 feet of water. Both the crappies and gills are suspending up and down the water column. Start near the bottom and work your way up. Use electronics to pinpoint locations, drill lots of holes and be prepared to move around. Use a crappie minnow, waxie or spike under a small jig. All day bite. Perch in the Eagle River area in two locations. Fish shallow weeds, in 12 feet of water or less, or mudflats in 20-35 feet of water. The perch are holding tight to the bottom. Use a small minnow, waxie or wiggler under a jig. Good action. (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: info@eagleriver.org; web: www.eagleriver.org * Muskie Matt, 715-891-5980; e-mail: rfrgoutdoors@gmail.com * Mat Hegy, 715-571-7544, e-mail: lunkerclunkerguideservice@yahoo.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: fishing@eaglesportscenter.com

MINOCQUA: Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports sent this:

Inconsistent weather, lots of changing wind direction and at times too much wind made for some challenging fish catching this past week. Unusual for our part of the state, southeast winds came in a couple of times, not good for our fishing. Gamefish season ended Sunday night, dusk and after dark anglers caught some walleyes. Pike anglers scored some fat fish including a 33″, 11 1/2# from Minocqua on Friday. Ice keeps building, we actually have 4″ more than we had two weeks ago. With little in the way of major warm ups heading our way, plus the addition of snow today (3/7) and possibly mid week, it looks like we should have ice into April (scratch last weeks prediction). Perch: Good. Work involved in finding fish. Depths vary, as anglers scoring nice perch in as little as 6′ and as deep as 30′. For 6-8′ weed areas, gob of waxies smushed on a Hexi Fly jig or similar horizontal style jig working best. Dip pockets in the weeds. These small but heavy jigs important to keep perch interested. Minnows on tipdowns also effective. Must key on deep fish (17-30′). These fish are chowing down on wigglers (mayfly larvae). Work depths with fast sinking flickers, pimples, forage minnow jigs tipped with wigglers. Crappie minnows/rosies accounting for larger perch. Lots of good eaters at 8 1/2-10″ with enough 11-12″ers to make things interesting. Bluegills: Good. Most action in 6-10′ weeds. Teardrop and moon style jigs tipped with red, black or motor oil colored plastic. Waxies, red spikes and moussees also effective. Times are best in am till about 10-10:30 then again after 3pm. Crappies: Fair. They are there, just haven’t popped. Could have been the weather but action not good…yet. Slow dropping white, yellow or pink plastic and hanging crappie minnows below tip-downs accounting for some fish just before dusk. Travel on ice excellent. With increased ice plus addition of snow and little of temperature beyond the low-mid 30’s, good ice should hang around through March into April.


Mik-Lurch reported steelhead in Salt and Trail; a few coho and steelhead off the Michigan City pier; and, when conditions allow, boaters are taking a few coho and browns at Gary Light.


Considering we are in a transition period, for reports, click here.










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