Coho in southern Lake Michigan and cooling lakes again lead this Midwest Fishing Report, but I would also note the separately spotlighted good smelting in Chicago.
Mike Lynch sent this link to a video of fishing for blue cats at Braidwood Lake with spoonplugger Jim Duplex.
We also have our first report from Tyler Harmon for southwest Michigan.
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.
If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best bite, shore and boat near Chicago. Boaters around the Indiana/Illinois stateline are doing outstanding: Cal Harbor, shipping channel, in and outside of Buffington, Hole-in-the-Wall, in front of East Chicago Marina and Gary Light. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said, “That whole south end is loaded with them. Every day changes a little bit. Bottom line? When you get a bite, stay there.” Dodgers and peanut Howie flies are best, but crankbaits and spoons are also producing. Speed should be 2 mph. Park Bait reported good catches of coho at Montrose, best by powerliners, but some inside the harbor, too. Henry’s reported slower action since the blow, but catches scattered up and down Chicago shoreline. Henry’s also said bite is going more toward crawlers.
Click here for a look at smelting in Chicago.
Sounded like it was a good opening weekend on Saturday for the thousands, who hit the water. Not sure how many fish are left. But here are the area lakes: Axehead, Belleau and Sag Quarry East (Cook County); Grove, Pickerel and Silver (DuPage); Gebhard Woods SP pond (Grundy); Bird Park Quarry and Rock Creek at Kankakee River SP (Kankakee); Big Lake at Silver Springs SP (Kendall); Sand Lake at Illinois Beach SP and Banana Lake (Lake); Lake Atwood, Hollows Conservation Area, and Piscasaw Creek (McHenry); Lake Milliken at Des Plaines CA (Will). For those 16 and older, a fishing license and inland trout stamp are required.
HEIDECKE OPENING WEEKEND
Former cooling lake near Morris reopened Friday. I had a chance to spend a few hours with Bill Anderson there on opening day, a miserable rainy day. But he caught fish: a hybrid, a nice smallmouth, two white bass and a muskie (and two others came unhinged at the boat), all on a small shad-colored Countdown.
Lynch sent this report:
Water is in the mid 40s and semi clear. Decent catches of walleye on live bait along the shallow breaklines and some good muskies caught trolling walleye baits. We’re still a week or two away from prime time but things are looking good.
Concessionaire has not been able to sell yet, so come prepared with bait and food. Hours: Daily till sunset; launch opens 6 a.m.; bank at 6:30 a.m. Level is low, so getting under the trestle should not be an issue; however, use caution when launching.
The emphasis over the weekend was on spring trout, however, crappie fishing has been the other good bite. I suspect with the weather we have coming later in the weekend, there will be more bass and bluegill action, too, by Sunday afternoon.
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): Both open water and ice anglers enjoying great fishing action in the Central Wisconsin area. Open water opportunities are attracting more and more anglers in the Central Wisconsin area, as more and more stretches of the Wisconsin River become accessible. Open water anglers are finding plenty of early season walleye action at some of the local Central Wisconsin hotspots. Deeper pools during the mid day hours are producing the best right now, with walleyes moving up a bit shallower as evening approaches. Jigs tipped with fathead minnows have been the best bait, but some anglers still insist on using plastics and claim that they get better results. Local guides are saying that the catch rate when using plastics may be less, but the size structure of the fish caught is considerably larger. With many anglers hitting open water, just know that there is still lots of room on the remaining ice in the Central Wisconsin area for some great panfish action. Unlike last year, where at this time the ice was almost nonexistent, there is still plenty of ice for fishing – -although caution, particularly at this time of year is definitely needed (best suggestion is to hire a guide who will put you on fish in safety). Crappies and bluegills have been the main targets along with some really nice jumbo perch, coming from are lakes. Most of the crappies and gills are staging in shallow weeds, anywhere from 4 to 8 feet of water. Run small tear drop jigs tipped with waxies or spikes to tempt them into biting. At this time of year the fish may be riding right up under the ice so make sure that you work the entire water column when trying out a location. The perch have been holding down deep in anywhere from 20 to 30+ feet of water. Rock style jigs tipped with wigglers or spikes have been working best. The key to taking home a limit is to keep your rod motionless and let the wiggler do the work. Hook them lightly behind the head or tail and let them swim freely in the water. A lone swimming wiggler is more than any self-respecting perch can resist. Turkey season in the Central Wisconsin area is just around the corner, and now is the perfect time to get out and do some of that pre-season scouting. With the remaining snow on the ground, it will be easy to see where the turkeys have been feeding. Simply look for any fields with open areas of grass or newly upturned ground, and that is where you will find the turkeys feeding right now. They will stay in these areas until the present snow melts away and new fresh lands open up.
Love those turkey notes in fishing reports.
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA
Triangle Sports reported crappie moved into most channels. Walleye are picking up, try main lake flats or points, especially on Marie, Pistakee or Mineola Bay. There were some outstanding bluegill caught from an unknown spot in the last week.
For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/
More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
LaSALLE: Lake is open daily. Mik-Lurch reported lots of blue catfish on cut bait. Reader Greg Knotek reported good largemouth on crankbaits with water in the 70s. Anderson also seconded the good report on largemouth.
BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Lynch sent this:
The bass fishing has slowed a bit with a lot of fish moving up on their spawning beds. The blue cats also started to their spawning migration toward the shallow and the fishing has really picked up. Deep diving crankbaits trolled very slow around the deep holes are the ticket.
HEIDECKE: See top.
DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES AREA, WISCONSIN
Brian Gates at Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle reported perch shallow along Geneva shorelines. Boaters are picking up crappie and bluegill in the channels of Delavan.
SANGCHRIS: Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service reported good crappie as they near the spawn. Water is mainly in mid-60s.
SHELBYVILLE: Wilson reported good crappie down 12-15 in 20-30 feet on laydowns off main river channels. Starting to moving back into coves, however, water is only 48. Walleye slowed below the spillway.
EVERGREEN: Any updated fishing report will be posted here.
EMIQUON: Heartland Outdoors reported improved launches and parking, few out. 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.
POWERTON: Henry’s reported a 41-pound blue cat caught. Winter hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Boat and shore fishing are open.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
CHICAGO: For coho, see top. There’s small perch up the river, even upstream of 95th.
WAUKEGAN: Salmon Stop reported coho off the piers on frozen shiners on a slip bobber, a few feet down. Spawn sacs on the bottom are producing browns, a few steelhead toward the surface. Boaters are working 18-30 feet in front of ComEd taking coho and a few browns. Launching is at Larson’s. The public launch may be a couple more weeks.
NORTH POINT: Poteshman called late Tuesday to report good coho right on the beach.
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.
There’s 2 feet of ice remaining.
EAGLE RIVER: Creative Brilliance sent this report for the Chamber of Commerce:
(Lead): Generally good ice conditions in the Eagle River area, but even with the cold snap, ice conditions are starting to deteriorate around structure, like boat landings, especially on north shores. Caution is the watchword. Best suggestion is to hire one of the Eagle River area’s excellent guides who will put you on fish, and you’ll have a lot of fun in complete safety. Crappies and bluegills in the Eagle River area are hanging out in the same location. Fish 15 feet of water or less in and around weeds. For the crappies use a crappie minnow or a waxie under a slip bobber or a tip down. Good action, with mixed sizes. For the gills use a waxie or spike under a slip bobber or spring bobber. Good action, but you’ll be sorting. Both crappies and gills are suspending up and down the water column. Perch in the Eagle River area are holding tight to bottom in 10-20 feet of water outside of weed edges. Use a small minnow, wiggler or waxie under a slip bobber or spring bobber. Good action, and a lot of fun, but you will 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:
Things improved this past week, but not up to par with what was expected. Following the [U]worst[/U] week of ice fishing all winter (its still winter here), clouds finally showed up with a drop in the barometer. Anglers that has limited success except at dusk and after dark, were reporting action during the day. Crappies: Good. Best bet after dark using tip-downs with minnows. Some nights you’ll have to wait it out as the bite doesn’t start till 8:30 pm. A few anglers reported good action till 1 am. During the day set a couple of tip-downs out, then work holes using a variety of jig combos. Little Cecils, #8 rockers, #00 Russian sppns tipped with waxies or spikes. #6 moon glos, Gapen Ice Lice and Shrimpos slow dropped have also worked well. Weeds are key in 8-12′ depths. Bluegill: Good. Early morning through mid morning, then again from 4 pm till dusk. Light lines or 2-3# with small jigs tipped with single spike, waxies or plastic tail. Gill Pills, the smallest Ratsos, #10/#12 rockers, darts and moon glos. Yellow Perch: Fair – Good. Bite best up along weed edges of 12-16′. Crappie minnows below tip-downs on #16 trebles. Jigging fire eye jigs tipped with waxie minnow head or wigglers – Gulp products also producing. Sunday morning opened with snow and wind. More wind Monday, looks like the best weather won’t be happening till the end of the week. Access still very good, some landing getting slushy, but an honest 2′ of ice still on most lakes.
For coho, see top. Mik-Lurch reported some catches of perch on the Gary flats ((46-51 feet). Retired Hammond teacher Dave Ralston caught a couple whitefish by East Chicago Marine.
We start with Tyler Harmon’s reports: Southwest Michigan Fishing Report.
Inland lakes are free of ice and pan fish are ready to bite. Try wax worms under a bobber for spring gills. Use bobber and shiners or cast small jigs tipped with a shiner for spring crappies. Target large weed beds or brush as the crappie are about to spawn. Drift minnows or small bits of crawlers around for perch on the edges of weed beds. The rivers have been slow but boat anglers on the St. Joe are catching a few steelhead. Fresh steelhead spawn has been the top bait.. Sucker run is about in full swing in most rivers around this part the state. Try sit fishing with crawlers for a little fun. Good time of year to bring the kids out to catch a few fish. From the Michigan City Pier clear up to South Haven anglers are catching Coho salmon. A few Brown and Steelhead may also be found. If piers are packed done be afraid to try the surf. Spawn has been the bait of choice but a bobber and crawler can also be good from the pier. Other baits include dead gobies, dead smelt, live shiners or fathead minnows. Fish have also been taking on spoons glow and blue cleo’s, orange and silver or gold, silver and blue, chartreuse and silver. Until next time good luck and tight lines.
Lakeside is open. Staff reported just a few crappie reports. I would expect more people and reports when we push 80 on Saturday. For more reports as the lake changes into spring, click here.
Mik-Lurch reported continued crappie in the corn channel on the Indiana side, while Henry’s reported some on the Illinois side, too.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT