Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes/areas section

SHARE Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes/areas section

Finally, fishing unofficially but practically took off for this Midwest Fishing Report.


And crappie, such as these from Shabbona Lake that Denny Sands sent, are just part of it.

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 straycasts@sbcglobal.net.


Bass are pulling up, bluegill are starting and crappie remain good in many spots. Bottom line, if you have a nearby retention or farm pond, now is the time to hit it. Henry’s reported Busse hot for crappie. There’s good crappie reports at Saganashkee. Lee’s in Carol Stream reported good action on pike, muskie and largemouth at Mallard.


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:

(Head): Main lake action heating up, with crappies, walleyes and northern providing very good action, and good success for turkey hunters, all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River of Wisconsin’s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau). Water temps in the central Wisconsin area nearing 50 degrees. After a very long drawn-out spring we are finally starting to see water temperatures rising on the Wisconsin River and lakes in the central Wisconsin area. With temperatures nearing, and, in some locations, above the 50 degree mark, anglers can start their search for crappies, as they begin their migration towards traditional spawning grounds. The old adage of when the lilacs are blooming, the crappies are spawning comes into play here, but experienced anglers know if the lilacs are blooming, you’ve already missed the best part of the crappie spawn. Look for shallow, stump-filled back bays and shoreline wood to hold decent numbers of fish. Slipbobbers set at about one foot to 18 inches deep and rigged up with a small octopus hook and a tiny crappie minnow will work wonders. Beetle spins and tube jigs also work for casters as well as this being a fly angler’s best opportunity at some fast and furious action for slab crappies. The walleyes in the central Wisconsin area have now moved into some of their summer haunts and can be found in the deeper pools on the main Wisconsin River along with being scattered over the main lake flats. Trolling #5 Shad Raps in firetiger and clown-color patterns will work well for locating these stragglers as well as jigging with one-eighth and quarter-ounce jigs tipped with plastics or fathead minnows once you determine their location. Live bait rigs will also work well in some instances. The northern pike action in the central Wisconsin area has started to pick up and these toothy critters are staging in shallow back water bays, trying to soak up the warmest water available. Spinner baits and Daredevil type spoons will work great for catching these freshwater alligators. Turkey hunters in the central Wisconsin area are having a very good season this year with some dandy gobblers coming in. With the season now in its last few weeks the turkeys have been hunted hard and you may want to think about leaving your decoys at home as opposed to when you were using them a lot, earlier in the season. The turkeys have been hunted for weeks now, and they are very wary of decoys and unusual sounds in the woods. Speaking of woods, this is another good time to move off of the fields where you have seen the turkeys in the past, and set up further back in the forest as the birds are now spending more time holding within the cover, as opposed to being out in the open


Arden Katz reported outstanding bluegill shallow in the channels on No. 10 or 12 Rat Finkees with spikes under small floats; some crappie mixed in. Triangle suggested finding the warmest water in the channels for the crappie; walleye are good around current areas and bridges; largemouth are just off the weed lines.

NOTE: The IMTT’S 2011 Jake Wolf Memorial Tournament is Saturday and Sunday; sign up at illmuskie.com or Friday night at the Thirsty Turtle.

For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/

More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.


LaSALLE: From Jim Hartley, via Ray Thompson:

Took my mom and wife out for Mothers Day , on LaSalle Lake. Slow trolling day but we did manage to boat a few fish. Caught 9 stripers- mostly 10-13″ ( Kept one 17.5″ see picture), one decent yellow bass, two 13″ largemouth, one 10″ smallmouth , and two sheep head drum, one monster two footer+. Wiggle warts and 5″ diving Renoskys were baits of choice. The lake is very stirred up and muddy looking. Not surprising with all the strong winds! The water level is LOW, and I did hit bottom once going out, and two times coming in, around the mouth of the launch! SO PLEASE USE CAUTION! I wonder if there is a leak , or if the power plant is performing repairs, because I can not imagine they are pumping water in the swollen Illinois River to lower the lake? The water is warming, as it is now 72/ 74 degrees in section one and 79/80 degrees in section two. I did not fish in section three , where I do believe the blues are gathering. Best fishing is near.

HEIDECKE: Peak should be this week and next. Guide Jay Angel reported good walleye and small hybrids around the buoy line trolling with crankbaits or with crawlers on bottom bouncers.

BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Bill Lanham reported crappie in the spawn at Mazonia North, throw small tube-jigs. Braidwood has unbelievable channel catfish, for keepers Henry’s suggested suckers or cut bait.


DELAVAN: From guide Dave Duwe:

Delavan Lake 5/7/11 through 5/12/11 Delavan Lake’s water temp is very cold for this time of year due to our cool April. The lake is probably 2-3 weeks behind. The water clarity is exceptional. The best bite on the lake is bluegills and crappies. Due to the water temperature, game fishing has been slow. Bluegills are being caught in 2-3 ft of water. The best locations are in the channels. I’ve been using ice jigs tipped with leaf worms fished on a bobber. The biggest problem has been catching large enough fish to keep. Some days the bigger fish are in the channels and other times, the larger fish move out and smaller fish replace them. Crappies are being caught in 6-7 ft of water. They are in the shallow weed flats. The two spots that have been producing most of the fish have been by Lake Lawn and Browns Channel weed flat. Occasionally, depending on cloud cover, the crappies can be found in the channels also. The crappies like low light and cloudy days. The best presentation is slip bobbers and small minnows. Northern Pike are on the weed flats by Viewcrest Bay and the Highlands Bay. I’ve been fishing them on slip bobbers with large golden shiners. I’ve been anchoring the boat in 8-9 ft of water and setting the bobbers down wind. The bobbers are set about 1 ft above the weed growth. Largemouth bass are cruising the shallows in 2-4 ft of water. The best spot that I saw was in the channel by the boat launch. The water is quite dirty there so most of the success has been coming on white or chartreuse spinner blades. Most of my normal shallow spots are still too cold. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050 Daily Reports 5/8/11 – Whitewater Lake, 65 degrees and sunny, very light winds, water temp 51 degrees. Caught 8 largemouth bass. Fished using green pumkin All Terrain stiks in 4-5 ft of water. The best location was by the bogs. 5/7/11 – Delavan Lake, 45 degrees and cloudy, winds E at 5 mph increasing to about 20 mph. Water temp 49 degrees. Caught 3 largemouth, 1 Northern Pike and had 3 other pike on, and 17 crappies and bluegills. The bass were caught in Lake Lawn Harbor on nightcrawlers. The pike was caught by Browns Channel on golden shiners on a slip bobber in 9 ft of water. The crappies were also caught on slip bobbers in Browns Channel with fat head minnows. The best depth was 7 ft of water. The bluegills were caught shallow, 3-4 ft of water in Browns Channel. They were caught on a Genz bug and a leaf worm. 5/6/11 – Delavan Lake, 40 degrees and sunny, winds E at 15 mph. Water temp 49 degrees. Caught 30 bluegills, only kept about 10. The average size was small. Fished by the dam and Browns Channel. Used leaf worms and small bobbers.

GENEVA: From Duwe;

Lake Geneva 5/7/11 through 5/12/11 Lake Geneva is very cold. The water temp at the surface is about 47 degrees. This water temp makes fishing very tough. The best fishing has been in Abbey Harbor or in Trinkes harbor. These two locations offer the warmest water on the lake. Largemouth bass are being caught on nightcrawlers fished on a small split shot in 3-4 ft of water in the Abbey. There are also some being caught in Geneva Bay near the library. With warmer weather predicted, this bite should be improving over the next week. Bluegills are also being caught in Abbey harbor on wax worms and leaf worms. Small ice jigs fished under a bobber is producing most of the action. Another good spot has been Trinkes harbor fishing 2-3 ft of water with the same approach. Smallmouth bass have been on the outside of the weedlines in 15-20 ft of water suspended. They can be caught on a small hair jig or on a small chrome/blue jerk bait. The best location is by Elgin Club or by the old Military Academy. Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


Might be a good weekend for a trip Downstate. The bass reports from many are unbelievable again on Emiquon and the crappie are going on Shelbyville.

EMIQUON: The unbelievable bass fishing has started again. Make the trip. 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.

SHELBYVILLE: Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service reported crappie moved to the long sloping grass banks, 3/4 of the way back in the coves; use a jig and minnow a foot below a float. He said walleye are starting on the main lake, but the peak on that is probably a week away.

EVERGREEN: Any updated fishing report will be posted here.


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


CHICAGO: Henry’s reported smallmouth started on dark plastics on light jigs on light line and good graphite rods (to feel the bite) in downtown Chicago. Full moon is Tuesday. Park Bait reported outstanding coho with a few kings off the Montrose horseshoe on Monday, slowed some Tuesday; a few small perch in the harbors. Capt. Bill Kelly reported a mixed bag of coho and some browns in 15-30 feet around Chicago Light; and coho and some rainbows east of the R4 in 90 feet. As the FOTW showed, there’s some monster browns around.

WAUKEGAN: Salmon Stop reported coho (frozen shiner or crawler on slip bobbers) and browns (frozen shad or shiner closer to the bottom) off the piers, best pier varies day to day. Perch action is spotty for boaters in 30-60 feet. Capt. Augie Ralph reported coho in 80-110 in front of Great Lakes.

NORTH POINT: Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters reported great coho from the state line to the nuke plant, beach to the hill. He’s using Dodgers and flies.

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.

RICHARD J. DALEY SPORTFISHING DERBY: Runs through Sept. 30. In May, the species are coho and perch. Register fish at Henry’s Sports & Bait, Park Bait or Vet’s Bait. Go to henryssports.com or call (312) 225-8538.


EAGLE RIVER: Creative Brilliance sent this report for the Chamber of Commerce:

(Head): Northern and perch putting on a strong bite as the gamefishing season opens, with walleye and crappie hitting well in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. Water temps in the low 40s in the Eagle River area at the gamefishing season opens. Northerns are hitting hard at the edges of old weeds in 5-10 feet of water in the Eagle River area. Use a jig and a minnow. Perch in the Eagle River area, especially on the Eagle River Chain of 28 lakes (largest freshwater chain of lakes in the world), are providing very good-to-excellent action. Fish shallow wood and hardbottom areas. Use a small crappie minnow or a waxie. Walleye are putting on a good bite in the Eagle River area. Fish hardbottom areas around rocks and gravel, or just off of old weeds (there are no new live weeds as yet). On the Eagle River Chain of Lakes, fish 6 to12 feet of water. On larger, clearer lakes like North Twin, you’ll find the walleyes anywhere from 3 to 15 feet of water. Use a jig and a fathead. Some anglers have reported excellent success using an X-Ray crankbait, fished shallow. With the water temps in the low 40s, the post-spawn walleyes are hanging out over hardbottom/gravel/rocks, in generally 6 to 15 feet of water. As soon as the water temps reach 50 degrees, the walleyes will move in shallow looking for minnows and other bait fish, in the newly emergent tiny green weeds. There’s a very good evening bite for crappies in the Eagle River area. Fish 3 to 6 feet of water, and indeed some crappies are being found in water as shallow as one foot! During the day, fish 6 feet or a tad deeper. Hardbottom is where these fish are locating. Use a thin wire hook and a crappie minnow. Anglers should remember that right now with the water very clear, the crappies will spook easily, so be quiet, slow, and cautious. (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: Nice Opener. A little cool (lows in high 20’s to start), but no rain, high wind, sleet or snow. Water temps on Saturday ranged from lows of high 30’s to low 40’s in morning to high 40’s by afternoon. Most spawning done except on larger, colder lakes. Bite was sporadic as anglers had to move from lake to lake to find active walleyes. Many lakes already seeing walleyes in an early post spawn bite. Concentrate on new weed growth with 1/16 oz jigs and minnows. Walleyes (and pike) being caught showing signs of feeding heavily on perch and bluegills of 1-3″. Large fatheads and Dace (where available) best.

Anglers casting stick baits after dark also reporting good walleye catches. Smithwick Rattlin Rouges, #9 floating Rapalas and #10 Husky jerks cast over above mentioned weed beds in 4-6′ of water producing. Some night time waders working gravel shores catching fish also, but mostly late males.

Crappies have been catchable on warming days. Many seen in shallows on calm afternoons “catching some rays” to help with egg production.

Traffic was light due to combination of gas (but prices are dropping) and Mother’s Day. Weather was good, rain forecasted for mid week, but temps starting to rise.


Mik-Lurch reported some good kings with browns mixed in out of East Chicago; and lots of kings from the condos at Michigan City, Ind. to New Buffalo, Mich. Willow Slough is going for panfish and bass shallow. NOTE: Mik-Lurch holds seminars with a free fish fry from 2-6 p.m. Saturday. At 2 Mike Starcevich holds a perch seminar; at 4, Capt. Ralph Steiger talks on salmon.


Denny Sands sent very good reports for big bass and good crappie catches, see photo above.

Guide Jay Angel sent this:

Shabbona Lake: Water temperatures are in the mid 50’s. Crappie fishing is good with crappies being caught over the fish cribs and deeper brushpiles. Use minnows for best results. If you don’t catch crappies over the cribs, move your baits shallower. Some crappies were caught fishing 2 – 4 feet down over the cribs last weekend by Denny Sands. The cribs are 6 – 7 feet below the water surface in 12 – 14 feet of water. Bass fishing is improving with large fish being caught by anglers throwing lipless crankbaits over the emerging weeds in shallow water.

For more reports as the lake changes into spring and summer, click here.


Ray Hinton reported crappie, pike, catfish and one walleye on the Illinois side Sunday. Mik-Lurch reported both boaters and shore fishermen (willing to walk) finding walleye on the Indiana side.










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