Coho, trout, crappie, all things spring: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

SHARE Coho, trout, crappie, all things spring: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

Ken Maggiore sent this four-man limit bagged from shore Sunday at Montrose Harbor.

[UPDATED] Added Green Bay report.

Crappie, coho, walleye and, well, all kinds of fish are being caught as spring truly settles in, finally, around Chicago fishing for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Ken Maggiore, yes the young man who pulled off the feat of two state records in one day a few years ago, messaged the photo at the top from North Side on Sunday and this message:

Here a good one for the paper. 5 man limit in 4 hrs today

Yeah, that is the goods.

Sunday was just one of those days. Terry Saether messaged the photo below and this message on Sunday:

Dale!!! I ditched my family to go fish the Menominee River, and we’re killin’ ‘em!!!

Terry Saether shows that walleye were going on Easter on the Menominee River.<br>Provided

Terry Saether shows that walleye were going on Easter on the Menominee River.

That photo is too righteous not to use.

The condensed Midwest Fishing Report appears Wednesdays on the outdoors page of the Sun-Times newspaper. The sprawling raw-file report is posted here online on the Sun-Times outdoors page.


It’s been quite a run the last few days, as the Maggiore note indicated and the reports and photos below.

Patrick Ignatuk caught Sunday morning trolling at Chicago Light on Skyline Charters.<br>Provided

Patrick Ignatuk caught Sunday morning trolling at Chicago Light on Skyline Charters.

Patrick Ignatuk sent the photo above and this note:

check out this 16 1/2 lbs kind I caught trolling at the chicago light yesterday morning, aboard Skyline Charters. It came on a 00 wonderbread dodger and fly off a plainer board.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

Good morning I figured I’d just fill you in a little bit so you don’t have to call tomorrow. Coho have gone crazy lots of limits over the weekend even in to today. Large minnows, nightcrawlers and some spoons. Sometimes they’re being a little picky later in the day and only hitting crawlers.. . .Hope you had a nice Easter it was sure a beautiful day.

Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind. texted:

Coho fishing has been really good last couple days from Hammond to mixhigan city lots of fish some Kong’s mixed in too 20 to 40 ft of water best Body baits spoons dodgers and peanut Flys

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said, “Good sign, alewives showed up in Montrose Harbor and plenty by Navy Pier. All fish caught had alewives in tthem.” Sunday they caught lakers good in 45-55 feet of water off Montrose with spoons on Leadcore;  Monday coho were good by Navy Pier good before water dirtied, also caught one big brown; Tuesday was tougher at Navy Pier with dirtier water; most of the coho action on crankbaits trolling 1.9-2.1 knots. Out of North Point, a few coho and lakers between the beach and the hill.

Lori Ralph at The Salmon Stop in Waukegan texted:

Shore the same, power line guys doing good on choo, spoon guys ok too. We took the boat out Sunday 40 foot of water, coho top 5 feet and on the bottom, fish are scattered We ended up with 3 choo, only out a bit over an hour. Aug posted pics on FISHFOOD facebook page

Capt. Scott Wolfe of School of Fish Charters emailed:

Hi Dale.Weather and strong winds limited the fishing effort out of Waukegan. In the narrow windows of good weather fishing was really good. Limits of lakers with a few browns and early coho are being caught. Traditional laker Mo Rigs bead the bottom have been taking big lakers with nearly all over 10#. The water has been cloudy and Jimmy Fly UV laker rig or Mo Rig Skirts have out produced non-UV. Early in the week there were no coho. Bonus browns came on Warrior Flutter Spoons off yellowbirds. In the last two days cohos have begun hitting with peanut flies behind 00 red or yellow dodgers. There may be more coho in closer to shore or out deep feeding in shrimp but I didn’t hear about any boats trying those areas.No report from Chicago this week. Given the limit salmon catches in Indiana and the coho starting in Waukegan I would assume Chicago has coho.Capt. Scott WolfeSchool of Fish Charters630-341-0550


Season runs through the evening of April 30. Few reports, though Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

I did have a small smelt report from Saturday one of my regular customers that comes out every Saturday during smelt season had a few also got lucky on his Rod and Reel with a Coho.

Regulations are the same as always.

* No open fires * No enclosed tents * No alcoholic beverages * No parking or driving on the grass or sidewalks. Park only in designated areas. Violators will be ticketed and towed. * Do not destroy fences, benches, trash receptacles, walkways, and grassy areas. * Do not dump hot coals under trees, on concrete or on grassy areas. Dispose of all coals in the appropriate trash receptacles. * Harbor Gates will close at 1 a.m. –start breaking down at 12:30 a.m. to be out by 1 a.m.


Weather slowed things down a bit, but crappie and bass fishing is going. Trout season is already winding down or about done in most places.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this on bass:

Hey Dale, Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing.Area lakes-bass are becoming more predictable for the first time this year with the stable weather. Midday hours still continue to be the best time to focus on bass using lipless crankbaits. The strike king red eye shad in green tomato has been the most consistent producer.TTYL—Ken Husker O’Malley Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team

BoRabb Williams sent the photo below and this report on Monday:

Dale Bowman…. im at Beaubien Woods now…. crappie and some Big gills

Crappie from Beaubien Woods on Monday.<br>Provided

Crappie from Beaubien Woods on Monday.


Click here to find river closures listed by the Illinois DNR. Go to to check area water levels and projection. To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to


Open 6 a.m.-sunset daily.

Rob Abouchar sent the report and photo below:

Hi Dale I had very little time to fish over the 3 day holiday weekend. First a massive branch fell on Friday during the high winds just missing the house. After cleaning up the branch it was the first gig of the Spring Dive Bar tour for The Hot Sofa Band. We appeared at the Irish mill in Mundelein near Diamond Lake. I was able to get in about a half hour of fishing before the gig during a spectacular sunset but got no bites the water seemed cold possibly low 50’s. Another angler pulled in a Largemouth on an in-line spinner but it was time to hit the gig for sound check. Anglers Choice will be kicking off the season at Braidwood lake this Sunday. The tournament will go out of the North Launch. Next Thursday I will be taking my Bass team to compete in the Sectionals of the IHSA Bass fishing competition at the Skokie Lagoons. It will be a cool experience to be fishing where I used to fish out of my Coleman Canoe in the early 90’s with the team!The next stop of the Hot Sofa Spring Illinois Dive Bar Tour will be May 2nd at the Penny Road Pub in Barrington. Also I have been rehearsing at the Wild Hare for an upcoming gig in May with Drea V a longtime Chicago reggae artist. What Jah bless let no man curse… Bob MarleyTight linesRob

Some music to go with your fishing report.<br>Provided

Some music to go with your fishing report.

OK, I just like the music talk and my son’s band happens to be playing Penny Road Friday night. Small world we share.


No update.


Arden Katz said the water warms through the 50s and they tore up the panfish in the channels over the weekend: Bluegill on jig and maggots, crappie on minnows and some real nice perch. He said, “They are not in every channel, so you have to move to find them.” He did note on the crappie, “Don’t know how long, crappie eggs are real soft.”

Brad Irvingat Triangle Sports and Marine said bluegill and perch moved in heavily into channels,; walleye slowed; white bass are being taken in the river and lakes on bladebaits; muskie are being raised.

Check updates at Fox Waterway Agency or (847) 587-8540.

STRATTON LOCK AND DAM:The lock is closed through April 30. Click here for more info on the lock and dam.


No update this week from Capt. Pat Harrison at Pat Harrison Outdoors.


No update.


No update.


POWERTON LAKE: Boat and shore fishing are open. Hours remain 8 a.m.-4 p.m. through April 30.

LAKE SHELBYVILLE:  Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide ServiceREND LAKE: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Have not yet seen the opening day for spring/summer fishing to begin.


No update.


Violetta Talley messaged:

The Fox River remains at a steady height but the water temp is still pretty cold, with some water temps still in the high 40s to low 50s in various spots. Slackwater areas will be a little warmer since they are shallower and may hold some Largemouth and an occasional small mouth using smaller style finesse plastics like small worms, Ned Rigs and craws. Good news is that there have been some decent size crappie caught in larger slack water areas especially in Carpentersville and South Elgin area using minnows under a bobber, so they are definitely starting to move in to spawn.Muskie are still being caught in South Elgin, Montgomery, and Yorkville dams

Ken Gortowski sent this and some other interesting things:

Got out end of day Sunday to try a creek like I’ve suggested others to do. First cast I got hit by and landed an aggressive dink smallie that launched itself out of the water. Thought I was going to have an outstanding hour or so of fishing, but wound up with a handful of tentative hits and rolled quite a few of the suckers making their way up the creek for their annual spawning run.


No update.


No update.


Lance LaVineat Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. emailed this:

Good morning fellas. Sorry for the delay, been a bit busy Brown Trout fishing has been going quite well on the bay side of the peninsula along with the lakeside now starting to fire up. Trolling and casting the shallow water, generally less than 20 feet of water. Fishermen generally look for warmer water pockets and clean to stained water areas. Trolling with floating Rapalas, Thundersticks and flutter style spoons like Mauler spoons and Stingers. Fishermen that choose to cast via shore or by boat are using casting spoons like Cleo’s and Krokodile’s along with stick baits like Rapala Shadow raps, Rip Stops and Rogue’s. Stream fishermen are still finding good success in Door County’s Lake Michigan tributaries. Drifting with spawn sacs along with pitching spinners and small spoons in the larger pools Pike fishing is starting to ramp up a bit more now that it seems like the post spawn bite is starting to get rolling. Drifting with large sucker minnows is an option along with casting and trolling large stick baits, spoons and plastics The Walleye fishing is starting to get rolling with a pretty good night bite going on right now for both big pre-spawn fish and a few post spawn fish now getting caught. Same old story year in and year out….trolling the primary and secondary drop-offs along the rocky shorelines throughout the county from as far south as Chaudoirs Dock all the way up the peninsula to Sister Bay all good options for some big Walleyes. As of right now the limit in our area is 1 fish over 15 inches, then on May 4th the limit goes back up to 5 fish. For the trollers, the best baits are suspending baits like Husky Jerks, Smithwick Rogues, Lucky Crafts, Megabass along with Flicker Shads and Minnows. And for folks that want to cast….Rippin Raps, Blade baits, hair jigs along with bigger paddle tails like Keitech baits And on May 4th also marks the opener of our Bass fishing opener which is crazy around here! Hundreds, even thousands of fishermen will be searching for those schools of giant pre-spawn bass. Most likely we will see lots of fish in that 5 to 6 plus pound range along with plenty of 7 pound fish and even a few 8 plus pounders just like we saw last year. Early in the season with the cold water, most fishermen will search for warm water pockets in bottom transition areas like those rock to sand areas we always talk about. Slow presentation is the key! Shorty Tubes, Ned Rigs, Hair and marabou jigs, Keitech paddle tails along with deadsticking suspending jerk baits like Megabass, Lucky Crafts, Shadow Raps, Ripstops and Smithwick Rogues all good options Thanks; Lance LaVine Howie’s Tackle 1309 Green Bay Rd Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235 Ph: 920-746-9916

Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report.


Hours are 6 a.m.-sunset, shore opens at 6:30 a.m.

Regional fisheries administrator Rob Miller shad were plentiful last fall in the every-other-year survey, notable because weather was awful during the survey days. Also largemouth were up, “We saw quite a few 8 to 12 inches, that was kind of reassuring,” he said. Considering the conditions, he was OK with collecting 79 walleye. “We still get good population structure on the walleye,” Miller said. “The numbers of fish, 22 inches and longer have been increasing since 2012.” They didn’t get many crappie, but that was probably due to the conditions because for smart anglers, crappie have sort of become the star species at Heidecke. They also didn’t survey many hybrids, but what they caught averaged 20-21 inches, about what it has been for years. In the spring muskie survey last spring, two fish that topped 30 pounds.


Check with B&B Live Bait at (815) 433-0432.


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.


No update.


Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report. It generally comes out Tuesday.


The Ohio DNR has general Lake Erie info and a fishing report.


See top for lakefront coho and trout report, and smelt report.

Smallmouth bass caught and released Sunday on the Chicago lakefront.<br>Provided

Smallmouth bass caught and released Sunday on the Chicago lakefront.

But there is more variety than just that on the lakefront, particularly smallmouth bass. On Sunday, Edweirdo tweeted the photo above and this note:

@BowmanOutside a fisherman’s Easter egg hunt

That is the right kind of egg hunt.

Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

I heard of a nice couple pound white fish caught. Smallmouth are doing pretty well over at Diversey. Also had a little wispering of a couple nice perch at Belmont. Other than that report nobody else is trying for perch but there should definitely be some around.

I love the whitefish note.

LAUNCHING NOTE: Burnham and 31st Street harbors are open for launching.

PARKING PASSES: Passes ($10 for two months) for parking at the two small fishermen’s lots at DuSable and Burnham harbors are available at Henry’s Sports and Bait, Park Bait and Northerly Island (credit card only and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday).

ACCESS/PARKING OPTIONS: Here are some parking and access notes for the Chicago lakefront. Several guys have said the parking app, Spot Hero, has been working well for them while trying to park downtown for fishing; otherwise find street parking or small lots. . . . Montrose Harbor has plenty of free parking within easy walking. . . . At Navy Pier, check in at the parking office in the east lot, then be out by 10 a.m. sharp for the reduced parking rate. . . . For DuSable Harbor, use the small fisherman’s lot, but be aware there is lots of construction going in that area. . . . At Burnham/Northerly Island, use the Burnham fishermen’s lot or meter parking north of the old terminal (on days with no events at Soldier Field or the music pavilion). . . . Only legal fishing at the slip north of 87th is on the east end at Steelworkers Park. Plenty of free street parking. The slip at 89th is private property.


Blues and hybrids continue to be the primary focus and catches.

As biologist David Wyffels noted, it is a blue catfish and hybrid striped bass lake now. I would also throw in bluegill, with hopes that largemouth and smallmouth rebound.

Open daily 6 a.m. to sunset.


D & S Baitcan be followed on Facebook.


Both units are open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.


Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report. It is generally out Tuesdays.


Gamefish season is closed.

Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua, Wis. emailed this:

Ice still covers most of our lakes, but in most cases not shore to shore. Edges and accesses are pulling away, ice is very rotted after recent rain and Fri/Sat sun. Measured 21 on Lake Minocqua at noon 4/19. Not safe enough for remeasure today. Mid-week forecast for high 50’s to mid-60’s will eat up plenty of ice this week. Should see open water on many bodies for opener. Crappies: Good – Anglers fared better early and late in day. Reports of some true slabs of 13-15. Big Arb’s south shore is the only remaining fishable ice as of this AM (4/22), but will go fast in these conditions. For the rest of the reports, rather quiet. A few anglers checking out streams for suckers to smoke. Pond behind shop about 40% open, but very dark ice. Typically, Lake Minocqua is ice free 7-10 days after pond. Note: Using Lake Minocqua as reference for other nearby lake ice out Walleye on chain will not be open this spring. Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop Like us on FaceBook —


I was wondering what the prospects were looking like for opening day, which is not far away now.


Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind. texted:

Coho fishing has been really good last couple days from Hammond to mixhigan city lots of fish some Kong’s mixed in too 20 to 40 ft of water best Body baits spoons dodgers and peanut Flys Crappie bite on and off everyday different at lake George and pine lake minnows best bait Willow slough good mainly in boat gills beemoth or red wrigglers lots of bass for bass guys spinnerbaits and chatterbaits good Been great biz this spring hours now 5 am to 6 pm daily


No update.


No update.


The Wisconsin DNR’s Root River Report is usually out Tuesday or Wednesday. Click here to see it.


Inland walleye and pike season reopens Saturday, April 27.

Staff at Tackle Haven said not much going with the winds and weather.


Click herefor reports from the Indiana DNR.


Clint Sands at Lakeside said fishing really picked up, including a 6.2-pound largemouth bass caught and released on Tuesday; lots of crappie on Monday; muskie and walleye are slow; water is 52 degrees with about 1 1/2 feet of clarity.

Hours at Lakeside are 6 a.m.-6 p.m. daily; restaurant is 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Park hours through Oct. 31 are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.


For the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report, click here to see it. Streams flow info is at


No update.


Check with River’s Edge.


No update.


No update.


Guide Bill Stoeger texted on Monday:

White bass are showing up in the deeper holes. There are some walleye being caught, mostly deep along with the white bass. All on rigs. Had 53 white bass and 4 walleye this morning

The Wisconsin DNR said the sturgeon spawning run started.


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