The Chicago lakefront has been the star in general and that along with the reopening of LaSalle Lake leads this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; oh, and river reports really picked up this week.
And I also want to thank such people as Kyle Lund and Jason Fox were sending reports as we head into the heart of fishing season.
Luis Gonzalez sent the photo above with Ricardo Cruz, Luis Gonzalez, Dale Rehus, Anthony Giglio , John Kim and Frankie Piragine, and this explanation of fishing the lakefront.
If this doesn’t sum up spring fishing I don’t know what does
Gonzalez got that right. He also sent the photo below with this explanation:
It was a heck of a day! I limited Ricardo lost his 5th missing the limit by 1
The condensed Midwest Fishing Report is published Wednesdays on the Sun-Times newspaper outdoors page. The sprawling raw-file report is posted here online on the Sun-Times outdoors page.
The cooling lake south of Seneca reopens Thursday with good prospects. It will be open 6 a.m.-sunset daily. See my main column on Wednesday.
Weather has slowed some of the crappie and general fishing effort.
As to bass, Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:
Hey Dale,Here’s a recap the this past week’s fishing.Area lakes- colder temps slowed the bass bite. X-raps worked slowly along the weedlines produced a few small bass. Key is finding clearer water to work this presentation. Sunny mid-afternoon hours have been the best.TTYL—Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Waterworks fishing team
AREA WATER LEVELS
Click here to find river closures listed by the Illinois DNR. Go to http://water.weather.gov//ahps2/index.php?wfo=lot to check area water levels and projection. To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to http://waterdata.usgs.gov/il/nwis/current/?type=flow
Rob Abouchar sent this:
Hi DaleGigs over the weekend with my reggae and rock bands kept me off the water over the weekend so i snuck out after work Monday for a couple hours of shore fishing on the warm side of Braidwood. The pellicans were huddled tight on the island in the harsh North wind but the fish were still hitting in the post front conditions. Took some nice bass with kvd squarebill banged into the shoreline rocks. Working a senko very slow at the base of the shoreline rocks also took some good bass. Watermelon with red flake was the key color. The water was very warm to the touch and you could feel the warmth near the shorline feeling like low to mid 70’s. With new moon starting and warmer weather predicted the next couple weeks should be prime time at Braidwood. Looking forward to taking my bass fishing club kids out on Saturday to Braidwood.Tight LinesRob
Braidwood is open daily 6 a.m.-sunset. Check with Jon’s Bait & Tackle Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington.
Staff at Triangle Sports and Marine said crappie are good in the back channels and around boat docks; walleye are good in river from the mouth to Silver Lake (look for gravel spots); and bluegill moving into creeks or quick-warming mud flats.
As of Sunday, all restrictions were lifted. For more info and lake updates, go to Fox Waterway Agency or call (847) 587-8540.
CHICAGO RIVER/CHICAGO LAKEFRONT
Capt. Pat Harrison at Pat Harrison Outdoors sent this:
Chicago River and more Report
I spent last week up in Milwaukee at the Milwaukee Sentential Sport Show with my booth and doing seminars every day with Great response. I talked to folks that are fishing Milwaukee Harbor and they are jigging and Blade Bait fishing for Trout and Salmon. I was told it’s the same thing in Racine and Konesha Harbors. Also spoke with a Guy from Baraboo Wisc. And he said the Bite is on at the Dam and the Wisconsin River in the Dells Area.
Here in Illinois I heard that there are some fish being caught off shore in the Chicago Area. They are still catching fish at 87th and 95th too. This Saturday I am doing something a little different on the Green River (Chicago River) for St. Patrick’s Day. I am going to be a follow boat for a group called ROW Recovery On Water . This is a group of Woman that are recovering from Breast Cancer, Living with it or are presently fighting it.
When I was called about being the support boat there was no way I could say no. I received a call and was asked what my rates for this would be and I said I was Happy to do it for free in support of the Group. This is just another Positive thing that the Chicago River is a part of.
Thank You ROW for the opportunity to Help such an important organization.
—www.patharrisonoutdoors.com Thanks Pat
DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN
DES PLAINES RIVER
POWERTON: Shore and boat fishing are open, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. LAKE SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing EVERGREEN: Bait shop and boat rental are closed for the season. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
FOX RIVER: DEPERE, WISCONSIN
Jason Fox sent this:
Hi Dale made it out to the Fox River Depere walleye action was excellent jig and medium roach or xl fatheads were best fished from 5am until 3pm landed 30 between my friend Mike and I. Biggest one 5.5 lbs not one under 18inches my best walleye day ever I have caught more but not at that size great day. Hope all is well
GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN
GREEN BAY/STURGEON BAY
Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay sent this:
Here is what is going on as far as the fishing is concerned…
The ice is still hanging around here in Door County and the ice fishing has been quite good overall, but it is March and fishermen have to be very well aware of the changing ice conditions. With that said, here is the report
Whitefish action is still very good up and down the Door County peninsula. Again, use caution while venturing out. We recommend walking out only and fishing with a friend. A wide variety of jigs like Rapalas, Sweedish Pimples, Howie’s Whitey Heads and Forage minnows just to name a few. Tip your baits with waxworms, spikes, minnow pieces and plastic baits
Perch fishing has been very good all year long and does come to an end as of March 15th for the spawn. The Perch population seems to be on the rise which is very good to see.
Walleye fishing has been going quite good as of late as that limit has decreased from 5 to 1 to during their spawning time. This time of year is when the trophy hunters come out and try to catch one of those 10 plus pounders that we are so well known for. Some of the better areas this time of year include the Henderson’s Point area, Riley’s Bay, Sandbay and the Sawyer Harbor area as long as the ice sticks around. Oddball jigs, Rapala jigs and Moonshine shiver minnows tipped with minnows and minnow heads work well
Pike fishing is going pretty good through the ice and as soon as the boat launch is open downtown, it will be going good via open water in the channel. I figure the boats will be trolling and drifting the channel in a week or so. Large goldens and sucker minnows are the tickets both on the ice and open water
Brown Trout fishing out on Lake Michigan is going pretty good so far during this early season. From Bailey’s Harbor south to Algoma fishing anywhere from 2 to 15 feet of water in those transition areas like rock to sand or muddy to clean water. Mauler spoons and stick baits generally the baits of choice
1309 Green Bay Rd
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
Reopens April 1.
Mike Hanson sent the photo above of Dusty Culjan with sauger and this report:
Pockets of debris- ramp in springvalley is high – but for the most part clear and they are biting
For Ottawa area, check B & B Live Bait at (815) 433-0432.
INDIANA STREAMS (LAKE MICHIGAN TRIBUTARIES)
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.
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind. texted:
Steelhead action upper salt creek and trail creek spawn saks or voodoo jigs tipped with beemoth
Kyle Lund sent this:
Hey Dale have a Kankakee river update for you. Water is finally coming down to much more accessible level. Water is clearing up and the walleye are getting ready to spawn. The fishing really turned on Friday night and has been very good through the weekend. Most of the walleye have been caught on seams and in the top sides of eddies. Twister tails and 1/8- 1/4 oz jigs (depending on the flow) have been very successful as well as live bait presentations of chubs and larger minnows. The fishing only gets better from here and with warmer weather coming the walleye spawn should progress well through the coming weeks.
CHICAGO: Story is coho. Tom Platt at Henry’s Sports and Bait said weather slowed coho fishing down a bit the last couple days, but it should be back again shortly. Powerliners have been doing the best, but casters are getting some too. There’s been some other catches, too. As the Fish of the Week shows.
WAUKEGAN: Capt. Scott R. Wolfe of School of Fish Charters sent this:
Hi Dale – Shore guys are beginning to pick up a few salmon off of government pier casting Rapalas. A few companies, like Warrior Lures, are making custom colors that are preferred on the Great Lakes. Rapala does not make these colors themselves. Lake Michigan Angler is having flicker shads custom painted and those should work too. It’s shaping up to be a good spring. Coho should be in Waukegan in April and ready for our boats.
Capt. Scott Wolfe
Manipulator/ School of Fish Charters
LAKE ONALASKA AREA, WISCONSIN
Lake Onalaska Report:
The Perch bite is hot out of Schaefers. Large jumbo perch up to 14″ coming off small jig and waxie/spike combos. There were over 100 fishermen spread out on Friday from the spillway north all the way to Schaefers. There were a lot of fisherman spread out along the weed flat next to the airport, East of the landing light. Fishermen staying at Cozy stated the fishing was peak and that there was plenty of ice to be found. They were pretty tight lipped about the depth and location, but they had some perch that looked like they swallowed a pop can. They saw ATV’s on the ice but no vehicles. There is some open water visible from shore in spots so be careful and use common sense!
Dresbach Dam, La Crosse, WI Report:
There is a steady bite with pre-spawn walleyes getting caught! Jig and plastics were hot, salt and pepper as well as fire tiger caught fish. The fish were in about 30′ and fairly concentrated. Don’t be afraid to use a heavier jig! We found success drifting and jigging as well as pulling jigs upstream. The nicer fish came dragging the jigs at slow speeds. More fish were caught jigging and drifting, but you had to sort through a lot of cigar sized sauger.
We had to put in at the 7th street landing behind Gundersen Lutheran and make the trip up. Some with smaller rigs were able to push the boats out over the ice from the landing at the dam.
Side note… the Trempealeau dam landing was open but near impossible to put in a larger deep-V rig because of a sand bar. There were quite a few boats that were able to make it.
Roy and I are getting excited for Spring Valley! Hopefully, we might see you there.
It is that time of the year coming again for Spring Valley.
Reopens to fishing on Thursday. It will be open daily.
MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN
Both Mazonia South and North are open for fishing. Check with Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington.
MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN
Check with Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service sent this:
Gamefish season is closed. Thursday is the deadline for removal of permanent ice shanties on the Michigan boundary waters.
MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:
With the gamefish season over, all local attention is on the panfish in the Lakeland Area. Unfortunately, recent snows and warm ups have caused quite a bit of slush, making getting around difficult on lakes that don’t receive much traffic. Ice is still plenty thick (22-30”) but I personally noticed ice getting a bit soft due to the water on top working its way through ice. Still, with the 12-16” of snow on top, it will take a while to get down to some serious ice melt.
Bluegill: Good – Varying reports, most Gills up in 7-10’ of weeds, with the better Gills moving through the deeper weeds in schools taking #3-#4 Fiska tungsten jigs tipped with moussees or waxies. Plastics also producing using Mustache worms and Shrimpy tails. Also some Gills still deep, relating to rock in 22-26’. Heavier offerings of larger tungsten jigs tipped with waxies, spikes or wigglers producing nicer Gills of 8”+.
Yellow Perch: Good – Most action over mud using Chandeliers, Pimples, Halis, Venom Tungsten Core, and #5 Fiskas to get wigglers and red spikes down to fish. Depth of 14-24’ on average, find schools then keep them interested by getting bait back down quickly. Tip-downs with rosies and small fats working due to mild weather.
Crappie: Good – Getting better, but far from peaked. Staging away from bays, but moving closer. Tip-downs have been good choice as Crappies found suspending 3-5’ off bottom in 14-22’. Not a lot of strong reports from anglers dipping plastics in bays until last hour-and-a-half before dark, then big slabs moving in.
March should be a good month for ice as day time highs in 30’s and 40’s will be countered by night time temps in teens. Watch for shoreline pull off where melting snow eats at access points, but so far good access not a problem.
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind. texted:
Coho great action on boats fishing thinfish and j9 rapalas up and down walls out of east Chicago and fishing gary light area fast actionSteelhead action upper salt creek and trail creek spawn saks or voodoo jigs tipped with beemothCrappie action on the ditch started again on chartuese jigs tipped with waxworms or just a plain gold hook with fathead minnow fishing around 249 bridge and old docksCedar lake giving up some crappie in the marina white or green lil tube jigs or Rufus jr jigs
Sorry got bizy as hell coho action picking up daily for shore guys Michigan city portage east Chicago and Hammond coho being caught daily not as fast as boats but fish being caught and will light up when water warms 2 more degrees skein squid crawlers golden roaches shrimp casting spoons all taking a few fish for shore guys
Capt. Scott R. Wolfe of School of Fish Charters sent this:
Our Chicago partner had no charters this past weekend so a group of captains made a short road trip to Gary Light. They had their limit in under 2 hours also using body baits with the custom Great Lakes paint jobs. Slow speed trolling near the light. Have a great week.
Capt. Scott Wolfe
Manipulator/ School of Fish Charters
ROCK RIVER, WISCONSIN
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN
Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor, Mich. said there are steelhead going at Berrien Springs. It is expected that by the weekend, pier fishing should be going and eventually the coho will make it north, too.
ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA
Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.
Lakeside–(815) 824-2581–is officially closed, but Clint Sands is usually around mornings and boat rentals are by appointment.
Park hours are 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
For more information and reports from Lakeside, go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.
SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT
The Wisconsin DNR posts a report during open water at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html. It is usually posted by Tuesday afternoon. Streads flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow.
WINNEBAGO SYSTEM, WISCONSIN
Check with River’s Edge.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN