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May magic builds, kinda: Chicago fishing

Variable is as variable is for May, but there are still white bass going in some rivers, hybrids are going at Heidecke and there’s perch signs in Indiana for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

The MFR appears in a condensed form Wednesdays on the Sun-Times newspaper outdoors page. The sprawling raw-file report is posted here online on the Sun-Times outdoors page.

John Kudia sent the photo of a quality largemouth bass from a south suburban water. It is that time.

BOWMAN’S BET

Fishing will be dramatically better by the weekend as weather stabilizes and transforms from frosty mornings to spring. My weekend picks are the Chain for bluegill and bass moving back shallow, Heidecke Lake for walleye and hybrids, and Mazonia lakes for bass and panfish.

PERCH REMINDER

Perch fishing in the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan is closed through June 15.

AREA LAKES

Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:

Hey Dale,

Bass on area lakes remain good despite the recent cold front and post spawn fish. Working a 4 inch Zoom trick worm on a drop shot along the inside and outside weedlines have produced good numbers. Looking for old beds was key to finding the most productive areas. The wind blown shorelines were also good.
TTYL

Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Huskeroutdoors
Waterworks fishing team

AREA WATER LEVELS

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

BRAIDWOOD

Site fishing hours are 6 a.m.-sunset daily.

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Arden Katz said he caught bluegill over the weekend, even in the cold, but they were loaded with eggs and he expects them to be up doing their thing this weekend.

Staff at Triangle said that while bluegill (which were close to spawning) and bass backed off with weather, they should be shallow by the weekend; some walleye are being caught in the current areas; crappie slowed; muskie are spotty.

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

CHICAGO RIVER

No update.

DELAVAN/LAKE GENEVA AREA, WISCONSIN

Dave Duwe sent this for Delavan:

Delavan Lake 5/15/16 through 5/22/16

The yo-yo weather has been a constant factor this past week, it looks like stable weather is coming this week which will help the fishing tremendously. With frost warnings in the middle of May, it has been cooling the water temperature from where it should be this time of year. When the weather is stable the fishing has been relatively good.

Largemouth bass are in the shallows in 3-4 ft of water. The best location is in the west end in Viewcrest or Highlands Bay. The fish are being caught on a green pumpkin or root beer colored Senko. The water is pretty cold for the largemouth to spawn, with the warm weather predicted for this week the spawn is still probably a week to 10 days away.

Walleye Pike fishing has been average. Saturday when I was fishing there were a few people that I spoke to that caught them in 23 ft of water. They were lindy rigging small suckers. Look for the fish on main lake points. The few fish that I heard about were in excess of 25 inches.

Bluegill fishing has been good near the outlet dam or in the channels, such as Browns, Viewcrest and the Highland. The best approach is red worms fished beneath a bobber in 2-3 ft of water.

Crappie fishing has been good in the mid range weeds. You want to fish them in 6-10 ft of water. The best location is by Browns Channel. You want to look for scattered weeds. With the water clarity, you need to make long casts so you don’t spook the fish. Small fathead minnows on bobbers have been producing most of the fish. They can also be caught on small plastics.

Northern pike action has been in the shallows. I’ve been fishing them in 6-10 ft of water. I’ve been getting them on medium suckers fished beneath a Thill slip bobbers. The best location has been the buoy line in Viewcrest Bay or the Highlands Bay.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

Duwe sent this for Geneva:

Lake Geneva 5/15/16 through 5/22/16

With the up and down temperatures the lake remains pretty cold which is causing some inconsistent fishing. The best bite on the lake is perch and largemouth bass. Stable weather is predicted and that will help turn on the smallmouth bass and bluegills.

Largemouth bass have been biting in the shallows in 3-4 ft of water. The best location has been Trinkes or Abbey Harbor. They can be caught on a split shot rigged nightcrawler or a green pumpkin Senko. With the chilly weather over the weekend, you need to fish really slow to get the bite.

Yellow perch were biting in 6-10 ft of water. Small minnows fished beneath a slip bobber were the best approach. The best location was Belvidere Park or Rainbow Point. Overall the fish have been on the small size at 6-7 inches. You needed to catch a bunch to sort through to find decent keepers.

Smallmouth bass have been spotty. Most of the fish are caught in 15-20 ft of water suspended about 5-10 ft of water. The fish are near their spawing flats. Look for the fish by the Elgin Club, the Military Academy or Crawfords Bar. The best approach is a white hair jig swam just underneath the surface of the water. The fish are chasing the pods of minnows so once you find the minnows the bass are sure to follow.

Bluegill action has been slow. They are being caught in the shallows on leaf worms. The best location has been the Abbey Harbor and Trinkes or down in Geneva Bay by the Riviera. Look for the fish in 3-4 ft of water.

Some northern pike are being caught in the weeds in 6-10 ft of water. The fish are being caught on slip bobber rigged suckers. The best location has been in Williams Bay or the beach in Fontana. I’ve been putting out quite a few rods to try and catch them. The best presentation is to anchor your boat and fan cast the area.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050

DES PLAINES RIVER

No update.

DOWNSTATE NOTES

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: The Wetlands Initiative will have the fishing season at the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge (Hennepin-Hopper) through Sept 5, except closed Mondays (open on holidays). Regulations will be the same as last year, with an emphasis on reminding fishermen there may be no large motors on boats. Click here for detailed information.  HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Thom Matejewski at Illinois Valley Outdoors said that crappie are “going crazy,” bigger ones slightly deeper on outside of stickups, best is a a jig and minnow or hook and minnow under a float. CARLYLE: Remember the IHSA state championship for bass fishing is Friday and Saturday. LAKE OF EGYPT/REND: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard FishingPOWERTON:  Summer hours are 6 a.m.-8 p.m. EMIQUON: Because of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s shutdown, fishing and boating permits will be done at the launch. Call (309) 547-2730. SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide Service.

EVERGREEN: Mike Steffa sent this update on bait shop and boat rental:

BAIT SHOP HOURS: MONDAY-THURSDAY FROM 8-4 AND FRIDAY-SUNDAY FROM 6-4

BOAT RENTAL HOURS: FRIDAY-SUNDAY FROM 6-4

EXPANDED HOURS BEGINNING MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND!
QUESTIONS? CALL THE COMLARA PARK VISITOR CENTER AT (309) 434-6770.

DuPAGE RIVER

No update.

FOX RIVER

No update.

GREEN BAY/STURGEON BAY

Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay sent this:

Good morning fellas

Here is what I have for an updated fishing report

Bass fishing is off to a pretty good start and will just get better with nice weather that is predicted.  There have been good reports coming from basically the whole Door County Peninsula.  Obviously the warmest water is to the south, basically from the Sturgeon Bay Flats down to Little Sturgeon where there is now some bedding starting.  To the north fishermen have been finding some nice pods of active pre-spawn fish getting ready to push into the shallows.  The best baits are…short tubes, paddle tails, Kalins Grubs, hair jigs, marabou jigs and Lucky Craft Jerk baits.

Walleye fish in Door County can be classed as good to very good especially at night.  The best areas have been the shoreline to the north of the Old Stone Quarry, Sherwood Point, and from Henderson’s Point down to Chaudoir’s Dock.  At night, the best baits have been Husky Jerks, Smithwick Rogues and Flicker shads and minnows, fishing in waters 20 feet or less.  During the day, the best bite seems to be from Chaudoir’s Dock south to the inner bay of Green Bay.  15 to 28 feet of water has been the best depth and Flicker Minnow and Flicker shads have been the best baits.  The Shore fishermen in Sturgeon Bay are also still doing quite well at night.  Suspending crank baits and soft plastic swim baits have been the best

Out on the big Lake, Lake Trout fishermen have been having some really good action out in that 60 to 90 foot range fishing with bright colored Mauler spoons and some flasher fly combonations of course weather and wind permitting.  Brown Trout action is still fair along the Lake Michigan shoreline in less than 30 feet of water.  Floating Rapalas, Husky Jerks and Maulers spoons the best baits as of late.  And there have been a couple bonus King Salmon caught in recent weeks by the Brown Trout fishermen so we hope that is a sign of good things to come

Perch season is set to re-open on May 20th and we anticipate a pretty good year with all of the Perch that we were seeing at the end of winter and into spring.  Look for weed beds and or schooling fish out in the deeper mud areas.  Minnows and crawler pieces are good live baits to start with.

Pike action continues to stay pretty good.  The best areas have been right in downtown Sturgeon Bay, the Sawyer Harbor area and Little Sturgeon has been good.  Large paddle tails, rippin raps, big crank baits and sucker minnows all good baits this time of year

Thanks;

Lance LaVine

Howie’s Tackle
1309 Green Bay Rd
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
Ph: 920-746-9916

The Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report, typically updated on Tuesdays, includes reports from both the bay and lake sides.

HEIDECKE LAKE

Lake hours are 6 a.m.-sunset daily.

ILLINOIS RIVER

Thom Matejewski at Illinois Valley Outdoors said river is receding and expects some stability by the weekend.

Illinois Valley Outdoors–(815) 663-1000–is open in Spring Valley.

INDIANA STREAMS

Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.

KANKAKEE RIVER

River is settling.

BTW: Norm Minas long-time contributor of fishing reports, has to take a break. Anybody willing to offer some help on the mighty, let me know.

NOTE: The Route 102 bridge over Rock Creek is undergoing work, which means access to the state park and Warner Bridge will require some driving around.

LAKE ERIE

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

LAKEFRONT

Remember the perch closure on Lake Michigan runs through June 15 on the Illinois waters.

CHICAGO: Best bite remains smallmouth in the harbors. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said that lakers are solid, but slower than a couple weeks ago, moving more north toward the R4; mornings are better.

WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop texted that boats are going south to 80-100 feet for coho and steelhead or to 280-300 (90-minute run) for mixed bag; shore is slow.

NORTH POINT: Poteshman said that coho are “spectacular,” but it is a big-boat fishery 16 miles off shore; there is a band of coho and steelhead with a few kings and lakers mixed in; but the coho oddly enough can be anywhere in the water column and it takes mixed presentations.

LAKE KOSHKONONG, WISCONSIN

No update.

LaSALLE LAKE

Darryl Turner continues to do well on blues from shore; but overall bass fishing is slow. The cooling lake south of Seneca is open daily, 6 a.m.-sunset.

MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN

Go to Facebook for the latest updates from Gene Dellinger at D & S Bait.

MAZONIA

Open daily, 6 a.m.-sunset. I would expect this to be the best weekend of the year there.

MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN

Check with Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service.

MILWAUKEE HARBOR

Check the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report, which generally comes out Tuesdays for updates.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:

Snow in mid May!  A big step backward in weather saw area lakes lose as much as 10 degrees and more in surface temperature.  Many anglesr who had scheduled their fishing trips were disappointed to see such weather play havoc with their plans and expectations.

Pike:  Fair.  The drastic drop in temperature was too much for even these fish in most cases.  A few anglesr reported nice catches using black tail chubs on jig or under floats.  Not much of an artificial bite this past week.

Crappie:  Poor-Fair.  With a lot of anglers chomping at the bit to get into their May crappie bite, the past weekend was a huge letdown.  Those that did find fish looked deeper than usual.  Probing deeper weeds, where available to produce staging crappies in 6-10’ of water on small minnows was the best bet.

Largemouth:  Poor-Fair.  A few patient bass anglers reported catching bass in 6-10’ weeds on small wacky worms, minnows and leeches.  Not many fish, but a few big (18” plus) reported.

Walleyes:  Poor-Fair.  With dropping water temps pushing bait fish out of shallows, the best bites were found in 14-22’.  Slowly dragging Dace, large fatheads or small chubs up and over drowned wood and rocks worked best.  Jigs, Lindy rigs and slip-floats on a slow drift also produced.

Perch and Bluegill:  Poor.  Few anglers are targeting these species, fewer catching.

Despite season closed until June 18, several reports of incidental catches of big Smallmouth this past week. Fish of 18-20” with photos of a confirmed 21”er reported.

Despite the doom and gloom of this past weekend (cold this morning…28 degrees) from here on out things look very good.  Temps in the low 70’s by the weekend should ramp up the crappies spawning process, get bait fish back into the shallow, weeds starting to grow and overall improvement in May fishing.  It has been a cold spring, fish should be hungry.

Kurt Justice
Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
http://www.kurtsislandsports.com

EAGLE RIVER: No update this week from  B+L, from interviews with guides George Langley, Muskie Matt and Colin Crawford, sent this as part of an update for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce:

NORTHWEST INDIANA

Capt. Rich Sleziak  at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station said that boaters are finally able to get out and they are catching lakers, coho and a few steelhead in 70-100 feet; fishing at local ponds and Willow Slough is as variable as the weather, should be a good weekend.

ROCK RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update, I did not get to call Brian Gates at Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

The Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report is generally posted on Tuesday and includes a Root river section. Click here for the stream flow update, which can be really important for how good the fishing is.

It had this on Monday:

Root River Fishing Report for May 16, 2016

Fishing pressure on the Root River has been very light and went down during the week due to recent rainfall and decrease in water clarity.

For up to date river conditions, check out the USGS web site of stream flow conditions [exit DNR]  in Wisconsin.

Fishing Information

Fishing pressure on the Root River is way down, with most anglers targeting smallmouth bass or suckers. One angler reported seeing a few steelhead in the river, but the water clarity then went way down with last week’s rain. Bait of choice was primarily worms with a split shot and hook. This will be the last report for the Root River until September.

ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN

I did not get staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor called this week.

ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA

Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.

SHABBONA LAKE

Staff at Lakeside said that water is back to normal and clarity is up to a foot; by the weekend conditions should be prime with water warming into the mid-60s and clarity of 2-3 feet; some largemouth and walleye were already improving by Monday evening.

The restaurant is open weekends. Lakeside is now open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. For more information and reports from Lakeside, go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN

The Wisconsin DNR posts a report at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html. It is usually posted by Tuesday afternoon. Stream flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow.

WISCONSIN DELLS

No update.

WOLF LAKE

No update.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.