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Trout opens, coho, all kinds of fishing: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

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Federico Saavedra with nice trout caught on opening weekend for inland trout in Illinois.
Provided

The inland trout season in Illinois opened Saturday, the most beautiful Saturday in half a year, but trout was but one of many things going on in this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Federico Saavedra emailed the photo at the top and this note:

Rainbow trout opening day and caught these 4 on PowerBait.  

He was part of a lot of people who did well for trout on opening weekend. I think the wonderful weather had something to do with it and I suspect this week and weekend will be a whole lot tougher for trout.

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.

INLAND TROUT OPENER

Regulations are the same for Illinois’ inland trout season, which opened Saturday. A fishing license and inland trout stamp are needed, daily bag is five. Click here for the statewide release on inland trout. Here are the nearby waters:

Cook County (Axehad, Belleau, Green, Horsetail, Sag Quarry East and Wolf lakes); DuPage (Silver, Pickerel, Grove); Kankakee (Bird Park Quarry, Rock Creek); Kendall (Big Lake); Lake (Banana, Sand); McHenry (Lake Atwood, Piscasaw Creek); Will (Milliken).

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Frank Knight sent this photo from opening weekend of inland trout in Illinois.
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Frank Knight of Fish Tales Fishing Club sent the photo above and note from trout fishing farther afield:

1- Fished opening day of Inland Trout Season yesterday at Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park. Good crowd and fishing was hot and heavy for most of the morning. Lots of folks had limits by the time the sun broke through the fog and clouds. The fish that were stocked were fatties with only a few small ones. (pic attached, this was the first and the runt)

That was my first time, caught 4 nice ones by 3:30, it was time.

Now there is a guy I love, who gets my sign-off.

Bob France sent the photo below from the opener of Illinois’ inland trout season on Saturday and this note:

A fatty from today at pratts

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Bob France with “fattie of a rainbow trout on opening weekend for inland trout in Illinois.
Provided.

LAKEFRONT COHO (AND TROUT)

Stracey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted:

Coho was good over the weekend but by the time we got to yesterday with no wind and no chop on the water it was pretty slow. Few nice brown trout caught few nice steelhead other than that nothing else to report. Couple guys smelt fishing but didn’t see any smelt.

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

Coho fishing on lake for both trollers and shore guys spotty. One day good the few days lot slower fish are scattered

Lori Ralph at The Salmon Stop in Waukegan texted:

Yes, cohis, browns and a few Steelers off the pier and the rocks using spoons, sacks and worms. Been good the past 3 weeks. Few boat reports, shallow spring fishing

Capt. Scott Wolfe of School of Fish Charters emailed:

Hi Dale
This weekend was a great start to the summer fishing season. Out of Waukegan 20  to 30 feet of water produced mixed catches of browns, coho and lakers. Flicker shads, Jimmy Fly peanut flies behind 00 dodgers and Warrior Flutter spoons all run 5/8 oz weights behind yellow birds took the fish. The coho are not there in huge numbers yet, but there are already starting.
Chicago was about the same. Nice mixed bag catches with the best action near the R2 buoy near Wilmette. 20-30 feet.
This is an above average start to the season. Let’s hope it continues.
Capt Scott Wolfe
School of Fish Charters
630-341-0550

SMELT

Click here for my column off opening night. Bottom line is basically what it has been, if you get some (or any), be happy. Virtually no reports.

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.

Carl Vizzone of the Chicago Park District texted this update about Montrose parking for smelters:

Boaters lot at Montrose will be open from 6:00 PM – 2:00 AM daily. This allows one hour for setup and an hour to pack up and get out. Fishing time for smelt is still the same, 7:00 PM – 1:00 AM. Nets can not be in the water until 7:00 PM.

AREA LAKES

People are out fishing and catching all kinds of fish from crappie to bass, though I haven’t heard of a lot of catfish yet.

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BoRabb Williams out and about over the weekend.
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But did BoRabb Williams ever get it done and sent this:

I fished Cedar Lake Indiana…. caught some Big hybrid strippers…. white bass too … no crappie…. Wolf Lake for Trout … some small crappie and pike…. Powderhorn I got small crappie and pike…. Lake Calumet… we got Largemouth bass… crappie and white bass…. the water is 49 degrees and RISING…. its changing….. Saganashki Slough we got a few crappie and catfish Sunday….. I be FISHING daily at Calumet and Wolf and Beaubien Woods

That’s what I call fishing.

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

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing.
Area lakes- with the warmup over the weekend, bass have been excellent. Focus on early afternoon hours as bass have been moving up shallow on sunnier days. Chatterbaits and lipless crankbaits have been the best baits. Cast parallel to the inside weedlines to keep the bait in the strike zone longer.
TTYL
Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team

AREA RIVERS

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

BRAIDWOOD LAKE

Open 6 a.m.-sunset daily.

Rob Abouchar sent the report and photo below:

Hi Dale

The drive to Braidwood was a little more intense than usual with the heavy fog advisory but Myself and Joe “The Grasseater” Schatz made it to the North lot safely.  The previous night we discussed going with old school slip float tactics from shore with minnows but skipped purchasing the minnows and Joe opted to use small shad that I was snagging somehow on my crankbait.  The small 4 inch or so shad seemed to be just the right size as Joe connected on several nice bass and a little catfish floating the bobber in tight to the rocks.  I landed a couple bass on a sexy shad crank that matched the hatch to a T. , and a nice one on a 5 inch Senko in a rock corner.  By 11am it was time to head back to the house to meet Dean Moss my real estate gut to discuss listing house for move to home on lake.  Most likely Fox Chain area. On Saturday there were many boats pre-fishing for the big Fishers of Men Tournament on Sunday that had 75 boats go out.  The tournament was won with 12.24 pouds for 3 Largemouth Bass.  The Big Bass of the tourney was 5.19lbs.  Anglers Choice Braidwood Division kicks off this weekend on the 14th.
Tight Lines,
Rob
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Bass in the grass at Braidwood.
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CALUMET SYSTEM

As BoRabb Williams noted above, the water in Lake Calumet is warming rapidly toward and into the 50s and there are crappie, largemouth bass and white bass to be caught.

CHAIN O’LAKES

Arden Katz said, “Crappie are on fire.” Water warming through the 50s. “I think this is the week for crappie,” he said. He is fishing with tiny bobbers and either minnows or 1/64th-ounce twistertails.

Brad Irving at Triangle Sports and Marine said crappie and bluegill are going in the channels, but the water is really being dropped; walleye are in the lakes, females are still solid; on Fox, crappie and walleye are being caught on the drops; on Grass, especially at night, catfish are going.

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.

CHICAGO RIVER

Capt. Pat Harrison at Pat Harrison Outdoors sent this:

Talked to a couple friends that have tried the river surface temps are still down  I thinking with the bit of the warm up we are having things should start to turn on.  I coached a couple High School Tournaments with Plainfield South Fishing Team this past weekend. First Tournament was on the Desplaines River out of Big Basin. Saw Dale Bowman and Frank Hyla we talked a bit. It was a tough bite we managed 2 keepers just over 12” in my boat. There were some limits brought in  we just didn’t have the touch. Sunday we were on Clinton Lake for a State qualifier. The first 3-4 hours we were in the rain and the bite was tough. As the weather cleared we had some wind but in the last hour we started finding fish in downed wood on sand or dirt shorelines Bass were starting to clean areas for beds, one of the boys in the boat got 2 decent fish before we had to head to the scales his bag was just light of 6 pounds. What I wouldn’t have given for one more hour on the water but that’s fishing.

I will be out after a repair to my trailer I burned up a wheel bearing on the way home from Clinton. I’m hoping I have the water temps to catch some fish I will post what I find. Ther are some Browns being caught at Northpoint and Waukegan Harbor and Some here and there from shore in Chicago. I would try chrome baits to match smelt and smelt fish, Looking forward to a Great 2019 season. Hope everyone has a Great season share some pictures of your catches. Smelt is another subject a friend was out fished 4 hours and 18 smelt hit the net.

Till next week Thanks Capt. Pat,

DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN

No update.

DES PLAINES RIVER

From the high school tournament at Big Basin on Saturday, I think Mark Stewart was spot on when he said the bass are going to go in another two weeks.

DOWNSTATE NOTES

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.

DuPAGE RIVER

No update.

FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS

Violetta Talley sent this report:

The Fox River is down to a normal/average level and the water temp is rising slowly. Fish are still scattered but moving into the eddies slowly. Some reports of crappie have been caught throughout the river from Algonquin to Batavia, mostly on minnows and in slackwater areas. Decent size largemouth bass (2Lbs+) have moved into some of the slackwater areas and are being caught on various baits including plastic craws, worms and jigs… the smaller the presentation the better! Be patient when fishing the slackwater areas and make sure to slow down your presentation as much as possible. Don’t be afraid to cast to the same area several times because the fish are there!

Key words, because the fish are there.

FOX RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.

GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN

No update.

GREEN BAY/STURGEON BAY

No update from Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

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

HEIDECKE LAKE

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.

ILLINOIS RIVER

Check with 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.

KANKAKEE RIVER

Kyle Lund pulled together a quick report and I agree that things will be changing again with the weather:

Dale im sorry. I don’t have anything prepared. Been slammed at work and home and haven’t had time to do anything let alone fish. Smallies have been shallow and eating from what i have heard. Cranks, weighted, keeper hooks and plastics. River is falling and clearing . Cool temps and coming rain may slow things down for a few days. Hearing a couple male walleyes still being caught at the K3 dam.

KENOSHA, WISCONSIN

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

LAKE ERIE

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

LAKEFRONT

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

LAUNCHING NOTE: Burnham Harbor launch is closed through May 1. Click here for more details.

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 winter perch fishing. Information on parking passes and pier passes is below under separate headings. 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. . . . 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.

LaSALLE LAKE

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.

MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN

D & S Bait can be followed on Facebook.

MAZONIA

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

MILWAUKEE HARBOR

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

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

Gamefish season is closed.

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

What ever happened to spring?  We keep getting tempted with a few 50 degree days then, Wham!, cold and blizzards again.  That’s right, they are predicting heavy snow and blizzard conditions for Wednesday night into Thursday – 10” +.  Anglers that did go out the past few days caught fish, but did have to work for them a bit.  Ice conditions are fairly okay as of now.  Still 16 to 20” + of ice, though it’s getting to be that rotting texture of ice.  Access is still good with the exception of a few lake’s north shorelines where it’s starting to get messy. 

 

Bluegill:  Good-Very Good – Tungsten jigs with waxies or spikes are getting fish.  To keep the smaller ones off, tip your jig with a plastic.  I’ve been hearing that purple has been a good plastic color of late.  Fish were found in weeds in that 6-12’ range.  In some of the oxygen depleted lakes, fish are only a few feet under the ice.

 

Crappies:  Good – Minnows have been the key the past few days.  Small jigging spoons like, flash champs, Demon Tounges, and Lethal Cecils are all producing.  Tip-downs is another good choice to find fish and spread out a bit.  A small #14 or #12 treble with a minnow will get you fish.  Weeds and 6-14’ is the key.

 

Yellow Perch:  Good –       Deep mud flats continue to be the hotspot for larger Perch. Wigglers are producing well, as are minnows and grubs.  Hali jigs, pimples and Kastmasters are all working well.

This next storm could make getting out a little more work.  We’ll keep you posted to let everyone know how the ice will be of feel free to call the shop.  The up coming weekend looks to be nice.                                             

Kurt Justice
Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
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NORTHWEST INDIANA

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

Coho fishing on lake for both trollers and shore guys spotty. One day good the few days lot slower fish are scattered

Pine lake in Laporte good in the shallows fishing minnows or jigs tipped with waxworms
Lake George in Hobart still decent for crappie below the dam and around 3rd street bridge and Wisconsin st bridge day and night has givin up fish minnows best bait
Cedar lake in cedar lake giving up some crappie in marina fishing minnows or jigs must go thru a lot of white perch tho to get the crappie
Lots of people fishing haven’t had a slow day in awhile

And that’s a good thing.

ROCK RIVER, ILLINOIS

No update.

ROCK RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

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

ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN

Walleye and pike season is closed. I did not get staff at Tackle Haven called.

ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA

Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.

SHABBONA LAKE

Clint Sands at Lakeside said water is still in the 40s, really needs to hit 50s for fishing to go; otherwise it is mainly crappie with a few muskies last week.

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.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT

For the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report, click here to see it. Streams flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow.

WINNEBAGO SYSTEM, WISCONSIN

No update.

WISCONSIN DELLS

Check with River’s Edge.

WISCONSIN RIVER

No update.

WOLF LAKE

No update.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update. I did not get guide Bill Stoeger called.