Midwest fishing report May 11, 2005
Braidwood tournament: Organizer Neal Miller will have a few day-of registrations available for the Exelon Nuclear Fishing for a Cure charity tournament Saturday. There’s plenty of space for the children’s (12 and younger) bank-fishing tournament. Proceeds from both tournaments benefit the Greater Illinois Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Call Miller at (815) 417-3184.
Area lakes: Improved: “It flip-flopped completely from last week,” guide Jimmy T. Templin said. “Everything, I am hearing — bass, crappie, just everything — is going.” Cook: The Skokie Lagoons or the Busse dam area are hottest. A Midwest Fishing Report friend reports boaters are doing best at Skokie (trolling motors or paddling). JJ’s Bait reports decent multispecies action across southern lakes, decent crappie action at Saganashkee. DuPage: Kolar’s Bait reports the new late hours (11 p.m.) at Deep Quarry are allowing nice night catches of largemouth, walleye and occasional pike. Crappie are strong (numbers better than size) at Pratt’s Wayne. Boaters at Mallard are now able to reach previously unreachable spots and taking largemouth and crappie.
Chain O’Lakes area: Good: Amazing what warm water will do. Water warmed from the mid-50s on Friday to the 60s by Tuesday. Jimmy T. reports dozens of bass were caught on topwaters Monday. Bluegill and catfish are good. Bass are headed toward the beds. Muskie should be more active; plenty being seen. Walleye are fair; more current is needed.
Cooling lakes/strip pits: Decent: Braidwood/ Mazonia: Hours remain 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Mazonia should keep warming and be an excellent choice on cloudy days or in low light. Braidwood continues to be best for catfish, decent for other species. The big tournament is Saturday (see above). LaSalle: It is open seven days a week, 6 a.m.-sunset. Decent mixed bag of fish, but catfish best. Heidecke: It’s close to prime time as the water warms through the 50s and 60s, which might explain the anglers packing the place last weekend. Reports continue of sporadic big muskie and stripers and decent walleye. Catfish should improve with warming water. Days are Wednesday through Sunday, 6 a.m.-dusk for boats and 6:30 a.m.-dusk for shore anglers.
Delavan Lake, Wis.: Fair: Delavan Bait and Tackle reports continuing excellent crappie action and decent bluegill. For game fish, opening weekend was OK. Bass are shallow, but very few legal pike (shallow) were taken and even fewer legal walleye.
Downstate: Improved: As Evergreen Lake’s Mike Steffa put it, “The fishing switch has turned on.” Evergreen: Steffa reports bigger crappie moving toward the beds in the coves. Lots of eater-sized saugeye being caught. Bass and muskie are decent. Guide Thad Hinshaw caught and released a 48-inch muskie with a girth of 22 inches Friday. Hennepin-Hopper: Fishing at the restoration project south of Hennepin is open. Public fishing (first 50 vehicles) is Fridays and Saturdays. There are no minnows or bank fishing. It’s fishing with electric trolling motor only; no gas motors are allowed. Full membership ($300) is available. Call (815) 481-0778. Powerton note: It will be closed Monday through next Wednesday for maintenance.
Fox River: Western suburbs: Decent: Warmer water has turned on more species. The river is low, so fishing below the dams or in the holes has become very important.
Illinois River: Starved Rock area: Guide Buster Culjan reports the river is 63 degrees, low and clean. White bass are spawning; fish them early and late on the drop-offs or on the sand flats with spinners. Sauger are decent on three-ways or trolling crankbaits in 11 to 14 feet. Catfish are getting started. The Vermilion is producing smallmouth and catfish (Sonny’s or cut bait).
Kankakee River: Good: Virtually all species have taken off, but the biggest concern is the low water, especially in the creeks and bayous. Ed Mullady reports good catfish around Momence, Aroma Park and Wilmington on cheesebaits, chicken livers or minnows. Walleye are fair. Rock bass are going well on crawlers, minnows or even popping bugs.
Lakefront: Browns: Explosive browns, up to 15 pounds, along the lakefront. Chicago: An MFR friend reports only small perch in the harbors, but there are plenty of bluegill and rock bass starting. Capt. Mike Okoniewski reports good action on big browns in 12 to 20 feet from Wilmette to Tower Road, mostly on spoons (North Ports or Dream Weavers) down 6 to 12 feet. With browns close, not many are running to the coho in 120 feet. Powerliners are picking up some coho. Lots of smallmouth in the harbors and on the reefs. Waukegan: The Salmon Stop reports some good perching by boaters in 15 to 20 feet on shiners or soft shell, drifting areas such as the Pipe. Shallow trollers (30 to 60 feet) are taking coho on jointed Rapalas or flies (green tinsel) and Dodgers from the surface to 15 feet. Deep water trollers (120 to 170 feet) already seeing some scattered bigger kings mixed in with coho and steelhead. Those fish are scattered through water column. Purple Stinger has been the hottest spoon deep. Fair browns off the rocks. North Point: Capt. Bob Poteshman reports very good action for a mixed bag all the way to the Wisconsin line. Red OO Dodgers and tinsel flies are best, but everything is working and everything from Yellowbirds to downriggers should be used.
Northern Wisconsin: Open: Fair to decent fishing for the opening weekend. Minocqua: Guide Kurt Justice reports small- to mid-sized lakes produced best for walleye. Minnows were best, though leeches worked, too. Crappie are moving into cabbage beds (6 to 10 feet), especially as the water warms in the afternoon.
Northwest Indiana: Improved: Mik-Lurch reports a rebound of salmon, a mixed bag at the Inland Walleye on Dodgers and flies and kings out deep in 120 feet on magnum spoons. Smallmouth are hot on discharges and harbors on tubes or Senkos. Perch are hard to find; Gary Light has been best. Creeks are fair.
Shabbona Lake: Decent: Lakeside reports crappie have moved up and the spawn is under way. There’s good action along the shoreline and in the deep tree, but sorting out keepers takes some doing. Muskie are steady.
Wolf Lake: Decent: Mik-Lurch reports walleye after dark, scattered muskie during the day and steady bluegill in both states.
Wolf River, Wis.: Fremont: White bass: Guide Bill Stoeger reports improving white bass (few females starting to spawn Monday) as water warmed to upper 50s. The peak might be a long, slow affair, with fish moving in and out of the shallows, depending on the sun.
Turkey: Thursday is the final day in the north, and it looks like the state might come up short on a record harvest. Forest wildlife program manager Paul Shelton e-mailed that preliminary final numbers for the south zone were up from last year (5,877/5,781). However, through Sunday, the north zone was down (8,483/8,656), which brought the statewide totals down so far (14,360/14,437).
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