Midwest fishing report Chicago Lakefront perch: They’re in on Chicago’s lakefront, spottier on Waukegan’s. Early (5 a.m.) has been best. Schools are moving around. If you are being overwhelmed by gobies stealing bait, moving as little as 50 feet can make all the difference. Because of cold water, weeds in the harbors are not very high yet. As the weeds grow, perch should hold better in the harbors. Now the best fishing is outside or around the mouths of the harbors. Northerly Island is a good choice, with access both to the inside and mouth of Burnham. Drive all the way back and park for free by the nature center (the former terminal). Ranked in order, the best shore spots are Montrose horseshoe, Montrose mouth/south wall, Burnham Harbor/Northerly Island and Belmont Harbor. With government pier closed for resurfacing, shore perching is tough at Waukegan. But boaters out of Waukegan in 55 feet have caught perch to 1-3/4 pounds. Chicago Light and the Cal Harbor breakwalls have been good for boaters, too. So far, nothing approaches the 2-pound, 2-ounce perch Hans Johannsen caught out of Waukegan last May. Best bet is large fatheads on a crappie rig. Otherwise, from shore, Mini-Mites and spikes are decent. A trick to avoid the gobies is to rig the first jig or hook as much as a foot off the sinker. Boaters such as Johannsen and his son Dieter are having success with jigging spoons, too. Old-timers doing the shoreline walking/trolling technique with Shad Raps are picking up some better jumbos at Belmont.
Free neighbors: Wisconsin’s free fishing weekend is Saturday and Sunday. No fishing licenses or trout stamps are required. Other regulations apply. Wisconsin State Parks open house is Sunday. No admission sticker is required at any Wisconsin state park.
Area lagoons/lakes: Decent: Consistent bass on most ponds and lakes, though most are post-spawn. Guide “Jimmy T” Templin of Ed Shirley Sports reports bluegill bedding all over. Chicago lagoons: Henry’s reports catfish will be going in this month. Cook: JJ’s reports some bass still bedded in the southern lakes; crappie are spottier (still some decent ones at Tampier and Saganashkee). Some pike longer than 30 inches and a few nice walleye from Sedgwick. Most consistent lake (bass, walleye and bluegill) remains Skokie Lagoons, especially for those putting in smaller boats or canoes. DuPage: Kolar Bait reports steady action throughout. Best for bass is Deep Quarry toward night. Boat rentals at Silver Lake and Herrick Lake are open daily now.
Chain O’Lakes area: Good: Stable weather has helped. Triangle reports good catfish all over; best on crawlers or stink bait. Bluegill are also good. Crappie are decent in the back channels on small minnows. A few muskie; some monsters reported following. Bass are post-spawn fair; try plastics shallow or drag the deeper weed lines. For walleye, go with leeches upriver, where there is more current.
Cooling lakes/strip pits: Braidwood/Mazonia: The lakes of Mazonia should be entering their prime period during the next two weeks. Catfish remain the best bite at Braidwood; otherwise, it’s slow. Hours are 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. LaSalle: Lake is open daily from 6 a.m. to dusk. Hatchery staff report 79 degrees at the intake. Heidecke: It should continue to be prime, with the lake warming into the 70s by the weekend. Stripers, white bass and yellow bass are good for those working close to where the carp have spawned. Smallmouth have been spotty. Trolling or drifting with bait remains the most productive method.
Delavan/Geneva lakes, Wis.: Good: If looking for bluegill, Delavan is the spot. Remember the daily limit is 25. Jimmy T reports good bass continuing on Delavan. More consistent largemouth and smallmouth on Geneva.
Downstate: Bluegill entering their prime time across Downstate. Shelbyville: Guide Mary Satterfield reports crappie (fish take sorting for keepers) are as shallow as 4 feet; best throwing tube jigs into brush. Lake is 1.4 feet below summer pool and in the mid-70s. Trolling will produce some crappie and white bass. When found, white bass are very good on points or flats. Scattered walleye. Evergreen: The sixth Annual Lake-Fest is 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. It will include speakers on saugeye and muskie fishing and water quality. Hennepin-Hopper: Site super Rick Seibert reports bluegill are very good. Bass and pike are spottier with a weekend algae bloom. Crappie are scarce. There’s no bank fishing or bellyboating. Kayaks, canoes and boats with either electric trolling motors or oars are OK. Boats with gas motors are not allowed in the water. Worms and wax worms are OK, but minnows are prohibited. It’s open to the public (first 50 vehicles) Fridays and Saturdays. Call (815) 481-0778.
Fox River: Western suburbs: Fair: Riverside reports good catfish; more downstream than up at the dams. Rough fish are stacked by the dams. Smallmouth are doing best downstream in the pools on crankbaits, grubs or tubes. River is low and very wadeable.
Illinois River: Starved Rock area: Fair: Cajun’s reports the best are drum on just about anything and catfish on shrimp or chicken liver. White bass are slowing. Bighead and silver carp are being taken by many people. River is very low.
Kankakee River: Decent: River is low, wading wonderful. Smaller walleye are solid, especially toward dusk by the dams. Smallmouth are consistent; best from Kankakee dam through the state park and by the Des Plaines Conservation Area. Largemouth are decent in the bayous and backwaters with water. Catfish are good throughout.
Lakefront: For perch, see above. Chicago: Capt. Mike Okoniewski reports coho and lakers in 80 to 100 feet straight out of Diversey and browns by Chicago Light and the horseshoe. Largemouth are good in the harbors. Smallmouth are bedding. Good carping (to 20 pounds) on Northerly Island. Waukegan: Salmon Stop reports the best salmon fishing in 50 to 70 feet down 30 to 50 feet straight out and south of Waukegan on Dodgers and flies. There’s a deeper bite (130 to 150 feet) between Waukegan and Great Lakes with dark spoons for kings and some coho higher toward the thermocline. North Point: Capt. Bob Poteshman reports good mixed bag from 30 to 250 feet on just about anything. It’s better on the Illinois side than Wisconsin.
Northern Wisconsin: Decent: A list of revised walleye bags in the ceded territory is available at license vendors or www.fishing wisconsin.org. More accidental catches of muskie than by those targeting them for opening weekend. Eagle River: Eagle River Sports reports good smallmouth (catch-and-release) on the beds, with largemouth coming soon. Crappie are variable; slip-bobbers with crappie minnows are best. Walleye are best at dusk. Perch are best in the weeds in 5 to 10 feet. Bluegill will come up more as the lakes warm.
Northwest Indiana: Decent: Mik-Lurch reports some perch off the shoals on minnows in 40 feet. Smallmouth are bedding or coming off the beds. Wolf Lake has decent crappie and small walleye near the Indiana side launch ramp. Bluegill and bass are catchable at Wolf and other lakes and ponds.
Shabbona Lake: Good: Lakeside reports crappie coming off the spawn. Bass are on beds and good. Water is about 70, so bluegill are close to spawning. Catfish are good. Perch, muskie and walleye (up to 7 pounds) are fair.
Wolf River, Wis.: Fremont: Decent: Guide Bill Stoeger reports white bass are past the peak of spawn, but good numbers can be taken in deep water with river rigs. Keep moving until you find the pocket. Trolling is producing walleye and white bass on Poygan.
Waterfowl: Drawings for the public blinds at Horseshoe Lake State Park and Mississippi River Pools 25 and 26 area will be held Sunday. Doves: June 14 is the application deadline or permit dove hunting at state sites. Go to http://dnr.state.il.us/admin/ systems/index.htm.