Brown trout and coho are going on southern Lake Michigan, big smallmouth bass are active on Lake Michigan and area rivers, largemouth bass are moving shallower on inland waters and crappie are going all around Chicago fishing for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.
Brown trout and coho are going on southern Lake Michigan, largemouth bass are moving shallower on inland, big smallmouth bass are active on Lake Michigan and Chicago-area rivers and crappie are going inland, too, for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.
Andy Mikos emailed on Sunday:
Hi Dale. I hope your recovery is going well and you are enjoying the spring weather. Saw your video on Facebook powerlining which was cool. My friend Chizel got this 13 pound brown yesterday on my boat out of Diversy. It was part of a 6 for 10 outing with 3 browns, 2 Lakers and a coho landed. Lost another sweet brown at the net and a screamer king the straightened out a peanut fly during a 450’ run. Take care -Andy. Ps- I know you like fishing pictures with the city in the background.
My recovery is going and I not just like, I love, fishing photos with the Chicago skyline in the background.
ILLINOIS SPRING TROUT SEASON
Still some around, but they are getting scarce.
On Wednesday, Bob France messaged the photo above and this:
I met Fraser Semple and Willie Kopke at Axehead this morning. We were there at the opening. There was a lot of fish movement all around. We were on the east side by the circle where it is deeper. I started casting a Mepps spinner right away hoping to get on them right away. They didn’t hit the Mepps so I switched to a night crawler on the bottom with a floating jig on one pole and wax worms/floating jig on the bottom with another pole. Fraser got a tiny trout on a minnow under a bobber about 30 feet out. I switched to wax worms under a bobber nearby Fraser. One other guy caught one on a bobber near us. I got my first fish on the waxies. It was small too. Then I got another small one as it got light out. It was barely 10 inches. Fraser ended up catching 3 and I caught two. There seem to be only a few people catching fish and most of the fish were small. Fraser gave me two of his fish and I brought them home to clean and cook. The small one that I caught just as it was getting light out was a very busy fish as it’s belly was loaded with power bait. Kind of surprising. I did enjoy all the water fowl. There was wood ducks, merganzers, loons, Canadian geese, comorants, ducks [mallards and gulls].
Regulations are same: daily bag of five, those 16 and older needed a license and a stamp. Nearby sites: Wolf Lake, Axehead, Belleau, Green, Horsetail, Sag Quarry East (Cook County); Silver, Pickerel and Grove (DuPage); Bird Park Quarry and Rock Creek (Kankakee); Big Lake (Kendall); Sand (Lake); Piscasaw Creek and Atwood (McHnery); Milliken (Will). Click here for general information on Illinois’ spring trout season.
Season runs through April 30 in Chicago. Chicago Park District regulations: nets may go in at 7 p.m., must be out of the parks by 1 a.m., no open fires, no closed tents, no parking on grass or sidewalks, dispose of coals in appropriate trash receptacles. Click here for the preview of smelt prospects.
Readers suggest SpotHero app downtown. Otherwise, here are some basics: Foster (free street parking or pay lot); Montrose (free street parking); Belmont (pay lots on north and south sides); Diversey (pay lot or street parking); DuSable Harbor (pay lot or fisherman’s lot); Northerly Island/Burnham Harbor (meters, pay lot or fisherman’s lot); 31st/Burnham (meter parking between McCormick Place and 31st Street Harbor); Oakwood/39th (meters); 63rd Street/Casino Pier (pay lot); Steelworkers Park (free street parking at east end of 87th); Cal Park (free parking).
Mike Trinka emailed the photo above and this last week:
Caught this 21 1/2” bass on a black and blue jig on a private lake in wilmington, IL. It hit like a tank to say the least biggest bass so far this year. It will be hard to top this one I think but they are on the move in the shallows.
That last sentence is fair warning.
Andy Hansen emailed the photo below and this on Monday:
Hey Dale, Got a beauty at a city park today, 21”, think she was about #5. Tight lines, happy spring! Andy H
Justin Lederer usually emails from McQuoids Inn in Isle, Minn., this is from Illinois:
. , , Saturday we [he and his son went to Pratt Wayne Woods and fished the big lake for Crappie there we used 1/64 oz pink jigs with clear micro twister tails set under a float 2’6” feet. Caught quite a few mostly 8-9”. . . .
Pete Lamar emailed:
I’d say things are improving at least on the smaller bodies of water. I found the first 60 degree water of the year last week. It didn’t last long-it was back in the mid-to upper-50s by the weekend when I fished. Bluegills and a few bass were active. I was targeting bluegills, using a tiny wet fly, but there were enough bass to keep things interesting. Fish came in all sizes, up to a decent largemouth and another huge bluegill. I found the bigger fish on the warmer north ends of the ponds; south sides produced only small fish.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed the photo above and the nature photo below:
Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing.
Area lakes-the crappie bite has been excellent. So much so that the bass rods have not left the truck.
Crappie are starting to stage for the spawn with the past weeks warmup. Crappie are up shallow and the males are turning black. Best presentation has been slowly twitching a powerbait wiggle worm under a slip float. A few nice bluegill can be taken as well. The east shorelines have held the most active fish as those shorelines have been wind blown for the past week.
Here is this weeks nature pic. These guys are enjoying the warm temps as much as the rest of us.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Waterwerks fishing team
Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait texted:
. . . Crappie interest continues w mixed results at the usual locations. Take care
Dicky’s Bait Shop in Montgomery reported:
Good morning Dale..
. . .
Reports are varied from lake to lake in the area. The smaller shallow lakes have already seen fish moving into the shallow areas. Whereas, in the bigger deeper lakes, they are still suspending in the closest deep water where they typically spawn.
Open daily 6 a.m. to sunset. Click here for the preview.
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA
Arden Katz said water is up and crappie (up to 13 inches) are stacked in the channels with some bluegill mixed in; minnows are the bait. “It is prime time now,” he said. “Find the right channel and keep moving around.”
Proprietor Greg Dickson at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said water is up some; crappie are good in deeper channels; walleye are shallower, try deeper creeks or main lake points on Pistakee or Marie; also one of his young workers caught a 7-pound largemouth bass.
NOTE: Check updates on water conditions at foxwaterway.com or (847) 587-8540.
NOTE 2: The Stratton Lock and Dam reopens on May 1.
Jeffrey Williams messaged the photos above and below and this:
River has been hit and miss the past couple times i been here, but managed to set my PB Carp for 2021, 17 pounds 32 in, also finally hit on sum crappies and decent size bluegills
CLINTON LAKE: Thomas Jones sent this and the photo below Monday night:
33 lb 38 inch blue cat on cut blue gills at Clinton lake Monday April 12
POWERTON: Shore and boat fishing is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
SPRING: Open for fishing.
EMIQUON: Basically, go to the launch. General information at http://experienceemiquon.com/sites/default/files/LakeAccessRules.pdf.
HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season.
Justin Lederer usually emails from McQuoids Inn in Isle, Minn., this is from Illinois:
Justin Lederer checking in from McQuoids Inn Lake Mille Lacs. Got away for a bit and came down to Illinois and went out fishing a few different place with my son. Friday we went to the Elgin Dam were Anthony was able to land this beautiful 20” 5lb smallmouth working a yellow mister twister on a 1/8 oz. pink jig straight retrieved along the bottom. Switch it up some by running the same setup under a float set at a foot deep and started picking up crappie and a large mouth. Water level was starting to come up some as we were leaving. . . .
Dicky’s Bait Shop in Montgomery reported:
Good morning Dale.
Fox River fishing is slow. The water level is extremely low. The current temperature is 55 degrees taken in a shallow area of the river.
GREEN LAKE AREA, WISCONSIN
Guide Mike Norris emailed:
Fishing Report 4/12/2021
Big Green – Surface temp is only 41 degrees, but I am locating and catching smallmouth bass up to 4 lbs. on live bait from the same areas I found them in last fall and winter. We had a bit of a cool off last weekend, so I do not expect to see movements of gamefish into the shallows this week. The lake trout bite continues to be good on hair jigs in 40 to 60 feet of water.
Fox Lake – With warm weather in the early part of last week, largemouth bass were starting to move to the bank. Keep your presentation slow though. Try shallow diving crankbaits near and around bullrushes. Bring leaders to avoid bite offs from the northern pike. None of the buoys have been place in the lake yet, so be careful around rocky areas. Fish Tales Bait and Liquor in Fox lake can help steer you around the danger areas.
For information on guide trips reach out to me via my Facebook page at mike.norris.7773 or email me through my website at www.comecatchsmallmouth.com
GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WISCONSIN
Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.
Bob Johnson sent the photo above and this:
Hi Dale – This Musky and 1 more were caught casting for Bass Sunday. They were active in the bays falling for jerk baits. Musky population seems to be growing on this lake however Bass still a bit slow. Warm days will help.
Open 6 a.m. (6:30 bank fishing) to sunset. Click here for the promising preview.
Bob Johnson emailed the photo above and this last week:
Hi Dale –
Made it out again today for a couple hours before the river gets slammed with rains and stains up later this week?
Fished the same patterns casting up stream with Rapala og slim and Rapala DT 10 bringing lures slowly through slight mud lines in depths from 3’ Down to 10’
Special treat today was a Bald Eagle flying directly above putting on a spectacular nature show. Anyway I did well was able to land a few nice Smallies and a surprise Walleye weighing about 3.5 or possibly 4. 22.5” all fish were released after video. River temps were 60 and clarity was a bit stained. Enjoy your day sir.
Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.
Victor Blackful emailed a week ago:
Well the coho bite was very slow on the south end but if you want to have some fun get a rattle trap and hold on. These 3 to 5lb smallmouth bass are really aggressive and the brown trout seem to be following them.
Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait texted:
Small mouth picking up in the their spawning areas. Coho starting to taper as they are moving off shore. Inland trout still being caught in select lakes. Crappie interest continues w mixed results at the usual locations. Take care
Tom Platt texted the photos above and below and this on Saturday:
Bobby Cannatello [with brown trout] and with the smallie today
Flicker Shad from Henry’s Sports of course ha
Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan texted:
A few cohos are starting to show up, along with browns and steelies. Power lines and rods and reels with spoons and bait
Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed:
The coho are starting to arrive in some numbers with the best coho fishing very shallow, 10-20 feet and south from Great Lakes all the way down to Wilmette. The further South the better. Some are coming in body baits but like clockwork, the 00 red dodger and Jimmy Fly and Lake Michigan Angler flies are best. Mid-April is usually when the fly bite takes over. There are some huge Browns and shallow Lakers in there too, giving anglers a nice change up. Boats should try Warrior Flutter and Flutter XL spoons, with Steelhead Candy and Coho Candy seeing lots of action this past week. Waters closer to the harbor have Lakers, browns and a few coho on 40 to 60 feet. Those same spoons and also blue/green combos are taking more than the flies or traditional laker rigs and are taking multiple species. 2 to 5 color leadcores and dipsey divers have been best.
My boat is still finishing up off-season upgrades, but should have my first trips in on April 24 (finally). Have a great week.
Capt. Scott Wolfe
Open daily 6 a.m. to sunset. Click here for the preview of prospects.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
Both units are open for open-water fishing or ice fishing.
MILLE LACS LAKE, MINNESOTA
Justin Lederer emailed from McQuoids Inn in Isle, Minn., well normally he does, this is mostly from Illinois:
Justin Lederer checking in from McQuoids Inn Lake Mille Lacs. Got away for a bit and came down to Illinois and went out fishing a few different place with my son.. . . Our lake opens back up for fishing game fish on May 15th.
Kurt Justice at Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua emailed:
Weather more typical of April, has moved in! Following a week of unseasonably warm weather, when temps peaked at 80 degrees, cooler weather has arrived. Temps forecasted to hit upper 40’s to low 50’s (still not bad for April). Water temps that shot into upper 50’s on some bodies are now back into low-mid 40’s.
The good panfish bite also slowed, though maybe more from lack of participation than from weather. Some of those warm day patterns from last week changed as the shallows cooled.
Crappie: Good-Fair – Still the most targeted panfish in our area at this time. Most indications have them moved out to 10-12’ depths with the cool weather. While working fyke nets this past week we are seeing a lot of Crappies that are moving to the shallows after dark!
Yellow Perch: Good-Fair – Perch up in pre-spawn and spawning mode. Very shallow, 2-5’, small minnows, worms and tiny jigs working.
Bluegill: Fair – Anglers catching some big Gills on Flowages in wood along channels. Lakes were seeing some shallow, sunning fish, gone with rain.
As our chapter of Walleye for Tomorrow has been working with GLIFWC to get a population estimate on Minocqua and Kawaguesaga Lakes, it’s been very interesting to see the process as the location and timing of the spawn varies from night to night and lake to lake (even on these two connected lakes).
Spawning Walleyes, while starting early due to the warm early April, are now seen dragging things out a bit as the water cooled down and fewer fish are coming in to spawn. While this is not unusual, continue to prep for a post spawn opener. Still 2½ weeks away.
Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
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Reminder, there is a derby on Saturday, April 17.
April 17th -Hammond Marina 22nd Annual Fishing Derby (Saturday, April 17th, 2021 7AM-5PM):
Everyone, Great News! Hammond Marina is reinstating their annual Fishing Derby. As always, It is FREE to enter, & it will be VERY Family-Friendly & an excellent time had by all. Prizes, trophies, & free refreshments will be available for everyone, with separate categories for children & adults. The prize categories will be for largest Salmon, largest Trout, & largest Bass. We will be selling live & frozen bait, tackle, & licenses/stamps both in-store bright & early at 5AM that morning as well as on site at the Marina itself at 6AM, an hour before the competition begins. Also, remember that Hammond Marina has BOTH a large main pier & MANY small, individual piers so that everyone can easily maintain as much distance from others as they feel comfortable with. It was decided last minute to have it this year with everything going on, & they want as many people to be aware & participate as possible. Thank you.
701 Casino Center Drive
Hammond, IN 46320
(The marina that the Horseshoe Casino is docked in.)
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted:
Lake trout action around the gong fishing close to the bottom with dodgers and spin n glows and mag spoons
Coho action from east Chicago to burns ditch day to day some days really slow some days very solid small spoons and brads thinfish fishing top 15ft of water
Willow slough good for boat fisherman moving around gills and crappie jigs tipped with waxworms being best but some crappie on minnows
Christina Petrites at Stan’s Bait & Tackle Center in Hammond emailed:
Hi, Dale. I hope you’re doing well. Here’s what we’ve heard for this week:
Trolling has continued to be steady on Lake Michigan; Trollers are catching Coho, Kings, & Lake Trout. Best action is 30-45 FOW, in the southernmost harbors. Anglers have been successful getting Brown Trout at the warmwater discharge. Inland lakes are heating up with great numbers of nice-sized Crappie & Bluegill. At Cedar Lake in particular, nighttime anglers have been getting large Crappie on light-colored Twisters & Mini-Mites & grubworms. Stripers being caught sporadically at Cedar & Monroe Lakes. Anglers are catching Catfish on cut shad & nightcrawlers on the rivers. Willow Slough showing some nice Bass catches, mostly from anglers fishing topwater or close to the surface. The The Hammond Marina Derby is also this Saturday.
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
Click here for the Wisconsin DNR’s report, usually on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said coho slowed for boaters, especially with the lake rough on Tuesday; pier is slow, too.
Site hours through Oct. 31 are 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily
As of now, the reopening of the concessions is on hold after the initial sale fell through.
SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT
Click here for the southern Lake Michigan reports from the Wisconsin DNR.
Rob Abouchar emailed the photo above and this:
Hearing the reports of low water, and not believing them, I hit the Wisconsin River from shore on Saturday morning with Joe “The Grasseater” Schatz. We hit a few spots and found the river with high and cold water after the rains last week. The fish were not very active. As always in the Spring weather will dictate the fish activity. Joe had a pike swipe at a white grub on a pinky jig head, and I hooked a couple fish on a Shadow Rap Jerk Bait. Both of the fish were quickly lost before any visual confirmation of the species could be made. A few other boats were out fishing walleye. We stopped by the old campsite and found Harley the duck; a pop art piece created by Danny Taylor, our former landlord there… pure genius. Plenty of eagles on the wing and many other migrating water birds, including Golden Eye Duck and Sandhill Cranes. It really was just nice to see the house was still standing and no broken pipes after not being there since November. Next up may be some outings to Busse Woods for practice with the High School Team and Sectionals May 2nd on the Busse South Pool. Or possibly a quick sneak trip to the center Dike at Heidecke.
Tight lines and Good Health
OK, I truly enjoy Rob’s reports, even when they wander far afield.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN
Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:
Walleye action has slowed a bit, but most anglers are still finding fish. White bass are in the river but not feeding in big numbers yet. Water temp was 56, and dropping with cooler rain and night temperatures
Gary Bloom messaged on Sunday:
Morning Dale. Lost another good lakefront fisher, my dad ( Casey ) passed on to the happy hunting grounds last night. He will surely be missed. Had to go Winneconne Saturday. Boat to dealer. Fish were biting well lots of 15-18 inches, few larger too. Water is low due to bridge work in that system. Dams we’re left open. They just closed them last week, so water should rise. 1/2 inch rain there last night. We left early after late call on dad passing. My fishing partner will be missed. God bless him.
Mr. Bloom is a notable fisherman