Let’s hope the weekend forecast for better weather comes true for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report, but meanwhile this we are looking at forecasts for possible heavy rains, fluctuating temperatures and even a possible accumulating snow.
Dana Robinson messaged on the photo above over the weekend from Tampier:
Stopped by the lake for a few minutes yesterday and this happened.
18″, 2 pound Walleye.
The MFR for Chicago fishing 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.
Believe it or not, as noted in the main column, there were some smelt netted at both Belmont and Montrose harbors on opening night. Smelt netting in Chicago runs through April 30. The regulations are the usual. Prospects are poor, click here for the column last week.
Here is the general word from Bob Long, “The Fishin’ Guy,” for the Chicago Park District, on lakefront regulations for smelt netters:
SMELT REGS FOR CHICAGO LAKEFRONT
Smelt Fishing is a family affair. It’s a community of Fishermen enjoying each other’s company and nature’s bounty. Let’s make this season a safe and clean one for families and our fishing future. The following rules apply:
* 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.
I would emphasize that last one, the regulation is to be out of the parks by 1 a.m.
ILLINOIS’ SPRING TROUT SEASON
Illinois’ spring trout season opened Saturday. Robert Abouchar sent this note from Grove Lake:
Catchable Trout Woodale GroveTook walk with dog to Woodale grove Sunday morning to check Trout bite. Shore anglers reported that Saturday was excellent with many limits going home with anglers. Anglers reported little to no action on Sunday morning however.Tight linesRob
Click here for the statewide release. Usual regulations are in place: those 16 and older need a fishing license and inland trout stamp; daily bag is five. Nearby sites include Axehead, Bellaeau, Green, Horsetail (new for spring), Sag Quarry East, Wolf (Cook County): Grove, Pickerel, Silver (DuPage); Bird Park Quarry, Rock Creek at Kankakee River SP (Kankakee): Big Lake at Silver Springs SFWA (Kendall); Sand at Illinois Beach SP, Banana (Lake); Atwood, Pisacaw Creek (McHenry); Milliken (Will).
INDIANA LAKE TROUT NOTE
Indiana now has a daily bag of three lake trout on Lake Michigan, to match Michigan. Illinois’ daily bag remains at two.
The focus of this week was on the opening of trout on Saturday. Otherwise, there is some effort for crappie, but variable weather makes it difficult.
BoRabb Williams messaged Monday:
We got nothing at Saganashkee….. a d 2 on the Calumet system crappie…..Bad weather …water is at 48 ….both.
As to bass, Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed:
Hey Dale,The bass bite on area lakes have been exceptional. With all the boxes of lures I have and presentations that can be used, the lipless cranks are still the go to bait. Mid afternoon hours have been the best window as the most active bass in the system move up to the inside weedlines. Work the bait from deeper water in as bass are facing deeper water to ambush bait along wind blown shorelines.TTYL—Ken “Husker” O’Malley Huskeroutdoors Waterworks fishing team
AREA WATER LEVELS
This is a week where checking water levels is absolutely essential. 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
Rob Abouchar emailed:
Largemouth bite still very good. Crankbaits in riprap still producing some fish. Bass are starting to move into the emerging grass in midlake natural areas. Flipping and pitching plastics into pockets and holes of dead vegetation producing better quality fish. Nice High School Tournament was going on Saturday as well. Water temps cooled a couple degrees from cold rain. Temp was 65 on North Launch and 68 in mid-lake natural areas.
Braidwood is open daily 6 a.m.-7 p.m. until April 13, when hours will change again. Check with Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington.
BoRabb Williams messaged Monday:
We got nothing at Saganashkee….. a d 2 on the Calumet system crappie…..Bad weather …water is at 48 ….both.
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA
With all the rain, I would think the walleye will be going around current areas. Arden Katz said crappie were stacked in the back channels (but it took sorting for keepers) and there were also good bluegill mixed in.
NOTE: As of Tuesday evening, the lower river was no wake from the Stratton Lock and Dam to the Algonquin Dam. Considering the weather forecast I suspect more changes will be coming. Check updates at Fox Waterway Agency. In general for water and lake updates, go to Fox Waterway Agency or call (847) 587-8540.
Capt. Pat Harrison (click here for his site) sent this Tuesday:
Hope everyone is enjoying our spring wet weather and all. Last week I had one trip on the Chicago River on Thursday day in the rain. Clients were from out of state and said they wanted to fish rain or shine. We got out for about 4 hours. The Crappie bite was on 3 anglers boated about 45 crappie from 9″ to 14″ and about a 1/2 dozen White Bass and a mix of about 8 Bass 12″ to 16″. Water temps are still on the cold side but it won’t be long and the fish will be getting active. I also spent Saturday on Clinton Lake for a High School Fishing Tournament. A friend of mine is a coach for Plainfield South. He needed a boat and I filled the spot. It was fun watching these young guys fish and they fished hard all day. We took 3 Bass to the weigh in for 6.4 pounds. Not the best of days but better than the skunk there were a lot of boats with none one or two. There we also boats with 5 fish its all in a days fun. Till next week tight lines and dry weather.
No update this week.
DES PLAINES RIVER
Marcus Benesch sent this:
Not much to report other than the river us just under flood stage throughout the system. Probably get worse by the weekend with more rain forecasted.
HENNEPIN-HOPPER: The lakes reopen to fishing on May 16 and remain open through Labor Day, Sept. 4. Fishing is closed on Mondays other than Labor Day. Click here for complete list of regs and details.
REND LAKE: Larry Poli posted on crappie bite building:
They’re getting ready to move in to the brush. Water temp still 58
POWERTON: Boat and shore fishing is open. Hours are 6 a.m.-8 p.m. LAKE OF EGYPT/REND LAKE: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. LAKE SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide Service. EVERGREEN LAKE: Will find out about bait shop and boat rental hours.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
As Norm Minas notes in the Kankakee River report, this is the time to be fishing tight to shore in slack areas with all the high waters. NOTE: The river is no wake from the Stratton Lock and Dam to the Algonquin Dam. Check updates at Fox Waterway Agency.
FOX RIVER: WISCONSIN
GREEN BAY/STURGEON BAY
No update this week from Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay.
The Wisconsin DNR report is usually posted Tuesdays and includes reports from both the bay and lake sides.
The former cooling lake near Morris reopened to fishing on April 1. I fished from shore the first couple hours and it was incredibly slow. With the rains last week, I only saw two boats make it under the bridge.
However, on a Monday outing, Victor “The DIZZ” Blackful sent a more hopeful report:
Well I got out to Heidecke Lake today and despite the bad weather I was encouraged. I was fishing the south side of the lake where the steps are along with a couple other fishermen and I got a surprise. Around 3pm the White Bass started to hit night crawlers about thirty yards out from shore and most years the White Bass have been around 6 to 8 inches but today I caught 4 all over 16 inches. The run lasted about 30 minutes and then it went quite. The water is still a little cold but warm weather should really turn fishing on. A guy down the way from me caught a nice Hybrid about 7 pounds. Overall not a bad day out on the lake.
Regulations are the same. Launch opens at 6 a.m., shore fishing at 6:30 a.m.; close is sunset. Click here for my column, which included some prospects from fisheries biologist Rob Miller; good news is that walleye looked good last fall in the survey and white bass, hybrids and yellow bass were solid, too.
River is projected to be in or near flood into next week at LaSalle.
Have bait before you go. Live bait is tough to get. B & B Live Bait–(815) 433-0432–is open in Ottawa, 7 a.m.-noon until weather breaks, then it will be open the usual 6-6 or so. Joe Sanderson messaged that Cajun’s in Utica is now open, too.
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.
Norm Minas sent this over the weekend:
Sunday April 2 2017 , my last day of work after 40 years of railroading on the Illinois Central . I decided the best way to celebrate was by going fishing for river smallmouth bass . It felt right to go old school , something I would have used 40 years ago .I dug out some old pinkie jigs , thinned them out a bit and put on an Uncle Josh pork frog . As the river was high and muddy , I fished shore line related slack water spots . The fish cooperated, I got three smallmouth bass , nice fat chunks . A fitting celebration for such a milestone in my life.PeaceNorm
Considering the weather forecast this week, I think it is time for that fishing shoreline-related slack-water spots.
And congrats to you Norm for celebrating properly.
CHICAGO: When weather allows powerliners are taking some coho and a few browns; Montrose has been the most consistent spot. NAVY PIER NOTE: The fisherman’s parking special is $6, if out by 10 a.m. Find an parking attendant after you pull in to get the special.
WAUKEGAN: Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop texted:
Nice browns off the pier, and nice cohos coming in. No boat reports yet
LAKE VERMILION, MINNESOTA
Check Jarek Wujkowski of Rodsbent Guide Service.
The cooling lake south of Seneca is open daily, 6 a.m. to sunset. Click here for my column about prospects. Also, boaters should be aware that there will be no launching if wind is 14 mph or higher.
MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN
Both units are open for fishing. Hours are 6 a.m.-sunset daily. Check with Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington.
MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN
Check with Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service.
Check the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report, which generally comes out Tuesdays for updates.
Remember that gamefish season is over, as in closed. Because of declining ice conditions I did not include ice-fishing reports this week.
Boats take notice, as Capt. Rich Sleziak notes below, East Chicago is closed for launching, so use either Hammond or Portage.
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind., texted:
Coho action in boats sunday and monday decent up and down the wall and shoals in east chicago you must launch out of hammond or portage. Because pastric marina is closed. Gary light area gave up some also. Brads thinfish j9 rapalas and a variety of crankbaits all took fish. Pine lake in laporte giving up lots of crappie for those in boats fishing little bays and coves jigs in white and pink yellow and black and bubblegum doing good. Minnows ok also. Bank fishing slow for shore guys over the weekend
ROCK RIVER, WISCONSIN
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.
ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN
Remember walleye, pike and muskie seasons are closed inland. Otherwise, I did not check on reports.
ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA
Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.
Clint Sands at Lakeside said with the cloudier water and weather, crappie have been the best bite, as deep as 20 feet. Lake hours are 6 a.m.-10 p.m.
Here are the hours for Lakeside for the next few months:
Shabbona Lakeside is now OPEN for the SEASON
Lakeside will be open everyday, 7 days a week,
April 1st to April 10th 6:30 AM to 6:30 PM
April 11th to September 5th 6 AM to 7 PM
September 6th to September 30th 6 AM to 6:30 PM
October 1st to October 10th 6:30 AM to 6 PM
October 11th to October 31st 7 AM to 5PM
Sands ent this update on hours for the bait shop, camp store and cafe.
Pokanoka’s Cafe will be opening for the season on April 8th and will be open Saturdays and Sundays 11 AM to 4 PM!
The Camp Store will be opening for the season on April 7th. If you need firewood before the camp store opens for the season, see the friendly campground hosts at site 132. They have large bundles of wood available for sale. If you need anything from the camp store when it is closed. Call the bait shop and we can meet you over at the camp store so you can get anything you need. Spring hours are Fridays 5 PM to 8 PM, Saturdays 8 AM to 8 PM and Sundays are 8 AM to 12 PM.
For more information and reports from Lakeside, go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.
SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT
The Wisconsin DNR posts a report during open water 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.
MERRILL/ALEXANDER FLOWAGE: Robert Abouchar sent this:
North Central Wisconsin/Wisconsin River Merrill Alexander Flowage: Ice 90% off the river in Merrill and Alexander Flowage. Only a few pockets of ice in shady low current areas. Fished Wisconsin River from Otts Park to Merrill dam. Walleye just starting Caught nice eater sized walleye on deep diver crankbait. Rod and Rutt bait shop in Merrill reported lots of anglers coming in for minnows and licences to chase walleye. Owner reported brisk business delayed lunch till 2pm Alexander flowage had Lokeman rd. launch ice free and some anglers going out for walleye. Alexander Dam launch still iced in.
No update, though part of the lake on the Illinois side is included in the spring trout fishing.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN
WINNECONNE: Gary Bloom messaged:
Up north (Winneconne ) put the boat in yesterday. Perch r biting in the channels. The Walleye just starting here, we kept 2 this morning 14-15 inchers. Many bites from smaller one. Minnows as the water is 42 deg. Will only get better as water is cold and still low. Hope they get more rain.