Spring lurches in with better fishing around Chicago for catfish, bluegill and bass,, despite high waters for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report

Spring fishing slips and slides in on storms, high water and winds, but we are slowly crawling toward summer around Chicago fishing and the signs slowly build in this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

A faithful reader emailed the photo above and this explanation:

Thought i would share this story with you. In between the rain on Monday my son and i were able to get some fishing in on a local pond in McHenry. Conner who is 12 was using cut when this 13 lb catfish hit hard. Needless to say this is his biggest catfish yet. It was released.


Yes, catfishing time is here.


From Fremont, guide Bill Stoeger texted on Monday:

Water temp hit 63 Sunday and the white bass are spawning. Good numbers of fish in the shallow, low current areas. Also many fish being taken in deep water on rigs

That’s later than the usual peak around Mother’s Day. I plan to be up there this week.


Though it doesn’t always feel that way, bass and bluegill are or have done their thing already, despite the weather and all.

BoRabb Williams texted:

Wolf Lake is starting with redear and bass….. Willow Slough also….. Calumet SYSTEM too….plenty of bass and Big yellow perch Jumbos…… catfish EVERYWHERE.

Water is in the upper 60s

….. and the Calumet SYSTEM is HIGH

Waterfall is under water

I should probably do a story on water levels for the two pages in the Sports Saturday.

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

Looks as if I’ll be sticking to still water fishing for the next week or more. Bluegills and bass are both starting to hit on the surface as temperatures warm. So are bullfrogs: I had one cover a lot of ground to try and take a bite out of a bluegill that I was about to land; the bluegill was bigger than the frog.

. . .


Ken “Husker’’ O’Malley emailed:

Area lakes- bluegills are on their beds. A variety of plastics under a slip float will produce non stop action for the kids. Bass are in areas where the bluegills are spawning. Pitch senkos to open pockets of weeds or along the inside weedlines. A few bass are still on their beds.


Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team


All three zones are no-wake, a prime time to fish with no recreational boaters on the water.

Check updates on water conditions at foxwaterway.com or (847) 587-8540.


Jeffrey Williams emailed:

Finally after 8 months we finally caught carp, both me and my lil bro [Jesse Gonzalez] caught a total of 7 carp with both of us caught a 15 pounder each, his waa a mirror carp so his was better. Definitely going back out on both Sunday and monday


Lakes are generally open 6 a.m. to sunset, high winds often restrict boat access.

MAZONIA: Normally, this is when Mazonia should be popping, but I haven’t been tempted yet.


Anglers Dream on Braidwood.

BRAIDWOOD: Rob Abouchar emailed the photo above and this report:

Hi Dale

. . .

The tournament action continued on Braidwood with the Anglers Dream Club. Good 3 fishh limits can still be caught at Braidwood despite warm water.

My next report will hopefully be from Big MilleLacs Lake in Minnesota. It is my yearly vacation to the legendary lake to chase state record size smallmouth bass!

Tight Lines,



Dave Duwe emailed this:

Delavan Lake Fishing Report 5/26/19 through 6/2/19

Fishing is really very good and improving daily. The bass and bluegills spawn is mere days away. Most fish are starting to move into the shallows in 1-2 ft of water. Boat traffic for this time of year is still very low due to the cool water temps.

Bluegill fishing is improving daily. The heavy spawn should happen within the next few days. I’ve been starting to pick up some bigger fish in 2-3 ft of water. The best bait is a small Thill bobber with a red worm. Don’t be afraid of the green slimy weeds, the fish are underneath them. You just need to cast around them. Most of the fish are coming when you find the hard sand bottom in places like Viewcrest and Browns Channel.

Largemouth bass are spawning in 3-4 ft of water. They are located in Highlands Bay and in front of Lake Lawn Lodge and in Viewcrest Bay. Like the bluegills, they prefer sand bottom for spawning. The best approach is fishing weightless Senkos in green pumpkin or root beer colors. The water remains very clear so long casts are necessary.

Northern Pike action remains constant in the 9-10 ft depth range. I’ve been catching all my fishing on medium suckers fished beneath a Thill big fish slip bobber. I’ve been anchoring and casting with the wind to keep the baits away from the boat. The best location has been by Browns Channel.

With the cooler water temperatures, the walleye are throughout the water column. I’ve caught fish as shallow as 3 ft and as deep as 23 ft. Some of the fish I’ve caught have been on nightcrawlers and some have come off of fathead minnows. With stable weather, the fish will become easier to pattern. My biggest walleye to date was 19 inches caught in 3 ft of water caught in front of Lake Lawn Lodge. I’ve caught several others on the deep break by the Yacht Club with fathead minnows.

Crappie fishing has been improving. They are on the weedline in 10-12 ft of water. The best bait is purple or pink plastics, cast out with a slow retrieve. They tend to bite when you pause the bait for a second or two, they like the free fall of the lure. I put the plastics on a 1/32 oz jig head with a small split shot positioned 12 inches above it. This aids with longer casts.

This past week, I’ve been picking up some really nice yellow perch in 3-4 ft of water. They are scattered in with the spawning bluegills. The best bait has been the small round hellgrammites fished beneath a Thill bobber. The best location is by Belvidere Park or Willow Point.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050.


SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Open Tuesday through Sunday through Labor Day. Go to http://www.wetlands-initiative.org/dixon-fishing


In flood.

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

. . .

As far as moving water, I tried to go after smallmouth yesterday morning before the rains hit. This was a Fox tributary in Kane County, way upstream. Water was still high, kind of muddy and cold. The afternoon torrential rains mean that all local streams are probably out of their banks; I won’t even bother looking at them for a week or so. The Fox, Des Plaines and DuPage are likely even worse.



Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva Fishing Report 5/26/19 through 6/2/19

This has been one of the coldest springs I can recall. The smallmouth bass are just starting to spawn and most years they would be totally done by now. Overall fishing has been improving daily with the warmer weather.

Rock bass are starting to show up everywhere around the lake in 7-12 ft of water. The best approach is a split shot rigged fathead minnow drifted or motor trolled at a very slow pace. The best location has been by Belvidere Park or by the Military Academy.

Largemouth bass have been moving in the shallows. The best depth is 3-7 ft of water. They are located in and around the piers on the north shore. The best approach is fishing a Senko in green pumpkin or a split shot rigged nightcrawlers. They are preparing spawn and will be aggressively hitting for the next week. Some of my best fish last week were caught in Abbey Harbor by the outwash of the docked boats.

Smallmouth bass still remain scattered. They are located in and around the spawning flats. They have not begun to spawn that I’ve noticed. The fish I’ve caught have been by Belvidere Park or Elgin Club. Most of the fish I’m catching are on a split shot rigged minnow or on white hair jigs. The split shot rigged minnows are being drifted across the bottom, while the hair jigs are being fished 3-4 ft up off bottom trying to imitate a shiner.

Yellow Perch action has been very good by Knollwood or by Belvidere Park. The fish are in 7-9 ft of water. They can be caught on Thill bobbers fished with a small fathead minnow. You want to position the bait 1-2 ft off bottom. Sand bottom with scattered weeds have been the key locations for success.

Northern pike remain in the shallow weed flats in Fontana, Williams Bay or Geneva Bay. The best approach is trolling large perch colored spinner baits at about 1.5 mph. Look for the fish in 10-12 ft of water.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 608-883-2050


See Fish of the Week tomorrow for a sample of what is offered here.


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers emailed that starting Saturday, June 1, Starved Rock and Marseilles locks on the Illinois Waterway will be closed to commercial and recreational traffic from 6 a.m.to 6 p.m. to prepare for upcoming major maintenance. The 12-hour closures will take place daily from June 1 to July 3 and from July 8 to Aug. 16. Click here for more details. Go to https://chicago.suntimes.com/2019/5/27/18641803/boater-alert-illinois-river-partial-closures-marseilles-starved-rock-locks for more information.

Projected to fall below flood by the weekend at Ottawa, downstream projected to remain in flood.


Be aware that, especially in Chicago, some of the shoreline walkways and many of the fishing piers have water on them or are under water with all the high water on Lake Michigan.

Reminder: Perch season is closed through June 15.

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said the bite in Chicago moved north to Wilmette; there’s chunky coho and some kings off the R2 on Monday. At North Point, there was good coho on Tuesday with some kings and steelhead on the hill, too. He said the hot bite spot would be North Point.

Mike Wojtiuk at Park Bait said coho slowed for shore anglers at Montrose, but some drum started Tuesday on the Horseshoe.

Capt. Scott Wolfe emailed:

Dear Dale –

Overall Lake Michigan fishing has been very good. Out of Chicago most boats have been working from Northwestern University up to Tower Road in 20-40 feet, which includes the R-2 area. Catches have been limits or at least near limits of coho with an occasional brown trout and King in the mix. Action has been high in the water column with baits in the top 10 feet of water. Jimmy Fly peanut files in green or purple were top producers on our boats. Most off of yellowbirds with ½ to 1 oz. keel weights or 2 colors of leadcore.

Out of Waukegan most boats had the same action because we have been trolling the same waters. Many of the Waukegan fleet have been running to those same waters, Tower Road to Northwestern. Most of my trips were in that area. Closer to Waukegan itself the action has been inconsistent with the fish and bait moving and not holding in the same areas day to day. Some trips there have seen excellent, limit catches followed by a poor day with lots of hunting and little catching. However, there is bait and fish in the area. If a boat finds them they need to mark a spot and work the area. There have been many more kings, steelhead, browns and lake trout to go with the coho off Waukegan. In trips where we have worked the areas closer to Waukegan this week, we have had kings to 17#, Browns to 18# and steelhead to 15#. For trollers off Waukegan, try more spoons. Warrior Spoons in any purple pattern like Purple Alewife, VooDoo and Purple Easter Egg on leadcores and downriggers 12-20 down took most of the non-coho.

The weather will hopefully calm down and the fishing should get even better. There are still tons of silver fish in Indiana waters waiting to come north. I expect to have big catches of coho and kings into August this year.

Tight Lines

Capt. Scott Wolfe


Guide Mike Mladenik (http://www.mikemladenik.com/) emailed

Menominee River Report

High Water but Great Fishing!

We had a great day yesterday with quality smallmouth. The warm weather has triggered the bite.


Kurt Justice emailed:

Memorial weekend has come and gone, rain bracketed the weekend, more Monday than on Friday, and a windy Saturday afternoon didn’t make for the easiest of fishing.

Unfortunately, the cool temps continued for most of the weekend (Sunday afternoon was great) and the predicted “hot” Crappie action did not materialize for most. Water temps did crack into the 60’s on 5/26, but dipped again with Monday’s cool rain.

Crappies: Good (but not good enough!) – With the exceptions of some smaller, shallower lakes where the Crappies have committed to their spawning areas and won’t leave, most lakes are seeing Crappies hanging out in 7-10’ tall cabbage as if waiting to move in. Sadly, many probably won’t, as they missed their “time”. Don’t be surprised to catch Crappies with eggs in July that were not laid, but are being absorbed. Anyway…did well on Gapen Fresh Water Shrimp below small slip floats fished 5-6’ down in 7-10’ cabbage. Minnows also working in same.

Musky: Good – Anglers reported seeing and catching in shallows using small twitch baits (6” Cranes, Jakes), bucktails in the smaller sizes (Rizzo Tails, 500 series Bucher bucktails) and swim baits. Lots of sightings as Musky spawning occurring (Females followed by 1-2 males)

Northern Pike: Good – Jigging chubs or suckers, as well as floating same under floats. Casting spinner baits, 4” twitch baits and 3½-5” swim baits above and through 6-10’ cabbage also working. Good #’s of mid 20” fish, tops a 36” C&R on Friday.

Largemouth Bass: Good – Work shallow weedy areas of 4-8’. Wacky Worms, Ned Rigs, twitching #8 Husky Jerks.

Smallmouth Bass: Good – Staging in 8-14’. Anglers using jig: creature, tubes and Ned Rigs finding pre-spawn Smallies to 20”. Water temps need to come up to see these fish come to shallows.

Yellow Perch: Good-Fair – Finding better Perch (8”+) working weeds of 6-9’. Fish not schooling, but working 1/32 oz jigs tipped with medium fats or medium leeches producing. Perch full of dragonfly larvae (thunderbugs), fish this bait where you can find it, on #8 thin wire long shank hooks under small floats. Perch love this bait and from what I’ve seen in fish house, are gorging on it…

Bluegill: Fair – Maybe not warm enough, probably like with Crappies and Bass, cool water holding Gills out in deeper weeds. They love thunderbugs also, so try some or small leeches.

Walleye: Fair – Bite has still been spotty. Deep wood 14-20’, on flowages. Weeds of 8-14’ using medium or large leeches on 1/16 oz weed less jigs.

Not sure if it’s the volume of water (we are full), cool nights, amount of rain or general regression of my skills, but this May has been just so-so! Forecasted highs in 70’s may cure some of that this week, but after having my hopes and predictions dashed like a Browns fan (I’m not), I’m somewhat jaded about the next week.

Kurt Justice
Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
Like us on FaceBook


Capt Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait texted:

Coho with some kings and a few steelheads mixed still going good from straight out of the ditch to Michigan city in 45 to 60 ft of water spoons still best but fish also hitting dodger and flys and spindoctors and flys

Some steelhead have been caught the last few days off portage riverwalk on shrimp and nightcrawlers under floats

Gills and redears are going pretty good in all the local ponds and lakes spawn time redworms and beemoth and crickets best baits


Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said good kings continue in 90-120 feet (a 31-1 king was weighed Sunday) with some lakers; lot of steelhead 200 and deeper.


Clint Sands at Lakeside said there was good crappie over the weekend, including one up to 1 12 pounds, guide Jim Kopjo has been averaging 9-10 inches on the crappie; catfish are good; bass are picking up shallow and muskie are slow; water is 63 degrees with 1 12 feet of clarity.

The restaurant is open daily. Lakeside is open 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Park hours are 6 a.m.-10 p.m.



Wisconsin River smallmouth.

Rob Abouchar emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale

I hope you had a great holiday weekend. I had a great weekend up on the Wisconsin River with family and friends catching some nice Northern Pike and Smallmouth Bass. My Home town boy and guitarist extraordinaire; Larry “Lixx” Locascio joined me on Friday and the big Smallmouth did not disappoint. It seemed as soon as he played some Tesla on his bluetooth speakers the smallies started to bite. The best baits for bass were spinner baits in black and orange and a white Storm 360 bait. Next It was Joe “The Grasseater” Schatz of the Schatzee Lure company joining in on some of the action for pike. Some of his home made chatter baits and spinner baits were tricking the pike. On Sunday we hit Lake Pesobic in town and I was able to get a nice largemouth on a senko. The pattern of un-stable weather, and high water seems to have the fish hesitant to really get on the chew. The water temps on the river was into the low 60s.

. . .

My next report will hopefully be from Big MilleLacs Lake in Minnesota. It is my yearly vacation to the legendary lake to chase state record size smallmouth bass!

Tight Lines,


Looking forward to that next report.

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