Crappie, Ovid, coho, Wisconsin opener: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report – Chicago Sun-Times

I’m so proud, one of the faithful contributors slipped in the Roman poet Ovid.

But to more immediate stuff, there’s a recap of the Wisconsin opener and the spring spread of fishing as the leads in this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report for Chicago fishing.

Dave Duwe is back with reports on Delavan Lake and Geneva Lake.

Andy Mikos emailed the photo at the top and this:

I know how you like pictures of fish with the city in them so here is Coach Ron [Ashlaw], the head basketball coach at The Waukegan, with an 11 pound steelhead caught right next to the lighthouse this morning.  It was part of a quick 15 fish limit this morning.  Tons of bait and tons of cohos between Burnham Harbor and the light house.  There is less up north by Evanston.

The condensed Midwest Fishing Report appears Wednesdays on the outdoors page of the Sun-Times newspaper. The sprawling raw-file report is posted here online on the Sun-Times outdoors page.


Mike Wojtiuk at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor said action slowed with warmer water; though some are trying.

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said that on Sunday and Monday, there was tremendous coho fishing off Chicago by Navy Pier. “Best bait I’ve seen in years,” he said. Best is peanut flies and small Dodgers. Waukegan and North Point were slower by comparison, but any day the coho will be headed that direction in bigger numbers. “Starting off to be a great coho year,” he said. “Lake trout slowed a little bit, but we’re getting some and they are big ones.

Lori Ralph at The Salmon Stop in Waukegan texted:

Some off the piers and boats,,,,,till the weatjer got shirty!😞

Read carefully.

Capt. Rich Sleziak  at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind. texted:

Coho fishing around gAry light great over weekend with few kings mixed in dodger fly and thinfish and spoons best baits fish too 12 ft of water
King bite good for some just east of the doughnut to just west of the pink house down around Michigan city
40 to 60 ft of water spoons and spindoctors and Flys best on riggers 200 coppers and dipsey fishing fishing mid way down


Think it might be crappie time.


Wading for crappie at Saganashkee Slough.
Provided by BoRabb Willaims

BoRabb Williams posted the photo above and this on Sunday:

Currently………. Saganashki Slough…… wading for crappie….. STROKE !!!

Then followed up with a message:

Dale Bowman….. ya Diggg

Yes, I do. And yes, he was wading for crappie at Saganashkee Slough.


Crappie from Saganashkee Slough.
Provided by BoRabb Williams

Larry Green tweeted:

Enjoying some Cook County Forest Preserve action with this beautiful white crappie

Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this on bass:

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing.
Area lakes- it was time intitiate high water techniques. Throwing lipless cranks and chatter baits parellel to the shoreline. Working the baits tight to shore is key. Emerging reeds held the most active fish. Also focus on in-flows and work the current seams.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley
Husker Outdoors
Waterwerks fishing team

Pete Lamar sent this:

Hi Dale,

. . .

On a local lake (on the Kane/DuPage border) last night, even in the stiff east winds and falling temperatures, bluegills were very active. They were aggressively hitting a foam hopper on the surface-a lot of fun on a 2 weight rod.


This is a week where this information is important. Click here to find river closures listed by the Illinois DNR. Go to to check area water levels and projection. To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to


Open 6 a.m.-sunset daily.


Braidwood bass.
Provided by Rob Abouchar

Rob Abouchar sent the report and the photos above and below:

Hi Dale

What a few days it has been since last Friday.  The Penny Road Pub was a stoned gas.  Our old saxophone player Chris “Silver Conn Buchanan joined us on sax and she always brings it.  Then On Saturday it was on To Braidwood to test the boat to make sure all systems were go for the Sectionals on Monday.  With battery issues at the launch myself and Joe The Grasseater Schatz were again fishing the shoreline at Braidwood.  As is becoming a regularity with Joe a big Bass came to hand.  Again it was the squarebill crankbait getting the action.  The Exelon Fishing for a cure was going on Saturday at Braidwood with 75 boats participating.  Some reported a tougher bite.  The winning weight was 10.07 lbs for 3 bass.  The big bass of the event was a 4.42lb Largemouth.  Lots of anglers flipping shaky heads with plastics.  Water temps soaring into the high 80s.  Sunday Braidwood was the site for the second Anglers Choice Braidwood division with 26 boats participating.  The tourney was won by William Loftus and T. Christy. 4th place went to Frank Monnett and Chuck Sabia. Next event for Anglers Choice will be May 19th at Braidwood North Launch.  The highlight of the extended weekend was the IHSA Bass Fishing Sectionals on Monday at Tampier Lake.  My Leyden High School squad managed to land a fish and bring it to the scales.  A 1.03 largemouth never looked so big.  The event was won by St. Patricks with a strong showing by Taft High School.  We took 7th out of 14 boats and I was very proud of my two anglers in their first competition.  A big thanks goes out to Jim Phillips for getting things organized in the change of venue from Skokie Lagoons to Tampier.  It was all topped off with a generous helping of Chauncey Nizol as the weigh master M.C. …  Simply stupendous!!!  If this is just the beginning of the season it is going to be quite memorable.
Tight lines


Perforamnce at Penny Road.
Provided by Rob Abouchar


No update.


As of Tuesday, all three zones were no-wake. Check updates at Fox Waterway Agency or (847) 587-8540.

Brad Irving at Triangle Sports and Marine said walleye are going, trolling or jigging crawlers, on the main lakes; white bass are going on bladebaits and such, Marie is best (when water warms back up it should go again in the river) Petite or Bluff good, too; a few muskie being caught.

STRATTON LOCK AND DAM: Lock is open Wednesday through Sunday, 8 a.m.-midnight. Click here for more info on the lock and dam.

Key information for May and June is this:

To facilitate ongoing construction operations at the Stratton-Bolger facility, the lock will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays (with the exception of Memorial Day on Monday, May 27) during the months of May and June.

During the months of May and June, IDNR lock tenders will operate the lock on Wednesdays through Sundays from 8:00 a.m. until midnight.


Capt. Pat Harrison at Pat Harrison Outdoors sent this:

Chicago River and Lake Michigan Report,

Sorry I haven’t done a report for a couple weeks had a lot of things to get accomplished and missed the deadline. There really isn’t much of a report on the River due to it being high and dirty right now with all the rain we have had. My season is a bit behind at this point last year I started the end of January, this year I’m still on the trailer. I really don’t want to start until I get a chance to fish it a week or so to find my spots and fish. We need to a have some steady stable weather and the fish will start to move.

The Lake is producing some Trout and Salmon from shore and by boat. Water temps are still down so fishing should really start to move with a little warm up. This year I am also going to be going out of North Point and Waukegan harbors and mixing it up a bit Bass Salmon and Trout. Trolling Yellow Birds and running a set of Cannon down riggers. Trolling will be up to 4 anglers but I suggest 2 angler trips to make it more fun not waiting for your turn to catch a fish.

 Looking forward to another Great Season once it gets started which should be in a week or so. Boats all checked tuned cleaned loaded and ready. Also added 4 new Grandt Rods 3 being Bait caster one being a 7 ‘ Spinning rod. There also a lot of new tackle to be put to the test.

 Have a Great Week,

  Capt. Pat


Dave Duwe emailed this:

Delavan Lake 5/04/19 through 5/12/13

The yo-yo weather has been a constant factor this past week, it looks like stable weather is coming this week which will help the fishing tremendously. Water temps are in the low 50’s. When the weather is stable the fishing has been relatively good.

Largemouth bass are in the shallows in 3-4 ft of water. The best location is in the west end in Viewcrest or Highlands Bay. The fish are being caught on a green pumpkin or root beer colored Senko. The water is pretty cold for the largemouth to spawn, with the warm weather predicted for this week the spawn is still probably a week to 10 days away.

Walleye Pike fishing has been average. Saturday when I was fishing there were a few people that I spoke to that caught them in 23 ft of water. They were lindy rigging small suckers. Look for the fish on main lake points. The few fish that I heard about were in excess of 25 inches.

Bluegill fishing has been good near the outlet dam or in the channels, such as Browns, Viewcrest and the Highland. The best approach is red worms fished beneath a bobber in 2-3 ft of water.

Crappie fishing has been good in the mid range weeds. You want to fish them in 6-10 ft of water. The best location is by Browns Channel. You want to look for scattered weeds. With the water clarity, you need to make long casts so you don’t spook the fish. Small fathead minnows on bobbers have been producing most of the fish. They can also be caught on small plastics.

Northern pike action has been in the shallows. I’ve been fishing them in 6-10 ft of water. I’ve been getting them on medium suckers fished beneath a Thill slip bobbers. The best location has been the buoy line in Viewcrest Bay or the Highlands Bay.

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


No update.


POWERTON LAKE: Hours are 6 a.m.-8 p.m. LAKE SHELBYVILLE:  Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide ServiceREND LAKE: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Have not yet seen the opening day for spring/summer fishing to begin.


No update.


Pete Lamar sent this:

Hi Dale,

At long last, I have something to contribute; I’ve finally been getting out.

Thanks for the heads-up on the morels.  I started looking as soon as I read in your column of people finding them, even though it seemed a little bit early.  They’ve been found in their usual locations; not huge numbers, but always a few.  Speaking of it having been early, the first morels of the year for me were the first ones I’d ever found with snow on the ground.

I tried a Fox tributary far upstream, near the Reagan Tollway, late on Sunday  afternoon, thinking that waiting a few days and fishing up near the source would’ve resulted in some dropping and clearing water. No such luck.  It was still high and had a lot of color, maybe a foot of visibility.  I tried pounding the slack water areas near the banks with poppers, but never found any smallmouths  (By the way, I found a paper by Steve Pescitelli and Bob Rung in the course of a web search about this watershed; the paper was 15 years old but the information is still relevant and useful.  There are/were a couple of dams in Plano that should prevent upstream migration of fish from the Fox River; if those dams are still there, it would mean the smallmouths I’ve been catching up there are resident fish and have not swum up from the Fox.  But I think one or both dams have been removed).


No update.


Dave Duwe emailed this:

Lake Geneva 5/04/19 through 5/10/19

With the up and down temperatures the lake remains pretty cold which is causing some inconsistent fishing. The best bite on the lake is perch and largemouth bass. Stable weather is predicted and that will help turn on the smallmouth bass and bluegills.

Largemouth bass have been biting in the shallows in 3-4 ft of water. The best location has been Trinkes or Abbey Harbor. They can be caught on a split shot rigged nightcrawler or a green pumpkin Senko. With the chilly weather over the weekend, you need to fish really slow to get the bite.

Yellow perch were biting in 6-10 ft of water. Small minnows fished beneath a slip bobber were the best approach. The best location was Belvidere Park or Rainbow Point. Overall the fish have been on the small size at 6-7 inches. You needed to catch a bunch to sort through to find decent keepers.

Smallmouth bass have been spotty. Most of the fish are caught in 15-20 ft of water suspended about 5-10 ft of water. The fish are near their spawing flats. Look for the fish by the Elgin Club, the Military Academy or Crawfords Bar. The best approach is a white hair jig swam just underneath the surface of the water. The fish are chasing the pods of minnows so once you find the minnows the bass are sure to follow.

Bluegill action has been slow. They are being caught in the shallows on leaf worms. The best location has been the Abbey Harbor and Trinkes or down in Geneva Bay by the Riviera. Look for the fish in 3-4 ft of water.

Some northern pike are being caught in the weeds in 6-10 ft of water. The fish are being caught on slip bobber rigged suckers. The best location has been in Williams Bay or the beach in Fontana. I’ve been putting out quite a few rods to try and catch them. The best presentation is to anchor your boat and fan cast the area.

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


No update this week from Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay. Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report.


The IHSA sectonal on Monday had decent results. Hours are 6 a.m.-sunset, shore opens at 6:30 a.m.




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.


Kyle Lund sent this:

Dale i don’t have much for the river this week either. Its trashed and will get higher with more heavy rain coming. Sand will move and the river will change yet again and not for the better. Best advice if your itching to get out is fish creeks. They should be holding everything from smallies and pike to cats and walleye. If you veture out be careful and use your head. PFD IS A MUST.

“Luck affects everything. Let your hook always be cast. In the sream where you least expect it, there will be fish” -Ovid


Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report. It generally comes out Tuesday.


The Ohio DNR has general Lake Erie info and a fishing report.


See top for lakefront coho and trout report. But there is more than that going. Smallmouth reports have been getting better around the lakefront.

PARKING PASSES: Passes ($10 for two months) for parking at the two small fishermen’s lots at DuSable and Burnham harbors are available at Henry’s Sports and Bait, Park Bait and Northerly Island (credit card only and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday).

ACCESS/PARKING OPTIONS: Here are some parking and access notes for the Chicago lakefront. Several guys have said the parking app, Spot Hero, has been working well for them while trying to park downtown for fishing; otherwise find street parking or small lots. . . . Montrose Harbor has plenty of free parking within easy walking. . . . At Navy Pier, check in at the parking office in the east lot, then be out by 10 a.m. sharp for the reduced parking rate. . . . For DuSable Harbor, use the small fisherman’s lot, but be aware there is lots of construction going in that area. . . . At Burnham/Northerly Island, use the Burnham fishermen’s lot or meter parking north of the old terminal (on days with no events at Soldier Field or the music pavilion). . . . Only legal fishing at the slip north of 87th is on the east end at Steelworkers Park. Plenty of free street parking. The slip at 89th is private property.


Blues and hybrids continue to be the primary focus and catches.

As biologist David Wyffels noted, it is a blue catfish and hybrid striped bass lake now. I would also throw in bluegill, with hopes that largemouth and smallmouth rebound.

Open daily 6 a.m. to sunset.


D & S Bait can be followed on Facebook.


Both units are open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.


Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report. It is generally out Tuesdays.


Mike Mladenik on Mike Mladenik Guide Service emailed:

Opening day of smallmouth fishing on the Menominee River.  The, water temp 43 degrees and the river is high and fast. Not a numbers day but we found some quality smallmouth. Case Lil Magic swims the top bait. Hard to beat a swimbait in cold water and less than ideal conditions. The best color was pearl shiner.

Eric Trousil with his big smallmouth of the day& and the first 20 inch Menominee River smallmouth in my new G3 boat.

By the second and third week of May the pre-spawn bite will be hot!


Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua, Wis. emailed this:

Opener has come and gone.  Not an overly memorable one, but better than last years and enough opportunities to give anglers a chance to get the boats and lines wet.

Most focus is on Walleye for the opener, Northern Pike and Largemouth Bass are barely noticed.  Conditions were good as far as timing – ice just out, Walleyes spawning or just finishing up – but opening day was a little too beautiful for most Walleye anglers.

Walleye:  Good – While some anglers reported hitting their spots just right, for many, opening day was a hot start, but spotty day once mid-morning arrived.  Jig and minnow combos ruled the weekend, as most anglers plied the gravel/rock areas searching for spawning and post-spawn Walleyes.  Some success from anglers casting shallow running stick baits and swim baits.  A lot of the spawn took place quickly due to the late ice out. Overall, not an easy opener, but a successful one.

Northern Pike:  Fair – Reports got better by Sunday into Monday.  Most action from the jig/minnow crowd.

Largemouth Bass:  Fair – Just a sprinkling of fish showing up in the shallow, dark bottomed bays.

Crappies:  Fair

Yellow Perch:  Fair

Bluegill:  Fair

A hiccup mid-week as temps fall, but don’t expect things to be all bad.  Walleyes recovering from spawn should be hungry soon, moving into shallows to feed.  Don’t discount deeper mud though, stomachs of Walleyes caught in 14-17’ mud held wigglers (Mayfly larvae) and small leeches.  Shallow fish and small Perch in their bellies.

Kurt Justice
Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
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Capt. Rich Sleziak  at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind. texted:

Coho fishing around gAry light great over weekend with few kings mixed in dodger fly and thinfish and spoons best baits fish too 12 ft of water
King bite good for some just east of the doughnut to just west of the pink house down around Michigan city
40 to 60 ft of water spoons and spindoctors and Flys best on riggers 200 coppers and dipsey fishing fishing mid way down


No update.


No update.


The Wisconsin DNR’s Root River Report is usually out Tuesday or Wednesday. Click here to see it.


Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said some kings being caught 140-165 feet, the dirty water is out to 100 feet. Some catfish are being caught downtown in the river.


Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.


Clint Sands at Lakeside said over the weekend, crappie were prespawn and moving up to 6 feet or less of water and reachable from shore or boat on soft plastics or minnows; bass are solid as the IHSA sectional on Monday showed. Water is normal with clarity of a foot and 60 degrees.

Hours at Lakeside are now 6 a.m.-7 p.m. daily; restaurant is 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday until Memorial Day weekend.

Park hours through Oct. 31 are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.


For the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report, click here to see it. Streams flow info is at


No update.


Check with River’s Edge.


No update.


No update.


Normally Mother’s Day is white bass time, we shall see.

Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:

Water temp was 57 today. White bass were biting good along the docks, down river from Partridge lake. Jig and minnow best, some on spinners

Don’t know if it will last, looking for 2 inches of rain,and temperatures in the 40’s Wed. and Thur.


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