How to Hold a Musky (and other info)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Midwest fishing report

April 18, 2007
FISH OF THE WEEK: With some trepidation, I'll give this a shot. As an example, Mike Lynch e-mailed photos of multiple big blue catfish from LaSalle Lake on Friday. The best went 39 inches. E-mail fish stories to
SHABBONA LAKE WALLEYE NIGHT: The second annual walleye opener at Shabbona Lake is Saturday, when the park stays open until 10 p.m. Lakeside offers $100 for largest walleye weighed in, an additional $100 if it tops the lake record (9.9 pounds) and another $500 if it breaks the state record (14 pounds). On the first walleye night, a shore angler won last spring. Lakeside has some boat rentals. Go to or call (815) 824-2581.
AREA LAKES: Expectant: Largemouth and panfish should take off on all lakes and only improve in the coming week. Skokie Lagoons have been fair, but stable water conditions should help. Jimmy Templin of FishTech (the former Morton Grove Ed Shirley Sports) said PowerBait is the ticket for the remaining trout at Axehead and Belleau; and he expects other species to rebound quickly at Busse with warming weather. Kolar reported some trout continuing at Deep Quarry.
CHAIN O'LAKES AREA: Waiting: The water remains cold (40s), but fishing should really go when the water warms. Guide Darrell Baker said even with the cold water, he has been doing well on panfish. Arden Katz reported good keeper bluegills (Rat Finkies with spikes or waxies that he focused on very shallow water that warmed quicker) and crappie (minnow bite on the smallest float possible next to the warming seawalls). REMINDER: The annual Challunge on the Chain tournament is Saturday. Go to Templin said muskie are going good, especially on bass baits like Rat-l-traps and Husky Jerks.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS: LASALLE: The hot side warmed into the 80s, and fishing rebounded. Mike Lynch reported blues to 39 inches on Friday. Over the weekend, Jim Sajdyk reported he and two others caught 20 hybrids to 5 pounds and a bonus big blue in a three-hour stretch. They were trolling with crankbaits. By day's end, they had 25 hybrids, four drum and four catfish. HEIDECKE: In the cold water the past few weeks, muskies were the only steady bite. And some traditional hard-core muskie fishermen have been upset with the fishermen taking legal muskie of 36 inches. (Is it time to consider upping the minimum size on Heidecke?) Some water dipped into the 30s last week, but concessionaire Steve Anderson expects the fishing to rebound as the water warms back into the 50s. BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Catfish and bluegill remain the steady bite at Braidwood. The Mazonia lakes should rebound as the water begins to warm into the 50s (can we dream of the 60s by next week?).
DOWNSTATE: Expectant: This is the week that fishing should bust loose across southern areas. EVERGREEN: Should expect crappie fishing to rebound as water warms back into the 50s. POWERTON: The plant is down, but trophy smallmouth fishing has been good if reports in the Peoria Journal Star of a couple of 5-pounders is any indication. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Site super Rick Seibert said members started fishing Sunday. First public day is May 4. Memberships are available at (815) 481-0778.
FOX RIVER: Fair: The river remains high, but warming through the 40s. Batavia Bait and Tackle reported scattered walleye; smallmouth should improve with a likely warm-up in water. The no-wake restriction remains between Stratton and Algonquin dams.
ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA: Decent: Guide Buster Culjan said the river warmed back into the 50s, and some catfish are coming on crawlers and white bass are starting when the sun comes up. Some sauger are coming for those pulling river rigs, and a few have been caught from shore at Starved Rock.
KANKAKEE RIVER: Improving: The river is in good shape, and smallmouth should only improve with warming waters by the weekend. Ed Mullady said the area through the state park has been particularly good. There also are mixed walleye and smallmouth around Momence and Aroma Park. There also has been good walleye action below the Wilmington and Kankakee dams. Mullady said the 10-mile road area in Indiana has been hot, and largemouth going in most bayous.
LAKEFRONT: Decent: Park Bait reported some perch off the mouth of Belmont, and some coho and steelhead at Montrose. Shoreline smallmouth are taking off on the Chicago lakefront for boaters and shore fishermen. Boaters have had to work for salmon, browns and lakers. Capt. Jeff Miltimore said perch fishing had been good from straight out of Waukegan south to Lake Forest in 55 to 70 feet, mostly on minnows. NOTE: Mayor Daley's Fishing Advisory Committee meets at McKinley Park fieldhouse at 10 a.m. Thursday. CHICAGO SMELT: Hours on the lakefront begin at 7 p.m. Netters must be out of parking lots by 1 a.m.NORTHWEST INDIANA: Decent: Mik-Lurch said smallmouth are outstanding at virtually all the usual shoreline and discharge spots. Shad Raps have been surprisingly good. Perch are good at the first light out of Pastrick. Coho and browns are scattered. There are a few night walleye at Wolf. Panfish are picking up at Willow Slough.
ST. JOSEPH AREA, MICH.: Improved: BJ's said coho showed up Friday in top 20 feet in 20 to 60 feet from St. Joseph to Michigan City, Ind.
SHABBONA LAKE: Expectant: For Saturday's walleye night, see top. Otherwise there have been sporadic muskie, occasional big largemouth and some crappie.
WOLF RIVER, WIS.: Decent: Walleye are coming down from spawning.
Dale Bowman


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