How to Hold a Musky (and other info)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Midwest fishing report

May 9, 2007
FISH OF THE WEEK: With the biggest crappie (11 inches) and biggest three-fish catches for bluegill and crappie, Jon and Deborah Schab of Niles took home three of the 12 trophies in Capt. Darrel Baker's Chain O'Lakes multispecies tournament/ seminar out of the Thirsty Turtle on Monday. They would have won four trophies, but Brian Demes of Palatine beat them on a tiebreaker for the biggest bluegill (9.3 inches). Send nominations to

BRAIDWOOD TOURNAMENT: The sixth annual Exelon Nuclear's ''Fishing for a Cure'' tournament is Saturday, and it includes a kids derby. Fifty-six teams were registered by Tuesday. The top monetary prize is $2,500. But the real prize is this year's charity, which is CURE. Go to

AREA LAKES: Good: Bass are coming shallow on almost all lakes; some of the best fishing has been subdivision or farm ponds. In Cook, Skokie Lagoons has been receiving much effort, but catching has been fair for largemouth and crappie, a faithful reader said. ''Jimmy T'' Templin of FishTech said Beck has also been good. An estimated 36-inch pike was taken at Deep Quarry over the weekend; otherwise smaller pike are active in DuPage lakes, according to Kolar Bait.

BIG GREEN LAKE, WISCONSIN: Fair: Mike Norton reports lakers are good trolling with a flasher and minnow or spoon in 30-130 feet. Shoreline fishing is tough with cool water: try bluegills at Playground Park or cast County A bridge for white bass or browns.

CHAIN O'LAKES AREA: Good: ''You should get your tail up here because we are catching a lot of fish,'' Baker advised. Triangle said bluegill are good on ice jigs and waxies under small floats; Channel, Petite and Marie are best. Catfish are excellent on leeches or crawlers on the bottom; Fox, Marie or Petite are best. Crappie are fair, best in channel mouths. White bass are very good; Bluff, Marie and Petite are best. Bass are good, look shallow. Muskie are picking up after the spawn on gliding baits or topwaters early and late.

COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS: HEIDECKE: With water in the mid-60s, just about everything -- hybrids, white bass, walleye, catfish -- are going, concessionaire Steve Anderson said. Muskie are tough. MAZONIA/BRAIDWOOD: Mazonia lakes are prime with waters in the 60s; Ponderosa is best for multiple species. Fishing low light (morning, evening or cloudy days) is essential. Braidwood has consistent catfish; north end is 70, south launch, 80. LaSALLE: Fish are more spread with warmer water, but the bite for hybrids, largemouth and blues continues good, especially for trollers.

DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN: Fair: Arden Katz reported opening weekend bluegill were tough, but largemouth (up to 5-8) were outstanding, with best wacky-worming Senkos in the harbors. Water is only in the mid-50s. Launch fee (20 feet and under) is $10.25; season pass, $102.50.

DOWNSTATE: REND: ''To answer your question, 'It's time,''' said guide Todd Gessner before I asked Monday. Crappie are all over shallow; keepers take sorting, but numbers are very good. EVERGREEN: Mike Steffa reported crappie being taken in coves and shallower areas on small jigs and minnows. Saugeye are also doing well. SHELBYVILLE: Guide Mary Satterfield reported crappie are shallow and starting to spawn, fish cover like laydowns or underwater brush. Keepers take sorting. Water is in the mid-60s. Some white bass are on deeper edges. Muskie have been tough (no fish counted in the weekend tournament), though water seems perfect.

FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS: Expectant: By the weekend, levels should be good for the year's best wading for smallmouth. Catfish are improving with warming water.

ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA: Decent: Guide Buster Culjan said water is in the mid-60s and white bass are spawning; being caught in both the Illinois and Vermilion. Find the river shiners and white bass will be there. Jig and minnow, blade baits or 2- or 3-inch Gulp minnows are working. All ramps are open. Some catfish being caught on crawlers, cut shad or Sonny's. Spotty sauger on the Peru flats.

KANKAKEE RIVER: Good: Good spring levels should make for an outstanding weekend. Catfish are good throughout the river, including a 13.03-pound catfish caught by Bill Ramsey reported at Kankakee River Trading Post. Smallmouth have been decent, but should pick up dramatically, especially around islands and rock bars in the state park area, said Ed Mullady. Pike and largemouth have been good in and around Indiana bayous.

LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON: Excellent: Rickard's said walleye are excellent west of Greene and Rattlesnake, northwest of North Bass and south of Middle, all on bottom-bouncers and harnesses.

LAKEFRONT: Decent: CHICAGO: Smallmouth, shore and boat, have been solid, led by the 21 1/4-inch, 5-4 caught by Nick Leno last Wednesday from shore at Northerly Island. Capt. Mike Okoniewski said browns, coho and steelhead have been good on the lakeside of Chicago Light on Dodgers and flies (green/gold) or black/silver North Port Nailers, from the surface to 20 feet down. Shore perch have been spotty. WAUKEGAN: Capt. Jeff Miltimore said a good coho bite started shallow last Tuesday on Dodgers and flies from Waukegan to Great Lakes. When weather allows, perch continue good in that 50-75 feet range from Waukegan to Lake Forest. Salmon Stop said some coho are coming from shore on spoons; frozen roaches or herrings on the bottom on the slider rig are taking browns.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN: Opener: Wind changed some fishing opening weekend, but otherwise it was solid. Minocqua guide Kurt Justice said walleye were on a late post-spawn bite, so anglers had to search sometimes until late morning or midafternoon. Decent pike were in weeds in 4-6 feet. Crappie were good on windward wood and weeds; but wind slowed bluegill fishing a bit. Lots of big smallmouth (catch and release only now) reported, Justice released one of 5 1/2 pounds. If camping, be aware of dry conditions and fire danger.

NORTHWEST INDIANA: Decent: Mik-Lurch said perch are doing well at Gary Light in 40-48 feet. Otherwise shoreline smallmouth have been good as fish come in to spawn. Wolf Lake has some night walleye, and crappie are improving. Like other area waters, bass are improving on all lakes and ponds.

ST. JOSEPH AREA, MICHIGAN: Better: BJ Sports said fishing improved Monday with a mixed bag of lakes, kings, steelhead and a few coho in 80-130, down 30 to the bottom. River is slow, other than catfish.

SHABBONA LAKE: Decent: Lakeside reported some bass coming shallower; leeches have been good bait. Water is 61, likely to hit mid-60s by the weekend, which should bring crappie shallower. Catfish to 11 pounds, taken on livers. Muskie are fair, but a 44-incher verified last week.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN: White bass: Fremont guide Bill Stoeger said numbers of white bass are improving daily with water warmed to 56. Jig and minnow, river rig with minnows or flies are best; spinners should improve as water warms. Both this weekend and next should be near peak.

Dale Bowman


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