How to Hold a Musky (and other info)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Midwest fishing report

May 23, 2007
FISH OF THE WEEK: History or heart? In our area, a largemouth this heavy is rare: Mike Furlong caught his 9-pound bass, 23 7/8 inches with a girth of 19 3/4, from Lake Zurich on April 21 with a jig-n-pig on 40-pound line and an 8-foot flippin' stick. . . . For heart, smiling Holly Bowen, 16, of Crete, with an 11-pound catfish caught with a worm and bobber from Lake Sara last week. E-mail nominations to

NORTHERN WISCONSIN: Muskie opener: Muskie fishing north of Highway 10 opens Saturday. Minocqua guide Kurt Justice e-mailed, ''Unlike last year, this should be a good opener due to early spawn.'' In Hayward, Pastika's echoed that, suggesting some muskie may even be shallow in fresh weeds.

AREA LAKES: Decent: Bluegill should be moving shallower on all lakes by the weekend. Will County FPD reports Monee Reservoir has warmed to 67, and a 6-pound largemouth was reported. Kolar reported fairly typical largemouth behavior, moving in and off the beds with the weather, in DuPage (that holds true all over). In Cook, Skokie Lagoons are seeing the most effort for panfish and bass; action has been fair. Holiday advice for public waters: with shoreline activity, try secondary or deeper weed lines more than usual.

BIG GREEN LAKE, WIS.: Improving: Mike Norton said lakers remain good in 90-110 feet on a flasher and minnow near the bottom; ciscoes are biting in the top 25 feet over deep water. As water warms through the 50s, bass fishermen are working shorelines and bluegill coming to piers.

CHAIN O'LAKES AREA: Triangle reports bluegill, coming toward beds, are the best bite; Petite and Bluff best. Walleye are improving around the bridges, best on leeches or crawlers. White bass are very good in 8-12 feet; Marie, Bluff and Petite best. Catfish remain good on stinkbait or crawlers on Petite, Marie and Fox. Muskie are fair, early and late on jerkbaits or topwaters. Crappie and bass are fair.

COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS: Maz- onia/Braidwood: Good multispecies action on cloudy days at Mazonia lakes, which are holding in the 60s. Braidwood remains relatively cool (70s north end, 80s south) with catfish most consistent. LaSalle: Decent catfish action, but rapidly warming water. Heidecke: Walleye remain the top species, both for trollers and casters; keepers take sorting. A few muskie coming again. On Monday, concessionaire Steve Anderson reported hybrids of 21 and 22 inches. Catfish are more active as the water warms through the 60s.

DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES, WIS.: Decent: Delavan Bait and Tackle reports water warming into the upper 50s, close to where everything should break loose. On warm sunny days, bass are coming shallower on Geneva, too, and rock bass are going much better for family action.

DOWNSTATE: Rend: Guide Todd Gessner said crappie remain good with spawn about 3/4 finished and better fish in 6-12 feet, largemouth are improving as they come off the spawn and bluegill are bedding. Shelbyville: The lake is more than 3 feet below normal summer pool, and in the mid-70s. Guide Mary Satterfield reported lots of crappie (keepers take sorting), most in 4 feet on laydowns or rip-rap. Trolling will pick up some white bass and largemouth. Pat Glavin, director of the Midwest Musky Club, said both the main lake and spillway were tough for weekend muskie. Evergreen: Guide Jay Angel reported saugeye being taken in 9-12 feet early, then deeper later on crawler harnesses or jigging crawlers.

FOX RIVER: Western suburbs: Decent: Batavia Bait and Tackle reports decent action on walleye, smallmouth, carp and catfish. River is near normal, about 70 degrees, and should be in good wading shape for weekend.

GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WIS.: Decent: When winds allow, smallmouth have been good and close to shore as the water warms toward 60.

ILLINOIS RIVER: Starved Rock Area: Fair: Cajun's reported decent catfish on liver or stinkbait, lots of drum and sporadic white bass (have to look hard) early morning or toward sundown. River is low.

KANKAKEE RIVER: Decent: River should be in outstanding shape (both depth and color) for weekend wading. Ed Mullady reported good rock bass all over, better catfishing in both states and smallmouth decent in traditional Illinois smallmouth waters.

KENOSHA/RACINE, WIS.: Decent: A faithful reader reported quick weekend limits of coho on Dodgers and flies in 45-50 feet at Kenosha; the WDNR reports decent coho south of Racine, too.

LAKE ERIE: Port Clinton: Decent: When weather allows, Rickard's reports, the best walleye are coming on bottom-bouncers and harnesses with the top spots being American Eagle shoal southwest of Kelleys and A-Can. Some perch starting off Catawba S.P.

LAKEFRONT: Chicago: Tuesday, several readers reported jumbo perch starting at Belmont and Diversey with the south winds. Henry's reported some perch starting behind McCormick and off Casino Pier, too. For boaters, coho were good from the Wilson crib to the R-2 over the weekend, said Capt. Mike Okoniewski; R-2 remains the most consistent for coho with a sporadic steelhead or king. Harbors are improving for largemouth and panfish around walls, piers and growing weeds. Waukegan/North Point: Capt. Bob Poteshman said mornings have been outstanding for coho 1-3 miles out of North Point, nearly all on Dodgers and flies. The Salmon Stop said outstanding coho continue through Waukegan to Great Lakes, varying from shore to 40 feet; and some days even casters with spoons are taking coho off the Waukegan piers. Winds made perch fishing tougher in that band from Waukegan to Highland Park in 50-75 feet, but Arden Katz reported good perch in 55 feet last weekend.

MADISON LAKES, WIS: Decent: D&S Bait reported bluegill are bedding on Waubesa, lots of crappie staging on weed lines (7-8 feet) on Monona and Mendota. Smallmouth are very good on Mendota in 7-12 feet. Muskie are fair on Waubesa. Fair walleye for mid-lake trolling on Waubesa and Kegonsa.

MENOMINEE RIVER, WIS./MICH.: Good: Despite yo-yoing weather, guide Mike Mladenik reported steady action for big smallmouth. He said muskie are moving and should only intensify.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN: Decent: Jerry Swarbrick reported some largemouth on beds and others staging, while smallmouth have already spawned on Red Cedar/ Hemlock lakes near Rice Lake with daily catches around 30, best on shaky-head jigs. Around Minocqua, Justice reported very good pike on chubs, walleye have been generally good (though he suggested thinking wood with weed growth behind schedule), crappies were held off spawning beds by the weekend chill but should be in now and bluegill are good in existing weed beds, best on warmer days or during afternoons. NOTE: Daily walleye bag limits increase beginning Saturday on 89 lakes in the Wisconsin Ceded Territory. Check signs or the revised pamphlet for specific lake regulations.

NORTHWEST INDIANA: Decent: Mik-Lurch reported smallmouth are in and out of bedding areas. Salmon are fair in 55-65 feet by the wreck. Perch are slow, some in 60-65 feet off Michigan City, but could improve with a second day of south winds. Lots of walleye being taken on leeches under lighted bobbers around Wolf Lake. Willow Slough slowed some, but bluegill remain good.

ROCK RIVER: Decent: TJ's Bait/Tackle said channel catfish continue strong on dipbait, while leeches are working best for walleye (good right now) and smallmouth (catch-and-release through June 15th). Large carp are good on corn or prepared baits. More big flatheads are being reported.

SHABBONA LAKE: Decent: Lakeside reports continued decent numbers of big bass (guide Jay Angel said topwater bite should start as they come off the beds); crappie are moving out of the shallows (keepers take sorting) and catfish are decent. Water warms through 60s.

WISCONSIN RIVER, WIS.: DELLS: Decent: River's Edge said smallmouth are going best with some walleye in the evening, crappie are fair. River is normal.

WOLF RIVER, WIS.: Fremont: Decent: Guide Bill Stoeger said it is mainly male white bass in the river, with flies on river rigs best along the rocks near Partridge. Trollers continue to do well on Poygan for walleye.

Dale Bowman


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