Northern Illinois Fishing Report – March 8th, 2013

Lake Michigan

According to fishing reporter Cory Yarmuth, Navy Pier is producing some catches of perch. Crappie rigs with fathead minnows seem to be producing the best. Also artificial plastics such as small minnow-style plastics rigged on double rigs. Don’t forget to bring a heavy anchor or such on a long rope as there is ice near the pier and you need to break open holes to be able to fish.
At 95th Street, fish are getting some heavy pressure; however, there are perch there to be caught. Some sorting is required as there are several small fish around.
The ice fishermen have been catching a lot of perch through the ice near the docks. Fishing small jigging spoons tipped with spikes as well as smaller jigs with plastics have been producing very well. The reports on the perch have shown a lot of small fish, but if you keep at it there are some keepers to be had. Don’t forget to stop at the local bait shops to pick up your pier pass.
The launches have some ice, but some people are getting out into the river and catching their limits of perch on minnows and plastics. If you can get out from the launch the warm-water discharges are pumping good and the browns and steelhead have moved in to feed on the baitfish in these areas. White jigs tipped with squid are doing well.
Waukegan’s Government Pier or Johnson’s Pier have been starting to show some signs of life. With a good few days of north, northwest winds you will see some warm water pushed up against Johnson’s Pier, and the brown trout will start feeding heavily. There can be a good brown trout bite fishing bottom rigs with dead minnows or spawn. Also casting small spoons will produce some big fish.


Most reports are showing that there is a decent crappie bite on Pistakee Lake in the 14 to 20 feet of water range during the dawn and pre-dawn hours, as well as at sunset and after. The fish are suspending about 8 to 10 feet down and are looking for horizontal jigs tipped with plastics or wax worms. It seems that the larger presentations have been doing well as of late.
The white bass are holding closer to the bottom and are hitting on aggressively jigged presentations.
The bluegill bite is hot in the shallower areas. It seems that the 4-6 feet of water range has been best for some of these hard fighters. Find areas with some green weeds and fish the openings or edges.  Smaller jigs like a Slug-Bug are putting some really nice keeper bluegills on the lake.


This cooling lake offers anglers an opportunity to get out in the early spring when most other lakes are frozen or are just too cold and not producing fish. Fish are being caught on ice jigs under a float or on bottom rigs tipped with crawlers or other cut bait. Largemouths can be caught fishing the secondary drop-offs with a large profile bait, like a jig and pig, or by fishing the shallower areas bouncing a crankbait or spoonplug off the rocks and the bottom. Always keep an eye on the flags at the launch, as they will give you an indication if it is safe to be on the water and when you should take caution. Green is good, yellow is caution, and red is dangerous.

Bangs Lake

The crappie bite is slow.  However, the bluegills are on the feed. The bluegills and pumpkinseeds are being found in 5-8 feet of water and the bite seems to be best early in the am and then again later in the day. Vertical-style jigs with spikes or wigglers seem to be one of the better producers.
The crappies are being found a bit deeper in the 10 to 12 feet of water range. 
Find the green weeds and you will find the fish. Small tungsten jigs tipped with one or two spikes have been the choice of most. However, plastics are putting some larger fish on the ice.

Kenosha Harbor

The entire harbor is open including the boat launch. The brown trout bite has been day to day, however, when it is hot, the fishing can be fast and furious. Long minnow baits have been taking a good portion of the fish as well as spawn sacs under a float. Fish the outlet pipes in the harbor, floating spawn sacs as well as golden roaches. Vary your depths so that you cover a good deal of water, and you will be rewarded for your efforts. Don’t be afraid to throw smaller spoons or crankbaits near the walls and rocks. Boaters have been trolling inside the harbor and have been doing well on crankbaits and other minnow-style baits.

McCollum Lake

The deeper water by Peterson Park is producing good northern bass on tip-ups. Some decent crappies are being caught by small jigs and plastics and there are some small gills mixed in. There have been some reports of some perch also being caught. Watch for the open water near the park side.

LaSalle Lake

The lake has been very productive for both the boat and the shore angler thus far. Shore anglers have been bringing in good catches of hybrid strippers on chicken livers. Blue cats also are being caught on live bait or crankbaits.  The boaters have been doing well on all species trolling crankbaits near the rip-rap as well as working some of the deeper structure that is in the lake. Smallmouth and largemouth bass as well as the occasional walleye can and are being caught on rattletraps and bladebaits. 

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