Northern Illinois Fishing Report - April 5th, 2013
Fish are being caught on ice jigs under a float or on bottom rigs tipped with nightcrawlers or other cut bait. Boaters are finding good largemouths on spinnerbaits and swimjigs. There are some days that reaction strikes are the way to go so don’t be afraid to bounce a crankbait off the rocks to trigger a strike.
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.
LaSalle is now open with reduced hours, but the fishing remains hot since the opening day. The trollers are finding some great action with the Hybrid stripers as well as the blue cats. Spoonplugs and other lipped crankbaits pulled around the structure have been the best producers.
Striper fishing has been slow at best and blue cat fishing is fair. According to DNR, the muskie fishery continues to show promise. Hybrids, walleyes and catfish will likely be the most sought-after fish. Smallmouth and largemouth bass will be tough again this year.
The north winds have kept most people off the lake as of late, but the fish are showing up in good numbers. Find the discharges on the south end of the lake and you will find the browns and cohos. Also, the areas around the rock reefs as well as Burn’s ditch are producing good fish.
There is great shore fishing opportunities on the south half, as well. Shore anglers are finding limits of cohos. Casting spoons or inline spinners as well as white jigs has been productive.
Waukegan is starting to heat up. Johnson’s Pier have been really good lately with the north winds. The winds are pushing the warm water up against Johnson’s Pier and the brown trout will start feeding heavily. There has been a good brown trout bite fishing bottom rigs with dead golden roaches. Also casting small spoons will produce some big fish.
The downtown harbors have not been producing fish as well as early season. The powerliners are not out in full force yet as the north winds have been keeping the bite down.
Perch are biting hot and heavy at Navy Pier. However, the ice was coming and going, so heavy anchors with a long line to drop down and break open an area to fish were being used. It is some work, but it can pay off with some jumbo perch. Reports have shown that a lot of smaller ones are being caught and getting limits of larger fish require a lot of sorting. Live minnows and cooked shrimp on drop shot rigs as well as ice fishing jigs tipped with spikes have been producing. Also Kastmasters or other jigging spoons will do well and may take the occasional trout. Remember that the discounted parking for fishermen is only until 10 a.m.
At Kenosha Harbor, the main harbor is open and the runoff from the snow is starting to turn the browns on. 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. The small boat harbor still has some good ice and tube jigs with waxies as well as tipups with spawn have been putting some nice browns on the ice. Take caution on the ice as there are aerators around the docks and the ice can be unsafe in these areas.
As always, check with the local bait shops for conditions prior to heading out. The shorelines are an issue right now and extra caution should be taken if you try to get out.
Panfish action is remaining consistent with good numbers of crappies, white bass and bluegills being taken through the ice. Pistakee, Channel and Catherine have been doing quite well on the panfish as well as some nice bass being taken on tip-ups with roaches. The bass are starting to get into their pre-spawn patterns and can be caught casting rattle baits and lipless cranks on the break lines and near the newly forming weeds. If you get into the back bays and near the boat docks, you will find some good panfish action. The fish are holding tight to any wood or steel structure as this warms up first in the sun. Small jigs under a float or a plain hook with a small hunk of night crawler have done well.
The walleyes are really starting to turn on around the channels and the bridges. Bouncing jig and minnow combinations around the pilings has been putting nice fish in the boats.