Lake Michigan: According to fishing reporter Cory Yarmuth
(, the ice in the south half has moved out
and the harbors are open. The browns and cohos are starting to get
active on the lakefront from the boats as well as from shore. Fish
the warm-water discharges with jigs and twisters tipped with a
piece of squid or crankbaits, such as a husky jerk. Trolling is
also producing fish. Long-lining body baits like a Rapala Tail
dancer also have been working well for the cohos in these areas.
Look for areas of warmer water with cold water near. Work the
breaks of where the cold and warmer water meet. Do the same with
any dirty water you find. The dirty water will be warmer than the
surrounding cleaner water, and the fish will be using the dirtier
water as an ambush point. Don’t be foolish and make sure you check
the weather and recent conditions prior to heading out. The lake
can get pretty rough on the south end of the lake because of the
shallower water.

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

The downtown harbors, such as Montrose, have started to pick up
with the power liners seeing good catches of browns and cohos, with
a few steelhead mixed in. Browns and cohos also are being caught
casting spoons and fishing live bait under a slip float. Make sure
you are fishing in a legal area and always follow the regulations.
Also, you may be required to purchase a Pier Pass in order to fish
some of these harbors, so check with the local bait shop.

Perch are biting hot and heavy at Navy Pier. 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.

Perch are being caught in the canal from the 95th Street launch.
Fish are being caught around the barges on minnows and softshells
on jigs or crappie rigs.

Chain: 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 some nice fish in the boats.
The channels are starting to get a good panfish bite going. Small
ice jigs under a float tipped with live bait is the ticket here.
The bite changes from day to day so be prepared to move and change
baits. The shallow portions of the bays seem to be producing quite
well also. Find the newer weeds in 8 feet of water or less and the
gills will be there, but look for deeper water for white bass and

Braidwood: 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. The lake is open and the
shore fishermen are seeing quite a few catfish and bluegills. 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.

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

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
blade baits.

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