Saugers and walleyes hot on rivers; bass anglers waiting – Northern Report
Look for crappies over the fish cribs and brush piles along the campground shoreline. Begin your search by setting your presentation half way down the water column. Best presentations include Mini-Mites and minnows. Bass fishing is slow. Muskie fishing is good. Bass anglers casting rattle traps are catching a few bonus muskies. Look for muskies in the shallow waters of the bays.
Braidwood: Shore fishermen are seeing quite a few small catfish and bluegills. Fish are being caught on ice jigs under a float or on bottom rigs tipped with crawlers or other cut bait. The largemouths are being caught fishing the secondary drop-offs with large profile baits like a jig and pig or slow rolling a spinnerbait. 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.
Overall the lake conditions are improving, and the water has been warming. Becaue of this, the weeds are still coming in and the fish are using the weeds for cover and for feeding. The bass appear to be into their spawn patterns and can be caught with rattle baits and lipless cranks near the newly forming weeds and on the shallow rocky flats. With this new forage it is time to match the hatch and start to work shad-colored baits in the areas that these baitfish are found. With the increase in baitfish, we should see a good increase in the size of fish being caught.
The walleyes are really starting to turn on around the channels and the bridges. Fishing minnows on a lindy rig has been the most popular presentation.
Back bays and boat docks are good places to find some 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 nightcrawler have done well.
There are some good reports of big hybrids and blue cats caught by fishermen trolling shadraps and spoonplugs. The shore fishermen are doing well on livers fished on the bottom. There have been some good reports of bass being caught casting the rip-rap with a weightless stick style worm. The fish are holding at the transition between the mud bottom and the rock walls.
The walleye bite has slowed down but it won’t stay that way for long. The fish are being caught trolling crawler harnesses and working the deeper water. Some hybrids are being found mixed in as well as quite a few yellow bass. The shore anglers are finding the walleyes on a simple floating crawler on a bottom-bouncing sinker fished along the rip rap. The white and yellow bass are also keeping these anglers busy.
There have been some good reports of a mixed bag of fish being caught out of Waukegan in the 55 to 75 feet of water ranges. Kings and the larger cohos are being caught on large paddle flashers and flies as well as larger white and glow colored spoons. The cohos are spotty, but can be found with body baits and smaller flashers and peanut flies.
The trout action in downtown harbors has started to slow down. Some of the shore anglers are still catching fish casting spoons and deeper running crankbaits. They are also picking up some fish on live bait off the bottom.
The lake trout action down south has proven to be a huge. The fish are active and feeding and anglers are catching some large fish on spoons and larger white flies.
The perch bite at Navy Pier has been slow. Reports have shown that a lot of smaller ones are being caught and getting limits of larger fish is tough. Live minnows and cooked shrimp on drop shot rigs as well as icefishing 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.
The smelt have been starting to be caught, but not in any large numbers. They are out there and there are some reports of small catches in the downtown harbors.
At Waukegan, things have been hit and miss from both Johnson’s Pier and the Government Pier. Browns and cohos are being caught on bottom rigs tipped with spawn sacs and roaches.
The fish on the south end have moved out to deeper water and fishing has been tough with the changing weather fronts that we keep getting. Trolling small orange dodger and peanut flies log lining body baits like red and black Thin Fins has also been working well for the cohos in these areas.