Northern Illinois Fishing Report – March 4th, 2016
Lake Michigan: Ice is all but gone on the lakefront, and barring a major freeze from a winter push, open water is the mainstay. Some boats getting out chasing lakers with a little success.
There have been reports of keeper perch being caught. There is a lot of sorting being done, but if you stick at it you will find the jumbos. Larger baits are taking the larger fish.
The trout bite is great and big fish are being caught on spawn sacs or live minnows fished near the bottom.
Navy Pier has been quiet, but there are fish around if you can get out. It 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.
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. 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.
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.
Brown trout will start feeding heavily soon, if not already. 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.
Chain: Channel Lake is producing some good bluegills on the south end weedbed. The north end of the lake has been slow but some decent crappies and bluegills are being caught.
Pistakee Bay has been showing good signs of life with many crappies being caught. There are also reports of big bluegills being found in the shallow weed areas on the south end as well as other weed flats that are easy to locate.
Fox Lake and Pistakee have also been producing some good walleye action.
Most reports are showing that there is a decent crappie bite on all lakes 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 waxworms. 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.
Find areas with some green weeds and fish the openings or edges. Smaller jigs like a Slug-Bug are putting nice keeper fish on the lake.
Braidwood: This cooling lake opened March 1 and offers anglers an opportunity to get out in the early spring when most other lakes are cold and not producing fish. Fish are typically caught this time of the year on 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.