Northern Illinois Fishing Report – May 27th, 2016
Lake Michigan: On the south end it seems that the fish have moved out a bit, and there are some kings as well as good steelhead action on spoons and dodgers and flies.
The coho have slowed down on the north end near Waukegan and Northpoint. Reports are that 00 orange dodgers with peanut flies in blue/silver and black/gold are star producers.
The kings are out there and are hitting magnum spoons on the riggers. Bloody nose, Hey Babe, Kevorkian, and Blue dolphin are a few of the hot ones lately. Start your trolls shallow and work your way out to deeper water. About 35 feet of water seems to be one of the key depths now.
Make sure you run your spread to cover the entire water column. Cover the water column with spoons down low in the alewife or bloody nose pattern and dodger/flasher and fly in a white or aqua pattern. Switch up to bright orange spoons up near the surface to entice a nice steelhead. Double orange crush is a good spoon to use up high. Don’t be foolish and make sure you check the weather and recent conditions prior to heading out. The lake can get pretty rough in a hurry.
The smallmouth bass have started to feed in the warmer water areas. The best producers are goby imitating jigs worked slowly on the bottom or dropshot rigs with 4-inch minnow style plastics. Work areas near steel walls, as they tend to warm quicker in the sun. Find good transitions of large rock and small rock as well and you should find the fish willing to hit your offerings
There have been some reports of perch showing up for the shore anglers on Navy Pier as well as some of the downtown harbors. The boats on the south end are getting good limits in 40 feet of water fishing fly rigs or crappie rigs with large fathead minnows or jigging spoons worked near the bottom have been bringing in limits of 11- to 15-inch fish. Long lining the crappie rigs has been working better than a true vertical approach. The fish are holding tight to the bottom. A lot of moving is key to staying with the schools.
Chain: Small jigs under a float tipped with live bait or plastics are taking panfish. 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 the white bass and crappies. The bite changes from day to day so be prepared to move and change baits. The walleyes are slow as of late. Trolling or casting have both been about equal in effectiveness. Bouncing jig and minnow combinations around the pilings has been putting nice fish in the boats. The main lake areas are starting to get a good green weed growth.
With the warming water the largemouths are getting active and hitting Rattletraps fished in the shallower areas as well as slow rolled spinnerbaits near the bottom. Look for the inside edges of weedbeds that are good transition points between cover and their spawning areas.
Shabbona: The crappies are over predictable spots such as shallow brushpiles and fish cribs. Best presentations are minnows under small bobbers. Bass fishing is beginning to heat up with anglers catching them on the dam face wacky rigging.
Braidwood: Catfish 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 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.
LaSalle: The lake has begun to slow down for both the boat and the shore angler. Shore anglers have been catching the occasional hybrid strippers on chicken livers. Blue cats are also being caught on live bait or crankbaits. The boaters have been catching multiple 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. The fish are pushing down to the sections near the dikes where the rock meets the mud bottom. Carolina rigging smaller sized plastics as well as drop-shotting can be very productive. Wacky rigged senkos have been putting a number of bass in the boats as well.
Heidecke: The hybrid stripers have been taken by shore fishermen on chicken livers and by boaters trolling cranks or casting the riprap. The walleye bite is good, but their sizes are small. Trolling shadrap-style baits or spinner rigs with crawlers are your best option. White bass and yellow bass will also come while trolling the crankbaits. Don’t be afraid to cast the riprap with crankbaits like a Rattletrap or other tight wobble baits. These will often produce a reaction strike that can help put more fish in the boat.