Chicago fishing: It’s all going, even the cicadas, as befits May

Vince Oppedisano holds a big channel catfish he caught and released on the Fox River.


As befits May, all forms of fishing are going and so are the cicadas to lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Vince Oppedisano emailed the photo at the top, which I happen to like as a distinctive catfish shot. His full Fox River report is below.


Park Bait sells parking passes. Stay tuned for other sites to soon sell passes. Email with questions. Chicago Park District parking passes ($20 for two months) are for the anglers’ parking lots at DuSable and Burnham harbors.


North side of Navy Pier is open for anglers. Discounted parking for anglers is $9 daily, beginning at 5 a.m.; must be out by 10 a.m. for the discount. Click here to prepay for the discounted tickets.


My column from Nov. 30, 2022, on parking the length of the Chicago lakefront is posted at


A salute to young anglers starts this report for area lakes.

Owen Parkins on his first fishing adventure with his rod and a bluegill


A faithful reader helped Owen Parkins (the 4-year-old son of The Score’s Danny Parkins) to his first fishing adventure, which included 11 bluegill and a small largemouth bass, as shown in the photos above and below.

Owen Parkins with his first largemouth bass with holding help from his father Danny.


The part I most love about the bass photo is that it is Danny Parkins holding it. Not sure why but that makes me smile.

A goldfish caught from Jackson Park.

Jonathan Schlesinger

Jonathan Schlesinger, Chicago’s urban fishing program coordinator for the IDNR, messaged the photo above and this on Friday:

A 7th grader caught this goldfish at Jackson Park Lagoon today. You never know what you’re going to catch in a Chicago park!

That’s a kid who will have the fishing bug for life.

A channel catfish at Tampier Lake.

Provided by Dana Robinson

Dana Robinson messaged the photo above Monday and this:

Catfish bite is definitely on at Tampier. All released.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley holds a big bluegill caught south.


Ken “Husker” O’Malley of Husker Outdoors emailed the photos above and below, and this:

Hey Dale,Here’s a recap from the past weekend. The two days kind of tie together between bass and bluegill. Bass are up shallow after the post spawn and ready to torment the bluegills as they are on their beds. Payback after the bluegill harassed them while on their beds. Basically find the bedding bluegill and you will find the bass. Weed growth has really taken off compared to previous years. Water temps are 68-69. The summer months should be interesting with the weed growth. The bait of choice to target those bass was a Keitech swing impact fat in sungill on a Berkley fishion 19 swimbait jig. It was the perfect bait to go through those weeds. On to the next day.The focus was on the larger female gills that were hanging just on the outside weedlines. Look for the males on beds and you will find those better females. The bait of choice was a IJO Plastics pannie crawler on FINS Braids crappie braid. This line is excellent for pulling those gills out of the weeds. Even a few smaller bass were caught on this presentation. One day setup for the next.Here’s the nature pic of the week. They’re here! Photo courtesy of Vickie O’MalleyTTYLKen “Husker” O’MalleyHusker OutdoorsWaterwerks fishing team

Sign of the times: A 17-year cicada.

Vickie O’Malley

Dan Edwards at Bridgeport Bait and Tackle said still some crappie at Saganaskee Slough and Tampier.

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,More of the same this week with some minor changes.. . . Only one outing on a Kane County F.P. lake this week. What changed from last week is that the algae are so thick you could just about walk across the lake on it. It was difficult to find any opening in which to fish. I finally walked around to a rocky shoreline and found open water there. Bluegills were hitting a small popper aggressively. If anyone is into carp fishing-not my scene-there are plenty around feeding in close among any weed growth. It’s only mid-May but it’s getting to be time to switch to more quarry-type lakes with less vegetation and fewer algae blooms.

A channel catfish caught from Island Lake big enough to take two to fully show.

Provided by Rob Abouchar

Rob Abouchar messaged the photo above and this:

Hi DaleThe good bite continues on Island lake as the water temperature move inti the mid 70s. Cottonwood trees letting go of their cotton and bearded iris in full bloom . The bass are finished with the spawn and are starting to feed up and hitting a variety of baits. S Berkeley Slobberknocker took a beautiful post spawn largemouth in the weeds in 5 feet of water. Im also starting to get bass under docks. Texas rigged and wacky rigged senkos are still getting bites. The minnow bite is still producing multi species catches. Last night we got a beautiful channel catfish on slipfloat wit red octopus hook. Im surprised the minnow bite is still going with the warm water but the catching continues.Next week it’s off to Millelacs lake and hopefully giant smallmouth bass.On the music front we are looking forward to the weekend of june 7th and 8th at main street outfitters in waucanda with the conscious rockers and midnite mile. June 14th a possible appearance with Chicago top reggae band indikka at the juneteenth summer bash at two brothers roundhouse in Aurora. Gozortenplat is now confirmed for a 3rd summer show at the peacetree festival in kenosha August 3rd. Also we will be back at reggie’s in Chicago july 8th and july 9th in Milwaukee…phew!

And my Tuesday morning is made with the music report.


Joel Wilson with a largemouth bass from Braidwood Lake.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson emailed the photo above and this:

Mike Hrecko emailed:

Fishing for a cure tournament was at braidwood cooling lake Saturday won with 13. 49 lbs 3 fish limit by Mike Hrechko’s and Trey Budach

Open daily 6 a.m. to sunset.

Click here for a preview that gives hope for a good year.


Mike Lyons with a largemouth bass from Beaver Island inland lakes.


Mike Lyons emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale, on beaver island working on the cast and blast, turkeys are proving to be tough, a few Sandhills decided to drop into my turkey decoys this morning. I switched fishing to an inland lake for largemouth, has been pretty good out of my kayak.

I enjoy cast and blasts.


Dana Robinson found success in Cabo.


Dana Robinson messaged the photo above and this:

Cabo was a blast though! Limited out on Bonita. One Skipjack, one yellowtail. 32lbs cleaned and dressed.

I think that is a first for a Mexico report.


NOTE: Rich Miscinski and Scott Urquhart boated two muskies to win the Challunge on the Chain Saturday. Most fish caught on bucktails.

Staff at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said walleye are being caught multiple ways; for white bass, start with Marie; carp are spawning shallow.

NOTE: Check updates on water conditions at or (847) 587-8540.

NOTE 2: Stratton Lock and Dam is open 8 a.m. to midnight through Sept. 30


One of the dozens of white bass caught and released by Dan Renkosiak Friday on the Chicago River.


WindyCity Weather and News tweeted the photo above and this Friday:

@BowmanOutside is there a white bass run in the #Chicago River? How does dozens caught right downtown sound?

Dan Edwards at Bridgeport Bait and Tackle said still some crappie, catfish and other species from shore on the South Branch.


Braidwood, Heidecke and LaSalle are open daily 6 a.m.-sunset.


Roger Jackson holds a largemouth bass caught from Delavan Lake.


Roger Jackson emailed the photo above and this:

Dale, got this 18 inch Large Mouth, on Lk Delevan on Thursday on a KVD black worm.

Arden Katz said bass are in 3-5 feet;l Texas-rigged KVD worms, wacky-rigged worms and Neko rigs; water in the mid-60s. Best was a 5-3 largemouth caught Roger Jackson.


Gene Jarka holds a largemouth bass caught from Hennepin & Hopper lakes.


HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Gene Jarka emailed the photo above and this:

Hey Dale,I fished Hennepin Hopper this past Sunday for a few hours, and I would say that the wonky weather still has the fish a bit confused (that’s my excuse and I stick by it). I got bit twice in 3 hours and caught one. Got this guy after I saw ripples near a weed bed. He inhaled one of the new for 2024 Gary Yamamoto Fat Senkos in Black/Blue with flake. I don’t weigh or measure my fish, so I don’t have any stats to share , other than he was a TANK!Tight lines,Gene JarkaPrinceton, IL

Open daily through Labor Day, Sept. 2, sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. Details are at

POWERTON: Both bank and boat fishing are open. Hours are 6 a.m.-8 p.m. through Sept. 30.

EMIQUON PRESERVE: Open daily, sunrise to sunset. Access permits and liability waivers are available Tuesday to Saturday at Dickson Mounts Museum, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Details at

Randy Smith, Illinois River project director for The Nature Conservancy, emailed this year’s end overview:

I haven’t heard any good reports from bass anglers this year [2023], but the folks chasing crappie and catfish have done well. Finding the old ditches that are now underwater and fishing the bottoms for catfish or the vertical sides for crappie seems to be the strategy.



Vince Oppedisano emailed the photo at the top and this:

Hey Dale,Water levels remained fairly high on the Fox River throughout Kane County over the past week, though they did drop a little bit on Sunday. I only saw one person wading this week. No cicada sightings yet, surprisingly…Caught a lot of numbers of smallmouth on crankbaits and ned rigs in the current, but nothing bigger than 16 inches. No big females. Best catch of the week was a surprise channel cat that smacked a June bug colored ned rig in St. Charles. Always a blast to catch them while fishing for bass.

Pete Lamar emailed:

Hi Dale,

More of the same this week with some minor changes.

The Fox is in great shape. Typical late Spring water levels and very good-for the Fox-clarity. I fished an area above a dam last night, so it’s more like a lake than a river. But find the current flow and fish would be nearby. They wanted nothing to do with a topwater fly-not even a swipe. As soon as a switched to a subsurface fly, a minnow pattern, I got into fish in the exact same area where they wouldn’t touch a topwater. A lot of carp porpoising in the area.


Capt. Dave Duwe emailed:

Lake Geneva 5/20/27 through 5/27/24The smallmouth bass are still in transition. I’ve seen some that are spawning and some that wish they were. Most of the fish are suspended in 12-15 ft of water. The best location is Belvidere Park and Elgin Club. Most of my fish are coming off of fat head minnows or white hair jigs. The fish are not associated with the bottom, they are suspended in the water column 3-4 ft off bottom.Rock bass are aggressively hitting throughout the lake. The bigger fish were caught at Belvidere Park last week. Pretty much every place I fished last week we caught rock bass. They were biting the white hair jig and the nightcrawlers equally as well. The best depth was 12 ft and less.Largemouth bass can be caught in the shallows. My best success was in Abbey harbor which is the warmest water on the lake. I was throwing split shot rigged nightcrawlers. Some of the bass I caught this week were over 3 lbs. I did fish in Geneva Bay with limited success. The day that I fished there, the water temp was 5 degrees less than the rest of the lake. Once the water temps increase, fishing should improve greatly. One of the spots I would check next week is Trinkes Bay in 5-6 ft of water. You either want to fish a split shot rigged nightcrawlers or cast a Senko in green pumpkin color.Bluegills are in and around the piers. They can be caught on leaf worms fished beneath a bobber and a small ice jig. The best location is by Williams Bay or Geneva Bay. You can sight fish them to catch the bigger fish. There are a lot of small ones mixed in with the bigger fish. With warming water temp the bluegill fishing will also improve.I haven’t fished for or heard of anyone catching any Walleyes yet. I assume that the bite is the best at night in the shallow weed flats. Try for them in 10-12 ft of water and try chrome/blue or chrome/black Rapala Husky jerks.Good luck and I hope to see you on the water. For guide parties, please call Dave Duwe at 262-728-8063

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Guide Mike Norris with a largemouth bass caught with a white ChatterBait.


Guide Mike Norris texted the photo above and emailed this:

Fishing Report – 5/20/2024

By Mike NorrisBig Green Lake: It took 21.36 pounds (five fish) to win a Wisconsin Elite Series tournament on Big Green last Saturday. With surface water temps nearing 60 degrees, both largemouth and smallmouth bass are moving shallow and making beds, but moss spread across the bottom of the lake is a problem when making lure presentations. The moss will burn off and disappear in two to three weeks. In the meantime, search for areas where the bottom is clean and spawning beds are present. A 7.58-pound largemouth bass anchored Saturday’s winning catch.Fox Lake: Most species seem to be biting. Crappies are good on micro jigs and plastics along drop-offs associated with the mid-lake islands. A jig and minnow suspended from a float is also a good choice. Bluegills are moving into the shallows, where a sand bottom area is located, with emerging weed growth. Largemouth bass fishing is excellent, with the best fish coming on wind-blown days. Their mood can change, so rotate between Senko or Chatterbait until you determine what they prefer on any given day. Try working a Chatterbait across emerging weed growth for northern pike.Lake Puckaway: Both largemouth and smallmouth bass are post-spawn and starting to feed up. A Chatterbait worked along weed edges, and a jig and crawfish imitator worked along rock-strewn channels and are responsible for most catches. Bluegills are spawning along the edges of bullrushes. Try fishing for them with a jig and redworm beneath a float.


Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.


Open daily 6 a.m. to sunset.


Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.


Arden Katz said they crappie and bluegill limits, shallow working the shorelines with small jigs (Mini-Mites, Jigabites) and spikes; largemouth to 3 1/2 pounds on Ned rigs on the first break line in 4-7 feet.


Casey Kelly holds smallmouth bass caught from Lake Michigan.


Casey Kelly messaged the photo above last Tuesday (too late to get in last week’s MFR) and this:

Not sure if this will count for next week’s catch. But it’s worth a shot. Nice pair to CPR (catch,photo,release)

Dan Bernstein holds his personal-best smallmouth bass.


On Monday, Dan Bernstein, a Score midday host, messaged on X the photo above and this:

I thought I had a drum until I got a visual on it. At least 20”. I’ll confirm the length when I get to the car.

When he had his personal-best smallmouth measured (marking on his rod then measuring back at the car), it was 19 7/8th inches. It was caught near the Columbia Yacht Club.

Good stuff.

Dan Edwards at Bridgeport Bait and Tackle said customers caught some big smallmouth by Northerly Island and Burnham Harbor on 3-inch Keitechs.

Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters said out of North Point, the unbelievable spring continues from the beach to 200 feet, fish scattered all over the place from Waukegan to Racine, Wisconsin with quite a few coho; out of Chicago, fishing improved, plenty of mainly coho around Wilmette, R2 to the R4, and off Montrose from 40 to off the wreck, all on Dodgers and flies.

Capt. Scott Wolfe of School of Fish Charters emailed:

Waukegan 5/20Hi Dale. Fishing continues for be great out of Waukegan. Warmer and calm weather and the warming lake is moving the fish out a bit. Early in the week 35 to 50 feet was best. By the weekend 60 to 80 was best. Leadcore and deeper divers are starting to work but the most fish are still on traditional Coho flies. The aqua and darker green Jimmy fly patterns in the top 25 feet continued to take most fish. Orange spoons in Warrior XL Jordo and Super Jordo on Downriggers took coho and steelhead this week.I expect the fish to continue to move deeper in the water column and more kings should start up as we move to lake May.Capt Scott Wolfe312-933-0552

PERCH: Season is closed from May 1 through June 15 on Illinois’ Lake Michigan.


Dan Edwards at Bridgeport Bait and Tackle said Nitroe worms are producing some big catfish.

Open daily 6 a.m. to sunset. As a perched lake, boating is closed when winds top or will top 14 mph. Check daily updates on boating at (815) 640-8099.


Click here for the update from D&S Bait, Tackle & Fly Shop .


Hours are 6 a.m. to sunset.


Guide Mike Mladenik of emailed:

Menominee River water temp 64-67The water Temp on the Menominee River is surging and the smallmouth action is on Fire! Some topwater action but your best bet is a Wacky Worm or a Neko Rig. I can’t wait for nest week.


Kyle Randstrom holds a muskie caught on a worm harness and 6-pound line, then released.

Allen Shander

Allen Shander emailed the photos above and below, and this:

Dale, hope all is well, I just had to share this one with you I love your column every week I’ll make it a short story we were trolling warm harnesses with 8 lb test on an old 6’6″’ medium action ugly stick. 42 inch musky t-boned my buddies worm harness let’s just say it was a 15-minute battle under the boat three times motors going up jumping around the boat good times have to say one of the best fishing experiences I’ve witnessed I wish I would have filmed it …as soon as we got that fish in the net the worm harness broke he had one number five hook in his mouth.. picture of this impressive beast attached. We did pretty good on the crappie and walleye too. photo attached was a one-day catch for me… thanks again for all your hard work FYI Muskie was Boot lake in Vilas county .

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Allen Shander with the bounty of Vilas County, Wisconsin.


That’s my kind of story and a helluva one.

And he added this:

That would be Kyle Randstrom from Glenwood I Still can’t believe we boated that fish on 8 lb test, God bless the worm harness..

Kurt Justice at Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua emailed:

Fishing has picked up as we move into the later part of May. For some species, the season seems to have charged ahead of schedule. Water temps range from 54 degrees on larger lakes to 65 degrees on smaller lakes and the dark water of Flowages. Overall averages about 58-62 degrees. With the Memorial holiday weekend and the Musky opener coming up, expect lots of anglers to be out enjoying the good fishing!Crappie: Excellent – Lots of reports from anglers finding staging, bedding and post spawn Crappies depending on the size and average surface temperature of the lakes. Small plastics such as tubes and Mini-mites fished below floats or without, small grub/spinner combos (beetle spins, Charlie Bees) and the good ol’ Crappie minnow and bobber. Nice catches reported with lots of fish in the 10-12”+ range with slabs up to 15” being caught. Good to see some anglers not pushing the bedded fish and releasing those big slabs.Smallmouth Bass: Very Good-Excellent – Reports of fish bedding on certain lakes already! Lots of action on staging fish in 8-14’ using swimbaits (Keitech Swing Impact, Berkley Ripple Shads), Wacky worms, Ned rigs, tubes and jerkbaits. Nice fish of 18-20” reported this past weekend. Catch and Release only on Smallies.Bluegill: Very Good – Not bedding as some would think (temps need to get higher) but good numbers of nice fish in the shallow weeds of 4-8’. Tiny tubes, Mini-mites, small leeches and leaf worms. Nice fish in the 7 ½-9” range with some honest 10”+ to make things very interesting.Largemouth Bass: Very Good – LMB roaming shallows, target using swimbaits, jerkbaits, Carolina rigs with sweet beavers or creature baits. Or do like Ryan Deitz, 16 yrs old from Wisconsin Rapids using a wacky worm in 5’ of water to catch the biggest Largemouth I’ve seen in a longtime up here, 23”- 6 ½#’s!Walleye: Very Good-Good – Working tall cabbage in 8-12’ using 1/16 oz weedless jigs tipped with Dace, fatheads or large leeches. Slip-bobbers also effective, especially towards dusk along the edges of these weed beds. Casting Rattlin Rouges over 10-14’ edges/breaks has been scoring nice catches for anglers working large lakes where temps run in the mid-50’s still.Northern Pike: Very Good-Good – Casting swimbaits of 4-5”, Mepps #3’s : #4’s, chatterbaits and even Daredevils working over green cabbage beds. Big minnows (chubs, suckers) on a jig or under floats with a wide gap hook and wire leader also effective. Some nice fish in the upper 20” to low 30” range this week. Action and size very good.Yellow Perch: Not as many people targeting, but nice catches in shallow weeds. Fish of 8-10”+ from 5-8’ weeds taking medium fatheads and leeches.Musky have been active in shallows, chasing hooked Bass and Crappies. Should be a good opener to use shallow twitchbaits, smaller bucktails and swimbaits.Following some rain midweek through Friday, looks like a good fisherman weekend for the holiday.Mosquitoes are starting to show, not bad on the water, but better cover up at the landings.Kurt JusticeKurt’s Island Sports Shop – Like us on Face


Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted:

Bluegill action going good on most area lakes and ponds using crickets and jumbo redsCrappie in the evening at potato creek state park using minnows.Lakers, coho and a few kings being caught in 65 to 80ft of water straight out of the ditch.Steelhead off Michigan city pier is hit or miss. Some days a bunch of fish caught other days nothing. Crawlers and shrimp under floats doing best.


Jim Lenc holds a smallmouth bass caught from a DeKalb County lake.

“Muskie Ed” Potocki

“Muskie Ed” Potocki emailed the photo above and this:

Hi Dale, hope all is well. Went Crappie fishing with my good friend Jim Lenc on a local DeKalb area lake. We were using Minnows and bobbers , 4 lb test and ultralight gear. We boated 5 nice smallies, one walleye, all over crappie cribs in 8 ft. Fun !!! All still swimming!

John Honiotes at Boondocks reported, “Everything is popping.” That includes walleye to 25 inches, good bass, good catfish and even crappie are keeping on going; water was 71 late Tuesday morning.

A good walleye caught at Shabbona Lake.

Provided by Boondocks

Site hours are 6 a.m.-10 p.m. through Oct. 31.

Boondocks is open 6 a.m.-6 p.m. The restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.


Click here for the southern Lake Michigan reports from the Wisconsin DNR.


Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said walleye are improving on the St. Joseph River; drum and a few skamania are being caught off the pier; boaters are working 80-120 for a mixed bag of kings, coho, lake trout and steelhead with some better action out deeper than 200.


White bass caught from the Wolf River in Wisconsin.


Roger Jackson emailed the photo above and this from Fremont:

On Friday went to Fremont Wi, the whitebass are on Fire, on everything!

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