Chicago fishing: LaSalle opener, yoyoing weather and coho

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The yoyoing weather, lakefront coho and the LaSalle Lake opener lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report. Dodong Takata caught the big brown trout of 11 pounds (top photo) of the private Facebook group Hole-Hoppers tournament on Sunday. LaSALLE OPENER LaSalle Lake, the cooling lake south of Seneca, reopened to fishing on Friday, March 15. Jim Duplex’s YouTube video gives an idea what the best of LaSalle was on opening day with a mess of hybrid striped bass. I bumped into them as I was leaving and they were arriving opening morning on Friday. Apparently, I should have stuck around and rode with them. From about 6:30 to 11 a.m., I walked and shore fished the south bank and a bit of the east bank; caught lots of channel catfish in 10- to 13-inch range. At least two decent blues were caught from shore while I was there, as well as five good hybrid striped bass and one freshwater drum (pictured below) by an unknown angler. LaSalle is open daily 6 a.m.-sunset. Boating is often restricted by winds, which it was greatly in the opening days. Check daily updates on boating at (815) 640-8099. ILLINOIS CATCH-AND-RELEASE TROUT Catch-and-release trout season opens Saturday, March 23. Sites in northern Illinois include Rock Creek, Kankakee River SP; Pine Creek, White Pines Forest SP; Apple River, Apple River Canyon SP. Regular trout season opens April 6. UPDATE ON CHICAGO PASSES Now that Park Bait reopened, parking and pier passes may be bought there. The Northerly Island Visitor Center remains closed, but parking passes or pier passes (credit card only) may be bought at these places and times as Carl Vizzone emailed: Chicago Park District parking passes ($20 for two months) are for the anglers’ parking lots at DuSable and Burnham harbors. The park district pier passes ($10 for the season) allow legal access to select piers at Jackson Park, Burnham, DuSable, Diversey, Belmont and Montrose harbors. NAVY PIER ANGLING 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. LAKEFRONT PARKING My column from Nov. 30, 2022, on parking the length of the Chicago lakefront is posted at https://chicago.suntimes.com/2022/11/30/23485385/chicago-lakefront-parking-fishing AREA LAKES Andy Hansen messaged the photo above and this: It’s the biggest one he ever got at that park. Charles Horwath of Darien emailed the photo above and this on Tuesday: Dave Dempsey messaged on Instagram the photo above and this: I found it an impressive bluegill from local public waters. Dave Kranz of Dave’s Bait, Tackle and Taxidermy in Crystal Lake and with his You-Tube channel, Dave Kranz Living the wild outdoors, texted: Ken “Husker” O’Malley of Husker Outdoors emailed the photos above and below, and this: Rob Abouchar messaged: And my Tuesday is made with the music report. BRAIDWOOD LAKE Open daily 6 a.m.-sunset. Click herefor a preview that gives hope for a good year. CHAIN O’LAKES AREA Arden Katz found lots of bluegills in channels holding water with white or chartreuse Jigabites or Mini-Mites. Water levels remain low, use caution launching and navigating. NOTE: Check updates on water conditions at foxwaterway.com or (847) 587-8540. NOTE 2: Stratton Lock and Dam is closed through April 30, 2024. CHICAGO RIVER Christopher Lising messaged the photos above and below from River Park near the confluence of the North Shore Channel and the North Branch, with this explanation. Just wonderful. I do know smallmouth that far up the North Branch are rare, but things have changed with the dam removal opening the river up to be a river again where fish species can move around. COOLING LAKES Braidwood and LaSalle are open; Heidecke reopenss April 1. DOWNSTATE POWERTON:Both bank and boat fishing are open. Hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. through April 30. EMIQUON PRESERVE: Open. Access permits and liability waivers are available Tuesday to Saturday at Dickson Mounts Museum, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Randy Smith, Illinois River project director for The Nature Conservancy, emailed this year’s end overview: SPRING LAKE:Open. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Reopens May 1. HEIDECKE LAKE Scheduled to reopen April 1. FOX RIVER Dave Kranz of Dave’s Bait, Tackle and Taxidermy in Crystal Lake and with his You-Tube channel, Dave Kranz Living the wild outdoors, texted: ILLINOIS RIVER NOTE: The Masters Walleye Circuit tournament out of Spring Valley is Friday and Saturday, March 22-23. The MWC gave these details for spectators. LAKE ERIE Click here for the Ohio DNR Report. LAKEFRONT Jeremy Jakiel messaged the photo at the very top and the photo above and this from the private Hole-Hoppers Facebook tournament over the week: Stacey Greene at Park Bait at Montrose Harbor texted: LaSALLE LAKE Opening weekend report at top. Site is open daily 6 a.m.-sunset. As a perched lake, LaSalle can have boating closed often by winds; check daily updates on boating at (815) 640-8099. MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN Click here for the update from D&S Bait, Tackle & Fly Shop . MAZONIA Fishing is open at both units. Any ice fishing is at your own risk. Hours are 6 a.m. to sunset. NORTHWEST INDIANA NOTE: Indiana’s stocking of urban lakes with channel catfish included Robinson Park Lake (Hobart – Lake County) with 300. Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted: ROCK RIVER, WISCONSIN Arden Katz caught walleye, including one to 19 1/2 inches, at Jefferson Dam, using a Keitech swimbait and 1/8th-ounce jig in a three-way rig with a red or purple fly. ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN Click here for the Wisconsin DNR’s report, usually on Tuesday or Wednesday. SHABBONA LAKE Boondocks is closed. March site hours are 8 a.m.-8 p.m. SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said a few steelhead are at Berrien Springs; the St. Joseph pier is slow and weather has prevented or limited boaters. WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN Guide Bill Stoeger texted

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