Outdoor News,Photos and Reports as of May 15

Here's the latest in fishing, hunting reports and news as of May 12.

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Local Pond Report by Ken HUSKER O'Malley

Hey Don, Area lakes continue to give up good numbers on bass. Before the rains and temperature drop, action was good on senkos and chigger craws. Once the water cooled down and stained, working a lipless crank through emerging grass beds was the way to go. Should be a challenging week ahead with the forecast.

Ken "Husker" O'Malley
Waterworks fishing team

DesPlaines FWA Wingshooting Clinic Info by Chris Young

Everyone,  The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), the Illinois Conservation Foundation and several co-sponsors will be conducting a youth/women’s wingshooting clinic on Saturday and Sunday, May 16-17 at Des Plaines Fish and Wildlife Area.  Additionally, the IDNR is sponsoring wingshooting clinic sessions for hunters on Saturday and Sunday, May 30-31at the Des Plaines Fish and Wildlife Area.

Six slots remain open for both May 16 and 17. The morning session of the May 30 hunter clinic is full, but 16 slots remain open for the afternoon session. There are still five slots left for the morning session on May 31. The afternoon session is full.

Chris Young, Communications Director, IL DNR

Rend Lake Fishing Report by Randy Cordray

LARGEMOUTH BASS Good Worms, black and blue jigs, minnows, and spinner baits. Fish in shallow bays near brush cover and bushes. Fish around bridges and along the rocks. Reports of fish being caught around Jackie Branch, Sandusky Cove, and below the dam. 14” minimum length limit, 6 daily creel limit. 1 fish daily creel limit in PONDS 14” minimum length.
CRAPPIE  Good Jigs are working well. Quarter-Ounce pink and white tub jigs. Small & Medium Minnows. Meal worms. Lately, many fishermen have been fishing in the bushes.  Fish the main lake drop off areas.  Try the Gun Creek Area. From shore fish near structures, hot spots are Jackie Branch, Sandusky,  Sailboat Harbor, Marcum coves, and Ina Boat Ramp. 25 fish daily creel limit with no more than 10 fish 10 inches or longer
BLUEGILL  Fair Crickets, worms, wax worms, meal worms, small jigs. Fish in the back of necks and on flat shallow banks and on the rocks. Try fishing shallow with crickets, worms or small jigs. From shore try Sailboat Harbor. 10 fish daily creel limit in PONDS. 
CHANNELCATFISH  Excellent Sonny’s stink bait, Hoss’s Hawg Bait, leeches, night crawlers, and large minnows. Try the Waltonville Dam, Turnip Patch, Jackie Branch, and North Sandusky Day Use Area. Set line 3-4’ from the shore over rocks. Try leeches in moving water.  Drift fish the flats. 6 fish daily creel limit in PONDS.Jugs must be attended at all times while fishing.
WHITE BASS Fair Jig and curly tail grubs, inline spinners. Fish in shallow bays near brush cover and bushes. Fish around along the rocks and dropoffs. Reports of fish being caught around  the 154 bridges. 20 fish creel limit.No more than 3 fish 17” or longer daily
Information as of:  05/11/2015LAKE LEVEL: 408.77        AVERAGE POOL FOR THIS DATE: 408.05     WATER TEMP:  62°F

Use of a minnow seine, cast net, or shad scoop for bait collecting within 1000 yards downstream of the Rend Lake dam and spillway is prohibited.

Maps of the Fish Attractor tree locations along with GPS readings are available at the Rend Lake Corps of Engineers Project Office.  Contact Randy Cordray for more information at (618) 724-2493.  In order to maintain a cleaner recreation area, anglers and bow fishermen fishing below the dam are asked to return dead rough fish to the water.

Lake Shelbyville Report by Steve Welch

The water temps have really bounced up this past week to 70 and the crappie have really moved up to spawn. We are fishing mostly live bait about six feet down over brush in the ten foot range on the north end. They are catching them shallower than that off the rocks in Bo-Woods cove and RR bridge rocks. The south end has fish a little deeper since it is so gin clear. Take your pick on how you want to catch them it isn't a problem right now.

Every day last week we had a three or four man limit before 11:00 earliest was 9:54 for a four man or 60 crappie. This has left time to pull spinners on drops looking for walleye. We have caught quite a few shorts but only a handful of legal sized. We need more water since the lake is still four-feet low. This will give the flats enough water over all the stumps for the fish to get in them.

We are pulling spinners right on the areas they should be staged at but it is still tough. A few are throwing Crankbaits and BigDudes in these same areas with similar results. Same thing with the white bass, they are not staged out in river channel areas so it will be a while longer for both to get good. But for now enjoy the red hot crappie fishing.

Steve Welch
Website: www.lakeshelbyvilleguide.com

Illinois Turkey update from Paul Shelton, IL DNR

Everyone,     Here is an update on the spring turkey hunting season from Paul Shelton.

Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary statewide total of 14,999 wild turkeys during the 2015 Spring Turkey Season, including the youth seasons.  The 2015 total compares with the statewide turkey harvest of 13,514 in 2014.  The statewide preliminary total includes Youth Turkey Season harvest of 896 birds, compared with youth season harvest of 781 turkeys in 2014.

Spring turkey hunting was open in 100 of Illinois’ 102 counties.  The 2015 seasons were April 6-May 7 in the South Zone and April 13-May 14 in the North Zone.  The Youth Spring Turkey Season was March 28-29 in the South Zone and April 4-5 in the North Zone.

Turkey hunters this spring took a preliminary total of 6,387 wild turkeys during all season segments in the South Zone, a slight increase over the harvest of 6,184 last year in the south.  The North Zone preliminary harvest total of 8,612 wild turkeys was considerably higher than the 2014 total of 7,330 in the north.

“Turkey hunters in the North Zone, particularly in west-central Illinois, benefitted from improved turkey reproductive success during the spring of 2014,” said IDNR Forest Wildlife Biologist Paul Shelton.  “This was evident from the improved harvest numbers in those areas and a higher proportion of jakes in the harvest than we’ve seen in many years.”

The top counties for spring wild turkey harvest in the South Zone in 2015 were Jefferson (433), Pope (366), Marion (333), Union (312), and Randolph (300).  The top five North Zone counties for spring turkey harvest this year were Jo Daviess (601), Fulton (401), Adams (389), Pike (341), and Macoupin (328).

Lake Wisconsin WI photos/report by Roger Wright

Roger Wright is up on Lake Wisconsin now and just a few hours ago caught a nice bass on a Strike King KVD stickbait.  His buddy Glen is doing well too in the bass department.   Earlier today they caught a mess of really nice bluegills.  (see photos)

 Niagara New York area Fishing Report by Bill Hilts Jr.

1.       Lake Ontario and tributaries – Fishing continues to be very good out in Lake Ontario off the shores of Niagara County for both salmon and trout. According to Capt. Dan Evans of Wilson, fish can be found in the 60 to 140 foot range from 30 Mile Point to the Niagara Bar. While spoons are the primary lure being used, a fair number of fish are also being taken on flasher-fly rigs. Find the river current and locate baitfish to find active fish. Some trout are still available in 18 Mile Creek below Burt Dam, but warm water fish like pike, bass and perch are starting to trun on, too. The ½ inch of rain earlier in the week helped conditions a little bit. For the fishing trio of Mike Hay of Lake Luzerne, Scott Keeler of Lake Luzerne and Randy Savage of Queensbury, going to school proved to be the ticket to success as they combined to collect the $15,000 Grand Prize check in the spring Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby held May 1-10 by weighing in a 24 pound, nine ounce salmon at Wilson after catching the fish on the Niagara Bar. Hay was the angler reeling in the fish and he was the one who collected the check at the awards ceremony at Sodus Bay last Sunday, but it will be split three ways in the end. As far as credit, they pointed a finger at the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association’s Salmon School held during the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo last January. They attended the school and were so impressed with the area that they decided to fish on the Niagara Bar and give it a go. The rest is history. First place in the salmon division was Lee Beaton of Clifton Springs with a 24 pound Niagara Bar king. First place lake trout was Casey Prisco of Matamoras, Pennsylvania with a 24 pound, one ounce fork tail taken out in front of Wilson. Big brown trout was a 16 pound, 10 ounce fish taken by Mike Wichtowski of Rochester taken near Devil’s Nose east of Sandy Creek. Big walleye was hauled in by Travis Parker of Glen Park, a 12 pound, 13 ounce fish taken near Point Peninsula near the Black River. A total of 17 of the top 21 salmon were taken from Niagara USA waters and 19 of the top 20 lake trout were from these productive waters, too. Two of the top brown trout were Niagara fish, as well. For a complete leaderboard list check out www.loc.org. In the Wilson Harbor Invitational Tournament last Saturday, it was the Oh Baby team led by Matt LeClair of Plattsburgh that won the $25,000 check by catching a six fish limit to earn a total score of 152.02 points based on 10 points per fish and a point per pound. Less than 10 points separated the top six teams for the one day contest. Next big fishing contest will be the Lake Ontario Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournaments May 30-31 and June 6-7 out of Wilson and Olcott. Deadline for registering for the Trophy and Classic divisions online is midnight on May 18. For the recreational open division, deadline is 14 days prior to each event – all one day contests for a total of four. Go to www.lakeontarioproam.net for all the details or for registering.

2.       Lower Niagara River – Steelhead are still available throughout the system but the best spot has been in Devil’s Hole according to Capt. John DeLorenzo of Niagara Falls. Fishing three-way rigs with a small minnow or small egg sac has been the most productive method. A small yellow float in the sac is working, like an Oregon cheese color. That same color has been working with small pieces of yarn. A few lake trout have been found throughout the river, but the majority of them have been stacked up at the mouth. Loads of bass around Fort Niagara, too. Jeff Samsel, a writer from Georgia who was in town last week to sample the fishing, had this to say about the area’s fishing action: “I fished three days, and each was a bit different. Day one was on Ontario, just off the bar, and the lake trout bite was crazy good, with the fish hitting crankbaits presented on three-way rigs. I believe our most productive depth range was 50-70 feet, but that was changing daily. Day two we mostly fished at the mouth of the river, where big smallmouths were plentiful and seemingly quite fond of Strike King Gobylicious tubes. We also caught some Coho salmon on tubes. On day three, I fished Buffalo out of Erie, and the bite was a bit off. Of course, “off” for there means about 20 smallmouths up to 5 pounds. The top bait was a bright-colored Yo-Zuri crankbait, but we caught a fish or two on several different things, including tubes, minnows, a drop shot, a jerkbait and a Rat-L-Trap.” The area makes us look good to outdoor media.

3.       Upper Niagara River – Waters in the upper river are finally starting to heat up enough to turn on some warm water fishing like perch and crappies. Small tubes, minnows or plastic shadpoles will catch fish for you in any of the bays that offer a bit warmer temperatures from the main river. Excitement is running high with the new proposed muskellunge season in New York. Inland waters musky will open up on the last Saturday in May (May 30 this year), with a minimum size of 40 inches and a limit of one fish if you wanted to keep one. However, this new season does NOT include the Niagara River (upper or lower), Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Great Lakes regulations will continue to be an opening day of the third Saturday in June (June 20 this year). In addition, the minimum musky size for all Great Lakes waters will be 54 inches in length with a daily limit of one. Scott McKee, president of the Niagara Musky Association, was worried over the possible confusion and asked that we emphasize this a few times in our reports so that anglers better understand the changes. The DEC press release was not clear on the Niagara River. For a greater understanding about musky fishing in general, check out the excellent article in the new Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide for 2015-16 written by McKee and Tony Scime.

Bill Hilts, Jr., Director, Outdoor Promotions
Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation
1.877 FALLS US

Lake of the Woods MN Fishing Report

Waters were low for the 2015 Minnesota Walleye Opener, but anglers still walked away successful! Limits caught all weekend with a mix of walleyes and saugers and many slot fish thrown back. The limit stays the same at 6 fish, a combo walleyes and saugers with no more than 4 walleyes per day. 19.5"-28" must go back and you can keep one over 28".

Pine Island was a popular spot this weekend. Anglers fished 15-19 feet jigging with a live minnow or frozen shiner. Heading west towards Zippel Bay, Long Point and Rocky Point, anchoring up in 17-19 feet over rubble worked well. Hot colors were white, gold, and pink.
Rainy River fishing was very active mornings and evenings. Saugers helped fill limits and a few smallmouth bass were caught and released. Sturgeon were hitting from Clementson to 4 Mile Bay over deep pockets using a 4/0 or 5/0 circle hook with 2-3 oz of weight baited with a gob of crawlers and by unsuspecting walleye anglers using a jig and minnow. Catch and release open through May 15th.

Up at the NW Angle, active fishing deep. Limits of nice sized walleyes caught in 25-30 feet while those chasing trophies found larger fish in 15-20 feet. Jigging with a minnow best near Oak and Flag Islands.  For a complete list of lodging, go to www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com/Lodging

Joe Henry, LOW Tourism  www.LakeoftheWoodMN.com
Joe Henry | Executive Director | Lake of the Woods Tourism | www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com

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