The open water fishing season finally approaches. Fishermen and -women over the age of 16 need a new fishing license this year, as the old ones expired on March 31. Licenses are available at Fish-Tek in Morton Grove, Bass Pro Shops in Gurnee or on the internet:

Illinois DNR

Wisconsin DNR

Those who will be traveling this summer and want to fish when they arrive can get a license for most states on the internet. With license in hand, it is time to get some baits wet.

The City of Evanston will open their kids fishing program at Lovelace Park on May 4. This is a great place to take the kids for their first fishing trips – it is close and all the equipment is supplied, including the bait and experienced personnel to help with baiting hooks, removing fish from hooks and guidance, if needed, on where to find the fish.

For some that same weekend may also be time to head out from the Church Street Boat Ramp on to Lake Michigan for a first shot at this year’s crop of smallmouth bass and perch. With lake levels at their lowest levels in history it will take a little while to locate the fish this spring, but an educated guess puts them out in deeper water sooner this year than in past years. There are a few spots to check right away: The Glencoe Shoal will be a first stop (the high spots may actually be out of the water this year); the old dock pilings near Winnetka should also be a great holding area early season. Sonar can be used to locate the pre-spawn schools of perch as well as checking on the how the grass beds are coming along.

The next few weeks should be enjoyable, getting boats ready, finishing sorting tackle and putting the fresh line on a few rods for spring fishing. Here’s hoping the weather cooperates and, unlike last year, mid-summer temperatures wait a while.

Until next time, keep a tight line.

Contact Dick at