The fishing season has really hit full stride these past weeks. The weather has not been the best but the temperatures have been good enough to allow the water temperature to start coming up a few degrees and really get a good bite going in most of our area lakes. The area lakes are reporting water temps in the mid-50 degree to 60 degree range. Noticeable exceptions are the two really big lakes; Lake Geneva at 50 degrees and Big Green Lake at 45 degrees. The near 60 degree water has really turned things on up on the Fox Chain with reports of good walleye catches on jig and crawler rigs. The bass are hitting in the shallows on a pre-spawn bite; the pan fish are active in the quieter back bays. Lake Geneva reports are showing a good bass bite for both large and smallmouth bass with the best action along windy shore lines. The best local area hotspot has been Lake Opeka, where we hear the largemouth bass are really turning on with catches running in the double digits; they are biting on a wide variety of baits.

Evanston’s very own fishing program has opened for the season at Lovelace Park. The program is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and children under 16 do not require a fishing license. The City provides fishing rods, bait and personal assistance with how to fish, where to fish and removing fish from the hooks after they’re caught at no charge. The pond has been stocked with bluegill, catfish, and bass, but there are also some crappies and sunfish as well. This is a catch-and-release program, and plenty of fish are being caught already. This is a great opportunity to fish with younger anglers and for them to hone their skills right here in Evanston.

Speaking of young anglers, this next weekend, May 20 and 21, is the Illinois High School Association State Bass Fishing Finals on Carlyle Lake. Twenty high schools from across the State have competed against more than 240 other high schools to be in these finals. Some area schools who competed were Regina Dominican (two teams), New Trier, Niles North, and Niles West. Results will be posted in the next column. Until then…keep a tight line.
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