I promised my annual list of guides that I can recommend that ply their trade on waters within a reasonable drive. Here they are:
Spence Petros – www.spencepetros.com, 815-455-7770: This Hall of Fame angler books weekday trips on Lake Geneva and Lake Delavan in May and June. He always fills up because a trip with Spencer is the closest you can get to guaranteeing yourself a day on the water that you will remember forever. He is taking a few dates for muskies and panfish throughout July, August and September, too.
Capt. Bob Jenkins – www.challengerfishingcharters.com, 888-427-8262: Capt. Bob runs out of Waukegan. He takes his big boat out for salmon and trout and also runs a nifty center-console craft that is absolutely perfect for perch. Capt. Bob is the only charter on the big pond that can get you a limit of tasty golden perch while fishing in a comfy boat that is designed for what you are doing.
Steve Everetts – Finseeker’s Guide Service, 847-707-1827: Steve is a licensed captain and my “go-to-guy” for Lake Delavan fishing information. He is the best on that body of water, hands down. I have written a number of times about trips with Steve when we have caught way more than our fair share of big pike and big bass.
Capt. Bob Rossa – www.migratorfishhunt.com, 815-575-4665: Capt. Bob is returning to beautiful North Point Marina as his base of operations. He is a consummate professional and almost always sends his clients home with plenty of tasty fillets. Heck, even if you didn’t catch fish, Captain Bob’s stories would be worth the price of the charter alone.
Eric Haataja – wibigfish.com, 414-546-4627: This young fellow fishes all over the state of Wisconsin and catches fish on every lake and river he hits. I have never met anyone who was so well versed on as many bodies of water as Eric is. He is respected by the top pros and is often seen on television with John Gillespie and Babe Winkelman.
Jim Tostrud – www.wildlifevisions.com: This is a guide who is great with children. Part guide/part fish artist, the incredibly talented Tostrud has a good handle on what’s hot on Geneva. In my opinion, he’s the best at going after Geneva’s huge bluegills and mammoth crappies. Jim is the perfect guy to hit the water with for a dad and a kid or two.
Carl Kaufmann – Carl Kaufmann Guide Service, 815-338-2475: Carl perfectly defines the word “gentleman.” He is truly one of the nicest guys in the business. Kaufmann is superb at finding big bass and pike on both Lake Geneva and Lake Delavan. If one is off, the other is usually on, so Carl’s knowledge of both of them gives him a big edge. Carl is great with kids and first-timers and nobody works harder to make sure that you catch fish.
Pat Harrison – www.patharrisonoutdoors.com, 847-980-4640: A good friend, who now possesses a Captain’s license. He knows the Fox Chain as well as anyone and is very reasonable. He offers a combination fishing/camping weekend outing that will have you fishing during virtually every daylight hour.
Chris Taurisano, 630-330-9090: This young gun’s “T-Bone Guide Service” specializes in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin waters. He fishes for everything from panfish to bass and walleye to muskies. He is recommended by Spence Petros, who let Chris teach about the Fox Chain at Spence’s fishing classes.
Dave Kranz of Dave’s Bait, Tackle and Taxidermy in Crystal Lake reports: “The good news is that all the lakes and ponds that were so low all of last year are full again. The bad news is that so many people along the rivers are sandbagging to save their homes. Right now, the ponds and lakes will be your best bet for spring fishing. As the water warms, bass, crappies and bluegills will be in the shallows. Shallow running crank baits, spinner baits and Senkos will work well for bass. Panfish can be caught on Cubby Mini-Mites or small jigs with a wax worm or minnow.” Call 815-455-2040 for updated reports.
Major road construction is under way near Route 176, right in front of Dave’s place. He will be open during the construction, but please be careful getting in and out of his lot.
For up-to-the-minute water conditions on the Fox Chain and Fox River, go to www.foxwaterway.state.il.us/ or call 847-587-8540.
You can call Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan Fishing Hotline at 414-382-7920 to hear the latest fishing information for Lake Michigan and its tributaries. Wisconsin’s regular inland game fish season opens on Saturday, May 4.
Turkey numbers: 923 birds were harvested during the 2013 Illinois youth wild turkey season. The season ran March 30 and 31 for the south zone and April 6 and 7 for the north zone. Last year, 1,300 birds were harvested. The record for the youth season was set last year with 1,300 wild turkeys harvested. This year 4,468 permits were issued as opposed to just 4,100 last year. This year, three birds were harvested in McHenry County, topping the two taken last year.
• Northwest Herald outdoors columnist Steve Sarley’s radio show, “The Outdoors Experience,” airs live at 5 a.m. Sundays on AM-560. Sarley also runs a website for outdoors enthusiasts, OExperience.com. He can be reached by email at email@example.com.