Best Fishing Spots: Mid West
Field & Stream Online Editors Arkansas - Lake Dardanelle
This navigation pool of the Arkansas River is super largemouth bass, crappie, and catfish habitat. The strip pits near Russellville, with many fingers and steep banks lined with water willows, are a favored hangout of giant largemouths. Smart anglers crank the banks with a citrus shad Bomber Fat Free Shad Fingerling, which dives 8 to 10 feet deep. Rush Sporting Goods, 479-968-4322 Guide's Tips Species: Bass Guide: Scott Rush; Rush Sporting Goods, 479-968-4322 Rig Specifics: Use a 6 1/2-foot, medium-heavy rod with 12- to 14-pound-test clear mono with Zoom plastic worms. The two tails are the key. Quick Tip: The water temperature should be between 62 and 64 degrees, and you need to get the worm down around 18 to 24 inches. Where to Fish: Go to where the larger tributaries enter into the lake. Piney Creek is one of the best. Photos From Lake Dardanelle
Arkansas – Norfolk Lake
Striped bass abound in this clear, 22,000-acre reservoir. A 30-pounder is a trophy here, and 7- to 12-pound fish are common. Vertically jig 50- to 60-foot-deep sunken creek-channel bends on the main lake with a 1-ounce white or silver Bink’s Spoon. When June fades into July, try slowly trolling threadfin shad and jigs behind balloon rigs and planer boards near the dam. Darrell Binkley, 870-499-7384; Guide’s Tips binksguideservice.com
Guide: Darrell Binkley; ; 870-499-7384 binksguideservice.com
Rig Specifics: Use a 6-foot, medium-heavy rod with clear, 12-pound-test line, throwing a 3/4-ounce jigging spoon.
Quick Tip: Find a spot that has a creek channel coming into the lake.
Where to Fish: A great spot is around the Norfolk Lake Dam near Jordan. Photos From Norfolk Lake Field & Stream Online Editors
Arkansas – City Park Ponds
Little Rock, West Memphis, Hot Springs, Jonesboro, and Fort Smith all stock their park waters with trout during the cool months and channel catfish in the summer. Hybrid stripers also go into some of the ponds. They’re all small, but these little jewels yield the highest catch rates in the state. The program is geared for families and first-time anglers, who can borrow rods and reels at loaner stations or local libraries. Clifton Jackson, 501-223-7322; Guide’s Tips agfc.com
Guide: Clifton Jackson; ; 501-223-7322 agfc.com
Rig Specifics: A 5 1/2-foot, medium-light rod with 8- to 12-pound-test line. Use a size 4 bait-holding hook with chicken liver.
Quick Tip: Overcast days in the mid-80s are ideal. 5 to 8 pm are the best hours.
Where to Fish: Off any point, contour change, and around structure. The ponds are loaded, get out there and you’ll catch something. Field & Stream Online Editors
Illinois – Lake Jacksonville
Intensive management and a 15-inch minimum-size limit have created Illinois’s very best largemouth action at this 475-acre municipal reservoir. Chug an XCalibur Xz2 Zell Pop next to deadfalls along the shoreline and over coontail grassbeds. Buy a pass from the city of Jacksonville; the money is used to maintain boat ramps and other facilities. City of Jacksonville Parks & Lakes, 217-479-4613; Guide’s Tips jacksonvilleil.com
Guide: Wade Davis; ; 217-479-4613 jacksonvilleil.com
Rig Specifics: A 7 1/2-foot, medium- action graphite rod with 17-pound-test works best. Carolina rig a dark black plastic worm with a chartreuse tail.
Quick Tip: Be on the water right around daybreak. The best days are 85 -“degrees and overcast.
Where to Fish: The sweet depth in the lake seems to be around 25 feet. Photo From Lake Jacksonville Field & Stream Online Editors
Illinois – Lake Shelbyville
The muskie fishing just keeps getting better and better at this huge reservoir. Just ask Matt Carmean, who caught a 39-pound 8-ounce, 50 3/4-inch trophy in 2002. Many muskies are caught at the dam end of the lake, near Lithia Springs Marina. Speed-troll a Creek Chub Wooden Pikie in the prop wash and cast big bucktail spinners over points. Lithia Springs Marina, 800-447-4121; Guide’s Tips one-eleven.net/ lithiam
Guide: Steve Welch; ; 217-762-7257 lakeshelbyvilleguide.com
Rig Specifics: A medium-sized rod with 6-pound-test line tied to a white and chartreuse tube jig.
Quick Tip: The fish usually sit in 13 to 18 feet of water: the best time is in the morning.
Where to Fish: The north end of the lake is the best spot for crappies. Field & Stream Online Editors
Illinois – Carlyle Lake
Fifty miles east of St. Louis, this reservoir is loaded with white bass measuring 12 inches and longer. To catch them, swim 1/4-ounce jigs dressed with 3-inch curly-tailed grubs along the bottom of the many 8- to 10-foot-deep flats as well as around the railroad bridge pilings in the middle of the lake. The tailwater below the dam is also worth trying for white bass, largemouth bass, bluegills, crappies, catfish, walleyes, and saugers. Barry Newman, fisheries biologist, 618-443-2925; Guide’s Tips dnr.state.il.us
Species: Channel Catfish
Guide: Jody Harris; ; 217-762-7257 www.mvs.usace.army.mil/carlyle
Rig Specifics: 6-foot baitcasting rod with 12-pound-test line and a leech for bait.
Quick Tip: The best bite is right before dark on an 80-degree, overcast day.
Where to Fish: The Allen branch near Eldon Hazlet State Park. Field & Stream Online Editors
Indiana – Patoka Lake
A fertile reservoir that dependably yields big largemouth bass, Patoka also has a developing striper fishery. Concentrate on milfoil beds for largemouths, especially those around Painter Creek State Recreation Area. Crank the edges of the grass with a firetiger Cotton Cordell Big O, and work into the vegetation with a junebug 71⁄2-inch Texas-rigged Yum Ribbontail worm and 3⁄8-ounce bullet sinker. Tim’s Guide Service, 812-936-3382; Guide’s Tips timsguideservice.com
Guide: Tim Gibson; ; 812-936-3382 timsguideservice.com
Rig Specifics: A medium-sized spincasting rod with a light-test fluorocarbon line using 1/32- to 1/16-ounce jigs.
Quick Tip: The jigs are especially great in the deep timber, between 15 and 20 feet. The ideal day is in the high 70s to low 80s
Where to Fish: On the west side of the lake. There’s deep water and good tree trunks. Photos From Patoka Lake Field & Stream Online Editors
Indiana – Monroe Lake
Strong, aggressive hybrid stripers grow fat on this 10,750-acre reservoir, Indiana’s largest. Fish to 8 pounds are frequent catches, and some top 15 pounds. Make zigzag passes over the main river channel while trolling red-and-white Hyper Striper jigs. The stretch from Salt Creek near the dam up the lake to Hardin Ridge is particularly nice. The Fishin’ Shedd, 812-837-9474; Guide’s Tips timsguideservice.com
Guide: Dedra Hawkins; The Fishin’ Shedd; ; 812-837-9474 cgi.fishinshedd.com
Rig Specifics: 5 1/2- to 6-foot, ultralight spinning rod with 4- to 6-pound Shakespeare Cajun Red line. Fish the Lil’ Hustler Crappie Tube on a 1/16-ounce lead jighead.
Quick Tip: You want a calm day with a light wind in the mid to upper 70s. The sunnier the better, and the crappies tend to be about 8 to 10 feet deep.
Where to Fish: Look for brush and rocky points on the east side of the causeway. Photos From Monroe Lake Field & Stream Online Editors
Indiana – Webster Lake
It may be only 774 acres, but Webster has been stocked with muskies since 1980 and holds good numbers of them up to 42 pounds. Cast big bucktail spinners and topwater baits over shallow grassbeds in June. As summer comes on, switch to oversize crankbaits such as the 10-inch Jake and 9-inch Grandma in shad patterns in the middle of the lake, where muskies often feed on big gizzard shad. If you can find schools of these baitfish on your depthfinder before you start casting, you’ll improve your odds dramatically. Mike Hulbert Guide Service, 419-553-6570; Guide’s Tips mikehulbert.com
Guide: Mike Hulbert; ; 419-553-6570 mikehulbert.com
Rig Specifics: An 8 1/2-foot Professional Edge Diamondback muskie rod with 80-pound-test line, using a Bull Dawg lure by Musky Innovation.
Quick Tip: Look for open water and bait schools. The muskies are usually down about 25 to 45 feet.
Where to Fish: The main lake basin is the place to go. Photos From Webster Lake Field & Stream Online Editors
Iowa – Upper Mississippi River
The navigation pools of the Mississippi have many shallow backwaters filled with stumps, downed trees, lily pads, and other aquatic vegetation. Crappies thrive in these environments, as do bass and bluegills. Bussey Lake in pool 10 near Guttenberg is one example where the fishing is hot. Probe the woody cover there with a bobber and minnow to load up on slab crappies. Scott Gritters, fisheries biologist, 563-252-1156; Guide’s Tips iowadnr.com
Guide: Scott Gritters; 563-252-1156; iowadnr.com
Rig Specifics: Any medium-sized spinning rod with a smallish hook and a nightcrawler on the end of it will work.
Quick Tip: Throw the worm out and let it sit. If you don’t get a hit, move the worm a little bit to attract a strike.
Where to Fish: The backwaters are the hotspots. Field & Stream Online Editors
Iowa – Rathbun Lake
Last season, this reservoir had its best walleye fishing ever, and limits of 15- to 25-inch fish should be easy enough to reach this month. Troll No. 5 Shad Raps over mud and cobble humps 4 to 10 feet deep in the Island View and South Fork areas. Also cast jigs dressed with a chartreuse curly tail and tipped with a crawler. Mark Flammang, fisheries biologist, 641-647-2406; Guide’s Tips iowadnr.com
Guide: Mark Flammang; 641-647-2406; iowadnr.com
Rig Specifics: A 5- to 6-foot ultralight rod with 4-pound-test rigged with an 1/8-ounce jighead tipped with a minnow.
Quick Tip: Fish where there are depth changes in the water. A good fish finder will show you the schools.
Where to Fish: In the lake arms where Honey Creek and Buck Creek empty in. Field & Stream Online Editors
Iowa – Spirit Lake
Smallmouth fishing continues to be superb at this huge natural lake in northwestern Iowa. Good numbers of smallies in the 2- to 5-pound range are caught each spring. To get in on the fun, cast a 1/8-ounce jig tipped with a 3-inch minnow to rock piles on the east side of the lake around Stoney Point, Reeds Run, and Little Stoney Point. Hazard buoys mark many of these spots. Most bites come at a maximum of 12 feet deep. For walleyes, tip the jig with a crawler and fish the same rock piles. Mike Hawkins, fisheries biologist, 712-336-1840; Guide’s Tips iowadnr.com
Guide: Mike Hawkins; 712-336-1840; iowadnr.com
Rig Specifics: A 6 1/2-foot, medium-action rod with 8-pound-test line. Rig a small split-shot with a slip bobber and hook a leech through the mouth with an offset walleye hook.
Quick Tip: At first light and last light, find vegetation and sandy spots.
Where to Fish: Ask the locals where the old footbridge was; that’s where the walleyes will be. Photos From Spirit Lake Field & Stream Online Editors
Kentucky – Kentucky Lake
This gigantic, storied reservoir keeps on growing heavyweight largemouth bass and big crappies. For early-summer bass, drag a brown 3/4-ounce Booyah Football Jig dressed with a 4-inch green-pumpkin Yum Gonzo Grub over 12- to 18-foot-deep shell beds that drop into river channels. The dropoffs near Moors Resort at the mouth of Bear Creek always hold bass. Moors Resort & Marina, 800-626-5472; Guide’s Tips moorsresort.com
Guide: Don Schnuck; ; 270-559-1366 bigkahunafishingguideservice.com
Rig Specifics: Using a fairly large rod with 6-pound-test, fluorescent yellow line, tie on a 1/4-ounce inline spinner, a size 3 rooster tail or a Mepps.
Quick Tip: The best time to fish is from daylight to about 10 a.m. The weather should be hot, and there should be a little bit of a current in the lake.
Where to Fish: There is a nice drop-off near where the main river channel empties into the lake. Photos From Kentucky Lake Field & Stream Online Editors
Kentucky – Cave Run Lake
Muskies have been stocked in this reservoir since 1974, and it’s now considered true trophy water. It yielded the state-record 44.4-pound muskie in 1998, and fish over 30 pounds come to the scales here every year. Troll a big, deep-diving crankbait, such as Bomber’s Heavy Duty Long A, 15 to 20 feet deep on the lower end of the main lake from now until fall. Crash’s Landing, 606-780-4260; Guide’s Tips crashslanding.com
Guide: David Tate; ; 606-780-4260 crashslanding.com
Rig Specifics: 7 1/2-foot, medium-heavy rod with 50- to 80-pound-test line and a big spinnerbait.
Quick Tip: Troll the bait about 10 to 20 feet deep on a warm, sunny day.
Where to Fish: The flooded flats around the edges of the lake are best. Photos From Cave Run Lake Field & Stream Online Editors
Kentucky – Lake Cumberland
Some of the country’s best fishing for freshwater striped bass happens in massive Lake Cumberland. The stripers here average 10 to 12 pounds, 20-pounders are common, and plenty of 30- and even 40-pounders are landed every season. They go 10 to 20 feet deep in June, in the main lake anywhere from the mouth of Fishing Creek to the dam. Try rocky shorelines for smallmouths that can hit 5 pounds. Sasser’s Guide Service, 606-387-8949; Guide’s Tips sasserguideservice.com
Guide: Bryan Bihl; ; 270-459-1474 wegonefishing.com
Rig Specifics: A 7- to 8-foot, Ugly Stick Striper Rod with green line and a shad hooked through the nose.
Quick Tip: The best time is when you have a front coming in. Get the bait down between 50 and 60 feet.
Where to Fish: The rocky banks in the northern end of the lake are where to find them. Photos From Lake Cumberland Field & Stream Online Editors
Michigan – Lake St. Clair
Though it’s too small to be a Great Lake, St. Clair covers 162 square miles and has one of the densest muskie populations in the country. It’s regulated for trophy fishing, with a minimum-length limit of 44 inches. To get fish now, troll big Drifter Believer lures over 20 to 25 feet of water near the shipping channel. If you get tired of that, smallmouth bass fishing is an excellent alternative. Lakeside Fishing Shop, 586-777-7003; Guide’s Tips lakesidefishingshop.com
Guide: Lakeside Fishing Shop; ; 586-777-70034 lakesidefishingshop.com
Rig Specifics: 7-foot, Ugly Stick Tiger rod with 30- to 50-pound-test line and a crankbait.
Quick Tip: The best way to get a bite is to troll your crankbait about 10 feet deep.
Where to Fish: The prime spot is around Heron Point. Field & Stream Online Editors
Michigan – Saginaw Bay
Schools of big walleyes suspend offshore in this huge bay in early summer. Troll crawler harnesses and crankbaits such as Storm’s Hot ‘N Tot over 5- to 10-foot-deep humps in the south end of the bay between Bay City and Quanicassee. Later in the summer, troll deeper water in the outer bay. Saginaw also has a large, mostly unpressured channel catfish population. Frank’s Great Outdoors, 989-697-5341; Guide’s Tips franksgreatoutdoors.com
Guide: Jeremy Haga; Frank’s Great Outdoors; ; 989-697-5341 franksgreatoutdoors.com
Rig Specifics: 7 1/2-foot, medium rod with 10- to 12-pound-test green line. Pick up some crawler harnesses at the tackle shop and hook on worms, minnows, leaches, or soft plastics.
Quick Tip: The best time is when the bay is a little choppy, with 1- to 2-foot waves on a cloudy day in the early morning. Trolling at 18 feet seems to be the sweet spot.
Where to Fish: Buoys 1 and 2 at the channel where the Saginaw River and Bay meet. Field & Stream Online Editors
Michigan – Ausable River
Coursing through the Huron National Forest and eight counties in northeastern Michigan, the Au Sable is revered for its big brown trout. Some of the best fishing from June throughout the summer happens at night, with smart anglers casting mayfly patterns to the heads and tails of pools in places such as the Wakely Bridge and below the Mio Dam. A daytime option is to float the river in a drift boat. The 9-mile stretch from Mio to McKinley has convenient launch ramps. Bob Linsenman’s Au Sable Angler, 989-826-8500; Guide’s Tips ausableangler.com
Guide: Bob Linsenman; ; 989-826-8500 ausableangler.com
Rig Specifics: 9-foot, 5 or 6-weight flyrod, with a floating and dry flies.
Quick Tip: The brown drake hatch in early June is especially good. Ideal conditions would include a nice, light rain on a cool day.
Where to Fish: The stretch from Mio Pond downstream to Comin’s Flats has some small roads that give you access to trophy trout fishing. Photos From Ausable River Field & Stream Online Editors
Minnesota – Mille Lacs Lake
Here you’ll find 133,000 acres of legendary walleye water, with trophy muskies and smallmouth bass a major bonus. When the wind blows, drift minnows beneath slip bobbers over reefs. On calm days, drag Lindy rigs along the edges of mudflats in the middle of the lake near the 9 and 7 Mile markers. The flats top out around 23 feet and drop into 35 feet of water. Kevin McQuoid, Mac’s Twin Bay, 866-670-8709; Guide’s Tips macstwinbay.com
Guide: Dale Eggen; ; 800-862-3535 mcquoidsinn.com
Rig Specifics: 6- to 7 1/2-foot rod with 4-pound-test line and a leech hooked once through the sucker.
Quick Tip: Be on the water one or two days before a low pressure system moves in, on overcast days.
Where to Fish: The four best spots are the 3-mile reef, the graveyard, the spider reef, and the highway bar. Photo From Mille Lacs Lake Field & Stream Online Editors
Minnesota – Rainy Lake
On the Ontario border, this walleye wonderland has solid fishing that starts in June and stays hot into September. Dress a 1/4- to 3/8-ounce pink or blue jighead with a leech or crawler and fish it vertically 24 to 45 feet deep on the lake’s many sunken islands. The water east of Dry Weed Island is always a fine place to start. Rainy Lake International Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau, 800-325-5766; Guide’s Tips rainylake.org
Guide: Pete Schultz; ; 800-325-5766 rainylake.org
Rig Specifics: 6-foot rod with 6-pound-test line. Hook a shiner through the mouth for bait or use a spinner.
Quick Tip: From 6 to 7 a.m. on a hot, sunny day is perfect.
Where to Fish: Stubs Shoals near the Canadian border. Field & Stream Online Editors
Minnesota – Lake of the Woods
The 65,000 miles of shoreline around this natural lake extend into Ontario, Manitoba, and Minnesota. It gives up tons of walleyes, including many that weigh 8 pounds and up. In Minnesota, try the area around Pine Island, a few miles out of Rainy River. The stretch between Warroad and Springsteel is also promising. Drift and slow-troll spinner rigs dressed with a crawler or minnow 10 to 20 feet deep in late spring and summer. Tom Heinrich, fisheries biologist, 218-634-2522; Guide’s Tips dnr.state.mn.us
Guide: Tom Heinrich; ; 218-634-2522 dnr.state.mn.us
Rig Specifics: 6 1/2-foot, medium-action rod with 8-pound mono. Use a 1- to 1 1/2-ounce sinker and a minnow on a size 4 hook.
Quick Tip: During the day with a gentle breeze is the best time.
Where to Fish: The south shore seems to be where a lot of the action is. Photos From Lake of the Woods Field & Stream Online Editors
Missouri – Missouri River
June is the prime time to catch giant catfish, and the Missouri is well known for growing them. The stretch near St. Joseph gets little pressure and yields more heavyweight flatheads than anywhere else. Waters near Glasgow and Mokane give up monster blues. Bottom rigs with live bait or fresh cutbait (shad or skipjack herring) take both species. Fish 20- to 30-foot-deep holes for flatheads and shallower for blues. Craig Gemming, fisheries biologist, 573-882-8388; Guide’s Tips mdc.mo.gov
Guide: Craig Gemming; ; 573-882-8388 mdc.mo.gov
Rig Specifics: 6 1/2- to 7-foot, heavy-action rod with 20- to 40-pound-“test line. Rig a 3- to 5-ounce sinker about a foot above a circle hook baited with cut shad.
Quick Tip: Look for flatheads around thick brush piles around a dike.
Where to Fish: Around the rock dikes off the edge of the current. Photos From Missouri River Field & Stream Online Editors
Missouri – Lake of the Ozarks
Thanks to a 15-inch size limit and an abundance of gizzard shad, this 90-mile-long reservoir produces excellent largemouth fishing, with some bass going up to 9 pounds. Concentrate on planted brushpiles that may be as deep as 25 feet, as well as the lake’s 40,000-plus docks. A 4-inch finesse worm will take higher numbers, whereas a black 10-inch Berkley Power Worm is the way to go for big bass. Greg Stoner, fisheries biologist, 573-346-2210; Guide’s Tips mdc.mo.gov
Guide: Bob Cox; 417-745-0035
Rig Specifics: 6 1/2-foot, medium-heavy rod with 15-pound-test and Texas-rigged worms for bait.
Quick Tip: Add enough weight to get your bait down about 20 feet, as that’s where you’ll find the bass.
Where to Fish: Several rivers flow through the lake, which makes for great fishing. The mouth of the Osage River is particularly good. Photos From Lake of the Ozarks Field & Stream Online Editors
Missouri – Table Rock
Take in the scenic Ozark hills that surround sprawling Table Rock Lake as you fish for spotted, largemouth, smallmouth, and meanmouth (smallmouth-spotted hybrid) bass. Spotted bass in particular will bite readily at this time. You’ll find them 20 to 40 feet deep on main-lake points and in the tops of submerged, flooded trees. Pick them off with a drop-shot rig matched with a 4-inch watermelon-seed finesse worm. Jim Van Hook, 800-603-4665; Guide’s Tips hooksbass.com
Guide: Jim Van Hook; ; 800-603-4665 hooksbass.com
Rig Specifics: 6 1/2-foot graphite spinning rod with 6- to 8-pound-test clear line. Use a 4-inch, skinny finesse worm hooked through the nose.
Quick Tip: Fish on overcast days, from 7 a.m. into the afternoon. Bass will be down between 35 and 60 feet.
Where to Fish: The east side of the lake, from Kimberling City to the dam. Photos From Table Rock Field & Stream Online Editors
Ohio – Lake Erie
It’s widely regarded as the greatest walleye fishery in the country, with many fish weighing more than 8 pounds. The west end of this 241-mile-long Great Lake is where you’ll find the main spawning reefs. Cast Erie Dearie’s Weapon spinner to suspended, postspawn walleyes in the deep water off Niagara Reef. When the fish migrate farther offshore in summer, drift-and-drag crawler harnesses 4 feet behind a 1- to 2-ounce keel sinker. Capt. Bob Troxel, 740-707-2235; Guide’s Tips lakeeriesmallmouth.com
Guide: Bob Troxel; ; 740-707-2235 lakeeriesmallmouth.com
Rig Specifics: 6-foot graphite rod with 8- to 10-pound braided Fireline. Use chartreuse tube baits and the lightest jighead possible that will maintain bottom contact.
Quick Tip: Go 30 feet down and work your way up.
Where to Fish: Reefs, shoals, and other structures. Photo From Lake Erie Field & Stream Online Editors
Ohio – Rocky River
From fall through May, there’s easy access to exceptional steelhead fishing in the lower 10 to 12 miles of the Rocky River. Much of this pool-riffle water is within the Cleveland Metropark. Drift salmon eggs and 1/100- to 1/32-ounce black marabou jigs tipped with maggots through the tailouts of pools where steelhead rest after coming through the rapids. Place a drift bobber just far enough above the jig to keep it floating off the bottom. Mike Durkalec, Cleveland Metroparks, 440-331-8017; Guide’s Tips ohiodnr.com
Species: Steelhead trout
Local Expert: Mike Durkalec; Cleveland Metroparks; ; 440-331-8017 ohiodnr.com
Rig Specifics: Use a 9 1/2-foot, 6- or 7-weight flyrod for nymphing.
Quick Tip: Get down almost to the bottom of the river after a storm.
Where to Fish: Go to Cedar Point Road and head toward Lake Erie. Field & Stream Online Editors
Ohio – Indian Lake
Once a part of the Miami and Erie Canal system, this shallow 5,800-acre lake gives up many six-fish limits of saugeyes (a cross between a sauger and a walleye). Most saugeyes here run about 15 inches in length, though some reach up to 26 inches. You can’t go wrong fishing the south bank of the reservoir with a 1/8-ounce jig tipped with half a crawler. Ken Cunningham, fisheries biologist, 614-644-3925; Guide’s Tips dnr.state.oh.us
Guide: Ken Cunningham; ; 614-644-3925 dnr.state.oh.us
Rig Specifics: 6 1/2- to 7-foot, medium-light graphite spinning rod with 6- to 8-pound-test line and a light jighead tipped with a worm.
Quick Tip: Keep your bait right on the bottom, which is about 8 to 10 feet deep.
Where to Fish: Start near Dream Bridge. Field & Stream Online Editors
Wisconsin – Driftless Areas
Brown trout anglers should head to the streams in the Driftless Area of southwestern Wisconsin. There is excellent access in all of the region’s eight counties. Vernon County alone has 68 streams, including noted waters such as the Kickapoo River and Timber Coulee Creek. Flyfishermen use caddis and mayfly imitations for 12- to 16-inch and occasionally larger trout. Paul Kogut, Rocking K Fly Shop, 608-452-3678; Guide’s Tips fishingwisconsin.org
Guide: Len Harris; troutadventures.net
Rig Specifics: 8 1/2-foot, 5- or 6-weight rod with a size 6 Woolly Bugger.
Quick Tip: Alternate short and long strips as you drift your Woolly Bugger through pools and riffles.
Where to Fish: One hot spot is Lacrosse, on the Mississippi River side. Photos From Driftless Areas Field & Stream Online Editors
Wisconsin – Lake Michigan
This Great Lake is producing more chinook salmon than ever, and many will tip the scales at 12 to 18 pounds. Brown trout, steelhead, and coho salmon are also available. Troll spoons near the southern ports of Kenosha, Racine, and Milwaukee in June. As summer progresses, fishing heats up around Manitowoc, Two Rivers, Kewaunee, Algoma, Sturgeon Bay, and Marinette. Capt. Dan Welsch, 920-457-2940; Guide’s Tips Photos From Lake Michigan dumperdan.com Field & Stream Online Editors
Wisconsin – Chequamegon Bay
With its 22-inch minimum-size limit, Chequamegon Bay off Lake Superior has become a bona fide trophy area for smallmouth bass. In early summer, hit the shallow bays on the east bank, including those behind Oak Point and Long Island, and cast tube jigs and sinking soft-plastic stickbaits to driftwood cover along the shore. When bass move deeper as the water temperatures rise, cast tubes to patches of submerged grass 15 feet deep on the main bay. Mike Stages, 608-266-2621; Guide’s Tips dnr.state.wi.us
Guide: Roger LaPenter; 715-682-5754
Rig Specifics: 6- to 7-foot, medium-action rod with 6- to 8-pound-test line and brightly-colored hard-body poppers.
Quick Tip: Fish in 1 to 5 feet of water. Let the ripples from your cast disappear, then slowly retrieve your popper.
Where to Fish: Start on the eastern end of the bay near Kakagon Slough. Photos From Chequamegon Bay Field & Stream Online Editors