Illinois Fishing Reports for Rivers – January 11th, 2013
Pike have been lively, and smallmouth bass have been biting near Momence on minnows and spinners.
The walleye bite is slow. Use minnow baits in the deeper holes and near bridge pilings. Night fishing has proven to be most effective. Jigs and twisters in white or chartreuse are being productive.
The catfish bite has died, as the fish have gone into their wintering holes. Smaller baits with a lot of scent are best. Cut shad or minnows fished near the deeper holes are working.
Smallmouth fishing is slow, but if you can find a warm-water discharge, you are likely to find some good fish in the area. Live bait this time of year is a key advantage.
There have been few reports of some large fish being caught on jig and minnow combinations. Look for the deeper holes that are surrounded by gravel bottoms and rocky structure. The bite has been best just after dark and prior to sunrise. These fish are moving around a lot so cover an area really well to trigger one of these big girls to strike.
Fish using live minnows with a small hook and a few split shot about 12 inches above the hook. Cast into the eddies. Also bouncing jigs with white or crawfish colored twister tails can produce some respectable fish. Work the jig slow and fish the current seams and slack water.
Smallmouth bass activity is stepping up. A few large catfish have been reported, mostly via cut baits.
The walleyes have been found using jerkbaits and jointed minnow baits. They are being taken in the evening hours working the deeper holes that are adjacent to shallow water. Good numbers of northern pike are also to be found fishing live bait under a float or throwing inline spinners and jerkbaits.
The sauger bite has really started to turn on up near the dams. Vertical jigging jigs with minnows or using a floater jig and lindy rigging minnows have been doing well. Also casting or vertical jigging blade-style baits.