Illinois Outdoor News Fishing Report — May 19, 2017

The fishing and hunting report is compiled using reports from conservation officers, hunting guides and fishing guides.

North

Shabbona: Look for crappies over the fish cribs and brush piles along the campground shoreline. Begin your search by setting your presentation half way down the water column. Best presentations include Mini-Mites and minnows. Bass fishing is slow. Muskie fishing is good. Bass anglers casting rattle traps are catching a few bonus muskies. Look for muskies in the shallow waters of the bays.

Braidwood: Shore fishermen are seeing quite a few small catfish and bluegills. Fish are being caught on ice jigs under a float or on bottom rigs tipped with crawlers or other cut bait. The largemouths are being caught fishing the secondary drop-offs with large profile baits like a jig and pig or slow rolling a spinnerbait. Always keep an eye on the flags at the launch, as they will give you an indication if it is safe to be on the water and when you should take caution. Green is good, yellow is caution, and red is dangerous.

Chain: Overall the lake conditions are improving, and the water has been warming. The bass appear to be into their spawn patterns and can be caught with rattle baits and lipless cranks near the newly forming weeds and on the shallow rocky flats. With this new forage, it is time to match the hatch and start to work shad-colored baits in the areas that these baitfish are found. With the increase in baitfish, we should see a good increase in the size of fish being caught.

The walleyes are starting to turn on around the channels and the bridges.  Fishing minnows on a lindy rig has been the most popular presentation.

Back bays and boat docks are good  places to find panfish action. The fish are holding tight to any wood or steel structure as this warms up first in the sun. Small jigs under a float or a plain hook with a small hunk of nightcrawler have done well.

LaSalle: There are some good reports of big hybrids and blue cats caught by fishermen trolling shadraps and spoonplugs. The shore fishermen are doing well on livers fished on the bottom. There have been some good reports of bass being caught casting the rip-rap with a weightless stick style worm. The fish are holding at the transition between the mud bottom and the rock walls.

Heidecke: The walleye bite has slowed down but it won’t stay that way for long. The fish are being caught trolling crawler harnesses and working the deeper water. Some hybrids are being found mixed in as well as quite a few yellow bass. The shore anglers are finding the walleyes on a simple floating crawler on a bottom-bouncing sinker fished along the rip rap. The white and yellow bass are also keeping these anglers busy.

Lake Michigan: There have been good reports of a mixed bag of fish being caught out of Waukegan in the 55 to 75 feet of water ranges. Kings and the larger cohos are being caught on large paddle flashers and flies as well as larger white and glow colored spoons.

The cohos are spotty, but can be found with body baits and smaller flashers and peanut flies.

The perch bite at Navy Pier has been slow. Reports have shown that a lot of smaller ones are being caught and getting limits of larger fish is tough.

Live minnows and cooked shrimp on drop shot rigs as well as ice fishing jigs tipped with spikes have been producing. Also, Kastmasters or other jigging spoons will do well and may take the occasional trout. Remember that the discounted parking for fishermen is only until 10 a.m.

The smelt have been starting to be caught, but not in any large numbers.  They are out there and there are some reports of small catches in the downtown harbors.

At Waukegan, things have been hit and miss from both Johnson’s Pier and the Government Pier.

Browns and cohos are being caught on bottom rigs tipped with spawn sacs and roaches.

The fish on the south end have moved out to deeper water and fishing has been tough with the changing weather fronts that we keep getting. Trolling small orange dodger and peanut flies log lining body baits like red and black Thin Fins has also been working well for the cohos in these areas.

South

Devils’ Kitchen: Bluegills are spawning and are being caught in good numbers on wax worms and crickets.

Crab Orchard Lake: Crappies still are spawning and can be caught over shallow cover on minnows or jigs. Bluegill action is hot on wax worms and crickets. Bluegills have moved in close to the banks. Catfish action is picking up on leeches and shad. Bass are still being caught over shallow cover on a variety of baits.

Carlyle Lake: Crappies and catfish best. Catfish taking cut shad and shad guts off rocks by Keysport. Crappies biting on minnows, jigs, tube jigs by Hazlet State Park. Sauger hit and miss, if they can be found. White bass are said to be hungry for jigs. Bluegill fishing is fair on worms.

Pinckneyville Lake: Largemouth bass have slowed. Bluegills are biting on worms in 6 to 8 feet of water. Fishing for crappies and catfish has been fair.

Kinkaid Lake: Bluegills are on the beds. Fish are being caught in less than two feet of water. Bluegill anglers are taking good numbers of fish on a variety of baits. Bass have been steady on a variety of baits, including spinner baits and soft plastics. Crappies have moved off the spawning beds into 4-6 feet of water on minnows and jigs. Catfish are rated excellent on cut bait and nightcrawlers. Muskie action has been improving during the past two weeks. Casting is the preferred method. Some anglers are taking smallmouth bass.

Lake Murphysboro: Bluegills are the best bet. Bluegills are spawning and can be caught on a variety of baits. Catfish action has been coming on strong the last week. Anglers are taking good numbers of cats on nightcrawlers and cut bait. The crappies have moved off the spawning beds, but can be caught in 4-6 feet of water on minnows and jigs. Bass are being caught in shallow areas on baits ranging from top water to soft plastics

Lake of Egypt: Bass action is fair. Fish are still scattered and are being caught on a variety of baits. Bluegills and redears are on the beds and can be caught on crickets, wax worms and red wigglers. Crappies are still moving in and out of shallow areas. Some fish are being caught in 6-10 feet of water while others are taking crappie in water up to 20 feet deep. Minnows and jigs are both effective. Catfish are fair on a variety of baits.

Little Grassy: Crappies are spawning and can be caught on minnows and jigs in shallow areas. Bluegills and redears are on the beds and are being caught on crickets and worms. Bass are bedding up in shallow areas and can be caught on a variety of baits. Catfish action is still slow.

Rend Lake: Crappies and catfish are still rated excellent. Crappie anglers are catching fish in the brush, or over cover from 6-14 feet deep. Pink/white jigs and minnows are both producing good catches. Catfish are being caught in shallow areas, particularly in Gun Creek. Some anglers are having good success drift fishing. Stinkbaits, shad, cut shad, nightcrawlers and leeches are all effective. Bass are still good over brushy cover and near the bushes on soft plastics, Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits and crankbaits.

Central

Lake Taylorville: Crappie bite picking up on minnows. Bass slow.

Banner Marsh: Crappies biting on minnows. Bass hitting chatterbaits and spinnerbaits.

Newton Lake: Bass good. Some white bass were also reported. Catfish good.

Spring Lake: Bass slow. Crappies biting on tube jigs at the south end bays. Channel cats also biting on shad at the big turn on the south end.

Lake Bloomington: Bluegills are biting on worms, but are slow and small. Crappies are being caught on minnows in 12 to 14 feet.

Lake Decatur: Fishing has been slow as water clarity has been poor. Crappies are being caught on minnows. Bluegill fishing has been slow, and a few being caught on worms. Catfish have been very slow on worms and stinkbaits.

Lake Shelbyville: Fishing below the spillway has been slow, with efforts to drop the lake. Conditions better late in day for muskies and walleyes. Walleyes active below spillway. Best to use jigs and twisters or shad bodies.

Evergreen Lake: Crappie fishing is heating up with the warm weather. Most fish are being reported along the banks in 2-4 feet of water. Minnows and light jigs are the ticket for the close to spawn fish. Bass have started to bite with most starting to be caught near the shore line.

Clinton Lake: Crappies, white bass, stripers, walleyes and largemouth bass biting hard. Jigs and minnows, twister tails and spinnerbaits working well. Bank fishermen having luck with crappies, white bass and largemouths.

Coffeen Lake: Bass, catfish excellent all around the lake. Bass biting on spinners and waxworms. Catfish biting stinkbait and worms. Crappies are spotty.

Lake Springfield: Crappie bite picking up on minnows. Bass slow. Channel cats being taken on shad. Crappies have been good on jigs fished in or near hot water area.

Sangchris Lake: Crappie bite picking up on medium-size minnows. The lake will have a new large and smallmouth bass daily limit of three, with only one 15 inches or larger and two fish under 15 inches. Both live bait as well as artificials are allowing fishermen to bring a few fish to hand. Jerkbaits in a shad pattern or white twister tail grubs on jigs are the top producers.

Rivers

Fox River: Some crappies are being caught in the backs of the channels. Bass are also being caught in the backs of channels. The dams at McHenry, Algonquin, and Carpentersville are at the highest levels of the season.

Rock River (Dixon):  Due to recent weather conditions, only a few crappies are being caught with minnows. The few fish that have been caught are nice sized. Warmer, clearer water is needed for improved success. Cheese bait is popular for channel cats along the shorelines.

Mississpippi River (Pool 13): Some nightcrawlers being sold to channel cat anglers, who report a lot of success. Check out the creeks, backwater areas, and along the edges.

Mississippi River (Pool 21): Just a few bank poles are producing channel cats with nightcrawlers, stinkbait, and shad; check out the edges of the river, creeks, sloughs, and backwater areas.

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