Illinois Outdoor News Fishing Report – Dec. 29, 2017

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

North

Chain O’ Lakes: Good catches of panfish have been common with some good walleyes mixed in. Make sure you check with local bait shops for conditions before you head out.

The channels have been producing good catches of panfish on small jigs. There are little reports on walleyes and bass and the bigger water is not producing. Pistakee Bay has been producing good catches of white bass fishing the 15-foot depths. The crappie bite also has been good, finding them is the hard part. They have been suspending on the breaklines near deeper water. The north end of Channel Lake has been producing good catches of panfish. The weeds are still green and are holding some good quality fish.

Lake Michigan: Reports of perch from Navy Pier are good. Smaller fish are around with some big ones mixed in. Double rigs with minnows or shrimp are being effective. Some larger fish are being caught on small flukes and other plastics. Remember to bring a net as the occasional trout can be in the mix.

There are reports of perch being caught around 95th Street. Standard fare of double rigs with shrimp or minnows is working.

The brown trout bite is hot on the lakefront. Spawn sacs under a float or small tube jigs worked about 6 foot down under a good slip float. Jerkbaits and other minnowbaits are doing well as well as jigging with white jerkbaits or twisters.

Steelhead action is good. Pink spawn sacks on the bottom or suspended under a float are key.

Fishing with spawn sacs in a pink or chartreuse color under a float or on the bottom will offer a great opportunity for one of these tough fighters. Tinsel jigs as well as tube jigs under floats are also producing fish.

Downtown harbors are producing decent catches of perch. The fish are running small in size so a lot of sorting is required, but crappie rigs with shrimp or fathead minnows seem to be producing the best. Some anglers are having good luck utilizing the belly meat of the perch as well. Artificial plastics such as small minnow-style plastics rigged on double rigs and pulled along the weedbeds can produce some of the larger fish. Fishing bottom rigs with minnows and feather-tied hooks has also been a good producer.

South

Crab Orchard Lake: Anglers are reporting that crappies are being found at depths ranging from about 6 to 10 feet. Most are in heavy cover near points. The best baits have been minnows and jigs. Bright colors seem to be working the best. Bluegills are being caught near rip-rap and around weedbeds on the typical bluegill baits. Bass fishing has been slow.

Baldwin Lake: Largemouth bass fishing has slowed. Bluegills are biting on worms in 6 to 8 feet of water. Crappie and catfish fishing has been fair.

Carlyle Lake: White bass are hungry for jigs. Bluegill fishing is fair on worms. Sauger fishing has been fair. Crappie fishing is so-so, and most success is with minnows.

Kinkaid Lake: Overall, fishing has been slow. Bluegills had been biting on worms, but the bite has tapered off. Crappies are slow, but some are being taken on minnows in 12 to 15 feet of water. Muskies are being caught, though action is slow.

Horseshoe Lake: Crappies have started biting better. Brush piles in deep water have provided the best action. Minnows and jigs are equally effective. Bass have been slow, as have bluegills.

Lake of Egypt: Crappie action is slow but getting better. Fishing for bluegills has been slow. Bass fair on spinners and crankbaits. But most bass being caught on live baits.

Little Grassy: Crappies have been biting on minnows, mostly in cover in about 15 to 20 feet of water. Bass action has improved, but remains slow. Plastic worms have worked best. Bluegills are running small and biting on worms.

Rend Lake: Crappies are biting fair on jigs fished along the Route 154 rip-rap and over crappie sets in Gun Creek and near bridge pillars. Bass fishing has been slow.

Central

Shabbona Lake: Bluegills and crappies are being caught over the fish cribs and around the standing timber.

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: Crappies are being caught on minnows. Bluegill fishing has been slow, with a few being caught on worms. Catfish have been very slow on worms and stinkbaits.

Lake Shelbyville: Crappies have been biting in shallows or around brush on jigs and tubes of chartreuse with yellow, red or white and chartreuse tubes. Muskies are biting below the spillway.

Clinton Lake: Crappie fishing has been fair near brush with minnows. Bluegills are being caught on worms near shore.

Coffeen Lake: Bass fishing has been good for anglers using crankbaits and plastic worms. Crappies have been slow to bite. Catfish have been caught on nightcrawlers and stinkbaits. Striped bass have been hitting top-water lures in the evening.

Lake Springfield: Bluegills are biting on worms along shorelines. Crappie fishing has been slow. Catfish have been biting on shad. White bass have been hitting spinnerbaits.

Sangchris Lake: Crappie fishing has been good on minnows. Bass good on spinners and live minnows. A few catfish being caught on dough and stinkbaits.

Rivers

Kankakee River: Pike have been lively, and smallmouth bass have been biting near Momence on minnows and spinners.

Fox River: The walleye bite is slow. Use minnowbaits 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.

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