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Northern Illinois Fishing Reports

Northern Illinois Fishing Report - August 21st, 2015

Lake Michigan: Yellow perch are spotty. Northeast winds and thunderstorms have affected the perch fishing. If summertime weather holds up, perch should be hitting both for boaters and shore fishermen. Chinook are very deep. Fishermen are going to the north and south reefs. North reef is better, fishing in 175 to 220 feet of water. Bigger kings and lakers are there. On the south end, spotty reports of perch, with the fish moving in and out of the harbors. Minnows and softshells are working when the fish are cooperating.

Chain: Most reports have shown that the fish have pushed into the deeper basins as the water has warmed up. Channel cats are hitting nightcrawlers as well as cut shad. Crappies have been suspending over the deep water, and small crankbaits or minnows under slip floats are doing well. Largemouths are being found in their usual spots and fishing frogs over the heavy weeds in the evening has been a great way to find them. Muskie action is slow and the northern lakes are your best bet. Trolling large crankbaits along the breaklines has been the choice of many fishermen.

BraidwoodThe catfish bite is really hot and heavy. Both shore and boat fishermen have been showing good catches of fish; however, the overall size is small. Cut bait as well as stinkbait have done well for the smaller cats, but larger baits are key to the larger cats. The panfish bite is good, but the size of fish is small. Bass are being found with spinnerbaits and crankbaits near the secondary drop-offs.

Heidecke Lake: The walleye bite is day to day, but the best bite has been trolling shad raps or nightcrawler harnesses. It really hasn’t mattered if you are on the north or south side, both sides are producing nice fish when you can find them. The stripers are also being caught trolling minnowbaits or by shore fishermen fishing chicken livers on the bottom. The bass bite, both large and smallmouth, has been really slow. Fish a Carolina-rigged finesse worm parallel to shore fishing the transition of the rock to mud bottom. The fish are using this structure as a place to ambush prey. There have been several reports of good muskies caught on the lake. These fish are really starting to show up in good numbers and smaller twitchbaits are the key to catching them. The north side has been producing a bit better than the south, but it is just good to see these fish starting to show up in numbers.

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Central Fishing Illinois Reports

Central Illinois Fishing Report - August 21st, 2015

Springfield: Largemouth bass fair using plastics, spinners, and crankbaits with a few on topwater. Channel cats fair to good using most baits. White bass spotty using bladebaits and jig/twister.

Vermilion: Crappies good. Look for fish in deep water near 10-12 feet with minnows. Channel cats fair. Some fish are being taken near weedbeds with nightcrawlers.

Coffeen: Largemouth bass good using artificial lures, nightcrawlers, and minnows. Bluegills good using nightcrawlers and minnows. Channel cats good using Sonnys Stink Bait, shrimp, and nightcrawlers.

Sangchris: Largemouth bass fair using plastics, jig/plastics, spinners/swimming minnows, and crankbaits along deep breaks, outer weedlines, or near timber with some on topwater early. Bluegills fair, but mostly small using waxies and crickets along weededges in the west arm. Channel cats good using cut baits, nightcrawlers, and dip bait.

Bloomington: Largemouth bass fair. Anglers are using plastics, spinners, and crankbaits along the weed edges; also some being taken on topwater later in the day. Bluegills are fair.

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Southern Illinois Fishing Reports

Southern Illinois Fishing Report - August 21st, 2015

Crab Orchard Lake: Crappies are still rated good on minnows and jigs in 12 to 15 feet of water. Bluegills are still holding close to the bank and can be caught on worms and crickets. Catfish action is still good on leeches and cut bait. Bass are being caught on soft plastics, spinnerbaits, and topwater baits.

Baldwin Lake: Bluegill anglers are picking up fish. Bass are picking up with cooler temperatures and catfish are fair on worms.

Devils Kitchen: Trout anglers are still taking good numbers of fish near the dam. Bits of nightcrawlers fished at 10-20 feet. Bluegill action remains fair on crickets and waxworms.

Kinkaid Lake: Crappie action is fair to good. Anglers are reporting fish suspended at 10-15 feet in about 30 feet of water. Minnows are the best bet. Bluegills are spotty and most fish are running small. Catfish are probably the best bet. Fish are being caught on a variety of baits. Bass action is spotty.

Lake MurphysboroCatfish action has been good. Anglers are taking fish on stink baits, minnows, and nightcrawlers. Crappie are holding over deep cover. Minnows are the best bet. Anglers are picking up some bluegills, but fish are trending small. Bass action is spotty.

Lake of Egypt: Some bass are being caught off the points. Soft plastics and jigs have been the best bet. Crappie anglers are still reporting success in 15-18 feet of water on minnows. Catfish action remains steady on nightcrawlers and stinkbaits. Bluegill action is slow.

Mermet Lake: Fishing has been slow across the board. Catfish action has been fair at best. Anglers are working the riprap with nightcrawlers, minnows, and stinkbaits. Some bluegill are being caught in the lily pads. Other species are slow.

Rend Lake: Channel catfish and crappies are still rated excellent. Crappies are being caught on pink/white quarter-ounce jigs and minnows. Fish are being caught around main lake drop-offs. Shoreline structures are also producing good catches. Catfish anglers are reporting good success on stinkbaitsnightcrawlers, minnows, and leeches. Fish are being caught in 3-4 feet of water around riprap. Other anglers are drift fishing. Bass are rated good with the best action on soft plastics and spinnerbaits fished around brushy shoreline cover.

Lake MurphysboroCatfish are good on nightcrawlersstinkbaits, and cut shad. Bass anglers are catching good numbers, but fish are running small.

Little Grassy: Crappies are being caught in 10-12 feet of water. Minnows and jigs are both effective. Bluegills are still good just off the beds.

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Illinois Rivers Fishing Reports

Illinois Rivers Fishing Report - June 12th, 2015

Rock River (Byron-Dixon): Walleyes best early and late with minnows or minnows with a jig head. Channel cats deep around islands and brush with dip baits, chicken liver, crushed minnows, large shiners, and shrimp with a dead hook. Lots of smaller flatheads biting on bluegills and goldfish and even nightcrawlers. Carp good on homemade dough baits. Drums good on nightcrawlers.

Rock River (Rockford): Crappies good in deep water near fish cribs with minnows; early and late best. Bluegills good on waxworms and red worms under a bobber. Cast near shallow weedlines. Bass fair. Females have completed the spawn and are hitting on shiners. Channel cats good on stinkbait and red worms. Northern pike hitting on walleye minnows. Muskie anglers having luck with gold bucktail, shad rap crankbait and black spinnerbaits.

Mississippi River (Wood River): Bluegills good. Put a waxworm or red wiggler under a bobber and drop it near shallow weedlines. Big channel cats are being taken from the river with shad and skip jack.

Mississippi River (Gladstone): Female channel cats are spawning along the shorelines and biting on nightcrawlers and leeches.

Mississippi River (Belleville): Horseshoe Lake and Frank Holden Lake are producing bass with minnows and wax worms. Stinkbait, nightcrawlers and shad are favorite baits for catfish at Frank Holden.

Ohio River (Metropolis): Channel cats good using bank poles and boats. Best baits are nightcrawlers, shad sides.


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Research lake and river maps, review your GPS, prepare your tackle, and explore the DNR and other pertinent websites, so you can hit the water ready to fish.

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Summer slabs: Top tips for warm-weather crappies

Post-spawn, “suspended” crappies intimidate too many freshwater anglers when simple approaches to targeting these panfish can produce thick, edible fillets.

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