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Northern Illinois Fishing Reports

Northern Illinois Fishing Report- March 6th, 2015

Lake Michigan: The harbors are all ice covered, and there have been reports of keeper perch being caught. There is a lot of sorting being done, but if you stick at it you will find the jumbos. Larger baits are taking the larger fish.
The trout bite is great and big fish are being caught on spawn sacs or live minnows fished near the bottom on tip-ups or auto rigs.
Navy Pier has been quiet, but there are fish around if you can get out and break some ice. It is producing some catches of perch. Crappie rigs with fathead minnows seem to be producing the best. Also artificial plastics such as small minnow-style plastics rigged on double rigs. Don’t forget to bring a heavy anchor or such on a long rope as there is ice near the pier and you need to break open holes to be able to fish.
At 95th Street, fish are getting some heavy pressure; however, there are perch there to be caught. Some sorting is required as there are several small fish around. Fishing small jigging spoons tipped with spikes as well as smaller jigs with plastics have been producing very well. The reports on the perch have shown a lot of small fish, but if you keep at it there are some keepers to be had. Don’t forget to stop at the local bait shops to pick up your pier pass.
Some people are getting out into the river and catching their limits of perch on minnows and plastics. If you can get out from the launch, the warm-water discharges are pumping good and the browns and steelhead have moved in to feed on the baitfish in these areas. White jigs tipped with squid are doing well.
Waukegan’s Government Pier or Johnson’s Pier have been starting to show some signs of life. With a good few days of north, northwest winds you will see some warm water pushed up against Johnson’s Pier, and the brown trout will start feeding heavily. There can be a good brown trout bite fishing bottom rigs with dead minnows or spawn. Also casting small spoons will produce some big fish.

Chain: Channel Lake is producing some good bluegills on the south end weedbed. The north end of the lake has been slow but some decent crappies and bluegills are being caught.
Pistakee Bay has been showing good signs of life with many crappies being caught. There are also reports of big bluegills being found in the shallow weed areas on the south end as well as other weed flats that are easy to locate.
Fox Lake and Pistakee have also been producing some good walleye action.
Most reports are showing that there is a decent crappie bite on all lakes in the 14 to 20 feet of water range during the dawn and pre-dawn hours, as well as at sunset and after. The fish are suspending about 8 to 10 feet down and are looking for horizontal jigs tipped with plastics or wax worms. It seems that the larger presentations have been doing well as of late.
The white bass are holding closer to the bottom and are hitting on aggressively jigged presentations.
Find areas with some green weeds and fish the openings or edges. Smaller jigs like a Slug-Bug are putting nice keeper fish on the lake.

Braidwood: This cooling lake opened March 1 and offers anglers an opportunity to get out in the early spring when most other lakes are frozen or are just too cold and not producing fish. Fish are typically caught this time of the year on ice jigs under a float or on bottom rigs tipped with crawlers or other cut bait. Largemouths can be caught fishing the secondary drop-offs with a large profile bait, like a jig and pig, or by fishing the shallower areas bouncing a crankbait or spoonplug off the rocks and the bottom. 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.

Bangs Lake: The fishing has remained consistent with good catches of legal size crappies as well as bluegills and pumpkinseeds. The 10-12 feet of water range has been proven to be the best water depth, but some are finding them deeper later on in the day. The crappie bite is slow. However, the bluegills are on the feed. The bluegills and pumpkinseeds are being found in 5-8 feet of water and the bite seems to be best early in the morning  and then again later in the day. Vertical-style jigs with spikes or wigglers seem to be one of the better producers.
The crappies are being found a bit deeper in the 10 to 12 feet of water range.  
Find the green weeds and you will find the fish. Small tungsten jigs tipped with one or two spikes have been the choice of most. However, plastics are putting some larger fish on the ice.

Kenosha Harbor: The brown trout bite has been day to day, however, when it is hot, the fishing can be fast and furious. Long minnow baits have been taking a good portion of the fish as well as spawn sacs under a float. Fish the outlet pipes in the harbor, floating spawn sacs as well as golden roaches. Vary your depths so that you cover a good deal of water, and you will be rewarded for your efforts. Don’t be afraid to throw smaller spoons or crankbaits near the walls and rocks. Boaters have been trolling inside the harbor and have been doing well on crankbaits and other minnow-style baits. 

McCollum Lake: The deeper water by Peterson Park is producing good northern bass on tip-ups. Some decent crappies are being caught by small jigs and plastics and there are some small gills mixed in. There have been reports of perch also being caught. Watch for the open water near the park side.

LaSalle Lake: The lake is set to open March 15. In recent years it has been very productive for both the boat and the shore angler through April. Shore anglers typically in March bring in good catches of hybrid stripers. Blue cats also are being caught on live bait or crankbaits. The boaters do well on all species trolling crankbaits near the rip-rap as well as working some of the deeper structure that is in the lake. Smallmouth and largemouth bass as well as the occasional walleye can abe caught in March on rattletraps and bladebaits. 

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Central Fishing Illinois Reports

Central Illinois Fishing Report - March 6th, 2015

Sangchris Lake: Crappies have been biting good near the dam. Bass picking up, with a report of several being caught on spinners and crankbaits.

Lake Bloomington: Crappies were fair around shallow brush on jigs and minnows. Water running over the spillway, causing hectic fishing action below.

Clinton Lake: There is a decent crappie and walleye bite. White bass biting good on twister tails, spinners or Mepps. Catfish also biting on shad guts or shad. Bass fishing is slow, but expected to pick up near points.

Spring Lake: Crappies are biting on the north end on minnows. Bass fishing has slowed. Catfish are biting on crawlers and cut baits.

Evergreen Lake: Southern half of the lake is producing crappies and some bass. Crappies and bluegills are being caught in about 8 feet of water. For the best crappie fishing, use minnows. 

Lake Shelbyville: Crappies have been biting fair in the northern river portions of the lake, with a few shore anglers catching fish.

Newton Lake: Bass are fair but mostly smaller fish on spinners or crankbaits on main lake ledges. Catfish have been slow to fair in warmer water areas. Crappies have been slow.

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Southern Illinois Fishing Reports

Southern Illinois Fishing Report - March 6th, 2015

Lake of Egypt: Crappies are biting in shallows on minnows and tipped jigs. Bass biting good on spinnerbaits and jigs or soft rubbers. A few catfish are taking nightcrawlers and dough bait.

Crab Orchard Lake: Catfish and bass have started biting. Cats being caught on worms. Bass hitting crankbaits and  jigs. Crappie fishing is fair on minnows. Bluegills are being caught on worms.

Baldwin Lake: Larger catfish being caught on worms and stinkbaits. Anglers are tossing crankbaits around rip-rap and catching bass. Bluegills are slow but will hit on meal worms or wax worms occasionally.

Carlyle Lake: Reports of heavy sauger action in the spillway between the dam and the suspension bridge. Best baits have been jigs tipped with minnows. Flatheads are being caught on cut shad and cheese bait. White bass action has been active along rocks. Crappies are fair on tube jigs and minnows in 8 to 10 feet of water.

Kinkaid Lake: Bass anglers are reporting good success on spinnerbaits. Muskies fair on shallow running baits. Catfish and bluegill action picking up. 

Rend Lake: Bass slow. Crappies biting in 5-10 feet of water on jigs. Channel catfish being caught on nightcrawlers. 

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Illinois Rivers Fishing Reports

Illinois Rivers Fishing Report - March 6th, 2015

Rock River (Oregon): Walleyes are good. Minnows are best, and the top jig colors have been chartreuse, white and hot pink. Catfish are biting on chicken livers and nightcrawlers.

Illinois River: There have been few reports from the river as the cold weather has kept most off of the open water. This time of year the sauger bite can really turn on in the deeper holes. 

Fox River: For smallmouths, now is the time to look for warm-water discharges found along the river. Fish using live minnows with a small hook and a few split shot about 12 inches above the hook. Cast into eddies. Also bouncing jigs with white or crawfish-colored twister tails can produce some respectable fish.  

Mississippi River: Winter is getting long for some people but others are enjoying the great fishing conditions that exist when the temperatures dip below zero. Ice formed in the pools and back lakes are hot with bluegills and crappies. Some veteran ice anglers are skunked one day and smoking them the next. Lately the fishing is on the slow side but we expect one more good run of biting fish before winters end. 
Blue cats and flatheads being caught in holes near Alton. Best bet is stinkbaits.

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