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Northern Illinois Fishing Reports

Northern Illinois Fishing Report- March 20th, 2015

Braidwood: This cooling lake 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. The lake is open and the shore fishermen are seeing quite a few catfish and bluegills. Fish are being caught on ice jigs under a float or on bottom rigs tipped with crawlers or other cut bait. 
Boaters are finding good largemouths on spinnerbaits and swim jigs. There are some days that reaction strikes are the way to go so don’t be afraid to bounce a crankbait off the rocks to trigger a strike.
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

LaSalle: LaSalle is now open, but the fishing remains hot since the opening day. There are good reports of big hybrids and blue cast caught by fishermen trolling shad raps and spoon plugs.

Heidecke: Striper fishing has been slow at best and blue cat fishing is fair. Hybrids, walleyes and catfish will likely be the most sought-after fish. Smallmouth and largemouth bass will be tough again this year. 

Lake Michigan: With the warmer weather, the ice in the south half has moved out a bit, but the harbors and launches still have some ice. If you can get out, now is the time to go. Find the discharges on the south end of the lake and you will find the browns and coho. Fish the warm water discharges with jigs and twisters tipped with a piece of squid or crankbaits like a J-9 in chart/white or orange/gold. Long lining body baits has also been working well for the coho in these areas.
There is also some shore fishing opportunities on the south half as well. Casting spoons or inline spinners as well as white jigs has been productive. However, mix it up a bit and use live bait like golden roaches or squid under a float. 
Don’t be foolish and make sure you check the weather and recent conditions prior to heading out. The ice is still out in the lake, and with a day or two of north winds, it can get pushed back in and lock you out on the water.
Waukegan is starting to heat up. Government Pier and Johnson’s Pier are 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.
The downtown harbors have not been producing fish as well as early season. Browns and rainbows are being taken in the open areas. Jigs tipped with minnows as well as dead sticking spawn sacks near the bottom will produce browns. Golden roaches or spawn sacks under a float have been taking rainbows. The perch in the harbor are small and there have been little reports of sizable fish or limits taken through the iced areas. Make sure that prior to venturing out on any ice, it is legal in the harbor you are going to and that the ice is safe. Also you may be required to purchase a Pier Pass in order to fish these harbors so check with the local bait shop.
Perch are biting hot and heavy at Navy Pier. Reports have shown that a lot of smaller ones are being caught and getting limits of larger fish require a lot of sorting. Live minnows and cooked shrimp on drop shot rigs as well as icefishing 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.

Chain: Panfish action is remaining consistent with good numbers of crappies, white bass and bluegills being taken through the ice. With warmer days coming, the fish are starting to move up to the shallows to take advantage of new weed growth as well as fresh water runoff. Horizontal style jigs with spikes and jigs and plastics seem to be producing.

Bangs Lake: Crappie and bluegill action has been sporadic. Crappies have been found suspended in 15 feet of water and then moving into the shallows in the mornings. Black jigs tipped with waxies as well as minnows on glow-style jigs are working well. 

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Central Fishing Illinois Reports

Central Illinois Fishing Report - March 20th, 2015

Lake Taylorville: Crappie bite picking up on minnows. Bass slow. Water conditions are murky. 

Newton Lake: Bass good. Water clarity very murky. Some white bass were also reported prior to the rains. Crappies a big question mark after a poor fall and few reports this spring so far. Catfish good.

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. Conditions better late in day for muskies and walleyes. On main lake, fishing has been slow, but some crappies caught on sunny days. 

Evergreen Lake: Several reports of crappies being scattered, with most coming from the warmer shallow coves and shore lines. Nice fish have also been caught in 10-15 feet of water. Minnows, waxworms, or light-colored tube jigs slowly retrieved have worked best. 

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Southern Illinois Fishing Reports

Southern Illinois Fishing Report - March 20th, 2015

Devils’ Kitchen: Bass have been good on spinners and plastics. A few catfish caught on nightcrawlers.

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 weed beds on the typical bluegill baits. Bass fishing has been slow.

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

Carlyle Lake: Crappie and catfish best. Catfish taking cut shad and shad guts off rocks by Keysport. Crappie 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. Crappie and catfish fishing has been fair.

Kinkaid Lake: Crappies good in shallow coves near in flowing water. Muskie, bass and catfish also good in same areas.

Lake of Egypt: Crappie action is slow but getting better. Bluegills have been slow. Bass action is expected to pick up as water temperatures rise. A few catfish being caught on worms.

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 late-season grasshoppers and worms.

Rend Lake: The lake has been high. Crappie fishing has been good on minnows in rip rap along Route 154, pillars around bridges and creeks near main channels. Channel catfish fair on stinkbait and cut shad. The best fishing is reported to be near the main dam breakwater, areas near North and South Marcum, Jackie Branch and Gun Creek. Bass fishing has been slow. The bluegill bite has been slow.

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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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