Lake Michigan: The trout and salmon bite has dropped off a bit with the fish pushing out a bit deeper. The boats are finding the fish in the 80-100 feet of water range in the morning and the fish are pushing out to the 100-120 feet range later in the day. Fish are being caught from Chicago all the way up to the state line.
There have been reports of a lot of kings as well as some decent numbers of steelhead. As of late, small- and medium-size spoons and J-plugs have been the top producers. Baits run on eight to 10 colors of leadcore on a board have been deadly. Fishermen have been finding that speeds of 2.4 to 2.8 mph on the GPS have been best. Spoons that have been hot are Bloody nose, Hey Baby, Monkey Puke, and of course glow colors in the early morning and sunset. The bite is fast and furious at daybreak and sunset, but fish are being caught all day long. Some boats are venturing out to the deeper water in 180 to 200 feet of water and finding quite a few steelhead. The steelies are taking orange crush spoons in the top 35 feet of the water column
The perch fishing has been on and off from the shore up north. The city is a different story. Casting spinners with softshells or shrimp near the weed beds seems to be the presentation of choice. The fish are spread out right now and most fishermen are catching, but the size is down.
Chain: Bass have moved up into the slop and are very active attacking scum frogs and other weedless baits. Work the pockets in the weed growth with heavy jigs and also don’t hesitate to back off and fish the outside weed edges in the deeper water. The bass will be cruising these weedlines looking for an easy meal. Fish have been reported to be most active in the upper lakes. The boat docks have been holding good fish, but bigger fish have been found in the weeds and around the channels.
The panfish bite is good as usual and the boat docks are offering good structure and shade for the fish. Wax worms on a single hook or on a white shrimp under a slip float have done really well. Work the areas in 7 to 8 feet of water near the weeds. The crappies are suspended over deeper water as well as some of the larger bluegills. Watch your graph on the breaklines and you will find the suspended fish. Minnows or jigs under a float or small crankbaits have put some good limits into the boat. In the evening hours, watch for birds and surface splashing and you will find the white bass. The whites have been schooling the minnows and busting the schools at the surface. Cast inline spinners or small crankbaits into the action, and it will be non-stop fish while the school is around.
The walleye bite has really died down, but fish can still be found in the evening. Catch the fish as they move up from the deeper water into the weedy areas. Twitch baits like x-raps as well as the standard jig and minnow combinations have been catching fish. Concentrate on deep water near current areas. The upper portion of the Fox has been producing walleyes. Troll shadraps on long lines and change up your speeds to trigger a strike.
The muskies are hit or miss, but big fish are out there to be had. The best fishing has been in the early morning hours on black bucktails and twitch baits over the weed beds or on surface baits worked slowly. The bite dies down early so it’s best to get out before sunrise and get in on the early morning action. Some fish have been caught trolling the main basins of the lakes. Smaller baits seem to be producing better than the larger baits
Braidwood: The 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 minnow baits 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 being caught on the lake. These fish are really starting to show up in good numbers and smaller twitch baits are the key to catch 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.
Devils’ Kitchen: Redears 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 picking up with cooler temperatures and catfish are fair on worms.
Carlyle Lake: Catfish are being caught on nightcrawlers, stinkbaits and leeches. Crappies are rated good on minnows and jigs. White bass and saugers are rated good. Saugers are being caught on jigs tipped with minnows or nightcrawlers. Crankbaits have also been effective. Catfish are being caught on a variety of baits. Crappie action is good on minnows and jigs.
Kinkaid Lake: Catfish action is good on a variety of baits, including minnows, stinkbaits, cut shad and liver. Bass anglers are reporting good success on a variety of baits.
Lake of Egypt: Crappie anglers are catching fish on minnows in 15-18 feet of water. Bluegills are being caught in good numbers on meal worms and red wigglers. Bass action is fair in mornings and evenings on jigs and soft plastics off the points.
Rend Lake: Crappies are being caught in good numbers in 10 to 15 feet of water over brush. Minnows and jigs have been effective. Catfish are still rated excellent on stinkbaits, cut shad, shad gut, nightcrawlers and leeches. Bass are good on soft plastics, Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits and square-billed crankbaits in shallow bays near brush. Bluegills are good in the back of necks on crickets, wax worms, and red wigglers.
White bass are being caught on jigs, curly tails and small crankbaits.
Lake Murphysboro: Catfish are good on nightcrawlers, stinkbaits and cut shad. Bass anglers are catching good numbers, but fish are running small.
Little Grassy: Crappies are being caught in 10 to 12 feet of water. Minnows and jigs are both effective. Bluegills are still good just off the beds.
Lake Taylorville: Catfish picking up on nightcrawlers and shrimp. Some being caught on shad. The crappie bite is good on minnows. Bass fishing is fair using spinners and plastic worms.
Evergreen Lake: Crappies continue to bite on minnows and jigs in 18 feet of water. The saugeyes are still biting well on twister tails with a crawler on it and deep diving crankbaits. Most people have been targeting weedy points and humps. Bass have been hitting along weedlines and drop-offs. Bluegills are biting near weeds, but have slowed some. Catfish fair to good on stinkbaits.
Newton Lake: Crappies showing some action on minnows and jigs. Catfish good on nightcrawlers and dough baits.
Lake Decatur: Bass biting on spinners near weeds. Bluegills good on worms and crickets. Catfish picking up on doughs, worms and stinkbaits.
Lake Shelbyville: Walleyes are still active below spillway on jigs and twisters or shad bodies. Crappies are being caught with jigs over deadfall trees mostly in the shallow end. Large bass being caught with a mixture of spinners, crankbaits, jigs or plastics.
Clinton Lake: Catfish are being caught on worms, shad guts, leaches, stinkbait and shrimp. Walleyes good. Largemouth bass hitting spinners and buzzbaits.
Dawson Lake: Catfish have been good on stinkbaits, shrimp and chicken livers. White bass and walleyes have been fair in deep waters. Bluegill action is slow.
Sangchris Lake: Bass action has picked up on spinners and plastic worms. Some nice catfish have been taken on shad guts, shrimp, stinkbaits and leeches.
Emiquon Preserve: Bass being caught on buzzbaits, crankbaits and spinners. Catfish good on stinkbaits.
Coffeen Lake: Bass hitting topwaters and spinners. Bluegills slowing but still being caught on worms. Catfish are small but biting on liver.
Lake Springfield: Bass fair on spinners. Bluegills good on crickets and worms. Catfish biting on stinkbaits.