Illinois Outdoor News Fishing Report – Sept. 22, 2017

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


Chain: The shallow portions of the bays seem to be producing quite well as well as the channel areas found between lakes. Find the thick weedbeds in 8 feet of water or less and the gills will be there, but look for deeper water for the white bass and crappies. The channel cats are really active with the warm weather. Fish have been taken on spinners as well as live bait fished on the bottom. The very active fish have been found up in the shallower water and have really started to feed well. With the warm water, the largemouths have moved into the channels and the heavy mats of weeds. Fishing a scum frog or other weedless bait have been producing some good bass as well as northern pike. The muskie fishing has been hit or miss with some real monsters being boated recently. Look for the breaklines associated with decent weed growth. Troll or cast these edges working parallel to them with glidebaits or cranks.

Shabbona: Crappies can be found over deeper fishing cribs with minnows or hugging the bottom of tree lines in about 20 feet of water. The bass bite is slow, but they can be caught using scum frogs in the evening in thicker emerging weeds. The muskie bite is slow. Walleyes are biting in the evening on leeches around rock piles in steeper dropoffs.

Braidwood: Catfish are good on shrimp and cheese bait. Bluegills very good on waxworms and red worms at Mazonia. Good bass fishing at Mazonia, but clear water can make for tough fishing.

Forest Preserve Lakes: Crappies and bluegills both slow. Channel cats biting on stinkbaits, nightcrawlers and chicken livers. Flatheads biting on big roaches, bluegills, sucker minnows and carp. Bass fishing steady using medium roach minnows, soft plastics, lizards and worms. Pike biting in good numbers on roach minnows.

Heidecke: Walleye fishing good on crawlers and jigs. Catfish fair, with several from 4 to 6 pounds reported on stinkbait or crawlers.

Lake Michigan (Chicago Area): Waukegan has reported sporadic good catches of coho and kings with the downtown harbors reporting sporadic catches of fish. Trolling for kings has really started to slow down. The fish have spread out into several depths of water. The best bite is early mornings or dusk to a few hours after sunset. Trolling glow spoons or glow flasher/dodger and fly combinations has been doing well. The fish are moving around quite a bit so some searching will need to be done. Trolling in the 100-130 feet of water range seems to be the broad area as of late. Magnum spoons on full and half cores (5 and 10 colors of leadcore line) or large flasher/fly combos on dipsey divers are producing a mixed bag of kings and steelhead.


Crab Orchard Lake: Crappie action has improved most recently. Most fish are being located in 8-10 feet of water over submerged cover, rip rap or bridge pillars. Minnows and jigs are equally effective. Catfish action is still fair. Catfish are being caught on leeches and cut bait. Bluegills are still holding close to the bank and can be caught on wax worms, crickets and red wigglers. Bass are still active in the shallows, feeding on shad around the weedbeds.

Horseshoe Lake (Alexander County): Most anglers on the lake are targeting catfish. The best success has been by anglers drift fishing nightcrawlers just off the bottom in the middle of the lake. Bluegill and bass action is slow.

Carlyle Lake: White bass are biting well below the spillway, with a few fish coming from near the trestles and the silos. Whites are also biting on the main lake on the flats. Channel cats are good on the lake for anglers drifting or jug fishing with cut bait or leeches. Good catches reported near Keyesport and Boulder. Flatheads are also biting on bluegills. Cut bait also working as are slab spoons thrown up along the wall. Crappie action is good below the dam.

Lake Murphysboro: Catfish have been fair to good near the dam or in areas with heavy cover. The best action has been on nightcrawlers and red wigglers. Other anglers have been reporting good success with crickets fished during the evening. Bluegills are holding in 3-5 feet of water. Most fish are being caught on wax worms and crickets. Crappies are hard to find. Crappies are holding on structure right on the bottom in 12-15 feet. Minnows are the primary bait. Bass action has been slow.

Kinkaid Lake: Catfish and bluegills are the prime targets. Catfish are primarily being caught on nightcrawlers throughout the lake. Bluegills are being caught on wax worms and meal worms. Most bluegills are holding in 6-8 feet of water near weedbeds and dropoffs. Crappies are scattered. Some fish are being caught on minnows fished around structure. Most fish are holding in about 12 feet of water. Bass action has been slow. Walleye and muskie action is slow.

Lake of Egypt: Fishing has improved recently. Bass action has been upgraded to fair. Anglers are taking some fish early in the mornings and late in the evenings, flipping soft plastics to openings in the weedbeds. Catfish and crappie action is slow. Some crappies are being caught over deep cover, but overall crappie action is slow. Some bluegills are still being caught in shallow areas around the bank, but most fish are running small.

Little Grassy: Catfish remain the best bet. Catfish are being caught throughout the lake, primarily on nightcrawlers. Bass anglers are reporting the best action around the weedbeds. Most bass are being caught on spinnerbaits. Some crappie anglers are picking up fish over cover in 15-20 feet of water. Minnows are the primary bait. Bluegills are being caught in good numbers, but fish are running small. Most bluegills are still in 5-8 feet of water and can be caught on wax worms, crickets and red wigglers.

Rend Lake: Catfish and white bass action is still good while all other species are slow. Catfish are being caught near Gun Creek, the subimpoundment dams and rip rap areas on liver, nightcrawlers, large shiners, stinkbaits and leeches. Other anglers are reporting success drift fishing shrimp in shallow areas. White bass are rated good on curlytail jigs, gay blades and large minnows. Some bluegills are being caught in shallow coves on wax worms, red wigglers and crickets.


Lake Bloomington: Hybrid stripers are fair, with best action early and just before dusk when fish are chasing shad on the surface and hitting jigs or Roadrunners. Bass best on jigs, chatterbaits and soft plastics off points with timber and along the weeds in the evenings. Catfish are fair on dipbaits and crawlers. Late evenings are best. Anglers are catching crappies up to 12 inches in 12-18 feet of water. Drifting jigs is working best for these suspended fish.

Lake Shelbyville: Bass have been good in shallows and coves. Walleyes are good over newly covered rock and riprap. Crappies are spotty. Muskies are being caught in deeper waters.

Evergreen Lake: Many reports of crappies being caught. A lot of sorting was done in order to find the keepers, but they were being caught. Most of the larger fish were caught in 10-15 feet of water, many smaller fish caught in shallower water. Bass were doing well, with many fish being caught early morning on top water baits. Several reports of small muskies being caught by anglers fishing for bass with topwater baits. Bluegills are also still doing well along weed edges. Not many reports of catfish.

Clinton Lake: Catfish very good on guts, shrimp and shad. Crappies being caught with jigs or minnows. A few walleyes and bass decent on buzzbaits. White bass fair on bladebaits. Some walleyes on Big Dudes. Reports of hybrids and walleyes below the spillway.


Illinois River: Catfish are good up and down the river. Best on shrimp, chicken liver and shad. Near Peoria, channel catfish good along channel edges. White bass are good on Little Georges. Near Starved Rock, white bass are good on bladebaits. Catfish good on cut shad and dipbaits. Smallmouth bass and catfish still good in the big Vermilion River, which is low and clean and was not impacted by recent rains.

Fox River: Some walleyes being caught using minnows. Evening bite is best. Catfish reportedly biting on stinkbaits and worms.

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