Northern Illinois Fishing Reports

Northern Illinois Fishing Report- April 18th, 2014

Lake Michigan: The northern harbors like Waukegan have been hit and miss from Johnson’s and Government piers.
The downtown harbors have been producing fish very well this early season. The powerliners have been doing well on both the coho and the browns with a few steelhead mixed in. Nightcrawlers and fathead minnows are the baits of choice.
Casting crankbaits or spoons have also been putting some fish on the stringers.
The perch in the harbor are small, and there have been little reports of sizable fish or limits.
Perch are biting at Navy Pier. It is some work, but it can pay off with some jumbo perch. 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 have been producing. Also Kastmasters or other jigging spoons will do well and may take the occasional trout.
The smallmouth bass have started to feed in the warmer water areas. The best producers are larger profile shad color jigs worked slowly or dropshot rigs with 4-inch minnow style plastics. Goby imitating baits have also been starting to work well. Work areas near steel walls, as they tend to warm quicker in the sun.  Find good transitions of large rock and small rock as well and you should find fish willing to hit your offerings.

Braidwood: 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. The largemouths can be caught fishing the secondary drop-offs with 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.

LaSalle Lake: The lake has been very productive for both the boat and the shore angler thus far.  Shore anglers have been bringing in good catches of hybrid strippers on chicken livers. Blue cats are also being caught on live bait or crankbaits. The boaters have been doing well on all species trolling crankbaits near the rip-rap as well as working some of the deeper structure that is in the lake.

Chain: The walleyes are really starting to turn on around the channels and the bridges. Bouncing jig and minnow combinations around the pilings has been putting nice fish in the boats.
The channels are starting to get a good panfish bite going. Small ice jigs under a float tipped with live bait is the ticket here. The shallow portions of the bays seem to be producing quite well also. Find the newer weeds in 6-10 feet of water or less and the bluegills will be there, but look for deeper water for white bass and crappies.
The bass bite is starting to get good. Casting lipless crankbaits and working them on the edges of the new emerging weeds as well as any wood or rip-rap that you can find.
The muskies are starting to be caught as well. Downsize your baits and work the shallow areas that tend to warm up quicker this time of year.

Blackwell: With the inland trout season open, there have been many limits of trout caught. The trout are being taken on small spoons, small crankbaits, and Powerbait fished on the bottom. A bonus northern pike and some big bass have been caught while chasing the trout. With the colder water, throw a rattletrap to coax a strike out of some of the big largemouths that are in the area.

Heidecke: The walleye bite is slow, with trolling shadrap-style baits on the north side being the best option. Trolling spinner rigs with nightcrawlers has also been producing some fish as well.   White bass will also come while trolling the crankbaits. Don’t be afraid to cast the riprap with crankbaits like a Rattletrap or other tight wobble baits. These will often produce a reaction strike that can help put more fish in the boat.

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Central Fishing Illinois Reports

Central Illinois Fishing Report - April 18th, 2014

Sangchris Lake: Bass excellent on spinnerbaits and chatterbaits. Catfish good on worms. Crappies are fair on jigs fairly shallow along rocks near dam.
Lake Bloomington: Crappies good near and around brush on minnows and jigs. Bass and bluegills are slow.

Clinton Lake: Bass are good on spinners, plastics and crankbaits in coves and at points in shallow water. Bluegills fair on crickets and worms. Catfish biting on cut shad, crawlers and shrimp. Crappies picking up on jigs and minnows. Walleyes have gone deeper but still being caught on jigs. White bass are good on minnows, roadrunners, spinners and twisters. Hybrid stripers are fair on bladebaits.

Spring Lake: Bass are fair on plastics. Bluegills are fair along rocks on waxworms. Catfish are fair along the roadway on crawlers. Crappies are slow on jig and minnows. Muskies have been slow.

Evergreen Lake: Crappie fishing has been the best bet. Anglers still are catching crappies all over the place anywhere from 5-20 feet of water. Saugeye and bass fishing has been off to a slow start, with many smaller ones being caught.

Lake Springfield: Bass good on plastics and spinners, mostly in shallows. White bass good on spinners, mostly on the south end of the lake. Crappies hitting minnows. Some nice catfish being caught on cut bait and shad.

Lake Shelbyville: The stained and dirty water has crappies suspending high in the water column. Fish being caught in 3-10 feet over deeper brush and heavy trunks of down trees. Water depth doesn’t mean as much as a branch in the 3-10 foot range. Remember this time of the year fish are seeking warmth and heavy trunks of down trees provides more so brush might only have small fish in it.
Best colors have been a 1⁄8- or 3⁄16-ounce jigs in either orange, black or chartreuse with a chartreuse glow tube or an orange and chartreuse tube.

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Southern Illinois Fishing Reports

Southern Illinois Fishing Report - April 18th, 2014

Crab Orchard Lake: Crappie action has improved. Many fish have moved shallow and some nice fish have been caught. Minnows are the primary bait. Bluegill anglers are reporting good success around the rip rap and boat docks. Wax worms are the best bet. Bass action has been good. Catfish have slowed.

Lake of Egypt: Bass good on spinners and crankbaits. Some in the 5-pound range pulled out of the lake in early April. Crappies good on minnows and jigs near structure. Bluegills slow but being caught in the early morning on worms. Catfish are biting in evening on stinkbaits and nightcrawlers.

Carlyle Lake: Crappies are rated very good in the lake. However, with fluctuating water levels, anglers will have to experiment with depth. Minnows and tube jigs have both been effective. Bluegills are rated fair around boat docks. Anglers are fishing just off the bottom in coves and branches off the main lake. Catfish are fair on nightcrawlers and cut bait. Some white bass are being caught, but action is spotty. In the spillway, catfish are very good on shad gut, cut bait and nightcrawlers. Sauger are also rated very good. Anglers are vertical jigging curlytails tipped with a minnow, leech or nightcrawler. The best sauger action has been on overcast days. White bass are fair at the river on jigs and rooster tails. Some crappies are being caught near the river on tube jigs or curlytails.

Kinkaid Lake: Big crappies are being taken. Several 2 pounders have been weighed in. Fish are still scattered, and in some cases, suspended. Minnows are working better for anglers working deep water structure while jigs are effective in shallow areas. Bass anglers are reporting good catches, primarily on light-colored spinnerbaits. Muskies are slow as are bluegills.

Rend Lake: Catfish are the best bet with anglers catching fish around the mouths of creeks and shallow necks on cut shad and worms. Crappies are fair to slow on minnows and jigs. Recent rains turned the lake muddy, and fishing has slowed. Some bass anglers are reporting fair success on plastic worms, crankbaits, Rat-L-Traps and jigs around rip rap, weed beds and drop-offs. Bluegills are being caught in the west Gun Creek area on worms and crickets. White bass are being caught under the bridges on curlytails, and Vibrax spinners.

Little Grassy Lake: Fishing good with anglers catching bass, catfish and bluegills. Bass hitting plastic worms and crank baits. Catfish biting good on worms, large minnows or shrimp. Small spinners seem to work well with white bass. Some are being caught off the banks using minnows.

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Illinois Rivers Fishing Reports

Illinois River Fishing Report - April 18th, 2014

Illinois River: The sauger and walleye bite has been ok with recent warm then cold weather patterns. Fish are being caught vertical jigging jigs with minnows or using a floater jig and lindy rigging minnows have been doing well. Pulling three-way rigs has also started to put some fish in the boats. The white bass reports have been slim as of late

Des Plaines River: The walleyes are making their way up to the dams and have been found using hair jigs or twisters tipped with minnows. The bite has been best in areas near warm water discharges.  There have been some good catches of largemouth bass near these discharges as well, caught using crankbaits banged off of the rock and other structure.
Good numbers of northern pike are also to be found fishing live bait under a float or throwing inline spinners and jerkbaits in the eddies and deeper pools.

Fox River: The smallmouth action is starting to pick up in areas south of Elgin dam. Fishing live minnows with a small hook and a few split shot in the eddies can really produce some nice fish. Also bouncing jigs with white or crawfish colored twister tails can produce respectable fish. Work the jig slow, and fish the current seams and slack water. Remember to be cautious when wading. There have been some reports of walleyes being taken near McHenry Dam and the Elgin Dam. The walleyes are on the move and are being taken on jig and minnows in the warming hours of the day. Structure is key. Look for the bridge pilings or wood that would warm up first. Fish are being taken near the dams as well on jig and minnow combinations. Be careful out there as the river is unpredictable and the current is getting strong with the recent rains.

Mississippi River: Pool 21 extends from Lock and Dam 21 located near Quincy, upstream to Lock and Dam 20 located near Canton, Mo. There are a number of islands on Pool 20 between Hamilton and Meyer, but better opportunities lie on Pool 21 between Meyer and Quincy. If you listed good fish producing areas, you would have to include Bear Creek, Corner Slough, Long Island, Quincy Bay and Willow Slough.
Pool 26 extends from Lock and Dam 26 located near Alton upstream to Lock and Dam 25 located near Winfield, Mo. The Mississippi River State Fish and Wildlife Area is located between pools 25 and 26.
On Pool 26, Pohlman’s Slough, just above Grafton where the Illinois River flows into the Mississippi, is a good fishing spot, as are other backwaters in the area. The Piasa Island Chute above Alton also is a good fishing spot.

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