Wednesday, February 8th, 2023
Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

As spring gives way to summer’s heat, bass are target

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

North

Lake Michigan: According to fishing reporter Cory Yarmuth,
salmon fishing is really been off and on as of late. On the south
end it seems the fish have moved out to deeper water already and
are being found in 50 to 70 feet of water. Reports have come in
that they are being found about 5 or 6 miles offshore from Gary
lighthouse and also near the “gong” out of East Chicago. The fish
in the north have also scattered and are being found in a multitude
of depths. One day they are schooling in the 80 to 100 feet of
water range and the next they have pushed out to the 130 to 140
range. Start your trolls shallow and work your way out to deeper
water. Best producers for the kings have been spoons on downriggers
or large flies and flashers on dipsies. Bloody nose, Hey Babe,
Kevorkian, and Blue Dolphin are a few of the hot ones lately. As
far as flies go, greens or green and silver have been doing well,
with a white one producing well on some days. For the coho orange
00 dodger with a blue/silver or green/silver peanut fly has been a
good producer. Dodger fly combos appear to be taking quite a few
fish. Don’t be afraid to upsize the dodger to a 0 and use a small
peanut fly. The extra attraction can really get those fish to bite.
Run the dodger fly combos with an inline weight and run on a board
or run them on a wire or braid dipsy. Make sure you run your spread
to cover the entire water column. Cover the water column with
spoons down low in the alewife or bloody nose pattern and
dodger/flasher and fly in a white or aqua pattern. Switch to bright
orange spoons up near the surface to entice a nice steelhead.
Double orange crush is a good spoon to use up high. Don’t be
foolish and make sure you check the weather and recent conditions
prior to heading out. The lake can get pretty rough in a hurry.

The smallmouth bass have started to feed in the warmer water
areas. The best producers are goby-imitating jigs worked slowly on
the bottom or dropshot rigs with 4-inch minnow-style plastics. 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 the fish willing to hit your offerings.

The shore bite for coho and browns in Waukegan has slowed
considerably. Government Pier or Johnson’s Pier have produced some
fish. Fish are being caught on spoons as well as alewives under
floats.

The perch bite has really slowed down on the entire lakefront.
The perch are scattered and a lot of moving is needed to locate the
schools and stay with them. Crappie rigs with large fathead minnows
or jigging spoons worked near the bottom have been bringing in
limits of 11- to 15-inch fish. Long lining the crappie rigs has
been working better than a true vertical approach. The fish are
holding tight to the bottom.

Chain: The fishing has slowed down for the walleyes with the
warmer weather and water. Bouncing jig and minnow combinations
around the pilings has been putting some nice fish in the boats.
The main lake areas are starting to get a good green weed growth.
With this growth brings on a good panfish bite. 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 8 feet of water or less and the gills will be there,
but look for deeper water for the white bass and crappies. With the
warming water, the largemouths are starting to feed well prior to
the pre-spawn period. Catches have been seen on Rattletraps fished
in the shallower areas as well as slow rolled spinnerbaits near the
bottom. Look for the inside edges of weedbeds that are good
transition points between cover and their spawning areas.

Shabbona: Crappie fishing has been great. The crappies are out
of the shallow water but they are over predictable spots such as
shallow brushpiles and fish cribs. Best presentations are Mini
Mites or minnows under small bobbers. Bass fishing is beginning to
heat up with anglers catching them on the dam face wacky rigging.
Walleye fishing is going to improve anytime now.

Braidwood: Shore fishermen are still seeing quite a few small
catfish and bluegills. Fish are being caught 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
Carolina rigs or crankbaits. One good tactic for this lake is
fishing the shallower areas bouncing a crankbait or spoonplug off
of 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: The lake has begun to slow down for both the boat and
the shore angler. Shore anglers have been catching the occasional
hybrid striper on chicken livers. Blue cats are also being caught
on live bait or crankbaits. The boaters have been catching multiple
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 and are being
caught on rattletraps and blade baits. The fish are pushing down to
the sections near the dikes where the rock meets the mud bottom.
Carolina rigging smaller sized plastics as well as drop-shotting
can be very productive. Wacky-rigged Senkos have been putting a
number of bass in the boats as well.

Heidecke: The hybrid stripers have been taken by shore fishermen
on chicken livers and by boaters trolling cranks or casting the
riprap. The walleye bite is really picking up with some large fish
being taken on live bait or by trolling spinner rigs with night
crawlers. White bass and yellow bass will also come while trolling
the spinner rigs. 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. There have also
been reports of the occasional muskie being caught. Take caution as
the water is up and this means that the bridge to go under to the
north side is too low and you risk damage to your rig if you try to
go under.

Apple Canyon Lake: A few crappies are biting on minnows and
waxworms. Bluegills are taking the same bait but bass starting to
come alive and pick off bait.

South

Devils’ Kitchen: There are reports of bluegills on the beds.
Anglers are taking bluegills on wax worms, meal worms, crickets and
red wigglers.

Horseshoe Lake: Some crappies are still spawning. Fishing isn’t
as good as it was the end of the month, but anglers are still
catching good numbers of fish on jigs or minnows over shallow
cover. Fish are scattered throughout the lake. Some anglers also
have taken some nice bluegills. Catfish are rated fair to good.
Some anglers are drift fishing in the middle of the lake and others
are taking good numbers near the spillway. Night crawlers are the
primary bait.

Crab Orchard Lake: Crappies are still good. Most fish are being
caught in 6-10 feet of water. Minnows and jigs are equally
effective. Catfish are probably the best bet. The best action has
been on cut bait and leeches. Bluegills are on the beds and can be
caught on wax worms, meal worms, crickets and red wigglers. Bass
are scattered and are being caught on a variety of baits.

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. Saugers are 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 been fair to good.
Bluegills are biting on worms in 6 to 8 feet of water. Crappie and
catfish fishing has been fair.

Kinkaid Lake: Crappie picking up on minnows. Muskies coming in
on Rat-L-Traps, twitch minnows, spinnerbaits and soft plastics.
Bluegill fishing fair to good on crickets, waxworms, medium worms,
red wigglers and night crawlers in outer edges of weedbeds. Catfish
fair to good on night crawlers, cut shad, crickets. Largemouth slow
to fair best with jig and pig around deep submerged tree tops or
laydowns. Also use plastic lizards, keep driving crankbaits. White
bass also taking crappie minnows, small crankbaits, small diving
crankbaits. Walleyes taking deep diving crankbaits or jig and
minnow combos by the rip-rap areas or the dam.

Lake of Egypt: Bass have slowed down in the past few weeks as
fish are moving deeper. Fish are suspended off the points and some
are being caught on soft plastics and jigs. Anglers are catching
good fish, but numbers are slim. The same holds true for crappies.
Some fish are being caught on minnows or jigs. There were no
reports of bluegill or catfish action.

Little Grassy: Largemouth bass hitting crankbaits and spinners
along beds and near points. Crappies have been biting on minnows,
mostly in cover in about 15 to 20 feet of water. Plastic worms have
worked best. Bluegills are running small and biting on worms.

Rend Lake: Crappies are still rated good. Anglers are reporting
good success fishing minnows in and over shoreline brush. Catfish
also earn a good rating. The best action has been around the
rip-rap on leeches, shrimp and night crawlers. Bluegill fishing is
fair. Anglers are reporting taking nice fish on the Nason Point
using crickets. Bass are rated fair on topwater baits.

Central

Lake Taylorville: The crappie bite is picking up on minnows.
Bass fishing is slow. Water conditions are murky.

Banner Marsh: Bass are fair on plastics, spinnerbaits or
chatterbaits and fair at East Point Access. Bluegills are slow to
fair and small on wax worms. Crappies are fair on minnows or jigs
with many yet to spawn.

Powerton: Smallmouth bass biting fair. Some catfish biting on
shad. Lake still closed to boaters due to ongoing work on the
discharge. Lake is open to bank anglers daily from 8 a.m. to 4
p.m.

Newton Lake: Bass good, but flooding has changed situation.
Water clarity very murky. Some white bass also were 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: Bass are fair to slow and have moved out
deeper on crankbaits or plastics. Bluegills are fair to slow on
real small jigs. Crappies are slow on small jigs and many still
have not spawned. Walleyes are fair to slow on smaller jigs with
twisters or minnows and mostly small ones around the docks. Hybrid
stripers are fair to slow and scattered along seawalls on jigs,
rattle baits and blade baits.

Lake Shelbyville: The crappie spawn is on and minnows seem to be
working best. Catfish slow. Bass fair.

Clinton Lake: Bass are fair on crankbaits, jig/grub and plastics
on points and around cover with the west side being better most
recently. Bluegills are fair on wax worms in coves. Catfish are
good on shad gut, shrimp or dip baits throughout lake. Crappies are
fair on tube jigs or minnows around trees or brush.

Coffeen Lake: Bass are good on topwater baits, crankbait and
plastics. Bluegills are fair on wax worms and fairly shallow
catfish are good on dip baits, crawlers and cut bait, with some big
flatheads being landed. Stripers are fair.

Lake Springfield: Crappie bite picking up on minnows. Bass slow.
Channel cats being taken on shad. Crappies have been good on jigs
fished in or near hot water area, with many small ones. White and
yellow bass are good on jigs and bladebaits in or near warm water
areas.

Sangchris Lake: Crappie bite still good in shallow on minnows
and jigs. Bass biting on river worms, or big shiners in the east
arm near the hot arm. Flatheads being caught on liver and
stinkbaits. Channel cats taken onnightcrawlers. Bass picking up on
spinners.

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