Channel cats, blue cats best bet in most state waters

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

North

Lake Michigan: There have been some reports of kings and
steelhead being caught off the piers casting glow spoons at night.
It can be a long night of casting but it can pay off in the end
with a nice fish or two to show for it. Kings and cohos have really
started to slow down and have spread out in many depths of water.
The bite has gotten tough over the last few weeks. If you can get
an early start and have lines set in the dark, you are going to
have better results. Baits like a Magnum Glow Wonderbread spoon or
Moonshine spoons have been working best. Trolling in the 60-130
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 lakers. The cohos have been hitting 00 dodgers and
flies trolled with inline weights on boards.

Chain: According to fishing reporter Cory Yarmuth, the fishing
has really slowed down for the walleyes with the warmer weather and
water. Bounce jig and minnow combinations in the deeper water near
the deep weedlines. Troll stickbaits at night across the tops of
the shallow weed flats to find active feeding fish. The panfish
bite is very good. Small tube jigs under a float tipped with live
bait has been a great producer. 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.

With the warming water, the largemouths have completed their
spawn and have moved out to the outside edges of the weedlines.
Fishing Texas- rigged craws or ribbon tail worms have been doing
well as well as running spinnerbaits parallel with the weed edges.
Also find some of the weedy coves with lily pads and work scumfrogs
in these areas. These bass are just waiting to ambush anything
skittering across the surface.

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 glide baits or cranks. Bucktails with large blades can
really be productive at this time as well.

Shabbona: This lake gets a lot of fishing pressure during the
year, which can make it tough to fish at times. Good catches of
panfish are being taken near the cribs and the wood pilings on live
bait like leeches and crawlers. The bass are in their post spawn
and will be on the outside edges of the weed. Crankbaits pulled on
the edges work well in the morning and switch over to soft plastics
fished low and slow in the afternoon. The No Motor Zone can really
produce some great muskie action during the morning hours and into
the afternoon. Bang minnow baits off the wood and pause. This will
often produce a reaction strike and get your heart pumping. There
have been few reports on muskie fishing as of late. Trolling
crankbaits along the roadbed or near the deeper timber can produce
some monsters.

LaSalle: There have been very few reports from both the shore
and boat anglers. Shore anglers have been catching the occasional
hybrid strippers or blue cats on chicken livers. Blue cats are also
being caught trolling 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.

DuPage Forest Preserve: Bass and bluegill action good in deep
water at Corey Lake. Mallard Lake good on catfish, crappies and
walleyes. Silver Lake at Blackwell slow and weedy. Pratt Lake
slow.

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 trolling spinner rigs with night crawlers. White
bass and yellowbass have been picking up fishing jigs tipped with
minnows or night crawlers. For bass, 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. The water level has gone down and now the North side
of the lake can be accessed by some of the smaller boats.

South

Devils’ Kitchen: Bass bite is improving on spinnerbaits. Crappie
fishing is slow but improving. Bluegills biting in shallows on
worms and crickets.

Crab Orchard Lake: Catfish are the best bet. Anglers are taking
good numbers of cats on leeches, stinkbaits, cut shad and night
crawlers. Catfish have been active throughout the lake. Crappie
anglers are finding nice fish in 7-8 feet of water over cover or
around bridge piers. Minnows and jigs are both effective. Bluegills
are holding steady around the rip rap. Wax worms, meal worms,
crickets and red wigglers are the ticket. Bass action has
reportedly slowed somewhat, although some anglers are still
reporting good success around shallow cover.

Baldwin Lake: Largemouth bass and smallmouth bass have been good
on jigs. Catfish excellent on cut bait. Bluegills good on worms.
Crappie action fair on minnows.

Carlyle Lake: Crappies and catfish best. Catfish taking shrimp,
leeches, cut shad and shad guts off flooded trees. White bass
hitting tube jigs and twister tails. Crappies slowing but biting on
minnows, jigs, tube jigs by Hazlet State Park. Saugers are hit and
miss, if they can be found. Bluegill fishing is fair on worms. Carp
spawning in shallows. Best bet is corn or cheese bait.

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

Kinkaid Lake: Crappies have moved in to 8-12 feet of water, but
anglers are still reporting good success on minnows. Catfish action
has improved during with fish being caught on night crawlers,
stinkbaits and chicken liver. Good numbers of bluegills are being
caught, although most fish are running small. Bluegills are being
caught just beyond bedding areas on wax worms, meal worms and
crickets. Some anglers have been reporting sporadic white bass
jumps. Bass action is spotty.

Lake of Egypt: Bass have been slow. Some fish are still being
caught around the weed beds on soft plastics. Bluegills are being
caught on a variety of baits, but most fish are running small.
Crappies are holding around the drop-offs in water 15-18 feet.
Minnows and jigs have been equally effective.

Little Grassy: Catfish remain the best bet. Catfish are being
caught throughout the lake on chicken liver and night crawlers.
Bass are still being caught in good numbers around the weedbeds on
spinnerbaits or crankbaits. Crappie action is fair. Anglers are
finding crappies in water 15 feet or deeper. Minnows are the
primary bet. A few bluegills are being caught outside the weedbeds
on crickets and wax worms.

Lake Murphysboro: Catfish action remains strong on night
crawlers, chicken livers and stinkbaits. Bluegill fishing is still
fair to good. Fish are being found in water ranging from 2 to 6
feet. Crickets, meal worms and wax worms are all producing good
catches. Crappies have slowed considerably. Bass action is
slow.

Rend Lake: Catfish action remains excellent around rip rap
areas, the sub-impoundment dams and shallow humps. Catfish are
biting on chicken liver, night crawlers, large shiners, stink
baits, leeches and shrimp. Bluegills are rated good on wax worms,
meal worms, crickets and red wigglers fished over cover in shallow
coves. Crappies are fair on minnows or white, chartreuse and pink
and green jigs. Crappie anglers are taking fish over Christmas tree
sets, at the sailboat harbor and near bridge piers. White bass
action has improved in shallow areas of the lake.

Central

Dawson Lake: This lake in Moraine View has seen a steady bite by
catfish on cheese baits. Walleyes are good on dew worms tipped on
jig heads. Crappies are fair in about 10-15 feet of water using
minnows or jigs. Bass are fair, mostly using topwaters early in the
morning. Bluegills are big and being caught away from their usual
spots along the banks.

Powerton: Smallmouths good in the cool part of the lake, in the
back and off of points. Channel catfish are excellent in the rocks,
hitting crankbaits

Newton Lake: Bass good, but weather taking toll. Water clarity
very murky. Some white bass were reported prior to the rains.
Catfish good.

Lake Bloomington: Bluegills are good and taking spinners off the
seawalls; but most are under 8 inches. Catfish are good on dipbait
and are taking jigs fished for other species off points. Walleyes
are good on crankbaits, jigs and crawlers on points or deep flats
and quarter-ounce chrome-and-blue Rat-L-Traps near the pump house.
Bass fair.

Lake Shelbyville: Bass picking up, but higher waters have slowed
action. The crappie spawn is on and minnows seem to be working
best.

Evergreen Lake: Crappies are moving shallow and biting early and
late, but many are small. Evenings are best for keepers in the
shallows.

Lake Springfield: Crappie bite picking up on minnows. Bass slow.
Channel cats being taken on shad. Some large flatheads being caught
at night on leeches and cut shad. Crappie fishing has been good on
jigs fished in or near hot water area, with many small ones. White
and yellow bass also are good on jigs.

Rivers

Illinois River: The sauger bite is slow with fish being caught
near the tailwaters of dams or on the flats vertical jigging jigs
with minnows or pulling “three-way rigs.” The white bass are
starting to hit well up on “flats” on the river. White jig and
twister combos with a minnow are quite productive. Blade baits will
put some of the larger more aggressive fish in the boat as well as
a good chance at a nice sauger. The channel cats are finished with
the spawn and are looking for lower current areas where an easy
meal can be had. Shad guts or pieces of fresh shad fished on the
bottom will put some of the big channel cats in the boat. Fish the
current funnels around the islands or points, concentrating on
structure for the fish to hold and ambush prey.

Fox River: The channel cats are hitting very well in the high
current areas. Fish chicken livers or cutbait behind a egg sinker
and you will be rewarded with some good catches of nice cats. The
smallmouth action is starting to pick up in the all of the areas
south of the Algonquin dam. Fishing live minnows with a small hook
and a few split shot in eddies can really produce some nice fish.
Also bouncing jigs with white or crawfish colored twister tails can
produce some respectable fish. Work the jig slow and fish the
current seams and slack water. Fish are being found in the main
river areas as well as many of the feeder creeks.

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