Sunday, February 5th, 2023
Sunday, February 5th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Heat wave brings bass fishing to a crawl; panfish steady

North

Chain: According to fishing reporter Cory Yarmuth, the panfish
bite is excellent and the boat docks are offering some good
structure and shade to the fish. Bluegills and sunfish are being
found in water 8 feet deep or less. Slip bobber rigs with wax worms
on a single hook or on a white shrimpo have done really well. 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. The bass have
moved up into the heavy weeds and 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 some good fish, but bigger fish have been found
in the weeds and around the channels. 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 ares. 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 over the weedbeds 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.

Shabbona: There have a been few reports on muskie fishing as of
late. Trolling crankbaits along the roadbed or near the deeper
timber can produce some monsters.

Heidecke: The fishing has really been slow as of late. The warm
weather has pushed the fish to the deeper structure, and the
walleye bite has not been as good as it has been in the past few
months. Some stripers have been caught by shore fishermen on
chicken livers as well as on crankbaits. The fishing has been the
same on both the north and south sides of the bridge.

Lake Michigan (Chicago Area): The trout and salmon bite is really
tough right now. Fish are being found shallow in the early morning
hours prior to sunrise, but then the bite really shuts off and then
you really have to search for them. In the morning hours, fish are
in the 40-60 feet range, but then the deeper action picks up in the
150-200 feet of water range. Fish are being caught from Chicago all
the way up to the state line. There have been reports of some
good-sized kings as well as some decent numbers of steelhead in the
southern areas and some larger coho. As of late, spoons have been
the top producers. Baits run on eight to 10 colors of leadcore on a
board have been deadly. The recent weather has really mixed the
water up with surface temperatures running around 69 degrees and
then temperatures of 54 degrees 50 feet down. Fishermen have been
finding that speeds of 2.6 to 3 mph on the GPS have been their best
speeds. 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 can be found all day long.

There have been some sporadic reports of perch being caught from
Government pier in Waukegan, however the boaters are not finding
them in any decent numbers.

The downtown harbors have been seeing very good numbers of perch
and there has been some good size to them. Softshells as well as
minnows have been doing well. Boaters are finding them in all
depths of water from 10 feet all the way out into 40 feet. Simple
hook and split shot rigs with minnows and softshells have been
doing really well.

La Salle Lake: With the summer in full swing this lake can reach
some very high temperatures. The catfish action has remained
consistent with good catches of cats on cut bait as well as chicken
livers fished on the bottom. The bass are inactive and a reaction
strike is your best approach. Bang lipless crankbaits off rip-rap
and work the shore parallel for your best approach.

South

Crab Orchard Lake: Fishing traffic has been fairly light.
Crappie anglers are concentrating under bridges. Minnows and jigs
are both effective. Most catfish anglers are using minnows,
stinkbaits and leeches.

Horseshoe Lake: The few anglers on the lake are targeting crappies
and catfish. Some crappies are being caught at the base of single
trees. Minnows and jigs are equally effective. Catfish anglers
continue to catch fish by drifting night crawlers or chicken liver
just off the bottom.

Carlyle Lake: White bass are the best bet in the lake. Anglers are
taking good numbers of fish near the silos, humps and flats. Slab
spoons or Little Georges combined with a curlytail are the most
productive baits. Whites also are being caught by trolling
crankbaits. Catfish are rated very good on night crawlers, cut shad
and stinkbaits. Sauger are being caught in good numbers by the
island and silos by anglers trolling crankbaits. Crappie action has
slowed considerably. Catfish are rated very good in the spillway on
cut shad, night crawlers and stinkbaits. White bass are good on
rooster tails, jigs or minnows. Crappie and sauger fishing is fair.
Sauger action improves on overcast days.

Kinkaid Lake: Fishing traffic has slowed somewhat. Anglers are
still catching some crappies over cover at 10-15 feet. Minnows are
preferred over jigs. Catfish anglers are still reporting good
success.

Lake of Egypt: The anglers braving the heat are still catching some
bass, especially early in the mornings and late in the evenings.
Fish are schooling in the mornings and evenings and can be caught
on Pop-Rs. A few anglers are taking crappies in fair numbers.
Minnows fished at about 20 feet are best bet for crappies. Some
bluegills are being caught at the deep edge of weed beds on red
wigglers.

Little Grassy: Catfish action has been good throughout the lake.
The best action has been on night crawlers. Bluegill action is
spotty. Most bluegills are holding in 6-8 feet of water and can be
caught on crickets and wax worms. A few crappie anglers have taken
some nice fish in 15-20 feet. The best crappie action has been on
minnows. Bass anglers are reporting fair numbers of fish, although
most are running small.

Rend Lake: Fishing remains steady despite soaring temperatures. The
lake is just below normal pool and water temperature is holding at
82 degrees. Catfish are still rated excellent on cut shad, worms,
minnows, stink baits and leeches. Some anglers are drift fishing
leeches and night crawlers. The best action has been around rip
rap, the mouths of creeks and in shallow necks. White bass are good
on jigs and curly tails fished around bridges and main lake humps.
Bass are being caught in good numbers on soft plastics, Rat-L-Traps
and crankbaits. Anglers are working the Illinois 154 bridges,
bushes and laydowns. Bluegills are still good on crickets, worms
and small jigs in shallow areas. Some crappies are being caught on
minnows and jigs over sets or brush in six to 14 feet of water.

Central

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

Evergreen Lake: Hot air temps and warm water have slowed down the
fishing. Crappie limits are still being caught on a regular basis
using minnows in 20-25 feet of water suspended midway. Saugeye
reports have been few and far between with some smaller ones being
picked up here and there on humps and off of points. Nice reports
of bass are being caught during early morning hours or late evening
on topwater baits around weedbeds and laydowns. Catfishing has been
fair with most being caught at night using livers and
stinkbaits.

Clinton Lake: Catfishing is very good on guts, shrimp and shad. A
few crappies are being caught on jigs and minnows. White bass fair
on blade baits. Some walleyes on Big Dudes. Reports of hybrids and
walleyes being caught below the spillway. Largemouths good on
spinners and plastics.

Rivers

Illinois River: The river is high and dangerous so take caution
and do not launch at flood stages. The walleye and sauger bite has
slowed down. Pulling three-way rigs allows you to cover a variety
of water and will help key in on their locations. Work the flats
created on the current bends. Also work the flooded areas that
offer reduced current that will hold fish. If you find active fish,
you can switch up to vertical jigging with jig and minnows. The
white bass are still schooled up and can be found at the channel
mouths as well as any current breaks.

Fox River: The levels of the river are really high with the recent
storms. Catches of largemouths, white bass, and channel cats have
been reported at the Mchenry dam. There also have been good reports
of smallmouths hitting well from the Algonquin dam and south
through, Elgin. The walleyes are very sporadic, however they are
hitting minnows as well as jerkbaits in the evening hours. Work the
areas that have slack current. Float minnows really close to the
flooded banks where the current is slower and you will find some
good smallmouth action. The channel cats are feeding well, and the
best baits right now have been cheese baits or chicken
livers.

Kaskaskia River: Bass action is rated excellent in the creeks and
oxbows, particularly in clear water areas. Spinnerbaits and
crankbaits are the best bet. Catfish are rated excellent in the
lock and dam tailwater on shad. White bass are good near the
tailwater and the mouths of creeks using small spinners and
crankbaits.

Kankakee River: At the Kankakee Dam, catfish are good on minnows,
night crawlers and dipbaits. Near Momence, catfish are good on
minnows, cheese baits and chicken livers, and smallmouth bass are
fair on Mepps spinners and live minnows. Near Aroma Park, crappies
are biting well at the mouth of the Iroquois River on minnows,
pinkie jigs and Beetle Spins. Near Kankakee River State Park,
catfish are good on minnows, crawlers and crayfish. Near
Wilming-ton, smallmouth bass are good on jig and minnows, Twin Spin
spinnerbaits and Mepps No. 3 spinners.

Mississippi River: Walleye fishing is good to excellent along the
wing dams from Pool 9 through 15. Use a three-way rig tipped with
either a leech or night crawler fished along the front edge of the
wing dams, or try casting or trolling crankbaits along the wing
dams and lower ends of the sloughs.

 

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