IL: Walleyes, crappies being caught in deeper water Issue: 9

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

North

Lake Michigan: According to fishing reporter Cory Yarmuth,
downtown harbors are having some good numbers of cohos coming in
near shore. The powerliners are doing well on both cohos and brown
trout. The preferred baits have been minnows. Try both large
fatheads as well as roaches. Fish are also hitting spoons and body
baits.

The northern harbors like Waukegan have hit and miss from both
Johnson’s Pier and the Government Pier. Browns and cohos are being
caught on bottom rigs. Rigs tipped with spawn sacs and roaches have
been doing well.

The action is starting to slow down for cohos down south and they
are starting up north as well. The fish on the south end have moved
out to deeper water and fishing has been tough with the changing
weather fronts that we keep getting. Trolling small orange dodger
and peanut flies log lining body baits like red and black Thin Fins
has also been working well for the cohos in these areas. Look for
areas of warmer water with cold water near.

There have also been some really good reports of perch caught from
the boats on the south end of the lake in the 40 to 50 feet of
water range. Perch rigs with minnows have been the ticket for some
great jumbos.

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 as
well as icefishing jigs tipped with spikes have been producing.
Also Kastmasters or other jigging spoons will do well and may take
the occasional trout. Remember that the discounted parking for
fishermen is only until 10 a.m.

Perch are being caught in the canal from the 95th Street bridge.
Fish are being caught around the barges on minnows and softshells
on jigs or crappie rigs.

The smelt have been starting to be caught, but not in any large
numbers. They are out there, and there are some reports of small
catches in the downtown harbors.

Chain: The weeds are starting to come in and that means the fish
are on the move. The fishing is starting to pick up. The bass are
starting to get into their pre-spawn patterns and can be caught
casting rattle baits and lipless cranks on the break lines and near
the newly forming weeds. If you get into the back bays and near the
boat docks you will find some good panfish action. The fish are
holding tight to any wood or steel structure as this warms up first
in the sun. Small jigs under a float or a plain hook with a small
hunk of night crawler have done well.

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 some nice fish in the boats.

Braidwood: This cooling lake offers anglers an opportunity to get
out in the early spring when most other lakes are frozen or are
just too cold and not producing fish. 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. 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 crank bait or spoon
plug 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 Lake: LaSalle is now open with reduced hours, but the
fishing remains hot since the opening day. There are some good
reports of big hybrids and blue cast caught by fishermen trolling
shad raps and spoon plugs. The shore fishermen are doing well on
livers fished on the bottom. There have been some good reports of
bass being caught casting the rip rap with a weightless stick style
worm. The fish are holding at the transition between the mud bottom
and the rock walls.

Heidecke: The walleye bite has been really turning on with several
keepers being caught. The fish are being caught trolling crawler
harnesses and working the deeper water. Some hybrids are being
found mixed in as well as quite a few yellow bass. Fish are also
being caught jigging minnows and twisters. There have been a lot of
mixed bags of fish being caught.

South

Lake of Egypt: Fishing has slowed down with the storms that have
passed through the area. Bass are rated slow to fair. Some bass are
being caught on jigs and soft plastics, others are reporting
catches on spinner baits and crank baits. About half the bass are
in post-spawn stage. Crappies have slowed. The fish being caught
are in brush in 18-20 feet of water. However, constant winds are
making it difficult to hold boats over deep cover.

Crab Orchard Lake: Fishing had been good across the board until
storms passed through the area recently. Crappie action had been
good. Crappies are still scattered at various depths and are being
caught on minnows and jigs. Catfish anglers are reporting good
success on night crawlers and cut bait. Some bluegills are being
caught in shallow areas on wax worms and crickets. Bass action has
been fair. Anglers are taking some nice fish over shallow cover
with jigs and soft plastics.

Carlyle Lake: In the lake, crappie anglers are taking good numbers
of crappies on the rip rap. Minnows and jigs are both effective.
Catfish action is improving on stink baits. In the tailwater, white
bass and crappies are both rated very good on jigs and minnows.
Sauger action is fair. Anglers are fishing vertically with jigs
tipped with minnows or night crawlers. Catfish are rated good on a
variety of baits.

Kinkaid Lake: Crappie action remains fair to good. Fish are being
found at scattered depths with some concentrations at 4-8 feet.
Minnows and jigs are equally effective on shallow fish. Minnows are
better for deeper fish. Anglers are also taking some bluegills,
although most are running small. Bass are rated fair on a variety
of baits. Muskie fishing has been up and down.

Rend Lake: Crappies and catfish are both rated excellent most
recently. Crappies are being caught with jigs and small minnows.
Currently, minnows appear to be out-producing jigs. Crappies are
still scattered in water ranging from 3-14 feet deep. Stumps, stake
beds, rip rap and the mouths of creeks are all holding fish.
Channel cat anglers are drift fishing leeches and night crawlers
over shallow flats. Other anglers are catching fish near the rip
rap and mouths of creeks on cut shad, night crawlers and some stink
bait. Bluegill fishing is rated good on crickets, worms, wax worms
and meal worms in shallow necks or near the rip rap. Bass are fair
on soft plastics and Rat-L-Traps fished near the rip rap, shallow
woody cover and weed beds. White bass are being caught on jigs and
curly tails near the Illinois 154 bridges and near main lake humps.
Shad have been busting the surface in the early morning.

Central

Clinton Lake: Bluegills are biting on waxworms in shallows.
Crappies and walleyes are still good. White bass are biting good on
twister tails, spinners or Mepps. Catfish also coming in on shad
guts or shad.

Evergreen Lake: Fishing has been hit or miss depending on the day’s
weather. Most crappies have been caught from boats in anywhere from
15 to 25 feet of water. The cool rainy weather has pushed the fish
from their pre-spawn transition areas back to the deeper water. The
saugeye bite still is fair at the pump house with several keepers
being reported. Bass fishing remains about the same, with most fish
being caught in deeper water off points and submerged trees. The
muskie bite has been decent with most reports coming from either
bass fishermen throwing spinners or crappie fishermen getting bites
on minnows.

Lake Shelbyville: The bass bite is picking up on spinners. Catfish
fair. Crappies are fair around brush. Muskies picking up, as are
largemouth bass.

Newton Lake: Bass are fair but mostly smaller fish on spinners or
crank baits on main lake ledges. Catfish have been slow to fair in
warmer water areas. Crappies have been slow.

Lake Springfield: Good reports of catfish biting on cheese baits
and night crawlers. White bass are still hitting crazy blades in
the hot ditch. Crappies are biting in 6-8 feet of water.

Rivers

Illinois River: The sauger bite is still on fire, but the water
is really high and muddy so finding the fish and controlling the
boat has been a challenge. There are several reports of limits
being caught as well as double-digit fish days. Jigging the flats
and pulling three-way rigs has started to put some fish in the
boats. Check the water conditions prior to heading out as the river
at this stage can get dicey and several of the launches are closed
due to the high water.

Fox River: The river is closed to no wake from the McHenry Dam down
to Algonquin Dam at this time. The river is high and muddy and this
is really putting a damper on fishing. Wading in most spots is not
an option. The best method to find smallmouths is to dabble or
drift live bait as close to shore as possible looking for the fish
that are hugging the bank to get out of the strong current.

The panfish bite at the mouths of the feeder creeks has really
started to peak. Good catches of bluegills and crappies can be
found fishing small jigs under slip floats in the tailwaters of
these creeks.

 

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