IL: High water brings trouble; warm water brings bites Issue: 10
Compiled using reports from conservation officers, hunting
guides, and the following sporting goods stores:
Lake Michigan: Browns and cohos are active on the lakefront from
the boats as well as from shore. Shore fishermen are catching cohos
and browns casting little cleo spoons or floating live bait under
slip floats. Boaters are trolling body baits like a Rapala Tail
dancer or a J-9 or J-11 jointed minnow. An orange 00 dodger with a
blue/silver or green/silver peanut fly has also been a good
producer. Look for areas of warmer water with cold water near. Work
the breaks of where the cold and warmer water meet. Do the same
with any dirty water you find. The dirty water will be warmer than
the surrounding cleaner water, and the fish will be using the
dirtier water as an ambush point.
Kings are also showing up in the Waukegan areas. Trolling spoons on
riggers or with Dipseys in the 20-30 feet of water range. The
magnum spoons are producing a mixed bag of kings and browns.
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 rocks and small rocks as well, and you should
find the fish willing to hit your offerings.
Waukegan’s Government Pier or Johnson’s Pier have been starting to
show some signs of life. With a good few days of north, northwest
winds you will see some warm water pushed up against Johnson’s
Pier, and the brown trout will start feeding heavily. There can be
a good brown trout bite fishing bottom rigs with dead minnows or
spawn. Also casting small spoons will produce some big fish.
The downtown harbors, such as Montrose and Burnham, have begun to
come into full swing. The power liners seeing decent catches of
browns and cohos, with a few steelhead mixed in. Browns and cohos
are also being caught casting spoons and fishing live bait under a
The perch bite has been great out of Waukegan in the 40-65 feet of
water range. 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
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 some nice fish in the boats.
The main lake areas are starting to get a good green weed growth.
With this growth brings 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 weed
beds that are good transition points between cover and their
Braidwood: Shore fishermen are 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 large profile baits,
like a jig and pig, or by fishing the shallower areas bouncing a
crankbait 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
Heidecke Lake: 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 slow, with trolling spinner
rigs with night crawlers on the north side being the best option.
White 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.
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.
Smallmouth and largemouth bass as well as the occasional walleye
can and are being caught on Rattletraps and blade baits. With the
warming days, the fish will be 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.
Devils’ Kitchen: High water levels have caused overall fishing
to be slow.
Crab Orchard Lake: Fishing is good across the board. Crappies have
moved to the banks. Anglers are taking fish on minnows and jigs.
Bass have also moved into shallow areas and around the points. Fish
can be taken on a variety of baits around shoreline cover. Bluegill
action has also been good on crickets and wax worms. Catfish
anglers are reporting good success on cut bait, leeches, stinkbaits
Baldwin Lake: Largemouth bass action has slowed. Bluegills are
biting on worms in 6 to 8 feet of water. Crappie and catfish
fishing has been fair.
Carlyle Lake: Water is still very high. Crappies and catfish best.
Catfish taking cut shad and shad guts off rocks by Keysport.
Crappies biting on minnows, jigs, tube jigs by Hazlet State Park.
Sauger 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 action has slowed. Bluegills
are biting on worms in 6 to 8 feet of water. Crappies and catfish
fishing has been fair.
Kinkaid Lake: Muskie fishing improving on Rat-L-Traps, twitch
minnows, spinnerbaits and soft plastics. Bluegills fair to good on
crickets, waxworms, medium worms, red wigglers and night crawlers
in outer edges of weed beds. Catfish fair to good on night
crawlers, cut shad, crickets. Largemouths 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 are taking deep diving crankbaits or jig and minnow combos
by the rip-rap areas or the dam.
Horseshoe Lake: Crappie action remains steady. Anglers are using
black and white bucktail jigs and minnows. Anglers are taking good
numbers of fish in 11-14 inch range. Fish are just beginning to
move to spawning. Action has been good throughout the lake. The
best action for catfish has been at the spillway and at the dump
road. Most anglers are tight-lining night crawlers.
Lake of Egypt: Bass action has been fair to good. Anglers were
catching fish around weedbeds on spinnerbaits and soft plastics.
Crappie action has been improving over the past week. Anglers are
taking fair numbers of fish. Some anglers are still catching fish
with eggs. Minnows and jigs are equally effective. Most crappies
are still holding in shallow water. Catfish action is slow.
Little Grassy: Crappies have been biting on minnows, mostly in
cover in about 15 to 20 feet of water. Bass action has improved but
remains slow. Plastic worms have worked best. Bluegills are running
small and biting on late-season grasshoppers and worms.
Rend Lake: Catfish are the best bet. Fish are being caught on night
crawlers, shrimp and leeches. The best action has been around
stumps in shallow areas. Crappie action has been fair at best
although fish have begun the migration to buck brush. There are
some reports of bluegills being caught in ponds around the lake.
Bass are moving shallow.
Lake Shelbyville: Crappies and largemouths are preparing to
spawn. Fishing below the spillway has been slow, with efforts to
drop the lake. Conditions better late in day for muskies and
walleyes. Walleyes are active below spillway. Best to use jigs and
twisters or shad bodies.
Evergreen Lake: Crappies are biting on about anything you toss at
them, wax worms, small minnows, crawlers, and tube jigs all doing
well. Crappies are in their pre-spawn stage and are being caught in
about four feet of water in coves and around brush piles. Reports
of several people catching saugeyes.
Clinton Lake: Crappies, white bass, stripers, walleyes and
largemouth bass biting hard. Jigs and minnows, twister tails and
spinnerbaits working well. Bank fishermen having luck with
crappies, white bass and largemouths.
Coffeen Lake: Water temperatures ranging from low 60s to 90s in hot
water arm. Bass, catfish excellent all around the lake. Bass biting
on spinners and waxworms. Catfish biting stinkbait and worms.
Crappie fishing is spotty. Reports of big flathead being
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
Sangchris Lake: Crappie bite still good in shallow water on minnows
and jigs. Bass biting on river worms, or big shiners in the east
arm near the hot arm.