IL: Name of the game for July is fish deep for catfish Issue: 14

Compiled using reports from conservation officers, hunting
guides, and the following sporting goods stores:


Lake Michigan: The cohos are still biting, with many limits
coming to the dock. The bite is not as hot and heavy as it has
been, but fish have been found in the 70-90 feet of water. Large
bait balls are being marked, and the fish are feeding around these
areas. Various techniques are producing with no one being better
than another. Flashers and flies or dodger and flies on lead core
on the planer boards are really putting fish in the boat. The
popular color seems to be anything that has green in it. Orange 00
dodgers with blue/green peanut flies trolled with inline weights on
boards have been putting cohos in the boat as well off of boards
high in the water column. Larger flashers with 4-inch flies have
been working well on the wire and braid dipsey set-ups. Don’t
forget about the Meat rigs or the Brad’s cut plugs. These have been
producing some big kings.

The smallmouth bass are roaming the deeper water reefs as well as
the harbor rocks. 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 and small rocks as well,
and you should find the fish willing to hit your offerings.

The perch season is closed for July to all of those under the age
of 16. For those that are able to fish, the fish are being caught
jigging plastics and dropshotting minnows in the downtown

The fish are holding tight to the bottom. A lot of moving is key to
staying with the schools.

Chain: With water temperatures in the low 70s, the panfish are
biting good. Look for shallow flats with some weed cover. Small
jigs and plastics 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.

The water temps are at the point where largemouths are
transitioning. Look for the first main breakline as well as the
outside weed edges. Slow- moving plastics like flukes or stick-
style baits are working well. Pitching jigs near boat docks has
been producing some largemouths as well.

The reports of muskies are down, but that doesn’t mean that they
are not out there. Downsize your baits and work the shallow areas
that tend to warm up quicker this time of year.

Braidwood: New man-made fish cribs are being dropped into the lake
again and this should only improve the fishing in the years to
come. For now the fishing remains steady. 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. The 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 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 dangerous.

Heidecke Lake: The walleyes are being caught trolling spinner rigs
with crawlers as well as with crankbaits. The hybrid stripers have
been taken by shore fishermen on chicken livers and by boaters
trolling cranks or casting the riprap. White bass will also come
while trolling the crankbaits. The bass bite has been slow and not
a lot of fish have been reported being caught. They are there, and
it takes a finesse approach often times to get them to bite. Small
stick worms or lizards dragged on a Carolina rig worked at the
rock/mud transition seem to produce well.

LaSalle Lake: The lake has begun to slow down for both the boat and
the shore angler. Shore anglers have been catching the occasional
hybrid strippers 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.


Crab Orchard Lake: The lake is up slightly. Crappies are still
rated fair to good on minnows and jigs in 10 to 12 feet of water.
Bluegills are still holding close to the bank and can be caught on
a variety of baits. Catfish action is still good on leeches, stink
baits and cut bait. Bass are still active and can be caught on soft
plastics, spinnerbaits and topwater baits.

Baldwin Lake: Fishing traffic has been light. Catfish anglers are
reporting good success at night on cut bait. Bass action has been
slow. Bluegill anglers are picking up some fish, but most are
running small.

Carlyle Lake: The lake and river are both rising as the result of
recent heavy rains. Catfish and white bass are the best bets in the
lake. Catfish are being caught on night crawlers, stinkbaits and
leeches. Anglers are reporting success with white bass on
crankbaits and slab spoons fished over the humps. Crappies are
rated fair on minnows and jigs. In the tailwater, white bass and
sauger are rated very good. White bass are being taken on in-line
spinners, jigs and minnows. Sauger are being caught on jigs fished
vertically and tipped with minnows or night crawlers. Crankbaits
have also been effective. Catfish are being caught on a variety of
baits. Crappie action is good on minnows and jigs.

Kinkaid Lake: Bluegill action is still steady on a variety of
natural baits. Catfish have been good on night crawlers, chicken
livers and cut shad. Fish are holding over deep cover. Minnows are
the preferred bait at the moment. Bass anglers are reporting good
success on a variety of baits. Walleye action is slow.

Lake of Egypt: Catfish action is good on cut bait, night crawlers
and stinkbaits. Crappie anglers are reporting success on minnows
fished over cover in about 20 feet of water. Bluegills are being
caught in good numbers on meal worms and red wigglers. Bass action
is good to excellent as bass are schooling in mornings and
evenings. Bigger fish are being caught on jigs and soft plastics
off the points.

Rend Lake: Recent rainfalls pushed the lake to about 5 feet above
normal pool. Fishing remains good despite the influx of water.
Crappies are being caught in good numbers in 8 to 15 feet of water
over brush or sets. Small minnows and jigs have been effective.
Catfish are still rated excellent on stinkbaits, cut shad, shad
gut, night crawlers and leeches. Fish are being caught in shallow
areas near Waltonville and Bonnie dams. A lot of catfish are being
caught along the rip rap. Bass are good on soft plastics,
Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits and square-billed crankbaits in shallow
bays near brush. Bluegills are good in the back of necks on
crickets, wax worms, and red wigglers. White bass are being caught
on jigs, curly tails and small crankbaits. Water temperature is
holding at about 82 degrees.

Lake Murphysboro: Bluegill anglers are reporting good success.
Crickets, red wigglers, wax worms and meal worms are producing good
catches. Fish have moved off the beds a bit. Catfish are also good
on night crawlers, stinkbaits and cut shad. Bass anglers are
catching good numbers, but fish are running small.

Little Grassy: Crappie anglers are taking good catches of crappies
in 10 to 12 feet of water. Minnows and jigs are both effective.
Bluegills are still good just off the beds.


Lake Taylorville: Bluegills biting on worms and crickets.
Catfish picking up on night crawlers. The crappie bite is picking
up on minnows. Bass fishing is getting better using spinners and
plastic worms.

Evergreen Lake: Crappies continue to bite on minnows and jigs in 15
feet of water. The saugeyes have not slowed down in the last month.
They are still biting well on twister tails with a crawler on it
and deep diving crankbaits. Most people have been targeting weedy
points and humps. Bass have been hitting about anything thrown at
them. Several large bass have been caught along weedlines and
dropoffs. Bluegills continue to bite near weeds, but have slowed
some. Catfish have been hitting well on just about anything you
think a catfish would like.

Newton Lake: Bass starting to hit plastic worms and topwater lures
during evening hours. Crappies continue to be slow. Catfish good on
night crawlers and dough baits.

Lake Decatur: Bass action heating up with water temps. Bluegill
fishing starting to get better on worms and crickets. Catfish have
been very slow on worms and stinkbaits.

Lake Shelbyville: White bass action coming and going, but mostly
good. Walleyes are active below spillway. Best to use jigs and
twisters or shad bodies. On main lake, fishing has been slow, with
high water, but some crappies are being caught on sunny days. Jigs
over deadfall trees are working on the main lake. Some fish on the
north, shallow end. Large bass being caught with a mixture of
spinners, crankbaits, jigs or plastics.

Banner Marsh: Bass, in decent sizes and numbers, were reported,
with most of the action near dawn and dusk, according to Adam
Jaegle at Presley’s in Bartonville. Catfish are biting on dipbait
and shrimp. Bluegills and crappies have been slow.

Clinton Lake: Catfish (shad guts, leaches, stinkbait), walleye
(crankbait), largemouth bass (spinners and buzzbait) are being
caught in good numbers from both boats and banks.

Dawson Lake: Catfish have been good on shrimp and chicken livers.
White bass and walleyes have been fair in deep waters.

Decatur Lake: Reports of catfish in good sizes and numbers being
taken on shad guts, shrimp, stinkbait and leaches.

Emiquon Preserve: Reports of keeper bass caught on buzzbait,
crankbait and spinners. Catfish have started hitting again on both
the Illinois and Spoon rivers, with the best results on

Mazonia Lakes: The bluegill run is still on, with large hauls of 8-
to 12-inch lunkers. Harvest has been particularly good at
Ponderosa, where new spawn beds have been noticed.

Snakeden Hollow: Nellie, at Depot Bait and Tackle in Victoria, said
redears have been especially hot, with a 2.4 and 2 pounder recently
reported. Catfish are biting in deep holes, on blood leaches, dew
worms and dipbait.

Spring Lake: Still-spawning bluegills have been good near the
banks, with wax worms or crickets on bobbers. Some reports of
muskie catches on large spinners.


Illinois River: The sauger and walleye bite has really fallen
off. Fish are being caught vertical jigging jigs with minnows or
using a floater jig and lindy rigging minnows have been doing well.
Pulling three-way rigs has also started to put some fish in the
boats. White bass are being caught by shore anglers as well as
boaters. They can offer some great fights and are great table fare.
They are being found on rocky shoreline areas or current breaks.
Jigs tipped with minnows or bladebaits are doing quite well. 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 conditions.

Fox River: The rivers have come down to some near normal levels and
there are smallmouths being caught. The fish can be found in the
eddies and the current seams. These fish are holding out of the
current looking for an easy meal. 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. Also
fishing live minnows on a single hook with just enough weight to
get them down into the current can be quite effective as well. The
crappie and bluegills are hitting at the creek mouths on minnows
under a float or smaller ice style jigs tipped with wax worms or

The walleye bite has really slowed, and it seems that the white
bass have started to feed near the dams.

Ohio River (Smithland Pool): The river is at normal pool. The river
is murky, but the creeks are fairly clear. Bass action has been
good in the creeks and the river on a variety of baits. Catfish are
being caught in the river and creeks on night crawlers and
stinkbaits. Some bluegills are still being caught in shallow cover
in the creeks. Crappie action is rated good on minnows.


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