Monday, January 30th, 2023
Monday, January 30th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

IL: Cool water providing improved walleye, muskie bites Issue: 20

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

South

Crab Orchard Lake: Crappie action continues to be good. Minnows
and jigs in 6-8 feet of water around the brush should produce a
nice mess of fish. Around the rocks and bridges about 10 feet deep
is where you’ll find catfish. Jugs, leeches, cut bait and minnows
are the baits of choice. Bass and bluegills are good as well. Wax
worms and crickets for bluegills and anything that makes noise for
bass.

Baldwin Lake: Catfish are on the move and those that are being
caught are small. Anglers are tossing crankbaits around rip rap and
catching a few bass. Bluegills are slow but will hit on mealworms
or waxworms occasionally.

Carlyle Lake: White bass are biting well below the spillway, with a
few fish coming from near the trestles and the silos. Whites also
are biting on the main lake on the flats. Channel cats are good on
the lake for anglers drifting or jug fishing with cut bait or
leeches. Good catches reported near Keyesport and Boulder. Cut bait
also working as are slab spoons thrown up along the wall. Crappie
fishing is good below the dam.

Lake Murphysboro: Decent numbers and sizes of bluegills are being
reported. They are fairly deep and hit best on crickets, red
wigglers and waxworms. Crappies are fair using minnows around 12
feet deep. Catfish are fair and deep feeding on night crawlers.
Bass are not really being fished for or talked about. Walleyes are
being caught using deeper diving lures.

Kinkaid Lake: Anglers are reporting that the crappie fishing is
starting to pick up nicely. Minnows are the favorite bait in about
12 feet of water around submerged cover. There has not been much
talk about bass, and the catfish are pretty scarce as well.
Bluegills are small but plentiful, hitting on crickets, waxworms
and red wigglers especially off the rock faces.

Lake of Egypt: Crappie fishing is getting better. Around the points
and weed beds seems to be where they are feeding. Anglers are using
minnows and jigs with regular success. Fair describes the bass
fishing around weedbeds using anything plastic. Shrimp has been a
good bait for catfish at night off the shoreline and around the
docks. Bluegills are almost non-existent.

Little Grassy: Anglers can always catch a nice mess of bluegills
using red wigglers, waxworms or mealworms. They are plentiful
around weedbeds and other cover and fairly shallow. A few crappies
are being taken using minnows in 15-20 feet of water. Catfish are
fair around the weedbeds using night crawlers. There are no bass
being reported or weighed in.

Rend Lake: White, striped, yellow and hybrid striped bass and
channel cats are rated good. Anglers are catching the different
species of bass with curly-tailed jigs and large minnows. Drifting
the minnows along the edge of Highway 154 and tossing jigs over the
flat areas of the lake seem to be the most successful. Drifting
with shrimp around the subimpoundment dams, rip rap areas and in
the shallows is what will bring in the channel cats. Largemouths,
bluegills and crappies are still slow. The largemouths that are
being caught are biting on black buzzbaits, pig and jig, large
minnows and spinnerbaits around Jackie branch, Gun Creek and Route
154.

North

Chain: The bass have started to feed heavily with the dropping
water temps. The fish are relating to the green weeds and search
baits like spinnerbaits and swim jigs are doing quite well at
finding the aggressive fish. Also pitch the weeds with heavy jigs
and work the weed edges from shallow into 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 panfish bite is good as usual and the boat docks are offering
some good structure and shade to the fish. Wax worms on a single
hook or your favorite ice jig under a slip float have done really
well. Work the areas in the 7 to 8 feet of water near the weeds.
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
jigging spoons worked around the suspended fish have been top
producers. In the evening hours, watch for birds and surface
splashing, and you will find the white bass. The whites have been
schooling the minnows and busting the schools at the surface. Cast
inline spinners or small crankbaits into the action, and it will be
non-stop fish while the school is around.

The walleye bite is starting to pick up with the cooler water
temps. You will find fish mostly in the early morning hours and the
evening. However, overcast days are really turning those fish on
and they are hitting all day. Bouncing jig and minnow combinations
near bridge pilings, in channels and even on the weed edges are all
proven to be good areas. You will want to 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
areas. The upper portion of the Fox has been producing some
walleyes. Troll shadraps on long lines and change up your speeds to
trigger a strike.

The muskie fishing has been really starting to pick up nicely.
There have been reports of some big fish being caught. 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. Trolling will allow you to cover a lot of water and
increase your chances of hooking up with a nice trophy.

Braidwood: The lake will be closed on Oct. 12 for the opening of
the waterfowl season for the central zone, so it’s time to get
those last few days of fishing in. The bass have really started to
make a comeback and they are feeding well. Fish are being caught
pitching jigs to the shorelines and bulrushes. Crankbaits are also
producing some good reaction strikes. The catfish bite has really
been picking up with some very large flathead and blue cats being
caught on live bluegills. Find the holes and the shallow to deep
water transitions and you will find the fish. The panfish bite is
good, but the size of fish is small.

Shabbona: This lake gets a lot of fishing pressure during the year,
which can make it tough to fish at times. Good catches of catfish
are being taken near the wood pilings on live bait like leaches and
crawlers. Also there have been reports of cats being caught near
the earth dam on leaches suspended below a float. The bass are
feeding up for the fall and are being found on the outside edges of
the weeds as well as in the wood areas in the no-motor zone.
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 of
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 Lake: 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.

Lake Michigan: According to fishing reporter Cory Yarmuth, the king
fishing from shore is in full swing. The fish have made their way
into the harbors and are being caught with good success rates. Fish
are being caught casting glow spoons worked near the bottom or
crankbaits fished very slowly. The best spoon colors have been
Moonshine glow frog and KO wobblers in glow green. It seems that
anything with green has been working well. Waukegan has reported
good catches of coho and kings off of Government Pier. The downtown
harbors are reporting really good catches of fish as well.

During the daytime hours, the fish are starting to hit spawn
suspended 5-feet below a float and worked in the harbor areas. The
key to this presentation is to use light line as these fish can
often be line shy.

Trolling for kings has started to slow down. The fish have moved
out to the deep water. Depths starting at the 130-feet mark all the
way out to 220 feet. The best bite is early mornings or dusk to a
few hours after sunset. Trolling glow spoons or glow flasher/dodger
and fly combinations have been doing well. The fish are moving
around quite a bit so some searching will need to be done.
Downriggers set down 90 feet with Brad’s cut plugs and magnum
spoons have been productive. Large flasher/fly combos on dipsey
divers are producing a mixed bag of kings and steelhead. Also
J-Plugs are starting to produce some sizable fish. Vary your speeds
up to trigger the fish. The best speeds have been around 2.8 mph
SOG. Some popular combinations for the kings and coho have been:
Smoke dodger and Green fly, Fishlander “hey-Baby” Spoon, NBK
flasher and Green/Black fly and just about anything green.

This season there seem to be a good amount of large northern pike
being caught in the harbors. Fish over 30 inches have not been
uncommon.

The perch fishing has been on and off from the shore and from the
boats in the north. However, at the south end of the lake, the
perch fishing is starting to get hot and fish are being caught on
the days when the waves allow the boaters to get out. Spinners
tipped with softshells as well as jigging spoons have been working
well.

There have been some really good reports from the city harbors of
good size smallmouths being caught. The smallmouths are being
caught all the way down into the Portage area of Indiana. Goby
style baits on jigs as well as “drop-shot” rigs are putting some
good fish in the boat. With the cooling water, these fish are
really starting to feed up for the winter.

Central

Powerton: Smallmouth fishing is fair on crankbaits and tubes.
Some smallmouths being taken with little jigs. A few channel
catfish but not very big. Asian carp are showing up in increased
numbers in the intake canal and throughout the lake, so
beware.

Spring Lake: A few catfish are being caught on dew worms and shad.
Bluegills fair on waxworms off shore. Bass fishing is slow.
Crappies are biting on tube jigs at the south end bays.

Lake Bloomington: Hybrid stripers are fair, with best action early
and just before dusk when fish are chasing shad on the surface and
hitting jigs or Roadrunners. Bass best on jigs, chatterbaits and
soft plastics off points with timber and along the weeds in the
evenings. Catfish are fair on dipbaits and crawlers. Late evenings
are the best times to fish. Anglers are catching some crappies up
to 12 inches in 12-18 feet of water. Drifting jigs is working
best.

Lake Shelbyville: Bass have been good in shallows and coves.
Walleyes are good over newly covered rock and rip-rap. Crappies are
spotty. The panfish bite is good near structure and boat docks.
Minnows, wax worms on a single hook or your favorite ice jig under
a slip float have done really well. Work the areas in the 7 to 8
feet of water near the weeds. The crappies are hitting in the
evenings and are suspended over deeper water as well as some of the
larger bluegill.

Evergreen Lake: Crappies are doing well with the cooler weather.
Some are being caught in the shallows, but most are still in deeper
water 10 to 15 feet. Several reports of saugeye in the 12- to
16-inch range being caught on crawlers off of points. Catfish have
been caught on crawlers and chicken livers. Bluegills have been
doing well on small pieces of crawler or wax worms along weed edges
and around rip rap areas. Muskies seem to be doing well in recent
weeks. Many reports of both muskies and bass. There was a 43-inch
muskie reported in mid-September.

Clinton Lake: Catfish fishing is very good on guts, shrimp and
shad. Crappies are being caught with jigs or minnows. A few
walleyes and bass decent on buzzbaits. A 35-pound flathead cat was
caught on crawlers in west side access. White bass fair on blade
baits.

Rivers

Fox River: The walleye bite is starting to pick up with some
fish being reported at the McHenry Dam and also in the Elgin area.
The fish are being caught on jig-and- minnow combinations as well
as jerk baits. The bite is not aggressive, so make sure you use a
heavy enough weight to stay in contact with your jig.

There have been some good schools of white bass showing up as well.
Fish the eddies with a minnow or a minnow-style bait, and once you
locate a school, you will have constant action.

The smallmouth action is getting hot as the water is cooling and
the fish are starting to school up and feed heavily. Fish using
live minnows with a small hook and a few split shot about 12 inches
above the hook. Work the eddies created by underwater or above
water structure. 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. Pitch bass jigs to the
rock walls and eddies and swim them back. Darker colors seem to get
more attention. It’s not uncommon to have 20-30 fish days.
Twitching a jerkbait with a strong rip/pause pattern can trigger
some aggressive strikes. Fish are being found in the main river
areas as well as many of the feeder creeks. The best times as of
late have been early in the morning or just at dusk until dark.
Remember to be cautious when wading

The channel cats are hitting very well in the high current areas.
The levels of the river are back down to normal and the catfish
bite has really picked up. The channel cats are feeding well and
the best baits right now have been cut bait or chicken livers. The
bite will vary from day to day and these fish are greatly affected
by the water conditions The best time is when the water is at a
steady level. They will be less likely to bite when the water level
is dropping or raising, but they are there.

Illinois River: The walleye and sauger bite has really begun to
pick up. Trolling lead core with stickbaits has been a very
productive tactic. Also three-way rigs with the bottom weight being
a jig and minnow and a f-9 rapala on the long line. Work the flats
created on the current bends. If you find active fish, you can
switch up to vertical jigging with jig and minnows. The white bass
are beginning to school up and feed on the dying shad. These
schools can be found at the channel mouths as well as any current
breaks. Casting zip blades and jig and twister have been producing
very well. Watch for shad busting and work the areas around the
shad.

 

Share on Social

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email

Hand-Picked For You

Related Articles