Tuesday, January 31st, 2023
Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

IL: Walleyes, white bass top list of biting fish so far in fall Issue: 21

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

North

Chain: According to fishing reporter Cory Yarmuth, with the
cooler days the bite has moved to a midday time frame. There have
been some reports of stained water in most of the lower lakes.
Water clarity is poor, and this is affecting the fishing. The water
temps have dropped into the 60s, and the fish are starting to put
the fall feed on.

The bass will begin to feed 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 shad raps 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 as well as
higher numbers of fish. Fishing live suckers while casting has been
the most productive pattern. Fishermen are getting a lot of follows
that are not committing; however, they are taking the live bait.
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.

Winter drawdown begins Nov. 1.

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 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.

Lake Michigan: The chinook salmon are in the harbors strong, and it
seems like it is the tail end of the run. The spawn bite has really
picked up with fish being taken on spawn floated 3- to 5-feet under
a slip float during the daylight hours. Fish are still being caught
casting crankbaits. It is key to fish these baits very slowly so
that they offer a target that stays in front of the fish
longer.

Waukegan has reported sporadic good catches of coho and kings with
the downtown harbors reporting really good catches of fish. There
have been some really good reports of fish being caught north of
the border in Wisconsin. With the end of the king run, this means
that the steelhead and browns will be soon to follow.

Trolling has picked up a bit with some limits of fish being caught
off of Waukegan. The fish have moved out to the deep water. Depths
starting at the 110-foot mark all the way out to 200 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 must be done. Downriggers set down 100-110 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 seems 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. 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-sized 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.

South

Carlyle Lake: Crappie action is good below the dam. White bass
are biting well below the spillway. 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. Flatheads are
also biting on bluegills.

Kinkaid Lake: Muskies are being caught on roosters. Some muskies
topping 35 inches have been caught near the spillway area. Crappies
are scattered. Some fish are being caught on minnows fished around
structure. Most fish are holding in about 12 feet of water. Bass
action has been slow.

Rend Lake: Catfish are being caught near Gun Creek, the
subimpoundment dams and rip rap areas on liver, night crawlers,
large shiners, stinkbaits and leeches. Crappie action has picked up
in recent weeks, with many being caught at bridge pillars. Minnows,
chartreuse, white and pink/green jigs have produced the best
success. Bass are fair with some fish being caught around Jackie
Branch and the Route 154 rip rap on black buzzbaits, spinnerbaits
and a jig and pig. Some bluegills are being caught in shallow coves
on wax worms, red wigglers and crickets.

Central

Lake Bloomington: 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. Anglers are catching crappies up
to 12 inches in 12-18 feet of water. Drifting jigs is working best
for these suspended fish.

Lake Shelbyville: Muskies are being caught in deeper waters. A few
channel cats being caught on night crawlers and shrimp. Crappies
good on minnows.

Evergreen Lake: Crappies are being caught on minnows. Bass fishing
is fair using topwater baits. Bluegills are also still doing well
along weed edges. Catfish are biting on stinkbaits and worms.

Clinton Lake: A few walleyes and bass decent on buzzbaits. Reports
of hybrids and walleyes below the spillway. Largemouths good on
spinners and plastics.

Rivers

Illinois River: The walleye and sauger bite has dropped off with
the recent warmer weather. This shut the bite down and fish are
harder to find. Anglers who are catching fish are finding them here
and there and nothing is showing up as a good pattern. Trolling
lead core with stickbaits or 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.

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 Gulp-style jigs as well as jerkbaits.
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.

 

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