IL: Ice anglers wait in north, crappie anglers active downstate Issue: 25

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

North

Lake Michigan: According to fishing reporter Cory Yarmuth, the
harbors are pretty muddy at this time due to the recent heavy winds
and rain. The browns and steelhead are in the harbors in full
strength but catching them has been a challenge due to the lack of
visibility. Spawn sacks under a float are working as well as the
standard tinsel or white tube jig tipped with wax worms. Soon the
harbors will completely ice over and then there will be some great
opportunities for the trout through the ice.

Navy Pier and the downtown harbors are producing some catches of
perch. The fish are small in size and a lot of sorting is required,
but crappie rigs with fathead minnows seem to be producing the
best. Shrimp has also been catching fish. Also artificial plastics
such as small minnow- style plastics rigged on double rigs and
pulled along the weedbeds can produce some of the larger fish.
Don’t forget to bring a heavy anchor or such on a long rope as ice
can form near the pier and you may need to break open holes to be
able to fish.

Boaters are launching out of 95th Street and fishing the channel
and surrounding lakefront. Fishing has been difficult due to the
heavy waves and dirty water.

Because of the dirty water, the lake trout bite has really slowed
down but some lakers are being caught trolling dodgers with
Spin-n-glows along the reef near the Port of Indiana. The hot
colors have been copper/chart and chart/orange dots. They are being
found in 20 to 40 feet of water around and on top of the reef.
Jigging gulp or white tubes near the bottom has also been producing
some good catches of lake trout.

Chain: There is a thin layer of ice building up around the shallow
areas and the shorelines. This makes launching difficult so use
caution. Also watch the winds as this may blow ice into the launch
while you are out and you may have trouble getting the boat
back.

The walleye bite has been slow with some fish being taken on live
bait rigging on the breaklines. Also spinner rigs and bottom
bouncers with night crawlers near the weedlines. The channels
between the lakes as well as the bridge pilings have been holding
fish.

The panfish bite is very consistent. Fish small ice jigs tipped
with spikes or waxies under a slip float. Also drop-shotting small
plastics on the deep breaklines has been producing some good
catches of crappies. The fish are suspending and you need to watch
your graph closely. Follow the fish as they move. For the
bluegills, fish the weedbeds and set your depth to just above the
weeds. The shallow portions of the bays seem to be producing as
well as the channel areas found between lakes. Find the thick
weedbeds in 8 feet of water or less and the gills will be there,
but look for deeper water for the white bass and crappies.

Shabbona: Crappie fishing is fair to good. Crappies are being
caught over the fish cribs. Search the cribs that surround each of
the land piers. The secret to success this time of the year is to
use a lively minnow. You will have to continually change your
minnow because they don’t last for long. Perch are still being
caught along the deeper weedlines. Use minnows near the bottom for
best results.

South

Crab Orchard Lake: Catfish action has slowed somewhat. Bluegills
have slowed somewhat, although some fish are still being caught
along the rip rap on crickets and wax worms. Bass action is good on
a variety of baits fished around shallow cover.

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 meal worms
or wax worms occasionally.

Carlyle Lake: 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. Flathead are also biting well
on bluegills. Cut bait also working as are slab spoons thrown up
along the wall. Crappie fishing is good below the dam.

Kinkaid Lake: Muskie action has been excellent. Anglers are picking
up fish trolling and casting. Spinnerbaits and shallow running
baits are the most effective. Crappies are rated fair. Anglers are
taking fish are varied depths, from 2-18 feet. Minnows are the
primary bait. Catfish and bluegill action has been slow. However,
bass anglers are reporting good success on spinnerbaits.

Lake of Egypt: Crappie action remains slow. Some fish are being
caught on curly tails and minnows. Most fish are being located in
8-10 feet in front of weedbeds. Bass are still rated fair on soft
plastics. Catfish action picked up during the past week, fishing
shrimp in shallow water.

Lake Murphysboro: Catfish action remains excellent, particularly in
the morning and early evening. Most anglers are using chicken liver
and night crawlers. Bass are also rated fair to good. Crappie
anglers are finding fish are various depths. Minnows are the
preferred bait. Bluegill action is slow.

Little Grassy: Catfish action remains steady throughout the lake.
Night crawlers are the most effective bait. Crappies have slowed
somewhat. Fish are still deep. A couple of nice fish were taken in
the past week, but numbers were down. Minnows are the primary bait.
Bass action remains fair.

Rend Lake: Crappies are still rated good on minnows, chartreuse
jigs, white jigs and pink/green jigs. Fish are being caught over
Christmas tree sets and near bridge pillars in 6-10 feet of water.
The Route 154 rip rap, Gun Creek bridge and the sailboat harbor
wall have all been productive areas. Catfish action has also been
good. Catfish anglers are working rip rap areas, Gun Creek, the
subimpoundment dams and shallow areas. Shrimp, night crawlers,
shiners, and stink baits have all been effective.

Central

Lake Sara (Effingham): The crappie bite has been hot. The bait
of choice is small jigs tipped with wax worms or spikes under
floats, and skipping under the deeper docks or finding the
submerged timber and green weeds.

Lake Shelbyville: Lake is high, as much as 10 feet above normal
pool, according to the Army Corps. Bass have been good in shallows
and coves.

Evergreen Lake: Crappies are found in 6 and 18 feet of water and
running between 6 and 11 inches long. Minnows and slip bobbers
accounted for a majority of the catches.

Rivers

Fox River: The water temps have dropped quite a bit and the
walleyes are on the move up to the dams. There have been few
reports of some large fish being caught on minnow-style stickbaits
as well as a jig and minnow combination. Look for the deeper holes
that are surrounded by gravel bottoms and rocky structure. The bite
has been best just after dark and prior to sunrise. These fish are
moving around a lot so cover an area really well to trigger one of
these big girls to strike.

The smallmouth action is slowing down. Fish can be caught, but now
is the time to look for some of the warm water discharges found
along the river. Fish using live minnows with a small hook and a
few split shot about 12 inches above the hook. Cast into the
eddies. 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.

Illinois River: There is a good fall run of white bass going on.
These fish are big and hungry. They are hitting twister tail jigs
with minnows as well as bladebaits and inline spinners. They have
been found from Plum Island at Starved Rock down to Spring
Valley.

Des Plaines River: The walleye bite is very poor. There have been a
few fish caught on jerkbaits and jointed minnow baits. They are
being taken in the evening hours working the deeper holes that are
adjacent to shallow water. Good numbers of northern pike are also
to be found fishing live bait under a float.

 

Categories: Archive, Illinois Fishing Reports

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