Crappie, bluegill action warming up on both ends of state – Northern Illinois Report


Crappies and bluegills are biting on waxworms and crappie minnows.


The lake is open and 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 largemouth 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 spoonplug off of the rocks and the bottom. 
LaSalle: LaSalle is now open with reduced hours, but the fishing remains hot since the opening day. There are some good reports of big hybrids and blue cast caught by fisherman trolling shadraps and spoonplugs. The shore fishermen are doing well on livers fished on the bottom. There have been some good reports of bass being caught casting the rip rap with a weightless stick style worm. The fish are holding at the transition between the mud bottom and the rock walls


The lakes are clear and the weeds are starting to come in and that means the fish are on the move. The fishing is starting to pick up. The bass are starting to get into their pre-spawn patterns and can be caught casting rattle baits and lipless cranks on the break lines and near the newly forming weeds. If you get into the back bays and near the boat docks you will find some good panfish action. The fish are holding tight to any wood or steel structure as this warms up first in the sun. Small jigs under a float or a plain hook with a small hunk of nightcrawler have done well.
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.


Striper fishing has been slow at best and blue cat fishing is fair. Smallmouth and largemouth bass will be tough again this year.

Lake Michigan

The browns and cohos are active on the lakefront from the boats. Fish the warm water discharges with jigs and twisters tipped with a piece of squid or crankbaits such as a husky jerk. Trolling is also producing fish. Long lining body baits like a Rapala Tail dancer or a J-9 or J-11 Jointed minnow. 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. Don’t be foolish and make sure you check the weather and recent conditions prior to heading out. The lake can get pretty rough on the south end of the lake because of the shallower water.

The northern harbors are showing some decent catches of fish for the boaters, however these fish are being found deep.  The 180 to 200 feet of water range has been productive. Mag spoons as well as dodger fly set-ups have been bringing fish to the boats.

The 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.  Work areas near steel walls, as they tend to warm quicker in the sun. Find good transitions of large rock and small rock 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 started to slow down Power liners seeing some 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 slip float. 

Perch are slowing down at Navy Pier. Reports have shown that a lot of smaller ones are being caught and getting limits of larger fish require a lot of sorting and work. Live minnows and cooked shrimp on drop shot rigs as well as icefishing jigs tipped with spikes have been producing. Also Kastmasters or other jigging spoons will do well and may take the occasional trout.

Perch are being caught in the canal from the 95th St. Launch. Fish are being caught around the barges on minnows and softshells on jigs or crappie rigs.

The perch bite has been good 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.

The smelt have been starting to be caught, but not in any large numbers.  They are out there and there are some reports of small catches in the downtown harbors.

Categories: Illinois Fishing Reports, North (Central)

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