Illinois Fishing Reports for Rivers – January 25th, 2013
The walleye bite is slow. Use minnow baits in the deeper holes and near bridge pilings. Night fishing has proven to be most effective. Jigs and twisters in white or chartreuse are being productive.
The catfish bite has died as the fish have gone into their wintering holes. Smaller baits with a lot of scent are best. Cut shad or minnows fished near the deeper holes.
Smallmouth fishing is slow, but if you can find a warm-water discharge, you are likely to find some good fish in the area. Live bait this time of year is a key advantage.
Bass action can be very good this time of year if you find some of the warm-water discharges that are up and down the river. Fishing live minnows with a medium hook and a few split shot in the current can really produce some nice fish. Remember to bundle up and be cautious when wading. Structure is key. Look for the bridge pilings or wood that would warm up first. Fish are being taken near the dams as well on jig and minnow combinations. Be careful out there as the river is unpredictable and the current is getting strong with the recent rains and the draw down of the Chain.
Walleye and saugers are slow. Jigs with live bait and trolling three-way rigs have been most effective. The fish are being found on the flats that are created in the inside river bends.
The white bass bite is also picking up with bladebaits and jig/twister combinations working well.
The Ottowa pool has started to produce a decent sauger bite. Fish are being caught on jig and minnows as well as pulling three-way rigs with stickbaits. Take caution this time of year as the river’s flow can change quickly with the melting snow and rains. This can be a very productive time but you will want to keep an eye on the flows and levels prior to your trip.