Illinois Outdoor News Fishing Report — Jan. 27, 2017
The fishing and hunting report is compiled using reports from conservation officers, hunting guides and fishing guides.
Lake Michigan: Fishing with spawn sacs in a pink or chartreuse color under a float or on the bottom will offer a great opportunity for one of these tough fighters. Tinsel jigs as well as tube jigs under floats are also producing fish.
Navy Pier and the downtown harbors are slow and cold but producing some good catches of perch. The fish are ranging in size and a lot of sorting is required, but crappie rigs with fathead minnows seem to be producing the best. Also fishing in Indiana waters has been also showing some promise with the perch fishing. Fishing bottom rigs with minnows and feather tied hooks has been the top producer.
Chain: Try bluegills in back channels and some main lake bays with tungsten jigs tipped with waxies or spikes. Crappies are good with minnows or jigs. Nice walleyes found in shallows with various jigging lures or tip-ups.
White bass caught in the 15- to 20-foot range on minnows and spikes.
Fishing with ice jigs under a slip-float can produce some exceptional catches this time of year. Live bait for most species is key this time of year. Floating minnows off the bottom on three-way rigs or suspended from a slip float can put some fair catches of walleyes in the livewell.
McCullom Lake: Deeper water by Peterson Park usually produces good northern pike and bass on tip-ups. Some decent crappies are being caught by small jigs and plastics, and there are some small gills mixed in.
Shabbona: Smaller jigs with a single waxie or spike seem to be most productive. Work the cribs and search the wood for suspended crappies. Dead stick minnows along the creek bed for walleyes. Conditions should improve.
Lake Zurich: The weed edges are producing some good panfish and anglers are doing well on pike and bass.
Crystal Lake: The bluegills are small and hard to find. Bigger fish are being found closer to the points and deeper water. Pike have been doing OK, but most have found the action to be slow. Crappies really start biting at sundown and can be taken on minnows or small plastics fished shallow. This is a private lake during the summer, but during the winter, ice fishermen can access the lake from the beach areas.
Lake of Egypt: A few channel cats being caught on shad and shrimp. Crappies good on minnows and jigs. Bluegills being caught on waxworms near structure and in shallows. Bass slow, but a few caught on plastics in shallows.
Crab Orchard Lake: Bass slow but picking up on plastics. Panfish good on worms under ice and in weedbeds. Catfish good on shad. Crappies being caught on minnows and light jigs.
Baldwin Lake: Crankbaits and spinners catching bass around rip-rap. Bluegills good on meal worms or wax worms. Catfish excellent on stinkbaits and nightcrawlers.
Carlyle Lake: Crappies good below the dam using minnows. Bluegills good near edges on worms. Channel cats fair on worms drifting or jug fishing with cut bait or leeches.
Kinkaid Lake: Anglers expect February to be good for muskies if temperatures stay above 30 degrees. Spinnerbaits and shallow running baits are the most effective. Catfish and bluegill action has been slow. However, bass anglers are reporting good success on spinnerbaits.
Lake Murphysboro: Crappies and bluegills fair on minnows and waxworms near structure. Bass are still rated fair on soft plastics. Catfish action fair, fishing shrimp in shallow water.
Rend Lake: Crappies excellent on minnows, white jigs and pink/green jigs over Christmas tree sets and near bridge pillars in 5-8 feet of water. Channel cats good on worms, along rip-rap on nightcrawlers. Bass picking up on spinners and plastics.
Lake Mattoon: Winter channel cats improving with stinkbait, nightcrawlers, chicken liver or suckers. Bass fair. Bluegills getting better on worms.
Mill Creek Lake: Largemouth bass fair. Channel catfish fair on livers and stinkbait along the edges.
Dawson Lake: Bluegills are fair to good on waxworms. Catfish are hitting waxworms in 8-12 foot of water. Crappies are fair in 8-12 feet of water.
Clinton Lake: Crappies good on minnows, white jigs and pink/green jigs over tree sets and near bridge pillars in 6-8 feet of water. Channel cats good on worms, along rip-rap on nightcrawlers. Bass fair, but picking up on spinners and plastics. Most bass being caught are small.
Lake Jacksonville: The panfish bite has been hot on worms and minnows. A couple of large bass caught using plastics. Catfish slow, but a few taken on minnows.
Lake Springfield: Crappies are being caught in structure on minnows. A few catfish caught on stinkbaits.
Evergreen Lake: A lot of the fishing activity has been in the main creek channel. Wax worms have been the bait of choice among most through the ice. Most fish reported were being caught in deeper waters and mostly in the late afternoon hours.
Lake Bloomington: Crappies fair on minnows. Bass good near submerged edges. Bluegills fair on wax worms.
Newton Lake: White bass biting is fair near the ash pond. Largemouth bass picking up but still slow. Crappies are slow. Catfish are biting on nightcrawlers.
Lake Shelbyville: Walleyes good below the dam with spoons. White seems to be a popular color for crappies and panfish.
Fox River: Where fishing was possible, the walleye bite was 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 slowed as the fish went into their wintering holes. Smaller baits with a lot of scent are best. Cut shad or minnows fished near the deeper holes.
Smallmouth fishing was also very 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.