Illinois Outdoor News Fishing Report — May 5, 2017
The fishing and hunting report is compiled using reports from conservation officers, hunting guides and fishing guides.
Lake Michigan: The coho action is really hot for both the shore and the boating anglers. Fish have moved all the way up to the northern harbors like Waukegan. According to DNR, the coho are being caught in 10 to 80 feet of water off of North Point Marina using RV moonshine wonder break and RV flounder powder. A few kings hitting the same presentations.
Lakers being caught at 180 feet using 11-inch flashers and spin-n-glos.
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. Goby imitating baits have also been starting to work well. 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
The downtown harbors have been producing fish this early season. The powerliners have been doing well on both the coho and the browns with a few steelhead mixed in. Casting crankbaits or spoons have also been putting some fish on the stringers. The perch in the harbor are small, and there have been little reports of sizable fish or limits.
Perch have been slow but are biting at Navy Pier. It is some work, but it can pay off with some jumbo perch. Reports have shown that a lot of smaller ones are being caught and getting limits of larger fish requires a lot of sorting. Live minnows and cooked shrimp on drop shot rigs as well as ice-fishing jigs tipped with spikes have been producing. Also Kastmasters or other jigging spoons will do well and may take the occasional trout.
Braidwood: Panfish are being caught in large numbers, but not large size. The same holds true for the catfish. Bass are doing well and are holding tight to the secondary drops and picking up crawfish-style jigs as well as deep running crankbaits.
LaSalle Lake: There are good reports of big hybrids and blue cats caught by fishermen trolling shad raps and spoon plugs. The shore fishermen are doing well on livers fished on the bottom. There have been 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.
Chain: There have been great reports of crappies and bluegills being caught in the shallow channels and bays. The fish are holding tight to structure like docks or seawalls and are being caught on small jigs tipped with plastics. Limits of fish are being caught with a lot of sorting being needed to keep some good eaters.
The walleye bite has tapered off, however with some patience, you can still find them tight to structure. The bridge pilings as well as rocky transitions are best with jig and minnow combinations putting the slot fish in the boat.
The muskies are starting to be caught as well. These fish are feeding on the many shad that are dying off so baits that imitate a dying shad are working.
Heidecke: The walleye bite is slow, with trolling shad rap-style baits on the north side being the best option. Trolling spinner rigs with nightcrawlers has also been producing some fish as well. White bass will also come while trolling the crankbaits. Don’t be afraid to cast the riprap with crankbaits like a Rattletrap or other tight wobble baits. These will often produce a reaction strike. Bass and bluegills being caught, but small in size. A few catfish being pulled using crawlers.
Crab Orchard Lake: Crappie action had been good. Crappies are still scattered at various depths and are being caught on minnows and jigs. Catfish anglers are reporting good success on nightcrawlers and cut bait. Some bluegills are being caught in shallow areas on wax worms and crickets. Bass action has been fair. Anglers are taking some nice fish over shallow cover with jigs and soft plastics.
Lake of Egypt: Bass are rated slow to fair. Some bass are being caught on jigs and soft plastics, others are reporting catches on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. About half the bass are in post-spawn stage. Crappies have slowed. The fish being caught are in brush in 18-20 feet of water. However, constant winds are making it difficult to hold boats over deep cover.
Carlyle Lake: Crappie anglers are taking good numbers of crappies on the rip rap. Minnows and jigs are both effective. Catfish action is improving on stinkbaits. In the tailwater, white bass and crappies are both rated very good on jigs and minnows. Sauger action is fair. Anglers are fishing vertically with jigs tipped with minnows or nightcrawlers. Catfish are rated good on a variety of baits.
Kinkaid Lake: Crappie action remains fair to good. Fish are being found at scattered depths with some concentrations at 4-8 feet. Minnows and jigs are equally effective on shallow fish. Minnows are better for deeper fish. Anglers are also taking some bluegills, although most are running small. Bass are rated fair on a variety of baits.
Rend Lake: Crappies and catfish are both rated excellent most recently. Crappies are being caught with jigs and small minnows. Currently, minnows appear to be out-producing jigs. Crappies are still scattered in water ranging from 3-14 feet deep. Stumps, stake beds, rip rap and the mouths of creeks are all holding fish.
Clinton Lake: According to guide Terry Davis (www.clintonlakecrappieguide.com), the crappie bite has really picked up in late April. The cold front that moved through slowed the morning bite a bit but once the sun got up, the bite was back on. In clearer water, anglers are using Bobby Garland baby shad in colors close to that of a real shad/minnow. When fishing areas that have a little more stain from the wind they switch over to chartreuse or black/chartreuse. The crappies are really showing their spawning colors. Bluegills are biting on waxworms in shallows. White bass are biting good on twister tails, spinners or Mepps. Catfish also coming in on shad guts or shad.
Evergreen Lake: Fishing has been hit or miss depending on the day’s weather. Most crappies have been caught from boats from 15 to 25 feet of water. The saugeye bite still is fair at the pump house with several keepers being reported. Bass fishing remains about the same, with most fish being caught in deeper water off points and submerged trees. The muskie bite has been decent with most reports coming from either bass fishermen throwing spinners or crappie fishermen getting bites on minnows.
Lake Shelbyville: Catfish fair. Crappies are fair around brush. Muskies picking up, as are largemouth bass.
Newton Lake: Bass are fair but mostly smaller fish on spinners or crankbaits on main lake ledges. Catfish have been slow to fair in warmer water areas. Crappies have been slow.
Lake Springfield: Good reports of catfish biting on cheese baits and nightcrawlers. White bass are still hitting crazy blades in the hot ditch.
Sangchris Lake: Bass picking up on spinners and plastics. Try the shallows in morning and evening. Some bass hitting live baits. Crappies good on minnows and jigs in 6-8 feet of water near structure. Catfish fair on worms and liver. Some bluegills being caught on worms.
Lake Jacksonville: Bass good on cranks and spinners. Plastic worms working good along shorelines. Early morning has been best. Some nice bluegills being caught on worms near shore.
Fox River: For smallmouths, now is the time to use under slip floats in the tailwaters of these creeks. There have been some reports of walleyes being caught up at the McHenry dam. Jig and minnow combinations have been bringing in the walleyes and an occasional white bass.
Vermilion: There has been an abundance of smallmouth bass activity in recent weeks, and some nice channel cats being caught on stinkbaits.
Illinois River: The sauger and walleye bite has been really good. Fish are being caught vertical jigging jigs with minnows or using a floater jig and lindy rigging minnows have been doing well. Pulling three-way rigs has also started to put some fish in the boats.
Rock River: At Byron, crappies have been fair using minnows and white jigs. Channel cats are good from the bank and the boat using cheese baits. Some flatheads being caught, also. Carp being caught on nightcrawlers.