The fishing and hunting report is compiled using reports from conservation officers, hunting guides and fishing guides.
Lake Michigan: Most fishermen have been fishing from the dock. There have been very few reports of trout being caught at this time. They are there; you just really need to work for them. Spawn sacks slowly jigged as well as the standard tinsel or white tube jig tipped with wax worms are both good. Belmont seems to be the best harbor in the Chicago area. Racine Harbor in Wisconsin is producing some better catches of browns and steelhead.
Winter anglers have been catching a lot of small perch near the docks. Fishing small jigging spoons tipped with spikes as well as smaller jigs with plastics have been producing very well. The reports on the perch have shown a lot of small fish, but if you keep at it, there are some keepers to be had. Don’t forget to stop at the local bait shops to pick up your “pier pass.”
Navy Pier is 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. 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.
Fishermen have been catching perch off the bridge on 95th Street in the channel. If the winds are down and you can launch the boat, there are some good opportunities for some perch in this area as well as around the lighthouse.
Chain: Most reports are showing that there is a decent crappie bite in the 14 feet of water range during the dawn and pre-dawn hours as well as at sunset and after. The fish are suspending about 8 to 10 feet down and are looking for smaller jigs and plastics or jigs tipped with a couple of spikes.
Deep Lake has had a good crappie bite, as has Spring Lake. Walleyes and perch biting on Fox Lake and Grass Lake.
Walleyes good on Marie using jigs and minnows, or a combination.
The white bass have been showing themselves. If you look for the deeper holes in the 18 to 20 feet of water range, you are likely to find some good schools. Often it takes a lot of changing of baits to get these fish to bite.
The back bays and Pistakee and Mineola Bay have a been good as well as the south end of Channel Lake.
There have been some good reports of mixed bags of panfish being caught with the occasional walleye. The best areas have been at the south end of the bay in the 15 feet of water range. If you move out to the deeper drops, people are finding the white bass suspended over the deeper water. Small jigging spoons tipped with spikes or gulp minnows are catching most of the white bass and crappies.
The bluegill bite is on and off in the shallower areas. It seems that the 8-10 feet of water range has been best for some of these hard fighters. Find areas with green weeds and fish the openings or edges. Smaller jigs like a Slug-Bug are putting some really nice keeper bluegills on the lake.
Shabbona: Fish being taken around the cribs and the timber. using larger jigs with a bigger profile will attract more fish.
Crystal Lake: The crappies and bluegills are there, but making them bite is a different story. Downsizing jigs and using minnows have been putting specks in the bucket. and smaller jigs have been putting the gills in the bucket as well.
Bangs Lake: There has been a really good bite on the crappies and the pumpkinseeds as of late. The bluegills and pumpkinseeds are being found in 5-8 feet of water and the bite seems to be best early in the morning and then again later in the day.
The crappies are being found a bit deeper in the 10-12 feet of water range. You will see them suspended early in the day, however they are moving down to the bottom during the day.
Busse: The bluegills are really active, however there are a lot of small ones to weed through to find the bigger fish. The bass and northerns are active on golden roaches as well as on larger jigging spoons tipped with a minnow head.
Crab Orchard Lake: Bass action has slowed. Bluegills being caught on worms. Panfish, in general, are biting good on worms in weedbeds.
Baldwin Lake: Bass and catfish biting in warm-water areas. Bass hitting spinners. Catfish being caught on liver. 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. Crappies good below the dam.
Kinkaid Lake: Muskie action steady. 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 of Egypt: Crappies and bluegills being caught on waxworms near structure. Bass are still rated fair on soft plastics.
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.
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.
Newton 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. Bass have been caught on plastic worms and spinners.
Lake Shelbyville: Below the spillway, fishing has been only fair for walleyes and saugers.
Lake Springfield: Flathead catfish and channel cats were fair to slow in discharge area on shad. Some white bass caught in the discharge area on bladebaits.
Evergreen Lake: Bluegills and crappies have been fair, with some yellow and white bass being caught in the mouths of coves.
Sangchris Lake: Bass good on crankbaits and plastics, biting mostly in evenings, near shore. Catfish good.
Lake Jacksonville: Bass have picked up lately as water temps remain cold. Most hitting on plastics and crankbaits. Bluegills good on worms. Crappies good on minnows and jigs. A few catfish being caught on worms and cut bait.
Rock River (Oregon): Channel cats biting hard in the Erie area. Walleyes are hitting at the dams. Catfish are taking redworms and fresh-killed minnows.
Illinois River: The sauger bite is still on fire. There are several reports of limits being caught. Jigging the flats and pulling three-way rigs has started to put some fish in the boats.