Illinois Outdoor News Fishing & Hunting Report – Jan. 11, 2019

The fishing and hunting report is compiled using reports from conservation officers, hunting guides and fishing guides.


Lake Michigan: The harbors have been good. Most fishermen have been fishing from the docks. 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: There have been sporadic reports on the fishing. 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.

Crystal Lake: The crappies and bluegills are giving many a fisherman trouble. They are there and can be seen on the graph as well as through the very clear water, but making them bite is a different story. Downsizing jigs and using minnows have been putting those specks in the bucket and smaller jigs and spikes have been putting the gills in the bucket as well.


Crab Orchard Lake: Bass action has slowed. Bluegills being caught on worms. Panfish, in general, are biting good on worms under ice and 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.

Pinckneyville Lake: Bass good on cranks and spinners. Bluegills good on worms. A few catfish being caught, but mostly small.

Silver Lake (Highland): Bass picking up on crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Crappies fair on minnows. Channel catfish good on liver and nightcrawlers. Bluegills fair on worms. Saugers fair using jigs.


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.

Coffeen Lake: Some bass being caught on spinners near warm areas or under bridges. Morning and evening best. Channel cats good on doughbaits and nightcrawlers, mostly at night. Large flatheads caught on livers and stinkbaits.

Lake Springfield: Bass fair using plastics (worms and flukes), crankbaits and a few on swim jigs. Bluegills fair. Channel catfish fair to good using dip baits, liver and cut baits in the evening.

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. Most bass being caught are small.

Lake Mattoon: Largemouth bass good. Angling success is hit and miss; using a nightcrawler under a bobber off the banks when the fish are feeding. Channel catfish excellent with stink bait, nightcrawlers, chicken liver or suckers. Later evening hours are best. Bluegills biting, but are small.

Mill Creek Lake: Largemouth bass good on minnows and on spinnerbaits, and topwater lures. Bluegills good on worms. Channel catfish fair on chicken livers and stinkbait along the edges during early morning or later evening hours.

Lake Mingo: Bluegills good on worms near structure and weed lines. Catfish biting on just about anything, especially stinkbaits. Largemouth bass good on spinnerbaits or crankbaits near shallow laydowns, stumps, or brush.

Lake Bloomington: Bluegills are the best bet using worms and small jigs. Bass good on minnows and frog lures. Try bouncing spinners on shallows. Channel catfish good on dip baits, cut baits and nightcrawlers in evenings. Crappies excellent on minnows and light jigs around and over brush.

Lake Shelbyville: Walleyes have been caught on minnows and on spoons. Area below the dam still pretty good using a combination. Striped bass improving using spinners during early hours.

Categories: Illinois Fishing Reports, News

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