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Illinois Fishing Report – Dec. 13, 2019

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



Lake Michigan: The northern harbors were seeing a decline in the amount of fish caught, but there are still brownsand steelheadbeing caught. Spawn sacksunder a float are working well as well as the standard tinsel or white tube jigtipped with wax worms.

The steelheadbite is starting to increase in the downtown harbors with spawn being a primary choice of baits. Tinsel jigsas well as tube jigsunder floatsare also producing fish. The inner harbors are starting to form ice so you may need to move around to find open water.

Navy Pier and the downtown harbors are starting to produce perch. The fish are ranging in size and a lot of sorting is required, but crappie rigswith fathead minnows seem to be producing the best.

Lakers are still being caught trolling dodgerswith Spin-n-glowsalong the reef near the Port of Indiana. They are being found in 20 to 40 feet of water around and on top of the reef. Boaters  venturing out of Chicago launches are finding the lakers and brown troutout deep but they are still around and hitting well.

The bite has been slow in the downtown harbors. Crappie rigswith fathead minnows seem to be producing the best.


Chain: If you get out, the walleyesare still hitting jigand minnow combinations, and the panfishare active on the smaller presentations of a teardrop jigtipped with waxies or spikes under a float.

There have been reports of panfishbeing caught on the T-Channel and Nielsons. Be cautious and check conditions prior to venturing out.


Shabbona: Crappiesare being caught over the fish cribs. Search the cribs that surround each of the land piers. The secret to success this time of the year is to use a lively minnow. You will have to continually change your minnow because they don’t last long. Perchare still being caught along the deeper weedlines. Use minnows near the bottom for best results.



Crab Orchard Lake:Catfish action has slowed somewhat. Bluegillaction also has slowed, although some fish are still being caught along the rip rap on crickets and wax worms. Bassaction is good on a variety of baitsfished around shallow cover.


Baldwin Lake: Catfish are on the move and those that are being caught are small. Anglers are tossing crankbaitsaround rip rap and catching a few bass. Bluegillsare 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. Good catches reported near Keyesport and Boulder. Flatheads are also biting, with a 24-pounder caught recently near the spillway. Cut bait also working as are slab spoonsthrown up along the wall. Crappiefishing is good below the dam.


Kinkaid Lake: Muskie action has been excellent. Anglers trolling and casting are picking up fish. Spinnerbaitsand shallow running baitsare the most effective. Crappiefishing is rated fair. Anglers are taking fish at varied depths, from 2 to 18 feet. Minnows are the primary bait. Catfish and bluegillaction has been slow. However, bassanglers are reporting good success on spinnerbaits.


Lake of Egypt: Crappieaction remains slow. Some fish are being caught on curlytailsand minnows. Most fish are in 8 to 10 feet in front of weedbeds. Bassare still rated fair on soft plastics. Catfish action picked up recently, fishing shrimp in shallow water.


Lake Murphysboro: Catfish action remains excellent, particularly in the morning and early evening. Most anglers are using chicken liver and nightcrawlers. Bassare also rated fair to good. Crappieanglers are finding fish are various depths. Minnows are the preferred bait. Bluegillaction is slow.


Little Grassy: Catfish action remains steady throughout the lake. Nightcrawlers are the most effective bait. Crappiefishing has slowed somewhat. Fish are still deep. A couple of nice fish were taken recently, but numbers were down. Minnows are the primary bait. Bassaction remains fair.


Rend Lake: Crappiesare still rated good on minnows, chartreuse jigs, white jigsand pink/green jigs. Fish are being caught over Christmas tree sets and near bridge pillars in 6-10 feet of water. Catfish action also has been good. Catfish anglers are working rip rap areas, using shrimp and nightcrawlers.



Lake Taylorville: The crappiebite has been hot. The bait of choice is small jigstipped with wax worms or spikes under floats. Skipping under the deeper docks or finding the submerged timber and green weeds is working.


Coffeen Lake: Basshave slowed down, but a few being caught on spinners. Some catfish being caught on leeches.


Newton Lake: Bluegillsand bassbiting fair on minnows and worms.


Lake Springfield: Crappiefishing has been slow, but picking up.


Lake Bloomington: Bluegillsare biting on worms, but are slow and small. Crappiesare being caught on minnows in 12 to 14 feet.


Lake Decatur:Crappiesare being caught on minnows. Bluegillfishing has been slow, with a few being caught on worms. Catfish have been very slow on worms and stinkbaits.


Lake Shelbyville: Crappieshave been biting in shallows or around brush on jigsand tubesof chartreuse with yellow, red or white and chartreuse tubes. Muskies are biting below the spillway.


Clinton Lake: Crappiefishing has been fair near brush with minnows. Bluegillsare being caught on worms near shore.



Illinois River: The saugers are up on the flats as in the 12 to 14 feet of water range off the main river channels. Vertical jigging jigswith minnows or pulling “three-way” rigsis working, also casting or vertical jigging blade-style baits.


Des Plaines River:The walleyesare still being found using jerk baitsand jointed minnowbaits. They are being taken in the evening hours working the deeper holes that are adjacent to shallow water.

Good numbers of northern pike are also to be found fishing live bait under a floator throwing inline spinners and jerkbaits.


Kankakee River:In the Momence area, smallmouth bassfishing is good around shoreline pools on spinners, crankbaitsand minnows.

Crappiesare coming on minnows, pinkie jigsand small spinners.


Fox River: The walleyebite is slow. Use minnow baitsin the deeper holes and near bridge pilings. Night fishing has proven to be most effective. Jigsand twistersin white or chartreuse are being productive. The catfish bite has died, as the fish have gone into their wintering holes. Smaller baitswith a lot of scent are best.


Rock River: Bluegillsand catfish are being caught over holes and around the standing timber.

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