Tuesday, January 31st, 2023
Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

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Illinois Fishing Report – Jan. 31, 2020

Report from the Dock

Per Illinois law, fish may be released into the waters from which they were taken, but permission from DNR must be secured before releasing fish in other waters, except for private water owners. An owner of a body of water may release aquatic life found on the Aquatic Life Approved Species List into waters wholly upon his or her property so long as the aquatic life is purchased from a licensed aquatic life dealer or Illinois Aquaculturist. Transporting aquatic life or natural water from a public lake to private waters is prohibited.  It is illegal to import, stock, or possess live diploid grass carp, silver carp, bighead carp or hybrid grass carp or any species not found on the Aquatic Life Approved Species List.  A restricted species transportation permit must be secured from DNR before importing or stocking triploid grass carp. Private pond and lake owners may stock any aquatic life found on the Aquatic Life Approved Species List, so long as the aquatic life is purchased from a licensed aquatic life dealer or Illinois aquaculturist.

It is illegal to import or move live aquatic life without securing permission from DNR (bait purchased from a licensed bait shop may be transported) or remove natural water from waters of the state via bait bucket, livewell, baitwell, bilge, etc. It is also illegal to remove any watercraft, boat, boat trailer or other equipment from waters of the state without emptying and draining any bait bucket, livewell, baitwell, bilge, or any other compartment capable of holding natural waters.

 

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

North

Lake Michigan: On the south end it seems that the fish have moved out a bit, and there are some kings as well as good steelhead action on spoons and dodgers and flies.

The coho have slowed down on the north end near Waukegan and Northpoint. Reports are that 00 orange dodgers with peanut flies in blue/silver and black/gold are star producers.

The kings are out there and are hitting magnum spoons on the riggers. Bloody nose, Hey Babe, Kevorkian, and Blue dolphin are a few of the hot ones lately. Start your trolls shallow and work your way out to deeper water. About 35 feet of water seems to be one of the key depths now.

Make sure you run your spread to cover the entire water column. Cover the water column with spoons down low in the alewife or bloody nose pattern and dodger/flasher and fly in a white or aqua pattern. Switch up to bright orange spoons up near the surface to entice a nice steelhead. Double orange crush is a good spoon to use up high. Don’t be foolish and make sure you check the weather and recent conditions prior to heading out. The lake can get pretty rough in a hurry.

 

Chain: A 9.8-pound walleye was caught by an ice fisherman in late January, but otherwise the ice has been unsteady and somewhat unproductive. Small jigs under a float tipped with live bait or plastics are taking panfish. The shallow portions of the bays seem to be producing quite well also. Find them in 8 feet of water or less and the gills will be there, but look for deeper water for the white bass and crappies. The bite changes from day to day so be prepared to move and change baits. Other than the monster catch mentioned above, the walleyes are slow as of late. Trolling or casting have both been about equal in effectiveness. Bouncing jig and minnow combinations around the pilings has been putting nice fish in the boats. 

Largemouths that are active are hitting minnows fished in the shallower areas as well as baits near the bottom. Look for the inside edges of weedbeds that are good transition points between cover and their roaming areas.

 

Shabonna: Catfish have been taken by shore fishermen on chicken livers. The walleye bite is good, but their sizes are small. Hooks with nightcrawlers are your best option. White bass and yellow bass will also come. Don’t be afraid to use live baits. These will often produce a reaction strike that can help put more fish in your basket.

South

Devils’ Kitchen: Bluegills are being caught on crickets, wax worms and red wigglers. Bass are good on spinners and crankbaits. Most are hanging in structures.

 

Crab Orchard Lake: Catfish action has improved markedly on stinkbaits, leeches and cut shad. Bass are still holding in shallow areas and can be caught on a variety of baits. Crappie action is still good, but the larger fish have moved into deeper cover, 6 to 8 feet deep. Minnows and jigs are both effective. Bluegills are still holding in shallow areas and can be caught on crickets and wax worms. 

 

Kinkaid Lake: Crappie action is spotty. Some crappies are still holding eggs, but most fish moved to cover 6-10 feet deep. Minnows and jigs are both effective. Bluegill action is still good, but most fish are running small. Wax worms, crickets and red wigglers are all effective. Anglers are still catching some catfish in shallows on worms and minnows. Bass action is fair. Muskie and walleye action is slow.

 

Lake of Egypt: Bluegills can be caught on a variety of baits. Crappies have also moved into deep cover. Minnows and jigs are both effective. Bass action has been good. The larger fish have moved deep, 14-22 feet. Soft plastics and jigs are the best bets. Some anglers fishing early in the morning are picking up fish on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. 

 

Little Grassy: Crappies are holding in 15-20 feet of water. Minnows are the primary bait. Catfish are in shallow areas and are being caught in good numbers on red wigglers and nightcrawlers. Bass are still holding in shallow areas. Anglers are taking fish on soft plastics and twitch baits.

 

Rend Lake: Some anglers are still catching crappies in shallow brush while others are targeting fish in cover 8-12 feet deep. Minnows are the most effective bait. Catfish are being caught on stinkbaits, shad gut, nightcrawlers and leeches. 

 

Lake Murphysboro: Bluegills caught on a variety of baits. Crappies have also moved into deep cover. Minnows and jigs are both effective. Bass action has been good. The larger fish have moved deep, 14-20 feet. Soft plastics and jigs are the best bets. Some anglers fishing early in the morning are picking up fish on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. 

 

Carlyle Lake: White bass are hungry for jigs. Bluegill fishing is fair on worms. Sauger fishing has been fair.

Central

Lake Taylorville: A few catfish have been taken on dough baits. Bluegills excellent on worms. Crappies good to excellent on minnows. Bass have been hitting plastic worms.

 

Coffeen Lake: Bass are good on topwater baits, crankbaits and plastics. Bluegills are fair on wax worms and fairly shallow catfish are good on dip baits, crawlers and cut bait, with some big flatheads being landed. Stripers are fair on deep running crankbaits.

 

Lake Springfield: Bass being caught on plastic worms near shore and boat docks. Channel cats goo. Crappies fair on jigs and minnows. 

 

Sangchris Lake: Bass were fair to slow around timber cover on plastics. Catfish were fair on cut baits and shad. Flatheads are good to fair on live baits. 

 

Clinton Lake: Crappie fishing has been fair near brush with minnows. Bluegills are being caught on worms near shore.

 

Newton Lake: Bluegills and bass biting fair on minnows and worms.

 

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

 

Lake Decatur: Crappies are being caught on minnows. Bluegill fishing has been slow, with a few being caught on worms. Catfish have been very slow on worms and stinkbaits.

 

Lake Shelbyville: Crappies have been biting in shallows or around brush on jigs and tubes of chartreuse with yellow, red or white and chartreuse tubes. Muskies are slow but a few biting below the spillway.

Rivers

Illinois River:  The sauger and walleye bite has been really good with recent weather patterns. 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 buckets. The white bass can be found on rocky shoreline areas.

 

Rock River (Milan): An angler reported catching a channel cat that weighed 17 pounds recently. Fish are biting on liver, nightcrawlers, minnows, leeches and stinkbait below the Sears Dam in the Rock River.

 

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. 

 

Rock River (Byron): Good-sized channel catfish are being taken from the creeks with cheesebait, chicken liver, minnows and cut bait (crushed minnows). A few using nightcrawlers were also reported.

 

Fox River: Prior to the temporary freeze, there were reports of panfish and bass being caught. There were several reports of limits being caught. Jigging the flats and pulling three-way rigs has started to put some fish in.

 

Kankakee River: Before ice hit, catfish and carp were good for anglers drifting or jug fishing with cut bait or leeches. Lots of bluegill s taken using worms.

 

Des Plaines: The walleyes have been found using jerkbaits and 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 float or throwing inline spinners and jerkbaits.

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