Report from the Dock
Each summer, as anglers visit different bodies of water around the state, many consider stocking or restocking their own private pond. But it is not a task to take lightly, as DNR points out, “Ponds in Illinois vary greatly in their fish-stocking needs. The owners, managers and users of these ponds also may differ in their sportfishing objectives and require a wide selection of stocking options. Therefore, it is important to discuss pond stocking with a DNR district fisheries biologist.” As DNR notes, before the fish stocking decision is made, careful analyses of pond characteristics and angler preferences must be made. Some of the factors affecting the decision include pond type, size, depth, water chemistry, fertility, existing fish population, expected fishing pressure and harvest, and most importantly, what fish does the pond owner want? The most widely used and successful stocking combination for ponds in Illinois is largemouth bass, channel catfish, bluegills and redear sunfish. These species are popular among fishermen and are biologically adapted to a wide variety of pond conditions.
The fishing and hunting report is compiled using reports from conservation officers, hunting guides and fishing guides.
Chain: Bluegills were good in shallow water. Crappies were good on minnows and light jigs around piers in channels. Northern pike were hitting spinnerbaits and spoons. Catfish are biting nightcrawlers or fatheads. Muskies were very good, hitting on spinners. White bass were fair in 12 feet with spikes or small minnows. Walleyes slow.
Shabbona: Bass fishing is still slow. Catfish are being caught in the shallow water of the bays using nightcrawlers. Crappie fishing is excellent around the deeper standing timber of the no motor zone. Crappies were caught using mini mites five feet down over 10 feet of water.
LaSalle: Largemouth bass good along the banks, and the bigger bass are holding deep with many small bass suspended in the discharge canal. The smallmouths are slow. Some drum and catfish are being caught on crankbaits, with a few real nice blue catfish being landed.
Forest Preserve Lakes: Bass and catfish biting, crappies starting to warm up.
Heidecke: Striper fishing has been slow at best and blue cat fishing is fair. Hybrids, walleyes and catfish will likely be the most sought-after fish. Smallmouth and largemouth bass are tough right now.
Lake Michigan (Chicago Area): Fishing has really picked up. Big cohos and king salmon are being found in the 80-120 feet of water range. Magnum glow spoons as well as larger flasher and flies have been taking most of the fish. Downriggers and dipseys have been doing best with copper and leadcore coming in a close second. Early morning or late afternoon/evening are the best chances for limits. For those who are able to fish for perch, the fish are being caught jigging plastics and dropshotting minnows in the downtown harbors. The fish are holding tight to the bottom. A lot of moving is key to staying with the schools.
Devils’ Kitchen: Bluegill action is good in the dam area. Anglers are catching fish on pinches of nightcrawlers. Bass action has been good around shallow cover.
Crab Orchard Lake: Catfish action is excellent. Fish are being caught on leeches, stinkbaits, nightcrawlers and minnows in shallow areas. Crappies have moved into deeper water, 10-12 feet. Fish are still being caught on minnows and jigs. Bluegills remain steady around the banks on crickets, wax worms and red wigglers. Bass action has been good around shallow cover on baits ranging from soft plastics to spinnerbaits.
Baldwin Lake: Largemouth bass have slowed. Bluegills are biting on worms in 6 to 8 feet of water. Crappie and catfish fishing has been fair.
Carlyle Lake: Crappies and catfish best. Catfish taking cut shad and shad guts off rocks by Keysport. Crappies biting on minnows, jigs, tube jigs by Hazlet State Park. Sauger hit and miss, if they can be found. White bass are said to be hungry for jigs. Bluegill fishing is fair on worms.
Kinkaid Lake: Fishing has slowed down due to the extreme heat recently. Catfish are the best bet, particularly in the evening. Cut bait and stinkbaits have been the most productive. Bluegills are being caught in fair numbers, but most fish are running small. Bass action is slow. A few crappies are being caught around deep color.
Lake Murphysboro: Fishing has slowed. Some anglers are still taking catfish in the evenings on stinkbaits and cut baits. Bluegills are still being taken in shallow areas on a variety of baits, but most fish are running small. Bass action is slow.
Lake of Egypt: Crappie action is slow but getting better. Bluegills have been slow. Bass action is expected to pick up as water temperatures rise. A few catfish being caught on worms.
Little Grassy: Crappies have been biting on minnows, mostly in cover in about 15 to 20 feet of water. Bass action has improved but remains slow. Plastic worms have worked best. Bluegills are running small and biting on late-season grasshoppers and worms.
Rend Lake: Bass are in shallow bays near brush cover and bushes. Fish around bridges and along the rocks. Reports of fish being caught around Jackie Branch, Sandusky Cove, and below the dam. Crappies are in flooded brushy areas (set bait 2 inches deep). Reports of fish being caught shallow in buck brush in any cove and also deep water around brush piles. Try the Gun Creek Area. From shore, fish near structures, hot spots are Jackie Branch and Sandusky and Marcum coves, and North Marcum Boat Ramp. For channel cats, creeks running into the lake are hot spots. Also try the Waltonville Dam, Turnip Patch, Jackie Branch and North Sandusky Day Use Area. Set line 3-4 feet from the shore over rocks. Try leeches in moving water. Fish are schooling on the flats.
Lake Taylorville: Crappie bite is picking up on minnows. Bass slow. Water conditions are murky.
Banner Marsh: Crappies biting on minnows. Bass hitting chatterbaits and spinnerbaits.
Newton Lake: Bass good, but weather has changed situation. Water clarity very murky. Some white bass were also reported prior to the rains. Crappies are fair on minnows and biting near shore. Catfish good.
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, and a few being caught on worms. Catfish have been very slow on worms and stinkbaits.
Lake Jacksonville: Bass have been slow but picking up in late evening and early morning. Bluegills good on worms.
Lake Shelbyville: Fishing below the spillway has been slow. Conditions better late in the day for muskies and walleyes. Walleyes active below spillway. Best to use jigs and twisters or shad bodies. On main lake, fishing has been slow, with high water, but some crappies are being caught on sunny days. The lake has new crappie daily creel limits of five fish under 10 inches and 10 fish 10 inches or over.
Evergreen Lake: Crappies best bet near boat docks, Campground Cove, pump house and Six-Mile Creek Bay. Launches are open. Only good action is for bluegills in front of the boat rental docks and at the pump house. Small jigs and minnows or waxworms are working best.
Clinton Lake: Crappies, white bass, stripers, walleyes and largemouth bass biting hard. Jigs and minnows, twister tails and spinnerbaits working well. Bank fishermen having luck with crappies, white bass and largemouths.
Coffeen Lake: Bass, catfish excellent all around the lake. Bass biting on spinners and waxworms. Catfish biting stinkbaits and worms. Crappies spotty. Reports of big flatheads being caught.
Lake Springfield: Crappie bite picking up on minnows. Bass slow. Channel cats being taken on shad. Crappies have been good on jigs fished in or near hot water area, with many small ones. White and yellow bass are good on jigs.
Sangchris Lake: Crappie bite picking up on medium-size minnows. The west and east arms of the lake and the dam area are best bets for bass.
Illinois River: Saugers weighing more than 2 pounds being caught. White bass still good. Walleyes active up and down area. At Peoria, sauger slow, while channel cats are being caught on shad.