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Saturday, January 28th, 2023

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Illinois Outdoor News Fishing Report – March 4, 2022

Report from the Dock

Whether by regulation or choice, using best handling practices for catch-and-release fishing is a skill all anglers should know. Every effort should be made to release fish quickly and unharmed. Recent research has shown that the survival rate for many species of fish is greatly increased if proper handling practices are used for releasing angled fish. To ensure that you release a fish in the healthiest condition, use tackle that is matched to the species for which you’re fishing so you can land it before it is exhausted. Fighting a fish too long unduly stresses the fish, and in some species, over-exhaustion increases the chances of it being preyed upon when released. 

Barbless hooks reduce the chance a fish will be gut hooked. In addition, barbless hooks are much easier to remove, which reduces damage to the fish and minimizes the time the fish is out of the water. Pinching your barbs down is also a safety precaution when fishing with kids and treble hooks. Even though barbless hooks do less harm to fish, many anglers can be reluctant to use them as fish can be harder to land. Fish caught on circle hooks are generally hooked in the mouth and are therefore easily released. Whether you prefer needle-nosed pliers or a commercial de-hooker, it is helpful to have these nearby when you land your fish. They can greatly reduce damage to the fish and can help minimize the time the fish is out of the water.

Lake Michigan: Perch are biting at Navy Pier. It is some work, but it can pay off with some jumbo-sized perch. Reports have shown that a lot of smaller ones are being caught and getting limits of larger fish require a lot of sorting. Live minnows and cooked shrimp on drop shot rigs as well as ice fishing jigs tipped with spikes have been producing. 

Perch are being caught in the canal from the 95th Street bridge. Fish are being caught around the barges on minnows and softshells on jigs or crappie rigs.

Chain:  If you get into the back bays and channels, you will find some good panfish action. The fish are holding tight to any wood or steel structure as this warms up first when hit by the sun. Small jigs under a float or a plain hook with a small hunk of nightcrawler have done well.

The walleyes are really starting to turn on around the channels and the bridges.  

Braidwood: This cooling lake opened March 1, and shore fishermen were expected to see quite a few catfish and bluegills. Fish are usually caught on jigs under a float or on bottom rigs tipped with crawlers or other cut bait. The largemouths can be caught fishing the secondary drop-offs with large profile bait like a jig and pig or by fishing the shallower areas bouncing a crankbait or spoonplug off the rocks and the bottom. Spinnerbaits do well for the bass, but hang on as those giant catfish have a tendency to latch on and give you a great battle.


Devils’ Kitchen: Overall, fishing tends to be slow, but bass are picking up on spinners and crankbaits in evening hours.

Crab Orchard Lake: Anglers are reporting that crappies are being found at depths ranging from about 6 to 10 feet. Most are in heavy cover near points. The best baits have been minnows and jigs. Bright colors seem to be working the best. Bluegills are being caught near rip-rap and around weed beds on the typical bluegill baits. Bass fishing has been slow.

Baldwin Lake: Largemouth bass action has slowed. Bluegills are biting on worms in 6 to 8 feet of water. Crappies and catfish action has been fair.

Carlyle Lake: Crappies and catfish are hitting the best. Catfish are taking cut shad and shad guts off rocks by Keysport. Crappies are biting on minnows, jigs, tube jigs by Hazlet State Park. Sauger are hit-and-miss, if they can be found. White bass are said to be hungry for jigs. Bluegill fishing is fair on worms.

Pinckneyville Lake: Largemouth bass action has heated up. Bluegills are biting on worms in 6 to 8 feet of water. Crappie and catfish action has been fair.

Kinkaid Lake: Crappies are good in shallow coves near in flowing water. Muskie, bass and catfish also are good in the same areas. A couple of nice muskies were landed in recent weeks, but the bite is tough. Some channel cats have been caught deep near Johnson Creek.

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 are 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 the best. Bluegills are running small and biting on late-season grasshoppers and worms.

Mermet Lake: Fishing has been slow on all fronts, though crappie action has improved in recent weeks. Crappies are being caught on jigs. Bass fishing has been slow.

Rend Lake: Crappie fishing has been good on minnows in rip-rap along Route 154, pillars around bridges and creeks near main channels. Channel catfish are fair on stinkbait and cut shad. The best fishing is reported to be near the main dam breakwater, areas near North and South Marcum, Jackie Branch, and Gun Creek. Bass fishing has been slow. The bluegill bite has been slow.


Lake Taylorville: Crappie bite is picking up on minnows. Bass fishing is slow. Water conditions are murky. 

Newton Lake: Bass are good, but weather has changed the situation. Water clarity is very murky. Some white bass also were reported prior to precipitation. Crappie fishing is improving but still few are being caught.

Spring Lake: Bass are slow. Crappies are biting on tube jigs at the south-end bays. Channel cats are also biting on shad at the big turn on the south end. 

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

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

Lake Shelbyville: Fishing below the spillway has been slow. Conditions are better late in day for muskies and walleyes. On the main lake, fishing has been slow, but some crappies are being caught on sunny days. 

Evergreen Lake: Several reports of crappies being scattered, with most coming from the warmer shallow coves and shorelines. Some nice fish have also been caught in 10-15 feet of water. Minnows, waxworms, or light-colored tube jigs slowly retrieved have worked the best. Several reports of saugeyes being caught. Many small ones have been reported with a few keepers also being caught at the pump house and trolling deeper water. Bass fishing has been slow.

Clinton Lake: Crappies and walleyes being caught. Catfish taking shad around bridge. A few white bass and crappies being caught near bridges. 

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