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Illinois Outdoor News Fishing Report – June 24, 2022

Report from the Dock

The Strategic Plan for Illinois Fisheries and Aquatic Life Resources released a few of years ago, outlines the DNR Fisheries Division organization of projects and programs, implementation of mandates and policies, and the tools used to manage Illinois fisheries and aquatic habitats to enhance aquatic resources and improve angler access in the state.

It sets up its plan with a look at fishing demographics and other information gathered from a National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation:

• The most preferred species by angling days in Illinois are panfish (22%), excluding crappies.

• Panfish are followed closely by black bass species (largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted) at 20%.

• Slightly below the bass are catfish, all species, and crappies at 19% and 17%, respectively.

• Next are the true bass species – white bass, striped bass, and hybrid striped bass – at 11%.

• Coolwater species such as walleye, sauger, muskies, and northern pike make up 6.4% of the angling days and trout and salmon followed at 4%. Other fish species comprised nearly all the rest with frogs and turtles totaling approximately 0.6% of the demand.

• Demand for angling days by water type is as follows: impoundments (61%), streams (27%), Corp of Engineers reservoirs (6%), and Lake Michigan (6%).

North

Chain: The walleyes were starting to bite, with jig and minnow combinations or spinner rigs with nightcrawlers, the best producers. Reports of good panfish bite have been coming in. Try small jigs under a float or bobber. The shallow portions of the bays seem to be producing quite well. Bass have been hitting Rattletraps fished in the shallower areas as well as slow rolled spinnerbaits near the bottom. 

Braidwood: Catfish are being caught on bottom rigs tipped with crawlers or other cut bait. Largemouth bass are slowing down but are still being found on the secondary drop-offs with large profile baits like a jig and pig or by fishing the shallower areas. 

LaSalle: Catfish are good on most baits, feeding mostly in early-morning hours. Blue cats are being caught on live bait or crankbaits, but the best bet is liver. Bass are hitting crankbaits near the rip-rap. Smallmouth and largemouth bass are equally good.

Heidecke: The hybrid stripers have been taken by shore fishermen on chicken livers and by boaters trolling cranks or casting the riprap. The walleye bite is picking up with some large fish being taken on live bait or by trolling spinner rigs. 

Lake Michigan: North harbors were experiencing the June lull. Few reports of limits are coming in, but the fish are still there. Cohos and a mix of kings and steelhead are reported. Flasher/fly combos and magnum spoons in 80 to 100 feet of water. Boaters in the deeper areas are having better luck. The south end is still showing good limits of coho and kings. Flasher/fly and brighter colored spoons have been top producers. Good catches of smallmouths are being reported by those targeting them. The best producers are goby imitating jigs or dropshot rigs with 4-inch minnow style plastics. Jerkbaits also are showing some good action. The shore anglers on Navy pier as well as some of the downtown harbors have reported some great catches of perch.

Lake Sule: Reports of muskie catches are seen as good news, as DNR had reported that no muskies were collected in the 2021 trap net survey. Bass are biting on plastic worms and spinners.

I&M Canal: Channel catfish have historically been found at the Channahon Access, as well as the Aux Sable Lock and the Morris area. Lock 14 pool also is a good bet.

South

Devils Kitchen: Bluegills were good on crickets and wax worms. Bass are starting to pick up on plastics.

Crab Orchard Lake: Crappies are still being found near the shore on shallow cover. Minnows and jigs are both effective. Bluegills are being caught in shallow areas.

Baldwin Lake: Catfish are the best bet. Anglers are drifting the middle of the lake with live bait, targeting flatheads.

Carlyle Lake: Catfish action is hot around the main lake riprap as fish have moved in to spawn. The best success has been on nightcrawlers, cut shad and stinkbaits. Crappie action has slowed somewhat as fish have moved into post-spawn mode. Minnows and jigs fished over cover in 5 to 6 feet of water are still producing some fish. White bass and sauger are being caught around the silos on the north end of the lake. Some nice sauger are being caught by anglers trolling crankbaits. In the tailwater, catfish are the best bet on cut bait, shad gut and stinkbaits. 

Little Grassy: Crappie action has been good. Anglers are taking good numbers of big fish on minnows. Crappies are still being caught over shallow cover. Bluegill action has improved recently. Crickets have been the best bet.

Kinkaid Lake: Bass action has been good, particularly in the evenings. Good numbers of fish are being caught around the islands on spinnerbaits and soft plastics. Crappies are a bit slower, but fish are still being caught in decent numbers. Most fish are holding in 4 to 6 feet of water and are being caught primarily on minnows. Bluegills are being caught in good numbers.

Lake of Egypt: Bass action remains fair to good. Anglers are taking fish  on topwater baits. During the day, fish are holding in wood and weeds and can be caught on soft plastics and jigs. Crappie anglers are going to depths of 18 to 20 feet to catch fish. The best crappie action has been on minnows. Most bluegills have moved off the beds. Some fish are still being caught on wax worms and crickets. Catfish action is still slow.

Rend Lake: Fishing remains good. Crappies are still rated excellent in flooded, brushy areas. Crappies are being caught at about 2 feet deep on quarter-ounce pink/white jigs and minnows. Other anglers are reporting success over cover in 8 to 11 feet of water. Catfish are also rated excellent on stinkbaits, leeches and large minnows. The mouths of creeks have been hot spots. Leeches have been effective in moving water. Bass are rated good around brushy cover in bays. Soft plastics and jigs have been the most effective baits. Bluegills are also rated excellent on crickets, wax worms, meal worms and red wigglers in the back of shallow necks.

Central

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

Banner Marsh: Crappies are biting on minnows. Bass are hitting chatterbaits and spinnerbaits.

Newton Lake: Bass bite is good, but weather has changed the situation. Water clarity is very murky. Some white bass also were reported prior to the rains. Crappies are fair on minnows and biting near shore. Catfish are good.

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

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

Lake Jacksonville: Bass have been slow but are picking up in late evening and early morning. Bluegills are good on worms.

Lake Shelbyville: Walleyes are active below the spillway. Best to use jigs and twisters or shad bodies. 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 are the 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 are biting hard. Jigs and minnows, twister tails and spinnerbaits are working well. Bank fishermen are having luck with crappies, white bass and largemouths. 

Coffeen Lake: Bass, catfish are excellent all around the lake. Bass are biting on spinners and waxworms. Catfish are biting stinkbaits and worms. There are reports of big flatheads being caught. 

Lake Springfield: Bass are hitting on plastics and topwaters. Channel cats are 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 and bladebaits in or near warm water areas. 

Sangchris Lake: Crappie bite is picking up on medium-size minnows. The west and east arms of the lake and the dam area are best bets for bass.

Rivers

Illinois River: Saugers are being caught in pools and shallow areas. White bass are still good. Walleyes are active up and down area on rigs with live minnows. 

Rock River: Some nice catfish are being caught up and down the river. Most catches coming on shad and cut baits. Liver and worms also good options. 

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