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Illinois Outdoor News Fishing Report – October 14, 2022

Report from the Dock

Fall is a golden season for crappie fishing fans. Summer’s crowds have vanished. Lakes, ponds, and rivers shimmer beneath canopies of leaves. Summer-fattened crappies are ravenous and in prime condition, offering exciting possibilities for action-hungry anglers.

Crappies often move to extreme shallows, water barely deep enough to cover them, as the water temperature cools in fall. You may catch more if you don a set of waders and carefully make your way to edge areas fringed with inundated brush, willows, or grass. Use a 12- to 14-foot jigging pole, pull the jig to the tip, then after positioning the jig over a hole in the cover, lower the jig into the crappie hideout.

When fishing a reservoir that has current caused by power generation, it pays to observe changes in the amount of current. Crappies may be in as little as 4 to 5 feet of water when current is minimal, but when power generation increases and current is high, crappies will move out to structures 10 to 20 feet deep. In the latter situation, work offshore cover, positioning your boat directly above and dropping minnows straight down. If the water level starts dropping fast due to power generation, try fishing points using small in-line or safety-pin spinners. Retrieve the lure with an up-and-down “yo-yo” motion, or buzz it along the surface and allow it to fall or “die” right beside the cover. 

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

North

Chain: The bass are relating to the green weeds, and search baits like spinnerbaits and swim jigs are doing quite well at finding the aggressive fish. Also pitch the weeds with heavy jigs and work the weed edges from shallow into the deeper water. The bass will be cruising these weedlines looking for an easy meal. 

Fish have been reported to be most active in the upper lakes. The boat docks have been holding some good fish, but bigger fish have been found in the weeds and around the channels.

The panfish bite is good as usual, and the boat docks are offering good structure and shade to the fish. Waxworms on a single hook or your favorite ice jig under a slip float have done really well. Work the areas in the 7 to 8 feet of water near the weeds. The crappies are suspended over deeper water, as are some of the larger bluegills. Watch your graph on the breaklines, and you will find the suspended fish. Minnows or jigs under a float or small jigging spoons worked around the suspended fish have been top producers.

The walleye bite is starting to pick up with cooler water temps. You will find fish mostly in the early morning hours and the evening. However, overcast days are really turning those fish on and they are hitting all day. 

Bouncing jig and minnow combinations near bridge pilings, in channels, and even on the weed edges are all proven to be good areas.

Lake Michigan: The Chinook salmon are in the harbors strong, and it seems like it is the tail end of the run. The spawn bite has really picked up with fish being taken on spawn floated 3 to 5 feet under a slip float during the daylight hours. Fish are still being caught casting crankbaits. It is key to fish these baits very slowly so that they offer a target that stays in front of the fish longer.

The perch fishing has been on and off from the shore and from the boats in the north.

There have been good reports from the city harbors of good-sized smallmouths being caught.

South

Devils’ Kitchen: Bass action has been good around shallow cover using spinners and live baits. Bluegills hitting worms and nightcrawlers.

Carlyle Lake: Crappie action is good below the dam. White bass are biting well below the spillway. 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 on bluegills.

Kinkaid Lake: Muskies are being caught on roosters. Some muskies topping 32 inches have been caught near the spillway area. Crappies are scattered. Some fish are being caught on minnows fished around structure. Most fish are holding in about 12 feet of water. Bass action has been slow.

Rend Lake: Catfish are being caught near Gun Creek, the sub-impoundment dams and riprap areas on liver, nightcrawlers, large shiners, stinkbaits and leeches. Crappie action has picked up in recent weeks, with many being caught at bridge pillars. Minnows, chartreuse, white and pink/green jigs have produced the best success. Bass are fair with some fish being caught around Jackie Branch and the Route 154 riprap on black buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, and a jig and pig. Some bluegills are being caught in shallow coves on waxworms, red wigglers, and crickets.

Lake Murphysboro: A few bass have been caught on and plastic worms and buzzbaits. There have been reports of catfish being caught on liver, some close to 5 pounds.

Little Grassy: Bluegill and redear anglers are picking up some fish in about 10 feet of water. Catfish action remains steady throughout the lake. Nightcrawlers are the most effective bait. Crappie fishing has slowed somewhat. Fish are still deep. A couple of nice fish were taken recently, but numbers were down. Minnows are the primary bait. Bass action remains fair.

Central

Lake Springfield: Bass fishing is best on jigs, chatterbaits, and soft plastics off points with timber and along the weeds in the evenings. 

Catfish are fair on dipbaits and crawlers. Anglers are catching crappies up to 12 inches in 12-18 feet of water. Drifting jigs is working best for these suspended fish.

Lake Shelbyville: Muskies are reportedly being caught in deeper waters. A few channel cats are being caught on night crawlers and shrimp. Crappies are good on minnows.

Evergreen Lake: Crappies are being caught on minnows. Bass fishing is fair using topwater baits. Bluegills are also still doing well along weed edges. Catfish are biting on stinkbaits and worms.

Clinton Lake: A few walleyes have been caught, and bass fishing is said to be decent on buzzbaits. 

There have been reports of hybrids and walleyes being caught below the spillway. 

Largemouths are being caught on spinners and plastics.

Rivers

Illinois River: The walleye and sauger bite has dropped off. The bite shut down and fish are harder to find. Anglers who  are catching fish are finding them here and there and nothing is showing up as a good pattern. Work the flats created on the current bends. If you find active fish, you can switch up to vertical jigging with jig and minnows. The white bass are beginning to school up. 

Fox River: The walleye bite is starting to pick up. The fish are being caught on Gulp-style jigs as well as jerkbaits. There have been some good schools of white bass showing up as well. 

Mississippi River (Gorham): Channel cats good on dough baits, minnows, stink bait, or cut baits are attracting attention along the shorelines and in holes.

Mississippi River (Pool 18): Channel cats good. The area north of Pool 18 is reporting better success recently. Check out filled creeks with night crawlers. Also fish water covered grassy areas, in holes, near trees.

Mississippi Pool 26 (Alton): Crappies good. Look for them in deep water so far with minnows; the cooler temperatures should help to improve success. Channel cats good with fishermen finding some fish in Pool 26 with skipjack and cut bait by drifting or trolling along the edges.

Ohio River (Smithland Pool): Largemouth bass are being caught on spinners and live minnows. Fall action is beginning to heat up for catfish that are feeding. Some bluegills taken on worms and crickets, close to shore.

Kankakee River: Some bass and bluegills showing up around brush and rocky spots. Worms best bet for bluegills.

Rock River: Up and down the river, anglers are reporting a surge in catfish activity, as the cats begin to feed in the late evenings. Cut baits and shad are working, as are liver and dough baits.

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