Illinois Outdoor News Fishing Report – Oct. 19, 2018

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


Chain: The bass will begin to feed with the dropping water temps. The fish 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. Wax worms 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 the 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.

Shabbona: This lake gets a lot of fishing pressure during the year, which can make it tough to fish at times. Good catches of catfish are being taken near the wood pilings on live bait like leeches and crawlers. Also there have been reports of cats being caught near the earth dam on leeches suspended below a float. The bass are feeding up for the fall and are being found on the outside edges of the weeds as well as in the wood areas in the “no-motor-zone.”  Crankbaits pulled on the edges work well in the morning and switch over to soft plastics fished low and slow in the afternoon. 

Lake Michigan: The chinook salmon are in the harbors strong, and it seems like it is the run. The 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. Spinners tipped with softshells as well as jigging spoons have been working well.

There have been good reports from the city harbors of good-sized smallmouths being caught. The smallmouths are being caught all the way down into the Portage area of Indiana. Goby-style baits on jigs as well as “drop-shot” rigs are putting some good fish in the boat. With the cooling water, these fish are really starting to feed up for the winter.


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 35 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 rip-rap 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 rip-rap on black buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, and a jig and pig. Some bluegills are being caught in shallow coves on wax worms, red wigglers and crickets.

Little Grassy: Fishing traffic has been light. 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.


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: Bass are reportedly being caught in deeper waters. A few channel cats being caught on night crawlers and shrimp. Crappies 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.


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. Trolling lead core with stickbaits or three-way rigs with the bottom weight being a jig and minnow and an F-9 Rapala on the long line. 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 with some fish being reported at the McHenry Dam and also in the Elgin area. 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, stumps, and brush with minnows.

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 are finding some fish in Pool 26 with skip jack and cut bait by drifting or trolling along the edges.

Ohio River (Smithland Pool): Largemouth bass are fair. A recent tournament reported 20 boats participated with 9 of them catching limits. The winning stringer weighed in at 9.36 pounds and the big fish weighed 3.18 pounds. Creeks were the most popular fishing place with Lusk Creek and Big Grande Pierre being best.

Rock River (Byron): Channel cats good. Cheese bait is being reported as the best bait this week; put near grassy areas, in creeks, and along water edges.

Categories: Illinois Fishing Reports, News

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