The fishing and hunting report is compiled using reports from conservation officers, hunting guides and fishing guides.
Lake Michigan: The northern harbors were seeing a decline in the amount of fish caught, but there are still browns and steelhead being caught. Spawn sacks under a float are working well as well as the standard tinsel or white tube jig tipped with wax worms.
The steelhead bite is starting to increase in the downtown harbors with spawn being a primary choice of baits. Tinsel jigs as well as tube jigs under floats are also producing fish. The inner harbors are starting to form ice so you may need to move around to find open water.
Navy Pier and the downtown harbors are starting to produce perch. The fish are ranging in size and a lot of sorting is required, but crappie rigs with fathead minnows seem to be producing the best.
Lakers are still being caught trolling dodgers with Spin-n-glows along the reef near the Port of Indiana. They are being found in 20 to 40 feet of water around and on top of the reef. Boaters venturing out of Chicago launches are finding the lakers and brown trout out deep but they are still around and hitting well.
The bite has been slow in the downtown harbors. Crappie rigs with fathead minnows seem to be producing the best.
Chain: If you get out, the walleyes are still hitting jig and minnow combinations, and the panfish are active on the smaller presentations of a teardrop jig tipped with waxies or spikes under a float.
There have been reports of panfish being caught on the T-Channel and Nielsons. Be cautious and check conditions prior to venturing out.
Shabbona: Crappies are being caught over the fish cribs. Search the cribs that surround each of the land piers. The secret to success this time of the year is to use a lively minnow. You will have to continually change your minnow because they don’t last long. Perch are still being caught along the deeper weedlines. Use minnows near the bottom for best results.
Crab Orchard Lake: Catfish action has slowed somewhat. Bluegill action also has slowed, although some fish are still being caught along the rip rap on crickets and wax worms. Bass action is good on a variety of baits fished around shallow cover.
Baldwin Lake: Catfish are on the move and those that are being caught are small. Anglers are tossing crankbaits around rip rap and catching a few bass. Bluegills are slow but will hit on meal worms or wax worms occasionally.
Carlyle Lake: 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, with a 24-pounder caught recently near the spillway. Cut bait also working as are slab spoons thrown up along the wall. Crappie fishing is good below the dam.
Kinkaid Lake: Muskie action has been excellent. Anglers trolling and casting are picking up fish. Spinnerbaits and shallow running baits are the most effective. Crappie fishing is rated fair. Anglers are taking fish at varied depths, from 2 to 18 feet. Minnows are the primary bait. Catfish and bluegill action has been slow. However, bass anglers are reporting good success on spinnerbaits.
Lake of Egypt: Crappie action remains slow. Some fish are being caught on curlytails and minnows. Most fish are in 8 to 10 feet in front of weedbeds. Bass are still rated fair on soft plastics. Catfish action picked up recently, fishing shrimp in shallow water.
Lake Murphysboro: Catfish action remains excellent, particularly in the morning and early evening. Most anglers are using chicken liver and nightcrawlers. Bass are also rated fair to good. Crappie anglers are finding fish are various depths. Minnows are the preferred bait. Bluegill action is slow.
Little Grassy: 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.
Rend Lake: Crappies are still rated good on minnows, chartreuse jigs, white jigs and pink/green jigs. Fish are being caught over Christmas tree sets and near bridge pillars in 6-10 feet of water. Catfish action also has been good. Catfish anglers are working rip rap areas, using shrimp and nightcrawlers.
Lake Taylorville: The crappie bite has been hot. The bait of choice is small jigs tipped with wax worms or spikes under floats. Skipping under the deeper docks or finding the submerged timber and green weeds is working.
Coffeen Lake: Bass have slowed down, but a few being caught on spinners. Some catfish being caught on leeches.
Newton Lake: Bluegills and bass biting fair on minnows and worms.
Lake Springfield: Crappie fishing has been slow, but picking up.
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, with a few being caught on worms. Catfish have been very slow on worms and stinkbaits.
Lake Shelbyville: Crappies have been biting in shallows or around brush on jigs and tubes of chartreuse with yellow, red or white and chartreuse tubes. Muskies are biting below the spillway.
Clinton Lake: Crappie fishing has been fair near brush with minnows. Bluegills are being caught on worms near shore.
Illinois River: The saugers are up on the flats as in the 12 to 14 feet of water range off the main river channels. Vertical jigging jigs with minnows or pulling “three-way” rigs is working, also casting or vertical jigging blade-style baits.
Des Plaines River: The walleyes are still being found using jerk baits and jointed minnow baits. They are being taken in the evening hours working the deeper holes that are adjacent to shallow water.
Good numbers of northern pike are also to be found fishing live bait under a float or throwing inline spinners and jerkbaits.
Kankakee River: In the Momence area, smallmouth bass fishing is good around shoreline pools on spinners, crankbaits and minnows.
Crappies are coming on minnows, pinkie jigs and small spinners.
Fox River: The walleye bite is slow. Use minnowbaits in the deeper holes and near bridge pilings. Night fishing has proven to be most effective. Jigs and twisters in white or chartreuse are being productive. The catfish bite has died, as the fish have gone into their wintering holes. Smaller baits with a lot of scent are best.
Rock River: Bluegills and catfish are being caught over holes and around the standing timber.