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Central Illinois fishing report for May 17

May 17, 2013 at 07:14 AM

Peoria Journal Star

What’s biting

Fluctuating springtime weather has made fishing a struggle in many areas, but bluegills could be your best bet right now in farms ponds and strip mines. With water levels returning to near normal, the catfish bite has picked up on the Illinois River.

Honey holes

In Peoria County farm ponds and strip mines, crappie are moving up to shallows. Bluegills also moving up and taking waxworms or crickets.

Crappie are biting close to the banks on jigs or minnows at Clinton Lake. Channel cats are also being caught on dipbaits, shrimp or nightcrawlers. At the spillway, good-sized hybrid stripers taking swimbaits.

At Dawson Lake, crappie, catfish and walleye have been best. Crappie are taking minnows, and catfish going after stinkbaits or livers. Worms working for most everything else.

On the Illinois River, white bass striper have been biting on blade baits in Henry and Utica areas. Cats are also taking cheesebaits or cutbaits. Near Utica, drum and sheephead have also been good on nightcrawlers.

Bluegill are coming up to the shoreline at Spring Lake and biting on waxworms, redworms or tube jigs. Good-sized catfish are still biting on the south-end turnoffs.

Big crappie have been caught at Banner Marsh’s Shovel Lake using medium minnows.

At Snakeden Hollow, crappie and bass have been best. The two new state lakes and McMasters Lake are particularly good. Minnows and nightcrawlers are working for baits.

Wall hangers

Stan Smith of Peoria caught a 22-pound channel catfish on nitro crawlers Monday at Spring Lake.

Tip of the week

From larrysfishing hole.com: “Catfish eat day or night. They seem to feed best just as the sun cracks the horizon for 1-2 hours. Will feed heavily as storm front approaches until it passes and then start again — two days later they are back to normal. So monitor the weather for fronts, then be ready to hit the water when a combination of falling barometric reading and south to east winds indicate weather changes ahead.”

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