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Illinois fishing report 10-15-09

October 15, 2009 at 11:25 AM


Give us our choice of anywhere to fish in Illinois right now and we’d pick…

• The Illinois River for sauger.
• Crappie at Rend Lake and Lake Decatur.
• Northern pike on the Pecatonica and Des Plaines rivers.


• Chris Strong of Wee-Ma-Tuk caught this 7-pound bass while fishing the big lake at the complex.
Illinois hunting and fishing

NORTHERN ILLINOIS North of Interstate 80

Fox Chain O’ Lakes
SOURCE: Greg Dickson, Triangle Sports & Marine, Antioch (1-847-395-0813).
Walleye bite good with decent current says Triangle. Minnows or crawlers working best. North River or under bridges best locations. Striper bite good in current on small fatheads, small Mepps spinners or waxworms. Bass tough right now. Crappie should be more shallow.
Click here to check updates on no-wake status and water levels or call 847-587-8540 .

Lake Michigan
SOURCES: Henry’s (312-225-8538), Vet’s (773-734-6720) and Dale Bowman of the Chicago Sun-Times.
• On the Chicago lakefront, not much has changed since last week as salmon still moving in on the lake front says Henry’s. Glow spoons at night or crankbaits best. Snagging season open. Anglers finding some salmon using spawn sacks or spoons at Pastrick Marina says Vet’s. Boat anglers also trolling out deep in 100 feet of water. A few perch biting at 95th Street.
SOURCE: The Salmon Stop (847-244-2525 or fishing hotline 847-244-9876)
• Near Waukegan, anglers snagging at the Government Pier. Salmon being caught on spawn sacks, shad or frozen shiners on the shorelines. Boat fishing nearing an end.
SOURCE: Mik-Lurch (219-989-0575)
• Near Indiana, salmon, steelhead and cohos active on shrimp and spawn sacks at South Creek and Trail Creek. Pastrick Marina, Hammond and the Amoco discharge producing king salmon on crankbaits or spoons.

Shabbona Lake
SOURCES: Guide Jay Angel (815-739-7030) and Denny Sands, Shabbona Lakeside Bait & Tackle, Shabbona (815-824-2581).
Crappie and bluegill still biting good says Shabbona Lakeside Bait & Tackle. Crappie taking crappie minnows in cribs around points. Bluegill can still be found in weedlines or closer to shore when weeds go away. Try small waxworms or leafworms. Water temps at 48-49 degrees. Walleye and muskie should start to come on soon. One bass angler caught a 4-pound and 6-pound bass with a deep diving bomber bouncing off the rocks along the road beds.
• Park hours November to January 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; February to March 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; April 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; May to October 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Click here for a Shabbona Lake fishing forum

Wolf Lake
SOURCE: Mik-Lurch (219-989-0575)
Crappie biting good in the channels on bobbers and minnows says Mik-Lurch. Some anglers catching walleye trolling crankbaits or using bobbers and minnows.

NORTH-CENTRAL ILLINOIS South of Interstate 80 and North of Interstate 72/U.S. Route 36

Anderson Lake
SOURCE: Site manager Ed Oest (309-759-4484)
Nothing new to report here says site manager Ed Oest. The last day to fish from a boat here is Oct. 23. After that bankfishing only will be allowed.

Banner Marsh
SOURCE: Adam Jaegle, Presley’s Outdoors, Bartonville (309-697-1193); Merle Keefer, Pekin Bass & Bow (309-347-3334); Tom Grider, Riverside Bait, Pekin (309-347-3793)
Only a few days left here but crappie still biting on minnows says Keefer. The last day to fish from a boat here is Oct. 17. After that bankfishing only is allowed. And starting Oct. 31, bankfishing will only be allowed after 1 p.m.

Lake Bloomington
SOURCE: Larry Dozard
Crappie are fair around timber or brush on tube jigs and minnows says Dozard. Stripers are fair to slow on crankaits and jigging spoons. Walleye are slow, most caught accidentally by crappie anglers.

Clinton Lake
SOURCE: Joanne Lowe, Mike’s Tackle World, Decatur (217-423-0730); Clinton Bait and Tackle, (217-935-3851)
Crappie going good here around bridges. Cheesebaits, minnows and waxworms hottest selling items at Clinton Bait and Tackle. Fishing below the spillway is fair for walleye on minnows and some stripers says Dozard. The easterly area of Clinton Lake between the DeWitt and the 48 bridges is closed through March 31.

Dawson Lake
SOURCE: Leon and Judy Gibson, Moraine View Concession (309-724-8295)
Crappie biting good here, some in the 10-12 inch range, on minnows and crappie jigs says Leon. Walleye and bass also being picked up, with the walleye taking jigs and the bass biting on spinners. Catfish doing good also on shrimp or chicken livers. Concession stand closes Oct. 19 and re-opens Nov. 4.

Emiquon Preserve
SOURCE: Paul Dinkheller, Dink’s, Lewistown (309-547-1094); The Nature Conservancy (309-547-2730)
Crappie continue to be on a very good bite here says Keefer. Berkley gulp minnows best. Others report slow fishing for crappie on waxworms and jigs. Bass are good on crankbaits fished 9-10 feet deep. Anglers must obtain a free permit at Dickson Mounds Museum (open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) before fishing here.

Evergreen Lake
SOURCE: Brad Wood, operations supervisor, (309-726-2022) or Larry Dozard
Crappie have slowed and anglers are really having to sort through lots of fish to find keepers says Wood. Dozard suggests fishing up to 20 feet deep for the better fish. Water is in the mid-50s, with clarity of 1-2 feet and down 2-3 feet below normal pool. Saugeye are being caught, but most of them are also small. Muskie are active and being caught by bass and muskie anglers. Bass are running small but are taking spinnerbaits and buzz baits. The bait and tackle shop closes Friday, Oct. 16 for the season. Bowfishing is closed on Evergreen Lake from October 1 through January 17. Also, the north and east sides around Deer Island and all of Six Mile Creek Bay are off limits to gas motors from Oct. 15 to Jan. 1. Trolling motors only will be permitted in this area.
Click here for up-to-date lake reports.

LaSalle Lake
SOURCE:Dale Bowman of the Chicago Sun-Times; Guide Mike Lynch (708-655-7667)
Last day of fishing is today.
Click here for a LaSalle Lake fishing forum.

Powerton Lake
SOURCE: Merle Keefer, Pekin Bass & Bow (309-347-3334); Tom Grider, Riverside Bait, Pekin (309-347-3793)
The last day to fish from a boat here is Oct. 23. The last day to bank fish at Powerton is Oct. 30. Bankfishing will reopen Dec. 28 and boat fishing reopens Feb. 15.

Snakeden Hollow SFWA
SOURCE: Victoria Tackle Shop (309-879-2664)
Muskie have been very active in McMaster Lake with a 48-incher reported last week by the creel clerk. The last day for fishing is Oct. 18.

Spring Lake
SOURCES: Troy Galvin, Galvin’s Spring Lake Market (309-267-6538) and Larry Karnes, Larry’s Restaurant and Family Bar, Manito (309-968-9500)
Overall action is slow says Karnes. Some picking up a few small crappie on minnows or blue and chartreuse jigs. About one in 15 is a keeper, according to Karnes. Anglers are picking up several muskie on the north end using large spinnerbaits.Bass anglers are even catching them on plastics. Water is running about 52 degrees in the north end. The last day to fish from a boat in the hunting zone here is Oct. 23. Starting Oct. 31, bankfishing is closed until 1 p.m. daily in the hunting zone. Boats are allowed north of Maple Island and in the Pike Hole, though the Pike Hole is open to small, portable boats only.

Lake Storey
SOURCE: Al Hayden, Al’s Sporting Goods, Galesburg (309-342-7776)
Crappie are the main talk. The lake is low and there’s very little structure, so they are scattered. Bank anglers are catching some and boaters are finding some too. Occasional walleye being caught by crappie anglers.

Strip Mines
(Fulton, Knox, Peoria and Stark counties)

SOURCE: Presley’s Outdoors, Bartonville (309-697-1193); Dink’s, Lewistown (309-547-1094); and Larry Dozard; Tom Grider, Riverside Bait, Pekin (309-347-3793)
Good crappie reports coming in says Tim Presley at Presley’s Outdoors in Bartonville. Crappie are in shallow next to brush and easily picked up by bank anglers. Crappie taking minnows or jigs. Pink head jigs or different colored sassy shad on the jigs working says Dink’s. Bluegill also biting on waxworms.

SOUTH-CENTRAL ILLINOIS South of Interstate 72/U.S. Route 36 and North of Interstate 70

Charleston Side Channel Lake
SOURCE: Rick Cuddy, Prairie Outfitters, Charleston (217-348-6770)
Saugeye starting to bite on Rat-L-Traps and a few on jigs and twister tails says Cuddy. Crappie good on tube squirts or jig heads. Catfish, channel and flatheads, biting. Mostly channel being taken on nightcrawlers, cut shad.

Lake Decatur
SOURCE: Joanne Lowe, Mike’s Tackle World, Decatur (217-423-0730)
Crappie bite picking up on minnows and tube jigs. Anglers catching limits. White bass biting on big dudes, Mepps, rooster tails, gay blades. Below the dam, largemouth bass biting on topwater lures, rapalas. Crappie and asian carp also biting below the dam.

Lake Jacksonville
SOURCE: Tom Holmes, Military Surplus Outlet, Jacksonville (217-243-6161) and Lake Jacksonville Campground (217-479-4646)
Crappie starting to bite but recent rainy weather slowing things down here. Lake closed for fishing Oct. 18.

Mill Creek Lake
SOURCE: Dennis Shiley, Mill Creek Lake Park (217-889-3901)
Bass picking up, some in 14- to 15-inch range, on plastics or crankbaits. Crappie biting on tight-line minnows in tree top laydowns.

Sangchris Lake
SOURCE: Trevor Miller, Big Red’s Bait and Tackle, Springfield (217-820-9674)
Crappie fair here on minnows says Miller.

Lake Shelbyville
SOURCE: Guide Ken Wilson (217-774-5756 or 217-454-2672) at Lithia Springs Guide Service; Margie Oliver, Marv and Kathy’s Bait & Tackle, Sullivan (217-728-4044); Guide Steve Welch (217) 762-7257 or (217) 840-1221
Crappie and white bass best here says Wilson. Crappie on the ledges in the main lake or along lay down trees in 12-15 feet of water. White bass biting on jig rigs or inline spinners on the north end wind blown flats. Bass taking spinnerbaits, top-water baits, or buzz baits. A few walleye being picked up but not much to report on muskies. Water temps at 52 degrees on the south end.
• For a daily report on Lake Shelbyville call (217-774-2020).

Lake Springfield
SOURCE: Trevor Miller, Big Red’s Bait and Tackle, Springfield (217-820-9674) and Tater’s Bait, Springfield (217-528-2208)
Despite rainy weather, crappie starting to pick up on minnows says Miller. Catfish bite good, with 170 pounds needed to win weekend tournament. Shad best bet for bait.

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS South of Interstate 70

Baldwin Lake
SOURCE: Site office (618-785-2555)
Bluegill biting on crickets and worms. Bass taking topwaters. Catfish slow and crappie fair.

Carlyle Lake
SOURCE: Buddy Langenhorst, Lavish’s Bait Shop , Carlyle (618-594-4413); Henkel’s (618-594-4818)
Crappie taking minnows and jigs says Lavish’s. Catfish anglers drifting with shad and shrimp. A few white bass biting on the rocks with plastics or crankbaits. Also a few largemouth biting on spinners and crankbaits.
• For the latest water level information call (618-594-4637).

Cedar Lake
SOURCE: Ron Reed, Cooksey’s Bait, Marion (618-993-3366); Guide Matt Strobel (618-922-0354); Kyle Garner, Crappie Pro Shop, Carterville (618-985-8277)
Bass being caught in 8-14 feet of water. Shad colored crankbaits, Carolina rigs, green pumpkin colored jigs good around grassy areas. Crappie biting 6-8 feet deep in grass points using minnows or tube jigs. Blue and white, red and white or red and chartreuse colors best. Anglers using topwaters for bass in the mornings.

Crab Orchard Lake
SOURCE: Ron Reed, Cooksey’s Bait, Marion (618-993-3366); Guide Matt Strobel (618-922-0354); Kyle Garner, Crappie Pro Shop, Carterville (618-985-8277)
Small crappie being caught around wood and the bridges says Strobel.

Lake of Egypt
SOURCE: Guide Matt Strobel (618-922-0354)
Bass spotty but taking jigs and plastics. Shaky heads working. Look in creek channel beds in 8 foot of water. Crappie biting but most small on 1/8 ounce curly tail jigs in weedy points.

Forbes Lake
SOURCE: Site manager Glenn Wegener (618-547-3381); Mike Polcyn, Mike’s Bait & Tackle Shop, Louisville (618-665-3209)
Fishing tough here says Wegener. Crappie and bass were doing good early last week but slowed down. Channel cats are fair drifiting with shad. No reports on hybird striper.

Kinkaid Lake
SOURCE: Janet Graeff, Top of the Hill Bait Shop, Muphysboro (618-684-2923); Guide Al Nutty (618-694-4897)
Muskie had been on a real good bite before recent rains the past two days. Large spinners working. Fish have been weed oriented going on points and back ends of bays, but look for many to move back into bays with the recent rains. Glide baits also good 2-10 feet deep. Trollers also using Jakes, Ernie’s or Believers. Largemouth bass fair to good, with some nice 4-6 pounders caught. Bass are up into the outer weeds. They had been deep but will be heading up shallow. Crappie good toward the back of the creek areas 6-12 feet deep around heavy brush piles. Bluegills fair arond the docks and lay down trees. Catfish remain fair. No walleye reports. Water temps at about 61-62 degrees.

Newton Lake
SOURCE: Ruth Rauch, Rauch’s Bait & Tackle, Newton (618-752-2151)
Three fish, weighing just over 15 pounds, won weekend bass tournament here. Plenty of rains over the last two weeks have put lake in a lull right now but it should be picking up soon says Rauch.

Rend Lake
SOURCE: Todd Gessner (618-513-0520); Bill Hudnall, Rend Lake Sporting Goods, Mount Vernon (618-242-2191)
Crappie excellent on minnows or jigs in 7-10 feet of water says Hudnall. Look under bridges or submerged brush piles. Colored chartreuse jigs oggd but most using lead head jigs tipped with minnows. Bass slow and catfish almost non-existant says Hudnall. Some still picking up bluegill on red wigglers.


Click here for water level information.

Des Plaines River
SOURCE:Andrew Ragas
Both the DesPlaines River and its creeks are producing for multiple species. First, the DesPlaines has come alive with the cooler weather which in turn has dropped water temperatures in the 50 to 55 degree range. The recent highlights focus on the Walleyes and Sauger which have finally begun their fall move.

Both fish are relating to deeper hard-bottomed pools with current - along with dams where suitable habitat is present (deeper water, current runs, hard bottom). Walleye are averaging 15 to 20 inches, along with Sauger in the same size category. Most of our action is presently taking place during the late afternoon and evening/nighttime hours with the headlamps. Jig and plastics (grubs/ shads/ swimbaits) are catching mostly numbers while minnowbaits are doing much better with fish of some size. If you find and then catch them, expect to lose some as well because they are not hitting very hard at the moment.

As for Pike and Largemouth Bass, both species are offering anglers good action. Pike up to 30-inches are being caught from deeper pools with wood, backwater areas, and backwaters. A six-pounder was caught in the west suburbs last week. Live bait such as creek chubs, suckers, and shiners on jigs or under floats are working best. However, do not neglect jerkbaits, larger sized bucktails, and swimbaits as they will all produce until first ice. Largemouth Bass are also being found in the same places as Pike on the same offerings. Most fish averaging 12 to 16 inches. Crappies too - look for the wood and remaining vegetation in the backwaters, and slackwater areas.

On the creeks (Salt Creek notably), the fishing is almost just as good, but it won’t last for as long like the river will, into late November. Like the river, water temperatures are in the 50-55 degree range, and a lot of fun action-size fish are being found. Pike from 20-25 inches, Largemouth Bass in the 10 to 14 inch range, and some Walleyes in the 15 to 20 inch range. Matching the hatch with minnow imitators (crankbaits, plastics, jerkbaits) have gotten the best response. Afternoons and evenings have proven to be the best times, including overcast days, but since it’s fall, anytime you can go fishing for a period of time can be a really good time!

From now, and with this relatively consistent weather, good river flows, and steady water temperatures, the fishing will keep getting better for all species - and hopefully the bigger ones will begin showing themselves soon.
Click here for a Des Plaines River fishing forum.

Illinois River
SOURCE: Jim Hardy of Big Jim’s Bait & Tackle in Ottawa (815-434-3921)
• Above the Starved Rock dam, fishing best its been all year says Hardy. Short sauger, white bass, flathead catrs, channel cats and walleye all biting. A few smallies also being picked up. Anglers usinjg different colored jigs and minnows, floaters or just plain minnows on a hook.
SOURCE: Carol Culjan at Cajun Sporting Goods in Utica (815-667-4222)
• Near Utica, striper, crappie and sauger all hitting good says Carol. Water level below normal but water is clear. Some big sauger being caught. Fat head minnows working and stripers also taking shiners. Water temps in low 50s.
SOURCE: Baitshop Bob, Riverview Marine, Spring Valley (815-663-1000)
• Near Spring Valley, sauger phenomenal here says Riverview Marine. Reports of 50-100 fish caught per day with 30-40 percent of those keepers. Anglers using crankbaits, three ways or jigging. Good sized white bass also biting but you have to search for them. In the locks and canals, crappie are hitting but not real strong yet. White bass tournament this weekend.
SOURCE: Marge Hankins, Hankins Riverview, Henry (309-364-3617)
• Near Henry, sauger bite improving as some big fish being caught says Marge. Minnows, nightcrawlers and some crankbaits being used. Fish are biting well at the mouth of Lake Senachwine where water is in the low 50s. Target 10-16 feet of water with jigs and minnows. White bass up to 1.5 pounds are being caught the same way says guide Jay Angel.
SOURCE: Celeste Pollack, Wolf Hollow Archery Bait & Tackle, Chillicothe (309-274-9653)
• Near Chillicothe, sauger biting on nightcrawlers says Celeste.
SOURCE: Merle Keefer, Pekin Bass & Bow (309-347-3334); Tim Presley, Presley’s Outdoors, Bartonville (309-697-1193)
• Near Peoria, some sauger biting on twister tail jigs tipped with minnows says Keefer.
SOURCE: Paul Dinkheller, Dink’s, Lewistown (309-547-1094)
• Near Havana, catfish best on cut baits says Dink’s.
SOURCE: Tom’s Bait Shop in Beardstown (217-323-BAIT)
• Near Beardstown, fishing slowed with recent rains and hunting seasons says Tom.

Kankakee River
SOURCE: Ed Mullady, Sportsman’s Letter (815-932-7285)
Fishing is good overall and the river has been low and clean this week says Mullady.
• From Indiana to Momence, anglers report smallmouth bass up to 3 pounds on jointed plugs, jigs and minnow and crankbaits. Rock bass are good on minnows and crawlers. Walleye are improving on minnows and jigs and crawlers.
• Near the Kankakee River State Park, Nick at Kankakee River State Park Trading Post reports catches of 18- to 20-inch walleye on minnows, jig and crawler and minnow-shaped plugs. Smallmouth bass are good on fly rods using streamers, nymphs and poppers. Catfish still good on cheesebaits and minnows. Check regulations at Kankakee River State Park, as some areas for hunting are closed for fishing, but good amounts of shoreline for fishing available.
• Near Wilmington smallmouth bass aregood on spinners, jig and twister tails and minnows. Catfish good on worms, minnows and cheese baits.

Mississippi River

Illinois hunting and fishing
Rock River
SOURCE: Jan Prose at TJ’s Bait/Tackle & Canoe Rental in Oregon (815-732-4516)
• Near Oregon this cold snap has improved fishing. Several nice walleye have been caught including a fish over 8 pounds hooked by Gary Jansen of Dixon. And there are good reports at Lowden Rock (a bluff about 3 mile south of the dam) where walleye and smallmouth bass were biting. A large northern pike was caught at the Byron pit and Tony Dericco caught the 37-inch, 13-pound muskie [pictured above on Oct. 11.
SOURCE: Ray and Irene Hays, Bunny’s Bait Shop, Dixon (815-288-3812)
• Near Dixon, channel cats picking up on cutbaits, crushed minnows or shrimp says Ray. White bass slow. Crappie improving on minnows. Walleye not coming on yet. Drum biting on worms and carp being caught on dough baits or corn. Water low but clean.


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East Central Illinois

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/16 at 12:13 AM

We have had a real hard time finding good information from east central Illinois, regarding Lake Vermilion or any other spots in the Champaign area. We are open to suggestions for next spring.

Posted by Jeff Lampe on 10/16 at 07:00 AM

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