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Illinois fishing report 3-26-09

March 26, 2009 at 02:25 PM

Two words dominate the fishing scene in Illinois this week: crappie and walleye. Mix in some big northern pike, a big muskie and some fat-bellied bass and you’ve got the best fishing report so far in 2009.

If you are waiting for warmer weather to get out and wet a line, you are missing out on some decent fishing.


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

• Walleye. OK, that’s not a place, but now’s still the time to catch them. Action has been good below the dam at Wilmington, where Mike Hurms caught and released a 28-inch fish this week. Fishing was good on the Rock River prior to recent rains. And the Illinois River sauger bite is ready to bust loose. If there are walleye or sauger somewhere near you, that’s one good place to target.
• Strip-mine lakes for crappie or big bass. Good numbers of crappie—and big crappie at that—are being reported despite the wind and rains.
• Crab Orchard Lake, Lake of Egypt or any other about 10 other lakes for crappie. Crappie are going strong in about the bottom two-thirds of the state and in southern Illinois are moving shallow. Should be a more normal spawn this spring.
• Creek-fed lakes for channel catfish near where the water runs into the lake. Redwords are a good bet in these situations, as are nightcrawlers.


• Craig Hutton of Manito caught the 2.57-pound, 18-inch crappie pictured below on March 17, 2009 at a private lake in Mason County while fishing a jig.
Illinois hunting and fishing

• Derek Boger and Ron Demus won the walleye tournament on March 22 with a 10.52-pound walleye and an overall three-fish sack of 22.37 pounds. They caught their fish on the Rock River. The tournament was out of Rockton.

• Evan Didway of Pekin caught the 48-inch muskie pictured below at Lake Storey last weekend on a shad-imitating crankbait. The fish had a 19.5-inch girth.
Illinois hunting and fishing

• While bass fishing in the mouth of Belmont Harbor on Lake Michigan last Saturday, Sporto Johnson caught the 38-inch, 16-pound northern pike pictured below. He was fishing 8-pound test line and casting a tube jig and fought the fish for 10 minutes.
Illinois hunting and fishing

• Scott O’Connor caught and released the 35-inch long northern pike pictured below last Sunday in his harbor off of Grass Lake on the Fox Chain’O Lakes. He was fishing a slip bobber under a large golden roach. The fish had a 14-inch girth.
Illinois hunting and fishing

• Zach Mott of Toulon caught and released the 8-pound bass pictured below while fishing a Knox County farm pond.
Illinois hunting and fishing

• Brad Plemmons of East Peoria caught a 7.2-pound bass Wednesday.

• A 20-inch crappie was reported out of Forbes Lake.

• Don Kinney of Marion caught a 9-pound bass at Crab Orchard Lake and out-of-state angler James Massey caught a 7-pound bass from the same lake while fishing a minnow.

NORTHERN ILLINOIS North of Interstate 80

Apple Canyon Lake
SOURCE: Tom Calam, Tom’s Bait & Tackle, Freeport (815-232-3337)
Heavy rains Monday and Tuesday slowing fishing down but Tom Calam of Tom’s Bait & Tackle in Freeport says things should pick up soon. Anglers are picking up a few bluegill. Reminder: crappie fishing is catch-and-release until June 15. Also, make sure and check rules and regulations of legal size of fish in each boundary of water to prevent fines.

Lake Carroll
SOURCE: Tom Calam, Tom’s Bait & Tackle, Freeport (815-232-3337).
Heavy rains Monday and Tuesday slowing fishing down but Tom Calam of Tom’s Bait & Tackle in Freeport says things should pick up soon. Anglers are picking up a few bluegill. Reminder: crappie fishing is catch-and-release until June 15. Also, make sure and check rules and regulations of legal size of fish in each boundary of water to prevent fines. NOTE: Trout season opens April 4 in areas such as Apple River, Lena Lake, Rock Hut, Yellow Creek in ponds in Colletta.

Forest Preserve Lakes
SOURCE: Lee’s Bait and Tackle of Elk Grove Village (847-593-6424); Henry’s (312-225-8538)
Saganaskee Slough good for crappie using fathead minnows says Henry’s.
• In DuPage County all fishing at Silver, Deep Quarry and Grove is closed until the opening of trout season on April 4.
Click here for a Cook County Forest Preserves lake fishing forum.
• Here are links to information on various forest preserve lakes. Cook County, DeKalb County, DuPage County, Kane County, Kendall County, Lake County, McHenry County and Will County

Fox Chain O’ Lakes
SOURCE: Greg Dickson, Triangle Sports & Marine, Antioch (1-847-395-0813).
Anglers heading toward backwaters with a steady diet of minnows and spikes to find crappie and bluegill says Greg Dickson at Triangle Sports & Marine in Antioch. Staying shallow best. Walleye being found in current areas using either jigs and minnows or jigs and Gulp. Water still cool, though, and in the 40s. White bass are slow says Dale Bowman.
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, the perch bite is still good around 92nd and 95th Street bridges says Henry’s. Gary Lighthouse also good for perch in 48 foot of water. Cohos starting to move in and can be caught with lures around powerlines along the lake. Browns and cohos good around Commonwealth Edison and Gary Lighthouse. Browns active around Pastrick Marina, Hammond and Edison. Also, Henry’s has a coho derby at Montrose Saturday from 6-11 a.m. for both rod and reel fishermen or powerliners.
SOURCE: The Salmon Stop (847-244-2525 or fishing hotline 847-244-9876)
• Near Waukegan Salmon Stop says salmon and trout are fair on a variety of baits on government pier and south rocks.

Pierce Lake
SOURCES: Pam Minihan, Dora’s Bait & Tackle, Rockford (815-963-1795) and Bob Rhodes, Rockford Bait (815-226-3515).
Lake still not warm enough for good fishing says Bob Rhodes of Rockford Bait. Though not much happening on lake, anglers were catching a few good-sized walleye at Rockford Dam says Pam Minihan of Dora’s Bait & Tackle.

Shabbona Lake
SOURCES: Guide Jay Angel (815-739-7030) and Denny Sands, Shabbona Lakeside Bait & Tackle, Shabbona (815-824-2581).
• 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)
Walleye and crappie biting in Maze-O Channel says Mik-Lurch.

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)
High water has continued to limit fishing here.

Banner Marsh
SOURCE: Adam Jaegle, Presley’s Outdoors, Bartonville (309-697-1193); Merle Keefer, Pekin Bass & Bow (309-347-3334)
Big crappie are the big news here says Keefer, with fish up to 16 inches coming from all three lakes. “They’re getting good numbers of 9- and 10-inchers but quite a few of the 15-inchers too,” Keefer said. “And I’ve seen pictures of them, so I believe them.” Bass are starting to bite, though most are under the 18-inch minimum size. Crankbaits and jigs the best bet. Last weekend Ryan Ragain of Glasford took big bass honors during an Illini Bluffs high school tournament on the Main Access area with a 17.5-inch bass. Tanner Hartman also caught a 15.25-incher. Water ranged from 45-52 degrees.

Lake Bloomington
SOURCE: Larry Dozard
Crappie remain fair around shallow brush on jigs and minnows. Worth noting is that the 8-inch minimum length limit will be lifted as of April 1. There should be plenty of 7-inchers for bluegill anglers, who will now be restricted to 25 fish per day of any size.

Braidwood Lake
SOURCE: Del Colvin, Bert’s Bait, Essex (815-365-2103); Jon Meder, Jon’s Bait & Tackle, South Wilmington (815-237-2822)
The bass bite remains strong says Colvin, with best action on jigs and pork trailers fished in the reeds. Anglers are also reporting that they have found some green weeds that are holding fish. Brian Walley caught a 5-pound bass earlier this and is the largest Colvin has heard of recently. Channel catfish are biting very well. Water is warm, hitting 75-78 degrees on the cool side and up to 83 on the warm side. Hours are 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Clinton Lake
SOURCE: Joanne Lowe, Mike’s Tackle World, Decatur (217-423-0730); Clinton Bait and Tackle, (217-935-3851)
Walleye biting below the spillway and anglers also sangging catfish says Joanne Lowe of Mike’s Tackle World in Decatur. On the lake, white bass taking the usual baits—twister tails, lead heads, spinners, Mepps—and a few crappie also biting. One angler found success with hybrid striper using sandblasters below the spillway. Crappie bite excellent says Clinton Bait and Tackle. Walleye also very good and catfish are biting around the bridges. Minows, worms and shrimp.

Evergreen Lake
SOURCE: Mike Steffa, operations supervisor, (309-726-2022) or Larry Dozard
Very few fishing reports right now aside from scattered crappie action. “They’re definitely not going gangbusters yet,” Steffa says. No reports on muskie or catfish. Netting surveys will be conducted next week. Look for a state-record muskie and saugeye to be sampled.
Click here for up-to-date lake reports.

Heidecke Lake
SOURCE: Don Stephens, Greybeards (815-941-1504); Guide Greg Heath (815-258-9136)
Opens April 1.

Hennepin Canal
SOURCE: Ann Downey, Northside Bait & Archery, Kewanee (309-852-4760)
Some crappie coming in on the canal. Still a bit slow and spotty. No word on the walleye yet.

LaSalle Lake
SOURCE:Dale Bowman of the Chicago Sun-Times; Guide Jay Angel (815-739-7030); Guide Mike Lynch (708-655-7667)
Bowman rates LaSalle as the top fishing spot in northeast Illinois. Bass and stripers are best but the word is out and the parking lot is full, even during the week. Lake will be open seven days a week starting April 1 and hours should extend. Until then it is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and anglers are allowed out until 4 p.m. Earlier in the week Angel reported that water was running from 56 degrees in the harbor to 86 degrees in the hot-water arm. He said hybrid stripers were best on the north dike of Pool 2 and were hitting chicken liver 10 feet down in 13 feet of water. A few were caught trolling baits. Largemouth and smallmouth bass were biting on the south dike of Pool 3, taking crankbaits or Yum Dingers fished wacky style (Angel’s favorite option). Pictured below is Steve Bown of Peru and George Cies of DeKalb with bass caught while fishing with Angel.
Click here for a LaSalle Lake fishing forum.
Illinois hunting and fishing
Illinois hunting and fishing

Mazonia Lakes
SOURCE: Del Colvin, Bert’s Bait, Essex (815-365-2103)
Water is warming and fishing is starting to improve says Colvin. Best bet right now for bass is Ponderosa, where fish are biting on deep, main-lake points. No word yet on the crappie.

Powerton Lake
SOURCE: Merle Keefer, Pekin Bass & Bow (309-347-3334)
Channel catfish are the best bet right now says Keefer, though anglers are still catching some hybrid stripers in the warm water. Few reports on smallmouth bass. Pressure has spread out too, with more anglers moving to other lakes. No big catfish reported in the last week.

Snakeden Hollow SFWA
SOURCE: Victoria Tackle Shop (309-879-2664)
Lots of anglers out crappie fishing in the walk-in lakes says Victoria Tackle Shop. Some bass showing up on spinnerbaits and black and blue jigs. Some minnows or waxies for the crappie. McMaster Lake is very full.

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)
Channel catfish have been biting all week on the south end, with several limits reported by bank anglers says Stan Weimer, site superintendent. Crappie also fair for bank anglers early on the south end and improving on the north end. Bass were fair on the north end, with some nice fish caught on Senkos says Larry Dozard. Water running 47-50 degrees. Muskie fishing slowed after last week’s netting. During Saturday’s IMTT tournament, anglers caught several fish under 30 inches and top honors went to Ron Rodak of Oak Forest for the 43-inch fish pictured below.
Illinois hunting and fishing

Lake Storey
SOURCE: Al Hayden, Al’s Sporting Goods, Galesburg (309-342-7776)
Overall the bite is light right now says Hayden. Some catfish are biting at Lake Storey and Oak Run where creeks feed in. Redworms are best with a few fish coming on dipbait and nightcrawlers. Anglers are catching a few panfish on the sunny days on the north shoreline where the sun warms things. Crappie best on minnows and a few bluegills on waxies and redworms. A few big bass reported from farm ponds on jigs and pork or rubber trailers. Jeff Hirschfelder of Geneseo caught a 7- to 8-pound bass last week at Oak Run on a black and blue jig. Muskie have become active, as Evan Didway of Pekin caught a 48-inch muskie last Sunday (pictured in the Wall Hangers section above) in the rain and Chef Todd added a fingerling.

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

SOURCE: Presley’s Outdoors, Bartonville (309-697-1193); Paul Dinkheller at Dink’s, Lewistown (309-547-1094); and Larry Dozard
Crappie are biting and have moved in fairly close to shore. Don’t let the weather fool you, they will bite says Tim Presley. Presley says bluegill are scattered but the best bet is to fish near wood. Anglers were catching fish in Peoria County strip mines on Wednesday trolling with jigs and minnows or casting minnows under corks from the bank. Big fish were also coming out of ponds and lakes down by Lewistown according to Dinkheller. “I’ve seen some real nice stringers of crappie,” he says. Dozard reports bass, bluegill and crappie were just fair in Knox County farm ponds. Bass were taking bright spinnerbaits fished slowly. Most are relying on jigs and pork or rubber trailers, though.

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

Beaver Dam Lake
SOURCE: Gwen Gilmore, Gilmore Bait & Marine, Carlinville (217-854-8136); Kim Eggers, Beaver Dam Bait Shop, (217-854-6688)
Crappie, bass and trout being caught says Gwen Gilmore at Gilmore Bait and Marine in Carlinville. Crappie 6-7 feet down with eggs in them around brush piles. Bass also being caught and released with eggs in them. Trout biting on Berkley power bait and/or red wigglers. Bluegill also good says Kim Eggers at Beaver Dam Bait Shop.

Carlinville Lake
SOURCE: Gwen Gilmore, Gilmore Bait & Marine, Carlinville (217-854-8136)
Crappie and bass being caught says Gwen Gilmore at Gilmore Bait and Marine in Carlinville. Crappie 6-7 feet down with eggs in them around brush piles. Bass also being caught and released with eggs in them.

Charleston Side Channel Lake
SOURCE: Rick Cuddy, Prairie Outfitters, Charleston (217-348-6770)
Crappie bite improving in shallow on jigs and tubes or twister tails says Rick Cuddy at Prairie Outfitters in Charleston.

Coffeen Lake
SOURCE: Scott Withers, Indian Grove Fish Camp, Coffeen Lake (217-537-3001)
Bass bite good using spinner baits and catfish decent says Indian Grove Fish Camp. Minnows and nightcrawlers being purchased. Crappie justing starting to come on. Bass have been fair for anglers swimming white jigs and grubs or drop-shotting the same lures in shallow coves says Larry Dozard.

Lake Decatur
SOURCE: Joanne Lowe, Mike’s Tackle World, Decatur (217-423-0730)
Action still a little slow but crappie are biting below the dam sayd Joanne Lowe. A 10-pound walleye caught at the little dam using curly tail jigs, with another 8 pound, 14 ouncer found. A Peoria fishermen caught an 11-pound striper using Slurpee curly tail jigs.

Lake Glenn Shoals
SOURCE: Jack Rebman, Kink’s Corner, Hillsboro (217-532-5442)
Crappie biting “here and there” but water is muddy says Rebman.

Lake Hillsboro
SOURCE: Jack Rebman, Kink’s Corner, Hillsboro (217-532-5442)
Some crappie being picked up but most on small side says Rebman.

Lake Jacksonville
SOURCE: Tom Holmes, Military Surplus Outlet, Jacksonville (217-243-6161) and Lake Jacksonville Campground (217-479-4646)
Crappie and catfish bite good says Tom Holmes at Military Surplus Outlet in Jacksonville. Minnows going strong for crappie. Cats taking shad products. Crappie as large as 2-3 pounds being caught.

Lake Lou Yaeger
SOURCE: Denny’s Bait Shop, Litchfield (217-324-2628)
Anglers heading out for crappie and catfish but no new reports says Denny’s Bait Shop. A 1.5-pound crappie caught in local farm pond.

Lake Mattoon
SOURCE: Rick Cuddy, Prairie Outfitters, Charleston (217-348-6770); Joel Pittman, Mattoon Parks Department (217-254-6680)
Some crappie being picked up but not many other reports says Cuddy.

Mill Creek Lake
SOURCE: Dennis Shiley, Mill Creek Lake Park (217-889-3901)
Bass and crappie best bets says Dennis Shiley at Mill Creek Lake Park. Crappie biting on jigs tipped with minnows in 6-8 feet of water. Bass picking up in the main lake on jigs and spinners.

Sangchris Lake
SOURCE: Trevor Miller, Big Red’s Bait and Tackle, Springfield (217-820-9674)
Crappie biting but on small size in 5 feet of water near rocks or dam face says Trevor Miller of Big Red’s Bait and Tackle in Springfield. Catfish also biting but bass slow.

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 bite good mid lake south fishing deeper about eight feet around stickups or shallow with a cork says guide Ken Wilson at Lithia Springs Guide Service. A Chicago angler caught a 16-inch crappie and two 14-inchers in a recent outing. Walleye biting below the spillway on jigs tipped with minnows. Water temps at 51-52 degrees.
• 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)
Crappie good in hot ditch areas using minnows says Trevor Miller at Big Red’s Bait and Tackle in Springfield. White bass also biting and bass so-so.

Lake Taylorville
SOURCE: Lindsey’s Bait & Tackle, Taylorville (217-287-7550)
Crappie best here with a few keepers being caught using small or medium size minnows says Lindsey’s Bait & Tackle in Taylorville. Crappie biting deep off points above brush.

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS South of Interstate 70

Baldwin Lake
SOURCE: Site office (618-785-2555)
Large and smallmouth bass getting hot says the site office. Smallmouth good sized. Bass taking spinnerbaits. Catfish average, with blues and flatheads taking cut bait.

Carlyle Lake
SOURCE: Buddy Langenhorst, Lavish’s Bait Shop , Carlyle (618-594-4413); Henkel’s (618-594-4818)
Anglers catching catfish drifting usijng nightcrawlers, cut shad, shad guts or even shrimp says Buddy Langenhorst at Lavish’s Bait Shop. Crappie biting on tube jigs and minnows. Crappie bite shallow in brush in about a foot to a foot and a half of water says Henkel’s. Some bluegill biting and a few small white bass also being caught. Sauger going good on the Kaskaskia River with anglers using curly tails tipped with minnows, nightcrawlers or stingers. Hair jigs also working. White bass biting in river also on tube jigs, spinners or curly tails. Crappie taking tube jigs and minnows.
• 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 bite still good on jerkbaits and jigs around bluffs says Kyle Garner at Crappie Pro Shop in Marion.

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)
Crappie, bass and bluegill all biting good on ‘everything’ says Ron Reed at Cooksey’s Bait. Local angler Don Kinney caught a 9-pound bass recently and out-of-state fisherman James Massey reeled in a 7-pound bass with a minnow. Crapping moving up shallow in two feet of water around weed lines and ends of trees says Kyle Garner of Crappie Pro Shop. Also look around beaver dams says guide Matt Stobel. Jigs in electric chicken color producing well. Bass in shallow around lay downs and clumps of weeds and taking spinner baits or jigs.

Devil’s Kitchen
SOURCE: Ron Reed, Cooksey’s Bait, Marion (618-993-3366)
Crappie, bass and bluegill all biting good says Reed.

Lake of Egypt
SOURCE: Guide Matt Strobel (618-922-0354)
Bass continue to be strong says guide Matt Strobel. Bass are moving up shallow to points or secondary points. Jigs, crankbaits, Carolina rigs or Rat-L-Traps all working. Look in back of creeks. Strobel still finding schooling fish. Crappie shallow in weed eges in 3-4 feet of water says Garner. Patriot colors working around Elk Cove and marinas.

Forbes Lake
SOURCE: Site manager Glenn Wegener (618-547-3381); Mike Polcyn, Mike’s Bait & Tackle Shop, Louisville (618-665-3209)
Nice-size crappie being caught on minnows says Mike Polcyn at Mike’s bait and Tackle Shop. A 20-inch crappie caught Sunday. Bass and catfish also biting.

Kinkaid Lake
SOURCE: Janet Graeff, Top of the Hill Bait Shop, Muphysboro (618-684-2923); Guide Al Nutty (618-694-4897)
Guide Al Nutty says crappie bite is good in shallow tree areas in 1-4 feet of water using jigs or minnows. Largemouth bass good on spinner baits, Rat-L-Traps, twitch baits. Muskie bite fair to good on twitch baits, glide baits, spinners and buck tails. A few walleye are being picked up by crappie anglers on minnows 6-8 feet deep arond the shore. Cats good on nightcrawlers, large minnows or cut shad. The small lakes, in warmer water areas, producing bluegill.

Little Grassy Lake
SOURCE: Shirley Lowery, Little Grassy Boat Dock (618-457-6655)
Crappie, bass and bluegill biting says Reed.

Mermet Lake
SOURCE: Shawnee Bait & Tackle, Creal Springs (618-996-3089)
Crappie best here on waxworms or jigs in 8-10 feet of water says Shawnee Bait & Tackle.

Newton Lake
SOURCE: Ruth Rauch, Rauch’s Bait & Tackle, Newton (618-752-2151)
Bass very good in 3-5 pound range using jigs in toward shore or crankbaits says Cuddy. Bass also taking plastic worms or buzz baits says Ruth Rauch at Rauch’s Bait & Tackle in Newton. Some bass moving into coves but most out on points. Reports of numerous anglers out last weekend with cold-side water temperatures up to 61 degrees. Bass were fair to slow in coves on plastics and small spinners fished slowly says Larry Dozard.

Rend Lake
SOURCE: Todd Gessner (618-513-0520); Bill Hudnall, Rend Lake Sporting Goods, Mount Vernon (618-242-2191)
Crappie are fair to good when the wind cooperates. Water is up to 60 degrees in the shallows Gessner says and crappie have been coming shallow. “Now’s the time to be out fishing for crappie,” Gessner says.


Click here for water level information.

Des Plaines
SOURCE: Andrew Ragas,
Water nearing 40 degrees says Ragas, so the best action is still to come. Some walleye in tributaries, including a few 16- to 20-inch fish staging near shallow, rocky areas in current. Fish are biting light.
Click here for a Des Plaines River fishing forum.

DuPage River
SOURCE: Click here for a DuPage River fishing forum.

Fox River
Click here for a Fox River fishing forum.

Illinois River
SOURCE: Jim Hardy of Big Jim’s Bait & Tackle in Ottawa (815-434-3921)
• Anglers not competing in the MWC tournament this weekend might want to launch above the Starved Rock dam. A few anglers off the bank but angler action has been very limited says Hardy.
SOURCE: Carol Culjan at Cajun Sporting Goods in Utica (815-667-4222)
• Near Utica the MWC tournament is a go for this weekend despite the river still being at flood stage. Current has slowed at Starved Rock due to the high water downriver and fishing is improving daily says Carol Culjan. Heavier jigs of one-half ounce or more still a good option. But fish are biting, with reports of sauger and white bass from Peru to Starved Rock, where action is very good. Clarity was 8 inches Wednesday and 10 inches on Thursday.
SOURCE: Baitshop Bob, Riverview Marine, Spring Valley (815-663-1000)
• Near Spring Valley most anglers are heading upstream for sauger says Baitshop Bob, who estimates this weekend’s winning two-day weight for the MWC at 33-38 pounds. “They’ve been catching some big females dropping eggs and I think they’re going to hit it about right,” he said. “The water is slowly dropping and they’re catching fish. One guy said his hotspot was the third cornfield up river, eight rows in.” Tongue in cheek? Maybe. Jigs, pulling three-ways and handlining are all working and plenty of Rapalas are being sold.
SOURCE: Marge Hankins, Hankins Riverview, Henry (309-364-3617)
• Near Henry bullheads have been biting well in the backwaters, but most sauger action is upstream.
SOURCE: Merle Keefer, Pekin Bass & Bow (309-347-3334); Tim Presley, Presley’s Outdoors, Bartonville (309-697-1193)
• Tri-County Catfish Association tournaments start Saturday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. out of Pekin and it will be interesting to see what the fish are doing in this high water.

Kankakee River
SOURCE: Ed Mullady, Sportsman’s Letter (815-932-7285)
• The Kankakee River was receding prior to rains earlier this week but is definitely fishable says Mullady. From Indiana to Momence anglers were catching catfish on minnows and cheesebaits and small walleye on jigs and minnows or Rattlin’ Rogues. Crappie were fair around brushpiles and in creek mouths.
• Near Aroma Park through Cobb Park in Kankakee a few smallmouth bass have been hiting on minnows, jigs and twister tails and Mepps No. 2 spinners. A few walleye on jig and minnow, as well.
• Near Kankakee the best action was for small walleye on jigs, countdowns and Mepps No. 2 spinners.
• Near the Kankakee River State Park Mullady says walleye are good on minnows and catfish are taking minnows and crawlers. Some smallmouth bass on minnows, streamer flies and jigs and twister tails.
• Near Wilmington, Del Colvin at Bert’s Bait in Essex (815-365-2103) reports very good fishing for walleye below the dam. White jigs with chartreuse trailers and minnows are working well for walleye and white bass. Mike Hurms caught and released a 28-incher this week on a jig and minnow.
Click here for a Kankakee River fishing forum.

Mississippi River
SOURCE: Iowa Department of Conservation; Todd Baker of Todd’s Bait & Tackle in Thomson (815-973-2378)
Pools 13-14: Walleye and sauger fishing is good below the tailwaters of the dams.
SOURCE: Iowa Department of Conservation; Carbon Cliff Bait & Tackle (309-792-3460)
Pools 15-16: Some walleye below Lock and Dam 15, but river levels are once again on the rise. Main channel water temperatures are 46 to 48 degrees. The tailwater stage at Lock and Dam 15 is 9.8 feet and is forecasted to reach 11.6 feet by the middle of next week. Some saugers are being caught in Sylvan Slough on jigs and minnows. Anglers have been catching channel catfish on shad guts around wing dams with deeper holes. Crappies and bluegills are being caught in Sunset Marina.
SOURCE: Iowa Department of Conservation; Jim and Flo Seaman, Dry Dock Bait & Tackle, Gladstone (309-627-2769)
Pools 17-19 In Pool 17 the tTailwater stage at Lock and Dam 16 is 8.97 feet and forecasted to rise to 11.2 feet by the middle of next week. Tailwater fishing for walleyes and saugers has been slow. Most fishing reports are coming from area lakes and farm ponds. Pool 18: Tailwater stage at Lock and Dam 17 is 10.83 feet and forecasted to reach 12.7 feet by the end of the weekend. With current river stage forecasts, the Toolesboro landing area could be partially covered in water by this weekend. Tailwater fishing for walleyes and sauger has been slow. A few anglers have been catching channel catfish on shad and night crawlers. In Pool 19 the tailwater stage at Lock and Dam 18 is 7.30 feet and expected to reach 8.8 feet by Monday. Some anglers have been catching channel catfish on night crawlers and cut bait.
SOURCE: Iowa Department of Conservation; Dan Wiemelt, Wiemelt’s Bait Market, Quincy (217-222-4963)
Pools 20-24 In Pool 20 the tailwater stage at Lock and Dam 19 is 10.28 feet and is forecasted to reach 13.3 feet by the middle of next week. No fishing report.

Illinois hunting and fishing
Illinois hunting and fishing
Rock River
SOURCE: Jan Prose at TJ’s Bait/Tackle & Canoe Rental in Oregon (815-732-4516)
• Near Oregon walleye were still biting despite the river rising 2 feet. The expected crest is Saturday about 1 foot above flood stage. But action has slowed down says Prose. Earlier in the week anglers were doing really well until the rain and colder temperatures slowed things (see pictures above). Chartreuse, pink and white are the hot jig colors and twister tails or minnows were both working. Catfish are good close to shore on worms or a smashed minnow. Plenty of 3- to 5-pounders. Smallmouth bass also started biting this week.
SOURCE: Ray and Irene Hays, Bunny’s Bait Shop, Dixon (815-288-3812)
• Near Dixon fish are biting despite the high water says Hays. Water is actually dropping some but catfish are still best. Fish up along the banks with any of a variety of baits. No reports of flatheads yet, though. Walleye had just started going good at the dam prior to last week’s rains. Right now the best bet is upstream and downstream near brush. A few reports of crappie are coming from downstream at the boat club.
SOURCE: Guide Matt Jones (815-537-5506 or 815-590-1469 cell) and Doc at Kodiak Outdoor Sports in Dixon (815-284-3075)
• Elsewhere Derek Boger and Ron Demus caught three walleye weighing 22.37 pounds to win last Sunday’s walleye tournament out of Rockton. That included a 10.52-pounder.

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