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Illinois fishing report 4-2-09

April 02, 2009 at 02:00 PM


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

• Crappie. They are good all over the state in lakes big and small.
• Coffeen Lake, Sangchris Lake and strip-mine lakes for largemouth bass.
• Any of the 43 Illinois locations stocked with rainbow trout. Click here to read about the stocking sites.
• The Illinois River for sauger, such as these below caught by Steve ‘Pinky’ Sandor of Tonica and his son Adam Sandor of Ottawa who won last weekend’s MWC tournament out of Spring Valley. Water is muddy today, but should clear soon. And the spawn is on, so it’s now or never. Pulling crankbaits and floaters has been better than jigging of late.
Illinois hunting and fishing


• Andrew Narro of Lemont caught the 25-inch largemouth bass pictured below on a No. 3 Mepps and 8-pound test line last week out of a pond in Cook County. He won Fish of the Week from the Chicago Sun-Times for his bass, which weighed 7 pounds, 1 ounce.
Illinois hunting and fishing

• The Kankakee River has produced some big walleye in recent weeks. Mark Duffield of Momence caught a 8-pounder on Monday with an X Rap. And last week Claude Eddie Keller of Kankakee caught a 9-4 fish at night that was 30.25 inches long on a jig and minnow near Kankakee River State Park.

• Nathan Woodruff of Cuba caught a 6-pound bass on a crankbait last weekend at Hobart Ault’s strip mines near Fiatt.

• Dan and Steve Shelts of Quincy caught an 11.02-pound channel cat last Saturday on the Illinois River fishing out of Pekin.

• Jim Winkleman caught an 8.5-pound bass using jerkbaits Wednesday at Devil’s Kitchen Lake in southern Illinois.

• Mike Bennett of Alton caught the 21-inch largemouth bass pictured below on March 22 out of a private pond in Madison County.
Illinois hunting and fishing

• Kenny Lookingbill caught and released the 23-inch bass pictured below on Sunday, March 29 while fishing a Yo-Zuri rattling bait in red crayfish pattern in a subdivision lake in Normal. The fish had a 15-inch girth and weighed around 6.5 pounds.
Illinois hunting and fishing

• A 9.25-pound walleye was caught this week at Lake Decatur by a Decatur angler using a slider grub and jig head.

• Nate Teske of Naperville caught the 45-inch muskie pictured below from the tailwaters of Lake Shelbyville on Sunday, March 15. He was fishing with Phil Catona in a boat below the dam and was using a quarter-ounce chartreuse jig and twister tail on 8-pound test line and a Fulcrum spinning reel combo.
Illinois hunting and fishing

• Bruce Journey of Meadowbrook and Jerry Cloniger of Wood River caught these 95 crappie on March 30 by jigging minnows under a cork in a Madison County farm pond.
Illinois hunting and fishing

NORTHERN ILLINOIS North of Interstate 80

Apple Canyon Lake
SOURCE: Tom Calam, Tom’s Bait & Tackle, Freeport (815-232-3337)
Anglers finding crappie and bluegill bite ‘hit and miss’ says Tom Calam of Tom’s Bait & Tackle in Freeport. Tube jigs tipped with waxies or spikes working along the dock areas. 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).
Anglers finding crappie and bluegill bite “hit and miss” says Tom Calam of Tom’s Bait & Tackle in Freeport. Tube jigs tipped with waxies or spikes working along the dock areas. 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.

Forest Preserve Lakes
SOURCE: Lee’s Bait and Tackle of Elk Grove Village (847-593-6424); Henry’s (312-225-8538)
• Saganaskee Slough, Skokie Lagoon and Busse Woods good for crappie using fathead minnows says Henry’s.
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).
Boat anglers have the advantage of getting to main lake areas says Greg Dickson at Triangle Sports & Marine in Antioch. Staying shallow best for crappie and bluegill. Walleye can be found in current areas or along points and flats. A 10 3/8-inch bluegill was caught with a waxworm Wednesday by angler Bob Sweeting under the instruction of Mike Perry in the backwaters of the Chain.

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 lakefront, perch bite still good around 92nd and 95th Street bridges, as well as the river says Henry’s. Pastrick Marina another good location for perch. Salmon are moving in along the shore out of the harbors onto points. Use nightcrawlers on a bobber or crankbaits. Cohos biting around the shoreline. Bowman says Wednesday’s smelt opener was better than expected.
SOURCE: The Salmon Stop (847-244-2525 or fishing hotline 847-244-9876)
• Near Waukegan, brown trout and steelheads biting at the Government Pier and South Rocks, with anglers using frozen roaches, nightcrawlers or spawn sacks says the Salmon Stop.
SOURCE: Mik-Lurch (219-989-0575)
• Near Indiana browns, cohos and a few big perch a also being caught at Gary Lighthouse says Mik-Lurch. A 12-pound brown caught recently in the discharge.

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 some 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).
• Muskie chasers are out but water is still in the low 40s says Sands. A few crappie have been reported in 8-15 feet of water.
• 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)
Anglers picking up a few crappie, bass and northerns says Vet’s. Crappie taking minnows along weedbeds in corn channel or by the flag pole. Bass and northerns biting on golden roaches and Rapalas.

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)
Site still too flooded for fishing says Oest. Trot liners were out for catfish last week but did not catch much.

Argyle Lake
SOURCE:Site manager Robin Hinchee (309-776-3422); The Deck II Bait and Boat Rental shop (309-776-4275)
Report here

Banner Marsh
SOURCE: Adam Jaegle, Presley’s Outdoors, Bartonville (309-697-1193); Merle Keefer, Pekin Bass & Bow (309-347-3334)
Big crappie keep on biting this year says Jaegle, who notes numbers are up also. The water is up and anglers are faring very well, with numerous reports of fish 15 inches and above in the past week. Minnows are a good bet but fish are coming on jigs, too. Bass are biting better Jaegle says, with jerkbaits and crankbaits working off the points in 6-8 feet of water as fish are staging. There are also reports of a 48-inch muskie caught out of Johnson Lake (Main Access) in the past week. Fish of 47 inches and above have been reported at Banner for the past two years, meaning the chances for a 50-incher are real.

Lake Bloomington
SOURCE: Larry Dozard
Crappie are fair in coves on jigs and twisters or minnows.

Braidwood Lake
SOURCE: Jon Meder, Jon’s Bait & Tackle, South Wilmington (815-237-2822)
Dale Bowman reports that blue Kryptonite worms are catching big channels at Braidwood. Bass are fair to decent. Water temperatures are in the 60s.

Clinton Lake
SOURCE: Joanne Lowe, Mike’s Tackle World, Decatur (217-423-0730); Clinton Bait and Tackle, (217-935-3851)
Stripers, white bass, walleye and sauger being caught but nothing big says Joanne Lowe. Striper taking cicadas and sand blasters. White bass hitting on curly tails, rooster tails or Mepps. Crappie were “excellent” last week but slowing now with rains and colder weather says Clinton Bait and Tackle. Walleye and catfish best. Minnows, worms and shrimp working also. Hot arm now open and should be good for a mixed big of white bass, walleye, stripers and catfish. Bass are fair on crankbaits in 5 feet of water says Larry Dozard. Anglers also reported a few smallmouth last weekend.

Evergreen Lake
SOURCE: Mike Steffa, operations supervisor, (309-726-2022) or Larry Dozard
Fishing pressure has been light of late, with a few crappie being caught. The south end of the lake is best Steffa says. Muskie have been active and are moving shallow. Guide Thad Hinshaw boated a 40-incher late last week and had two follows. Muskie nets were out this Tuesday and Wednesday and highlights included three fish over 30 pounds and one 47-incher. Crappie were mostly small.
Click here for up-to-date lake reports.

Heidecke Lake
SOURCE:Greybeards (815-941-1504); Guide Greg Heath (815-258-9136)
Water levels are again stable, but high winds about gusted boats off the lake for Wednesday’s opener, but Heath and clients caught a handful of striped bass in the 14- to 16-inch range. Greybeards said about 25 boats were out today. Dale Bowman has the best up-to-date reports from Heidecke.

Hennepin Canal
SOURCE: Ann Downey, Northside Bait & Archery, Kewanee (309-852-4760)
Fishing has been very slow with the wind and cooler weather.

LaSalle Lake
SOURCE:Dale Bowman of the Chicago Sun-Times; Guide Mike Lynch (708-655-7667)
Lake is now open daily 6 a.m. to dusk. Bowman calls it “outstanding” and “the top pick for multiple species (blue catfish, bass, yellow bass and hybrid stripers).” Other reports are less glowing. Guide Mike Lynch reports: “The fishing has slowed but the big ones are still bitting. I had a blue well over 40l pounds straighten my hook out. Speed has been the key to the bite FAST FAST FAST. The water has warmed very fast so I’m concerned about a fish kill this summer. Hopefully the will stop pumping for awhile and the the water cool off. The fishing will suffer but the water is way to warm for this early in the season.” And Larry Dozard says bass have been fair to slow and taking small crankbaits or Sassy Shad along the rocks.
Click here for a LaSalle Lake fishing forum.

Mazonia Lakes
SOURCE: Del Colvin, Bert’s Bait, Essex (815-365-2103)
Dale Bowman reports Mazonia lakes cooled back to near 50. Hours are 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Powerton Lake
SOURCE: Merle Keefer, Pekin Bass & Bow (309-347-3334)
Smallmouth bass can still be caught as proven by Matt Happach of Pekin. He caught this 19-inch smallmouth bass on March 15 while fishing a deep-diving crankbait near a deeper creek channel.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Snakeden Hollow SFWA
SOURCE: Victoria Tackle Shop (309-879-2664)
Report here

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)
Crappie have backed off and are mostly small, but bluegill started biting well in the rocks on waxworms on Wednesday says Karnes. Most of the bluegill have been fairly small, though. Channel catfish remain a very good option on nightcrawlers for anglers fishing off the park road. Bass fishing has been fair to good. Mike Reed of Bartonville won the Peoria Bassmasters tournament last Saturday with three bass weighing 13.1 pounds. Bryan Nolte of Pekin had big bass of 5.8 pounds.

Lake Storey
SOURCE: Al Hayden, Al’s Sporting Goods, Galesburg (309-342-7776)
Fishing has been very slow here says Hayden. He’s had a few reports of crappie coming shallow on the north end of the lake on sunny days. Otherwise action is slow. Muskie have been active. Bass are best on spinnerbaits and jigs and pork trailers.

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
Crappie have been the most consistent bite in most lakes and have come from 1-10 feet of water depending on conditions. Good numbers of fish are moving shallow on sunny days. Other days you may need to fish deeper. Fairly typical is the report from the Gall family who caught 25 crappie out of a Fulton County lake last Thursday. Biggest was a 16-incher that weighed 2 pounds, 8 ounces and was caught off the bank by 6-year-old Drake Gall (pictured below). Dink’s reports two 2.5-pound crappie out of a Canton-area lake. Dozard reports bass have been fair to good with some 5- to 7-pounders caught. One of those went to Nathan Woodruff of Cuba on a crankbait fished near Fiatt that yielded a 6-pounder.

Illinois hunting and fishing

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 best here on minnows says Gwen Gilmore. Crappie moving up to about four foot range along brush. Bass had been biting before recent snow says Kim Eggers at Beaver Dam Bait Shop.

Carlinville Lake
SOURCE: Gwen Gilmore, Gilmore Bait & Marine, Carlinville (217-854-8136)
Crappie good in both lakes using minnows says Gwen Gilmore. Crappie moving up to about four foot range along brush.

Charleston Side Channel Lake
SOURCE: Rick Cuddy, Prairie Outfitters, Charleston (217-348-6770)
Crappie bite still good on tube jigs says Rick Cuddy at Prairie Outfitters in Charleston. Some saugeye also biting on jigs or twister tails.

Coffeen Lake
SOURCE: Scott Withers, Indian Grove Fish Camp, Coffeen Lake (217-537-3001)
Bass bite “excellent” from banks using about whatever you want to throw out says Scott Withers of Indian Grove Fish Camp. Crappie fair to good on minnows and jigs. Catfish fair to good on worms and stinkbaits. A few striper being caught on deep running crankbaits. Bluegill biting on artificial lures.

Lake Decatur
SOURCE: Joanne Lowe, Mike’s Tackle World, Decatur (217-423-0730)
Fishing getting good says Joanne Lowe. Walleye, striper, white bass and crappie all being picked up below the dam. A 9.25-pound walleye was caught by a Decatur angler using a slider grub and jig head.

Lake Glenn Shoals
SOURCE: Jack Rebman, Kink’s Corner, Hillsboro (217-532-5442)
Catfish about the only thing biting here says Jack Rebman at Kink’s Corner in Hillsboro.

Lake Hillsboro
SOURCE: Jack Rebman, Kink’s Corner, Hillsboro (217-532-5442)
Catfish picking up and bass respectable says Rebman.

Lake Jacksonville
SOURCE: Tom Holmes, Military Surplus Outlet, Jacksonville (217-243-6161) and Lake Jacksonville Campground (217-479-4646)
Fishing slowing with poor weather but big crappie — up to three pounds — still being caught using minnows says Tom Holmes. Crappie starting to come in shallow and being caught by anglers off banks.

Lake Lou Yaeger
SOURCE: Denny’s Bait Shop, Litchfield (217-324-2628)
Crappie bite picking up using minnows or white jigs says Denny’s Bait Shop. Crappie biting 7-8 feet deep.

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. Crappie were biting 3-4 feet deep but could be going deeper with cold spell that has dropped water temps 8-10 degrees in last few days says Joel Pittman. Catfish were starting to hit.

Mill Creek Lake
SOURCE: Dennis Shiley, Mill Creek Lake Park (217-889-3901)
Bass picking up on Rat-L-traps and jigs says Rick Cuddy. Crappie going ‘real good’ says Mill Creek Lake Park.

New Gillespie Lake
SOURCE: John ‘Pappy’ Knowles, Gillespie Lake Police (618-362-6363)
No new report with cold spell and murky waters says John ‘Pappy’ Knowles.

Sangchris Lake
SOURCE: Trevor Miller, Big Red’s Bait and Tackle, Springfield (217-820-9674)
Crappie biting but on small size in five foot 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. Bass good shallow and taking chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, lizards or jigs says Jaegle. Bass 25 Peoria had a tournament Sunday won by Kenny Major of Pekin and Danny Kearney of Lewistown with six bass weighing 12 pounds. Big fish was a 4.6-pounder. all 32 teams weighed fish.

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 still good but slowing a bit says guide Ken Wilson at Lithia Springs Guide Service. Crappie in 8-10 feet of water around standing timber and starting to move into pre spawn pattern. Minnows and jigs, with chartreuse and reds working for crappie. Walleye, mostly males, taking white or chartreuse orange twister tails below the spillway but they have also slowed in the last few days.  Water temps at 51-52 degrees. Says guide Steve Welch: Water color is good and on sunny days fish are moving in and main lake stumps in just four to five foot of water has some big fish on them. On cloudy, rainy days fish high clay banks that drop straight off to deep water. Downed trees have plenty of fish on them and don’t forget main lake points that all have some huge stumps. Bigger fish are using the stumps. Below spillway the muskies were active last weekend on jig and swim baits says Dozard.
• For a daily report on Lake Shelbyville call (217-774-2020).

Lake Taylorville
SOURCE: Lindsey’s Bait & Tackle, Taylorville (217-287-7550)
A few crappie were being caught on minnows says Lindsey’s Bait & Tackle in Taylorville. Crappie biting deep off points above brush.

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS South of Interstate 70

Carlyle Lake
SOURCE: Buddy Langenhorst, Lavish’s Bait Shop , Carlyle (618-594-4413); Henkel’s (618-594-4818)
Crappie biting on tube jigs and minnows around the old Christmas trees and along rip rap says Henkel’s. Bluegill can also be found on waxworms. In the Kaskaskia River, crappie, white bass and sauger all very good says Henkel’s. Crappie taking jigs and minnows in 4-5 feet of water. Curly tail jigs best for sauger. Local angler Larry Surber caught a 12-pound hybrid using a 3-inch curly tail jig. Catfish also biting on stinkbaits.
• 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)
Crappie moving up in grass says Kyle Garner at Crappie Pro Shop in Marion. Minnows and tube jigs. Good color tube jigs for crappie include shad, blue and whites, red and chartreuse or black and chartreuse. Bobby Garland crystal baits also working.

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, catfish and bluegill all biting says Ron Reed at Cooksey’s Bait in Marion. Crappie taking jigs and minnows, bass taking a little bit of everything, catfish biting on chicken livers or cut bait and bluegill on waxworms and crickets. Crappie being caught by logs and trees. The numbers are down but decent quality of fish biting. Good color tube jigs for crappie include shad, blue and whites, red and chartreuse or black and chartreuse. Bobby Garland crystal baits also working.

Devil’s Kitchen
SOURCE: Ron Reed, Cooksey’s Bait, Marion (618-993-3366)
Crappie and bass best says Reed Crappie taking jigs and minnows. A northern fisherman, Jim Winkleman, caught an 8.5-pound bass using jerk baits Wednesday.

East Fork Lake
SOURCE: Sharon Long, Long’s Tackle Box, Robinson (618-544-2709)
Anglers fishing for crappie using minnows, beetle spins and jigs says Sharon Long at Long’s Tackle Box in Robinson.

Lake of Egypt
SOURCE: Guide Matt Strobel (618-922-0354)
Bass on the move and taking spinnerbaits, shaky heads, Rat-L-Traps and flipping a tube jig says guide Matt Strobel. Fish seem to want to move shallow but are scattered, making it hard to set a pattern. Crappie biting in 4-6 feet of water on a slider grub jig around main lake points with weeds.

Forbes Lake
SOURCE: Site manager Glenn Wegener (618-547-3381); Mike Polcyn, Mike’s Bait & Tackle Shop, Louisville (618-665-3209)
Cold spell slowing fishing to a standstill says Mike Polcyn at Mike’s Bait and Tackle Shop.

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 muskie on spawn but should be off soon. Action slowing overall. Largemouth bass good on spinners and Rat-L-Traps. Crappie bite very good, with a few deep but most in 2-5 feet of water along shoreline. Jigs and minnows best. Catfish good on just about anything, but cut shad nightcrawlers and chicken livers best. Bluegills fair.

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)
Weather rough but anglers are still catching some crappie on minnows or waxworms says Shawnee Bait & Tackle.

Newton Lake
SOURCE: Ruth Rauch, Rauch’s Bait & Tackle, Newton (618-752-2151)
Bass turning on in coves and off points says Ruth Rauch at Rauch’s Bait & Tackle. Plastic worms and buzz baits working. A few crappie still biting deep on minnows. Catfish good using nightcrawlers, minnows or stink baits off points and some in coves. Rauch’s celebrating 30 years of service with open house Saturday. Larry Dozard says bass between 16-20 inches being caught using swim jigs, spinnerbaits or plastic worms and Senkos.

Rend Lake
SOURCE: Todd Gessner (618-513-0520); Rend Lake Sporting Goods, Mount Vernon (618-242-2191)
Crappie are good under the bridges and in brushpiles 6-10 feet deep, depending on what the sun does says Rend Lake Sporting Goods. Numbers are good. Fish are not shallow yet. Bass are scattered and slow. Channel catfish are good off the banks using nightcrawlers mostly.

Sam Parr Lake
SOURCE: Sharon Long, Long’s Tackle Box, Robinson (618-544-2709)
Bass good on Rat-L-traps, spinners or crankbaits says Cuddy.


Click here for water level information.

Des Plaines
SOURCE:Click here for a Des Plaines River fishing forum.

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

Illinois River
SOURCE: Carol Culjan at Cajun Sporting Goods in Utica (815-667-4222)
• Near Utica the river has muddied up again. Sauger were very good on jigs and crankbaits prior to the recent rains which brought in lots of mud.
SOURCE: Baitshop Bob, Riverview Marine, Spring Valley (815-663-1000)
• Near Spring Valley the river muddied up some and is dropping. Sauger have slowed some but anglers are fishing the flats and catching fish there and at the dam. Mostly pulling floaters or crankbaits has been the best bet. The jig bite is a bit slow.
SOURCE: Merle Keefer, Pekin Bass & Bow (309-347-3334); Tim Presley, Presley’s Outdoors, Bartonville (309-697-1193)
• Near Peoria catfish action has been good for those fishing shad. Mark Farrow of Meredosia and Tyrone Buckner of Quincy won last Saturday’s Tri-County Catfish Association tournament out of Pekin with six cats weighing 39.5 pounds. Big fish was an 11.02-pound channel caught by Dan and Steve Shelts of Quincy. Average weight was 4.98 pounds.

Kankakee River
SOURCE: Ed Mullady, Sportsman’s Letter (815-932-7285)
• River levels are dropping and from Indiana to Momence there have been some good walleyes reported, including an 8-pounder caught monday by Mark Duffield on an X Rap. Another big fish came last week from near Kankakee River State Park, where Claude Eddie Keller of Kankakee hooked into a 30.25-inch walleye that weighed 9 pounds, 4 ounces. Keller was fishing a jig and minnow at night. Overall catfish are good on minnows or cheesebaits says Mullady. Smallmouth bass are starting to show up.
Click here for a Kankakee River fishing forum.

Mackinaw River
SOURCE: Guide Jonn Graham (309-399-7055)
River levels are up and slightly muddy.

Mississippi River
SOURCE: Iowa Department of Conservation; Todd Baker of Todd’s Bait & Tackle in Thomson (815-973-2378)
Pools 13-14: The river is rising and expected to stabilize through the weekend at high levels. Boaters are urged to use caution and be aware of floating debris even when the water levels begin to drop. River stages on Thursday morning were 10.0 feet at Lansing, 19 feet at Lynxville, 10.6 feet at Guttenberg, 11.93 feet in Dubuque, 0.58 in Bellevue, and 12.59 feet at Camanche. Water temperature remains in the low to mid 40s. There are still a few nice saugers and walleyes being caught at the DNR boat ramp in Guttenberg and next to the shore along the Wisconsin side of Lock and Dam 10. Walleye and sauger fishing has been fair to poor in the tailwaters of Pools 12 to 15.  Most are being caught on three-way rigs, jigs or one-eyes.  A few walleyes are also being taken off the wing dams. Some anglers are catching northern pike in O’Leary’s Lake (Pool 12) and in the Illinois pocket of the Bellevue tailwaters (Pool 13).
SOURCE: Iowa Department of Conservation; Carbon Cliff Bait & Tackle (309-792-3460)
Pools 15-16: In Pool 16, tailwater stage at Lock and Dam 15 is 11.26 feet.  River stage is forecasted to stay fairly steady over the next few days.  Some saugers are being caught on jigs and minnows in Sylvan Slough.  A few crappies and bluegills are being caught in Sunset Marina on minnows and wax worms. 
SOURCE: Iowa Department of Conservation; Jim and Flo Seaman, Dry Dock Bait & Tackle, Gladstone (309-627-2769)
Pools 17-19: In Pool 17, tailwater stage at Lock and Dam 16 is 10.55 feet. The gates are out of the water at the dam and river levels are forecasted to stay steady over the next few days.  Walleye and sauger fishing in the tailwaters has been slow. Crappie and bluegill fishing in the backwaters has been slow. In Pool 18, tailwater stage at Lock and Dam 17 is 12.29 feet.  Walleye and sauger fishing has been slow in the tailwaters. Some channel catfish are being caught on shad guts. Crappie and bluegill fishing in the backwaters is slow.  Some crappies and channel catfish are being caught in Lake Odessa. In Pool 19, tailwater stage at Lock and Dam 18 is 8.45 feet.

Pecatonica River
SOURCE: Tom Calam, Tom’s Bait & Tackle, Freeport (815-232-3337)
A few walleye were being caught on lead heads and minnows says Calam.

Rock River
SOURCE: Jan Prose at TJ’s Bait/Tackle & Canoe Rental in Oregon (815-732-4516)
• Near Oregon a few anglers are out and walleye are fair says Prose. Regulars have caught some nice walleye. But word is the tail-end of the spawn may be here. Water is still high and dropping slowly but is clearing pretty good. A few catfish have been reported close to shore on liver and redworms. No word on smallmouth bass lately.
SOURCE: Ray and Irene Hays, Bunny’s Bait Shop, Dixon (815-288-3812)
• Near Dixon there’s still a lot of water and walleye are biting near the bridges. Water is too wild by the dam. But clarity is decent. Jigs and minnows are best. Lots of chartreuse. Fish are decent sized. Crappie are good down river near the brush at the Moonlight Bay marina. Catfish are still good, but interest has tapered off some. Fish are still near the shoreline.
SOURCE: Guide Matt Jones (815-537-5506 or 815-590-1469 cell) and Doc at Kodiak Outdoor Sports in Dixon (815-284-3075)
• Elsewhere catfish remain good as water levels are fairly stable.



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