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Illinois fishing report 5-28-09

May 28, 2009 at 02:46 PM


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

• Channel catfish at Rend Lake, on the Kankakee River, on the Illinois River above Starved Rock lock and dam, on the Pecatonica River and just about anywhere else in illinois.
• Central Illinois strip mines for bluegill and redear. Actually, just about anywhere you have bluegill you should be able to catch a nice mess this weekend.
• Coho salmon out of North Point Marina.
• Coffeen Lake and Rend Lake for bass.
• Any spot where you suspect big flathead catfish can be caught.


• Billy Canada of Manito caught a 7.98-pound bass at Spring Lake the weekend of May 16 on a lizard.

• Guide Al Nutty (618-694-4897) recently caught a 46-inch muskie while trolling a Rapala 16-feet deep for walleye.

• Numerous reports of big flatheads caught around the state including a 60-pounder at Crab Orchard Lake, a 56-pounder at Rend Lake by Nick Schafer of Mount Vernon on a bluegill, a 37-pounder at Coffeen Lake, a 32-pounder on the Rock River near Dixon and a 27-pounder at Clinton Lake caught by Ted Reed on cheesebait on Wednesday.

• Rend Lake produced a pair of 8-pound bass this week, by Will Tennyson and Jerry Burgess.

• Jim Henry of Dixon caught a 42-inch, 17.3-pound muskie Thursday on the Rock River near Castle Rock while fishing a bluegill for flathead catfish.

• Raul Garcia Jr. caught this 22-inch, 5-pound largemouth bass at Shabbona Lake last weekend on a 7.5-inch Yum Ribbontail worm and 2/0 keeper hook.

Illinois hunting and fishing

• Bill Barkstrom of Burr Ridge caught this 36-inch, 8-pound, 5-ounce northern pike out of the Des Plaines River last weekend on a minnow fished under a bobber.

Illinois hunting and fishing

NORTHERN ILLINOIS North of Interstate 80

Apple Canyon Lake
SOURCE: Tom Calam, Tom’s Bait & Tackle, Freeport (815-232-3337)
Fishing coming on strong here says Tom Calam of Tom’s Bait & Tackle in Freeport.  Nice size bluegills, in 8-12 inch range being caught. A few walleye, from 12-17 inches, biting. Crappie also good. Plenty of bas biting but most on small size. Best baits here waxies, leeches and nightcrawlers. 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).
Good numbers of bluegill, in 10-12 inch range, biting here says Calam. Bluegill on verge of going on beds and some already on beds. Crappie bite good but still 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. A few northerns being picked up. Walleye minnows, waxworms and leeches working here.

Forest Preserve Lakes
SOURCE: Lee’s Bait and Tackle of Elk Grove Village (847-593-6424); Henry’s (312-225-8538)
Bluegill are moving shallow and some anglers are still catching crappie in most northern lakes.
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).
Bluegill are excellent says Triangle. Steve Sarley agrees the bluegill bite has turned on in the shallow channels for anglers fishing with redworms. Walleye are also good and have been best in current on crankbaits and minnows. Anglers also catching walleye fishing leeches or crawlers near bridges. Some muskie reported. Sarley advises trying the Double Cowgirl spinner. White bass are showing up again and Petite Lake has been best. Dale Bowman advises looking for fish 8 feet deep or shallower on wind-blown shorelines. Catfish are showing up on stinkbait and should be spawning soon.
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, perch are moving up and biting around Montrose, Belmont and Burnham Harbors, plus along 63rd Street, 39th Street and 53rd. Pastrick Marina and 31st Street also good for perch. Kings can be found east of Michigan City. Smallmouth bass biting good on poor boys around Pastrick and Gary Light. Salmon good 21/2 miles northeast of the Gong in 55-65 feet of water. Dale Bowman predicts perch could arrive on the lakefront earlier than their traditional June 1 arrival. Limits have been reported this week and Mike Repa weighed a 15.25-inch perch at 1-9. Bowman also says smallmouth bass are bedding in the harbors and boaters have caught excellent coho from the apartments to Tower Road in 25 feet of water or in 30-50 feet of water a mile north and south of the R-2. Dodgers and flies are working.
SOURCE: Capt. Nick Ganzer (847-234-7208).
• Near North Point the coho run has started in earnest says Ganzer. He says, “East winds have loaded our shores with warmer waters and the alewife/salmon/trout have invaded our waters. Good numbers of salmon/trout are being taken now, with 15-30 fish per week. Best set-ups are Yellow Birds with dodger/peanut flies and spoons/dodger/flies off downriggers (60- to 90-feet down). Last week’s best fishing was in 150 to 250 feet of water. However the last few days, fish have been taken in closer (120-150). The coho should hit the beaches, once stable, warmer weather arrives.” The picture below shows the Obstalecki party with nice catch of coho and steelhead.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Pierce Lake
SOURCES: Pam Minihan, Dora’s Bait & Tackle, Rockford (815-963-1795) and Bob Rhodes, Rockford Bait (815-226-3515).
Crappie bite good on minnows in the spillway by Rock Cut State Park says Pam Minihan. A 4-pound crappie caught by angler named Blaind last Monday says Minihan. Bluegill and bass also on a good bite says Bob Rhodes.

Shabbona Lake
SOURCES: Guide Jay Angel (815-739-7030) and Denny Sands, Shabbona Lakeside Bait & Tackle, Shabbona (815-824-2581).
Denny Sands of Lakeside Bait and Tackle said he used surface baits, floating rapalas, and wacky worms to haul in good number of bass Thursday morning. Muskie all around the lake and visible with good water clarity. Bluegill good near the shore. Catfish taking chicken livers or nightcrawlers. Angel says crappie fishing has been excellent though fish are about done spawning. Some were still shallow in the timber of the no-motor zone last weekend and should be there through this weekend. Crappie are also starting to show up on deeper structure of the main lake such as the fish cribs and brushpiles. Water is ranging from 69-72 degrees. Bass fishing has been slow because bass are on the beds. Some biting in the bays and on the dam face. Action should improve soon. The picture below is of the father-and-son team of Nick and Nick Lupo who caught numerous crappie with Angel over the Memorial Day weekend.
• 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

Illinois hunting and fishing

Wolf Lake
SOURCE: Mik-Lurch (219-989-0575)
Muskie bite still going good, with some in 45-46 inch range says Mik-Lurch. Walleye picking up trolling crawler harnesses with leeches or No. 5 shad raps in chartreuse of green colors. Crappie good on minnows and bee moths says Vet’s. Bass also biting here.

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)
The boat ramp should be open this weekend. Call ahead.

Argyle Lake
SOURCE:Site manager Robin Hinchee (309-776-3422); The Deck II Bait and Boat Rental shop (309-776-4275)
Saugeye are biting well says the Deck II. Fish are hitting crawlers on jigs and crankbaits. Bluegill are fair and a few crappie are still being caught.

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)
Bass fishing is better this week with most fish post-spawn and backed off the banks some and larger females biting again says Adam Jaegle. He and partner Tim McCoy won a Monday tournament with three keepers weighing 10.85 pounds, including a 4.82-pounder. Chatterbaits and spinnerbaits are working well and some are coming on plastics. Crappie are biting but most have been small. Catfish also better.

Lake Bloomington
SOURCE: Larry Dozard
Bluegill and bass are fair and biting shallow around timber and in coves. Crappie are fair but have backed off towards brush and timber says Dozard. Lake is still running over the spillway and temperatures are ranging into the upper 60s. Walleye are fair to slow along breaks.

Braidwood Lake
SOURCE: Del Colvin, Bert’s Bait, Essex (815-365-2103); Jon Meder, Jon’s Bait & Tackle, South Wilmington (815-237-2822)
The annual charity bass tournament to benefit autism will be held here Saturday, with more than 70 boats expected. Call (815) 417-3184.

Clinton Lake
SOURCE: Joanne Lowe, Mike’s Tackle World, Decatur (217-423-0730); Clinton Bait and Tackle, (217-935-3851)
Anglers catching white bass at the spillway using minnows and worms says Clinton Bait and Tackle. Crappie going deep and not on a good bite. Local angler Ted Reed caught 27-pound catfish with a No. 9 catfish hook using cheesebait on May 27. A couple good sized bass also caught recently. Walleye going “big-time” on Rapala crank baits says Lowe. Dozard says walleye were fair to good last weekend on jigs and crawlers fished off points and flats. He heard reports of fish averaging 14-17 inches. Also bass were taking plastics and white spinnerbaits along the shoreline in coves.

Dawson Lake
SOURCE: Leon and Judy Gibson, Moraine View Concession (309-724-8295)
Catfish are the best bet and have been biting pretty well says Leon Gibson. Anglers are using dipbait, shrimp and chicken liver. Bass are good on a variety of lures, with reports of a 5-pounder and a 7-pounder caught in the past week. Walleye have slowed down some and moved deeper, though Larry Dozard reports a 5-pounder was caught last weekend. Crappie are also slower.

Emiquon Preserve
SOURCE: Dink’s, Lewistown (309-547-1094); The Nature Conservancy (309-547-2730)
Few reports from here in the past week, though bass are still biting well and in good numbers. 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
Saugeye action has been very good says Wood. Keepers are coming on crawlers. tube jigs tipped with crawlers, waxworms and even Power baits. Many of the saugeye are going to bank anglers at the pump station. Water is running in the upper 60s to the lower 70s with clarity from 6 inches to 3 feet. Crappie are still good. Reports of over 100 fish per day being caught are common this week, with a good amount of them being keepers. The fish are still shallow, but seem to be moving away from the shore as the spawn reaches the end. There have been reports of a few bass being caught in the last week, but no lunkers. Catfish have been doing well in the past weeks. Several fish from 7-10 pounds have been reported. Bowfishing has also been good, with numerous fish in shallow, grassy areas.
Click here for up-to-date lake reports.

Heidecke Lake
SOURCE: Don Stephens, Greybeards (815-941-1504); Guide Greg Heath (815-258-9136)
Walleye are still good says Greybeards. One angler caught 50 walleye in the last three days using a slip bobber and drifting a nightcrawler underneath. Fishing slowed some last weekend at Heidecke, but guide Mike Lynch said live bait fished along the ledges still produced fish. Dale Bowman said angler Jim Giglio caught five smallmouth bass, four hybrid stripers and eight walleye Monday with a Mepps on the center dike. Smallmouth bass taking Mepps spinners at Heidecke Lake says Henry’s.

Hennepin Canal
SOURCE: Ann Downey, Northside Bait & Archery, Kewanee (309-852-4760)
Bluegill are biting very well says Downey and have headed to the beds in the past few days. Few reports on crappie. Good reports on bluegill and channel catfish from near Bureau and Tiskilwa says Baitshop Bob Henning of Riverview Marine in Spring Valley.

LaSalle Lake
SOURCE:Dale Bowman of the Chicago Sun-Times; Guide Mike Lynch (708-655-7667)
Big bass and big blue catfish have been biting for guide Mike Lynch, who said everything from trolling to bobber fishing produced nice fish last weekend.
Click here for a LaSalle Lake fishing forum.

Mazonia Lakes
SOURCE: Del Colvin, Bert’s Bait, Essex (815-365-2103)
Bluegill and crappie are top choice with bass moving off the beds and starting to bite better.

Powerton Lake
SOURCE: Merle Keefer, Pekin Bass & Bow (309-347-3334); Tom Grider, Riverside Bait, Pekin (309-347-3793)
Hybrid stripers have improved mightily and are biting best in the discharge. Limits reported on bait shrimp and other flashy baits. Channel catfish are also biting well but most are smaller and are stealing baits says Grider. Shiners, shrimp and cut bait working well. Reports of some blue catfish ranging 8-15 pounds in the past week. Live bait typically best. Smallmouth bass have been slow, with a few small fish caught in the intake canal on tube jigs. Summer hours are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Snakeden Hollow SFWA
SOURCE: Victoria Tackle Shop (309-879-2664)
Bluegill are biting well and crappie have come on strong and are still spawning says Terri Whiteside. Good reports are also coming from the walk-in lakes for bass and channel catfish. Catfish taking dew worms with reports of fish up to 5 pounds this week. One group of three anglers caught five bass in an outing this week and three topped 3 pounds. Some walleye reported at McMaster Lake including a 5-pounder last week.

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)
Bluegill are still biting well along the road on the south end and bank anglers have also started crappie again in the past few days, including some nice 10- and 12-inchers. Best crappie are coming from the edge of moss beds in the turnoff areas says Karnes. This is later than usual for crappie, but moderate temperatures must be helping extend the bite. Channel catfish are also good for bank anglers who are fishing worms and dipbait. Bass are fair to slow.

Lake Storey
SOURCE: Al Hayden, Al’s Sporting Goods, Galesburg (309-342-7776)
Bluegill are biting very well though many run small says Hayden. Fish are shallow and respondingly well to crickets or waxworms. The same is true at Oak Run, where bluegill are better sized. Crappie are still fair to good at Lake Storey and are still shallow, though some are moving into deeper water. Anglers report a few walleyes on crankbaits or spinners slow-trolled with minnows fished just outside the weedline. A few catfish are hitting dipbait, worms and chicken livers. Catfish have been even better at Oak Run, particularly in the north end after recent rains. Evan Didway caught a 30.5-inch walleye Sunday afternoon at Lake Storey on a muskie lure while fishing for muskie. Carp are rolling in the shallows at Oak Run.

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)
Bluegill are dominating fishing action in most mine lakes, having moved shallow in the past few days in force says Adam Jaegle at Presley’s Outdoors. Lots of big males reported on crickets, Berkley crappie nibbles and waxworms. Redear are also biting well. Some crappie also being caught, particularly off dropoffs and on the edge of weedlines. Crappie are more scattered, though. Bass are in various stages of the spawn, some done, some still on the beds. Numerous reports of big groups of fry in the past few days. Plastics, crankbaits and spinnerbaits all working well, as are lizards pitched tight to the bank. Better reports for catfish as well, with dipbait working well.

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)
Rain making things very slow says Gilmore and Eggers.

Carlinville Lake
SOURCE: Gwen Gilmore, Gilmore Bait & Marine, Carlinville (217-854-8136)
Recent treatment of lake for moss and steady rains making fishing slow says Gilmore. Anglers were taking big shiners out to try for catfish but not reports yet. Crappie very slow. Anglers were picking up bluegill with crickets in local farm ponds.

Charleston Side Channel Lake
SOURCE: Rick Cuddy, Prairie Outfitters, Charleston (217-348-6770)
Crappie bite good on waxworms or minnows says Rick Cuddy at Prairie Outfitters in Charleston. Catfish good, mostly on cheesebaits or chicken livers.

Coffeen Lake
SOURCE: Scott Withers, Indian Grove Fish Camp, Coffeen Lake (217-537-3001)
Bass excellent on top waters out of weeds and grassy areas says Scott Withers. Crappie bite fair on jigs and minnows. Catfish good on stinkbaits, worms, cut bait or shrimp. Bluegills biting on mealworms and waxworms. Striper slow. Lake high and water a little murky. A 37-pound flathead caught last week.

Lake Decatur
SOURCE: Joanne Lowe, Mike’s Tackle World, Decatur (217-423-0730)
Anglers catching a little of everything here says Joanne Lowe.  Crappie and catfish both good on the lake. Bass slow nice bluegill biting. Below the dam, walleye, catfish, white bass and striper biting on usual baits.

Lake Glenn Shoals
SOURCE: Jack Rebman, Kink’s Corner, Hillsboro (217-532-5442)
Catfish going good on shrimp and leeches, says Jack Rebman at Kink’s Corner in Hillsboro. Crappie scattered. Try rip-rap area north of marina for cats and hybrid stripers.

Lake Hillsboro
SOURCE: Jack Rebman, Kink’s Corner, Hillsboro (217-532-5442)
Crappie and catfish bite best here says Rebman. Catfish taking leeches and shrimp.

Lake Jacksonville
SOURCE: Tom Holmes, Military Surplus Outlet, Jacksonville (217-243-6161) and Lake Jacksonville Campground (217-479-4646)
Nothing new to report with rains says Tom Holmes. Bass bite has been very good, as fish are off the spawn and have backed off the bed.

Lake Lou Yaeger
SOURCE: Denny’s Bait Shop, Litchfield (217-324-2628)
Rain causing muddy waters and not many our fishing says Rusty at Denny’s Bait Shop.

Lake Mattoon
SOURCE: Rick Cuddy, Prairie Outfitters, Charleston (217-348-6770); Joel Pittman, Mattoon Parks Department (217-254-6680)
Crappie good but bass tough with muddy waters says Cuddy. Crappie going deep and taking minnows or jigs says Pittman. Catfish also taking minnows and jigs outside weeds in two feet of water. Some cats up to seven pounds. Bluegills biting on waxworms off the banks and around docks. Recent bass tournament took 16 pounds to win.

Mill Creek Lake
SOURCE: Dennis Shiley, Mill Creek Lake Park (217-889-3901)
Bass good on a mixture of baits says Rick Cuddy. Soft plastics, spinners, crankbaits and jigs all working at various times.

New Gillespie Lake
SOURCE: John ‘Pappy’ Knowles, Gillespie Lake Police (618-362-6363)
Crappie bite was good using jigs before recent heavy rains says the Gillespie Lake Police. Catfish also very good on dough baits.

Sangchris Lake
SOURCE: Trevor Miller, Big Red’s Bait and Tackle, Springfield (217-820-9674)
Shore crappie biting on minnows says Trevor Miller of Big Red’s Bait and Tackle in Springfield. Some bass being caught and big flatheads biting.

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
Water high and fishing tough says guide Ken Wilson. White bass and muskie still being caught below the spillway. White bass taking twister tails and muskie biting on swim baits. Bass were fair on plastics, jigs and spinnerbaits in flooded vegetation says Larry Dozard. Crappie fair to slow shallow on minnows and you must keep moving in flooded coves, or around flooded willows. Walleye fair on jigs and minnows or crawlers on flooded areas of rock. Guide Steve Welch caught nine walleye in the flooded parking lot area recently.
• 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)
Catfish bite good on shad, cut shad or nightcrawlers says Miller. Crapping bite slowing but some still being caught on minnows. Bass fair on chartreuse colors, spinners and buzz baits.

Lake Taylorville
SOURCE: Lindsey’s Bait & Tackle, Taylorville (217-287-7550)
Crappie bite still good on minnows, despite rains says Lindsey’s Bait & Tackle. Catfish also good on nightcrawlers or stinkbaits.

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS South of Interstate 70

Carlyle Lake
SOURCE: Buddy Langenhorst, Lavish’s Bait Shop , Carlyle (618-594-4413); Henkel’s (618-594-4818)
Catfish spawning on the rocks a foot to a foot and a half deep says Henkel’s. Uses crickets or nightcrawlers on rock points. Bluegills also on rocks taking waxworms or redworms. Crappie going deeper in the brush and biting on minnows or tube jigs. Below the spillway, largemouth bass and catfish best here says Henkel’s. Catfish taking leeches. Largemouth biting on spinner and crankbaits but some also taking leeches. Sauger, whites and crappie also being caught.
• 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)
Bluegill biting best up on the banks or around beaver dams on crickets and waxworms says Reed. Bass biting on grass beds and off points using june bug colored worms and crankbaits says Garner.

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, catfish and bluegills best here says Ron Reed. Crappie biting on minnows and jigs, with cats taking cut bait, leeches or cheese baits. Bluegill biting on waxworms or crickets. A 60-pound flathead caught here recently. Bass slow. Catfish biting around Wolf Creek Road says Garner, with nightcrawlers, dipbaits and leeches working. Crappie moving out to 8-12 feet. Try shad colored jigs.

Devil’s Kitchen
SOURCE: Ron Reed, Cooksey’s Bait, Marion (618-993-3366)
Bluegills still biting strong here off the banks or around beaver dams using waxworms or crickets says Ron Reed.

East Fork Lake
SOURCE: Sharon Long, Long’s Tackle Box, Robinson (618-544-2709)
Bluegill bite very strong says Polcyn. Smaller ones biting around the banks but bigger ones can be found about 17 feet deep. Crickets best but about any bait will do. Catfish good on stinkbaits, crawlers or cut shad. Crappie going deep.

Lake of Egypt
SOURCE: Guide Matt Strobel (618-922-0354)
Bass in post spawn mode guide Matt Strobel. Jigs and topwaters early morning along weed areas. Shaky heads also working.

Forbes Lake
SOURCE: Site manager Glenn Wegener (618-547-3381); Mike Polcyn, Mike’s Bait & Tackle Shop, Louisville (618-665-3209)
Crappie most consistent bite here says site manager Glenn Wegener. Crappie done with spawn and taking minnows and/or jigs anywhere from two feet deep to 6-8 feet. Channel cats running shallow getting ready to spawn and taking chicken livers and nightcrawlers. Cats in 2-6 pound range. Hand-sized bluegill on beds and taking just about anything you want to throw. Bass coming off spawn and should improve soon with topwater baits.

Kinkaid Lake
SOURCE: Janet Graeff, Top of the Hill Bait Shop, Muphysboro (618-684-2923); Guide Al Nutty (618-694-4897)
Fishing spotty but anglers still finding success some days says Top of the Hill Bait Shop. Muskie biting but should slow as weather temperatures increase. Guide Al Nutty used a rapala trolling about 16 feet deep to haul in a 46-inch muskie while walleye fishing. Largemouth near spawn but fair on plastic lizards. Bass also taking shallow runners and suface baits. Crappie fair to good. Some still shallow and taking minnows and jigs in heavy brush piles 3-6 feet deep. Others going deeper. Bluegill on a good bite shallow around the banks using crickets, waxworms or mealworms. Catfish fair to good on nightcrawlers or cut baits. Below the spillway is a hot spot says Nutty. Hybrid white bass, in 4-7 pound range, biting as are walleye, bass and muskie. Water temps at between 71-74 degrees, with 1-3 foot clarity around the dam.

Little Grassy Lake
SOURCE: Shirley Lowery, Little Grassy Boat Dock (618-457-6655)
Bluegill bite good on waxworms, crickets says Reed.

Rend Lake
SOURCE: Jason Johns (618-927-3432); Bill Hudnall, Rend Lake Sporting Goods, Mount Vernon (618-242-2191)
Channel cats “more than excellent” says guide Jason Johns. Cats moving into rocks to spawn and takiing cut shad and nightcrawlers. Bluegill bite also good on red wigglers, crickets, meal worms. Bass excellent on shallow-running crankbaits or pitching soft plastics shallow. Local angler Will Tennyson caught an eight-pound bass recently. Crappie are fair in 6-8 feet on tubes and minnows behind bushes says Hudnall. Channel catfish are as good as it gets around wood and rocks, even around bushes.

Sam Dale Lake
SOURCE: Mike Polcyn, Mike’s Bait & Tackle Shop, Louisville (618-665-3209)
Catfish bite good here says Polcyn. Cats taking about anything but stinkbaits, crawlers, cut shad working well.


Click here for water level information.

Des Plaines River
SOURCE:Andrew Ragas
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)
• Above Starved Rock the fishing has been good says Hardy. Smallmouth bass are being caught up and down the river all the way up to the Dayton dam on the Fox River. Channel catfish are very good on minnows, cut bait or stinkbait for bank and boat anglers. Fish up to 9 pounds have been reported and there have been good numbers of 4-5 pounders. Hardy also heard of a 16-pound flathead catfish caught Monday. That’s just in time for Big V’s catfish tournament out of the Ottawa Pool this Saturday at Allen Park. Some anglers have also been catching herring on minnows and using that for cut bait.
a few inches up. Few reports of sauger, walleye or crappie.
SOURCE: Carol Culjan at Cajun Sporting Goods in Utica (815-667-4222)
• Near Utica water bumped up a bit on Thursday and clarity remained just 4-6 inches, but Starved Rock State Park reopened so boaters can get back out says Buster Culjan. River is still very high but the big and littler Vermilion rivers are clean. Says Culjan, “Stripers and walleye are the big question mark. After two weeks, boats are just getting back on the water.” Good numbers of drum perch and channel catfish at the dam.
SOURCE: Baitshop Bob, Riverview Marine, Spring Valley (815-663-1000)
• Near Spring Valley boaters have been launching since Monday with a few reports of catfish and sauger. Fishing has been slow, though, says Baitshop Bob.
catfishing is going out
SOURCE: Marge Hankins, Hankins Riverview, Henry (309-364-3617)
• Near Henry backwater catfishing is the main thing going on.
SOURCE: Merle Keefer, Pekin Bass & Bow (309-347-3334); Tim Presley, Presley’s Outdoors, Bartonville (309-697-1193)
• Near Peoria the river reopened to recreational boating on Wednesday. Anglers should be able to find catfish in flooded areas. Try nightcrawlers, leeches, dipbait or shrimp. White bass have also been running strong near Liverpool, with shrimp working well. Backwater fishing is good says Pual Dinkheller at Dink’s in Lewistown. He has heard of several 15- to 25-pound flathead catfish caught on the Spoon this week. The river is no-wake around Beardstown.

Kankakee River
SOURCE: Ed Mullady, Sportsman’s Letter (815-932-7285)
On the Kankakee River the fishing has improved markedly says Mullady.
• From Indiana to Momence catfish are good on cheesebaits, chicken liver, worms and minnows. Rock bass are also good on minnows, spinners and worms.
• Near the Kankakee River State Park the Kankakee River Trading Post reports numerous catfish from 3-9.5 pounds. Rock bass are good along quiet shorelines, at Timothy Island and at Nature Island on live bait, No. 2 spinners and jigs tipped with twister tails. Smallmouth bass are taking crankbaits, imitation crayfish, jigs and twister tails and No. 2 or No. 3 Mepps spinners.
• Near Wilmington, smallies, rock bass and catfish are all good.
Click here for a Kankakee River fishing forum.

Kishwaukee River
SOURCE:Bob Rhodes, Rockford Bait (815-226-3515)
Smallmouth have been good when anglers can get into river to fish says Bob Rhodes at Rockford Bait.

Mississippi River
SOURCE: Iowa Department of Conservation; Todd Baker of Todd’s Bait & Tackle in Thomson (815-973-2378)
Pools 13-14:
In Pool 13, river stage at Bellevue is 6.4 feet and slowly falling.  Water clarity is fair.  Water temperature is in the high 60s to low 70s.  Channel catfish - Fair: Catfish are starting to bite along rip rapped shorelines.  Largemouth bass - Good: Throw crankbaits along rocky shorelines or below the dam in Bellevue.  Spinner-baits and soft plastics in the backwaters have also been producing.  Crappie - Good: A few crappies are being caught in Brown’s Lake, Spring Lake, and South and Middle Sabula Lakes.  Fish are biting on minnows or jigs under a stick bobber.  Walleye - Good: A few fish are being caught on wing dams on a variety of baits.  Three way rigs tipped with worms, crawlers, or leeches are producing, as well as crankbaits.  Larger fish are coming on crankbaits.  Good numbers of fish in the 20-27 inch protected slot reported.  Freshwater Drum - Good: Fish a night crawler on the bottom in areas of moderate current.  There is good shoreline access at Pleasant Creek Recreation Area south of Bellevue.

In Pool 14, river stage at Camanche is 10.22 feet and is forecast to rise to around 10.4 on Friday then continue to fall.  Water temperature is in the high 60s low 70s and water clarity has degraded with the recent rains but should improve once water levels start to drop.  Channel catfish - Fair: Catfishing is starting to pick along rocky shorelines.  Leeches under a bobber have been producing.  Bluegill - Fair: Bluegills are starting to bite in the backwaters.  Try small jigs with crawlers or wax worms under a bobber.  Largemouth bass - Good: Fish crankbaits along rocky shorelines or fish spinner-baits and soft plastics in the backwaters.  Crappie - Fair: Crappie fishing is starting to pick up in the backwaters.  Walleye - Fair: Walleye have moved onto and are starting to bite on the wing dams.  Crankbaits have been producing best.

SOURCE: Iowa Department of Conservation; Carbon Cliff Bait & Tackle (309-792-3460)
Pools 15-16:
In Pool 16, river stage at Lock and Dam 15 is 7.11 feet.  Channel catfish - Good: Channel catfish are being caught on night crawlers, leeches, and dip baits around wing dams.  White bass - Fair: White bass fishing has been hit or miss. Some fish are being picked up in Sylvan Slough and on the wing dams on crankbaits and casting jigs/twister combinations.  Bluegill - Fair: Bluegill fishing has slowed down some in Sunset Marina. Some fish are still being picked up on worms and small minnows.  Largemouth bass - Fair: Largemouth bass are being caught in the Andalusia Island Complex on crankbaits and pitching soft plastics around brush piles.  Crappie - Good: Crappies are being caught in the Andalusia Island backwater complex on jigs and minnows or floating minnows under a bobber. Crappie fishing in Sunset Marina has slowed down some.  Walleye - Fair: Walleyes are being caught trolling crankbaits around the wing dams along Credit Island. Walleye fishing has been slow in Sylvan Slough
SOURCE: Iowa Department of Conservation; Jim and Flo Seaman, Dry Dock Bait & Tackle, Gladstone (309-627-2769)
Pools 17-19
In Pool 17, river stage at Lock and Dam 16 is 5.97 feet. The ramp at Big Timber is open.  Channel catfish - Good: Channel catfish are being caught on crawlers and dip baits. Some channel catfish are being caught along the Muscatine Riverfront on night crawlers.  White bass - Fair: White bass fishing has been hit or miss. Some fish are being caught up by the dam and on the wing dams on crankbaits and jigs/twister combinations.  Bluegill - No Report:  Crappie - Fair: Crappies are being caught in the backwaters floating minnows under a bobber. Areas to try are Big Timber and Eagle Fill.  Walleye - Fair: Some walleyes are being caught on crankbaits and three-way rigs with crawlers fished on the wing dams.
In Pool 18, river stage at Lock and Dam 17 is 8.08 feet.  Channel catfish - Good: Channel cats are being caught on night crawlers and leeches fished around the wing dams.  White bass - Good: White bass are being caught in the tailwaters of Lock and Dam 17 on jigs and twisters with a minnow and small crankbaits.  Bluegill - Good: Bluegills are being caught in the backwaters on small worms.  Crappie - Good: Crappies are being caught in the backwaters on jigs and minnows or floating minnows under a bobber.  Sauger - No Report:  Walleye - No Report:
In Pool 19, river stage at Lock and Dam 18 is 4.95 feet. Most fishing reports are coming from area lakes and ponds.  Channel Catfish - Good: Channel catfish are being caught on night crawlers.  Bluegill - Slow:  Crappie - Slow:  Sauger - Slow:  Walleye - Slow:
SOURCE: Iowa Department of Conservation; Dan Wiemelt, Wiemelt’s Bait Market, Quincy (217-222-4963)
Pools 20-24
With recent rains, river levels are forecasted to rise slightly over the next few days then begin falling by the end of the weekend. Main channel water temperature is 68 degrees.  For more information on fishing Pools 16-20 of the Mississippi River contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062.
SOURCE: Iowa Department of Conservation
Pools 25-27
Water is 67 degrees, falling, muddy; channel catfish good on nightcrawlers and shad; flathead catfish good on live baits; carp good on nightcrawlers and corn; all other species slow.

Pecatonica River
SOURCE: Tom Calam, Tom’s Bait & Tackle, Freeport (815-232-3337)
Anglers picking up plenty of catfish, some up to 10 pounds says Calam. Northerns also good, with one angler catching a 32-incher recently. Walleye minnows going good for baits.

Rock River
SOURCE: Tom Calam, Tom’s Bait & Tackle, Freeport (815-232-3337)
• Near Rockford walleye few and far between but catfish bite strong says Calam. Flatheads being caught up to 55 pounds says Rhodes. Channel cats also on good bite using stinkbaits.
SOURCE: Jan Prose at TJ’s Bait/Tackle & Canoe Rental in Oregon (815-732-4516)
• Near Oregon reports of flatheads up to 20 pounds have been turned in and caught on bluegill. Another trot line with minnows caught a 20-pounder. Best action is channel catfish on worms, some on cheesebait. Liver also selling well. Smallmouth bass are good on spinners and minnows along the rock walls and in rip-rap shoreline. Last weekend was good for fishing. Only smaller walleye reported.
SOURCE: Ray and Irene Hays, Bunny’s Bait Shop, Dixon (815-288-3812)
• Near Dixon the fishing is pretty good and the river has cleaned up well says Hays. Channel catfish are very good, most are being caught on liver, cheesebait and shrimp and some cut shad. Flathead catfish are best on goldfish, chubs and bluegill. The largest was a 32-pounder. Smallmouth bass are fair on minnows. A few walleye are starting to bite at the dam again. And Jim Henry of Dixon caught a 42-inch, 17.3-pound muskie near Castle Rock on a bluegill. Still some nice stripers biting on minnows at the dam.


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