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Illinois fishing report 8-13-09

August 13, 2009 at 02:31 PM


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

• Channel catfish on the Spoon, Rock, Kankakee and Illinois rivers, on the Fox Chain O’ Lakes, at Rend Lake, Carlyle Lake, Powerton Lake, Spring Lake and at Mazonia.
• White bass fishing at the Peoria Lock and Dam on the Illinois River, on the Fox Chain O’ Lakes or at Lake Shelbyville.
• Perch on Lake Michigan.
• Bluegill at Carlyle Lake.
• Crappie at Crab Orchard Lake.


• Mike Quigley caught a 24-inch, 6.5-pound largemouth bass using soft plastics last week at Mazonia.
• Jake Howard caught a 24-inch largemouth bass with an 18-inch girth last Sunday on a spinnerbait out of a strip mine near Yates City.
• Calvin Ng of Bridgeport (pictured below) caught this 39-inch chinook salmon weighing 23 pounds on Aug. 5 to earn Chicago Sun-Times Fish of the Week honors. He caught the fish on Lake Michigan in front of the Winnetka boat launch with his uncle, Don Ng.
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 here average to slow says Tom. Anglers are picking up some walleye, bluegill and crappie. Shoreline and dock fishermen settling for small fish, with bigger catches coming in deeper water. Early morning to late evening best as anglers getting next to nothing midday.

Lake Carroll
SOURCE: Tom Calam, Tom’s Bait & Tackle, Freeport (815-232-3337).
Anglers have to work for them but they are catching come fish in 25-30 feet of water. Nightcrawlers, leeches and minnows being used. Some trying crankbaits.

Forest Preserve Lakes
SOURCE: Lee’s Bait and Tackle of Elk Grove Village (847-593-6424); Henry’s (312-225-8538)
Bass are best in most lakes, with some bluegill reported. Dale Bowman said bass and walleye have been good at Skokie Lagoons. Mike Jackson reports that in Cook County, Busse is starting to see some life again for bass and crappie. In Lake County, Banana Lake improved for panfish and bass.
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).
Good action on yellow and white bass around Pistakee Bay, bald knob and Lake Marie. Those fishing the rivers should target jigs with spikes or small minnows. Largemouth bass taking topwater frogs or along the weedlines and shorelines with plastics or jigs. All lakes are producing. North River, Mineolla Bay and Pistake good for walleye. Those trolling using rigs with crawlers or leeches. Muskie good. Trollers having good luck now on deep breaks of Pistakee or Lake Marie and along weed edges of Channel and Catherine. Those fishing shallow are using bucktails. Crappie are mixed in with the yellow bass and white bass. Bluegilles scattered along the shoreline in shaded areas.
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 biting well at Montrose, 63rd Street and 95th Street. Burnham Harbor and 39th Street are also good spots. Lots of small fish with minnows and soft shells producing. Dale Bowman reports that weeds and low-light conditions are best for shore anglers. Bowman said boaters are doing well off Olive Park and Navy Pier. Here is Bowman’s salmon report: “Capt. Bill Kelly reported a mixed bag at the wreck in 65-85 feet, lakers straight east in 105-110, a mixed bag of everything at the R4, cohos at the R3, and big kings in 35-45 feet from the R3 to Highland Park. Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters seconded the Wreck being the spot with bigger kings and big cohos on Tuesday, anywhere from 60-110 feet, Leadcore was key.”
SOURCE: The Salmon Stop (847-244-2525 or fishing hotline 847-244-9876)
• Near Waukegan, perch are biting off piers using fathead minnows and soft shell crabs. Fall Kings and browns being picked up off the piers casting spoons. Boater finding success in 60-80 feet of water staright out of Waukegan.
SOURCE: Capt. Nick Ganzer (847-234-7208).
• Near North Point
SOURCE: Mik-Lurch (219-989-0575)
• Near Indiana, perch everywhere says Mik-Lurch. Hot spots include Navy Pier, Cal Park and Burns Ditch. Trollers finding fish in 120-foot of water with meat rigs, dipsys and down rigers with spoons. Heavy weeds making trolling tough at Willow Slough. Steelheads being caught in the creeks using floating spawns and creek spinners.

Pierce Lake
SOURCES: Pam Minihan, Dora’s Bait & Tackle, Rockford (815-963-1795) and Bob Rhodes, Rockford Bait (815-226-3515).
Just in the last few days catfish and bass have started to bite again says Minihan. An 18-inch crappie recently caught.

Shabbona Lake
SOURCES: Guide Jay Angel (815-739-7030) and Denny Sands, Shabbona Lakeside Bait & Tackle, Shabbona (815-824-2581).
Fishing similar to last week says Shabbona Lakeside Bait & Tackle. Bluegill found along the weedlines and bass around lily pads. Crappie near standing trees in 15-18 feet of water. Catfish taking chicken livers and crappie biting on minnows. Muskies can be found around trees in the no motor zone and around weed edges. Live bait in sunny weather. With warmer weather, fish looking for structure, shade.
• 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)
Catfish and bass best here says Henry’s.

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

Argyle Lake
SOURCE:Site manager Robin Hinchee (309-776-3422); The Deck II Bait and Boat Rental shop (309-776-4275)
Catfish have been good this week, with fish up to 30 inches reported. Most are biting on worms. Bass are decent and crappie are slow.

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)
Some nice bass have moved up shallow into the weeds and are biting on scum frogs, horny toads and other topwater baits early. Otherwise, crankbaits, jigs and plastic worms (black, red shad and tequila sunrise) are producing best says Grider. Few reports of other species.

Lake Bloomington
SOURCE: Larry Dozard
Bass are fair on plastics, jigs and plastics and crankbaits around weeds and off points says Dozard. Bluegill are fair on waxworms and nightcrawler parts in most of the lake. Crappie are slow to fair on minnows and waxworms around deeper brush.

Braidwood Lake
SOURCE: Del Colvin, Bert’s Bait, Essex (815-365-2103); Jon Meder, Jon’s Bait & Tackle, South Wilmington (815-237-2822)
Bass are best here says Colvin. Bass have been tough to pattern but once patterned you can catch them. Slower presentation is working best. Bill Wennberg caught a limit including a 5-pounder this week. Soft plastics, Carolina rigging or drop shotting all working.

Clinton Lake
SOURCE: Joanne Lowe, Mike’s Tackle World, Decatur (217-423-0730); Clinton Bait and Tackle, (217-935-3851)
Fishing decent here recently says Lowe. A few walleye being picked up on the lake, with catfish, white bass and largemouth bass fair. Below the dam, good sized striper and asian carp biting.

Dawson Lake
SOURCE: Leon and Judy Gibson, Moraine View Concession (309-724-8295)
Fishing is fairly slow, with catfish are fair to good and most other species slow. Chicken liver has been good for the cats says Dawson. A few bass are also biting on plastics and jigs fished slower.

Emiquon Preserve
SOURCE: Paul Dinkheller, Dink’s, Lewistown (309-547-1094); The Nature Conservancy (309-547-2730)
Bass fishing has been up and down of late, with some nice catches but also the first real reports of slow fishing. Tuesday was particularly slow for most anglers. Weed growth is also more prevalent, making fishing the shallows difficult. A few reports of crappie in deeper water, though fish are scattered and catches are more accidental than intentional. Bluegill have moved into the shallows and should be catchable. 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
Not much new to report says Wood. Crappie are fair near the bottom in 20 feet of water on jigs and minnows. Saugeye reports are few and far between. Most of the saugeye are being caught deep during the day and then as night approaches they can be found on shallow flats and around points. Dozard said a good spot has beent he point just outside Mallard Cove. Bass fishing still remains fair with some keepers being reported. Dozard advises fishing plastics on points at coves. We have had several large channel cats caught in the last few weeks. A 10-pounder was caught over the weekend on a piece of chicken liver fished just off the bottom. Water clarity is 1-2 feet and temperatures are into the low 80s.
Click here for up-to-date lake reports.

Heidecke Lake
SOURCE: Don Stephens, Greybeards (815-941-1504); Guide Mike Lynch (708-655-7667); Guide Greg Heath (815-258-9136)
Fishing has been very slow all week says Greybeards. A few reports of walleye, but stripers are not biting well.

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

Mazonia Lakes
SOURCE: Del Colvin, Bert’s Bait, Essex (815-365-2103)
Local angler Mike Quigley caught a 24-inch, 61/2 pound largemouth bass using soft plastics last week. A 12-inch bluegill hauled in recently at Ponderosa and a 15-pound catfish reeled in on Monster Lake. Catfish “going nuts” in the heat on dead roaches and cut bait says Colvin.

Powerton Lake
SOURCE: Merle Keefer, Pekin Bass & Bow (309-347-3334); Tom Grider, Riverside Bait, Pekin (309-347-3793)
Channel catfish are good on stinkbait and blue cats are taking shiners and bluegills says Grider. Very few reports on smallmouth bass, though they should be taking crankbaits. Some nice catches of bluegill on waxworms in the rocks. Recent big bluecat catches include Jeremy Cannon’s 27-pounder and Dennis Zeller III’s 27-pounder (pictured below).
Illinois hunting and fishing

Snakeden Hollow SFWA
SOURCE: Victoria Tackle Shop (309-879-2664)
A few good reports have come from crappie anglers in the walk-in lakes, including one 14-incher caught Thursday on a leadhead jig and double twister tail says Terri Whiteside of Victoria Tackle Shop. Smaller crappie had been biting Wednesday but better fish were reported Thursday. Jigs are working better than minnows. Catfish have been surprisingly slow in he walk-ins and McMaster Lake. There were reports of a 42-inch muskie caught Monday out of McMaster.

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)
Bass are slow even at night. A few are being caught but anglers are having to really work for them says Karnes. Channel catfish are good to very good for bank anglers using shrimp, nightcrawlers and dipbait. Best action has been in the turnoffs in the evenings. Very few reports of any other species.

Lake Storey
SOURCE: Al Hayden, Al’s Sporting Goods, Galesburg (309-342-7776)
Larry Dozard reports bass are fair on spinnerbaits and bluegill are fair to good, though many have been running small.

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)
The summer lull may finally be here, with bass biting better early and late or on deeper, slower presentations. Plastics along weed edges working and so are mid- to deep-running crankbaits. Some on jigs. Top-water best evenings, not so much in the mornings. Bluegill are fair but moving deeper. Scattered crappie. Catfish seemed slower this week but dipbait was still producing some nice eaters.

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)
Catfish still best using nightcrawlers or Sonny’s stinkbait. Anglers had been catching bluegill on nightcrawlers and red wigglers. Big redear also being picked up.

Carlinville Lake
SOURCE: Gwen Gilmore, Gilmore Bait & Marine, Carlinville (217-854-8136)
Anglers having good success catching bass on topwaters in both lakes. Catfish also biting. Rip rap being put in around Lake 1. Lake 2 still heavy with moss, but anglers using weedless topwaters to snag bass, with some in 5-6 pound range. Catfish being caught up to seven pounds.

Charleston Side Channel Lake
SOURCE: Rick Cuddy, Prairie Outfitters, Charleston (217-348-6770)
Catfish your best bet here, with cats taking cheese baits or chicken livers. Bluegills also biting on live baits. Hybrid stripers also being picked up using live baits or chicken livers.

Coffeen Lake
SOURCE: Scott Withers, Indian Grove Fish Camp, Coffeen Lake (217-537-3001)
Bass are biting well on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfish are also good. Bluegill are fair. Crappie are slow.

Lake Decatur
SOURCE: Joanne Lowe, Mike’s Tackle World, Decatur (217-423-0730)
Fishing fair on the lake, with white bass biting on blade baits and night anglers catching catfish. Below the dam, hybird stripers, asian carp and flatheads biting. Below the little dam, crappie, white bass and smallmouth being caught.

Lake Glenn Shoals
SOURCE: Jack Rebman, Kink’s Corner, Hillsboro (217-532-5442)
Bass fair on plastics, crankbaits says Jack. Some bass in 3-4 pound range. Catfish decent to good on cutbaits, nightcrawlers or chicken livers. A few crappies being caught in 8-10 feet of water. Bluegill biting good on redworms, crickets.

Lake Hillsboro
SOURCE: Jack Rebman, Kink’s Corner, Hillsboro (217-532-5442)
Some small crappie biting around brush areas. Catfish taking Sonny’s or shrimp. Some bass also biting on plastics.

Lake Jacksonville
SOURCE: Tom Holmes, Military Surplus Outlet, Jacksonville (217-243-6161) and Lake Jacksonville Campground (217-479-4646)
Slow time of year but anglers still fishing says here says Holmes. Fisherman trying all night for catfish. Nothing more new to report but last week had crappie, catfish and bluegill all rated as good. Shad gut and crawlers working well for cats at night. Shrimp also good.

Lake Mattoon
SOURCE: Rick Cuddy, Prairie Outfitters, Charleston (217-348-6770); Joel Pittman, Mattoon Parks Department (217-254-6680)
Bass have been tough lately but anglers have found some success using crankbaits says Cuddy. Catfish also biting on cheese baits and chicken livers. Shad and shrimp also working for cats says Pittman. Water level good and water clear. Lake temps at 80 degrees.

Mill Creek Lake
SOURCE: Dennis Shiley, Mill Creek Lake Park (217-889-3901)
Channel cats still biting good says Dennis. Bass still in schooling jumps. Knowledgeable anglers finding keepers at the bottom of the schools using Little Georges. A few keepers also being caught with Carolina rigs in 12-14 feeet of water. Crappie bite is slow.

Sangchris Lake
SOURCE: Trevor Miller, Big Red’s Bait and Tackle, Springfield (217-820-9674)
Some bass biting on crankbaits or wacky worms says Miller.

Lake Sara
SOURCE: Tony Niebrugge, Anthony’s Acres Resort, (217-868-2950)
Bluegill bite good on waxworms or pieces of nightcrawler all over the lake says Anthony’s. Bass decent on crankbaits and some plastics. Crappie bite slowing. Channel cats decent on chicken livers or stinkbaits.

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
White bass still going good here says Wilson on spinners and 2-jig rigs (Mepps spinners and slider jigs on 2-jit rigs). There have been reports of muskies being caught. Walleye slow. Crappie bite good in standing timber in 10-12 foot of water. Minnows and jigs working. Any chartreuse color for jigs. A few anglers trolling for crappie with bandit crankbaits on the main lake north end. Willows also good location for crappie says Welch. Bass being caught on main lake points and in bushes. Water temps at 83-84 degrees. All boat ramps are now open.
• 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)
Bass going deeper, in 6-8 feet of water, and can be found around edges of docks or around points. Crankbaits working for bass. Also wacky worms or tiki worms when bass head under docks during the heat of the day. Catfish being picked up drifting using shad. Crappie about 8-10 feet deep around structure and biting on minnows.

Lake Taylorville
SOURCE: Lindsey’s Bait & Tackle, Taylorville (217-287-7550)
Not much happening here but anglers are still having good luck catching catfish on shad, schrimp or artificial baits says Lindsey’s. Bass slow. Crappie can be found but they are deep and in brush areas.

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS South of Interstate 70

Baldwin Lake
SOURCE: Site office (618-785-2555)
Lake very quiet with water temps at almost 100 degrees says the site office.

Carlyle Lake
SOURCE: Buddy Langenhorst, Lavish’s Bait Shop , Carlyle (618-594-4413); Henkel’s (618-594-4818)
Bluegill are very good, active fishing rip rap with waxworms, redworms and crickets says Henkel’s. Catfish also very good from the banks using cheesebaits or crawlers. Drift fishermen using shrimp, cutbaits. Cats also very good in the spillway using Geno’s or Sonnys. Cutbaits also working. Crappie taking tube jigs or minnows deeper down and suspended in brush in the lake. Old river bed best bet around brush in the spillway for crappie. White bass very good, with the silo and island area on the norht end of the lake still producing. Early morning and late afternoon best. Crankbaits, slab spoons or Little Georges combined with a twister tail above best bait. Whihtes also being caught on points, particularly points adjacent to sandy shorelines. If fishing from the bank, in-line spinners—like a Mepp’s, Roostertail, Vibrax or Panther Martin—with the twister tail combo recommended to keep from getting snagged as you pull into the rocks. Some now fishing tressles at night with minnows and a floating light. Some still catching sauger below the suspension bridge, but there are a lot of small ones in between the keepers. Head to the lake for bigger sauger, which are being caught trolling crankbaits around the islands and silo areas.
• 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 biting in 8-14 feet of water on minnow colored tubes or anything with white in it, along brush piles and on points. Bass bite remains steady on Carolina rigs, green pumpkin colored, anywhere from 6 to 20 feet deep. Bass are sporadic around the lake. Deep diving crankbaits working around bluffs to clay points.

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 biting in 8-10 feet around brush piles. Electric chicken colors working, pink and chartreuse. Red and chartreuse or black and chartreuse also good. Minnows working as well. Look along west end of lake by the spillway or under the Route 13 bridges. Bass very good on black and blue jigs flipping the weeds. Top waters good in the morning, buzzbaits, spinner baits, frogs. Whihte bass can be found in lock point about 4-6 feet deep using Roderunners , Little George’s or Rat-L-traps. Catfish steady on crawlers or cheesebaits.

Devil’s Kitchen
SOURCE: Ron Reed, Cooksey’s Bait, Marion (618-993-3366)
Trout fishing about the best thing here.

Lake of Egypt
SOURCE: Guide Matt Strobel (618-922-0354)
Bass have slowed says guide Jason Johns.

Forbes Lake
SOURCE: Site manager Glenn Wegener (618-547-3381); Mike Polcyn, Mike’s Bait & Tackle Shop, Louisville (618-665-3209)
Fishing coming to a screeching hault lately with hot weather. Some anglers still picking up catfish using worms or stinkbaits. Flathead cats taking goldfish. Anglers hauling in just 10-12 crappie per boat. Bluegill still going good in area ponds. Chicken livers also working with catfish says site manager Glenn Wegener. Look in shallow weedlines at night. Bluegill, crappie, largemouth bass and hybrid striper all fair according to Wegener. Look in brush piles for crappie (6-10 feet deep) and largemouth bass, with bass also along points. Walleye/sauger and muskie both poor.

Kinkaid Lake
SOURCE: Janet Graeff, Top of the Hill Bait Shop, Muphysboro (618-684-2923); Guide Al Nutty (618-694-4897)
Bass biting on frogs in the morning or deep diving crankbaits or Carolina rigs off points in the afternoon says Kyle Garner. Catfish remain on a good bite on nightcrawlers and cut shad says Nutty. Some anglers using liver. Bigger bass can be found in 14-18 foot range. Look off points around flats and humps. Some muskie also being caught by bass anglers. White bass are good on jumps using small diving crankbaits or in-line spinners. Two groups of crappie seem to be biting. First group is in 7-12 feet of water in heavy brush piles outside the edges of weeds. Other better fish at 18-20 feeet around creek channels. A few walleye biting, with a 5-pounder caught near the dam last week trolling crankbaits. Bottom bouncers, little spiner rigs, also working. Even a few bluegill biting on bits of nightcrawler or waxworms.

Little Grassy Lake
SOURCE: Shirley Lowery, Little Grassy Boat Dock (618-457-6655)
Bluegill bite very good. A few crappie and catfish also being caught. Nightcrawlers best bait. Catfish biting on shrimp. An 8-year old boy caught a 24-inch catfish off the dock last week. Another 18-inch catfish also reeled in recently.

Newton Lake
SOURCE: Ruth Rauch, Rauch’s Bait & Tackle, Newton (618-752-2151)
Not many anglers out with hot waters and hot days says Rauch. Mostly small fish being caught. Anglers are going out at night for catfish using minnows and nightcrawlers. Some trolling early morning off the points in deeper waters. Not many fish being caught shallow.

Rend Lake
SOURCE: Jason Johns (618-927-3432); Bill Hudnall, Rend Lake Sporting Goods, Mount Vernon (618-242-2191)
Bass are real good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits on the main lake. It’s been taking anywhere from 12-16 pounds to win a tournament says Johns. Crappie are starting to bite a little bit again. You can catch them shallow or fish deep, but you’ve got to be real persistent to get them to bite right now. So I wouldn’t rate it as very good. They’ll hit jigs or minnows and I think jigs are producing bigger fish. Best colors are purple and chartreuse, red and chartreuse or black and chartreuse. Catfishing is excellent as usual. There’s a stinkbait tournament this weekend with a five-fish limit and it should take at least 15 pounds to win it.

Sam Dale Lake
SOURCE: Mike Polcyn, Mike’s Bait & Tackle Shop, Louisville (618-665-3209)
Heat slowing fishing down. Some anglers still picking up catfish using worms or stinkbaits. Flathead cats taking goldfish. Anglers hauling in just 10-12 crappie per boat. Bluegill still going good in area ponds.


Click here for water level information.

Des Plaines River
SOURCE:Andrew Ragas
Fishing over the past week on the DesPlaines River has been surprisingly fair to good for most anglers targeting Northern Pike and Largemouth Bass. Some better places at the moment for both species are along the various forest preserves in Lake and Will Counties.

First, let’s talk Pike.

Best river locations for these river predators have been deeper pools with current, log jams, beneath bridges, shoreline areas with shade, and weedbeds. Both the shore angler and wade fisherman can expect to catch the typical 15 to 30 inch fish by throwing the usual standby spinnerbait or buzzbait (yellow, chartreuse, and white colors best), and if in the mood, dunking some shiners beneath a float. However, some better fish are recently coming on smaller bucktails which Musky fishermen would use, `walk-the-dog’ topwaters, and jerkbaits such as Rapala Husky Jerks and X-Raps.

For most fishermen, a lot of action has been taking place as of late with smaller Pike, but those who are taking the time to explore whether it be by wading unpressured stretches of water, or even floating the river by boat, are banging into some decent quality fish (25-30 inch with regularity)

Early mornings, periods of day with some cloud cover, and evenings have been best.

Largemouth Bass are being found almost everywhere in the river, but not to the point of abundance and sometimes not as an annoyance like the Pike. Largemouth anglers have been putting forth their focus on throwing spinnerbaits, jig and plastics, and live bait too areas with wood and weeds - and if there is some nearby depth and current, catching them will be an almost guarantee.

Walleye and Sauger have been poor, with very few reports coming in. Some anglers trying at night at the traditional areas of river without much success.

Rough fish reports have been good to excellent. See Dale Bowman’s writeup on the young girl who shot the 56lb Grass Carp for further rough fishing reinforcement.

Anyways, Common Carp in the 5 to 15lb range have been active for both bow-fishermen and bank anglers, as well as Channel Catfish in the 2 to 5lb bracket. By traditional methods (bottom rigs), Common Carp have been active in slack water areas, and Channel Cats have been present in deeper pools with current and eddies. Both species have been active 24/7 it seems.

Not to mention, many Bowfin (Dogfish) have been caught by accident from Pike and Bass anglers and these prehistoric predators provide one hell of a fight on spinning gear when given the chance. Few specifically target them but toss a spinnerbait or inline for Pike, or even dunk a larger sized minnow beneath a float, and you may as very well end up hooking into one. Handle these unique fish with care, for they are beneficial to the aquatic ecosystem.

Nothing to report on for the smaller tributaries and creeks. As of now it’s been dead water on them for over a week.

Water temperatures are running in the 75 to 80 degree range on the river, and levels are exceptionally safe and sound for wading at a cubic flow rate of 242/ under 350. In other words, seasonably low, but still good and oxygenated enough to keep the fish alive and well.
Click here for a Des Plaines River fishing forum.

DuPage River
Click here for a DuPage River fishing forum.

Fox River
The Fox is low and wadeable with catfish best reports Dale Bowman. Mike Jackson of the Arlington Heights Daily Herald reports smallmouth and channel cat action right below the Kimball Street bridge in Elgin.
Click here for a Fox River fishing forum.

Illinois River
SOURCE: Carol Culjan at Cajun Sporting Goods in Utica (815-667-4222)
• Near Utica channel catfish are headed into deeper holes and channel edges. Best baits have been dipbait, shrimp or cut shad. Evening bite is best. White bass are fair with best action in the morning and late afternoon when the sun is going down. Try bladebaits or small crankbaits and watch for baitfish jumping or target gravel bars. Some largemouth bass mixed in with the whites. A few good reports of bluegill. and the Vermilion River is low, clean and producing catfish and smallmouth bass for waders.
SOURCE: Baitshop Bob, Riverview Marine, Spring Valley (815-663-1000)
• Near Spring Valley channel catfish are biting well, with bigger fish on the flats near snags. Cut baits are good. Last weekend’s tournament took 44.4 pounds for five fish to win. Sauger are biting for anglers trolling crankbaits off the flats in 10 feet of water near Henry up to Starved Rock. White bass are still slower and have not really turned on. Happy’s Super Service has a catfish tournament Sunday from 6 a.m. to noon out of Barto Landing. Check in Spring Valley Boat Club.
SOURCE: Merle Keefer, Pekin Bass & Bow (309-347-3334); Tim Presley, Presley’s Outdoors, Bartonville (309-697-1193)
• Near Peoria white bass are very good at Peoria Lock and Dam, particularly on the Pekin side says Adam Jaegle at Presley’s Outdoors. One group of anglers caught more than 200 Wednesday night right below the wickets. Some white bass also biting at Duck Island, but mostly for smaller fish. The mouth of the Mackinaw River is also coming on for whites says Keefer. Snagging is decent.
SOURCE: Paul Dinkheller, Dink’s, Lewistown (309-547-1094)
• Near Havana anglers are catching good numbers of white bass at the south end of Chautauqua says Keefer. Largemouth bass are also very good in any areas where water is feeding into the river.
SOURCE: Tom’s Bait Shop in Beardstown (217-323-BAIT)
• Near Beardstown channel catfish are biting well on channel edges. Crappie have been fair in the marina and white bass are scattered and biting.

Kankakee River
SOURCE: Ed Mullady, Sportsman’s Letter (815-932-7285)
The river is low and fishable and producing nice catches of channel catfish says Mullady.
• From Indiana to Momence catfish are good on cheesebaits, crawlers, and minnows. Smallmouth bass are biting well at creek mouths and undercut shorelines on spinners, crankbaits, Rattlin’ Rogues, top-water plugs, fly-rod streams and frog poppers. Some walleye reported on jigs and crawlers or minnows
• From the Kankakee Dam through Station St. and Sawmill Creek, rock bass are good on jigs and crawlers, rubber spiders and No. 1 or 2 Mepps spinners. Catfish are good.
• Near the Kankakee River State Park smallies are good around Bryan and Christine islands on spinners, Mr. Twister keeper hooks and double tails, minnows and live or imitation crayfish. Catfish are good around shoreline weeds, especially at dark.
• Near Wilmington through the Des Plaines Conservation Area, smallies are good at the dam and north end of Island Park. Near DesPlaines fish the riffles for bass and catfish.

Mississippi River
Mississippi River Pool 9
Channel Catfish - Good: Fish are being caught on stink bait. Check deep holes around wing dams.  Bluegill - Fair: Using small worms on bobber around Minnesota Slough.  Largemouth Bass - Fair: Try using top-water baits around weed beds.  Crappie - Fair: Anglers catching a few crappie near New Albin on small worm under bobber.  Freshwater Drum - Good: Night crawler on bottom.

Mississippi River Pool 10
A bit more floating vegetation is around.  Boaters are reminded to clean their boats and trailers of vegetation before leaving.  Northern Pike - Fair: Reports of pike catches have slowed.  Bluegill - Good: Anglers report decent catches of bluegills near Harpers Ferry.  Keep moving to look for active fish.  Smallmouth Bass - Good: Fish spinners and crankbaits near rocky areas with good current.  Largemouth Bass - Fair: Try fishing top-water lures near weed beds.  Crappie - Good: Anglers still reporting good catches of crappie around submerged structure near Harpers Ferry.  Walleye - Fair: Use three-way rig with night crawler on wing dams, or fish night crawler on bottom in side sloughs.  Freshwater Drum - Excellent: Using a one eyed jig in many of the deeper holes along the channel.

Mississippi River Pool 11
Channel Catfish - Good: Channel catfish are being caught along the channel using night crawlers or stink bait. Check the holes around the outside and below wing dams.  White Bass - Good: White bass still being caught in the tailwaters or along some of the wing dams using small inline spinners.  Smallmouth Bass - Good: Fish rocky shorelines and wing dams using small spinners or crankbaits.  Largemouth Bass - Good: Fish top-water lures near weed beds.  Walleye - Fair: Walleye are being caught on the wing dams either trolling crankbaits or three-way jigs tipped with night crawlers. Keep checking different wing dams to find where active fish are concentrated.  Freshwater Drum - Good: drum are being caught using night crawlers fished on the bottom.

River gauges: Lansing 8.1, Lynxville 13.2, Guttenberg 5.03. Water temperature at Guttenberg is 78 degrees. After a brief rise, water levels are beginning to fall and expected to fall steadily over the next week. As water levels lower boaters are again urged to use caution when boating outside the main channel. Boaters should also use caution when backing down the ramps so as not to back off of the end of the concrete. Call Guttenberg fisheries station for current conditions at (563) 252-1156.

Mississippi River Pool 12
River stage at Dubuque is 8.13 feet and is forecast to drop about a foot over the next week.  Water clarity is fair.  Water temperature is in the high 70s.  Channel Catfish - Good: Catfish are being caught on stink bait or crawlers fished in 10-12 feet of water in side channels and around wing dams.  Smallmouth Bass - Fair: Fish around rocky shorelines or wing dams with crankbaits.  Largemouth Bass - Fair: Shallow crankbaits along the floodwall up by the dam.  Also cranks on rocky shorelines in side channels and along the Iowa shoreline below Nine Mile Island (Massey).  Crappie - Fair: Fish being caught in side channels around snags in 12-14 feet of water.  Walleye - Fair: Fish are being caught on the wing dams on three-way rigs tipped with leeches or crawlers or crankbaits.  There are reports of a lot of walleyes over 20 inches.  Freshwater Drum - Good: Fish crawlers on the bottom in areas with moderate current for small drum or use crawfish for monsters.

Mississippi River Pool 13
River stage at Bellevue is 5.73 feet and is forecast to drop around 1.5 feet over the next week.  Water clarity is fair above the Maquoketa River and poor below it.  Water temperature is in the high 70s.  Channel Catfish - Good: Catfish are biting well on stink bait fished around wing dams and in side channels around rock and/or wood throughout the pool.  Largemouth Bass - Fair: Throw crankbaits along rocky shorelines with current or below the dam in Bellevue.  Crappie - Slow: Reports of a few crappies coming from Middle Sabula Lake and also off of snags in sloughs and side channels.  Walleye - Fair: Walleyes are on the wing dams or other areas with rock.  Throw crankbaits or fish three-way rigs with spinners or floaters tipped with crawlers.  Fishing below the mouth of the Maquoketa River has been tough due to very turbid water.  Freshwater Drum - Good: Fish a night crawler on the bottom in areas of moderate current.

Mississippi River Pool 14
River stage at Camanche is 10.16 feet and is forecast to drop about a foot over the next week.  Water clarity is poor.  Main channel water temps are in the high 70s.  Channel Catfish - Good: Good numbers being caught on stink baits, around wing dams.  Some anglers are having luck on cut bait, as well.  Walleye - Slow: Walleye fishing has slowed with the increase in turbidity.  Freshwater Drum - Good: Fish a piece of crawler on the bottom in areas with moderate current.

For information about fishing Pools 12 - 15 of the Mississippi River, call the Bellevue Fish Management and Research Station at 563-872-4976.

Mississippi River Pool 16
River stage at Lock and Dam 15 is 6.68 feet and falling.  Channel Catfish - Good: Channel catfish are being caught on night crawlers, leeches, and stink baits around wing dams and log piles. Stink baits have been working the best. Fishing has been good along Sunset Marina and at the mouth of the Rock River. Fishing has also been good for catfish in Andalusia Slough and Velie Chute fishing brush piles.  White Bass - Slow: White bass fishing in Sylvan Slough has been hit or miss. Anglers have been catching a few white bass casting jigs and twister tails or in-line spinners. Some white bass are being caught while trolling crankbaits for walleyes on the wing dams.  Bluegill - Slow: Bluegill fishing has been slow.  Crappie - Slow: Crappie fishing in the backwaters has been slow.  Walleye - Fair: Some fish are being caught on wing dams trolling crankbaits or on three-way rigs with half a night crawler.

Mississippi River Pool 17
River stage at Lock and Dam 16 is 5.29 feet and falling.  Channel Catfish - Good: Channel catfish are being caught on crawlers, leeches, dip baits, and chicken liver fished around wing dams and log jams.  White Bass - Fair: White bass fishing has been hit or miss. Some fish are being caught up by the dam and spillway on crankbaits and jigs/twister combinations. Some white bass are also being caught while trolling for walleyes on the wing dams. The best fishing has been early in the morning or right before dark.  Bluegill - Slow: Some bluegills are being caught in Big Timber floating pieces of worm or small minnows under a bobber.  Crappie fishing in the backwaters has been slow.  Walleye - Fair: Some walleyes are being caught trolling crankbaits along the fronts of wing dams or anchoring above them and casting. Walleyes are also being caught on three-way rigs tipped with half a night crawler slowly trolled on the front sides of wing dams.

Mississippi River Pool 18
River stage at Lock and Dam 17 is 7.25 feet and forecasted to begin falling by the weekend.    Channel Catfish - Good: Channel cats are being caught on night crawlers, leeches, dip baits, and chicken liver fished above wing dams and around log piles. Dip baits seem to be working the best.  White Bass - Fair: A few white bass are being picked up by the dam fishing jig and twisters and small crankbaits. Some white bass are also being picked up while trolling crankbaits for walleyes on the wing dams.  Bluegill - Slow: Bluegill fishing in the backwaters has been slow.  Crappie fishing in the backwaters has been slow.  Walleye - Slow: Walleye fishing on the wing dams has been slow.

Mississippi River Pool 19
River stage at Lock and Dam 18 is 3.92 feet.  Channel Catfish - Good: Channel catfish are being caught on night crawlers, leeches, dip baits, and chicken liver fished around wing dams and log jams.  White Bass - Fair: Some white bass are being picked up by the dam casting a jig and twister or small crankbait.  Bluegill - No Report:  Crappie - No Report:  Walleye - Fair: A few walleyes are being picked up on the wing dams around Burlington trolling crankbaits and on three-way rigs tipped with half a night crawler.

Mississippi River Pools 16-20:  River levels have risen since last week due to recent heavy rains. Main channel water temperature is around 78 degrees. For more information on fishing Pools 16-20 of the Mississippi River contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062.

Pecatonica River
SOURCE: Tom Calam, Tom’s Bait & Tackle, Freeport (815-232-3337)
Catfish best here but still on average bite says Calam. Catfish tournament Aug. 15 from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in conjunction with dedication of new launch site at McNeil’s/Damascus Landing outside Lena. For sign-up information call the Lena Community Park District (815-369-5351). Entry $20 per two person boat, with five fish maximum. Anglers can fish from Winslow to Freeport on the Pec.

Rock River
SOURCE: Tom Calam, Tom’s Bait & Tackle, Freeport (815-232-3337)
• Near Rockford, catfish are about the only thing going here on stinkbaits, worms or minnows says Rhodes.
SOURCE: Jan Prose at TJ’s Bait/Tackle & Canoe Rental in Oregon (815-732-4516)
• Near Oregon anglers are catching some nice channel catfish on liver and shrimp and stinkbaits, some. Really big carp have been caught on corn and carp bait. The river came up about 8 inches so fishing slowed for a day or so but has come back to normal. Some medium-sized 10- to 15-pound flathead catfish reported. Few walleye reports in the past week.
SOURCE: Ray and Irene Hays, Bunny’s Bait Shop, Dixon (815-288-3812)
• Near Dixon catfish are good, though lots of smaller fish are reported. Chicken liver, cheesebait and shrimp are the best. Crappie and white bass are slow. Minnows are best. Walleye are spotty, minnows are best. No reports of big flatheads this week, with the largest fish a 14-pounder caught on a chub. Most say they are slow. Carp are deeper but taking doughballs well and some on worms. River is up some and looks good.
SOURCE: Guide Matt Jones (815-537-5506 or 815-590-1469 cell) and Doc at Kodiak Outdoor Sports in Dixon (815-284-3075)
• Elsewhere channel cats and flatheads biting very good says guide Matt Jones (pictured below). G&S cheesebaits working good. Anglers finding fish all up and down the river. Last week he caught and released 52 channel cats up to 7 pounds. Water temps at 77 degrees. Flathead fishing is better as they are all but done spawning.
Illinois hunting and fishing

Spoon River
SOURCE: Al Hayden, Al’s Sporting Goods, Galesburg and Paul Dinkheller at Dink’s in Lewistown (309-547-1094)
Good action on channel catfish in the Maquon area, though most of the fish are smaller eaters. Stinkbaits near brush working well and there’s been plenty of water to boat the river. Downstream by Bernadotte cut bait and stinkbait are also good and bankpolers are back at it and faring well. Last week produced 32- and 23-pound flatheads.


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