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Illinois fishing report 9-9-10

September 09, 2010 at 04:34 PM


Give us our choice of anywhere to fish in Illinois right now and we’d pick…
• Crappie fishing in central Illinois strip mines.
• Salmon fishing off the shore of Lake Michigan.
• White bass on the Illinois River below Peoria Lock and Dam and at Lake Shelbyville.


• A 56-pound blue catfish was caught last week by a local angler out of Lake Decatur.
• Ethan Keedy, 7, of Washington caught this 6-pound, 22-inch bass on Sept. 5, 2010 at a private lake near Elmwood.
Illinois hunting and fishing

NORTHERN ILLINOIS North of Interstate 80

Apple Canyon Lake
SOURCE: Tom Calam, Tom’s Bait & Tackle, Freeport (815-232-3337)
Overall action still average but anglers are catching a few crappie and some decent size bluegills here. Minnows, waxies, crickets all being used. Crappie are in 10-11 inch range and in deeper water. Bluegills around 8-9 inches. Best color for crickets seems to be chartreuse and brim.

Lake Carroll
SOURCE: Tom Calam, Tom’s Bait & Tackle, Freeport (815-232-3337).
Walleye are biting, but anglers are having to fish hard and in deeper water to get them. Trolling with nightcrawlers or minnows working.

Fox Chain O’ Lakes
SOURCE: Greg Dickson, Triangle Sports & Marine,  Antioch (1-847-395-0813).
Bluegill are good in shallower water than last week. Waxworms and crawler bits working. Muskie are active. Walleye are also better. Best bet remains current or near bridges.
Click here to check updates on no-wake status and water levels or call 847-587-8540 .

Lake MichiganIllinois hunting and fishing
SOURCES: Henry’s (312-225-8538), Vet’s (773-734-6720) and Dale Bowman of the Chicago Sun-Times.
• On the Chicago lakefront, king salmon are moving into shore and shoreline anglers are catching some nice fish according to Dale Bowman of the Chicago Sun-Times. Harbor fishing should only get better, he says. A few steelhead also reported. Perch are fair off the south rocks at Montrose Bowman said.
SOURCE: The Salmon Stop (847-244-2525 or fishing hotline 847-244-9876);  Capt. Nick Ganzer (847-234-7208).
• Near Waukegan water has cooled into the 50s due to strong off-shore winds from the west. Fishing has improved with large spawning king salmon being caught in shallow water according to Capt. Nick Ganzer. First/last low light conditions continue to be the most productive. Mid-day fishing moves offshore to deep water (130-240 feet of water) where salmon/trout action has been excellent. Some also trolling the shoreline according to Salmon Stop.
SOURCE: Mik-Lurch (219-989-0575)
• Near Indiana Mik-Lurch reported king salmon at Amoco and the Hole-in-the-Wall. Bowman reported smallmouth are also good and some walleye are being caught on Husky Jerks.

Shabbona Lake
SOURCES: Guide Jay Angel (815-739-7030) and Denny Sands, Shabbona Lakeside Bait & Tackle, Shabbona (815-824-2581).
Water has cooled to 64 degrees and crappie are biting better, but still in the cribs 6-8 feet deep reported Lakeside. Some reports of shallow schooling fish also. Catfish are taking liver. Perch are outbiting bluegill, which are on weed edges.
• 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

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

Banner Marsh
SOURCE: Adam Jaegle, Presley’s Outdoors, Bartonville (309-697-1193); Merle Keefer, Pekin Bass & Bow (309-347-3334); Jason Grider, Riverside Bait, Pekin (309-347-3793)
Some decent reports on crappie according to Tim Presley at Presley’s Outdoors. Bass are fair with some larger fish reported last weekend on jigs. Crankbaits also working well and spinnerbaits were productive in the recent winds.

Lake Bloomington
SOURCE: Larry Dozard
Crappie are fair to slow here on minnows fished around brush in 10-14 feet of water or near docks according to Larry Dozard. Bluegill are fair but small on waxies fished near docks and seawalls. Overall not much change from last week.

Braidwood Lake
SOURCE: Del Colvin, Bert’s Bait, Essex (815-365-2103); Jon Meder, Jon’s Bait & Tackle, South Wilmington (815-237-2822)
Fishing slow here says Colvin.

Clinton Lake
SOURCE: Joanne Lowe, Mike’s Tackle World, Decatur (217-423-0730); Clinton Bait and Tackle, (217-935-3851)
Catfish going good on worms and cheesebaits. Crappie also starting to hit on minnows. Anglers also picking up a few walleye. A 56-pound blue catfish was caught last week by a local angler.

Dawson Lake
SOURCE: Leon and Judy Gibson, Moraine View Concession (309-724-8295)
Carp and catfish were being caught on the north end. Carp taking worms or a carp bait. Cats biting on chicken livers or shrimp. Bluegill biting along the edges on worms. Anglers picking up bass on the deeper part of the south end using jigs.

Emiquon Preserve
SOURCE: Paul Dinkheller, Dink’s, Lewistown (309-547-1094); The Nature Conservancy (309-547-2730)
Very few reports here. Anglers must obtain a free permit at Dickson Mounds Museum (open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) before fishing here.

Evergreen Lake
SOURCE: Brad Wood, operations supervisor, (309-726-2022) or Larry Dozard
Crappie, bluegill, and catfish are doing the best on Evergreen this week according to Brad Wood. Crappie are being caught mostly on minnows with some being caught on tube jigs. Most are being caught in 10-20 ft. of water mostly suspended midway. Bluegill are hitting wax worms and crawler bits along weed lines. Several nice sized catfish have been caught in the last week mostly late evenings and into the night on livers and stink baits. Bass have been hit and miss on the lake with most of them being caught early mornings or late evenings. Saugeye reports have been slim, with mostly smaller fish being caught. Water clarity is good to 2 feet and the temperature remains in the 80s.
Click here for up-to-date lake reports.

Mazonia Lakes
SOURCE: Del Colvin, Bert’s Bait, Essex (815-365-2103)
Local bass hunters club tournament over the weekend produced good numbers. Local angler Paul Bellinghiere hauled in big bass honors at 4.8 pounds, Bass on good spinner and top water bite as well as jig and pig. Anything using shad style bait should work. Crappie have been good at Monster Lake using minnows.

Powerton Lake
SOURCE: Merle Keefer, Pekin Bass & Bow (309-347-3334); Jason Grider, Riverside Bait, Pekin (309-347-3793)
Powerton Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area, Tazewell County, will be closed Sept.20, 21 and 22 for levee maintenance and repairs.  No public access will be allowed during this time.  Powerton Lake will reopen Sept. 23 at 6 a.m.

Snakeden Hollow SFWA
SOURCE: Nellie Thorne, Depot Bait and Tackle, Victoria (309-879-2401); Site office (309-879-2607)
Crappie fishing is very good on minnows and tube jigs for fish 9-12 inches. Catfish have slowed some. Bass are fair, with mostly smaller fish reported. Bluegill are also on a good bite.

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 have started coming on some according to Larry Karnes. Best has been in the morning when the sun hits the edge of the park road and warms the water. Most on waxworms. Anglers are catching a few catfish on dipbait and shrimp. Few reports on bass.
Crappie are starting to move up on the south end of Spring Lake on minnows.

Lake Storey
SOURCE: Al Hayden, Al’s Sporting Goods, Galesburg (309-342-7776)
Very few reports with the wind in the last few days. Crappie have been fair to good on minnows and jigs. Bluegill are also fair. Weed edges are best. Some coming shallow.

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; Jason Grider, Riverside Bait, Pekin (309-347-3793); Jim’s Bait and Tackle, Hanna City (309-565-9960)
Crappie are the big talk in the strip mines according to Tim Presley, with fish moving shallow and biting well in most of central Illinois. Minnows are very good but jigs will also produce. Bluegill have been fair and should be getting better. Bass have been slower than expected, with some on spinners and mid-level crankbaits. Some good top-water catches last weekend.

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

Charleston Side Channel Lake
SOURCE: Rick Cuddy, Prairie Outfitters, Charleston (217-348-6770)
Crappie bite improving here on minnows and tube jigs. Anglers also catching saugeye and stripers on chrome sided Rat-L-traps. Catfish being caught on cheesebaits and nightcrawlers.

Lake Decatur
SOURCE: Joanne Lowe, Mike’s Tackle World, Decatur (217-423-0730)
A few crappie biting here on tube jigs and minnows. White bass are taking spinner baits. Catfish biting on the lake on dipbaits and cut shad. Below the dam, flatheads in 20-25-pound range biting on dipbaits and cut shad.

Lake Glenn Shoals
SOURCE: Jack Rebman, Kink’s Corner, Hillsboro (217-532-5442)
A few bass biting on crankbaits and jigs off the points. Fish can be found in about 6-8 feet of water just off the banks. Early morning bite best. Crappie coming in more shallow, about 6-8 feet, and taking either minnows or plastic twister tails. Plenty of catfish biting on either Sonny’s or Geno’s baits, along with some chicken livers and shrimp. A 10-pound catfish caught here last week.

Lake Hillsboro
SOURCE: Jack Rebman, Kink’s Corner, Hillsboro (217-532-5442)
Crappie and catfish best here. Crappie taking minnows. Catfish biting on Sonny’s baits. Recent camper hauled in a 12-pound cat.

Lake Mattoon
SOURCE: Rick Cuddy, Prairie Outfitters, Charleston (217-348-6770); Joel Pittman, Mattoon Parks Department (217-254-6680)
Bass still good here on jigs and soft plastics. Creature baits and finesse worms working. Some crappie being picked up at mid range depths.

Sangchris Lake
SOURCE: Jack Raymond, Peter’s Bait, Springfield (217-528-9500); Trevor Miller, Big Red’s Bait and Tackle, Springfield (217-820-9674)
Crappie still a little deep and taking minnows says Big Red’s.

Lake Sara
SOURCE: Tony Niebrugge, Anthony’s Acres Resort, (217-868-2950)
Bluegill still biting on pieces of nightcrawler or waxworms. Bass have been fair to good on plastics. Crappie have not moved in yet, but Anthony’s expects cooler nights should help them move up. Some anglers saying they are finding crappie under the docks in the evening.

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 “on fire” here says Wilson. Fish are shallow and on wind-blown flats. Wilson using 2-jig rigs with 3-inch twister tails and Blue Fox No. 2 and No. 3 in-line spinners. Walleye can be caught the same way. Anglers drift fishing the north end for channel cats and what they do catch is nice in size. The key is to look where wind is blowing on the main lake flats. For the white bass, cast bait into the weeds a little as the fish are 2 to 3 three up in the weeds. Largemouth bass running shallow and chasing shad. Crappie are fair, with a few taking jigs on main lake brush piles and ledges. Muskie bite is slow. Below the spillway, the gates were open and discharge rates have increased. Anglers are catching some crappie in daylight hours, with white bass and some muskie also biting.
• For a daily report on Lake Shelbyville call (217-774-2020).

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS South of Interstate 70

Carlyle Lake
SOURCE: Josh Adkins; Buddy Langenhorst, Lavish’s Bait Shop , Carlyle (618-594-4413); Henkel’s (618-594-4818)
White bass are taking plastics, tail spinner or Rooster tails by the silos or off flats and the banks. Catfish biting on cut shad, shrimp or leeches. Bluegill taking waxworms or mealworms. A few crappie being found in 4-5 feet of water using tube jigs or minnows. Largemouth biting on crankbaits, spinners or buzzbaits in coves or off the rocks.

Below the Carlyle Lake spillway, catfish biting on cut shad, shrimp and leeches. White bass taking rooster tails, curly tails or tube jigs. Saugeye being caught vertical jigging or on 3-inch curly tails. Bluegill taking waxworms, mealworms. A few carp and buffalo also biting. Even a few crappie being picked up on tube jigs or minnows.
• For the latest water level information call (618-594-4637).

Cedar Lake
SOURCE: Ron Reed, Cooksey’s Bait, Marion (618-993-3366); Guide Matt Strobel (618-922-0354); Kyle Garner, Crappie Pro Shop, Carterville (618-985-8277)
Crappie biting off the points in brush piles or stumps in 12 to 20 feet of water says Garner. Minnows and tube jigs working. Blue and white, red and white or red and chartreuse colors best. Bass are taking top waters on grass beds in the morning and deep diving crank baits off points during the day.

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)
A few crappie biting on jigs and minnows in variable depths says Reed. Garner says you may want to try between 8-12 feet deep along the spillway. Bluegill can be found up and down the banks, mostly in the rocks. Gills taking crickets, redworms or waxworms. Channel cats biting on cheesebaits, cut bait or minnows. Cats taking nightcrawlers and chicken livers around Wolf Creek Road area. Bass fishing tough here says Strobel. What bass Strobel did catch over the weekend here he caught flipping weeds and woods using Sweet Beaver bait, but not very many fish were caught. Garner says bass best on top waters around weed beds and laydowns in the morning hours

Lake of Egypt
SOURCE: Guide Matt Strobel (618-922-0354)
Bass fishing a challenge here over the weekend says Strobel. In five hours Saturday, Strobel caught 7-8 fish and just 5-7 in six hours on Sunday. Most of the fish were caught using LTB Ledge Head bait. Look in brush piles or long tapering points. Biggest fish Strobel hauled in was three pounds. Bait seems to be suspended out in open water as bass are cruising for shad.

Kinkaid Lake
SOURCE: Janet Graeff, Top of the Hill Bait Shop, Muphysboro (618-684-2923); Guide Al Nutty (618-694-4897)
Largemouth bass are still on a good bite, with top waters working in the early morning back in the weeds. Some 4-5 pounders caught. A few are also biting on plastic worms and Carolina rigs. Nutty recommends using whatever bait you are most familiar with using. Crappie are good, about 8-10 feet deep along outside edge of the weeds. Minnows best but jigs also working. Bluegill fair on waxworms, crickets or mealworms. Catfish remain on a good bite. Cut shad, nightcrawlers and shrimp all good baits. Some nice numbers of cats being caught. White bass has been spotty, but some are in 17 to 18-inch range. Still too warm for muskie. A few walleye being caught using diving crank baits.

Rend Lake
SOURCE: Todd Gessner (618-513-0520); Jason Johns (618-927-3432); Bill Hudnall, Rend Lake Sporting Goods, Mount Vernon (618-242-2191)


Click here for water level information.

Illinois River
SOURCE: Jim Hardy of Big Jim’s Bait & Tackle in Ottawa (815-434-3921)
• Above the Starved Rock dam
SOURCE: Carol Culjan at Cajun Sporting Goods in Utica (815-667-4222)
• Near Utica water temperatures have dropped a bit and the river is normal and clean. White bass are good one day at the dam and slow the next. That means fish are starting to move according to Darrell “Buster” Culjan. Catfish are very good on the Vermilion River on dipbait. Big sheephead are also hitting live crayfish on the Illinois River.
SOURCE: Jordan Hubinsky, Time on the Water Marina, Spring Valley (815-663-1000)
• Near Spring Valley sauger and walleye are biting near flats on crankbaits. Catfish have been good on cut bait. A few reports of largemouth bass on spinners.
SOURCE: Merle Keefer, Pekin Bass & Bow (309-347-3334); Tim Presley, Presley’s Outdoors, Bartonville (309-697-1193)
• Near Peoria nice white bass reports are still coming out of the Mackinaw River and white bass have been very good below Peoria Lock and Dam. Early morning is best fishing with catches of up to 100 fish according to Tim Presley. Blade baits and twister tails are working well. Snagging Asian carp has also been good at this year-round snagging spot.
SOURCE: Paul Dinkheller, Dink’s, Lewistown (309-547-1094)
• Near Havana Sanganois has been decent for carp, catfish and even some nice crappie in the backwaters.

Kankakee River
SOURCE: Ed Mullady, Sportsman’s Letter (815-932-7285)
• Ed Mullady reports that pike and bass are good from the state line to Momence, particularly around the Lake Alexander RV Camp, Glorydale and the Fourth Ave. boat launch. Spinners, spoons and minnows are good. Catfish are also good throughout the river on cheesebaits and hamburger. Smallmouth bass are fair around Kankakee and good along shorelines of the Kankakee River State Park, at Carly and Rex islands or Mickey Island. Smallies are also good at Wilmington.

Mississippi River
Mississippi River Pool 12
River stage at Dubuque is 9.22 feet and is forecast to remain stable over the next week. Water clarity is good and temperature is in the high 60s.  Channel Catfish - Good: Channel catfishing has been as good as it has been all year.  Catfish are biting on stink bait in 3 to 12 feet of water around structure and slight current.  Fish are 2 to 5 pounds, with some larger fish.  Bluegill - Fair: Bluegill are biting on crawlers floated under a bobber in current along weed lines.  Largemouth Bass - Fair: Bass are biting on crankbaits fished along rocky shorelines.  Crappie - Fair: Crappie are biting on minnows around snags in the backwaters and side channels.  Anglers are reporting catching a lot of smaller crappie with a few keepers in the mix.  Yellow Perch - Fair: Bluegill anglers are occasionally catching perch up to 12 inches.  Walleye - Fair: Walleye are biting on the wing dams on crankbaits, sonars, and three way rigs.  Freshwater Drum - Fair: Drum are biting on crawlers fished on the bottom in areas of moderate current.  Larger drum are biting on crayfish.

Mississippi River Pool 13
River stage at Bellevue is 7.66 feet and is forecast to remain stable over the next week. Water clarity is fair and temperature is in the high 60s.  Channel Catfish - Good: Catfish have been biting well on stink bait over the past few days.  Crappie - Fair: Reports of a few crappie are starting to come in.  Fish snags in the sloughs with minnows.  Walleye - Fair: Walleye are biting on crankbaits and three way rigs on the wing dams.  Freshwater Drum - Fair: Drum are biting on crawlers fished on the bottom in areas of moderate current.

Mississippi River Pool 14
River level at Camanche is 9.99 feet and is forecast to remain stable over the next week.  Water clarity is still poor, but improving.  Water temperature is in the high 60s.

For fishing information in Pool 12-15 of the Mississippi River contact the Bellevue Fish Management and Research Station at 563-872-4976

Pecatonica River
SOURCE: Tom Calam, Tom’s Bait & Tackle, Freeport (815-232-3337)
Catfish, both channel and flatheads, best here on cutbaits, dipbaits or chicken livers.

Rock River
SOURCE: Tom Calam, Tom’s Bait & Tackle, Freeport (815-232-3337)Illinois hunting and fishing
• Near Rockford anglers using tightlines to catch catfish here using dipbaits and cutbaits.
SOURCE: Jan Prose at TJ’s Bait/Tackle & Canoe Rental in Oregon (815-732-4516)
• Near Oregon Jan Prose reports fishing picking up here. Local angler Bob Leddy (pictured at right) caught a 7 pound, 1 ounce channel cat Saturday using chicken livers. Cats taking just about anything, including dipbaits, worms, cutbaits. Striped bass, in 16-inch range, biting on minnows. Walleye spotty. Water levels are steady and temperatures in the 70s. Early morning has been a good time. A few walleye, being caught on minnows, and several nice stripe bass have been caught this past week.
SOURCE: Ray and Irene Hays, Bunny’s Bait Shop, Dixon (815-288-3812)
• Near Dixon channel cats still going good but slower than last week. Cats taking dipbaits, chicken livers and smaller cats biting on worms around the shoreline. A few flathead reports, with anglers using bluegill and goldfish for bait. White bass and crappie slow and spotty. Smaller minnows working better for crappie. Smallmouth taking minnows. Small-size walleye spotty and found deep. Work on Rock Falls dam caused water levels to drop. Water clean. Still some drum reports. Carp best, with some saying mulberry and corn working best.

Spoon River
SOURCE: Al Hayden, Al’s Sporting Goods, Galesburg and Paul Dinkheller at Dink’s in Lewistown (309-547-1094)
White bass are still hitting anywhere you find shad near Bernadotte. Catfish have slacked off some in the river.


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