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Illinois fishing report May 1-7

May 01, 2008 at 07:32 PM

OK, so the weather has been pretty nasty for a long time. Cold, rainy and just not the type of pretty spring weather folks love. Deal with it. If you are waiting to go fishing until the weather breaks, you may well miss the best fishing of the year. Because we are in the midst of big-fish week in much of Illinois right now. This report is filled with details about big fish. But many of the people who caught these fish did so in nasty weather. So put on a coat and go wet a line this weekend. You’ll be glad you did.

Remember, learn more about lakes or rivers mentioned by clicking on the name of the body of water.

If you are a diehard angler who would like to submit fishing reports, please contact us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or by calling (309) 686-3212.

HOTSPOTS

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

• Lake Shelbyville for crappie or white bass.

• East Fork Lake in Olney for crappie.

• The rushing waters below Carlyle Lake that have been producing white bass, crappie and even walleye up to 6 pounds.

• The Peoria County strip-mine lake five minutes from Jeff Lampe’s house where Eric Doubet caught and released six bass of 19 inches or longer in a few hours Thursday afternoon.

WALL HANGERS

• Brad Morris of Peoria caught this flathead catfish (which pegged a digital scale that registers up to 25 pounds) on April 27 near the boat ramp at Powerton Lake. Morris was fishing for smallmouth bass with a half-ounce Bass Pro Shops Lazer Blade bat on 8-pound test line. It took him more than 25 minutes to land the fish on his light spinning gear.
Illinois Outdoors

• Larry McLelloge caught this 17.5-inch crappie on Lake Marie in the Fox Chain O’ Lakes on April 22.
Illinois Outdoors

• Hatchery workers netted and released a 52-inch muskie this week at Lake Carroll while gathering eggs for the lake hatchery.

• Tony Karrick caught this 69-pound grass carp on April 3, 2008 at Lake Petersburg. Karrick is th grandson of reader Joe Griffin of Havana.
Illinois Outdoors

• Robert Kizzire of Galesburg caught and released a 27-inch walleye last Friday (April 25, 2008) at Lake Storey while fishing with a red jig with a worm.

NORTHERN ILLINOIS North of Interstate 80

Bass are biting on Lake Michigan and in other lakes, moving shallow and taking Rat-L-Traps or slow-rolled spinnerbaits. And in the northwest corner of the state, crappie and walleye have finally turned on in some of the lakes that were last to lose their ice.

Apple Canyon Lake
Crappies being caught are still on a catch and release program until June 15 says Tom Calam at Freeport Car Care Center (815-232-3337). Fishing has been good. There were two 22- inch walleye caught in the past week and bluegill are fair.

Lake Carroll
Hatchery workers netted and released a 52-inch muskie this week. Anglers are catching nice 17- to 22-inch walleye and good numbers of bluegill and crappie says Tom Calam at Freeport Car Care Center (815-232-3337). Best results trolling leeches or crankbaits or pulling nightcrawlers.

Forest Preserve Lakes
Cook County
DeKalb County
DuPage County
Kane County
Kendall County
Lake County
McHenry County
Will County
• Crappie slowing some in Cook County says Henry’s (312-225-8538), but bass and bluegill have picked up. Prime spots include Tampier Lake, Busse Woods and Saginasse Slough.
Click here for a Cook County Forest Preserves lake fishing forum.
• In DuPage County crappie have been good shallow, particularly in Mallard Lake, Pratt Layne Woods or Spring Creek reservoir says Kolar Bait & Tackle in Carol Stream (630-372-0125). Bass also moving shallow. Anglers report a few walleye being caught out of Deep Quarry Lake, particularly in the evening. The lake is open until 11 p.m. There was a 32-inch northern pike caught and released out of Bass Lake, which is part of the West Branch Forest Preserve.

Fox Chain O’ Lakes
The bass bite is improving, with fish shallow and taking fast-moving baits like Rat-L-Traps and slow-rolled spinnerbaits. Water in the low 50s says Greg Dickson of Triangle Sports & Marine in Antioch (1-847-395-0813). Crappie are more sporadic, but there have been some good catches out of backwaters. Bluegill are pre-spawn and still in the channels. They should move into the backwaters in a few weeks says Dickson. Walleye are always best in the current areas but are kind of towards the tail end of the early season bite says Dickson. Check back for better walleye action toward the end of May. Dale Bowman of Chicago’s Sun-Times reports muskie are active, with 13 measured in last Saturday’s Challunge. Boating restrictions have been removed from McHenry to the Wisconsin lines.
• Capt. Darrell Baker has a seminar Sunday at the Thirsty Turtle at 7 p.m. Then there’s a multi-species tournament starting at 6:30 a.m. Monday (May 5, 2008) out of the Thirsty Turtle or Barnacle Bob’s at 6:30 a.m. Cost is $70. Call (847) 337-5559.
• Check updates on no-wake status and water levels at (847-587-8540) or click here.

Lake Michigan
• On the Chicago lakefront smallmouth bass are strong in the harbors and along shorelines. Soft plastics working well. Big bass are in a pre-spawn mode says Henry’s. Look for a 5-pounder soon. Prime harbors right now include Jackson Park outside along the rocks and Monroe Harbor through Navy Pier. Perch are slow for bank anglers but boaters are faring well. Salmon have moved off shore with some cohos coming inside the crib line. A few browns reported in the harbors says Dale Bowman of Chicago’s Sun-Times. The Richard J. Daley Memorial Fishing Tournament opens today and runs through Sept. 30. There are monthly prizes. Register at Henry’s, Park Bait or Vet’s.
• East winds and choppy water has slowed charter fishing near Indiana says Mik-Lurch (219-989-0575). Smallmouth bass best and good perch fishing for boaters in 40 feet of water near Gary Light says Jack Vadas at Vet’s. Coho also best for trollers near Gary Light.
• Near Waukegan perch are very good for boaters says Lori Ralph at The Salmon Stop (847-244-2525 or fishing hotline 847-244-9876). Boaters are targeting 50-55 feet of water south of Waukegan and using large fathead minnows and medium roaches on the bottom with a crappie rig. Numerous limits of fish 12-15 inches long. Salmon bite slower with most action centered around perch. Cohos best in 65-85 feet of water between Waukegan and Great Lakes. Troll tinsel flies and dodgers for a few browns. Some reports in 60-100 feet of water off the Zion nuclear plant by Capt. Bob Poteshman.

Pierce Lake
Crappie are good on minnows but wax worms not finding much success at the moment says Pam Minihan at Dora’s Bait & Tackle in Rockford (815-963-1795). Lake harder to access with Trash Bridge closed.

Shabbona Lake
Big bass are biting, with a 7.1-pounder caught on April 29, 2008 by an angler throwing a Rat-L-Trap in the shallow waters of one of the bays
says guide Jay Angel (815-739-7030). Look for bass cruising the shallows in increasing numbers as the weather warms. Crappies are beginning to stage for their invasion of the shallows. Look for them in the structure adjacent to the shallow spawning areas. Use Mini Mites or minnows half way down the water column says Angel. Water has cooled into the lower 50s. Several 4- to 5-pound bass caught on Rat-L-Traps says Denny Sands at Shabbona Lakeside Bait & Tackle in Shabbona (815-824-2581). Crappie good in the no-motor zone. Several muskie up to 44 inches in the past week.
• Park hours 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. starting today.
Click here for a Shabbona Lake fishing forum

Lake Summerset
Fishing slow says Tom Calam at Freeport Car Care Center (815-232-3337). Some small bluegill and crappies being caught as well as some walleye at night.

Wolf Lake
Bass fishing is improving says Jack Vadas at Vet’s. A group of youngsters caught a nice mess of bass from 2-5 pounds over last weekend, most on spoons, crawlers and golden roaches. Crappie have slowed some with more smaller fish being reported.

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

Weather is poor but fishing is good. Crappie and white bass should be prime this weekend. And largemouth bass are headed for the spawn, so now’s a good time to throw lizards.

Anderson Lake
Trot-liners are doing very well on catfish at Anderson Lake and white bass are hitting on the Carlson Lake spillway
says site manager Ed Oest (309-759-4484). Crappie are spotty, but slabs are being caught. This is the first year in about five that anglers have caught some big crappie out of this lake, which once upon a time was a hotspot for panfish.

Banner Marsh
Crappie improving says Tim Presley at Presley’s Outdoors in Bartonville (309-697-1193). Fish are coming shallow. Tom Grider at Tom’s Riverside Bait & Tackle in Pekin (309-347-3793) reports a 1.7-pounder out of Bell’s Landing this week along with several smaller fish. Bass good on jigs and chatterbaits says Adam Jaegle.

Lake Bloomington
Bass were good for last weekend’s Ever-Bloom tournament, as Ken Peterson caught a 7.39-pounder and Dave Norris and Greg Bayles had a 6.3-pounder. Crappie fair in 8-10 feet along first break. Water 58, up to 61 in creeks says Larry Dozard.

Braidwood Lake
Catfish are the best bet says Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait & Tackle Shop in South Wilmington (815-237-2822). Chicken liver, cheesebait, shrimp and shad all working well. Bluegill have slowed some. Meder said he’s seen a few nice crappie caught up to 1.5 pounds off the south boat ramp near the walleye rearing pond. Two of the better fish went 1 pound, 10 ounces and 1 pound, 5 ounces.

Canton Lake
Crappie fishing has picked up in the flooded trees and shallow water, with fish ready to spawn. Several fish reported full of eggs. A few days of warmer weather should spur a strong bite.

Clinton Lake
Crappie are up shallow and biting and white bass are biting well in the rip-rap of the hot-water arm says Joanne Lowe of Mike’s Tackle World in Decatur (217-423-0730). Walleye have been fair and anglers are reporting good action on stripers and a few walleye in the spillway. Travis Boley won April 27, 2008 tournament at the lake with three bass weighing 11.7 pounds and a big fish of 5.4 pounds.

Dawson Lake
Bass fishing was good Thursday says Leon Gibson at Moraine View Concession (309-724-8295). Saugeye have also come on strong in the past week and are good in the shallows. That’s also where anglers have been targeting crappie, which are fair to good. Catfish have also been fair along the edges.

Lake Eureka
Bass are fair on Rat-L-Traps says Larry Dozard. Anglers report numerous small fish but they’ve also caught some nice keepers. Crappie are in 4-6 feet and fair.

Evergreen Lake
Crappie better later in the day in 10-12 feet of water says Bill Wasson, site manager. Fish should be moving shallow soon, though.
Click here for up-to-date lake reports.
• Boat rentals and bait and tackle sales underway at the boat rental facility, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends (after 8 a.m. on Fridays) with extended hours starting Memorial Day weekend.

Heidecke Lake
Fishing is picking up some says Pat Cassin at Greybeards (815-941-1504), the bait shop on the lake. Wind has limited fishing but walleye are picking up on scattered humps in the main lake. Fish crawlers off the bottom. That technique is also producing a few stripers and channel catfish Cassin says.

Hennepin Canal
Very little to report in the Kewanee area says Ann Downey at Northside Bait & Archery (309-852-4760) in Kewanee. Crappie look to be a week away from the spawn, she says. Near the Quad Cities, anglers are doing well on crappie and bass in the canal says Margaret Pankey of Carbon Cliff Bait & Tackle (309-792-3460). Target around Geneseo and upstream. Some catfish have also been coming from about 2 feet of water.

LaSalle Lake
Bass are slow but the best bet is either hybrid stripers or channel catfish says Dale Bowman of Chicago’s Sun-Times.
Click here for a LaSalle Lake fishing forum.

Mazonia Lakes
Crappie are fair to good at Mazonia saus Del Colvin at Bert’s Bait in Essex (815-365-2103), with fishing coming from Monster and both Mazonia lakes. Some are off the bottom while others have been ranging into 5 feet of water. Bass have been surprisingly slow, with a 5-pounder over the weekend at a tournament the best reported of late.

Powerton Lake
Cooling lake still closed to boaters due to ongoing work on the discharge. Channel catfish good throughout the lake on cut baits. There have been a few reports of smallmouth bass in shallow, most are on minnows says Tom Grider at Tom’s Riverside Bait & Tackle in Pekin (309-347-3793). Hours change to 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. today.

Snakeden Hollow SFWA
An unnamed angler caught a 9-pound walleye out of McMaster Lake last week says Terry Whiteside at Victoria Tackle Shop (309-879-2664). Catfish good in most lakes in shallow on dew worms and dipbait. Crappie good and ready to spawn. Tube jigs producing. Some bluegill reports in the past week, but overall they are just fair. Bass spotty.

Spring Lake
Bass slow for last weekend’s Peoria Sportsman Club tourney, won by Wayne Adams of Farmington and Scott Stone with 26.15 pounds (for a possible 12 fish). Lizards were a good choice. Big bass went 4.98 and 5.44 pounds over the weekend. Overall fishing was hampered by a cold front. Crappie best on both ends says Troy Galvin at Galvin’s Spring Lake Market Troy Galvin at Galvin’s Spring Lake Market (309-267-6538). Channel catfish decent on the south end on cut shad or crawlers.

Lake Storey
Fishing has picked up for bluegill and crappie says Al Hayden of Al’s Sporting Goods in Galesburg (309-342-7776). Crappie best on minnows but also taking jigs and twister tails in 4 feet of water; closer evenings and early. A few large walleye. Bass slow. Water in the 50s.

Strip Mines
Crappie good and should be very good this weekend says Tim Presley at Presley’s Outdoors in Bartonville (309-697-1193), with fish up shallow and ready to spawn. “They’ve got their backs to the banks,” says Tom Grider at Tom’s Riverside Bait & Tackle in Pekin (309-347-3793). More bluegill reported of late, with anglers bringing home messes of 10-15 fish as compared to a few last week. Bass ready to spawn in some pits, with females starting to move shallow and taking plastics, jigs and lizards. Fish of 7.12 and 6 pounds weighed Wednesday at Presley’s. Eric Doubet of Elmwood caught and released six bass of 19 inches or longer on Thursday in a Peoria County strip mine lake. Several of the bass were spewing eggs.
Illinois Outdoors

Lake Vermilion
Some 11-inch crappie are being caught close to the bridge at the lake, being caught on small shiners says Gary Henk at Henk’s Bait and Tackle in Danville (217-443-4111). Trout are also being caught at the Kickapoo Landing since April 5.

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

Crappie are the dominant fish in this area right now, with papermouths moving shallow in most lakes or at least biting well. One problem has been murky water. That appears to be slowing bass fishing, since largemouths have started to move into the shallows and are in a pre-spawn mode where they should be biting better.

Beaver Dam Lake
Few crappies are being caught but bass are fair along the bank says Kim Eggers at Beaver Dam Bait Shop (217-854-6688).

Carlinville Lake
Catfish are biting on nightcrawlers but not on dough bait. Crappies are biting around the bank. They are moving in, coming towards the bank says Gwen Gilmore of Gilmore Bait & Marine in Carlinville (217-854-8136). Rosy reds are not working with crappies at the moment but shiners and worms are producing. The crappie minimum length limit is 9 inches.

Charleston Side Channel Lake
Crappie are doing well on jigs, tubes and some minnows. Some are being caught in the 11-12-inch range but you really have to work through the small ones. Crappies are being caught along the shores, working up shallow towards evening says Rick Cuddy at Prairie Outfitters in Charleston (217-348-6770). Catfish are being caught on chicken livers. Stripers and saugeye are not being caught yet but could start any day.

Coffeen Lake
Catfish aregood on Geno’s Stinkbait and worms and bass fishing has been good. says Indian Grove Fish Camp, located on Coffeen Lake (217-537-3001).

Lake Decatur
White bass are starting to pick up around the lake for what is expected to be a very good bite this year. Crappie are still holding back and waiting to spawn says Joanne Lowe of Mike’s Tackle World in Decatur (217-423-0730). Best action has been below the dam, where anglers are catching walleye and white bass.

Lake Glenn Shoals
The water is murky with few scattered crappies being caught on minnows and on a few jigs. The basss are slow but being caught and catfish are being caught on shrimp and shad, says Jack Rebman at Kink’s Corner in Hillsboro (217-532-5442).

Lake Jacksonville
FIshing been slow due to snowy and cold weather. Bait was selling well on Thursday. Bass are starting to come out. Crappie success had slowed down because of the wind lately, says Tom Holmes at Military Surplus Outlet in Jacksonville (217-243-6161).

Lake Lou Yaeger
Nasty weather has limited fishing so has the lake’s muddy water says Denny’s Bait Shop in Litchfield (217-324-2628).

Lake Mattoon
Some small crappie are being caught says the Mattoon Parks Department (217-254-6680).

New Gillespie Lake
Slow fishing and the water is real muddy, according to the Gilliespie Lake Police (618-362-6363). The water temperature was 59 degrees on Thursday. Anglers are catching a few crappie despite the dirty water.

Sangchris Lake
A 76-pound flathead was caught on April 19 by angler Robert Rhude. Big crappie of the 12 to 15-inch size are being caught but not in great numbers says Trevor Miller of Big Red’s Bait and Tackle in Springfield (217-820-9674).

Lake Shelbyville
Crappie are excellent throughout the lake says guide Steve Welch (217-762-7257), who won a tournament last Saturday. River fishing has been very good, though water levels are too low right now in the Okaw. Welch is targeting the Kaskaskia River in stead and is catching 1-pound fish with occasional 1.5-pounders. On the lake, crappie are good and have moved into the 4- to 6-foot range Welch says. Margie Oliver of Marv and Kathy’s Bait & Tackle in Sullivan (217-728-4044) agrees that crappie are very good and she hooked a wide 13-incher off the bank just the other day. Bo Wood has also been a hotspot, with fish 4 feet off the bank and 2 feet deep. White bass are also very good in the river on chartreuse jigs. Water color and clarity has improved and the lake should be at winter pool by the middle of next week. Welch says males have been coal black and squirting in the river for two weeks. Muskie are also active and Dave Schultz’s 42-inch muskie won first place for him and partner Tony Grant at the Illinois Muskie Tournament Trail Spring Classic at Lake Shelbyville last Saturday and Sunday. Duane Landmeier’s 35.5-inch fish won second place for him and his partner Michael Smith. Ron Rodak caught a 33-inch muskie for a third-place finish for himself and partner Bob Jeffries.
• For a daily report on Lake Shelbyville call (217-774-2020).

Lake Springfield
Catfish are being caught on nightcrawlers and shrimp says Trevor Miller of Big Red’s Bait and Tackle in Springfield (217-820-9674). Crappie are being caught on minnows and jigs white bass are being caught in the creeks and hot ditches.

Lake Taylorville
Fishing is beginning to improve with the water becoming a bit less murky. Crappie are fair to good on minnows off the banks and from boats. Not much success beyond crappies says Lindsey’s Bait & Tackle in Taylorville (217-287-7550)

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS South of Interstate 70

Crappie actions is mixed here, with some lakes still waiting for the peak of the spawn and others already past the best panfishing. Bass have also slowed with few large catches reported.

Carlyle Lake
The lake is at 59 degrees and dropping fast and that has not helped crappie fishing much. The best action is below the dam says Mama Lavish of Lavish’s Bait Shop in Carlyle (618-594-4413). White bass are very good in the Kaskaskia River on jigs and minnows and catfish have also been biting on Geno’s stinkbait and cut shad. Anglers have also caught a few walleye of up to 6 pounds in the river. Steve at Henkel’s (618-594-4818) says river anglers are also catching some crappie on tube jigs and minnows and a few bluegill on waxworms. Crappie have been slow in the lake but are starting to come shallow. Channel catfish good on trot lines baited with cut bait and shrimp on the lake. Anglers are also drifting shrimp with good results and have caught fish on Geno’s stinkbait.
• For the latest water level information call (618-594-4637).

Crab Orchard Lake
Fishing has slowed down for crappie says Carol Reed of Cooksey’s Bait in Marion (618-993-3366). Crappie were on the banks into the weekend but have backed off. Bluegill are better. Reed says a few bass have come on topwaters and frogs.

East Fork Lake
Crappie fishing has been good here says Mike Polcyn at Mike’s Bait & Tackle Shop in Louisville (618-665-3209). Water is relatively clear (at least for this muddy region) and anglers are catching fish up to 2 pounds in 2-4 feet of water on the banks. Good numbers of big fish reported.

Lake of Egypt
Crappie fishing has slowed says Bill Hudnall at says Rend Lake Sporting Goods in Mount Vernon (618-242-2191). But bass have been very good on jigs.

Forbes Lake
Crappie are on the banks and anglers have been averaging 12- to 13-inch fish says Mike Polcyn at Mike’s Bait & Tackle Shop in Louisville (618-665-3209).

Kinkaid Lake
Inconsistent crappie fishing is the rule. Some are catching keepers of nine inches or more in 2-3-foot shallow water one day and 10 feet the next says Janet Graeff of Top of the Hill Bait Shop in Muphysboro (618-684-2923). Some muskies are being caught in the grass beds and weeds.

Little Grassy Lake
Crappie are the best bet and have been shallow says Shirley Lowery at Little Grassy Boat Dock (618-457-6655), though panfishing is rated as just fair.

Newton Lake
Bass fishing has picked up in the past week, with cooler temperatures bringing fish back shallower says Ruth Rauch at Rauch’s Bait & Tackle in Newton (618-752-2151). Soft plastics yielded one angler 23 bass in successive days, including five keepers (to be kept bass must be longer than 18 inches). Catfish anglers also reported several keeper bass on large minnows. Catfish have been good on minnows and cut shad says Rauch. No word on crappie.

Rend Lake
Crappie fishing is better but still not great for anglers who are targeting the bank says guide Todd Gessner (618-513-0520). He is catching bigger and better crappie in 8-13 feet around brushpiles. Get information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about placement of brushpiles. Gessner says crappie fishing should only improve in the next week. Larry Dozard says channel catfish are good on shad gut, leeches, shrimp, liver and nightcrawlers in areas with current near bridges. White bass are fair in the spillway on jigs and spoons. Water is nearing 60 degrees and the fall has slowed. Bass are very slow says Bill Hudnall at says Rend Lake Sporting Goods in Mount Vernon (618-242-2191). Out of 133 boats in a tournament last weekend there were no limits and the winning weight was 12 pounds for three bass. Big fish was a 6-pound, 11-ounce lunker and there was another 6 ad a 5.9-pounder weighed-in. Jigs were best, though fishing was slow overall.

Sam Dale Lake
Anglers are catching a few small crappie, but this is mainly a catfish lake says Mike Polcyn at Mike’s Bait & Tackle Shop in Louisville (618-665-3209).

Sam Parr Lake
Crappies of over 10 inches are being caught on minnows. Sam Parr is still murky says Sharon Long at Long’s Tackle Box in Robinson (618-544-2709), open until 1 p.m. daily.

RIVERS

Flooding has hampered fishing on the Mississippi and Ohio, but other rivers are clearing some and action has improved. White bass, in particular, are starting to run strong in most rivers.
Click here for water level information.

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

DuPage River
The West Branch of the DuPage has been producing some decent smallmouth bass says Kolar Bait & Tackle in Carol Stream (630-372-0125). Water there is clearer than in many other northern streams.
Click here for a DuPage River fishing forum.

Fox River
• Near Elgin wading guide Ken Gortowski (630-941-0796) tells Dale Bowman that the river is high but fishable for experience waders. Best action is still close to shore with flashy baits. Fishing feeder creeks may be a better option.
• Near Batavia water flow is slowing and anglers are catching good numbers of walleye and a few smallmouth bass at the Challenge Dam says Batavia Bait & Tackle (630-879-1302).
•Water is finally dropping near the Dayton Dam and anglers are catching some crappie and smallmouth bass on minnows says Jim Hardy of Big Jim’s Bait & Tackle in Ottawa (815-434-3921).
Click here for a Fox River fishing forum.

Illinois River
• White bass are good on jigs and minnows near Starved Rock says Carol Culjan at Cajun Sporting Goods in Utica (815-667-4222). Golden shiners and fatheads working. River is clean and almost back to normal. Saugeye are post-spawn and taking jigs and minnows.
• Near Spring Valley anglers had numerous 10-fish white bass limits during last weekend’s tourney, with a 14.5-pounder reported. Water clarity is 18 inches. Sauger good on crankbaits trolled or jigs and live bait says Baitshop Bob of River Marine Bait & Tackle in Spring Valley (815-663-1000).
• Near Hennepin white bass are good on minnows and white twister tails says Maryann Rilko of Riverfront Bait Shop in Hennepin (815-925-7186). Target creek mouths.
• Catfish good on shrimp and nightcrawlers near Chillicothe says Celeste Pollack at Wolf Hollow Archery Bait & Tackle (309-274-9653). Some crappie on waxworms.
• Near Peoria catfish have been fair to good says Tom Grider at Riverside Bait in Pekin. At a tournament last weekend, anglers had 102 fish and the winning weight topped 50 pounds. Most fish came from flooded areas. Cut baits and fresh shad a good bet.
• Catfish good on most baits near Beardstown says Tom of Tom’s Bait Shop in Beardstown (217-323-BAIT). A 12-pounder won big fish at Saturday’s tournament.

Kankakee River
• Momence has some of the best smallmouth bass fishing says Ed Mullady of Sportsman’s Letter (815-932-7285). Fish the mouth of the Iroquois River to Cobb Park. Catfish are good in the same area.
• Smallmouth bass also good from the Kankakee dam to LeVasseur Park. Walleye are also good here.
• Near Wilmington Mullady says smallies are good from the dam through the Des Plaines Conservation Area.
Click here for a Kankakee River fishing forum.

Kishwaukee River
Fishing is good, with northern, walleyes, channel catfish and smallmouth bass all fair to good says Bob Rhodes at Rockford Bait (815-226-3515). Some 15-inch smallmouth were caught on jigging minnows and crawlers. Channel catfish are being caught on Doc’s Cold Weather Stinkbait.

Mackinaw River
River looks very fishable and conditions should be right for smallmouth bass. Action starting for white bass at the mouth of the Mackinaw and the Illinois River.

Mississippi River
Pools 13-14:
River levels remain at flood stage throughout the upper pools. Water levels are turbid and dropped to around 48 degrees. Boaters are reminded to be extremely cautious of floating debris as several large trees and other debris have been floating down the river. Very little fishing effort is being expended on the Mississippi due to high water.
Pools 15-16:
Few reports of fishing with water rising and muddy says Margaret Pankey at Carbon Cliff Bait & Tackle (309-792-3460). Boats are being asked to stay off the river here.
In Pool 16, river stage at Lock and Dam 15 in the Quad Cities is 18.98 feet and has begun falling. Fishing is slow due to high water and limited access. The Marquette St. boat ramp in Davenport and the ramp at the Fairport Recreational Area are closed due to high water. 
Pools 17-19
River in flood stage and water is nearing 55 degrees. Many ramps are still under water so access to the river is limited. In Pool 17, the river level has reached 19.88 feet and is forecasted to begin falling.The Muscatine boat ramp is still closed due to high water.The ramp at Big Timber is also under water. In Pool 18, river level at Lock and Dam 17 has reached 21.16 feet and is expected to crest on Friday. The Toolesboro landing is closed due to high water. In Pool 19, river stage at Lock and Dam 18 is 16.36 feet and is forecasted to crest on Friday.
Pools 20-24
Water is muddy, high and anglers have been gigging and bowfishing for carp. In Pool 20, river stage at Lock and Dam 19 is 18.63 feet and is expected to crest at 19.5 feet over the weekend.
Below Lock & Dam 27:
Water is high, dirty and 56-60 degrees with all species slow.

Ohio River
Sixty slab crappie were caught nearby the Golconda Marina Bait Shop Wednesday afternoon says Bill Parrish of Fort Massac Fish Market in Metropolis (618-524-3152). Few anglers are going out, though the river is dropping slowly.

Pecatonica River
River remains virtually unfishable says Tom Calam at Freeport Car Care Center (815-232-3337)

Rock River
• White bass and stripers are being caught around the dam on jigs and twister tails, but walleye have slowed says Tom Calam at Freeport Car Care Center (815-232-3337). Channel catfish up to 5 pounds are fair to good on shad guts and crawlers.
• River still up near Oregon, but anglers are catching some smallmouth abnd white bass are biting at the dam says Jan Prose at TJ’s Bait/Tackle & Canoe Rental in Oregon (815-732-4516). Few boaters out lately with high water. Reports of a few small walleye. Channel catfish have been biting all over on stinkbaits and shad.
• Channel catfish are fair near Dixon, with bigger fish moving into deeper water and channels and taking shad gut and shrimp says Ray Hays at Bunny’s Bait Shop in Dixon (815-288-3812). Worms have been less productive in flooded areas as the water has remained high and stabilized. Water is also clearing some. A few walleye reported at the dam, but most are small. Twister tails and minnows have been best. White bass are spotty but some decent action has come downstream around the bridges says Hays on jigs and minnows or small spinners. Anglers are also catching a few crappie and there was one keeper northern pike reported at the dam this week.
• The Rock is still very high below Rock Falls, but the stability and warming waters have made for some excellent channel catfishing says guide Matt Jones (815-537-5506 or 815-590-1469 cell). Ramps from Rock Falls down are very usable now with the exception of the Erie ramp. Channel cats are feeding well behind and alongside islands on G&S cheesebait, shad and skipjack herringt.Water temperatures fell back to about 51 degrees and have now rebounded to 53.
• The river is dropping ever so slightly near the Quad Cities says Margaret Pankey at Carbon Cliff Bait & Tackle (309-792-3460). White bass are biting at the steel dam and in the ditch behind Bob Erickson’s. A few crappie reported also. Minnows are best. Few reports on channel catfish.

Wabash River
Some channel cat are being caught with blood bait against the bank says Sharon Long at Long’s Tackle Box in Robinson (618-544-2709), open until 1 p.m. daily.

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Thanks again Jeff, for THE most thourough and complete fishing report out there.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/02 at 11:14 PM

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