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Illinois fishing report for March 13-20

March 13, 2008 at 03:25 PM

If you are a diehard angler who would like to submit fishing reports, please e-mail us or call (309) 686-3212. If there are additional lakes you want to see on the report, pass that information on, as well.

NORTHERN ILLINOIS North of Interstate 80

Ice fishing should hold out through the weekend, particularly in the northwest part of the state where the frozen water is 12-18 inches thick many places. Eastern lakes could open sooner.

Apple Canyon Lake
Ice still 18 inches thick says Tom Calam at Freeport Car Care Center (815 232-3337). Action has been slow, with evenings best. Calam expects ice to linger until the end of March.

Lake Carroll
Action very slow on ice here says Tom Calam at Freeport Car Care Center (815 232-3337). Calam expects ice to linger until the end of March.

Forest Preserve Lakes
Very little to report from most lakes, which are ice-covered. Starting Saturday, all fishing is closed on Silver Lake, Deep Quarry and Grove lakes in DuPage through the opening of spring trout season on April 5.

Fox Chain-O-Lakes
Greg Dickson of Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch (1-847-395-0813) says ice is melting, but should hold through the weekend. Panfish biting marginal at Mineola Bay on spinners and wigglers. Some walleye also biting at Mineola. White bass, yellow bass good at Lake Marie and Pistakee Lake. Catherine and Channel lakes have been good for crappie and bluegill. Be careful around areas with current. Dale Bowman of Chicago’s Sun-Times said a thaw typically triggers a good bite for bass and for northern pike.

Lake Michigan
Tom Palmisano of Henry’s (312-225-8538) reports perch are slow and small. Best action has been at Navy Pier. Ice should hold through the weekend. Some coho salmon. Browns and steelhead are biting on minnows at 95th, where the launch is open and perch are being taken up in the river. Brown trout also taking golden roaches, says Jack Vadas of Vet’s (773-734-6720). Collete from Mik-Lurch (219-989-0575) says browns and cohos are biting at Gary Light on twisters tails with jigs and squid. Trollers are using Smithwick Rogues.

Pierce Lake
Action very slow at this Rockford-area lake according to Pam Minihan at Dora’s Bait & Tackle in Rockford (815-963-1795). Or as Bob Rhodes of Rockford Bait (815-226-3515) says, “
Pierce has been like a dead sea all winter.” Rhodes said there is still 16-18 inches of ice on Pierce and he expects ice fishing will last at least another week, barring heavy rains.

Shabbona Lake
Ice cover still 16-18 inches, says Eddie Valenzuela of Allen Outboard Bait (815-739-4522). Anglers catching crappie, bluegill and catfish on waxworms near no motor zone, around the bridge and near deep trees. Click here for more information. Park hours 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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

Transition from ice fishing to open-water is underway most places, with ice still lingering in coves but more and more open water appearing daily.

Banner Marsh
Tim Presley of Presley’s Outdoors in Bartonville (309-697-1193) says fishing should be good as ice melts. Try jigs for bass and crappie.

Braidwood Lake
Reports of catfish on crawlers, shrimp and shad, says Tom Pamisano of Henry’s (312-225-8538). Bluegill on spinners and waxworms. Dale Bowman of the Sun-Times reports water ranging from the mid-50s north to the mid-60s south. Bass remain tough, he says, but some nice fish have been caught including an 8-pound, 4-ounce largemouth caught and released by dave Vesecky of North Riverside on the March 1 season opener. Best action was off points 6-12 feet deep, drop-shotting a new Berkley leech.

Clinton Lake
Fishing slow says Joanne Lowe of Mike’s Tackle World in Decatur (217-423-0730). A few crappie catches on minnows, waxworms or tipped jigs. Catching catfish on shad gut around banks in warmer water areas. Muddy waters keeping anglers away. Best bet may be farm ponds for crappie on jigs and waxworms, says Lowe. The hot eastern hot-water arm of the lake is closed between the DeWitt and Illinois Route 48 bridges until March 31.

Evergreen Lake
“We are currently in a transition period,” reports Mike Steffa, operations manager. “There is a lot of open water, but all coves and some of the main lake still have ice.” Larry Dozard saysthe lake is still up and stained with a few crappie and bluegill reported last weekend.
Click here for up-to-date lake reports.

Heidecke Lake
Opens to fishing April 1.

LaSalle Lake
Opens to fishing Saturday at 6 a.m., then remains open Wednesday through Sunday in March, closing at dusk. Bluegill looki very good says biologist Ken Clodfelter. Blue catfish also expected to be very good according to Dale Bowman of the Sun-Times.

Powerton Lake
Cooling lake still closed to boaters due to ongoing work on the discharge. Lake is open to bank anglers daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Snakeden Hollow SFWA
No more ice fishing here says angler Rich Klockenga, who walked the site Wednesday and reports, “All lakes appear unfishable on the ice and many have half open water that shore fishermen could fish.” West side of the park is best for panfish, with Victoria, Northwest and Turkey lakes top options. First two are best for crappie. McMaster Lake levels have increased steadily and the boat launch is usable.

Spring Lake
All ice was gone from the south end on Wednesday and anglers reported some crappie in the pike hole, though it took lots of sorting to come up with any keepers. Northern pike are flowing eggs and charging the shoreline on the south end. Bass should be going soon. Crappie should be better in the north end this year says biologist Wayne Herndon. Most fishing action on the north end right now is for muskie, with several caught on Wednesday on smaller lures. Most fish so far are ranging 30 to 40 inches. Water is stained.

Lake Storey
Ice still causing problems for open-water anglers, says Al Hayden of Al’s Sporting Goods in Galesburg (309-342-7776).

Strip Mines
Open water more and more prevalent in Fulton and Knox counties, but some secluded bays still locked up. Good time to start targeting big bass.

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

Water is open and boaters have been out in force thanks to warmer weather the past few days.

Coffeen Lake
Catfish, bass biting and crappie spotty, according to Debbie Whiters of Indana Grove Fish Camp (217-537-3001). Minnows and worms best.

Lake Decatur
Fishing very slow, says Joanne Lowe Mike’s Tackle World in Decatur (217-423-0730).

Sangchris Lake
The plant has shut down for 2-3 weeks and water temperatures dropped markedly from last Friday to Sunday, when Bass 25 Peoria had a tournament won by Terry Young and Gary Hill of Metamora with six bass weighing 17.2 pounds. Second went to Steve Warnke of East Peoria and Mark Barnes of Mackinaw with four bass weighing just 8.5 pounds. Big bass was 4.9 pounds caught by John Gilroy and Jeff Lance of Pekin. By Tuesday temperatures were in the 50s in the warm water. Larry Dozard says crappie are good in 2-4 feet of water along rocks and near the hot-water area. Trevor Miller of Big Red’s Bait and Tackle in Springfield (217-820-9674) reports quality crappie bites on minnows, white and yellow jigs. Chartreuse and electric chicken jigs also working. Yellow bass also. Hot ditches best location.

Lake Shelbyville
Fishing slow, with ice melting. Temperatures in mid 30s on south end of lake and around 40 on north end, says guide Ken Wilson (217-774-5756). Anglers catching a few crappie in deep water. Margie Oliver of Marv and Kathy’s Bait & Tackle in Sullivan (217-728-4044) says at least one angler caught limit on crappie using live minnows along the banks near the Bo Woods camping area.

Lake Springfield
Trevor Miller of Big Red’s Bait and Tackle in Springfield (217-820-9674) reports big numbers on crappie using minnows, white and yellow jigs. Fish action good in 2-6 feet of water. Chartreuse and electric chicken jigs also working. Yellow bass also. Hot ditches best location

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS South of Interstate 70

Crappie fishing heating up many places with fish still in deeper water outside power-plant lakes.

Carlyle Lake
Crappie and catfish best bets, says Buddy Langenhorst of Lavish’s Bait Shop in Carlyle (618-594-4413). Catfish biting on nightcrawlers, cut shad and shad guts. Crappie taking minnows, tube jigs and hand-tied jigs. Try Coles Creek, Boulder and Keysports camping areas.

Lake of Egypt
Water temperatures heating up, making way for better crappie and bass bites says guide Todd Gessner (618-513-0520). Crappies hitting on jigs and minnows. Bass in 5-6 pound range on spinnerbaits, jerk baits and jigs. Better catches in warm water end around brush and weeds.

Kinkaid Lake
Janet Graeff of Top of the Hill Bait Shop in Murphysboro (618-684-2923) reports crappie biting 20-30 feet deep on minnows. Anglers beginning to troll for muskie. Limited bluegill. Not much action on catfish, bass. Walt Krus of Shawnee Muskie Hunters club caught 48.5-inch, 35-pound muskie.

Newton Lake
Good numbers on bass catches from recent tournament, says Harold Rauch of Rauch bait shop (618-752-2151). Water murky, but bass taking spinnerbaits, crankbaits along banks up coves. Some anglers trolling for white bass. Crappie good on minnows and jigs. Catfish biting on nightcrawlers, minnows and cut bluegill “anytime, anywhere” says Rauch.

Rend Lake
Bass slow, says guide Todd Gessner (618-513-0520). Crappie picking up on jigs in 8-12 feet of water. Temperatures nearing 50 degrees.


Many rivers are still flooded, with ice flows in the northern part of the state and more fishable waters in the south.

Fox River
Near Ottawa, Jim Hardy of Big Jim’s Bait & Tackle in Ottawa (815-434-3921) says sauger and walleye biting on floating jig heads tipped with minnows. River clear and about a foot above normal.

Illinois River
At Starved Rock, Carol Culjan of Cajun Sporting Goods in Utica (815-667-4222) says the river is fishable, with eight inches of clarity and 38 degrees. Boat ramp still under water at Peru. Water high at Spring Valley, but boat docks should be coming in soon. Ottawa launch is open. Sauger not good, but a few bites reported on jigs or trolling with floating jigs.

Around Hennepin, water just starting to go down and fishing slow, says Maryann Rilko of Riverfront Bait Shop (815-925-7186).

Fishing also slow near Chillicothe says Celeste Pollack of Wolf Hollow Archery Bait & Tackle in Chillicothe (309-274-9653). Area ponds aad strip pits getting crappie bites.

Tom of Tom’s Shop in Beardstown (217-323-BAIT) says water level at 17 feet as of Thursday, keeping fishing slow. Some anglers trying for catfish with shad gut.

Kankakee River
Walleye biting on jigs and minnows below the Kankakee dam, says Keith Snedden of Keith’s Bait and Tackle Shop in Aroma Park. A few smallmouth catches reported near the shoreline, also on jigs and minnows.

The chatter from the Kankakee River Post (815-933-9652) is walleye are biting on jointed rapala and rogues at the creek mouths of the state park area, says Diana Carr. Other reports of close to 20-inch females being caught with minnow plugs on flats. Water temperature at 37.6 degrees Thursday.

Kaskaskia River
The river is high, but anglers are still catching flatheads with minnows and 3/4 to 1-ounce weighted lead head jigs says Buddy Langenhorst of Lavish’s Bait Shop in Carlyle (618-594-4413). Sauger biting if you can find them by trolling from spillway to the train trestle. Rapid current making fishing difficult.

Kishwaukee River
Starting to produce some catfish in quieter areas says Bob Rhodes of Rockford Bait (815-226-3515).

Mackinaw River
River looks good; running not too hard and has good clarity says guide Jonn Graham (309-399-7055). But when he fished Wednesday he could not produce a bite.

Mississippi River
Panfishing action good for ice anglers at Miller’s near Savanna and at the break in the dike at Thomson says Todd Baker of Todd’s Bait & Tackle in Thomson (815-973-2378). Ice remains 17 to 24 inches most places and anglers are still driving to most fishing spots. On Wednesday at the break in the dike, Baker said he saw close to 50 vehicles near “the deep hole.” Ice should last through next week depending on the rain.

Anglers started launching about one week ago and have been doing well snagging spoonbills below Lock and Dam 18 says Flo Seaman at Dry Dock Bait & Tackle in Gladstone (309-627-2769). Johnny Olson of Oquawka snagged a 46-pound spoonbill last Thursday. Snagging season open until April 15. Catfish and walleye slow below Lock and Dam 18.

Ohio River
Water stage at 38.5 as of Wednesday, according to Fort Massac Fish Market in Metropolis (618-524-3152). Fishing slow, but some reports of crappie and catfish biting on minnows, nightcrawlers, redworms and jigs.

Rock River
The Rock continues to recede and has dropped four feet this week in the Prophetstown area according to catfish guide Matt Jones (815-537-5506, 815-590-1469 cell). That has not been good for channel cats. Ice jams shrinking but still present. Jones says walleyes are starting to pick up again at some of the dams and the boat ramp at Lawrence park in Sterling is completely open now with 7 or 8 miles of open water downstream.

Spoon River
Catfish biting on redworms near London Mills area, says Al Hayden of Al’s Sporting Goods in Galesburg (309-432-7776). Suckers taking redworms around Williamsfield area.



Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Awesome report Jeff.
Keep up the good work, -love this site.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/13 at 09:12 PM

Any reports for Forbes Lake

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/14 at 08:12 AM

Not yet. Forbes is in the next tier of lakes we’d like to add in the weeks to come.

Posted by Jeff Lampe on 03/14 at 09:15 AM

are you able to fish hot water discharge from the shore at powerton?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/14 at 10:42 PM

Yes. But you can’t fish directly over the hot-water discharge pipe like you used to.

Posted by Jeff Lampe on 03/14 at 11:17 PM

Hello, I’m looking for a report for Crab Orchard. plan on being back in the area the first wek in April. Haven’t fished the lake in years, any ideas.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/23 at 04:02 AM

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