Central Illinois Fishing Reports

Success in fishing relies on a large number of variables, including the expertise of the fisherman, the lures and baits used, the fishing tactics & presentations, the weather, and other factors.

Our mission is to provide knowledge to assist fishermen in increasing their fishing experience by making sound choices.

We’re continually looking for weekly information on the fishing conditions for the majority of Central Illinois lakes and rivers.

Photo of bluegill caught in Evergreen Lake
Nice bluegill caught in Evergreen Lake

If a lake or body of water is not included, this is because there isn’t enough recent or helpful information.

Many of our fishing reports come from active anglers who are happy to share knowledge to help out other fishermen.

At the end of the day, the best way to evaluate a lake or stream is to fish there yourself.

Good fishing and tight lines!

Bullfrog season is open 

Bullfrogs can be caught by hand, or by using a hook and line, a landing net, a bow and arrow, a gig or spear.  Snapping turtles may also be caught by hand, or by using a hook and line or bow and arrow during this season, with the exception of the majority of southern counties.

A license for sport fishing is necessary; Limits of 8 bullfrogs per day with a 16 bullfrog possession limit and 2 common snapping turtles per day with a 4 turtle possession limit each apply.

Illinois River 

The following fish were fair in the Illinois River last week:

  • Catfish near channel breaks and bends, best on cut baits and dip baits
  • White bass early in the day

Dawson Lake 

I went fishing in Dawson Lake late on Saturday night and early on Sunday. 31crappie between 5 and 8 inches long were caught using white curlytail jigs. I also caught five walleye, weighing between one and four and a half pounds, using crankbaits and curlytail jigs. Finally, also caught 11 Largemouth bass, most of them in the morning.

Most of these fish were caught on super shallow to shallow crankbaits. A typical bass weighed around 1 to 2 pounds. Except for two, one weighed about 3 pounds and the other, the largest and last of the day, was a massive 5 pounds.

Evergreen Lake

For me, it was important to find discolored to muddy water. All of the bass and walleye were captured at or close to a cluster of lone weeds, or around the borders of weeds.

Largemouth bass caught in Evergreen Lake
Largemouth bass caught in Evergreen Lake

The following fish were fair in Evergreen Lake last week:

  • Bass early or late in day on plastics or crankbaits around timber
  • Bluegills on waxworms along shore weeds.
  • Catfish on most baits
  • Crappies on minnows in 16 – 20 feet of water
  • Saugeye on small jigs/minnows along weed edges.

Lake Bloomington

The following fish were fair in Lake Bloomington last week:

  • Bass early on plastics, spinnerbaits, or swimbaits
  • Bluegills on waxworms
  • Catfish on dipbaits
  • Walleyes on crankbaits

Lake Shelbyville

On Shelbyville, the crappie are in the post-spawn/summer pattern, which may provide for some of the most exciting fishing of the year. Even when it’s scorching outside, the fish are back on the feed, so if you can withstand the heat, you may enjoy some excellent summertime crappie fishing.

Throughout the summer, Lake Shelbyville continues to provide exceptional crappie fishing, and right now, live bait is crucial.

It is quite successful to slip corks and minnows or tight line minnows. Summer and fall/winter guided fishing trips are currently being booked.

Clinton Lake

When in their post-spawn/summer routines, the crappie are looking for live bait. Our methods of choice are e ither tight line minnows over cover, or slip corking with a live minnow. And while jigs are also effective, we are having greater success with minnows.

Crappies caught in Clinton Lake
Crappies caught in Clinton Lake

Currently, getting a lot of crappie on Clinton is no issue, but catching keeper-sized fish has been less reliable. It seems that this is how the year has been going. There are still plenty of fish to be caught, if you can handle the heat.

Newton Lake

The following fish were fair in Newton Lake last week:

  • Bass early or late in the day, best on plastics or spinnerbaits
  • Catfish on dipbaits and liver

Wildlife Prairie Lakes 

Fishing is permitted when the park is open, which is daily at 9 a.m. Anglers can access and leave the park in the same manner as other guests. At the main entrance, a public entry price is charged, or you can get a yearly membership.

All of these lakes allow fishing from the shore, from belly boats, or portable boats, and you can only use electric motors.

Shabbona Lake 

The following fish were fair in Shabbona Lake last week:

  • Bass along weed edges or on points
  • Bluegills along weed edges
  • Catfish on dip baits or crawlers
  • Walleye on leeches and crawlers along weeds

Heidecke Lake 

The following fish were fair in Heidecke Lake last week:

  • Bass on soft plastics and crankbaits
  • Catfish on most baits

Lake Kincaid 

The following fish were fair in Lake Kincaid last week:

  • Bass on soft plastics (wacky rigged or Texas rigged) or crankbaits
  • Crappie around timber with minnows

Lake Springfield

The following fish were fair in Springfield Lake last week:

  • Largemouth bass around timber or shore points on soft plastics, crankbaits, or spinnerbaits
  • Bluegill along shorelines and weed edges
  • Catfish on cut bait, live bait or chicken liver
  • Crappie on jigs and minnows

Braidwood Lake

The following fish were fair in Braidwood Lake last week:

  • Largemouth bass on soft plastics
  • Bluegill along weed edges and shorelines
  • Catfish on cut bait or live bait
  • Hybrid striped bass (wipers) on jigging spoons and jigs

Busse Lake

The following fish were fair in Busse Lake last week:

  • Largemouth bass on Texas rigged soft plastics
  • Walleye on leech
  • Catfish on cut bait or nightcrawlers
  • Crappie on minnows

Long Lake

The following fish were fair in Long Lake last week:

  • Largemouth bass on crankbaits, spoons or plastics
  • Bluegill on waxworms along shorelines
  • Catfish on cut bait or crawlers

Rock River

The following fish were fair in Busse Lake last week:

  • Smallmouth bass on cranks and jigs
  • Walleye and sauger on trolled crawler harness
  • Northern pike on crankbaits and spoons