--The past 5 days we had Cold weather, high winds, rains and even a 50 degree day warm-up..
Now the forecast is for some freezing rain at times with a slight warm up coming.
There was slick Ice early in week and now Varing ice conditions with warm-up
making some lakes/ponds questionable in Central IL.
* We DO NOT and Can Not determine if or when ice is Safe for ice fishing.
* ICE FISHING IS AT YOUR OWN RISK!
- - With winter here, we have pulled some sites until we can secure current reports next season..
And with little or no new reports, we may not be updating this page weekly thur Feb..
BE AWARE and Watch for Ice on launch ramps during this Cold Weather..
* Use Caution at the launches..
** NOTE -- With winter and waterfowl hunting seasons still in for Illinois,
some lakes are CLOSED or Partially CLOSED to fishing.
-- Check below in reports for the Closure dates, with more info adding as provided to us..
-- Other Lakes not mentioned in reports below that will have Closures are:
- Rice Lake is CLOSED to fishing and will Re-Open at end of Duck & Goose season..
For State site Closures or partial Closures due to weather or hunting seasons,
IDNR Closures page for full list & more info as they update it.
* You should contact the lake or site directly for Closure updates and/or winter hours before going.
- - Notes Of Interest : -
* There are several New Illinois Laws for 2017,
Here are couple that pertain to Fishing:
- - No catch limits on private fish ponds
Public Act 99-532, House Bill 5796
Illinois law limits the number of fish a person with a fishing license can legally catch in a 24 hour period.
House Bill 5796 creates an exception for people fishing on fish ponds located on their own private property.
- - Permitting bowfishing for catfish
Public Act 99-867, House Bill 5788
Bowfishing is the practice of taking a fish with a spear or a bow and arrow. Existing Illinois law limited
the kinds of fish that can be taken through bowfishing. HB 5788 added catfish to the Fish Code list of fish
that can be taken with sharp weaponry.
* this one has caused some confusion & questions.
Here is the IDNR answer to clear up * Bowfishing for Catfish *
* The 2016 Illinois Fishing Information guide is available online
at IDNR website
* We have listed a few in our area that we have found in the reports below, but you still need to check and read the signs posted at lakes to be sure..
- The U.S. Coast Guard has a Free boating safety app designed to provide additional resources for mobile users.
Watch USCG app features video with download info & more
- Check our sponsors on the right for your baits, tackle, guide options and more.
Visit their website links on the right.. ----------------------------------------------> > >
- ILLINOIS RIVER
- - Near STARVED ROCK and South downstream:
-- River levels are up with some ice flows downstream..
- NORFORK LAKE in Arkansas
For current reports or to set up an Awesome fishing trip (we highly recommend),
check Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters at www.stroutfitters.com
- Here is latest Report/tips from Tom:
The cold weather the past few days will drop the Norfork Lake surface temperature a few degrees but I suspect it go back up with the warming trend that should take place this week.
I fished Wednesday & Thursday and could not find any shad out in the channel of the lake.
The shad are still in the main creeks like Float Creek, Panther Creek, and the Crystal Cove area.
The shad are also in the marinas under the docks.
I fished Float Creek and saw very large schools of stripers ranging in water 45 to 90 feet, the stripers were from 35 to 55 feet.
Sometimes you could get 2 or 3 hits when the school passes by then other times nothing.
The best approach is set your baits after you find some shad and just continue moving in a large circle.
Most of the time you will see nothing on your locator but then a school will show up and the fun begins.
The artificial users are catching stripers and white bass on spoons and the trollers are catching stripers on swim baits.
Find the shad and you will find the fish.
I had a Cast & Blast this past week with three generations, grandfather (Ray), son (John), and grandson (Henry).
We fished Tuesday & Wednesday than pheasant hunted Thursday.
Wednesday the stripers were very aggressive and we hooked our limit multiple times but only managed to boat 6 stripers,
the bite was different, we had over 25 strikes but many were nothing more than a pull down
and the bait was gone. However, we did manage to catch 8 stripers and missed a few more we should have had.
Thursday the temperature was 19 degrees but felt warmer because we had little wind.
When you can get together 3 generations it is not about how many fish or birds you shoot it is the time spent together
and the memories you make that will last a lifetime. I was fishing Float Creek with the lines set at 35 to 40 feet with Creek Chubs.
Striper fishing will be great for the next several weeks so come out and give it a try.
A good tool to use to make your plans with is on the web at www.FishNorfork.com for everything Norfork Lake!
By the way, did you know Norfork Lake offers thousands of acres of hunt-able land to the public? The deer hunt has been very good this season.
For a real outdoor adventure, you might consider a striper fishing trip combined with a pheasant hunt. It´s a blast!
- Tom Reynolds has fished Lake Norfork for over 36 years and guides out of Tracy Ferry Marina;
you can reach him at www.stroutfitters.com or 870-421-1541 or on Facebook
** Reading these Norfork reports it is hard to know the time and work involved to get & keep bait to be able to catch these awesome fish,
but We can verify the time and how much work it is for a live bait fishing guide as we spent 2 days with Tom from start to finish of day to understand "A day as a Guide" and all the time and work involved.
Read our full STORY HERE
BANNER MARSH - 3 access points on Routes 24/9 3 mi. NE of Banner, with a 25HP limit. (309-647-9184)
** THIS AREA is CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING --
AND BANK FISHING ONLY ALLOWED AFTER 1PM till Feb. 1st - -
DOUBLE T STATE FISH and WILDLIFE AREA (3 miles northwest of Canton)
* * THIS LAKE IS CLOSED TO FISHING for the Season till Feb. 1st --
EMIQUON PRESERVE - Between Havana and Dickson Mounds Museum on IL Route 78
For more info and details on Emiquon, go to http://experienceemiquon.com
* *NO Boating, Fishing or ice skating access before 12:00 pm during Waterfowl Hunting Season. Lake users should be aware that hunting might occur on the Preserve other times as well.
* New permits are required for boating and fishing each year - are free and
available at Dickson Mounds Museum, 10956 N Dickson Mounds Rd, Lewistown, IL from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Call The Nature Conservancy at (309) 547-2730.
- - Check their site for updated rules or go to Official Site RULES file.
HEIDECKE LAKE -
* * THIS LAKE is CLOSED for Season..
HENNEPIN-HOPPER LAKES -
2 miles South of Hennepin off IL Route 26, turn West on Road 810N & then next right.
* * LAKES are CLOSED for the Season..
McMASTER LAKE at - SNAKEDEN HOLLOW - - NW of Peoria, just 1 1/2 miles East of Victoria South off IL Route 167,
and there is a 10HP limit. 309-879-2607
** THIS AREA is CLOSED TO FISHING for the Season --
reopens to fishing after central zone goose season ends, typically on February 1st each year.
PRAIRIE LAKE in Jim Edgar/ Panther Creek State F&W Area -
-- This is a " No Wake " Lake for motors over 10hp
* Reminder of Partial Closures
during Waterfowl Season -
- from Nov. 1st to Jan. 15th
Lake access is CLOSED until after 12:01 PM
on Wednesday & Saturday.
REND LAKE -
- While planning to make a Fishing trip to Rend Lake,
make sure to look into a stay at the new Gun Creek Fin, Fur & Feathers Sportsmens Club
-- No New reports this past week..
- - The US Army Corps wants to Reminds us all:
- - "Please fish safely! Always buckle up your life jacket on the water! " And:
- Please use these collection stations
for recycling monofilament fishing line
provided at various locations around Lake.
For more info feel free to contact
the Rend Lake Project Office at
11981 Rend City Road, Benton, IL 62812
or by phone at 618-724-2493
SHABBONA LAKE -
-- Lake hours are now 8 am - 5 pm
- There was still about 6-8 inches reported early in week
along with still some Open water near/around areas of deep trees
- Bluegills were FAIR
- Crappie were somewhat FAIR over weekend around cribs.
SPRING LAKE (South & North) - Just south of Pekin off Manito Blacktop, 5 miles northwest of Manito,
and there is a 25HP limit. (309-968-7135)
**THIS AREA is CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING in Waterfowl Hunting Area through Waterfowl Hunting Season
-- with BANK FISHING ALLOWED ONLY AFTER 1pm--
- AREAS THAT REMAIN OPEN TO BOATS ARE NORTH OF MAPLE ISLAND with ramp at north end at the Sky Ranch Road launch and IN PIKE HOLE with carry in boats --
and Shore Fishing is allowed in entire lake after 1pm in Hunting areas or at boat ramps all day..
- - - - SOME ILLINOIS POWER PLANT LAKES - - - -
BRAIDWOOD LAKE -
** This Lake is CLOSED for the season
CLINTON LAKE - Three miles east of Clinton off Route 10 or 54 Ph 217/935-8722.
Guide Terry Davis (on right) had this to say "As expected the cooler temps and weather slowed the bite.
We did our best spider rigging and jigging in 10-12 ft of water. We used Bobby Garland baby shad
tipped with crappie nibbles and minnows. Water temps dropped 6-7 degrees which is not unusual right now
at Clinton. Air temp, wind direction and the power plant are playing big roles in where the fish are. "
A PORTION OF LAKE FROM ABOUT IP POINT UP TO 54 BRIDGE IS CLOSED
- Check with Joe of Ol´ Joe´s Bait and Tackle for latest reports
and ALL your fishing needs
* Ol´ Joe says the Bait Shop is FOR SALE as well as the Building next door,
just give him a call at 217-935-6244 if interested..!
REMEMBER an easterly area of Clinton Lake (The Waterfowl Refuge Area) between the DeWitt Bridge East (CH14) and the Rt. 48 Bridge
is CLOSED and will re-open on MARCH 31st...
As of Dec. 20th - The dock at West Side boat access was still Closed pending repairs.
-- Contact Terry of Feel the Thump Guide Service, at 309-212-6817 to book Crappie fishing trip
on Clinton Lake or email Terry Davis firstname.lastname@example.org * Tell him Larry told you
-- Keep in mind to Contact Matt Lamb of Clinton Lake Catfish Guide Service to book Catfish catching trips
for next year with night or day trips available on Weekends. Call 217-855-8406 or
FB - https://www.facebook.com/Clintonlakecatfishguideservice
* Tell him Larry told you to call..
* Places to stay while at Clinton Lake are - the Holiday Inn Express hotel,
the newest hotel in Le Roy, IL
AND - Days Inn in Le Roy, IL both Just off I-74 between Bloomington and Champaign,
only 17 minutes from Clinton Lake. Make your reservations today (309) 962-4439 or (309) 962-4700
COFFEEN LAKE - SE of Hillsboro off Rt 127 or south of Coffeen off Rt 185,
site office 217-537-3351.
-- There is a 25hp motor limit.
* During the Central Zone waterfowl season: No fishing north of the railroad tracks (upper pool) until after 1pm daily: Oct. 22nd
through Jan. 31st
LAKE SPRINGFIELD - At Springfield off I-55 Exit 94 and go the east.
-- Check with Trevor at Big Reds Bait and Tackle for your bait and current reports
at 2193 Stevenson Drive in Springfield 62703 just a mile west from the lake dam.
You can call them at (217) 679-1800
** While there, Check out his New baits and the KRAZY BLADES
- One of the best White Bass, Walleye and Crappie Lures made ..! BigRedsBait.com
LaSALLE LAKE -
** This Lake is CLOSED for the season
POWERTON LAKE - One mile south of Pekin off Route 29 along Manito Blacktop.
---- site Office 309-968-7135
THE LAKE has REOPENED TO SHORE FISHING - ONLY.. Hours are 8am - 4pm
- - LAKE Remains CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING till FEB. 15th - -
-- WINTER HOURS (Through April 30th) will be: 8am - 4pm
SANGCHRIS LAKE - South of Springfield off I-55 Exit 82 - go east on Route 104 about 10 miles.
-- Lake has a 25HP limit, Lake site office # 217/498-9208 from 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
-- Check with Trevor at Big Red´s Bait and Tackle for current reports
at 2193 Stevenson Drive in Springfield on your way to lake..
* * THE WEST and EAST ARMS OF LAKE and Small AREA NEAR DAM are CLOSED DURING WATERFOWL SEASON to boat traffic
effective Oct. 12th through Jan. 31, 2016
(during this time fishing boat traffic is permitted in the center hot arm only).
- LINKS or Other Lake Reports outside Central Illinois. -
- For Chicago area and southern to central Wisconsin Fishing Reports check out the
Chicago Sun-Times Outdoors section by Dale Bowman
- MARK TWAIN LAKE in Missouri
---Check Out The Fishing Reports from the Good people at South Fork Resort
- NORFORK LAKE in Arkansas
For current reports or to set up a fishing trip (we would recommend),
check STR Outfitters at www.stroutfitters.com
--- View STR Outfitters Facebook page click here
for real time up to date each day or read Tom´s fishing blog here at http://stroutfitters.blogspot.com
If you are thinking of Fishing or Hunting this year
Check the Reports & specials from Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters
- Read about our Outdoor Writers/Broadcasters Visit a few years ago at
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