- We appreciate those who have been sending us reports - THANKS .!
And we welcome any new reports others wish to share with other anglers and we really enjoy those photos too..
- A lot of up and down weather with Cold, rain and Snow with the Winter feel.
A couple anglers made it out during the somewhat mild days and prove the fish are still biting (check Local Ponds & Lakes below).
The weekend and next week forecast looks mild and maybe some rain..?
- The Wisconsin anglers are planning on Ice fishing maybe by weekend...?
- With this Cold weather and hunting season here, many have put up fishing gear but we are still hoping for a couple great fishing
days before hard winter hits.
-- With so few anglers out & very few current reports along with the lake Closures taking place,
we will be dropping lakes from our reports till next spring..
- If you go out to take advantage of any cool fishing day, dress warm, take extra clothes just in case, get some Hand Warmer and make sure to Wear your lifejacket too.
* With cold nights, there will (oe may) be Ice on ramps in mornings - Be Careful..!
- With freezing temps here and if your fishing for the year has ended, here are some tips
Getting Gear Ready For Winter . But if not, there may still be a few more good days of fishing, just take precautions for cold temps.
Guide Steve Welch has this cold weather boating tip:
"Make sure when using your boats in these extreme temps to drain all
water from both the boat and the motor. I always leave it on the bottom of the ramp
for ten full minutes draining to ensure no water left in plumbing of
boat or lower unit of motor. I have seen lower units freeze up just on
the ride home so do not take chances."
- - Notes Of Interest : -
- Three New Laws go into effect Jan. 1, 2015 to help Improve Safety and Education in Illinois´ Waterways
making outdoor recreation safe and enjoyable for everyone.
The three new laws expand boating safety education,
improve safety and awareness of water skiers and tubers
and increase penalties for those who operate watercraft under the influence.
Senate Bill 3434 allows for the seizure of a watercraft used in the commission
of certain offenses related to operating under the influence.
The new rules bring penalties for boating under the influence more in line
with those for operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Senate Bill 3433 requires all persons born after Jan. 1, 1998 to take
and pass a boating safety course validated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources
and hold a valid boating safety certificate before they can operate
a motorboat with an engine over 10 horsepower.
Senate Bill 2731, which mandates that the operator of any watercraft that is towing a person,
such as a water skier or tuber, must display a bright orange flag
measuring not less than 12 inches per side. The flag must be displayed from the time
the person to be towed leaves the boat until that person returns to the boat
at the conclusion of the activity.
During fishing & boating season in 2014, there had been 16 reported boating fatalities on Illinois waterways.
Increased boating safety education and responsible boating practices may have prevented
many of these fatalities.
- Construction to begin at Stratton Lock and Dam on the Fox River in McHenry County.
The $16.7 million improvement project will install new dam gates and extend lock to reduce wait times for boat traffic.
Lock construction will take place during the non-boating season, November 1 thru April 30.
Boaters should be alert to the construction exclusion zones near the lock and dam and
of the limited fishing access that will remain outside the construction fencing.
The project is expected to be completed by November 2016.
More Details and Aerial
** NOTE -- With waterfowl hunting seasons in, there are many lakes that are Closed
or Partially Closed to fishing.
* You should contact the lake or site directly for Closure updates and/or winter hours before going.
--Check below in reports for the Closure dates that have been provided to us,
that also include other special hunt date closures, etc..
-- Other Lakes not mentioned in reports below that will have Closures are:
- Rice Lake is CLOSED to boat fishing and will Re-Open at end of Duck & Goose season..
- Prairie Lake in Jim Edgar/ Panther Creek State F&W Area
also has Closures during waterfowl hunting season
listed in upper right of sign at lake..
- 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 :
- Few anglers out over weekend - Sauger were FAIR with several small fish on jig/minnow at deep holes or channel edges on bends between Hennepin and Spring Valley.
Be Careful - Some ice on Ramps at time in mornings..?
- LOCAL PONDS & STRIP MINE LAKES -
- Well our friend Mark just thought his boat fishing season was over.
But with a little help from Mother Nature he was able to try at least one more time.
The lake had a layer of ice on it the previous day
but a warm night with a little rain took care of that.
Went back to local strip mine lake Nov. 22nd and caught a couple Bass.
Overcast skies with temps in the 50's and Water temps were 43.
Ok maybe this is his last day out fishing for 2014
Check out his VIDEO of this outing
- 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 Tom´s Winter Striper Tactics: Winter angling on Norfork Lake can be one of the most productive periods of striper fishing.
Beginning in Mid-December through February the stripers will stick close to the old river channels near or mixed in with the shad schools.
The old river channels are the outlines of the Norfork Fork River and major creeks such as Big Creek and Bennett´s Bayou before they were flooded and covered by the lake.
You will find the old river channels clearly marked on the better lake maps.
Once the lake water gets colder, the shad will move into deeper water to find their comfort zone. Sometimes that is depths of 40 feet, other times I have seen shad hover at 80 feet.
The stripers will stay with the shad schools the whole winter period.
The two most productive methods to catch stripers are live bait and spoons. Small jigging spoons, either 1/2 or 3/4 ounce are the artificial bait of choice although some specific swim baits can be productive also.
Shiner minnows and threadfin shad are the preferred live bait. Shiners approved for use by Arkansas Game and Fish in Norfork Lake are available at most better Norfork Lake bait and tackle shops.
Shad are not sold commercially. Shad used as bait in Norfork Lake must be caught in Norfork Lake by net. Wild bait from any other body of water is strictly prohibited by law.
This is to prevent the introduction of foreign or invasive species of plants, animals, and water life into Norfork Lake.
A good fish/depth finder is a must have to find fish during this time of year. Good electronics will help you find the shad and stripers and keep you on them.
Begin by looking at the old river channel between the US 62 and AR 101 bridges and move towards the Howard´s Cove area. Somewhere in this area you will find the shad and stripers.
Float creek is one other area that will typically hold stripers. The great part of winter striper fishing is that the bite can last all day or begin mid-day.
There is no time limit on when the stripers will bite. Some days I go out at first light and fish all day. I have seen no activity until late in the day and other days I´ve had my limit by noon.
Just stay close to the shad and you will catch a striper most days.
I fish using shiner minnows and threadfin shad. Downlines and weighted floats are my gear of choice. I run six downlines, each with 2 oz weights and 5 foot leaders.
I will run two additional lines with floats on the outside of the spread. These lines are set above the shad school.
Stripers will come up through the shad column to take your bait. Always keep your live bait above the shad school. Threadfin shad are and will always be the most productive method to catch winter stripers.
Shiner minnows are also very effective. The best places to buy shiners are 101 Grocery & Bait and Hand Cove Resort Bait and Tackle Shop. They both carry shiners most of the season.
When the shad begin to school, look for bait fish balls and note the depth on your depth finder graph. Once again a good depth finder will help you find the shad and the stripers.
They will be moving around so keep a watchful eye on the graph and stay close to the shad.
Spoon lures are very effective. The key is matching the size and color of your spoon to that of the shad bait fish. If the stripers are feeding on 1 and 2 inch shad, make sure your lure matches the size of the shad.
Jig your spoon through the shad schools for the best success. Always be ready for that top water bite to erupt too. Have a Super Spook Jr tied on and at the ready for when this happens.
As always, your most important piece of equipment is your PFD life preserver. Lake and weather conditions can change in a heartbeat during the winter months so it is best to be prepared with a high quality PFD.
Wear it from the moment you launch until the boat is back on the trailer or in the stall. Fish safely so you can fish often!
- THANKS Tom for this Winter Tip..
Tom Reynolds has fished Lake Norfork for over 35 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
ANDERSON LAKE - Site Office 309-759-4484
- - THIS AREA IS CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING in Main Lake for season
with bank fishing Only allowed.
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 - with
- BANK FISHING ONLY ALLOWED AFTER 1PM but NO FISHING ALLOWED in EAST POINT ACCESS AREA,
which is CLOSED TO ALL FISHING to provide a GOOSE REFUGE AREA during season till Feb. 1st - -
DOUBLE T STATE FISH and WILDLIFE AREA (3 miles northwest of Canton)
* * THIS LAKE IS CLOSED TO FISHING for the season --
EMIQUON PRESERVE - Between Havana and Dickson Mounds Museum on IL Route 78
For more info and details on Emiquon, go to http://experienceemiquon.com
- - - REMINDER : Fishing is ONLY Allowed from noon to sunset During the Central zone waterfowl hunting season..
* 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.
- -Some of the site rules are: - No live bait except worms; - No bank fishing is allowed;
- No gas motors (not even on the boat) including ice augers.
- Minors must be accompanied by an adult 18 years of age or older and authorized by the minor´s parent or legal guardian.
- Boating and fishing are permitted between sunrise and sunset with additional restrictions applying:
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.
** Therefore, During the Central zone waterfowl hunting season, Fishing is ONLY Allowed from noon to sunset.
- - Check their site for updated rules or go to Official Site RULES file.
- READ this copy of letter - TNC advising the Corps that they are backing out of the proposed reconnection of Emiquon to the Illinois River project and will not sign the proposed Project Partnership Agreement.
Good news for those that signed the petition opposing the project for proposed reconnection of Emiquon to the Illinois River,
also opposed by the Illinois and National Chapters of the Wildlife Society and the Illinois Chapter of the American Fisheries Society.
Mike Conlin (Illinois DNR Fisheries Chief, RETIRED) says "Only thing now needed
is a one-way pump (capable of pumping water out of Emiquon into the Illinois River) to properly manage the water levels for common and Asian carp control,
and for management of both aquatic & woody vegetation."
EVERGREEN LAKE - North of Bloomington to Exit #8 on I-39, and West just over 1-mile and turn left (south) at sign.
* This Lake has BOATING FEES and Evergreen Lake remains a 10 hp (or less) lake.
* The Bait Shop is CLOSED for the season..
- - A SOUTHERN PART OF EVERGREEN LAKE - AROUND DEER ISLAND and ALL OF SIX-MILE CREEK BAY IS CLOSED TO GAS MOTORS from Oct. 15th through JAN. 1st
to allow for resting areas for migratory waterfowl. YOU ARE ALLOWED TO STILL RUN A TROLLING MOTOR IN THESE AREAS ONLY.-
- - Also, the ENTIRE lake and park, with the exception of the campground, is CLOSED TO GENERAL USE Nov. 21-23rd and Dec. 4-7th to allow for the Park´s Deer Management Program.
Only hunters with valid COMLARA Park Deer Hunt Permits and Park Staff are allowed in the park. Exceptions include: The COMLARA Park Campground will remain open (Sites 1-33 only).
Fishermen wanting to fish can do so in Campground Cove, Jone´s Pond, and at the Pumphouse only. - -
HEIDECKE LAKE -
* * Lake is CLOSED for the season --
HENNEPIN-HOPPER LAKES - 2 miles South of Hennepin off IL Route 26, turn West on Road 810N and then next right.)
--For membership info, call (815) 481-0778 and talk to Site sup. Rick.
* Hennepin & Hopper Lakes continue to be Closed to all public sport fishing,
while the Wetlands Initiative and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) monitor efforts to remove invasive common carp from the lakes. --
- - - LATEST NEWS - - -
** Fishing could return to Hennepin & Hopper Lakes in spring 2015.
LAKE SHELBYVILLE - Between Shelbyville and Sullivan -
LAKE INFO LINE (217) 774-2020 and LAKE PROJECT OFFICE (217) 774-3951.
- Here is report from Guide Steve Welch for Nov. 17 - 23rd: "
The lake is not frozen yet but we have seen water temps fall to 39 up on
the north end and 46 on the main lake.
The crappie are bunched up and you can limit out very quickly. We got five limits from one down tree
the other day. Wind has been the problem and will be this week as well.
Between that and the cold we have just been fishing until we limit out
or around noon. We are still tight lining small jigs down in brush and
down trees up on the north end.
Colors vary with the amount of sun we have. Bright days clear colors have been working best,
like the Bass Pro Crystal Minnow then on dark days we are using Midsouth orange and
chartreuse glow or plain chartreuse glow both on my 3/32oz. Deep Ledge
Jig and light line. Switched over to six pound mono just because it ices
up less than braid. We have fished in 18 degree temps this past week and
still are just tearing them up.
Make sure anyone using their boats in these extreme temps drains all
water from both the boat and the motor. I always leave it on the ramp
for ten full minutes draining to ensure no water left in plumbing of
boat or lower unit of motor. I have seen lower units freeze up just on
the ride home so don't take chances.
I still have November 26 open and December 2-5, 7 weather permitting.
McMASTER LAKE at - SNAKEDEN HOLLOW - - NW of Peoria, just 1 1/2 miles East of Victoria South off IL Route 167,
there is a 10HP limit. 309-879-2607
** THIS AREA IS CLOSED TO FISHING for the Season --
And reopens to fishing after central zone goose season ends, typically on February 1st each year.
REND LAKE -
- Check with Todd Gessner Outdoors Guide Service on Rend Lake at 618-513-0520 for future fishing trips
and make sure to look into a stay at the new Gun Creek Fin, Fur & Feathers Sportsmens Club and they have a bait shop too..
* Gun Creek Bait & Tackle where You can get your jar or bucket of Hoss´s Hawg Bait...!
And to get your bottle or two of The Original Vanilla Bug Spray to repel those biting gnats, flies and mosquitoes..
- - Here is this week's Fishing Report from US Army Corps -
They also say "Please fish safely! Always wear your life jacket on the water! "
HERE for Areas Temporary Closing during Deer Seasons at Rend Lake
- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Rend Lake has partnered with
the Rend Lake Lunker Busters
and Mt. Vernon Winnelson Company,
to provide collection stations for recycling monofilament fishing line
at various locations around Lake.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers encourages all visitors to pitch in
to make Rend Lake a safer and more beautiful place to recreate.
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 -
- - This Lake has a 10-horsepower limit.
- - - Park hours April thru October 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM
- Lake has skim around edge and in bays..
** The Lake was stocked on Nov. 20th with approximately 1,450 6-8 inch Walleye
from funds thru public donations and the Shabbona Lake Sportsman Club also.
* Lakeside Bait and Tackle's has CLOSED and will re-open 7 days a week once there is safe ice.
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 Hunting Area -- 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 --
- - - - SOME ILLINOIS POWER PLANT LAKES - - - -
BRAIDWOOD LAKE -
** Lake is CLOSED for the season --
CLINTON LAKE - Three miles east of Clinton off Route 10 or 54 Ph 217/935-8722.
A PORTION OF LAKE FROM ABOUT IP POINT UP TO 54 BRIDGE IS CLOSED
--A NO-WAKE speed limit is in effect from a half-hour after sunset to a half-hour before sunrise at Clinton Lake.
Signs should be posted at the lake for reminders and a Violation will lead to a $75 ticket.
* Joe of Ol´ Joe´s Bait and Tackle on Rt. 54 in DeWitt is Open
from 5am - 5pm 7 days a week for ALL your fishing needs and full line license service.
- We can highly recommend you stop by or call Joe at 217-935-6244.
** Also, this is the place to get your FIZARDS .!
Ol´ Joe says " With this Cold weather, Be Safe & Enjoy.!"
Some Crappie were still being caught over weekend
With winter near Ol´ Joe´s hours will remain the same thru Thanksgiving.
At that time they will only be open MORNING hours until March 1..
-- Ol´ Joe´s is also carrying Crossbows and Tree Stands as well as some bow supplies.. Check them out..!
REMEMBER an easterly area of Clinton Lake between the DeWitt (CH14) and the 48 bridges is CLOSED FROM OCT. 10th through MARCH 31st to protect fish and wildlife...
COFFEEN LAKE - Southeast 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.
AND - The Entire site/ Lake will be CLOSED to all activities during the first and second deer firearms seasons.
No fishing is allowed Nov. 21-23rd and Dec. 4-7th.
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
LaSALLE LAKE -
* * Lake is CLOSED for the season --
NEWTON LAKE - 16-17 miles southeast of Effingham off Route 33.
As written in the fishing regs booklet :** The cold arm of Newton Lake will be Closed daily
from one-half hour before sunrise until 1:00 pm to all fishing and boat traffic except for legal waterfowl hunters
during waterfowl season commencing with regular duck season through the close of the Canada goose and regular duck season.
Also, the Entire Lake is CLOSED to fishing during the two regular gun deer seasons, Nov. 21-23rd and Dec. 4-7th.
POWERTON LAKE - One mile south of Pekin off Route 29 along Manito Blacktop.
---- site Office 309-968-7135
- - THIS LAKE IS CLOSED TO ALL FISHING
and REOPENS TO SHORE FISHING ONLY ON DEC. 24th
AND NO BOAT FISHING till FEB. 15th - -
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 Reds 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. 15th through Jan. 31, 2015
(during this time fishing boat traffic is permitted in the center hot arm only).
And the Entire Lake will be CLOSED Nov. 21-23rd and Dec. 4-7th due to firearm deer hunting on adjacent properties.
The exception will be for hunting programs with restricted usage during this time period.
For more info, contact site office at 217/498-9208 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
- LINKS or Other Lake Reports outside Central Illinois. -
- For Chicago area and southern 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 at Kentucky Lake
[ HOME ]