The fishing and hunting report is compiled using reports from conservation officers, hunting guides and fishing guides.
Crystal Lake: This is a private lake during the summer, but during the winter ice fishermen can access the lake from the beach areas. The bluegill bite is quite good in 7 to 9 feet of water, with keepers that can be found sorting through the smaller ones. The action for pike and bass can be very good in the shallower water near the shorelines. Crappies really start biting at sundown and can be taken on minnows or small plastics fished shallow.
Chain: The bluegills and crappies are biting quite well and seem to turn on toward the afternoon. Areas near the weeds and lily pads are producing. Make sure that you don’t stay stationary as the gills are moving from area to area during the early hours. Once you find them, you can stay on a good area for some keeper gills. Again, small gill pill or horizontal style jigs with a couple of spikes are producing. There are also some pike being taken on minnows. Make sure to pay attention to any site-specific regulations and watch where you are walking.
Lake Michigan (Chicago Area): Cohos mixed in with the king salmon. Spotty reports all up and down the lake. Fish are taking crankbaits during the day and glow spoons at night. Chinook mixed with coho. The trout action in the harbors has slowed. Fish are being caught on spawn sacks under a float as well as the standard tinsel or white tube jig tipped with wax worms. Casting darter jigs or bladebaits has been a good option. The warm water discharges are holding fish, and if you can launch the boat, you have a good chance at getting into some good fishing opportunities.
The discharge north of Waukegan has had some good reports of fish being caught, but you need to watch the weather conditions.
The steelhead bite is starting to slow in the downtown harbors with spawn being a primary choice of baits. Fishing with spawn sacs in a pink or chartreuse color under a float or on the bottom will offer a great opportunity for one of these tough fighters. Tinsel jigs as well as tube jigs under floats are also producing fish.
Navy Pier and the downtown harbors are slow and cold but producing some good catches of perch. The fish are ranging in size and a lot of sorting is required, but crappie rigs with fathead minnows seem to be producing the best. Also artificial plastics such as small minnow-style plastics rigged on double rigs and pulled along the weedbeds can produce some of the larger fish. Also fishing in Indiana waters near the hole-in-the wall has been also showing some promise with the perch fishing. Fishing bottom rigs with minnows and feather tied hooks has been the top producer.
Crab Orchard Lake: Bass action has slowed. Bluegills being caught on worms.
Baldwin Lake: Warm-water areas good for catfish, though those being caught are small. Anglers are tossing crankbaits around rip rap and catching a few bass. Bluegills are slow but will hit on meal worms or wax worms occasionally.
Carlyle Lake: Bluegills and crappies good on worms and jigs. Bass slow but a few being caught on spinners for those brave enough to fight the cold.
Those who did fish found channel cats good on the lake for anglers drifting or jug fishing with cut bait or leeches. Fishing good below the dam.
Kinkaid Lake: Muskie action steady. Anglers expect February to be good for muskies if temperatures stay above 30 degrees. Spinnerbaits and shallow running baits are the most effective. Catfish and bluegill action has been slow. However, bass anglers are reporting good success on spinnerbaits.
Lake of Egypt: Bass are still rated fair on soft plastics. Catfish action fair, fishing shrimp in shallow water.
Rend Lake: Largemouth bass excellent using worms, black/blue jigs, minnows and spinnerbaits. Fish in shallow bays near brush cover and bushes. Fish around bridges and along the rocks. Reports of fish being caught around Jackie Branch, Sandusky Cove, and below the dam. Crappies excellent using pink/white tube jigs, meal worms, small and medium minnows.
Fish the main lake dropoff areas. Try the Gun Creek area. From shore, fish near structures, hot spots are Jackie Branch, Sandusky, Sailboat Harbor, Marcum coves, and Ina Boat Ramp. Bluegills good using crickets, worms, wax worms, meal worms and small jigs.
Fish in the back of necks and on flat shallow banks and on the rocks. Try fishing shallow with crickets, worms or small jigs.
Silver Lake (Highland): Bass good using jigs, crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Crappies excellent using minnows. Channel catfish excellent using Sonny’s Super Sticky Dip Bait. Bluegills good using crickets. Saugers fair using jigs.
Sangchris Lake: Channel catfish fair to good using most baits. Shore anglers doing OK near the spillway.
Lake Springfield: Bass fair using plastics (worms and flukes), crankbaits and a few on swim jigs. Bluegills fair. Channel catfish fair to good using dip baits, liver and cut baits in the evening.
Lake Decatur: Channel catfish fair. Some fish are being caught on trot lines baited with cut carp and skip jack. White bass fair. Anglers are getting some bites using Mepps in the dredging area.
Evergreen Lake: Bass fair to slow on plastics, jigs, and spinnerbaits around submerged timber or on points. Bluegills fair: on jigs and/or wax worms. Channel catfish fair on cut baits, dip bait, or liver in evenings. Crappies fair with many small fish on minnows and some on jigs around or over brush.
Lake Mattoon: Crappies are hit and miss; some biting a bit better; look for them in 6 to 7 feet of water with wax worms and minnows over brush; lots of angling activity. Largemouths fair.
Rock–Byron-Dixon: Crappies spotty, with some taken from area lakes and ponds, but just a very few from the river with minnows. Bluegills good. Walleyes good. Breaking loose! Best down stream near Oregon and should be better near Dixon; anglers casting from the shoreline with minnows. Channel catfish good.
Rock–Milan: Crappies fair. Good average-sized fish are being caught with minnows.
Mississippi – Pool 14-15 Rock Island: Crappies fair. Cooler water temperatures have fish a little more interested in biting on minnows. Walleyes fair. Fishermen have been successful in the Savanna Pool by vertical jigging or using a three-way rig. Nice-sized fish were caught recently. Channel cats fair. Anglers using dip bait and a nightcrawlers. Flathead catfish fair. Deeper holes have been producing on stinkbait.