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For the avid angler, or the frequent hunter; giving you the latest fishing and hunting reports, trends, and tips for all the hottest spots from our neck of the woods.
Send pictures of your recent successes, or tell us your own reports, winning strategies and high-tales to jjc.blazermail.edu, or find us on Facebook.
With the help of Mike Gorman of Angelo’s Bait Shop and reader contributions, we strive to give you the most complete breakdown of the area’s outdoor trends.
We advocate catch and release and sustainable hunting and fishing that promotes a healthy ecosystem for generations to come.
Mazonia and the strip mine lakes: The bass bite has been slow so far, and lakes will need the water temperature to rise about five degrees before the action picks up. Anglers have had success catching crappie using minnows on a plain hook or jig. Targeting brush and timber piles in shallow waters adjacent to, or near, deeper water has yielded the best results.
Braidwood: The largemouth have already spawned, according to Mike Gorman, and good numbers have been caught by bouncing a worm-tipped jig on open water rock-piles in about six to eight feet.
Heidecke: Along with Mazonia, the crappie bite has been prominent, with some fish reaching over 15 inches in length. Additional reports show the walleye bite picking up considerably.
LaSalle: Reports of huge blue catfish and good stripers continue to fill message boards. Anglers should not expect this run of success to keep up as the water warms up, and the fish retreat to deeper waters.
Local Ponds: While the harsh winter has hit many small retention ponds and other lakes hard with reports of fish-kills, many have finally begun yielding largemouth. The Rock Run Rookery, in particular, has been heating up with aggressive bass being caught on lipless crankbaits, Rapala X-Raps, and by drifting live bait rigs.
Because it’s still early in the season, weed cover is low and many largemouth are still dormant; the key is to throw large, loud and gaudy lures that cover a lot of water such as rattletraps and spinners in hopes of eliciting reaction strikes.
Kankakee River: Walleye continue to bite on crankbaits, and white, orange and chartreuse colored jigs tipped with a minnow. Gorman said he’s received his first reports of smallmouth bass being caught as well, usually by anglers targeting walleye. Many bass have been caught suspended in the water column as algae continues to grow on the river bottom.
Des Plains River: Pike fishing has suffered so far this year due to weather instability, but many have still been caught in backwater areas between Riverside and Lockport. South of Joliet, however, both largemouth and smallmouth have been active already; a positive sign for a much-maligned section of the river.
Turkey Hunting: Illinois turkey populations are very strong according to Gorman. Several hefty gobblers were nabbed in late April at Ten Mile Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area in southern Illinois.