Tough Times at Lake Shelbyville

Last Monday Lake Shelbyville was the host of IHSA Bass Fishing Sectional.  Unfortunatley, not one fish was caught.

The following statement was made by the tournament site manager Barry Featheringill.

There were 22 teams with a total of 151 students who struggled all day to try to find fish. Not a single team brought a fish to the scales. I must comment the students, the boat captains, the coaches and the athletic directors for have such fine young people who accept adversity and move on with out grumbling. It was a hard call to make on Friday to postpone the event to Monday but the weather was so much better and heard a few comments to 'a bad day on the lake is better than a good day in the classroom'.

The schools that participated in the sectional at Shelbyville include Argenta (A.-Oreana), Atwood (A.-Hammond), Bement, Bethany (Okaw Valley), Decatur (Eisenhower), Macon (Meridian), Maroa (M.-Forsyth), Monticello, Mt. Zion, Shelbyville, and Sullivan.

I'm sure it was quite disappointing that none of these schools advanced to the finals at Carlyle Lake in May.

Shelbyville has not been kind to local guides either.  Steve Welch sent me this report.

Mother Nature is at it again. The lake went from 596 down to 594 and then back up to 607 and supposed to crest Wednesday at 609. That is fifteen feet higher than it was a week ago. We have a ton of water and the lake is very dirty on the north end and any cove with a feeder creek is very dirty as well. I have found a few coves that have clear water but the water temps are still to cold for the crappie to think about moving shallow. We have about 53-56 and we need 60 plus. The lake will clear in a week or so and by that time the water will warm enough for the crappie to move up to spawn.

I am catching fish on the main lake over deep brush from Eagle resort to the dam. I am fishing 15-22 feet down in much deeper water. My best colors have been white and chartreuse, red and chartreuse, or plain chartreuse with a red or an orange 1/4oz. Deep Ledge Jig. The fish are on the move with the lake still rising so one day you will get them good in a deep brush pile and the next day nothing.

We need three nights of sixty degree temps and the spawn will start so the crappie will move shallow. The weather for this week still has cool temps so we just can't get a break. It won't be long and you need to experience what the fishing is like on Shelbyville with high water. I am on the lookout right now for any new slide tree I can find. These are new trees that have slid in standing up and they bring in all the foliage around them which is still green. Crappie love this and they also love the root balls of down trees. Both will have four to six feet of water on them and in the next two or three weeks that will be on fire.

Then since this happened right in front of planting season the lake will remain high for several months. That means a good walleye season and a very good white bass season and I can't wait.


Fishing has been tough at many of the central Illinois lakes.   With a few days of nice weather, fishing will improve.

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