News, Reports, and Photos - July 16, 2015

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HOOAH Deer Hunt for Heroes hosts Rend Lake Outing for Injured Soldiers by Tom Gaither

Hi Don,  We had 3 injured soldiers in Friday July 10th at Rend lake Resort. This was a special event as always but this time the soldiers spouses were in to camp also. It was absolutely amazing. We were catered to by Rend Lake Resort including making sure Scout, a service dog,had what he needed. Our 3 guides who donated their time to take the couples out were Travis Greenwood, Jason Dudley, and Andy Lehman. All of the soldiers and their spouses not only caught fish but were given mementos of the trip. We began with a cookout at Rend Lake Resort with Travis and Amy Greenwood, and Jason and Shayna Dudley getting food donated and then cooking it all. Saturday the fished all day and then did a couples trip on Pontoons, a sunset cruise. Sunday we packed up, loaded fish in coolers took pictures and said goodbye. I wanted to send this to you and thank you for your continued interest in not only our program, but the well being of our soldiers and their families.    SEE PHOTOS

Sincerely, Tom Gaither

Rend Lake Fishing Report by Randy Cordray

LARGEMOUTH BASS Good Worms, black and blue jigs, minnows, and spinner baits. 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. 14” minimum length limit, 6 daily creel limit. 1 fish daily creel limit in PONDS 14” minimum length.
CRAPPIE Good Jigs are working well. Quarter-Ounce pink and white tub jigs. Small & Medium Minnows. Meal worms. Fish the main lake drop off 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. 25 fish daily creel limit with no more than 10 fish 10 inches or longer
BLUEGILL Good Crickets, worms, wax worms, meal worms, 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. From shore try Sailboat Harbor. 10 fish daily creel limit in PONDS. 
CHANNELCATFISH Excellent Sonny’s stink bait, Hoss’s Hawg Bait, leeches, night crawlers, and large minnows. Try the Waltonville Dam, Turnip Patch, Jackie Branch, and North Sandusky Day Use Area. Set line 3-4’ from the shore over rocks. Try leeches in moving water.  Drift fish the flats. 6 fish daily creel limit in PONDS.Jugs must be attended at all times while fishing.
WHITE BASS Fair Jig and curly tail grubs, inline spinners. Fish in shallow bays near brush cover and bushes. Fish around along the rocks and dropoffs. Reports of fish being caught around  the 154 bridges. 20 fish creel limit.No more than 3 fish 17” or longer daily
Information as of:  07/5/2015LAKE LEVEL: 410.25        AVERAGE POOL FOR THIS DATE: 406.82     WATER TEMP:  81°F

Use of a minnow seine, cast net, or shad scoop for bait collecting within 1000 yards downstream of the Rend Lake dam and spillway is prohibited.

Maps of the Fish Attractor tree locations along with GPS readings are available at the Rend Lake Corps of Engineers Project Office.  Contact Randy Cordray for more information at (618) 724-2493.

The Illini Muskies Alliance Notice of 3rd Quarterly Meeting by Ron Skala

The Illini Muskies Alliance 3rd quarterly meeting of 2015, will be at Monical's Pizza in Shelbyville Illinois. The meeting will be Saturday, July 25, 2015, the time is 10:00am. Please make every effort to try to attend.

The agenda will be as follows:  Treasurers Report,  Special Projects,  Creel Survey/Green Cards, Waste Abatement Program, New Business

Monical's Pizza is on RT.16 Just west of where it joins with RT.128, on the west side of Shelbyville.

Monical's Pizza
1900 W. Main St.
Shelbyville,IL. 62565
(217) 774-4100

Please plan to attend. The future of musky fishing in Illinois is in your hands.

Respectfully,  Ron Skala, Secretary IMA

Online Dove Permits from the IL DNR

Online applications will be accepted from resident Illinois hunters through July 7 for the first lottery for Illinois Free Dove Hunting Permits for hunting at select state sites.  Applications may be submitted for the second lottery by resident hunters who were unsuccessful in the first lottery, residents who did not apply in the first lottery, and non-resident hunters for the second lottery drawing from July 8-21.  After the second lottery permit application deadline on July 21, hunters may apply for remaining free dove permits on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 8 a.m. on July 28.  For more information on dove hunting permit areas and free dove permits, check the IDNR website at

Illinois Flathead Catfish Regulations from the IL DNR

Illinois anglers are reminded of new regulations regarding flathead catfish on the Fox River, and on the Wabash River and Ohio River. New regulations on the Fox River from the Wisconsin border, through the Chain O’Lakes, to the mouth at the Illinois River, including tributaries, allow anglers to harvest one flathead catfish per day 28 inches or larger and two flathead catfish between 13 inches and less than 28 inches.  On the Wabash and Ohio rivers, in cooperation with Indiana and Kentucky, the new flathead catfish regulation is one fish per day 35 inches or larger and unlimited harvest between 13 inches and less than 35 inches.  On the Fox, Wabash and Ohio, no flathead catfish may be harvested less than 13 inches in length.  The regulations are intended to prevent overharvest of flathead catfish.  For more information on Illinois fishing and fishing regulations, check the IDNR website at or

Lake Shelbyville Report by Steve Welch

The lake is being pulled hard and is currently down from 610.3 to 609.4 or close to a foot this past week despite more rain. The water temps are still running about 77-80 and the lake is very clear due to the current generated from the draw down.

We are concentrating on crappie on both the main lake and in deep coves from about the Eagle boat ramp to the dam. On the main lake I am fishing about 18-22 feet down on a slip bobber and minnow set up. About the same depth in coves and I am looking for giant slides that were created when the entire bank caved in bringing in several trees together. Doing a lot of side scanning looking for anything with fish on it. That investment was well worth it now with the lake so high.

We got our three or four person limit each and every day this past week even in the rain and every day we boated about 100-150. With more seasonal dry days this week it should even be better. The crappie love sunny days since they bunch up over deep brush and feed by sight so the extra visibility is a plus.

We use the wind to drift our slip bobbers across the deep brush. If you get hung up we use heavy braided line so we just straighten the hook and start again. This way we really cover the brush thoroughly and who can't watch a cork go down. This makes everyone on the same playing field. I don't want to be accused of catching all the fish. I want my clients to catch their own and catch plenty. Kids young and old love this style and we catch a ton of fish.

Steve Welch

Conservation World at the Illnois State Fair

Make plans now to attend the 2015 Illinois State Fair in Springfield and visit Conservation World on the state fairgrounds, Aug. 14-23.  Conservation World features nearly 30 acres of family activities including fishing, archery, and family entertainment, plus expert information on habitat enhancement, state parks, wildlife, fish, and forestry.  Conservation World is open every day of the Illinois State Fair from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Niagara NY Area Fishing Report by Bill Hilts Jr.

1.       Lake Ontario and tributaries –Fishing in Lake Ontario is really starting to pick up according to local anglers Dick Conley and Terry Goerss of Lockport, along with Tom Danaher of Waterport. Fishing in the top 70 feet of water out of Olcott over 300 foot depths, the trio managed to reel in 14 fish for a morning outing – a mix of steelhead and salmon. Biggest salmon was 18 pounds; biggest steelhead is on the board of the derby in 9th place at 11 pounds, 2 ounces. Capt. Taz Morrison of Barker sends word that some mature kings have been hitting in 100 to 200 feet of water and the offshore bite has been consistent from the 23 line north for a mix of steelies, cohos and kings. For the kings inside, spoons and cut bait have both been effective. Offshore it’s been all spoons and the east-west line doesn’t seem to matter. That said, it could have changed considerably with the northeast winds on Wednesday. I guess we’ll just have to find out this weekend with the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association’s two in-club events Friday and Saturday. Keep posted at Membership is just $10. In the summer Lake Ontario Counties trout and salmon derby that ends on July 26, there is just a little over a week left to win up to $29,000 in prizes – including a $10,000 grand prize for the largest salmon. Biggest king right now is a 27 pound fish reeled in by Daniel Manti of Cortland while fishing out of Oswego. For an updated leaderboard check out

2.       Lower Niagara River – With the recent fatality in the lower river in the gorge area, it’s important to emphasize the tremendous respect everyone must pay to the waters of the lower river. Massive amounts of tumultuous water are flowing through that gorge area and one mistake can result in a dire situation of life or death. Early in the morning when water levels are low, rocks can be slippery. Don’t take any unnecessary chances – whether you are fishing, hiking or photographing and enjoying nature. The same goes for the boaters heading into the Devil’s Hole area. If you’ve never done it before, go up with a guide first. Fishing action has been fair to good the past week with smallmouth bass at the top of the list. Good numbers of silver bass are also being reported. Tube jigs have been producing some nice bass, but crayfish and shiners will also lead you to some consistent action, too. If you do have live bait, stay out of Canadian waters. They have been enforcing live bait restrictions for nonresidents. Fines up to $500 have been reported with no warnings being issued. The Niagara Bar around the green buoy marker was producing some nice bass and sheepshead combinations according to Capt. Joe Marra of Lewiston. One morning this week produced over 25 fish with crayfish.

3.       Upper Niagara River – Bass fishing continues to be good in the upper river around Grand Island, Strawberry Island and at the head of the river. If you are fishing in Canadian waters, make sure you don’t have shiners or crayfish on board. And if you have worms, make sure it’s in bedding, not dirt. Province of Ontario enforcement officials have been pressing hard and writing tickets for illegal bait. Fines up to $500 have been issued, even from boats that might come out of Big Six Marina on Grand Island and motor out into the West River with no intentions of fishing there. They are still transporting the bait. The 25th Annual Erie Canal Fishing Derby is over and we have the unofficial results. The official results will be announced at the awards ceremony on Sunday at the Gasport Fire Hall at 3 pm. Grand Prize winner will be drawn from a hat from each of the first place winners. Those first place winners are Sara Caltagirone of Lockport with a 3.87 pound bass; Michael Boncore of North Tonawanda with a 6.9 pound walleye; Dan Converso of Medina with a 5.87 pound northern pike; Katrina Russell of North Tonawanda with a 1.97 pound bullhead; Carleen Beback of North Tonawanda with a 10.57 pound catfish; Joe Henneberger of Tonawanda with a 21.41 pound carp; and Holly Sewar of Lockport with a 16.51 pound sheepshead. Youth winners were Jacob Velesko, Pierce Frombgen, Brandon Belt, Dasanti Jones, Timothy Hughes and Colby Lawrence. There were also four tagged fish caught during the 12-day derby. 

Bill Hilts, Jr. - Director, Outdoor Promotions

Lake of the Woods MN Fishing Report by Joe Henry

Walleye fishing is strong and they are being caught all over the lake as they transition into mid-summer mode. Limits being caught and lots of trophy walleyes for pictures. A variety of methods successful including jigging, trolling, drifting, and down rigging. Try areas around Lighthouse Gap, Archie's Reef, and deep water off of Stony Point. Garden Island, and Little Oak. Cranks and spinners tipped with crawlers or leeches best in depths of 6-15 . Gold, orange, or perch colors best. Jigging good over reef areas 18-22 or 25-32 using gold or pink.

On the Rainy River, sturgeon season producing in deep pockets adjacent to current. Use a glob of crawlers on a circle hook, cast towards pockets and wait for the bite. Best bite from International Bridge headed east towards Clementson.  Walleye bite best during evening hours 17-19 feet.

Up at the NW Angle, walleyes moving deeper to reef areas. Deep water points off of Oak Island and others best in 26-30 feet. On the Ontario side, try Bishop Bay or Skeet Island. Muskie and pike fishing have been best near rock piles and shallow bays.  Inline spinners and spoons with bright colors have been the ticket.  Fishing overall is great.  Some of the best fishing on LOW is in the heat of the summer  Info at

Joe Henry | Executive Director | Lake of the Woods Tourism |

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