Fishing and Hunting Reports and News

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Here are some that were recently received…

Lake Shelbyville Report by Steve Welsh

The lake is coming up slowly and currently we are at 596 feet above sea level. Once we get to May they will bring it up the remaining four-feet. So be careful out there you can still run a ground where you wouldn’t expect it.

The water temps are running from 60 on the south end to 65 on the north end. The crappie spawn is in full swing up on the north end and we are catching the better fish on jigs but tons more on minnows. The males are coal black with their spawn colors and hungry. We have been getting ourthree or four man limit of 45 or 60 in less than three hours and today the 28th we got our three man limit in 45 minutes in high winds to boot.

We have been using a couple patterns. One is to drift minnows over shallow spawning areas on the main lake that gets a lot of wind. You need the wind to move the slip bobbers the crappie want your bait moving. The second is to fish ledges for fish moving up from the deep with my 1/4oz. Deep Ledge Jigs and once I find some deep wood on the ledge we set up the slip bobbers and minnows and drift them over the ledge at about 11-15 feet. The we are catching them on both minnows and jigs.

All week we are to have high winds and some rain so the water color will get stained and some areas will slow down but the fishing is still very good and the bass are also starting to bed up along with the crappie and we catch a fish or two from about every spot.

The fish are still staged up to come in to the bank on the south end and just about the time the north end is done the south end will get going.  So the good crappie fishing will continue.

Steve Welch

Pond Report from Ken HUSKER O’Malley

Hey Don,  Fishing around local lakes have been slow. Inconsistent weather and high winds contributed. Some bass on chatter baits midday. Bluegill have been the most consistent bite this week. Not a bad time to get the kids out. Spikes under a slip float with a small gold Aberdeen hook in wind protected bays have produced. Good fun for the whole family.   TTYL

Husker Outdoors – Water Werks Fishing Team

Duck Poaching at Carlyle Lake from Chris Young, IL DNR

Illinois Conservation Police (CPO’s) have arrested three men in connection with a March duck poaching incident at Carlyle Lake Wildlife Management Area near Vandalia.

Steven Dean of Granite City, along with Bradley Peters and Daniel Groves of Wood River, were arrested on April 25.  The three men face felony charges for their alleged involvement in the illegal killing of more than 30 ducks out of season on March 6th.  The illegal killings included northern pintail and mallard species and left several ducks crippled.

“We are grateful to members of the public and to the media for publicizing this case and providing support for our officers,” said Rafael Gutierrez, Chief of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Office of Law Enforcement. “Illinois Conservation Police Officers stand with hunters and conservationists to prevent poaching whenever possible and to find those responsible when it does occur.”

Charges include:

  • Felony resource theft of migratory waterfowl
  • Unlawful possession of freshly killed species during the closed season
  • Wanton waste of migratory waterfowl
  • Unlawful take over the limit of mallard ducks
  • Unlawful take over the limit of northern pintails

In addition Groves was charged with unlawfully possessing a firearm when he is ineligible for a Firearm Owners Identification Card, a Class 4 Felony.

Hunting ducks out of season potentially carries both state and federal penalties. Spring duck hunting was eliminated a century ago by the McLean-Weeks Act, the first law passed in the United States to regulate the shooting of migratory birds.

The McLean-Weeks Act was replaced in 1918 by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Duck hunting season closed Jan. 7, 2014 in the South Central Zone which includes Carlyle Lake.

Northern pintails numbered 3.3 million on the breeding grounds in the north-central United States and Canada last May, according to aerial surveys. That figure is 17 percent below the long-term average.

Waterfowl biologists and habitat managers have worked hard to keep pintail numbers at levels high enough to sustain harvest. During the most recent duck season, hunters were limited to two pintails, compared with a limit of four mallards.

Information that led to the arrests was received through an anonymous tip made to the Illinois T.I.P. (Target Illinois Poachers) hotline at (877) 236-7529. All tips remain anonymous.

Rend Lake Report from Randy Cordray, Natural Resource Specialist – US Army Corps of Engineers

LARGEMOUTH BASS Fair 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 are in about 5’-14’ of water. Fish the main lake drop off areas.  Try the Gun Creek Area. From shore fish near structures, hot spots are Jackie Branch, Sandusky, and Marcum Coves, and Ina Boat Ramp. 25 fish daily creel limit with no more than 10 fish 10 inches or longer
BLUEGILL Fair 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 Good 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. Try deeper water in the middle of the lake.  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:  04/28/2014LAKE LEVEL: 409.27      AVERAGE POOL FOR THIS DATE: 408.16    WATER TEMP:62°F        2.10+ inches of rainfall in last 24 hours

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.  In order to maintain a cleaner recreation area, anglers and bow fishermen fishing below the dam are asked to return dead rough fish to the water.

 Niagara New York Area Report by Bill HIlts Jr.

Greater Niagara Fishing Forecast for Thursday, April 24, 2014

  1. Lake Ontario and tributaries – Shoreline trolling is working for trout and Coho salmon with stickbaits being the most popular lure. Tributary action can be good, but most will have to wait until the streams settle down after the rain earlier this week. Bob Fronczak of Ransomville was out earlier this week to do some shoreline trolling for trout and salmon on either side of Wilson. Using small stickbaits off planer boards (the Storm baits with ultraviolet paint worked best), he managed to boat 26 Coho salmon and brown trout for the morning. A variety of colors were all working. Browns ranged in size from 5 to 8 pounds; the Cohos around 4 to 5 pounds.  Greg Stanley at All in the Same Boat Tackle Shop in Newfane reports that some trollers were also working a Super UV Johnny Buster stinger spoon to take some fish off Olcott in 10 to 40 feet of water. Challenger’s junior minnow sticks in silver-black were also catching fish. Cast the piers in Wilson and Olcott for salmon and trout – spoons or spinners. Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker reports that the first kings were caught this week – off the short pier in Wilson by fishermen casting spoons. In the creeks, some trout are still available according to Stanley. Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek is holding steelhead and a few browns. Keith Webster of Olcott scored on a double digit steelie earlier this week on a black jig tipped with a warm worm. Some of the other fish are starting to turn on, too. Remember that northern pike, pickerel, and walleye seasons don’t open until May 3. Get ready to cash in on over a quarter million dollars of fishing prize money as Lake Ontario derbies and tournaments start up on May 2. If you enjoy fishing in derbies and tournaments, then this May is setting up to be one of the biggest ever in the history of salmon and trout fishing on Lake Ontario. To kick things off, May 2 is the start of the 10-day Spring Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby – a lake-wide event that traditionally is won off the shores of Niagara County. Since 2001, 11 Grand Prize winning fish have been caught in this spring contest. It’s not uncommon for more than 60 percent of all the winning fish to be weighed in right here in Niagara. The Grand prize is $15,000. Check out for details. The next events are the Wilson Salmon Slam and $1,000 a Day competitions that will run from May 3 through 9, a precursor to the Wilson Harbor Invitational Tournament on May 10. Grand Prize for the big one-day contest is $25,000. Check out for details on all three. Which takes us to the 30th annual Lake Ontario Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournaments – two in Niagara this year. The first one is set for May 24-25 and the second is May 31-June 1. A total of $130,000 in cash and prizes will be up for grabs in both events. Check out for details. If you just want to get in on some of the fun, then take a gander at the Recreational Open Division of the Pro-Am. No strict rules to follow and no observer. Your best three fish for the day determines the winners – and each day is treated as a separate event.
  2. Lower Niagara River – As far as fishing, the ice boom is still in place in Lake Erie, which means the Niagara River trout fishery is still moving along under cold water conditions. Last report was there was less than 400 square miles of ice still and there needs to be less than 250 square miles. Regular updates are tough to come by. This was as of Wednesday. Water temperatures are still hovering around 33-34 degrees and anglers can catch steelhead, brown trout or lake trout – either in the river or on the bar. Minnows, egg sacs or Kwikfish are the way to go from boat; casting spoons or spinners from shore is another approach. However, fishing was tougher this week and that could mean an influx of live bait – like emerald shiners or smelt. It’s more likely that steelhead are going into their normal spawning funk this time of year. You have to be on the fish and stay on them until they hit. That happened Tuesday when a few boats stayed in Devil’s Hole to wait for the fish to turn on. When they did, they capitalized. No word on anyone doing anything with smelt yet, but there have been some fires burning along the shoreline at night to help greet them when they do arrive. The Niagara River Anglers will be frying up smelt on May 2 at Lewiston Landing during Lewiston’s annual Smelt Festival starting around 6 pm. Word from state parks is that the Artpark stairs project is now slated to be completed by June 1 due to the severe winter conditions.
  3. Upper Niagara River – Seek out any place where water can be warmer like the Erie Canal and toward Tonawanda Creek; the bays around Grand Island or the creek mouths after a rain. You will find bait fish and the predators like panfish. Some trout off the Bird Island Pier and Broderick Park are being reported. Egg sacs, minnows or spoons and spinners are the best baits to use. The Erie Canal is starting to fill up with some water and should be back to normal by May 3.

Bill Hilts, Jr.
Director, Outdoor Promotions

Northwoods Wisconsin Report

Ice and snow still covers much of the Northwoods of Wisconsin and Minnesota.  Some lakes are opening.  Chances are that the walleye opens will not be celebrated by boaters but rather by ice anglers with augars in tow.

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