Reports and News Updates

Preliminary numbers on the Illinois Turkey Harvest by Chris Young, IL DNR

North Zone First Season (April 14-18):
First season harvest in the North Zone was 1848, compared to 1742 in 2013.  Top five counties were JoDaviess (159), Fulton (104), Pike (90), Adams (81), and Hancock (71).  Cold and rainy conditions on the first day (turning to snow later in the day) depressed opening day harvest somewhat, but harvest was strong on the remaining four days.

South Zone Second Season (April 12-17):
Harvest in the South Zone continued at a slow pace during the second season, with a harvest of 1200 compared to last year’s harvest of 1374.  Through two seasons, harvest stands at 2648, compared to 2942 in 2013.  Top five counties through 2 seasons were Jefferson (168), Jackson (155), Pope (153), Union (130), and Marion and Wayne (125).

Youth seasons and first regular season in South Zone
Season dates for the Youth Turkey Season were March 29-30 (South) and April 5-7 (North).  The youth season concluded with a preliminary total harvest (both zones) of 781, compared to 917 in 2013.  South Zone harvest was 372 (388 in 2013), while North Zone harvest was 409 (529 in 2013).  Top five counties in the South were Jefferson (31), Marion and Randolph (27), Williamson (21), and Hamilton and Jackson (20).  Top five in the North were Adams and Fulton (21), Pike (20), Montgomery (19), and Macoupin (18).

The first “regular” spring turkey season in the South Zone concluded Friday, April 11 with a harvest of 1448 birds, compared to 1568 in 2013.  Opening day saw about a half inch of rain in many areas, beginning about the same time as shooting hours.  Top five counties were Jefferson (94), Pope (90), Union (88), Jackson (84), and Wayne (75).

Kankakaee Report by Ken HUSKER O’Malley

Hey Don,  It was the perfect weekend to hit our area rivers.  On Saturday I hit the Kankakee. River is almost in perfect wading condition. Water temps are in the upper 50’s. Square bill crankbaits worked along current seams picked off some nice bass.

On Sunday I hit the Illinois. River is in good condition with water temps near 60. White bass were very good fishing behind islands, bridge pilings, and any current breaks on blade baits.   TTYL

Husker Outdoors – Water Werks Fishing Team

Rend Lake Fishing Report by Randy Cordray – Natural Resource Specialist

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. 


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:  04/22/2014LAKE LEVEL: 409.32      AVERAGE POOL FOR THIS DATE: 407.99    WATER TEMP:61°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.  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.

Lake Shelbyville Report by Steve Welsh

After bouncing around all week from fishing deep with jigs over stumps in 12-15 feet to just fishing a few spawn spots in about 5 feet of water drifting minnows on slip bobbers over them. This past weekends warm weather has brought the fish to the bank on the north end and it should get even better with the warm temps for this week. The south end you can still catch fish twenty-feet deep if you like and it will be a few more weeks before they hit the bank down there.

Anglers are also doing well spider rigging at about six to eight feet under the surface catching those suspended females waiting to go to the bank. The bays on the north end are really warming and this past Sunday I saw 61.4 so the crappie will be moving shallow all week.

I fish a couple different rigs when they move shallow. One is a twelve-foot rod and a 1/8oz. Deep Ledge Jig and a Midsouth tube. I use a lighter jig since we aren’t fishing any deeper than five-feet. The second is my slip bobber rod we slip drift live bait over these shallow brush piles. I use fourteen-pound Fireline Crystal braided line down to a quarter-ounce weight then a barrel swivel and six-inches of Seagar fifteen pound fluorocarbon line and a number four aberdeen hook with a slip bobber big enough to hold everything up. With this rig you can simply pull your snagged bait right out of the brush and not loose anything or get your boat on top the brush and spook all the fish.

Steve Welch


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