Best Bet…Crappie/ White Bass/ Walleye
A lot has happened since the last report. The lake jumped 5.8 ft, bringing it to 2.8 ft. over summer pool. That is a ton of water. But the good news is that since we were low anyway, the Corp just let it fill. When they do that, the lake does not fill with mud and ruin the fishing for several weeks.
The color of the water is just fine, and the surface temps are in the high seventies low eighties. This has caused some white bass jumps but nothing like a decade ago. These days the bait fish schools are smaller, so you must use your electronics to find the white bass out on drops or on gravel and sandy areas. They are bunched up and a jigging spoon or one of our Candystripers cast to them and pop it off bottom works very well.
What also works, is pulling bottom bouncers and single hook spinner rigs. The catch-all presentation for the summer. You use your lake mapping and electronics to target ledges and simply pull them along the drop-offs at 1.0-1.4 mph. We use them tipped with a minnow, but a crawler works fine. We like minnows simply because the crappie can’t stay off them and you get a nice eating fish rather than use crawlers, and you can’t keep the drum and yellow bass off them. Yellow bass is great eating but just too small in our lake. All these methods are working all over the lake.
The walleye simply went into the newly flooded willows, and this is a problem getting a bait to them. A weedless jig tipped with a black leach is about the only thing you can get in there. Use crawlers and the bluegills will pick you clean. Otherwise running a blade bait like the Big Dude or Gayblade along the edges and try to get one to come out. Some anglers have switched to pulling bouncers and spinners at night. This method works all summer.
As for the crappie the spawning spots up on the north end, we still have male crappie in slight shades of spawning colors. A slip bobber rig and lively minnow drifted right through the brush is doing very well. The mouths of coves down the lake has them suspended out in deep water, but I expect to go through about ten to get a bigger fish, so buy a ton of minnows. We start every day with twelve dozen.
Our Candystripers and several other baits are available on our online store or at Chip’s Marine or Howie’s Lakeside both located on Rt. 32 just south of Sullivan, IL.