Best Bet…Crappie

Sorry the report sounds the same week after week but until this heat let’s up and we really get into fall the fish will remain in their same patterns. Soon very soon things will change up big time.

The lake is at summer pool and gin clear from one end to the other. Water temps are running mid-seventies on the main lake and low to mid-sixties up in the feeder creeks and very back of big coves.

Soon the white bass will follow the big shad movement into coves such as Skull, Wolfe and Sand as will the crappie. The crappie also like Opossum and Coon. The rivers have picked up but beware if you take a boat up there. They love lower units.

I love this time of year you can take a crankbait or jig and twister or one of our Candystriper lures and target secondary points leading into and way back in coves and you might get that wall hanger walleye or muskie.

The summer crappie school up out on points and in deep basins on the main lake in search of shad. The typical southwest breezes will push the bait over to a northern or eastern shoreline and if there is a down tree the crappie will use it to ambush the shad.

A strong thermocline develops this time of the year and most fish hover just above it. The thermocline runs about 15-18ft. deep so these depths are where you do your search for hungry crappie.

Ends of trees or just out of a point suspended is where you start your search with your electronics. Today’s side imaging units make it easy to find fish in both these locations.

If the end of trees are your target then simply set up a slip bobber rig so you can stay back and drift it across the end of the tree. Use a lively minnow and a hook tied with tensile to attract bigger fish.

If you find them suspended then set up downwind with your spider rig rods all rigged with minnows and push into the school. You are allowed to troll with three rods on Shelbyville so if you and your partner are setting up on the nose you can run six and you will be very busy believe me.

The slip bobber and spider rig pattern is what is still going on down on the south end of the lake that is much deeper than the north end.

The crappie bite on the north end still pretty slow but not for long need water temps to drop about ten more degrees. The extended forecast does not look good for that but don’t worry those deep fish on the south end are biting very well and my guides tell me they are getting limits from just a couple good trees. Our guides that have found some good fish shallow are using a slip bobber with one of our Deep Ledge Jigs and a Brushpile Jigs Brush Chub and fishing just 3-4ft. deep. Love that big profile solid bait the Brush Chub in the fall. Always break out the biggest stuff you have in the fall. Soon this is all you will need leave the minnows at home.

Our guides are reporting trips every day of over a hundred crappie and going through fifteen dozen or more minnows. That is action in my book and Lake Shelbyville is unlike any other in Illinois as far as great summer crappie action is concerned.

You can get in touch with us by phone by calling 217-840-1221 or shoot us an email from Our products are also on our on-line store, like the line of Deep ledge Jigs the Brush Pile Chubs and the Candystripers. Or you can go to our retail stores that stock them around Lake Shelbyville. We recently just stocked Gregory’s Resort down on the south end with a ton of new jigs and of course Chip’s Marine and Howie’s Lakeside has them as does the Crappie Pro Shop.

Steve Welch
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