Water has been warming up and clearing up on area waters, with anglers reporting some good catches before and during the Easter weekend.
A Hennepin Canal fishing expert reported catching a half dozen nice crappie, but no bluegill yet.
Bass-fishing enthusiast Ken Jenkins of Putnam County reported early last week he had been catching some small bass, but not many big ones from area farm ponds. He said he fishes the ponds early in the season.
A Chicago Sun-Times report about two Illinois anglers landing a possible state record sauger on the Illinois River near Spring Valley (but not getting it weighed in a prompt manner to prove it) drew a steady stream of fishermen to Barto Landing and other ramps throughout the past week, said Mike Hurless of Spring Valley Walleye Club. The bait shop in Spring Valley reported steady business selling bait Saturday of Easter weekend. Hurless said four or five days without rain allowed the river to clear up considerably.
At Shabbona Lake, bait shop/boat rental staffer Clint Sands said the water temperature was at 50 degrees Saturday.
Sands reported people were starting to catch largemouth, including a 22.5 inch, 5.3-pound bass and a 4-pounder on the Easter weekend. He received several reports of muskies being caught.
He said most of the crappie still were in the “deep trees,” and most were not any shallower that 10 feet deep.
As for walleye, he’s been seeing some chasing shad near the surface, but they’re tough to catch when they’re doing that.
“It seems like it’s a much better summer bite than spring out here,” he said, noting they are easier to target in summer in places such as deep weedlines.