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home : outdoors : outdoors   May 25, 2016

6/15/2013 9:00:00 AM
Bluegill, catfish action good; Bonus: Two strange bait tips
NewsTribune photo/Craig SterrettKevin Mateika of Peru watches the rod tip while getting a nibble at the Peru Slough bridge.
+ click to enlarge
NewsTribune photo/Craig Sterrett
Kevin Mateika of Peru watches the rod tip while getting a nibble at the Peru Slough bridge.
Craig Sterrett
News Editor

Today’s first weird fishing tip: Anglers fishing for catfish at La Salle Lake have learned that the hybrid striped bass like chicken liver.

Julie Farrell at B&B Bait shop and distributorship in Ottawa said people come in to get chicken livers because the hybrid striped bass at the nuclear power plant cooling lake sometimes grab the bait meant for catfish.

This reporter said the stripers are a strange fish and that’s a strange phenomenon.

“They’re in strange water,” she said.

Farrell said something always seems to be biting at the lake, though.

Today’s second weird tip: Mulberries are ripe, carp and catfish are hanging out under those trees and this is the time of year I love to use that fruit as bait on a stout hook and heavy line.

High water has kept a lot of anglers off of the Illinois River, but Kevin Mateika of Peru spent many of his evenings fishing for catfish in the floodplain from the Peru Slough bridge. Using night crawlers, he landed a five-pounder and eight-pounder. The Illinois and Michigan Canal at La Salle has been a popular destination for catfish angling this week, too, since it was stocked for the youth fishing tournament by the Better Fishing Association.

Farrell said she also had heard some reports of success on catfish and white bass at the river.

AtShabbonaLake, fishing for walleye near the rocks in 15 to 16 feet of water has remained decent, except for Wednesday and Thursday when storms rolled through, said Clint Sands atLakesidebait. He shared a photo of a big walleye caught the weekend of June 9 there, and also a photo of a big hybrid striped bass landed at Shabbona.

Crappie have gone deep and bluegill were in the shallows, spawning June 14, he said.

An area angler told NewsTribune Outdoors his brother caught some big bluegill at Mautino State Fish and Wildlife Area in recent days. They were fishing from a boat, however, not from shore.

The same angler reported good catches of crappie in the 8- to 10-inch range recently at Lake Dawson, southeast of Bloomington, too.

Personal notes
A fishing trek Saturday to the Hennepin Canal at Bureau and Tiskilwa showed mixed results. Lock 3 remains, of course, Asian carp-infested.

The waters above Lock 3 and below 4 were quite muddy with poor clarity, probably from waters that feed that area. The water clarity was OK and fishing for bluegill was fair but slow below and above Lock 11. (This author landed enough bluegill for a late lunch; the bluegill are spawning and some appear to have spawned - some empty bellies, but very colorful). So, some are on the beds, though frankly I was neither sure where exactly all of those spots would be nor patient enough to hunt for them.)

Bureau Creek appeared swift, muddy and unfishable for smallmouth and sight-feeders as of noon June 14.

Clarity and visibility on the Illinois River at Peru (not including backwaters) as of 2 p.m. June 14 appeared to be 1.5 inches, so fishing for white bass or sauger was pretty much out of the question. Catfish anglers still were giving it a try, such as a group that was gathering shad and Asian carp for cut bait Saturday at Lock 3 at Bureau for a catfish tournament near Peoria on Sunday.

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