If you judged from statewide fishing reports posted on the DNR site, you might think the best places to fish this weekend are the Rock River and Pecatonica in the Rockford and Freeport areas or Dawson, Bloomington or Evergreen lakes in the Bloomington-Normal area.
However, that’s because not all of the DNR’s usual sources turned in reports this week, and the state leaves out small creeks. (By the way, one report from the Rock River’s upstream reaches reported anglers catching bluegill on spawning beds, and a reporter for Lake Dawson considered the crappie action there “very good.”)
And there’s nothing stopping anglers from trying their favorite fishing spots.
Time to wade
In the Illinois Valley, a good bet now, if you can find a suitable and legal access point, would be the creeks and rivers, because they’re finally shallow enough to wade.
Whether it’s the Vermilion, Little Vermilion, Green or Kankakee rivers or Big Bureau Creek, August and the dry season are golden weeks for fishing Illinois streams.
Maribou jigs often produce smallmouth and other predators, and crawfish or crawfish imitations are a great bet. Try at the end of riffles, cast into deep holes or in deep water just downstream from boulders, large logs or other obstructions.
Channel cat also will hold to some of the same locations an angler should target for smallmouth bass, but cats also may be in some of the deeper, current-free zones. Nearer to the rivers, these tributaries often hold sauger, crappie and white bass, and there’s always the possibility of catching some of the more interesting native species such as suckers or redhorse.
The Illinois River finally has dropped to a normal level, at least as of Aug. 7, and creek mouths may be worth a try.