Your Best Spring Fishing in Illinois

There's never been a better time for spring fishing in Illinois, so grab your favorite rod and reel and hit the water! Here are the places you won't want to miss.

MARCH

Crab Orchard Lake

Crappies

Spring is beginning in southern Illinois and that means crappie time. The fish are on the move this month toward the annual spawning frenzy and anglers can cash in on some fine slabs. Crab Orchard has both black and white crappies with plenty of fish in the range 8 to 10 inches. Larger slabs are also present.

Probing any natural brushpiles or laydowns is a good bet, but so are the many fish attractors placed in the lake by the DNR. Pine trees are sunk to attract baitfish and subsequently game fish as well.

Sitting over or near these spots and either tight-lining a minnow or using vertical jigging often loads the cooler. If the fish are up shallower or seem spooky, back off and fish the minnows under a bobber or cast a Road Runner and retrieve.

APRIL

La Salle Lake

Bluegills

This cooling lake has a good number of decent-sized bluegills and will satisfy most any panfish enthusiasts. The DNR has even stocked bluegills in the lake to keep the fishery in good shape. There is no grass and not much in the way of other cover, so predation on small bluegills is high. As a result though, the average size caught by anglers is larger than at some other lakes. Plenty of fish in the 7- to 8-inch range are available.

Bluegills have moved up shallow by now and are preparing to hit the bedding areas very soon. Just like bass, they are feeding up in preparation to spawn, so they will readily take a wide variety of live or natural baits as well as small artificial lures, inline spinners, poppers or flies.

Boat anglers should take caution on windy days. Plenty of bank fishing areas are available as well as a handicap-accessible fishing pier located at Ivy Point.

MAY

Lake Of Egypt

Largemouth Bass

Bass anglers love the spawning season, all three phases of it. Of course, the most aggressive bass bite is during the immediate pre-spawn time frame, but some anglers love the challenge of targeting fish on the beds and then as the fish start feeding back up post spawn. No matter the favorite stage of spawn, anglers can often find bass in all three stages somewhere at Lake of Egypt in May.

The lake has lots of coves and shallow water areas, but also some deeper areas, too. The water depth and length of Egypt often results in water temperature varying as much as 10 to 12 degrees from one end to the other. This gives anglers lots of options when bass fishing.

Most any tactic is viable in May. Anglers can flip shallow water, drag plastics in other areas, or throw crankbaits or Rat-L-Traps in others. Swimjigs and the Yum Money Minnow have been very hot baits in the last few seasons.

Don't forget to share your best fishing photos with us on Camera Corner for your chance to win free gear!

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