Your Best Spring Fishing in Illinois

Your Best Spring Fishing in Illinois
Photo By Ron Sinfelt

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.


Crab Orchard Lake


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.


La Salle Lake


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.


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!

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You


New TRUGLO Bowfishing EZ•Rest

May 23, 2019

Brush-style bowfishing arrow rest and kits designed for simplicity and reliability.


Get Ready for Summer with Cordova Coolers

May 23, 2019

Memorial Day sale offers 15 percent off everything website-wide.

Field Tested: Lightweight Raingear

David Draper - May 30, 2019

Our picks for stuffable protection against any weather.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Mustad's Inkvader Octopus Live Jig

From big fish to small, just about any saltwater game fish out there will love the new Mustad Inkvader Octopus Live Jig that Mustad's Russ Whisler shows to OSG's Lynn Burkhead.

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

Fresh off catching the biggest bass in ICAST Cup history, 13 Fishing pro Jessie Mizell shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the new Big Squirm soft plastic worm and the company's unique Pathfinder topwater walking bait that is totally weedless in design.

Mustad Skatter Shad Bladed Jig

As Mustad continues to expand into an all-around tackle company, Reid McKinstry shows off some innovative features that make the Mustad Skatter Shad bladed jig a winner in big bass waters.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories


Upon Further Review: 70-Year-Old Catfish Record Voided

G&F Online Staff - May 22, 2019

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish.


Record-Sized Walleye Was Foul-Hooked, Agency Says

G&F Online Staff

North Dakota Game & Fish Department said the 16-9 walleye doesn't qualify for record.


4 Tips When Jig Fishing For Bass

Chris Schneider - August 25, 2015

A 7 pound giant taken on a jig during the pre-spawn transistion in the Midwest. Although...

See More Stories

More Bass


MLF Pros Checklist for a Day on the Water

Pete M. Anderson - July 02, 2019

Catching more bass starts before you leave your house. Here are 10 pointers to help you...


Smallmouth Bass Lures, Tactics for Game Changes

Glenn Walker - August 12, 2019

Adapt and adjust based on conditions to bring more smallies to the boat.


Find the Thermocline for Productive Late-Summer Bass Fishing

Lee McClellan - July 18, 2019

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: The hottest stretch of the year is here; largemouth bass anglers...

See More Bass

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.