This is my general plan, year after year, to hit each lake in its prime.

It's based on past years successes and failures. Hope it helps. I will continue to revise this page throughout the season.

January February March April May June
July August September October November December
 

 January

Top picks: Spring Lake State Park , Sangchris

If we get a January thaw and you don't mind a 4 hour drive, (or if you live in central Illinois), then Spring Lake State Park is the place to be. Ice out muskie and bass fishing can be great. These are shallow lakes and this is winter so stick to the 5-6 foot deep areas.

Power-plant lakes like Sangchris can be good too. On Sangchris, launch on the center "hot arm" and hit the backs of coves or fish right at the discharge. Natural pattern, size 7, Rapala Shallow Shad Raps are a good bet.

Jan 3,4 2007      MEGA BASS Jan 10, 2008      MUSKIES
Jan 6,7 2007      Spring Lake Bass Jan 11, 2007     Spring Lake Bass
Jan 8, 2008        Spring Lake Bass Jan 11, 2006      Sangchris Hawg Bass
Jan 9, 2008        Spring Lake Bass Jan 20, 2006      MUSKIES
   

 

 

 February

Top picks: Spring Lake State Park , Sangchris

Just like January, the weather will determine if the central Illinois lakes are frozen. If they are ice-free, get to the boat launch !!! Follow the January plan.

Feb 1, 2006    7 MUSKIES
Feb 2, 2006      Hawg Bass
Feb 19, 2004    Sangchris Bass
Feb 28, 2004    Sangchris Bass

 

 

 March

Top picks: Spring Lake State Park , Kinkaid , Sangchris , Shabbona

Muskies will be in their prime at Kinkaid, fish the coves around the water treatment plant.

Shabbona: fish the East shoreline flats with crankbaits for bass, or the NMZ and baitshop bay for muskies.

Sangchris and Spring Lake will both be in their prime for prespawn bass. At both lakes, focus on the dead lilypad stalks. The dead stalks attract and hold shad, and therefore BASS. Weedless plastic grubs, and shallow shad raps are my "go to" baits.

March 12, 2008          Spring Lake Muskies March 26, 2006          Shab Muskie
March 13, 2007          Spring Lake Bass March 27, 2007          Shabbona
March 16,17 2005     Kinkaid MUSKIE March 27, 2008          Kinkaid MUSKIE
March 19, 2006          Shabbona March 29, 2006          MEGA BASS
March20, 2007           Spring Lake Bass March 29, 2007          Sangchris Bass
March 20-21, 2008    Kinkaid MUSKIE March 30, 2006          Muskies
March 25, 2004          South Fat Bass March 30,31 2005     Sangchris Bass

  

 

 April

Top picks: Spring Lake State Park (early April only) , Sangchris , Shabbona , Shelbyville

Wild weather fluctuations, the bass are easy, muskies are prowling, it must be April !!!

If it was a warm/early Spring, this could be Bass Month.

The Kinkaid muskies will spawn in the first 2 weeks. Spring Lake State Park might still be good if the weather has been unusually cold. In normal years, the lake becomes a giant bowl of weed stew by mid-April and the bite stinks.

Muskie hunters will be taking plenty of big fish on Shelbyville. Casting below the spillway, and casting in the backs of spawning bays will produce.

If bass is your target, head to Sangchris or Shabbona. These lakes will both be in their prime for prespawn bass. At Shabbona, fish the East shoreline flats with crankbaits and Rat-L-Traps for bass, or the NMZ and baitshop bay for muskies.

At Sangchris, focus on the dead lilypad stalks. 75% of the coves in this lake have lilypads in the backs. The dead stalks attract and hold shad, and therefore BASS. Weedless plastic grubs, and shallow shad raps are my "go to" baits. Sangchris water levels are at normal pool.

April 1, 2004      BackYard Bass April 18, 2002    Busse Bassin'
April 2, 2003      BackYard Crappie April 20, 2008    Sangchris
April 2, 2010      Sangchris Bass April 20, 2006    Spring Lake Bass
April 5, 2006      Shabbona Bass April 20, 2001    Shab Muskie/Bass
April 8,9  2005   Sangchris Hawg Bass April20-1,2007   Shabbona Bass
April 8, 2006      MEGA BASS April 22, 2006    Sangchris Bass
April 9, 2001      Shabbona  Bass April 23, 2003    Backyard Pike
April 9, 2006      Spring Lake Muskies April 24, 2008    Shabbona
April 10, 2006    Sangchris Bass April 24, 2004    Backyard Bass
April 12, 2002    Busse Bass April 25, 2003    Busse Bass
April 12, 2003    Sangchris Bass April 27, 2006    Shabbona  Hawgs
April 13, 2006    Shabbona  Hawgs April 27, 2005    Sangchris Bass
April 15, 2005    Sangchris Hawg Bass April 27, 2004    Backyard Crappie
April 15,2004     BackYard Bass April 28, 2010    Shabbona Muskie
April 16, 2004    Busse Bass April 29, 2003    Busse Bass
April 17, 2008    Shabbona April 30, 2003    Busse BigBoy Bass
April 17,2007     Shabbona  Hawgs April 30, May1  Shab Muskie/Bass
April 17, 2002    Evergreen Muskie April in Tenn     Reelfoot  Crappie
 

 May

Top picks: Sangchris (early May only) , Shabbona, Delavan WI

If it was a cold Spring, this will be Bass Month.

If it was unusually warm then it's about to get really tough for bass. Enjoy it while it lasts, the post-spawn funk is about to set in for Illinois bass. At the 1st Saturday of the month it's time to head North to the Wisconsin bass opener.

May 2, 2004       Busse/Mallard Bass
May 3, 2007       Shabbona Bass
May 3, 2006       Shabbona Bass
May 5, 2010       Shabbona Muskie
May 5, 2005       Sangchris Hawg Bass
May 5,6, 2004    Giant Carp !!!!!!!
May 6, 2003       Busse Bass
May 6,7 2006     Sangchris Bass
May 7, 2005       Sangchris Hawg Bass
May 7, 2003       Busse Woods
May 7, 2001       Shab Bass
May 8, 2007       Shabbona Bass
May 8, 2001       Shab Bass
May 9, 2003       Busse Bass on Fire
May 10, 2007     Shabbona Bass
May 10, 2006     Shabbona Bass
May 10, 2003     Busse Bass
May 11, 2004     Busse Bass
May 12, 2004     Shabbona Muskie
May 14, 2003     Shabbona Bass
May 15, 2003     Shabbona Fatty Bass
May 15, 2001     Busse Bass 
May 15, 2000     Shabbona Fat Bass 
May 16, 2003     Shabbona Bass
May 16, 2002     Busse Big Bass
May 16, 2001     Busse Bass
May 17, 2007     Shabbona Bass
May 17, 2001     Busse Bass
May 17, 2000     Shabbona Catfish
May 18, 2005     Shabbona Bass
May 20, 2005     Shabbona Bass
May 20, 2004     Shabbona Bass
May 21, 2007     Shabbona Bass
May 21, 2003     Busse Bass
May 23, 2001     Busse Bass/Walleye
May 23, 2003     Beck Lake Carp/Bass
May 25, 2006     Shabbona Bass
May 25, 2005     Shabbona Bass
May 27, 2003     Beck Lake Bass
May 28, 2003     Shabbona Bass
May 28, 2001     Busse Bass
May 28, 2002     Busse Bass
May 29, 2001     Busse Bass
May 29, 2002     Busse Bass
May 30, 2007     Delavan WI
May 30, 2008     Delavan Bass
May 31, 2007     Shabbona
May 31, 2001     Busse Bass 

 

 

 June

Top picks: Shabbona, Delavan WI

This is the time to be flexible. Multispecies anglers will have the best success most years. The bass have spawned, and the carp are thrashing in the shallows. Bass and muskies will start relating to the weedlines at Shabbona.

June 2, 2006        Shab Muskie/Bass
June 2, 2002        Busse Bass
June 3, 2001        Busse Bass
June 3, 2005        Shabbona Bass
June 3, 2004        Shabbona Bass
June 4, 2004        Shabbona Bass
June 5, 2002        Busse Bass
June 5, 2003        Secret Bassin'
June 6, 2007        Shabbona
June 7, 2006        Shab Muskie/Bass
June 7, 2005        Shabbona
June 7, 2002        Goldfish/Carp
June 7, 2001        Busse Bass
June 9, 2007        Shabbona Bass
June 9, 2001        Busse Bass
June 10, 2005      Shabbona
June 11, 2003      Atwood Bass
June 11, 2002      Busse Carp
June 15, 2001      Busse Giant Carp
June 15,16 2005  Jacksonville Bass
Jun 16 17, 2004   Jacksonville Bass  
June 17, 2003       Backyard Bass
June 17, 2001      Joey's Bluegill
June 20, 2007     Shabbona Bass
June 20, 2003      Backyard Bass
June 21, 2003      Backyard Bass
June 21, 2002      Busse Bass
June 22, 2005      Shabbona
June 22, 2002      Busse Bass/Cats
June 22, 2001      Busse Bass
June 25, 2002      Busse Bass
June 26, 2004      Backyard Bass
June 29, 2006      Shab Muskie/Bass
June 30, 2001      Busse Bass

 

 

 July

Top picks: Shabbona, Delavan WI

Like June, this is the time to be flexible. Multispecies anglers will have the best success most years. The bass are hiding in the weedbeds, and early weekday mornings are your best shot at a nice Shabbona bass.

Channel catfish will be moving up to the shallow weeds and fattening up for the spawn. Kids will really have fun cranking in big channel cats. Chicken livers on circle hooks fished in the weedbeds will produce loads of catfish.

July 3, 2007        Delavan WI Bass/Pike
July 3, 2003        Backyard Bass
July 3, 2002        Monster Gills
July 6, 2002        Secret Bass Pond
July 7, 2004        Evergreen Fat Bass
July 8, 2001        Busse Bass
July 9, 2001        Shabbona Muskie
July 10, 2002      Evergreen Bass
July 10, 2003      Shabbona Lake
July 12, 2006      Shabbona Bass
July 12, 2005      Shabbona Bass
July 13, 2004      Shab Muskie/Bass
July 13, 2002      Busse Bass
July 14, 2006      Shabbona Bass
July 14, 2008      Delavan Mix
July 15, 2008      Delavan Mix
July 15, 2004      Shabbona Bass
July 15, 2003      Backyard Bass
July 17, 2004      Backyard Bassin'
July 17, 2003      Atwood Lake Bass
July 18, 2007      Shabbona Bass
July 19, 2006      Shab Catfish
July 20, 2006      Shab Catfish
July 22, 2004      Delavan WI Pike
July 23, 2002      Busse Bass
July 24, 2008      HUGE Delavan BASS
July 25, 2003      Busse/Mallard Bass
July 27, 2003      Mallard Lake Bass
July 28, 2001      Beck Lake Bass
July 29, 2003      Backyard Bass
July 29, 2001      Busse Bass

 

 

 August

Top picks: Shabbona, Delavan WI

It's just TOO HOT most days. Wait for a break in the heat and the fishing will be much better. Stay out of the sun, or fish at a lake where you can swim. Muskie fishing when the water is over 82 degrees can kill any muskie. Stick to the bass and channel cats if the water temps are high, this will vary year to year.

Aug 1, 2008       HUGE Delavan BASS
Aug 2, 2006      Shab BIG Bass
Aug 3, 2007       Shabbona Catfish
Aug 4, 2001       Busse Bass
Aug 5, 2005       Shabbona Bass
Aug 5, 2001       Busse Bass
Aug 6, 2008       HUGE Delavan BASS
Aug 13, 2002     Busse Bass
Aug 13, 2008     HUGE Delavan BASS
Aug 14, 2003     Sangchris Bass
Aug 15, 2006    MuskieBassHuge Cat
Aug 16, 2006     Shab Bass Big Cats
Aug 17, 2005     Joey's Shab Muskie
Aug 18, 2006     Shab Bass Big Cat
Aug 18 + 19       Big Bluegills
Aug 21, 2001     Busse Bass
Aug 22, 2003     Backyard Bass
Aug 22, 2001     Busse Bass
Aug 22, 2000     Shabbona Bass
Aug 23, 2001     Busse Bass
Aug 25, 2002     Secret Pond Bass
Aug 26, 2001     Busse Bass
Aug 28, 2004     Evergreen Muskies
Aug 28, 2003     Backyard Bass
Aug 29, 2005     Shabbona Bass
Aug 29, 2003     Backyard Bass
Aug 29, 2000     Shab Bass/Catfish
Aug 30, 2006     Shab Bass
Aug 31,2007      Shabbona Catfish

 

 

 September

Top picks: Shabbona, Delavan WI

Muskie Month !!! As the nights start getting cooler, the muskies take notice.

Leave the bass gear at home. The bass bite will not be good. You'll be watching guys landing muskies, kicking yourself for wasting time struggling for bass.

Sept 2, 2003        Backyard Bass
Sept 3, 2002        Busse Bass
Sept 4, 2001        Shabbona 3 Muskies
Sept 6, 2003        Backyard Bass
Sept 6, 2001        Shabbona  2 Muskies
Sept 7, 2003        Backyard Bass
Sept 9, 2004        Evergreen Bass/Muskie
Sept 10, 2001      Shabbona Muskie
Sept 11, 2003      Shabbona Muskie Nice
Sept 13, 2001      Shabbona Muskie
Sept 13, 2006      Shab Bass
Sept 15, 2004      Backyard Bass
Sept 16, 2006      Sangchris
Sept 17, 2001      Shabbona Muskie
Sept 17, 2003      Backyard Bass
Sept 19,2007       Shab Muskie/Bass
Sept 19, 2001      Shabbona 46" Muskie
Sept 19, 2003      Atwood Bass
Sept 20, 2002      Secret Bass Pond
Sept 21, 2004      Secret Bass Pond
Sept 25, 2000      Shab Muskie/Bass
Sept 26, 2006      Shabbona
Sept 27, 2003      Atwood Lake Bass
Sept 28, 2007       Delavan WI Pike
Sept 28, 2004      Jacksonville Bass
Sept 29, 2006      Shab Muskie
Sept 30, 2006      Monster Catfish
Sept 30, 2005      Shabbona Muskie
Sept 30, 2003      Backyard Bass

 

 

 October

Top picks: Shabbona, Delavan WI, Lake Geneva WI, Sangchris (late October only)

Like September, it's Muskie Month. Put in your time and it will pay off.

Smallmouth bass are the species of choice on Lake Geneva, and the pike are easy on Delavan.

If it has been a cool Fall, the lilypads will die off of Sangchris and the bass fishing will be great.

By mid-late October, Spring Lake State Park closes for fishing due to the water fowl hunting season. If it has been unusually cold this Fall, there will be a narrow window of good muskie fishing before the fishing season closes.

Oct 1, 2005      Shabbona Bass
Oct 2, 2002      Busse Bass
Oct 2, 2003      Shab Muskie !!
Oct 3, 2002      Busse/Mallard Trio
Oct 3, 2000      Shabbona Muskie
Oct 4, 2002      Mallard Big Pike
Oct 5, 2006      Fox Chain
Oct 5, 2004      Shabbona Muskie
Oct 5, 2001      Shabbona Muskie
Oct 6, 2002      Mallard Bass
Oct 8, 2003      Evergreen Bass
Oct 9, 2004      Shabbona Muskie
Oct 9, 2003      Evergreen Bass
Oct 9, 2002      Backyard action
Oct 10, 2004    Backyard Bass
Oct 10, 2003    Evergreen Saugeye
Oct 10, 2002    Secret Bass Pond
Oct 12, 2005    Shabbona Bass
Oct 12, 2004    Busse Walleye
Oct 13, 2005    Busse Walleye
Oct 13, 2004    Shabbona Bass
Oct 13, 2000    Shabbona Muskie
Oct 14, 2002    Shabbona Muskie
Oct 18, 2006    MUSKIE
Oct 19, 2001    Busse Bass 
Oct 19, 2002    Secret Bass Pond
Oct 20, 2001    Busse Bass 
Oct 21, 2001    Busse Bass 
Oct 22, 2003    Shabbona Muskie
Oct 26, 2007     Delavan WI Pike
Oct 26, 2003    Busse Bass 
Oct 28, 2003    Mallard Lunker Bass
Oct 28 29, 04   Sangchris Bass Hogs
Oct 30, 2003    Atwood Bass
Oct 31, 2003    Mallard Bass

 

 

 November

Top picks: Delavan WI, Lake Geneva WI, Sangchris

If the water is at normal pool on Sangchris, the bass will be schooled in the dead lilypad stalks. That's some serious fun. Delavan pike and Lake Geneva smallies are easy and abundant.

Nov 1, 2007          Lake Geneva Smallies
Nov 5, 2003          Sangchris Bass Hogs
Nov 5, 2004          Sangchris Bass Hawg
Nov 6, 2003          Sangchris Hogs II
Nov 6, 2004          Sangchris Hawg II
Nov 7, 2006          Shab Bass
Nov 8, 2007          Lake Geneva Smallies
Nov 8, 2006          Shabbona
Nov 10, 2007         Lake Geneva Smallies
Nov 10,11 2005    Sangchris Bass
Nov 12, 2003        Mallard/Beck Bass
Nov 12, 2000        Shabbona Bass
Nov 21, 2006        Sangchris

 

 

 December

 Are you nuts ???

 

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