Great Lakes Angler Forum
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2015

    Spring Valley Illinois River

    Last year I got some good pointers for henderson harbour from this board thanks RichD and a couple others. This year I'm heading to the Illinois river and was wondering if anyone has any tips or pointers it's still 3 months away but i'd rather not wait until the last minute. I've also been trying to find old PWT footage but haven't had much luck anyone know of any good links. Thanks for the help and Happy New Years :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 1999
    Paw Paw, Michigan
    I fished a couple of MWC tournaments there WAY back in the day, and attended a couple of others. Haven't been there for decades, but I sure remember how those tournaments gave a whole new meaning to "community holes."

    Lots of white bass, too. Now I guess you get to dodge flying carp while running to your spot.

    Be interested to hear from anyone who has been there recently--always liked fishing there.
    Dave Mull
    Paw Paw, MI

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Chicago, IL
    There are basically two schools of thought for targeting walleyes and sauger (mostly sauger) on the Illinois River and any river for that matter: vertical jigging and trolling. Sure, you can anchor and/or cast as well but you have to really have something dialed in for that.

    Baits for jigging: 1/8 to 3/8 oz jigs tipped with various plastics w/ or w/o live bait. Good idea to add a stinger hook; jigging Rapalas, blade baits, jigging spoons.

    Trolling: Lead core with crankbaits (Rapala Shad Raps, Berkley Flicker Shads); mono with 3-way rigs (floating jig heads with minnows, F7, F9, F11 Rapalas); handlining with various stickbaits.

    The bite can quickly change from a crankbait bite to a jig bite for no apparent reason so you have to be prepared to adapt. I have had them crushing crankbaits in 39 degree water at 2.5 mph one day only to have them exclusively on jigs the next. You will see where everyone is fishing but an awful lot of tournaments have been won at spots like 'The Clam Beds,' 'The Peru Flats,' 'The Hennepin Highlines." and the dam at Starved Rock. If not marked on your map, buy one at any of the bait stores and have them mark it up. Be careful out there. It's a working river with a lot of commercial traffic. Wear your floatation device and be very respectful of the tow boats. Good luck!

    Captain Guy Lopez

    P.S. The Asian carp should not be a problem that early in the season. You may see a few but the water is usually too cold for them to be very energetic though you may snag a few.

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