Open Water Extends Fishing Season on Illinois River

This is a shoulder season for hunters and fishermen as the season for hunting deer by firearm came to an end Sunday and there’s no ice for ice fishing.

However, no ice is good news for the sauger enthusiasts.

Tournament angler and Illinois Walleye Trail director Adam Sandor said the fishing action was steady and enjoyable this past weekend on the Illinois River. He said he and a partner caught about a dozen keeper-sized sauger, but an uncounted number of small sauger, near the Spring Valley bridge, Mertel’s and the “snag hole” near Shippingsport. He said he heard fish were biting at Ottawa, too.

“Pretty much any deep hole had fish in it,” he said.

Ryan Vecchia of Spring Valley is running a small tournament this weekend the Hennepin boat ramp. He said the tournament hours are 7 a.m.-2 p.m., weather depending.

A Nov. 16 Walleye Trail tournament at Dubuque was postponed to spring due to cold and ice, and the fishing was terrible Nov. 29-30 due to high water and poor conditions for the Spring Valley Walleye Club members tournament and one of Vecchia’s events. He said only one boat out of about 28 entries weighed a five-fish limit at those events.

He anticipates good conditions this weekend, as the fishing was good and water clarity was too last weekend.

At Shabbona, the bait shop is closed until there’s safe ice — and, frankly, looking at the Accuweather forecast (available atop, the deep freeze doesn’t look likely to appear until mid-January.

Of course, archers and muzzleloader shooters still have time to harvest some venison.

Archery season ends Jan. 18. The muzzleloader season is Dec. 12-14, and area counties other than Bureau have some late-winter and CWD seasons available.

Source: News Tribune