Illinois Smallmouth Bass Catching Tips

Illinois Smallmouth Bass Catching Tips
There are lots of places to catch smallmouth bass throughout Illinois. Aggressive and agile, smallmouths are a popular quarry for both recreational and competitive anglers in Illinois. Mark Samp caught the state's record smallmouth--weighing 6 pounds, 7 ounces--in 1985 in a strip mine lake in Fulton County.

Lures and Baits

Use tube jigs when casting for smallmouth bass into rocky areas. Texas-rigged plastic worms are also effective, especially in colors like smoke, black, pumpkinseed or watermelon seed, according to Illinois Game and Fish Magazine. If you prefer live baits, rig a shad on a slip-bobber to suspend at the same depth as the smallmouth bass.

Fishing Spots

Fishing spots for smallmouths include riprap areas along shallow to moderate depths in Illinois waters, especially during spring. According to All About Fishing, waters with healthy populations of smallmouth bass are Shabbona Lake, Carlyle Lake, Du Page River, Lake Michigan, Cedar Lake, Fox Lake, Fox River, Crab Orchard Lake, Lake Springfield, Sangchris Lake, among others.


During the summer, fish in shallow waters during morning and evening, then move to deeper waters as the temperature warms up. Follow structures such as gravel, points and rocky areas until you get to the proper depth. During winter, move your baits slower and fish in deeper structures, because smallmouths tend to be less active during this time. Many anglers cast for smallmouth bass by wading, especially in Fox River, one of the top smallmouth bass fisheries in the state. Use light to medium spinning gear, including a rod that is light enough to detect soft taps of your lure but stout enough to land larger smallmouth bass. A clear and easy casting fishing line with little memory, such as a versatile 6- to 10-pound test line, is effective.

Article Written By Rona Aquino

Rona Aquino began writing professionally in 2008. As an avid marathon runner and outdoor enthusiast, she writes on topics of running, fitness and outdoor recreation for various publications. Aquino holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications and English from the University of Maryland College Park.

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