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 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.