Lake Shelbyville Fishing
An Angler's Dream Come True.
Lake Shelbyville fishing offers a multitude of opportunities with popular species including walleye, catfish, largemouth bass, crappie, muskie, walleye, bluegill and white bass aplenty, just to name a few.
In conjunction with the Illinois Department of Resources (IDNR) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, local fishery biologists stock sauger and walleye every year and and manage 16 farm ponds to ensure a steady, sizeable population. These ponds range in size from less than an acre to more than 27 acres, with all of them easily accessible by foot.
Lake Shelbyville was elected as one of the best bass lakes in Illinois by Bassmaster Magazine. It has been a popular destination for anglers involved in crappie, muskellunge and largemouth bass tournament circuits due to the outstanding local fishing success stories. Additionally, white bass, catfish and walleye have become very popular among local fisherman. Channel catfish are also very popular with trotliners and pole-and-line fishermen on the lake and the population is increasing every year. A wide-range of baits can be used to catch the fish, from stink baits to liver, leeches and shrimp. If you plan on fishing for any fish on Lake Shelbyville, make sure to check with the local bait shops to find out what is working for the current times of the year. In addition to the previously mentioned fish, bullheads, bluegills, carp and jumbo head catfish also are in abundance.
The lake's fish populations do change over time, but the quality of fishing on Lake Shelbyville is currently the best it has been throughout the history of the lake. The area features numerous guides who are available to help those visiting the and can be contacted by searching the internet or contacting one of the three lake marinas.
Below the Shelbyville Dam is superb tail water fishery with highly productive winter and early spring fishing for walleyes. Good catches of white bass and crappies also are made in spring and during cold winters, ice fishing can also be good with crappies being the most caught fish taken through the ice.
North and east of the Bruce-Findlay Bridge you can find several attractive islands with perimeters providing good fishing. There are also a large amount of flooded plains, drop offs and creek channels in this portion of the lake and water depths can drop quickly to 10-15 feet throughout the lower two-thirds of the lake.
Three to eight feet deep at normal pool, extensive shallow flats also provide good fisheries. These flats can be found near Sand and Skull Creeks, Eagle Creek and Wolf Creek State Parks, the Findlay Marina area, northwest of the Wilborn Creek access area, the junction of the Okaw-Kaskaskia arms, Whitley Creek access area and east of the Fox Harbor Marina are the the upper portions of the Kaskaskia arm.
Many of the coves contain patches of man-made areas of rip rap and flooded timber as well as numerous fence rows of trees and brush, old roadbeds and similar structures. The only openings in some of these areas are 100-feet wide boat clearings.
At times, crappie fishing can be excellent on Lake Shelbyville and many people see the best results usually in May or early June when the fish head to their spawn beds. Most often, they can be caught at these times near brush, trees and stumps along with flooded areas ranging between 1 to 12 feet of water. In summer months, these delicious fish can be caught out in deeper water areas near creek channels and bridge pilings.
Probably the most popular fish on the lake are largemouth bass with many of these types of fish caught at several annual tournaments throughout the year. In the spring, the best spots to catch these species are near waterline stickups, spawning areas and rock rip-rap; all of which lie near deep water. As the water warms up in the summer, points in deeper water produce high amounts of fish as well.
In 1971, more than two million walleye fry were stocked as the lake filled up and every year since 1975, fry and fingerling stockings have been performed to ensure a quality sport fishery for this species is maintained. Biologists in egg-taking operations have netted fish in excess of 14 pounds in weight. Many fishermen have predicted that the lake will yield the next state record.
Perhaps the most exciting fish on the lake are white bass. Introduced in 1971, they have done very well with thousands caught annually. When anglers are hot on these fish they usually can put several dozen in their boat in just a few minutes.
A relaxed crappie or bass fisherman – both young and old – may find muskies on the lake that have reached trophy size since these awesome fish were first stocked in the lake back in 1978 as large fingerlings and a subsequently another release was made in 1980.