Quad Cities & Beyond


The flooding in late May and early June, along with the early warming trend, changed the spawn pattern of some species. Those of us who keep fish dairies and use them as fishing guides every year found them of little or no use this year for some of the bass and panfish. We are into the “difficult” fishing days now in July when both the air and water temperatures work against easy catching. There is good news though. Fishermen who move around think “cool” on a hot day and “bright” on dark days. And, switching baits will catch fish.

A quick trick: I’ve found shredding or making multiple cuts in plastic curly tails increases the hits from bluegills, stripers, crappies and smallies. I use very sharp, pointed barber or sewing scissors or craft knives or box cutters. The scissors work best, but with practice, old plastics, knives or cutters will do. For panfish, I cut down the size of the bodies and the length of the tails. And since the fish seem to strike the shreds, I use a trailer hook in them.

Carbon Cliff
The Hennepin Canal in Geneseo has been good all year for bluegills, and the size has been better than average with the bite aggressive, except at midday. Use red worms beneath a slip bobber set shallower early and late, and in the shade; go deep in sunny spots. The big news is the great catfishing in the Canal in the Colona area. The population is well established and they are biting on all the favorite baits.

Large catfish have been moving and biting on the Rock River in this area and bait shops have pictures of them from 16 to 38 pounds. These big fish want big baits, large suckers, bluegills and goldfish. There has been a good channel cat presence here biting on cheese baits, worms, cut baits and dead minnows. The walleye bite has slowed, while the white bass and stripers are biting on minnows and worms, but they are slow. The crappie bite has been down this year.

East Moline
This campground is full most weekends and the big flatheads are in and biting. Fish in the 15- to 30-pound range are caught within this two-mile area of the Rock every summer. There is a free boat launch for campers and others can launch there for a fee. Bait is available on-site. For the biggies, you’ll want goldfish, large shiners or bluegills. Smaller, eating-sized cats are caught here as well.

The area walleyes have moved to the wing dams and along the edges of the deep pools. Twister tails on jigs, small

crankbaits, and even spinnerbaits along with the old standby, the minnow-tipped jig, are your best bets. The walleyes are tough this time of year. The larger cats have moved into their deep summer holes and take active big shiners or small bluegills drifted by. They want not just live baits, but lively ones, and from dusk on. Smaller cats will take almost any catfish baits off mossy rocks and riprap with slow current. At Sunset, nice-sized panfish are biting on minnows, red worms and waxworms.

Rock Island
Stripers and drum are back in Sylvan Slough. For the stripers, try small crankbaits off structure or minnow-tip a jig below a drifting slip bobber. For the drum, work a red worm below a bobber as close to the wall, the riprap or structure as possible. Pull either the stripers or drum out as fast as possible so the school doesn’t spook. The walleye bite is down, and they are deep and not very hungry. At Sunset, there’s a good bluegill bite on red worms and waxworms, and the crappies are being caught on small minnows and jigs tipped with pieces of Twister Tails. The program to restore hybrids to Lake George at Loud Thunder is now paying off. They want lively minnows or flashy crankbaits.

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As early as May, there were 2- to 3-pound walleyes caught along the dam and 1- to 2-pound white bass on minnows in off the channel areas or along the shore in the evening at this Rock Island County forest preserve.

The stripers have left Plum Island and are back in the deeper water. Use minnows or small flashy baits and toss them into schools of agitated minnows using a jerky retrieve. Walleyes are all but gone.

Lots of crappies are coming out of the backwaters. Small minnows and jigs with small pieces of Twister Tails work best. Catfish are being caught on dead chubs, stink baits, chicken livers and small shrimp. The bluegills are deep no matter where you fish them. Red worms or bits of nightcrawlers work well. At Lost Grove, the fishing is improving every day. This is the first year when multiple species are mature. This is a good place to take the kids.

Some walleyes are being caught off the wall below the rollers if you can get close enough to the dam. Access to this great fishing hole has been cut off by city planners who are negotiating restaurant, hotel and other tourist attractions. All along the wall in the park area you can catch transient stripers, drum and occasionally a catfish. The fishing here is not as good as it used to be, but it’s a nice park area with playgrounds, restrooms, water and picnic facilities right next to the river. Boat anglers are taking a few walleyes off the rollers by trolling Rapalas. At West Lake Park, there have been trout plants. And while lots of fly fishermen will practice here in evenings, throughout the day these trout bite readily on worms, bits of liver, shrimp or cheese.

Yellow perch fishing is down, but a few are being taken in the backwaters near the shore using worm rigs or minnow heads. There are still some walleyes taking jigs tipped with Twister Tails, small crankbaits and spinnerbaits along with the usual minnow-tipped jigs. At Fulton at Cattail and Rock creeks, catfish are hitting ’crawlers. And at Spring Lake, largemouth bass have been hitting on spinnerbaits. In the backwaters, frog baits worked fast and with a jumping motion have also been good. Catfish are active along the channels and banks where there’s a good current.

Catfish are biting on livers, shrimp and almost anything that trails in the water. Panfish are holding tight to the shore in the shallows early in the morning and late in the evening. They are hiding in deeper water during the heat of the day. It has been a slow year.

Every year is different, and different waters have their own good and bad seasons. This year has been a spotty one for the fishermen who didn’t take advantage of the early spring as some of our best fishing down here this year came early.