I have to agree with fishin pole . Not The quality or size crappie they used to be. It is the most targeted fish in the lake Shabbona,and while I don't believe that guiding services are all of the problem but they certainly don't help. You can only take so many fish out of the lake on a regular basis, Without it affecting the population. Some of the bigger southern Illinois lakes can take that pressure but Shabbona is just not that big. I believe in time you will see nothing but small Crappie out of there. I think they should consider they being the DOC should consider smaller limits. Just my opinion.
MOON PHASE (5%)
Fished with my son yesterday afternoon until 6:30pm, concentrated on the deep trees and measured 11" of clear ice but as other poster mentioned there was open water in several spots, use caution! Marked fish right away but out of 30 or so crappies caught only 8 were in the 9"-10" range. As for bait, big presentations were rejected and everything was caught on a jig with small plastic tipped with one spike which I bought at the bait shop. It was a fun experience fishing into the night (used all kinds of glow jigs and plastics) but the action completely shut down at dark, spoke to several other anglers as we were getting off the ice and they said the same. Until next time.
MOON PHASE (5%)
Was out here about a week ago.
Everyone was fishing the campground cribs. Me and two others were out by the deep trees. I know the lake fairly decent as far as brush and cribs go.
I tried several spots out there and pulled fish from 4 of them. Two of the deeper spots had plenty of crappie on them but most were small. I did muster up a 11 inch white crappie and a few over 9 inches.
Hit a shallower spot towards the end of the day and again plenty of Crappie with three keepers. Biggest just shy of 11 inches which was also a white crappie.
I've been fishing this lake for probably 10-15 years in my boat and probably more so through the ice.
I can tell you the majority of the crappie in here right now are small. Sure there is still a great population of crappie in here but most of the nicer crappie are white crappie. White crappie tend to be more aggressive if your presentation is accurate.
A few years ago this place had some really nice Crappie. But with guides and over advertising through Facebook and of course lake links, it didn't take long to fish out the big boys.
I had days on the ice where I could of taking home limits of 12 inch crappie. Not anywhere near the case today. Sure you might get a couple nice fish here and there but the majority of crappie in this lake are 6-8 inches.
I'm knocking anyone, I'm just simply giving my opinion........F.P.
MOON PHASE (5%)
I fished yesterday from 1-4:45 from the campground. I made a few holes near the cribs and some further out and didn't see any fish so moved on to tree structure. I hit the trees furthest out from the NMZ and found crappie. The fish seemed hesitant to eat. Got a handful to bite but they were all very small. Best bite was on plastics and jig. Spoon seemed to be too aggressive. Wax worms were ignored.
This is my first year fishing Shabbona regularly and I am just not finding keeper crappie. I am getting fish every time out, but they are small.
Maybe I need to fish deeper structure or further south on the lake?
MOON PHASE (10%)
11° - 15° F
Fished 1 to 6 p.m.. today.Gin clear slick ice.Getting out,was able to see schools of small Bluegill in the weeds as deep as 4 ft. below our feet,awesome!
We worked around the deep trees(caution-2 places had open water there,not sure why).Marked fish ,could not get them to commit.
At 3 p.m.,moved to fish brush piles in 15 ft.,but could not get fish on ice.
Enjoyed a nice sunset in the shack,the walk back the stars filled the sky.
While no fish,still a great day-