Pool 13 – Illinois: Fall Crappie Are On Fire

Water Body

The last two weekends, my wife and I made the three hour journey to Pool 13, to chase slabs. My wife is new to Pool 13, but as you can see, she is catching onto my techniques as though she has done this for many years!

The river is coming up over the past week, and the water temperature is dropping. As the water temperature drops, the crappies are moving off the wing dams and congregating in the shallower water, back in the sloughs. Almost all of our fish are coming off of structure that is located in very little current, in 6′-8′ of water. If you recall from previous reports of mine, I like structure that cannot be seen from the surface.

The most successful method for us has been slow vertical jigging of Northland Gypsi Jigs, and 2" Baby Shad from Bobby Garland. The days have been very bright, so brighter colors are working the best. However, since I like to get on the water at first light, the old standby 1.5" black/white tube has worked the best in low light conditions. We have been using 1/16th ounce heads, but lighter heads will be used as the temperature continues to drop. I like to use Gamakatsu 211 jigs, especially for the Garland plastics. I find the plastics react best with the Gamakatsu heads. Additionally, we are taking most fish with a small minnow attached. I always use 4lb. test line and fish slowly. I tell my wife that no matter how slowly she thinks she is jigging, keep jigging even slower. The slip bobber rigs have produced very little, to date, but that will change pretty soon though.

In addition to the crappies, we are getting a few Flatheads as well. My wife has pulled in so many Sheephead and dogfish, I don’t know whether to bark at her or baah!!! I believe the fishing is only going to get better, as long as you boys up-north don’t get a bunch of rain that brings too much water our way.

Good luck,



  1. Thanks Jake. My brother went yesterday and did really well. He had many fish, but not the quality I’ve been getting, but he won’t use anything but black/white tubes. He had one that was 15″ though. He did have a 19″ bonus eye. That’s a minnow compared to what the boys are getting up on the big pond!!!

  2. Nice report and pic’s Jeff!

    It’s nice to know that Pam can keep you out of trouble by taking you fishing.

    Hey, with the flat’s, has there been any size to them? Any break offs? Just wondering because I was talking with a fella down that way a while ago and he was saying that all the flats that were being caught were small…10 pounds and under.

    The Oct Full Moon bite is aways and eye catcher, but there are many that can’t make it that far from your area and I’m happy to see there is some fish biting down that way too.

    Are you going to be taking Pam out on the ice this year?

  3. Brian,

    Back where I fish, they aren’t very big. The biggest has been just a shade over 5lbs. I kept two so far this year so Pam could try them. For those that have never had flathead, they taste quite different than channels do.

    With regards to staying out of trouble by fishing, I’m sure I can get into it there as well. If I’m caught…

    Yes, Pam will be on the ice this year. We live at a small lake called “Buck Lake.” We have been getting crappies and gills like you wouldn’t believe. They aren’t the quality of a river fish, but fun just the same. I’m hoping to introduce her to ice fishing on Buck Lake.

  4. Hey Jeff.. This is from MRS chazdotz… It sounds a little like you are jealous of all the fish your wife caught. I just want you to know that it is OK. My husband is frequently upset with me when I catch more fish than he does. I had some good luck with a little “bling” on my line… ice fishing jigs. I am as serious of a fisher “man” as my husband and we scrap back and forth all the time. We fish in Pool 13 all the time from Thomson to Bellvue and have several yummy spots that we have found….

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