Catching Big Bluegills on Lake Du Quoin

Bluegill Fishing Baits

Du Quoin City Lake Has Some Great Bluegill Fishing! 


If you fish for panfish from southern Illinois then you’re aware that there are a few lakes that are famous for having a larger than average population.  Throw in the fact that it’s so famous that there is even a bluegill tournament held here annually then you’ve got the makings of something special and you see why you should be catching big bluegill on Lake Du Quoin.


A Brief Overview of Du Quoin City Lake


Just North of Du Quoin IL, you’ll find just that.  Folks going to work along St. Highway 154 east of Pickneyville IL. see the edge of the water on their commutes.  To access the lake from the only public boat ramp, you will have to head down US Highway 51 just north of Du Quoin.  Once you cross the railroad tracks it’s just a couple of curves before you run right into the lake.  Be forewarned though…The lake is infested with lily pads!  So much so that it’s very difficult to find a stretch without the vicious snags.

Shelby and I backed the Kayaks up to the lake next to a father and son casting live bait.  The little boy pulled in a tiny female bream which was a great early sign.  Bedding season was over but normally panfish will scour around the areas where they bedded up so that they can feed and recover their energy.  

Once we pushed off we fished for well over an hour with little more than a couple of pecks.  It wasn’t until I pointed out a small area across the cove that looked like it was free of pads and we could reach the bank.  Once I made it over on my first cast I was able to hook into a nice female who to my surprise was still full of eggs.  Obviously a bed must be close by I thought.  Next cast I hooked into a large goggle-eye.  

Ten minutes passed without another bite so we paddled around to the next cove.  I was able to pull up to a dock that had a clearing in it and landed my first large male gill of the day.  Common to the post spawn bite I was unable to get another fish to commit so the adventure continued.  We fished hard along pads, under docks and every laydown that could be found but I was only rewarded with one small crappie.

Bluegill don’t just throw themselves at you!

Just because a lake is famous doesn’t mean you’ll start out catching big bluegill on Lake Du Quoin.  Shelby and I make a great team when it comes to covering water.  I will typically go down one side of a cove with her covering the other.  This way if we come across a bed or school we can signal the other over.  We were both using the Phyllis Bluegill Bug in Appleseed Chartreuse.  

I had just caught a small bass when I heard the sweetest words you can hear over in another cove…. “I found a Bed!”  Apparently since we had such a cool spring there was a couple of late spawners still around.  She had happened onto a small point with clearings in the pads.  We casted into the area and caught at least a half a dozen of very nice sized bream.  The fish were still extremely aggressive and fought harder than bass twice their size.  After 15 minutes or so the bite fell off so we moved ahead to a place in between two docks where a laydown sat in between.  On the first cast I caught another large male.  We took an additional half dozen from the area until it dried up. 

Shell Cracker/Red Ear Du Quoin IL City Lake

The wind had kept us pinned in  a small area of the lake and we had ran out of area to fish.  I pulled up to the last bank and on the first cast landed a small shellcracker against another laydown.  Up ahead I saw what looked to be a nice point where a dock was breaking the wind up.  I knew I’d only get one or two tries before being blown backwards so I made an accurate casts close to one of the dock’s posts.  Instantly the bobber went down and I had the best fight of the day.  When it was over I pulled up a really nice Red Ear.  

Temperatures were hoovering close to 90 and we had gotten a late start so it was time to call it a day.  I’ll be writing another post about this lake in the future when I’m able to catch the bluegill in the middle of their spawn.

Where to find the Phyllis Bluegill Bug at local retailers?

Jone’s Sporting Goods, Rend Lake Sporting Goods, Hood’s Guns, Zeigler Feed Store all carry the Phyllis Bluegill Bug.  Please visit them on your next trip and stock up!

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