Crappie Fishing Lake Benton Illinois

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It’s hot!  100 degree with heat index, very light wind and there’s an algae bloom.  Time to hang up the fishing poles right? Wrong!

It was late June in southern Illinois with a sustained heat wave.  Oxygen levels in the local waters were being depleted rapidly.  My kayak was loaded up the night before as I wondered where I should try the following morning.  I had remembered seeing a fellow at the dam on Lake Benton in Illinois fishing and catching crappie in the spring.  Heck why not?

A Brief Description of Lake Benton In Illinois.

Lake Benton is a small water way just east of St. Route 37 North of Benton IL.  The lake properly coined as “A Fish Bowl” by one of my fishing partners lives up to its name.  There is very little when it comes to contour.  Only a handful of laydowns provide cover for fish.  The only saving grace are the many docks that line the shore.  If you would like to fish off of the only bridge you can access it from Lake Benton Rd.  Like typical small lakes, the upper end is shallower only averaging around 2 to 3 feet while the lower end next to the spillway is where you will find your deepest water hovering around 20 foot.  To access the only boat ramp you must drive down Alexander Dr. over the dam and literally across the spillway which is a neat touch, especially when the water is rushing over.  Parking your boat can get hectic with no defined parking spaces and a first come first serve bases.  

Searching for Crappie on Lake Benton

I tied on a Shelton’s Curly tail in “White” and pushed off to explore the area.  The small Rock Bass have infested the lake.  It was hard to make a cast anywhere close to the bank without catching one.  I lucked into a couple of small bass before I made my way to the docks which I hoped would house some Crappie.  The algae bloom made conditions extremely tough and the bites were really light.  It took awhile but I caught my first papermouth after skipping my bait deep behind a dock.  By now I had switched to a “Lime Glitter” curly tail.  

I couldn’t really tell if the fish were scattered and would only catch one per dock or if when I caught one I’d scare the rest but I was unable to find a dock that was loaded.  The biggest excitement came after I came up to a slip with boat cranked above.  Dragging my jig to a dock post my rod loaded!  Fortunately for me the fish raced away instead of further back and I landed a solid 4lbs Largemouth Bass.  Personally I don’t like the taste of Bass so I let her go so I could continue to fill my stringer with more Crappie.  

One dock did provide 3 crappie but this still wasn’t satisfactory so I paddled around until I saw what I thought would be a better opportunity.  A dock with multiple slips sat just off of a point.  The depth was around 6 foot and the entire area was shaded.  I made a parallel cast down towards the end and hopped my curly tail off the bottom.  After feeling the classic thump, I reeled in decent plate sized crappie.  A couple casts later, another, then another!  Finally after a couple of hours of looking I was filling my stringer much quicker.  

Crappie Fishing requires adjustments too!

The bite was an awkward one.  I would let the bait fall and almost immediately get hit on the bottom.  If I missed, I’d begin reeling very slowly getting several more bites on the way in.  “Heck” I thought, why not put a bobber on and let it sat there, so I did.  First cast under the slip the cork dove under for a split second and came back up.  After a little tease it went back under but this time a Crappie came up.  I don’t care who you are, there’s nothing more fun than catching panfish under a bobber.

Stringer of Crappie on Lake Benton In Illinois

A few more fish fell for the presentation and I had just enough to feed myself, Shelby, and the two dogs.  The heat of the day was setting in so I decided to head back. A short paddle away my kayak was beached and I was more than ready to get into some air conditioning.  I was really impressed with the thickness of the meat when crappie fishing Lake Benton IL. 

The fish were filleted and turned out to be a great meal.

Where to find Shelton’s Curly Tails?

If you’re heading to Lake Benton in Illinois our curly tails can be found at local retailers Rend Lake Sporting Goods, Zeigler Feed Store, and Hood’s Guns and More.  Please visit them for your fishing needs!

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