Destination: Kinkaid Lake, Illinois

Destination: Kinkaid Lake, Illinois

Apr 30, 2013

Southern Illinois’ Kinkaid Lake for cold weather crappie

By Mike Pehanich

By early March of each winter, crappie anglers from the North need to scratch the itch for open water action.

No species satisfies like crappie at this time of year. Both black and white crappie are ready to bite, and often the biggest specimens of the year cross the gunwale.

Kyle Schoenherr shows off a monster black crappie caught off a rocky ledge on Kinkaid Lake.

“Crappie are moving into the creeks feeding Kinkaid Lake in good numbers right now,” crappie pro Kyle Schoenherr reported today. “The water is still cold, and I’d say we’re still a step away from the crappie pre-spawn period here.”

In December, I fished with Schoenherr. who guides on this 2,750-acre reservoir in southern Illinois. We pulled in crappie in good numbers right across the entire size spectrum despite cold temperatures and gusting winds. (Watch for future videos on crappie technique.)

Schoenherr’s All Seasons Crappie Fishing Guide Service enjoyed good success several weeks ago on Rend Lake in this ridiculously mild Midwest winter. But the lull in that bite has him back on Kinkaid, his home water.

“The fish have moved midway to three-quarters up the creek arms,” continued Schoenherr. “They are not real shallow yet. We are finding them mostly in seven to 15 feet of water.”

Best baits are glow-color plastics on 1/16- to 1/8-ounce jigs and Road Runners from TTI Blakemore.

“Kinkaid is generally a clear lake, but the water is a little murky from recent rains, and it is usually more stained up in the creek arms anyway,” added Schoenherr. “That’s why those glow colors are producing. Right now, the red and chartreuse glow tubes seem best. I inject the cavity with Berkley PowerBait Crappie Nibbles for added attraction.”

Kinkaid offers great fishing for largemouth bass and offers one of the finest musky fisheries in the state. It’s a terrific year-round fishery.


Kinkaid Lake profile

Location: Southwestern Illinois near the town of Murphysboro, 100 miles southeast of St. Louis.

Size: 2,750 acres

Notes: Located in Jackson County on the edge of the Shawnee National Forest, Kinkaid is one of the most picturesque lakes in the state with its high rock bluffs, clear water and scenic overlooks. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources manages about 4,000 acres of the surrounding land.  The U.S. Forest Service manages another 5,000 acres. Kinkaid-Reed’s Creek Conservancy Area controls another

300 acres. The area also hosts other great fishing waters, superb hunting, and abundant birds and wildlife.

For more details about Kinkaid Lake, contact nearby Lake Murphysboro State Park, 52 Cinder Hill Drive, Murphysboro, IL 62966, phone (618) 684-2867 or fax (618) 687-1220.

One comment

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