• Dale Bowman

Heidecke Lake: It's time, a primer & photos

Big muskie, big walleye and big hybrids, Heidecke Lake, the former cooling lake near Morris, Ill., is right on the cusp of taking off.

I would note that prime fishing time may be pushed back a week or so by the cold weather this week, but it is ready by the reports and photos sent the last few days.

First with muskie. I have caught more muskie out of Heidecke than any other lake. I think the reason it is not targeted for muskie more is because it is not an easy lake to fish or very scenic. It is a perched cooling lake. The center dike and the trees along the Illinois River off the north end is about it for scenery.

But the fishing, especially the walleye, muskie and hybrid striped bass are something all together. And dare we whisper crappie.

Illinois assistant fisheries chief Dan Stephenson forwarded a note and photo from fisheries biologist Rob Miller:

At the risk of putting myself up for public ridicule, here's a photo of the largest muskie we collected last week from Heidecke. 46 inches and just over 30 pounds.

muskieHeideckeMuskie 2015.JPG

That's a muskie above ridicule.

What made it extra interesting is just a few hours before I received a note from Eric Pikul

I am a good friend of recently passed Captian Bob Santangelo. I was fishing Saturday on Heidecke lake and caught a nice 39 1/2 inch musky as well as a nice 23 inch walleye. The water temps are at 63 degree in many spots and low as 59 in other locations. Wanted to give you the report and if need any article information for suntimes maybe the pics and info would be usefull. Caught it on a xrap lure casting toward the rocks.


The walleye was pretty nice, too.


And from there to hybrids and whispers of the good crappie action.

Over the weekend, South Side fisherman Ray Hinton sent a note on his friends and fishing at Heidecke:

Hey Dale,,here a nice shot from Saturday april 18, 2015.... Marvin Lofton of Oswego il with this 22" striper 5.2 ozs........His Brother Derrick took the pic and sent it to me....Derrick is my but ended up with 11in crappies.

The guys who find the crappie tend to stay quiet on where, but there are some really good crappie coming out of Heidecke the last few years.


Heidecke is open daily to fishing. The boat launch opens at 6 a.m., shore fishing at 6:30 a.m. Close is sunset.

Exit I-55 at exit 240 and go west. Signs to shore fishing come first, another mile or so is the entrance to the boat launch.

Click here for site info.

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