Southern Illinois is full of natural beauty and special places to visit such as the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail. The area features acres of unspoiled land and offers a variety of outdoor recreational activities. If you visit southern Illinois you can rock climb, go horseback riding or just go for a scenic drive. Fishing in the region's many lakes is a popular activity and bluegill is a catch you're likely to make. Be sure you have an up-to-date fishing license to fish in Illinois public waters.
The Cache River
The Cache River flows through southernmost Illinois in an area carved out by glacial flood waters. Its banks are flanked by 1,000 year-old cypress trees, and the waters are home to natural communities of shorebirds and waterfowl. The tea-colored waters are prized by local fishermen for their bluegill, bass and crappie. The best biting times are early in the morning just after sunrise. Boat ramps and shoreline fishing are available. There are campgrounds along the shore and several bait shops in nearby Vienna.
Rend is a public fishing lake in southern Illinois. Bluegill are a common catch in the weed beds near the shores of the lake. Suggested baits are minnows and crickets. Rend is a muddy lake so don't be surprised if you lose sight of your bait. Fish the deeper waters for catches such as crappie, catfish and bass. Rend Lake offers a habitat for duck and geese hunting and recreational opportunities including tennis and camping at nearby Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park.
Ferne Clyffe State Park
Ferne Clyffe State Park has over 2,400 acres of scenic beauty featuring unique rock formations, abundant ferns and picturesque woods. It's situated in the Shawnee Hills just a mile south of Goreville. The Ferne Clyffe bank is open for bank fishing, but swimming and boating are not allowed. You can expect to catch bluegill, catfish and largemouth bass along the shore. A hiking trail winds around the lake and the nearby forest has large populations of squirrel and deer for hunting.
Crab Orchard Lake
Crab Orchard Lake is located in a wildlife refuge five miles south of Herrin, Illinois. The lake has a varied fishery including bluegill. The best time of year to yield a good catch is May and June if you fish near the stumps and in the brush. Wax worms and crickets are good baits to try. Both boat and shore fishing are allowed. Camping, hiking and hunting are other activities to enjoy in the refuge.