Welcome to Tight Lines Guide Service.  We are a year-round crappie fishing guide service on Lake Shelbyville and Clinton Lake.  We will provide everything you need to enjoy a day of crappie fishing. All you need to bring is a valid Illinois fishing license, appropriate clothing for the weather we are expecting that day i.e. rain gear, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, and whatever food you would like for the day.  We will provide a cooler with ice and water for the day.

Lake Shelbyville is located across both Shelby and Moultrie counties in central Illinois.  It is an 11,000 acre Army Corps of Engineers flood control reservoir.  Clinton Lake is located in DeWitt county approximately 10 miles east of Clinton IL.  Clinton is a power plant lake and is used as a cooling water source for Clinton Power Station which makes the water warmer and can be an oasis in the middle of winter when all the other lakes are frozen solid.  Both lakes offer excellent crappie populations.

“My fishing memories are many. But treasured most of all are those fishing trips when all appeared hopeless, and then crappie came to the rescue.” – Dan Gapen

Fishing Report

April 16, 2023

Lake Shelbyville Crappie Fishing Guide

Wow! What a difference a week can make. I left for Mississippi last week on Monday and water temps were running about 54 on Lake Shelbyville and when I came back Friday we had water in the 60’s. Fish are very active right now and we have been catching them just about anyway we want. We’ve spider rigged and couldn’t keep 6 poles in the water, every time I turned from baiting a hook we had another pole down with a double on it. We corked both minnows and jigs in 1-4 feet of water around shallow structure, jigged structure out to 10 feet and even chased around some fat prespawn fish out in open water with the Livescope. We are fishing 10 feet or less but I’m sure there are fish deeper also and they’re hungry!

Good choices for baits have been a black/chartreuse, white/chartreuse, orange/chartreuse or purple/chartreuse plastic on a 3/16 Deep Ledge Jighead in white or pink. I like either a Midsouth tube or a Slab Buster for the plastic in the colors I just mentioned. A plain old minnow on a #4 gold aberdeen hook under a bobber will do the trick also.

Clinton Lake has been either been corking shallow structure about 2 feet deep or vertical jigging. For our corking set up we have opted for the 3/32 Deep Ledge Jighead under a cork big enough to hold it up. We are vertical jigging all the way down to depths of 15 feet and have opted for the 3/16 Deep Ledge Jighead to help get it down there quicker.

New for this year I am offering trips on Lake Decatur and the fishing has been really good here as well. We are vertical jigging structure in 4-8 feet of water and chasing open water fish with the Livescope in the same depths. Again, a white 3/16 Deep Ledge Jighead is our go to bait with a black/chartreuse Slab Buster plastic.

I have openings still for April and May and my summertime dates are booking up now so give me a call and let’s go put some slabs in the boat!

Dan Lange

Tight Lines Guide Service


[email protected]



These rates are for a private charter for up to two people, add an additional $100 for a third person.
All children 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

$375 for 6 hours

$300 for 4 hours

phone: 217.475.1499

email: [email protected]

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