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

February 13, 2024

Lake Shelbyville Crappie Fishing Guide

Lake Shelbyville fishing is good right now. The water level at the time of this writing is 602 which is approximately 8 feet above the seasonal rule curve of 594 with the outflow being 2900 cfs. With all the snow melt and rain we had a couple weeks ago the lake has really muddied up. The corps will continue to draw the water down until we reach the 594 goal which will keep the lake water dingy for a while. Water temps where we have been fishing are running about 35-36 degrees.

We have been targeting deep fish anywhere from 15-25 feet deep on stumps on points, big laydowns and even using the livescope to find big schools of open water roaming fish in these depths. Good baits have been white/chartreuse, blue/chartreuse and black/chartreuse all fished on a 1/4 oz jig head to get down to the depths we’re targeting quickly.

Moving around day to day has been the trick to getting our limits. There are fish stacked up on every piece of structure we check but finding the active fish has been the ticket. We’re finding fish and only hanging around 5-10 minutes without a bite before moving on. Our strategy has been catch the 5 or 6 aggressive fish then move on to the next spot.

As for our presentation we are just letting the bait sit about a foot above the fish and waiting until they decide to bite. Sometimes we will mix in a tease and raise to see if one wants to chase but just a do nothing approach has seemed to be the best presentation.

I’m still booking out spring trips and have openings for February and March for some prespawn acion. These fish are fat right now and really putting on some weight for the spawn! Call, text or message me on Facebook to book a trip!

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]

or find us out on Facebook and send us a mesage