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

October 30, 2023

Lake Shelbyville Crappie Fishing Guide

Lake Shelbyville is giving up some good numbers and quality size for us lately. Vertical jigging structure like cubes, stumps, and laydowns in 6-13 feet of water is where we’ve been finding good concentrations of fish. Water temps have been consistently in the mid to high 50’s which is perfect for vertical jigging and big time thump action. With this cold front moving through I would expect surface temps to get even colder.

Our bait of choice has been a pink/chartreuse or white/chartreuse 2.5″ Big Slab Buster plastic on a plain 1/16 lead head jig with a 1/8 weight tied about 6 inches above it to help get down to the deeper stuff quicker. We’re using a 13′ Todd Huckabee Phantom 13 rod with 8 pound braid tied to a 6 pound fluorocarbon leader. I like to run a 1/8 bullet weight on my main line then tie a swivel below it and run about a 6 inch leader of the 6 pound fluorocarbon to tie my jig to. The idea is if you get the jig hung the leader line should break before the main line and all you have to do is tie on another leader.

Presentation has been different day to day. Some days they like it sitting still, some days the like the pendulum toss. I like to play around with presentation before I start switching baits. You can also try to let is sit then give it a little twitch or just a slow raise and let the fish follow it up out of the structure. I’ve seen a fish follow my jig 10 feet up out of a brush pile before committing to bite.

I have openings for November which is prime time to really load the boat in a hurry. Call, text or message me on Facebook to book your trip and let me put a crappie smile on your face!

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