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Morgenthaler’s Insight on Lake of Egypt  
By: Chad Morgenthaler

www.chadmorgenthaler.com

 

Situated just minutes from Marion , Illinois and a few miles east of Interstate 57 is an awesome fishery, Lake of Egypt Lake of Egypt is a privately owned 2300-acre power generation lake.  The lake started as a drainage reservoir that was impounded around 1962. The power plant, which is located on the upper end of the lake, keeps the water warm year round.  The water temperature during the frigid months of winter will seldom drop below 35 degrees.  This is great news for anglers who feel cooped-up during the cold winter months, dreaming about a good day of bass or crappie fishing. 

The largemouth bass population is thriving in Lake of Egypt .  Over the past several years the lake has offered recorded catches in the 9 to 10 pound range, which is typically unheard of for Southern Illinois . One of the reasons the population is so healthy is attributed to the abundance of hydrilla growth. The hydrilla is so plentiful that it has helped the bait fish and the largemouth bass populations to explode.  In addition, there are several major tributaries and an abundance of secondary tributaries that add to the lake’s success.  Having a healthy fish population offers anglers great opportunities on the main lake as well as in the creeks and coves. 

In addition to the hydrilla, the lake is full of boat docks, brush piles, lay downs, stump fields, and off shore structures such as humps and drops.  Lake of Egypt is a testament that anglers do not have to leave Southern Illinois to catch the fish of a lifetime. 

Targeting largemouth bass in the late summer or early fall is my favorite type of fishing on Lake of Egypt .  In the early morning hours, I target the main lake points and shallow off shore humps and flats.  I specifically look for areas that are littered with hydrilla growth.  During this time of year it’s also a good idea to keep a watchful eye out for schooling bass.

For early morning fishing, I always have two of my favorite baits handy, a spook and a frog.  Colors will vary from day to day, but I’ve found a white and a dark color will work best under the majority of conditions. When working a spook, I use a “walk-the- dog” type of retrieval method.  This method causes the bait to go back and forth in a very erratic motion, which can result in some really ferocious strikes.   When working the swimming frog, I retrieve it with a steady fast action.  Depending on the weed density, I usually cast the frog toward the vegetation and let it sit for just a few seconds.  Using short hopping motions, I reel the frog back until it reaches the edge of the thicker vegetation. Then I work the frog fairly quickly back to the boat. 

When the sun is high and the frog and spook bite start to taper off, the lake has so much to offer that anglers can fish their strengths and have a great day doing it.   During the midday hours I like to use a 10 inch Berkley Power Worm with a 3/16-ounce sinker or a Lunker Lure Triple Rattleback Monster Grass Jig in ½-ounce to ¾-ounce.  On clear days, I use natural colors such as green pumpkin and watermelon red.  For overcast days, I’ll typically use junebug and black/blue combinations. 

It’s also advisable to take a little time and get acquainted with the lake by using a Lowrance GPS/Sonar system such as a LCX 113C-HD to identify the contours and to locate underwater structure.  When I find a structure, I work the area with a worm or a jig in the normal fashion, staying along the weed edge.  I’ll cast into the thicker part of the vegetation and work the bait slowly in an “up and down” or a “swimming” method back to the boat.

Lake of Egypt is a fairly clear lake, so using fluorocarbon lines, such as Maxima are always a good choice.  If the fish are reluctant to bite, try scaling down to 6 or 8 pound fluorocarbon line.  By using a lighter line, anglers can catch a lot of bass using a drop shot rig or a small finesse worm on a shakey head.  Work the bait along the weed edge paying particular attention to weed points and irregular features within the weed edge.  These types of irregular features can be potential ambush points.  Using a drop shot rig allows anglers a chance to catch really large numbers and have a great time doing it.

Of course, largemouth bass isn’t the only fish species that thrives in Lake of Egypt .  The lake also offers great pan fishing experiences as well.  Striped bass can be caught with a variety of baits from top water to live minnows.  It’s always best to fish deep around schooling fish when searching for stripers.

The crappie and bluegill populations are doing well, and it’s not uncommon to catch a few between 1 ½ to 2 pounds.  For a productive day, use live bait and target protected areas with lay downs and scattered grass, working the bait along the weed edges.  When targeting crappie and bluegill, I like to use small crappie jigs in chartreuse and white color combinations.  I typically fish the jigs vertically over structure such as brush piles.

I highly suggest taking a few days to spend fishing on Lake of Egypt .  I’m certain the trip will be a very rewarding one.

A special “Thanks” to all of my sponsors: Jasper Engines and Transmissions, Yamaha Motors, Ranger Boats, Lowrance Electronics, Svanda GM Motor Group, Maxima Line, Kistler Rods, Minn Kota, Plano , Penetrator, Reaction Innovations, Berkley , Solar Bat, Lunker Lure and Nameoki Village Marine.

Make sure and log onto my web site www.chadmorgenthaler.com and signup for my fan club.  E-newsletters are forwarded monthly and one lucky winner each month receives a prize.  Tournament summaries are posted after each tournament and pro tips are updated often.  It’s a great source of bass fishing information