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#12808026 - 06/27/18 04:50 PM Illinois river
Forkin fool Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 04/30/18
Posts: 9
Has anyone tried chasing smallies on the illinois? Floated it yesterday and I couldn't even enjoy myself with all the bronze backs I was seeing. I'm going to have to try it out next wk. Pics to follow

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#12808500 - 06/28/18 06:20 AM Re: Illinois river [Re: Forkin fool]
361V Online   content
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 11/21/08
Posts: 5133
Loc: somervell county
I assume you are talking about the Illinois river between the areas of Tahlequah Oklahoma and Siloam Springs Arkansas? 1-2 hours east of Tulsa? If so: YES. Very pretty little river loaded w/smallies. Lots of options: small spinners, little crankbaits, clear Tiny Torpedo's(small topwater prop bait).....typical small river baits all will work at different times but a 1/8-1/4oz jighead with a 3"-4" curley tailed grub will always catch them. Any color....as long as its chartruse! wink If they are not biting this bait they are not biting anything! Concentrate on the pools just below the faster water/rapids. Enjoy!
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#12808724 - 06/28/18 09:23 AM Re: Illinois river [Re: Forkin fool]
Bissett Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 07/09/13
Posts: 4787
Loc: Broken Arrow, OK
I went to college in Tahlequah and fished it a few times a month. It is loaded with smallies but not many over a pound to pound and a half (still a blast to catch though). I liked throwing a tiny Rick Clunn squarebill (0.5) in the shallower spots and a small shakey head with finesse worm or speed craw in the deeper holes. Those white grubs on 1/8 oz jighead work really well all along the river also.

I would hit up the Barren Fork river too if you have time. I've caught a couple smallies in the 2-3 pound range around the welling area. It's not as big as the Illinois but I've caught bigger fish there.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!
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#12809423 - 06/28/18 05:46 PM Re: Illinois river [Re: Forkin fool]
Forkin fool Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 04/30/18
Posts: 9
Yup tahlequah is where we are at. I'll definitely look into the barren fork while I'm up here too! Thanks for the info boys!

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#12810071 - 06/29/18 09:05 AM Re: Illinois river [Re: Forkin fool]
WhiskeyTango223 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 04/19/12
Posts: 95
It is full of little ones but downstream in Tenkiller lake there are some giant smallies. Up in the river be quiet and stay back from the deeper holes so they can't see you and throw a white rooster tail.

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#12810311 - 06/29/18 11:10 AM Re: Illinois river [Re: 361V]
Barn Online   content
Extreme Angler

Registered: 05/17/02
Posts: 2313
Loc: McKinney, TX
Originally Posted By: 361V
typical small river baits all will work at different times but a 1/8-1/4oz jighead with a 3"-4" curley tailed grub will always catch them. Any color....as long as its chartruse! wink If they are not biting this bait they are not biting anything! Concentrate on the pools just below the faster water/rapids. Enjoy!


This ^^, but I use to have luck with shad and/or watermelon shades too.

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#12813495 - 07/02/18 10:54 AM Re: Illinois river [Re: WhiskeyTango223]
Bissett Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 07/09/13
Posts: 4787
Loc: Broken Arrow, OK
Originally Posted By: WhiskeyTango223
It is full of little ones but downstream in Tenkiller lake there are some giant smallies. Up in the river be quiet and stay back from the deeper holes so they can't see you and throw a white rooster tail.


I forgot to add that I've caught some in the 4 lb range at Horseshoe Bend. that's pretty much where the river starts turning into Tenkiller. It's probably 30 yards wide in this area and it's about the furthest you can get up the river by boat (when the water is right).

It's a pretty cool drive to get down there too. You'll see some nice views on the way down the hills
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