Rambling Rose Guide Service is the premier crappie fishing guide service on Lake Shelbyville and Lake Mattoon IL.  We pride ourselves in the relationships we build with our guests!  You can expect to laugh and share stories, and leave as friends, not just as clients.   Captain Nick is respectful, courteous, and family oriented.  These aspects of our operation are what set Rambling Rose Guide Service apart from the crowd!

Our Boat & Equipment


We fish from a 20’ SeaArk ProCat 200 fishing boat, one of the best-equipped, if not the best-equipped boat in the area.  We chose this boat due to it's wide, comfortable deck and high sides for your safety.  This is the perfect boat for children or less mobile fishermen!  It is rigged with the absolute latest in Garmin electronics.  No expense has been spared and every imaginable tool to catch crappie is at our disposal.  Our boat gets compliments anywhere we go for a reason!

Our Captain

Captain Nicholas Rose is a fully licensed OUPV Coast Guard Captain in addition to being a fishing guide.   What's the difference?   A "fishing guide" has simply paid a small fee to the state of Illinois.  An OUPV Coast Guard Captain has been trained in navigation, vessel operation, safety procedures, and first aid.  While a OUPV Coast Guard Captain's License is not required on our lakes, this extra certification helps bring peace of mind to our guests!  Your safety is our number one priority!
Captain Nick has been on the water since childhood and has chased fish all over the world.  He comes from a commercial fishing family on the Maine seacoast and has owned and operated a boat of his own since the age of nine.  Rambling Rose Guide Service is a veteran-owned and operated company that specializes in family fishing adventures in Central Illinois.

Our Services


We offer crappie fishing at it's very finest!  We utilize the latest techniques and technology to put you on fish!  Whether it's chasing fish with Garmin Livescope, slip bobbers, jigs, spider rigging, or trolling crankbaits, we do it all!  Captain Nick prides himself in providing the very best equipment for your adventure.  We understand that there's nothing more frustrating than spending your hard earned money on an outdoor adventure and it not living up to your expectations!  That won't happen with us!

Captain Nicholas provides you with all the rods, reels, and tackle, as well as live bait and lures. Fish cleaning is included at the end of your trip as well!  What should you bring on your trip?  All you need is snacks, drinks, and your fishing license!   We take care of everything else!

When to Come Fishing

The number one question all guides receive is "When is the best time to come fishing".    Generally speaking our season runs from Mid March through Late November, and is excellent from start to finish.  Here's what to expect!
Single pole "jig" fishing on brush and standing timber.  These trips are great for single clients or a pair of avid fishermen.
This is "prespawn" for crappie, and it's an excellent time for fishermen of all skill levels to get out on the water!
This is THE SPAWN!  There's no better time for children or families to book a trip!  
These are my favorite months. This is "post spawn" and is the perfect time to troll crankbaits in total comfort.  Captain Nick has a reputation for being one of the best in the area at this technique!  He's been lovingly dubbed the "Crankbait King" by the other guides on the lake!  We catch a mixed bag of crappie and walleye during these trips, and anyone can do it!  Our guests love these trips!
We're often slip corking minnows, spider rigging, or chasing fish in the far reaches of our reservoir.  These are great trips for kids and families!
Believe it or not, this is the VERY BEST time of the year to catch crappie!  If there isn't ice on the lake (generally after Christmas), the fishing is on fire!  These trips are best for a pair of anglers with a little bit of experience.  We'll be fishing brushpiles with Garmin Live Scope, and it can be absolutely incredible!  If you're new to this style of fishing, don't be intimidated!  Captain Nick is an excellent teacher and you'll be flipping crappie in the boat in no time!

Our Rates



  • 5-Hours
  • Includes bait and tackle
  • Includes fish cleaning
  • Morning or afternoon trips available



  • 5-Hours
  • Includes bait and tackle
  • Includes fish cleaning
  • Morning or afternoon trips available

Ready to fish? Book your trip now!

Rambling Rose Guide Service Partners