Fox River Deadfall
Fish the Fox
A PERSONAL JOURNAL CHRONICLING FISHING ADVENTURES AT THE FOX RIVER AND BEYOND.
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April 30, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Misty, heavy stillness. Screamed topwater. Water felt cold around my breathable waders. Caught a 15" on a 3/8-ounce white spinnerbait. Broke one off on the hula grub ... wrapped on a piece of chunk concrete and she was gone. USGS 11.67' / 1,430 Quick trip. Goodbye April.

Fox River

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Creek Chub Pikie
April 29, 2012

Lake Fishing Report: Kayak-fished from my tandem with my buddy Kevin. The first lake fished well with spinnerbaits and swim jigs. We caught around ten northern pike and eight largemouth bass. The pike ranged from snakes to the mid 30s. The largemouth were in the 14" to 18" range. Everything came off sunken timber in 8' to 10'. The second lake was clear and deep. Not much on the spinnerbait -- just one 18" largemouth by some bullrushes for me. Kevin popped a few while working the hula grub 15' - 20' deep. His largest was a beauty that taped at 22".

Kevin with a largemouth bass

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Creek Chub Pikie
April 28, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: The weather cooperated and I plied the waters for about an hour in the late afternoon. Only fished the hula grub. Ended up catching 5 smallmouth. USGS 11.63' / 1,350 CFS

Fox River smallmouth bass Fox River smallmouth bass Fox River fishing

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Creek Chub Pikie
April 26, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Team Jackson hit the Fox this afternoon. Jim in his Coosa, me in my Cuda. A steady wind coming downstream from the north made for a challenging trip. Sometimes we could only work one or two casts before being blown off course. The wind averaged around 16 mph with gusts up to 26 mph. There were intermittent breaks when the wind died and the sun came out. It was downright nice out!

The hula grub, swim jig and spinnerbait were in heavy rotation. The hula accounted for our catches early on, including Jim's 16". Later in the afternoon the spinnerbait bite picked up. We boated a combined 17 smallmouth. Overall it was an a-typical float. We should have had a few more big ones mixed in. But we worked for 'em today and were glad to catch what we did. We had a nice lunch afterward to cap off the afternoon. (Thank you Jim!) Time to wash the kayak and put it away for next time. USGS 11.65' / 1,390 CFS. Some pics of the beige Coosa and Jim trying my black widow Cuda..

Fox River smallmouth bass Jackson Kayak Cuda, Illinois, Fox River Jackson Kayak Coosa, Illinois, Fox River Jackson Kayak Coosa, Illinois, Fox River Jackson Kayak Coosa, Illinois, Fox River

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Creek Chub Pikie
April 25, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: 3/8-ounce Eric Bait brought downstream tight to rock near heavy current. Picked up 5, largest at 16". Bite slowed, so hit 'em with the hula grub hopped along the bottom. Picked up another 5, largest at 18". Fox bite has been solid. USGS 11.67' / 1,430

Fox River smallmouth bass Fox River smallmouth bass

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Creek Chub Pikie
April 24, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Nothing like a brute smallmouth pounding a spinnerbait. Caught seven smallmouth and a largemouth while wading the Fox and tossing the Eric Bait in the afternoon. Downstream, tight to rock. USGS 11.68' / 1,450 CFS

Fox River smallmouth bass Fox River smallmouth bass

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Creek Chub Pikie
April 21, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Visited six spots from shore. Squeaked out one 16" on the swim jig around 10:45. Turned out to be a nice day. Francisco, this one's for you! USGS 11.95' / 2,000 CFS

Fox River smallmouth bass

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Creek Chub Pikie
April 20, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Cold front be damned! Hit some skinny water and was a bit more sheltered from the wind. Started with a pearl jig-n-twister since it was the last thing I had tied on from the previous outing. Straight retrieve letting the tail flutter in the current drove the smallies wild. When the bite died, I switched up to a 1/4-ounce white spinnerbait and enticed a few more. Ended up with 26, all smallmouth. Mixed sizes ... from runts to cookie cutters to brawlers. Taped a few at 17". Fun outing.

Fox River smallmouth bass Fox River smallmouth bass Fox River smallmouth bass Fox River smallmouth bass

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Creek Chub Pikie
April 19, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: I hit the Fox for a brief shoreline spot-hop and caught 11 smallies and a drum. A large swim jig was productive and I followed-up with a pearl jig-n-twister to close the deal on tentative fish that would nip at the tail of the swim jig but not fully commit. USGS 12.06' / 2,230 CFS

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Creek Chub Pikie
April 18, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Brief hike and wade yielded four smallmouth from fast water on the Eric Bait. Was a relaxing change of pace from urban shorelines.

Fox River smallmouth bass Baby northern watersnake Fox River flower

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Creek Chub Pikie
April 17, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Today was a bit slower but still productive. Landed 6 with three in the 16"-17" range. Swim jig fished in faster water. The river has risen a bit since yesterday. USGS 11.96' / 2,020 CFS. Thanks for all the comments and compliments on my journal. It's surprising how many folks stop in here on a daily basis. The kind words via YouTube, e-mail, PM and in person are humbling and I'm happy you all enjoy it. Good fishing!

Fox River smallmouth bass

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Creek Chub Pikie
April 16, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Had one of those magical days on the Fox yesterday. Cold front and windy as hell, but the fish were active! I started out wading and only managed one smallmouth on the spinnerbait, but it was an 18" and hit near some boulders and faster water. Despite the rise in level from the recent rain, the Fox had actually dropped quite rapidly. I could see six to eight inches of 'wet' above the water line on bridge pilings, etc. and know the Fox had risen and fallen over the past several hours prior to me fishing. I was actually a little disappointed that I had not hit it earlier while the water was higher.

I shed the waders and went on a shoreline milk run. I continued to flutter the spinnerbait through current seams, shoreline eddies, and near shore structure. Before I knew it I was stringing together some decent numbers and sizes. I spot hopped and each area produced one or two nice smallmouth. I fished my same milk run in reverse on the way home, this time using a swim jig and changing direction and cadence. There were fish home in each area and in some instances, I did better the second go 'round with the swim jig. Overall I caught fourteen smallmouth and one white bass. I got three 18" smallies and two 19". In fact, the smallest bass I caught taped at 15". Even the white bass was decent sized, and hit a 3/8-ounce spinnerbait.

I had my camera slung around my neck the entire outing and I must have shot two-dozen photos: close-ups; portraits; spots; etc. It's fun to flip through them and look back on a great day. One last note -- I got into a big fish that I think was a flathead catfish. It bit the swim jig and was like setting the hook on a moving rock. The line tightened and whistled in the wind immediately. The fish moved slowly upstream and I could not lift it off the bottom. It must have only had the tail of the Big Hammer because it simply let got and the swim jig came flying back. I got it on a second time, about three feet away from where I had first tangled with it. Same exact thing happened. Was pretty neat to think what it could have been. I've been watching way too much River Monsters lately! USGS 11.85' / 1,810 CFS

Fox River smallmouth bass

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Creek Chub Pikie
April 15, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Shore fished a few areas with my two sons in between running errands. The river has risen slightly from the recent rain and the smallmouth were in a mood to crush the Eric Bait. We caught nine quality fish in short order, the largest taping at 17.5". Spent about 35 minutes fishing from shore. Strong bite. Fun time with the kids. USGS 11.36' / 868 CFS

Fox River smallmouth bass

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Creek Chub Pikie
April 13, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Wade fished solo after work. Surprisingly quiet for a Friday. Didn't see any other anglers on the water. Did a spot hop and caught a few smallmouth at each area. Pattern was what has been working the last several outings -- hula grub along rocks in slower, deeper areas / swim jig through faster water. Ended up catching six, largest on the swim jig and around 15". USGS 11.19' / 617 CFS

Fox River scenery

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Creek Chub Pikie
April 12, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Kayaked and fished for a few hours with my buddy Kevin. We ate lunch on board and worked a long stretch of river. The hula grub and swim jig enticed the big-bellied smallies once again. Same pattern as yesterday. Geese and ducks were gorging themselves on the emerging caddisfly washing downriver. As the adult insects that didn't get gobbled up took flight, it was like floating through a blizzard at times. Fun float with lots of laughs. USGS 11.23' / 673 CFS

Fox River kayaking

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Creek Chub Pikie
April 11, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Got out mid-day for a quick solo wade. The river has dropped nicely and was easily wadeable. The bright blue sky and contrasting clouds provided a picturesque backdrop to the new green along the riverbank. I fished three areas, spending about a 1/2-hour at each. Ended up catching twelve smallmouth and one largemouth. Producers were a 3/8-ounce swim jig with 5" Big Hammer Tail fished around current breaks and wood. That enticed five smallmouth in the 14"-16" range. In slower water with rock I used a 5" Yamamoto Hula Grub on a 1/8-ounce Pro Slider Head. The hula grub fooled six scrappy smallmouth and one 18" largemouth (pictured). The smallmouth were big-bellied and one of the swim jig catches coughed up a wad of caddisfly. USGS 11.26' / 716 CFS

Fox River largemouth bass

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Creek Chub Pikie
April 7, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Got out in the Cuda mid-afternoon. Beautiful day to be on the water. Fishing was slow and became secondary to simply relaxing and enjoying the outdoors. A bright-red cardinal landed in a nearby tree and sang its little heart out. I just put the rod down, sat back, and listened. Of course, I did catch a few fish during the outing, including the 19" smallmouth pictured below. The brute hit a large swim jig burned downstream. A hula grub hopped along the bottom also helped bring a few smallmouth to hand. USGS 11.40' / 933 CFS

Fox River smallmouth bass

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Creek Chub Pikie
April 5, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Shore-fished solo at a few urban areas. The water level is dropping rapidly and good spots were far and few between. I fluttered a pearl jig and twister in the current and the offering got snapped up by a brute smallmouth. A brief fight and some violent head shakes and the fish popped off. Rats! Caught a tiny smallmouth before calling it quits and heading home. USGS 11.57' / 1,240 CFS.

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Creek Chub Pikie
April 4, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Quick spot hop proved frustrating. Chilly, windy, bird's-nested reel, not enough line, inaccurate casts. Felt off my game. Tried the hula grub and the swim jig and blanked at my first two spots. Not even a hit! Third spot was a hail Mary and de-skunked me. Swim jig upstream through a current break yielded a 15" and 18" (pictured). River seemed oddly murky today. USGS 11.60' / 1,290 CFS.

Fox River smallmouth bass

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Creek Chub Pikie
April 3, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Did a short afternoon wade on the Fox. Couldn't get the swim jig bite going but did OK on the hula grub. Ended up catching eight smallmouth and one largemouth. Always on the hunt for the big one, but it has been nice since smallies have been averaging about 15" my last four outings. They hit hard and fight great. What more can an angler ask for? USGS 11.60' / 1,290 CFS

Queen snake Northern Watersnake Fox River smallmouth bass Yellow swallowtail butterfly Fox River smallmouth bass: dorsal fin detail Fox River smallmouth bass: tail detail Fox River smallmouth bass: pectoral fin detail Green frog

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Creek Chub Pikie
April 2, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Got out during lunch for a quick solo float-n-fish. Started off with a swim jig and picked up three smallmouth in the 14"-16" range while bringing the bait downstream tight to rock. Paddled to a new spot and switched to the hula grub hopped slow along the bottom. Quickly picked up four more smallmouth, largest taping at 17.75" (pictured). A friend was out mowing and spotted me fighting the fish. He happily took the pic with my iPhone since I accidentally left my good camera at home. Smallies sure are active. Had to keep the outing short and get back home. Nice to see / smell the lilacs in bloom! USGS 11.60' / 1,290

Fox River smallmouth bass and Jackson Kayak Cuda

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Creek Chub Pikie
April 1, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Still on a high from catching and releasing the giant smallmouth on March 31, I met my buddy Kevin for an afternoon of kayaking and fishing. Kevin just returned from Captiva Island, FL where he and a guide friend did a flats trip for snook and redfish. The cool part -- from fishing kayaks! I was eager to get Kevin on the smallies and work the pattern that had been so productive a day earlier. We rigged with 5" double-tail Yamamoto hula grubs on 1/8-ounce Slider Heads and bounced the bottom through chunk rock and mild current. The high humidity, overcast sky and calm conditions made it feel like the perfect fishing day. The fish thought so too and cooperated nicely. We ended up boating 18 smallmouth with a half-dozen similar in size to the one pictured. USGS 11.63' / 1,350 CFS

Fox River smallmouth bass

Time to Purchase a 2012 Fishing License
2011 fishing licenses expired March 31, 2012. Keep it legal. Purchase your 2012 Illinois Fishing License online. Always keep your license on you when you are fishing. Print and sign multiple copies of the license PDF. It's helpful to have backups in case you set out to fish and have forgotten your license. Keep one in your wallet, car, tackle box, and at home. Save the PDF on your PC in case you need to print more in the future. As long as it is signed, it's legal! I print mine scaled to 80% and they fit in my wallet much better.

State Law - Smallmouth Bass Catch & Release Only Period
In streams and tributaries statewide (except for the Mississippi, Ohio, Wabash, and Illinois Rivers),
all smallmouth bass must be immediately released between April 1 and June 15.

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© 2016 Fish The Fox. All Rights Reserved. | "Fox River Deadfall" artwork by Paul Turnbaugh. Used with permission.