Fox River Deadfall
Fish the Fox
A PERSONAL JOURNAL CHRONICLING FISHING ADVENTURES AT THE FOX RIVER AND BEYOND.
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January 31, 2010

DuPage River Fishing Report: Shore and wade fished solo at the DuPage River for two hours before sundown. The weather was a chilly 25° with gusty winds. I was dressed for the weather, and the cold was bearable for two hours. The river was a bit fast and dirty. It is still coming down from all the rain a week ago. I started off at a favorite shore area, but the slowest part was crusted over with a partially-collapsed ice shelf that had formed during the latest cold snap and left a hollow as the water receded. I tried a float-n-fly nearby for around twenty drifts. I varied the depth from 18" to 24" and tried a variety of presentations from a dead-drift to a slow-twitch. I didn't get any bites along the ice shelf or nearby shore structure. It was disappointing, because it's often an easy go-to spot. I switched areas and began wading. The push was stronger than last wade and the water noticeably more dirty. I tied on a 5" Yamamoto Double-Tail Hula Grub on a 1/8-ounce Slider Head and worked a long shoreline eddy. I cast at the base of a large tree growing on the river's edge and let the bait hit bottom and sweep along with the current. I never felt a strike, but got mild pressure on the line. It was definitely a fish so I set the hook hard. The fish took off in the current and fought like a freight train. Once again, even in the dead of winter, I am amazed at how hard smallmouth bass fight! I taped the bronzeback at 16-7/8". I was thrilled to have one on the board given the cold conditions and a skunking at the previous spot. I waded up to a deep eddy and tried the float-n-fly again. I stayed put at the eddy for the rest of the outing. I must have made thirty drifts through there with the little olive and chartreuse fly. Finally, near 4:45 PM, the float went under! I set the hook and fought a thick 16" smallmouth bass to hand. I called it a day around 5:05 PM, glad to have squeaked out two nice ones. USGS 5.39' / 146 CFS

DuPage River smallmouth bass DuPage River ice formation DuPage River ice formation DuPage River ice formation DuPage River ice formation DuPage River ice formation DuPage River smallmouth bass

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Creek Chub Pikie
January 23, 2010

DuPage River Fishing Report: Shore and wade fished solo at the DuPage River for about three hours in the afternoon. The weather was a balmy 39°, which is quite a treat for late January. The river was in great shape, running low and clear. I started out from shore and fished a chartreuse and olive float-n-fly around 20" beneath a small float through some three-foot-deep slack water. The fly was tied by Jonn Graham of Warrior Jigs in Minonk, Illinois. Jonn is a friend of mine and has graciously supplied me with flies for the past few seasons. On the third drift the float shot beneath the surface and I set the hook into a nice fighter. I honestly thought I might have had a carp on the line. It was pulling hard! As the fish neared, I saw a beautiful rusty-orange smallmouth surging through the clear water. The fish looked to be in the 17"-18" range. It was a beauty! I didn't have my camera setup yet, so I propped up my rod and reel in a nearby tree and let the fish play itself out while I got my tripod and camera setup. Wouldn't you know it -- the fish managed to get itself unhooked and by the time I was ready for a photo opportunity there was just a float and fly waving in the water ... the bronzeback was gone. Oh well, I should have been more prepared. I continued to fish the same little stretch and pulled three more bronzebacks from the slack-water area. Each were good fighters. The smallest was just over 15" and the largest was 16-1/8". After about an hour, I switched areas and entered the river. It was nice to be back wading. I sure have missed it! I concentrated on a long, waist-deep shoreline eddy with a fast taper and sand and chunk rock bottom. I switched on and off between the float-n-fly and a 5" double-tail Yamamoto Hula Grub on a 1/8-ounce Slider Head. I ended up landing five more smallmouth, all in the 15" to 17-1/8" range. I couldn't believe my luck, having landed eight nice-sized smallmouth in January. I saw a belted kingfisher, muskrat, buck and doe deer, great blue heron, and plenty of red-tail hawks. I heard a great-horned owl start hooting as I left the river at around 5:10 PM. It sure felt great to get out and catch a few! USGS 5.14' / 93 CFS

DuPage River smallmouth bass DuPage River smallmouth bass DuPage River smallmouth bass

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Creek Chub Pikie
January 13, 2010

Ice fished for a few hours mid-afternoon with my buddy Stephen at a private lake. The weather was in the upper 20s and the ice was around eight inches thick. I got there first and drilled a few holes around fallen timber in 10' of water. About five minutes into it and I caught a 13" largemouth bass while jigging a small perch-pattern Salmo Chubby Darter. Stephen arrived and brought his three German short-haired pointers. The dogs were playful and ran all over the ice, bringing their toy back to us over and over again to throw. Sometimes they'd drop the toy right near the hole. Not sure if all the pitter-patter of the dogs constantly running around had the fish wary, but bites were hard to come by. My first bass was my last, and Stephen only caught two fish, a nice-sized bluegill and a small bass on a waxworm and teardrop jig. We shared a few drinks and some laughs. Being in the outdoors and camaraderie took precedence over fishing today.

Stephen Lynch with a largemouth bass at the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation Stephen Lynch with a largemouth bass at the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation

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