Fox River Deadfall
Fish the Fox
A PERSONAL JOURNAL CHRONICLING FISHING ADVENTURES AT THE FOX RIVER AND BEYOND.
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July 30, 2010

Fox River Fishing Report: Shore-fished with my youngest son for about an hour in the early evening. The Fox River is still high, fast and muddy. We used 3" pearl Producto Spring Grubs on 1/4-ounce leadhead jigs and dabbled them near flooded shore structure. I was helping my son when the grub got bit at an outside turn. The fish took off into the current and was taking drag. I gave the rod to my son and he was delighted to play the hard-fighting smallmouth. My friend Bruce was nearby and grabbed my camera from my backpack. I traded Bruce the camera for the fish and he stood next to my son for a quick photo. I think both anglers were thrilled! We caught one other smallmouth before heading home for supper. USGS 12.66' / 3,660 CFS.

Fox River smallmouth bass

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Creek Chub Pikie
July 29, 2010

Private Lake Fishing Report: Boated and fished with my buddy Stephen from 4:30 PM until 10:30 PM. We fished spinnerbaits, plastics, and topwater. Fishing was a bit slow. We boated around 25 bass, all largemouth. Stephen got broken off by a small tiger musky that hit boat-side. The highlight of the evening was around 9:30 PM when Stephen's topwater lure got destroyed by a big largemouth bass. The fish hit a 3" white-bellied frog pattern Arbogast Jitterbug. The bass measured 21" and weighed 5 pounds, 3 ounces. It has a massive girth for a 21".

Largemouth bass

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Creek Chub Pikie
July 26, 2010

Fox River Fishing Report: Shore-fished the Fox River solo after work. Water is high, fast, and muddy. Dabbled a 3" pearl Producto Spring Grub on a 1/4-ounce lead-head jig amidst flooded shore structure. Also hung the bait in the current break behind structure. Landed twelve smallmouth bass and one juvenile flathead catfish. The biggest smallmouth was a skinny 19". Oddest part of the outing was coming across a group of female giant ichneumon wasps crawling around on a large tree near the river's edge. They had 3" bodies and a 6" whip-like tail, which is really an ovipositor used for weaving their way into decaying trees and injecting their eggs into the larvae of another wasp, the pigeon horntail. They are certainly unusual looking insects! USGS 13.09' / 5,160 CFS.

Giant Ichneumon Wasp, Geneva, Illinois Snapping Turtle, Fox River, Geneva, Illinois Geneva Dam, Fox River Geneva Dam, Fox River Geneva Dam, Fox River

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Creek Chub Pikie
July 18, 2010

Fox River Fishing Report: It’s amazing how optimistic we anglers can be. Seems like no matter what the conditions, if the fishing bug hits, we’ll make an effort to be on the water. Such was the case as I found myself slipping on my breathable waders at 6:45 PM in 92 degrees. I entered the Fox River amidst a chorus of buzzing cicadas. The river was low and slow and felt like warm bath water. My plan was to take advantage of the hot weather and capitalize on the ferocity of the smallmouth bass, my favorite species to target on our local rivers. I brought only two lures, the small Heddon Zara Spook that I had tied on my line, and a backup topwater, a Lucky Craft Sammy 100. Both lures are traditional “walk-the-dog” topwater sliders. With a light snap of the rod tip, they zigzag across the surface and imitate a wounded bait fish. Smallmouth either hit them with savage attacks, or can gently slurp them off the surface with barely a ripple. Either way, as the light fades, you better have your A-game on with all senses heightened. Strikes can be fierce, or can be few. You have to capitalize on every opportunity.

I started out by slowly wading my way up a shady bank and working pockets near shore. It didn’t take long before the little Zara Spook got blasted from beneath and flipped clear out of the water. Even small bass can hit hard enough to throw the lure over a foot or so, especially when they are hitting from a deep pool with room to move. Despite several nice hits and a few over-anxious hooksets, as an hour passed I hadn’t brought any fish to hand. Even my go-to areas were quiet from bass, only full of carp mouthing the surface. As the sun neared the horizon and the entire river was shaded, I tied on my Lucky Craft Sammy 100 and began long casts in every direction to see if I could draw a reaction strike to give me an indication of where a hungry bass might be holding.

Fishing was slow but the sights were not disappointing. I enjoyed watching an orange doe graze near the river’s edge. A great blue heron squawked noisily as I spooked it from its evening hangout. A belted kingfisher chattered as it zipped upriver in the fading light. These are typical sights that all Fox River anglers enjoy on a regular basis. They never got old.

On my wade back I didn’t want to face the fact that I was near a skunking. My kids always ask me, “How many did you catch?” as soon as I come through the door. I felt like a bit of a failure, but at least I could blame it on the hot weather. I continued to work the Sammy across the surface hoping for some luck. I paused at a deep pool where I had a nice hit earlier in the evening. The bait got nailed with a loud “crack” and I felt the weight of a nice fish as soon as I set the hook. Unfortunately the lure pulled free and I missed the fish. I felt like I had blown my one opportunity for sure, but I continued to cast the same area, hoping the fish was not stung and would hit again. Sure enough, about five casts later I heard the “crack” again as a big fish inhaled the bait off the surface. This time my hookset held firm and the fish tore off some drag and headed toward the middle of the river. It did not jump or try to throw the bait, so I figured it probably wasn’t a smallmouth bass. From how hard it was pulling and from the sound it made when hitting the bait I thought I might have hooked up with my first Fox River musky! I carefully played the fish and waded to shore. As I neared the shallows and brought the fish to hand I couldn’t believe it when I saw that it was a big walleye! I had a small digital camera on a tripod hanging from my waders and I quickly set it up in the river while I kept the hooked fish in the water. A few brief seconds of careful hemostat work and the hooks were free enabling me to photo a 26” beauty! I held it gently underbelly and let it revive in the current before it swam off to fight another day. As I walked back to the car, a paparazzi of fireflies confirmed my vindication. I had a nice story and photo to share with my boys. It just goes to show that you never know what the next cast will bring!
USGS 11.26' / 687 CFS.

26" Fox River walleye

This article was published by Bob Maciulis in Outdoor Notebook Magazine.

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Creek Chub Pikie
July 15, 2010

DuPage River Fishing Report: Shore-fished along the riverwalk in downtown Naperville. Water was low and clear. Managed two smallmouth bass on a 3" gold bass Heddon Zara Spook. Got a sweet new baitcaster -- a Team Daiwa Zillion Type R (100HSHLR). It's blazing fast at 7.3:1. Pure sweetness! Saving it for a trip "up north." Can't wait to tame some big fish with it. USGS 5.09' / 87 CFS.

Team Daiwa Zillion Type R (100HSHLR)

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Creek Chub Pikie
July 12, 2010

DuPage River Fishing Report: Kayaked and fished with my buddy Branson. The river was muddy, a bit high, and fast. Lots of bites on the hula grub, but mostly just small fish pecking at it. I landed 3 smallmouth bass and 1 rock bass, Branson landed 1 smallmouth bass. Very tough fishing. Ran into another guy in a small Bass Tracker, and saw another kayaker (non-fisherman) and three people in a canoe (non-fishermen). We fished until around 10 PM. I lost what felt like a PIG smallmouth at 9:30 PM under a bridge. I've got my drag tightened down so hard on my baitcaster you'll practically cut your hand on the line trying to pull it out. This fish nailed a spinnerbait and took drag twice on powerful runs. Either I had a big smallmouth or one heck of a channel cat! The fish never jumped and came off underwater. Was quite a jarring strike and fight in the blackness. Was my last-chance "gimmie" hawg and I blew it! I'll get 'em next time! USGS 5.89' / 280 CFS.

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Creek Chub Pikie
July 10, 2010

DuPage River Fishing Report: Fished from the kayak with my friend Kevin. Boated an even 50. Some runts but many nice ones in the 15"-16" range and even a few big largemouth. Biggest smallmouth was 18.75". Slow start early with topwater and spinnerbait, but surprisingly the bite was best under the hot sun. Long casts with the hula grub. Quiet day on the river with few other paddlers and zero waders. Haven't had a "big numbers" outing in a while and can be rare for summer. Funny thing is, Kevin broke his rod less than half-way through the float and I let him use my baitcaster. I think we were around 27 boated. I couldn't stomach only one guy fishing / one rod, so I ended up rigging up the broken rod, now about three feet long, and fishing it while Kevin used mine. Imagine the numbers we could have racked up if both of us were using good equipment! I lost several nice fish on the short spinning rod, but still managed some nice ones with a solid 18". USGS 5.13' / 95 CFS.

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

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Creek Chub Pikie
July 6, 2010
Forest Preserve Lake: Skunked, had to call it quits early due to an approaching thunderstorm.

July 3, 2010
Forest Preserve Lake: Boated 7 largemouth bass on a Lucky Craft Sammy 100 topwater.

July 2, 2010
Forest Preserve Lake: Boated 3 largemouth bass on a 5" double-tail Yamamoto Hula Grub on a 1/8-ounce Slider Head.

July 1, 2010
Forest Preserve Lake: Boated 16 largemouth bass on a Lucky Craft Sammy 100 topwater.

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