Fox River Deadfall
Fish the Fox
A PERSONAL JOURNAL CHRONICLING FISHING ADVENTURES AT THE FOX RIVER AND BEYOND.
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March 28, 2010

Lake Fishing Report: My buddy Stephen and I kayaked some stocked private lakes today. I caught a nice-sized largemouth bass and a medium-sized northern pike on a 1/2-ounce Terminator SS 'white thumper' spinnerbait slow-rolled deep. Had some other nice pike follows right up to the kayak. Saw quite a few turtles out sunning on logs. Was nice to enjoy a sunny day in the 50s.

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March 23, 2010

Lake Fishing Report: Was a gorgeous day. High in the low 60s, sunny, and hardly any wind. I had a no-fail plan! I drove an hour north to kayak and fish some well-managed and private lakes for northern pike and muskie. The first lake I fished is notorious for pike. I didn't even get a follow. No flashes, no bumps, no boils, nothing! I saw tons of 'gills sunning and a few huge carp. I moved to another lake and continued to fish spinnerbaits and jerkbaits. This time for muskie. I paddled back to a long finger-cove and tossed my spinnerbait into the shallows. BOOM! Got a vicious strike which I'm betting was a muskie. No hookup. Was more/less of a jarring bump, like a warning shot. Left the fish alone and returned later. Next cove, same deal. Some nice bumps, but no hookups. Did manage a small largemouth that hit my gold-bladed spinnerbait. Other than that, saw one more follow from a small tiger muskie, beautifully marked. All odds in my favor but sure couldn't get the fish to cooperate. Even so, it was hard to be too disappointed because the weather was a slice of heaven. The warm sun felt great and the lack of wind made for some easy paddling through the still water. It was one of those days that it simply felt great to be alive. Here's a pic I took from my iPhone while floating / fishing from the kayak:

Hatchery Lake

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March 22, 2010

Fox River Fishing Report: Shore-fished solo at the Fox River after work and tried several spots to see if I could muster a few smallmouth from the high water. I tried the float-n-fly, white jig and twister, Rapala X-Rap, and spinnerbait. I fished thoroughly. Didn't even see a minnow. USGS 12.68' / 4,150

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March 21, 2010

Kishwaukee River Fishing Report: Shore- and wade-fished the Kishwaukee River with some friends. The Kish brought back a lot of memories for me. Our first spot wasn't too far from the NIU campus. Back in my college days there I would have never dreamed of trudging through that little river on a brisk March morning in search of smallmouth bass and northern pike. Some of the areas looked promising, but we had a guy wade through our entire (very narrow) area in search of lost Frisbees, as the stretch bordered a public park for Frisbee golf. He came downstream and then back upstream ... muddying up the water. Any smallmouth and pike that were setup and active were probably a bit spooked at that point. It was disappointing. I was paired up with Joe A. and neither he or I saw any action on the float-n-fly. We added Tim U. and the three of us traveled north to a more rural area of the Kish ... one that was a frequent haunt of mine a few decades ago. Despite the water being a bit high and fast, it was nice to be back at that stretch. Overall it looked pretty much the same, although there was evidence of some pretty severe floods as some of the banks were much more carved out than I remembered. The quick current and the stiff east wind made it tough to work the float-n-fly successfully through the deeper cuts that I had in mind. Even so, Tim U. managed to catch two smallmouth on the float-n-fly from the few really slow spots we did come across. He spotted a small northern pike sunning in a slow shallow, which I too saw on my wade back. I tossed the float-n-fly about 85% of the time, but on my long wade back to the car I fished the 'white thumper' spinnerbait as I slogged upstream. No action on the spinnerbait but when I reached the slow eddy where Tim U. caught his first smallmouth, I rigged up the float-n-fly once more and gave it a thorough try. Finally, float down! But on the hookset I completely missed the fish. I got off the water around 6:30 PM and on the drive home I passed by the NIU campus once more. It gave me pause as I realized my college days there were half my lifetime ago. I'll be 40 this year. How life has changed! After the long wade, my feet, shins, and back were making me feel my age a bit! USGS 4.0' / 122 CFS

Kishwaukee River smallmouth bass Kishwaukee River fishing Kishwaukee River mink Kishwaukee River sunset

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March 18, 2010

DuPage River Fishing Report: Went fishing today for the elusive dink. I've heard stories that they exist. Seems that other anglers have a lock on them. I don't know, I cannot find them. These pesky brutes keep hitting my lures! This one hit a 3/8-ounce Terminator SS 'white thumper' spinnerbait fluttered alongside some rocks. USGS 5.81' / 253 CFS and falling.

DuPage River smallmouth bass

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March 14, 2010

DuPage River Fishing Report: Hello Spring! The river is fast and muddy. The 16.5" smallmouth bass (pictured) bit a 3/8-ounce 'white thumper' spinnerbait hung in the current alongside a flooded grass overhang. Caught one other smallie, a 15-1/8" on an olive and chartreuse float-n-fly fished around 3' deep through a rather fast bridge eddy. Tough to find much 'slow' water today. Had to wear the waders just to shore fish. USGS 7.18' / 766 CFS and falling.

DuPage River smallmouth bass

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March 11, 2010

Vandals in St. Charles: Caught Red-Handed
I got out to the Fox River in St. Charles today to try to catch a few fish before the drizzle hit. I was minding my own business and noticed a couple of thugs hanging out on the rocks. I gave them their space and continued fishing. Wouldn't you know it, I turned my back for a few minutes to make some casts and when I looked back over they've got cans of spraypaint out and have just tagged the rocks with Crawdaddy. I could not believe it. I gave them a look of disapproval and as I tried to take a picture of their work for the police, one of them had the nerve to give me the claw! I tell ya, crustaceans these days!

Fox River crayfish

I tried several urban areas in hopes of a fast-paced high water milk run. Fishing was tough. I think the water temperature is still on the cold side for the smallmouth. I fished a 1/2-ounce Terminator 'white thumper' spinnerbait, but after getting blanked at a few of my go-to high water areas, rigged up the float-n-fly and concentrated on slack water eddies. That wasn't much better. I took off the float and simply dabbled the fly (hair jig) along the shoreline. Right at dusk I saw the faint shape of a bronzeback come up and nail the fly alongside a boulder. The smallmouth measured 16" and I released it after a lucky auto-timer photo against the sunset and the approaching storm. I headed for home around 6:10 PM, just as the rain hit. USGS 12.38' / 3,190 CFS.

Fox River smallmouth bass

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March 10, 2010

DuPage River Fishing Report: Wade fished solo late afternoon. Sunny and clear with an air temp in the mid 60s. The river was dirty from the recent rain and snow melt. I started off with a 3/8-ounce Terminator 'white thumper' spinnerbait and picked off two smallies early on while bringing the bait through an eddy and tight to structure. I caught them on back-to-back casts but both fish were on the small side, taping at 12.5" and 13-7/8". I hit quite a dry spell and switched spots twice before breaking out the float-n-fly and catching two more smallmouth from a swirling eddy. These were a little nicer. The first taped at 14.75" and the second was a solid 16". Fishing sure wasn't as productive as I had hoped, but it was nice to enjoy the mild weather and catch a few. USGS 5.92' / 286 CFS.

DuPage River smallmouth bass

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March 5, 2010

Fox River Fishing Report: Wade fished solo mid afternoon. Sunny and clear with an air temp in the low 40s. I spotted a decent-sized flathead catfish mid-river as I was crossing. I've been seeing a lot of them lately. Seems like at least one every time I'm out on the Fox River. This one was big enough to noodle with a rolled-up sleeve and a little persistence. It taped at 28" and was promptly released after a self-timer photo closer to shore. Tried a long slow eddy with the float-n-fly but couldn't get any interest from the bass. Called it a day early and chalked up another nice outing in the mild early March temps. Nice to see such a variety of diving waterfowl migrating through the Fox River valley area as well as to enjoy the company and chatter of the ever-curious resident belted kingfisher. USGS 11.63' / 1,350 CFS.

Fox River flathead catfish

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March 4, 2010

Fox River Fishing Report: Wade fished solo late afternoon. Tried a few slow, deep eddies with the float-n-fly. I was rewarded with a 17-7/8" bronzeback that took a blue and white fly tied by friend Jonn Graham of Warrior Jigs. Jonn has supplied me with quality flies throughout the winter months and it has been fun trading stories and photos with him. After a few quick pics in the afternoon sun, I watched the scrappy smallmouth swim off in the clear water. I spotted a big one-clawed crayfish scuttling along the rocky bottom as well as another flathead catfish that appeared to be around 20" or so. It was along the bottom mid-river as I was crossing. Glad to be on the board for March! USGS 11.62' / 1,330 CFS.

Fox River smallmouth bass

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