Fox River Deadfall
Fish the Fox
A PERSONAL JOURNAL CHRONICLING FISHING ADVENTURES AT THE FOX RIVER AND BEYOND.
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November 26, 2011

Fox River Fishing Report: Wade-fished solo early morning until early afternoon. Started off under overcast skies and 52 degrees. There were bugs flying around, and it's almost December! Fished the same swim jig as on November 25 and worked with a flutter tight to structure. Caught three smallmouth bass in short order. They were pounding the swim jig! Thought I was in for a banner day but took a while and a long wade to catch a fourth fish. Called it a day around 1 PM in pouring rain. Only landed four smallies in the 13"-15" range but was happy to catch them! USGS 11.39' / 884 CFS

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Creek Chub Pikie
November 25, 2011

Fox River Fishing Report: Bronze Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Got out for a solo wade around 1:15 PM 'till sunset. The river has dropped quite a bit over the past week and was much more wade-friendly in my lug sole neoprenes. Less push was a welcome change. Waded three different areas and primarily fished a 1/4-ounce white and tinsel swim jig tipped with a 3" clear and glitter paddle tail. Caught eight smallies in the 12"-15" range. Fairly aggressive strikes and fought great. Didn't try the float-n-fly much since the fish were hitting the swim jig OK. Just kept structure fishing. Brought my new GoPro HD Hero2 cam and managed a few clips. Overall a nice wade and the best I've done on moving baits this late in the year. I'm sure the warmup helped. A happy Bronze Friday indeed! USGS 11.37' / 852 CFS. Video best viewed at 720P HD...

Fish the Fox: Bronze Friday Video Fox River smallmouth bass

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Creek Chub Pikie
November 20, 2011

DuPage and Fox River Fishing Report: Met up with Jonn Graham in search of bronze at the Dupe. The river is low and clear, but we managed to find a few deeper areas worth a try. Jonn took a nasty spill as he caught his toe the edge of a log in shallow water. It got him off balance enough to where I saw him try to outrun the fall at about 30 degrees for a dozen feet or so. He ended up on his chest right at shore, wet and muddy. Luckily he did not get any water into his waders. And even luckier, he avoided crushing his shoulder on a good-sized boulder a foot or two left of where he fell. Just goes to show you, even in low, clear water, spills are possible!

We worked the float-n-fly and varied our depth settings and tried twitching the float and a dead drift. We didn't find any big bronzebacks but we managed a few fish. Jonn ended up with three smallmouth, biggest around 14". I caught one smallie, one rock bass, and one behemoth of a carp. The carp was snagged in the soft skin towards the bottom of the tail. As soon as I hooked into it, it felt like a moving log and as it ran, a huge fish! We couldn't believe that the jig didn't pop out and the hook did not bend. I think the catch is a testament to the strength of the Owner hooks that Jonn uses for his hair jigs!

After the Dupe we drove north to the Fox River and tried our luck with the float-n-fly at a large, deep eddy. Despite a few bumps from rough fish, we blanked on the smallmouth. A burger, beer and the Bears game were a welcome warm-up at a local tap. Dupe USGS 5.05' / 81 CFS | Fox USGS 11.68' / 1,410

DuPage River smallmouth bass DuPage River carp

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Creek Chub Pikie
November 18, 2011

Fox River Fishing Report: OMG I feel like I just cheated death. I had no business wading out to the middle piling. Level about crotch- to waist-deep but current push strong and could barely hold bottom in my lug sole neoprenes. Brought the f-n-f on light spinning gear. No takers. Tried the 'money' swim jig on my baitcaster and nailed a gorgeous FAT 18.5" toad of a smallie right off the edge of the piling. Fish hit light and more/less swam with it -- light pressure and I set the hook hard. Only had about 3' to 4' of line out so basically walked her. Got into an eddy and lipped it. Water freezing cold!!! Fingers numb. Great pics but can plainly see bridge. Waded back legs shaking and worse traction. So glad I'm outta there. Warming up in the car. Amazing. Picked up one more on the swim jig at a different area. Was a 13" tight to rock. USGS 11.68' / 1,620 CFS

Fox River smallmouth bass Fox River smallmouth bass

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Creek Chub Pikie
November 16, 2011

Fox River Fishing Report: Tried a quick spot hop under sunny skies, 41°F and 15mph N-NW winds. Dressed for the weather and the chilly air was refreshing. Started off wading and about 15 minutes into it, popped a feisty 15.5" smallmouth while reeling a 1/4-ounce white and silver swim jig tipped with a 3" clear w/glitter paddle tail downriver tight to rock. The fish hit hard and fought great. I'm using 12 lb Sufix Siege on my baitcaster but there was a point where the fish felt much bigger than it actually was and I backed off the fight for fear of breaking the line. Now that's a good mid-November battle ... AND that's a smallmouth for you! The water level is still on the high side and has plateaued due to (I think) water being released from the Chain O' Lakes. Tried one other spot from shore with the float-n-fly but blanked before heading back. Eddy just not slow enough to hold 'em yet. USGS 11.87' / 1,810 CFS

Fox River smallmouth bass Fox River smallmouth bass

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Creek Chub Pikie
November 14, 2011

Fox River Fishing Report: The air temp made it up to 53.1° and the late afternoon was sunny and calm. I wade-fished solo for about an hour 'till sunset. Tossed a 1/4-ounce white and silver swim jig tipped with a 3" clear/glitter paddle tail. It has been my "money" swim jig and was given to me in a swim jig kit by my friend Jim a few weeks ago. I've probably caught over 30 smallmouth of all sizes on it. It has been one of those no-fail baits like my Live Target crawfish crankbait back in September. The fish just eat it up! The river is still high so I could only wade a few areas and had to stay fairly close to shore. I keyed in on areas of slow to mild current and tried to keep the bait tight to structure. I worked it more slowly than usual and kept the rod tip high as it fluttered downstream. I caught three smallmouth, 12", 13" and a hair over 19" (pictured) and got a few other strikes from either smallies or walleye (they were grabbing the end of the paddle tail). The bass all hit hard and fought great. I was so glad to finally nail a decent-sized one and see some big bronze thrashing on the line. USGS 11.92' / 1,900 CFS and holding steady for the moment.

Fox River smallmouth bass

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Creek Chub Pikie
November 13, 2011

Fox River Fishing Report: Shore- and wade-fished for a few hours late afternoon. Started off wading near shore in a well-known spot. Tossed a 1/4-ounce white swim jig tipped with a 3" clear and glitter paddle tail. Worked it downstream tight to rock. Caught two foot-long smallmouth in short order. That was all in spot number one. Took off the waders and switched areas. Tried a long shoreline eddy with the swim jig, float-n-fly, and finally a 1/2-ounce white thumper spinnerbait. Picked up another foot-long smallie just as I was about to re-cast the spinnerbait. Fish hit right near shore. That was it! USGS 11.94' / 1,940 CFS and falling.

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Creek Chub Pikie
November 11, 2011

Fox River Fishing Report: Shore fished solo late afternoon. Caught one smallmouth on the float-n-fly drifting through a slow, shallow eddy just off a current seam. Had the fly set around 18" deep and the float dunked just as it swirled near the seam. Was only about a 12" smallie, and that was the only bass action for the outing. Ran into ISA member Bruce Olson. He tagged along as I tried a few more areas with the float-n-fly. Home turf for Bruce. We spotted a hoard of gizzard shad milling around a current seam. They were thick! So thick I could just reach my hand into the cold water and grab them at will. I sorted through a dozen or so shad while trying to find a 'bigger' one to photograph. The average size was around 7" but there were a few larger ones and a few drum mixed in. It was amazing. The shad were very pretty fish. They reminded me of a saltwater herring. Once plucked from the ice cold river their iridescent blue hues glistened -- even in the shade of the late afternoon. That water is COLD! USGS 12.11' / 2,290 CFS

Fox River gizzard shad Fox River gizzard shad

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Creek Chub Pikie
November 10, 2011

Fox River Fishing Report: Got out for a few hours prior to sunset. As I headed north to the river, a wicked sleet storm blew in from DeKalb. It was awesome. I pulled over and watched it creep across farm fields and roll right over me. It sleeted hard! It cleared up a bit and the sun even came out again. About halfway through fishing, another wave of sleet hit. I got soaked. My hands got cold but the rest of me was OK. I was able to get a little redemption today. I fished the float-n-fly around 20" deep through some sheltered eddies and caught three smallmouth in the 12"-14" range and lost a bigger one to a shake off. I also got a small drum. My last eddy was just choked with silver drum of all sizes. If I had a net I'll bet I could have gotten 30 in one scoop! Don't know why they school like that in the cold weather, but it's common to see guys trying to snag them as they bunch up below the dams. Now I know where the fish are. I'll keep trying as the water recedes. USGS 12.32' / 2,750 CFS

November sleet storm November sleet storm

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Creek Chub Pikie
November 9, 2011

Fox River Fishing Report: It ain't all roses. Took my first skunking in quite a while. Was feeling well enough to get out and give the rivers a shot. I knew they were flooded, but figured I could checkout a few high-water eddies and find something biting. No dice.

The Fox was swirling and dirty. Fished a 1/4-ounce silver and white swim jig and fluttered it against the current in a few of the slower areas tight to chunk rock. No takers. The cold wind made my eyes tear and I could only stand it for about ten minutes. I was happy to get back into the car, enjoy the heated seat and figure out Plan B.

I made a 15-mile drive to the Dupe and worked the swim jig, spinnerbait, and float-n-fly around some good high-water spots. The Dupe was rippin' and quite dirty. A few of my good high-water spots had too much current to hold fish. I found one spot that was absolutely perfect! I could not believe I didn't pull a fish out of it. I have to figure the lack of clarity and the cold temperature had something to do with it. I'd bet $ the fish were home. And it was even fairly sheltered, out of the wind!

After getting denied at the Dupe, I hit a local restaurant and had lunch. It was nice to be indoors and warm up for a bit. Of course, I was dressed for the weather, but a spot hop in and out of the cold plus no action takes a toll on you mentally. Rain began.

After lunch I drove back to the Fox. I tried one last "money" spot -- a long, slow eddy that's normally around thigh- to waist-deep. With the river flooding, the water was up onto the banks 2-3 feet higher than normal. My 'slow' eddy was more/less gone and current bit the shoreline. There wasn't much slack water to work the float-n-fly in but I tried anyway. I gave it about 15 minutes before calling it a day.

Basically, it was a lot of driving around for nothing. One thing I did notice at both the Fox and the Dupe, were the red-tail hawks. They were very active, hugging the updrafts and screeching loudly. There are some BIG hawks around here. Left me wondering what they think of the human population and the constant stream of cars cutting through the landscape. They seem to have adapted to us.

Fox River USGS 12.25' / 2,590 CFS (Montgomery) / DuPage River USGS 7.01' / 655 CFS (Naperville)

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Creek Chub Pikie
November 7, 2011

Fox River Fishing Report: Shore- and wade-fished solo for a quick spot hop. Only used the float-n-fly. Tried slow water near chunk rock and mild current near timber. Landed 12 smallmouth. Biggest were 13" and 14". USGS 11.51' / 1,090 CFS. Low tonight is only in the 50s. Tuesday should be an epic bite if you can dodge the rain.

Received a nice compliment on the site: "Excellent year of fishing. I read your river guide for the first time -- that's as good as it gets! Most informative. If a guy can't figure out the Fox River after reading it they should find another hobby."

Fox River smallmouth bass on a Warrior Jig hair jig Fox River smallmouth bass on a Warrior Jig hair jig Friggin' geese!

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Creek Chub Pikie
November 6, 2011

Fox River Fishing Report: Wade-fished solo on a windy November afternoon. Overcast skies and air temp in the mid 50s with gusts near 30 MPH. Lots of leaves washing downriver, which has peaked and is now dropping after rain three days ago. Love me a crummy day with high(er) water and some big baits! Worked a 3/8-ounce swim jig with a 4" Big Hammer Tail -- steady retrieve downstream tight to chunk rock. Found some nice fish! Ended up with six on the swim jig: 18"; 18"; 18"; 14.5"; 13"; 11". Played around with the camera and took some closeups since the battery on my wireless remote died after the first few shots. Aside from the swim jigs, tried the float-n-fly in a slow, thigh-deep eddy. That accounted for a 17.75" and busted off another as big on 4lb test. Fun outing with some great fish but was feeling cold towards the end. USGS 11.50' / 1,070 CFS

Fox River smallmouth bass on a Warrior Jig swim jig Fox River smallmouth bass on a Warrior Jig swim jig Yellow leaf at the Fox River Fox River smallmouth bass on a Warrior Jig swim jig Fox River smallmouth bass on a Warrior Jig hair jig

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Creek Chub Pikie
November 5, 2011

Fox River Fishing Report: Shore- and wade-fished solo. Only fished the float-n-fly (hair jig) suspended about 16" to 20" beneath a small foam float. Slow outing. Managed a big carp and runt smallmouth. That was it! Beautiful pastel sunset. USGS 11.54' / 1,140 CFS

Fox River sunset

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Creek Chub Pikie
November 4, 2011

Fox River Fishing Report: Got out late morning to try the float-n-fly from shore at a long, slow eddy. I had the chartreuse and white craft hair jig set about 18" deep and got bit on my very first drift through the eddy! I lost the fish (see video) but it appeared to be a smallmouth around 15" or so. A few drifts later the float shot under and I caught a smallmouth that taped just over 16.5". I spent about another hour trying various depth settings and areas of the eddy but no more bites. Mild weather and a loud red-tail hawk screeching overhead. Saw bees, grasshoppers, and even a butterfly out. Great to feel the warm sun. USGS 11.46' / 1,000 CFS

Fox River float-n-fly fishing video Fox River smallmouth bass on the float-n-fly

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Creek Chub Pikie
November 1, 2011

Fox River Fishing Report: Got out for a quick solo wade and spot hop. Nice day for early November! The late afternoon air temp hit 66° F. Fished five areas and tossed a 1/4-ounce white and silver swim jig with a 3.5" clear and glitter paddle tail. Kept the rod tip high and brought the bait downstream, fluttering a few inches below the surface. Caught 10 smallmouth, all in the 12"-13" cookie-cutter range. Saw a young buck with a short velvet rack crossing the river as well as a beautiful sunset. USGS 11.21' / 617 CFS. Cleaned and put both kayaks away tonight. Took the roof rack off the car too. Done paddling for 2011 and happy to have everything stored before the cold hits. Kind of bittersweet, I guess.

Autumn on the Fox River

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