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

Fox River Fishing Report: Launched the kayak at the Fox River at 8 AM this morning to take advantage of the bite since the Chain O' Lakes draw-down. The river is up several inches and running faster. Current edges are more defined and the extra push is just what we needed to help boost the fall bite. I was hoping to work topwater since the leaves weren't too bad, but after thirty minutes or so and only a few half-hearted boils from smallmouth, I gave up and tied one of Tim U's new home-made spinnerbaits.

I switched areas and re-launched around 9:45 AM. Things started to pickup. I was using a 3/8-ounce white skirt, single hammered silver blade spinnerbait and also rotating in a 1/2-ounce black and copper skirt with tandem hammered copper blades. Like yesterday, the smallmouth were relating to rock with current running around it and hitting a downstream presentation. I ended up boating seven smallmouth: 9.75"; 12"; 16"; 16.5"; 18"; 15.5"; 17".

It was quite a paddle back against the increased flow. My shoulders were feeling it! I was off the water by quarter-to-noon. USGS 11.36' / 837 CFS. Happy Halloween!

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

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Creek Chub Pikie
October 30, 2010

Fox River Fishing Report: Kayaked and fished with friends Jonn and Jim at the lower Fox River. We met at 10 AM and fished most of the day. Jonn took Jim in his canoe and I went solo in my kayak. It was a relaxing float and we each managed to boat a few smallmouth. We ended up with an even dozen, Jonn caught 4, Joz caught 2.

I ended up boating 6 smallmouth, all on spinnerbaits. The bass I caught related to rock (bluffs, concrete embankments, bridge pilings) and hit a downstream presentation. They taped at 16.5", 16", 16", 15", 13", 13". My friend Tim has started up a spinnerbait-making business called "Timmay's Tackle" and recently sent me six high-quality spinnerbaits to try. They are wonderful. (Thanks Tim!) I brought three of them and rotated colors throughout the day. I got hits on all of them but the smallmouth liked the 1/2-ounce black and copper with double-hammered copper Colorado blades the best. I also caught fish on the 3/8-ounce white with a single-hammered silver blade -- which feels much like my tried-and-true Terminator 'white thumper' in the water.

I also tried fishing a Lucky Craft Sammy 100 on a few of the stretches with boulders along the bank and fewer leaves washing downriver. No action on the Sammy at all.

It was a fun day. The lower Fox River is very scenic with all sorts of rock formations. It's only a 1/2-hour drive for me and I need to visit it more often.

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

P.S., if you're a Fox River fisherman, be advised that it appears the Chain O' Lakes draw-down is happening. The USGS river data graphs showed quite a jump today. The Montgomery graph was 11.15' / 538 CFS on October 29. Today it was 11.34' / 806 CFS. We sure could use the added flow!

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Creek Chub Pikie
October 28, 2010

Fox River Fishing Report: Shore and wade fished solo late afternoon. Blanked at two go-to shore areas. Low water and cold, the fish just weren't biting. Headed to a third spot and suited up in the neoprene waders. Tried a cast from shore with a Lucky Craft Fat Mini crankbait and got bit as soon as it dove under. Caught a 13" smallmouth and then a 14.5" a few casts later Didn't have much time, so had to call it a day after about a half-hour. USGS 11.12' / 500 CFS.

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Creek Chub Pikie
October 27, 2010

Fox River Fishing Report: Waded and fished my float route from a few days ago. Landed five smallmouth bass total, two at 17". Lost a big one on my 1/2-ounce black spinnerbait. It hammered it alongside some boulders, jumped, and broke my line. I think it cut the line on the rocks because I had just re-tied it. My knot was solid. Caught four on the spinnerbait, one on the Sammy. Missed a few others on the Sammy towards dark.

Wind was terrible. Absolutely brutal. I got pounded and almost knocked over a few times mid-river. Whitecaps on the river. I felt like I bit off more than I could chew with the wade. It was a long way and I was sore and tired and happy to see my car. USGS 11.12' / 500 CFS.

Fox River smallmouth bass Fox River structure 40+ mile per hour winds across the Fox River Buck crossing the Fox River

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Creek Chub Pikie
October 26, 2010

Fox River Fishing Report: Got out solo late afternoon to shore and wade fish. Ended up landing six smallmouth, biggest were two @ 14". Caught four on a Lucky Craft Sammy 100, which casts like a dream in the wind. Picked up two on a Lucky Craft Fat Mini CB -- both of which blew up on the Sammy and missed with no further interest. Switching baits got 'em.

Wore a fleece and the boot-foot neoprenes. Was comfortable and even broke a sweat walking / wading back. Lots of brown algae growing on the rocks near swift water. Very slippery with the lug soles. Wind and cooler weather was invigorating.

Topwater downstream alongside rocky shores. River clearing nicely. Hits mostly aggressive although didn't find the big bite tonight. Leaves were a pain and fouled most casts -- but that's the trade-off for this time of year. Get out there and take advantage of autumn topwater while it lasts. USGS 11.15' / 538 CFS.

Fox River shoreline Fox River shoreline Fox River scenery

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Creek Chub Pikie
October 25, 2010

Fox River Fishing Report: Enjoyed a short float and fishing trip with my buddy Kevin in the afternoon. Kevin: 1/4-ounce Terminator Super Stainless Series 'white thumper' (61) spinnerbait, caught 7, biggest 15.5". Me: pearl ayu Lucky Craft Sammy 100, caught 6, biggest 17.25". Current edges of timber with leaves piled up around them were best. Found one tree that we nicknamed "the giving tree" because we caught five off the edge of it. Both the bigger fish were there. Saw a bald eagle today. Managed to get a pic of it before it was out of sight. Another amazing autumn float -- and only twenty minutes from home! USGS 11.11 / 487 CFS.

Fox River smallmouth bass Bald eagle over the Fox River Fox River scenery

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Creek Chub Pikie
October 24, 2010

Fox River Fishing Report: Kayaked and fished with my friend Joe D. It's always nice to meet up with him, chat, and catch a few fish. Joe boated eight on a #3 gold blade Mepp's Aglia. I ended up with two: one on a Lucky Craft Sammy 100 in pearl ayu; one on a 1/2-ounce Terminator Super Stainless Series "white thumper" (61) spinnerbait. It was very windy at times and we even got drizzled on. The leaves weren't too bad but the Aglia was finding snags in the low water.

I dropped Joe off in the late afternoon and re-launched my kayak at a different area. Low, even cloud cover had come in and the wind had died down. It felt perfect for topwater. I ended up boating four more smallmouth: three on the Sammy 100; one on a white buzzbait. The buzzbait bass hit just after sunset and taped at 19". Nice autumn evening to be on the water. Saw and heard a great horned owl -- which was especially fitting this time of year. USGS 11.10' / 475 CFS

P.S., picked up a pair of Itasca Swampwalker waterproof boots at the Geneva Gander Mountain. First outing with them. So far, so good. Should have gotten a pair years ago. Very convenient to hop out of the kayak in the low water, drag over gravel bars, fish and stretch the legs, or take a quick photo.

Fox River shoreline Fox River smallmouth bass

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Creek Chub Pikie
October 21, 2010

Private Lakes Fishing Report: Kayaked and fished solo as a guest at a private fish / hunt club. Launched around 12:30 PM and targeted largemouth bass and northern pike by working the edges of submerged timber with a 1/2-ounce Terminator Super Stainless Series spinnerbait in (62) black/blue red flake. Fishing started off slow, with only a few bumps in the first hour. I finally boated a small 20" northern pike that hit off the edge of a fallen tree in shallow water. As I worked my way around to the sun-soaked northeast side of the lake, fishing started to improve. I caught a healthy 18" largemouth bass off some submerged timber. The bass hit a 1/2-ounce Terminator Super Stainless Series spinnerbait in (61) white thumper. I stuck with that spinnerbait the rest of the float.

The highlight of the outing came when I tossed the spinnerbait near a huge chunk of submerged timber in shallow water. The lure got clobbered by a big fish and the fight was on! The brute turned out to be a 23" largemouth bass. I was thrilled! It had the most girth and weight of any largemouth bass I've caught to date. A personal best! I released it after a brief auto-timer photo on shore. I caught nine more largemouth bass and one more northern pike the rest of the float. Needless to say, it was a slow day overall.

The nearly-full moon rose above the treetops around twenty-five minutes before sunset. I stayed to watch the sunset's colors fade and the bright moon dominate the sky. It was a sight to behold over the autumn landscape.

Duck Valley largemouth bass Home of the 23" largemouth Duck Valley largemouth bass Duck Valley Bass ID GP 2 at sunset October 21, 2010 moon 99% of full

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Creek Chub Pikie
October 20, 2010

Fox River Fishing Report: Took advantage of the beautiful autumn weather and enjoyed a solo paddle on the Fox River for a few hours late afternoon 'till dark. Threw caution to the wind and opted for mile and a quarter downstream float-n-fish, all the while knowing I'd have my work cut out for me paddling back upstream in the low water. The gusty winds had lots of leaves littering the river's surface. I stuck with a 1/2-ounce Terminator SS 'white thumper' spinnerbait the entire trip. It wasn't a "numbers" outing but it sure was rewarding. I keyed in on the current edges of chunk rock and timber and boated six smallmouth and one largemouth. Two were beasts, taped at 18" and 20". The rest were small, 12.5", 7.25", 8.125", 10", and 8.5".

As the sun neared the western treeline, I turned around and began the strenuous paddle back upstream to my parking area. It was a grind! I clawed my way through shallow riffles, and even had to take my shoes and socks off at one point, hop out, and drag my 16' tandem kayak through a few very shallow areas. Anywhere that a stroke didn't strike bottom was a welcome luxury!

The up-side to my return journey was that I had the sun at my back and the trees in front of me were lit up beautifully. As light faded, I got to enjoy a bright moonrise in the east. Despite all the work to get back, it felt like the perfect autumn outing. USGS 11.06' / 428 CFS

The photo below features the 20". I tossed anchor a short distance to shore and hopped out for a quick auto-timer photo and measurement before releasing that gorgeous Fox River bronzeback.

20" Fox River smallmouth bass

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

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Creek Chub Pikie
October 19, 2010

Small Lake Fishing Report: Kayaked and fished with my seven year old son for about forty minutes before sunset. This was a new lake for us. It is close to home and I've always wanted to give it a try. Since we didn't have much daylight left, it was the perfect time to give it a go. We launched the kayak as the sun was getting low. I stuck with a 1/2-ounce Terminator SS 'white thumper' spinnerbait and worked shoreline chunk rock, fallen timber, and points. My son fished a small firetiger crankbait but was more interested in the snacks my wife had packed for him. In the short outing I boated three chunky largemouth bass in the 15"-17" range. They were beauties and all hit like freight trains. We packed up just after sunset. The lake was glass-calm and we were the only ones fishing.

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Creek Chub Pikie
October 17, 2010

Fox River Fishing Report: Kayaked and fished with my seven year old son for a few hours late morning. The river is low and slow and we went for a long exploratory paddle upstream. He liked the new scenery and we even got out to stretch our legs and explore an island. It was fun spending time together, chatting and fishing. We managed five smallmouth and one largemouth. The largemouth was a chunky 14" and the largest of the bass. All on spinnerbaits. I used a firetiger 3/8-ounce and he tossed a chartreuse 1/8-ounce. He is wiped out from the fresh air and sunshine. Me too! USGS 11.07' / 439 CFS.

Fox River kayaking and fishing Fox River smallmouth bass Fox River smallmouth fishing Fox River smallmouth fishing Troy Park Fox River kayaking Fox River hiking

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Creek Chub Pikie
October 15, 2010

Private Lakes Fishing Report: Kayaked and fished solo as a guest at a private fish / hunt club. The weather was mild and it was a beautiful day to be on the water. The bright sun made fishing a challenge in the clear water. I stuck with a spinnerbait most of the float and ended up boating twelve largemouth bass and three northern pike. I released everything.

Caught the old hawg pictured in the middle two photos below while fishing a 1/2-ounce black spinnerbait with a single smoke Colorado blade in a small finger cover littered with leaves. Was tough to get through 'em, but I figured there would be something worthwhile beneath the mats of leaves. The 1/2-ounce spinnerbait crashed through and once that big blade got fluttering the bait got hammered! It was fun to see that bucketmouth come to the surface for a head shake.

Back in its day I'll bet it was quite a bass and has given a few dozen anglers a thrill over its lifetime. Now it looks like it probably doesn't have much time left. I let it go after a photo and a quick measurement and it swam off into the depths. Taped at 22.25". Got off the water at 6:30 PM in 58 degrees.

Fishing sign Hatchery Lake sign Hatchery Lake Painted turtle sunning 18" Hatchery Lake largemouth bass Gravel Pit 4 22.25" largemouth bass from Gravel Pit 2 22.25" largemouth bass from Gravel Pit 2 Gravel Pit 2 in the late afternoon Gravel Pit 2 in the late afternoon A flock of blackbirds over Gravel Pit 2 at sunset Looking west from Gravel Pit 2 at sunset

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Creek Chub Pikie
October 12, 2010

Fox River Fishing Report: Kayaked and fished solo at the Fox River late afternoon. Launched at Boy Scout Island, a few blocks north of the St. Charles dam. I have not paddled or fished this stretch before. Was hoping to find some deeper water and perhaps some current. Not much luck in either department. I met some guys at the launch that were just as happy as I was to have a "summer day" in the middle of October. They had a really nice Supra wake boat and were suiting up for some late afternoon water skiing. They were nice guys. Their boat was pretty fast and I'll bet they never made it past half-throttle. The funny part is, their stereo was bangin' the entire time. It was like they had a soundtrack to ski to. I was cracking up every time they buzzed by. My kayak vibrated from the bass and they left me with 2'+ rollers in their wake. Needless to say it added to the adventure.

I paddled south to the dam and cruised around the dam face and walls by Hotel Baker. I paddled north to the mouth of Ferson Creek, around that area, and back to Boy Scout Island. I didn't find much current or many worth-while smallie areas to fish in the low water. However, unlike the night before, I didn't get skunked. I managed a foot-long largemouth on a 3" Zara Spook, and also caught a 15.25" smallmouth on a 3/8-ounce 'white thumper' spinnerbait fished around a fallen log and chunk rock. Had another one of the same size slam it a few casts later but it jumped off. USGS 11.11' / 487 CFS. Got a few late afternoon shots from above the St. Charles dam. Probably a perspective of that area few fishermen have seen.

Above the St. Charles dam Above the St. Charles dam St. Charles River Queen paddle boat A fox sculpture made out of bicycle parts Fall foliage across from Ferson Creek

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Creek Chub Pikie
October 11, 2010

Fox River Fishing Report: I ventured a bit north yesterday with the hope of finding some deeper water on the Fox to paddle and fish. I launched from the concrete pad at Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve in St. Charles Township. This area looked attractive to me because on the map it's where the river makes several sweeping bends. In the particular stretch that I paddled, the river runs from east to west. The current was mild and the north side of the river was running particularly silty and lighter in color. I paddled upstream to the picturesque pedestrian bridge that spans the river. It was very shallow and if not careful, a lazy stroke would chip bottom. I really wanted to get above the bridge, but since it was shallow the current running between the bridge pillars was fast and required about five minutes of hard digging before I could move my 16' kayak twenty feet upstream to clear the bridge. I was sweaty, but made it! It was fun to explore and take in some new scenery. In addition to the entire area being shallow, I encountered hoards of carp fleeing in every direction when spooked by my approaching kayak. This was a constant no matter where I paddled. I think I found the mass congregation of Fox River rough fish!

I fished a Lucky Craft Sammy 100 topwater in pearl ayu the entire trip. I worked it around chunk rock, laydowns, riffle-pool areas, etc. I got two nice blowups in areas of chunk rock and mild current, but unfortunately I missed 'em both! The second one seemed like a decent fish, and I actually thought I had gotten bit off on the blowup, figuring it was a musky or northern pike. My line immediately went limp and then bowed in the current. But alas, I was schooled by my quarry as it had run downstream and past me in the blink of an eye. By the time I caught up to it, I felt the fish and it simply let go. How fish can nail a topwater with two ultra-sharp treble hooks and still not get hooked is perplexing. But you can't win 'em all!

I floated and fished leisurely downstream to the west. Tekakwitha Woods borders the river on the south shore. The autumn scenery was breathtaking. I floated past Al Capone's Hideaway (gray building pictured) and down past a few small islands before finally turning around and paddling back upstream to the launch. There are some homes on the north side of the river that have gone through a lot of work to protect their shorelines with chunk rock and boulders. I even encountered a few stream barbs. Again, the water along the northern shore was lighter in color and very silty.

Although I took a skunking for the outing, the stretch was nice and it was fun to explore some new water. The missed opportunities were my own fault and I felt lucky to have had a few. I'd paddle and fish this stretch again when the river is higher ... it was really pretty. USGS 11.09' / 463 CFS

A typical smallmouth hangout Bike bridge over the Fox River A lost fox statue Great blue heron A bike bridge over the Fox River Boat launch at Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve Al Capone's Hideaway Sunset on the Fox River

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Creek Chub Pikie
October 10, 2010

Forest Preserve Fishing Report: Kayaked and fished a local forest preserve lake with my seven-year-old son, my brother-in-law, and his four-year old daughter. The lake is loaded with 10" to 14" largemouth bass. It's impossible to get "skunked" and a perfect place for kids to learn to bass fish. My niece was thrilled to float the lake and fish from the kayak. They boated around ten largemouth (spinnerbait) and a few bluegill (float-n-fly). My son and I boated fifteen largemouth bass. My son landed three all by himself (crankbait)! The largest were chunky thirteen-inchers. I stuck with a 3" Zara Spook in G-finish gold bass metallic. Everyone had a great time and enjoyed the warm autumn evening. We treated the kids to ice cream afterward before heading home.

The happy kayaker Reeling in a largemouth bass Showing off a catch Paddling back at sunset

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Creek Chub Pikie
October 8, 2010

DuPage River Fishing Report: Kayaked and fished the "Dupe" with my buddy Branson. Gorgeous afternoon to be on the water. Launched wearing sandals. Water sure felt cool! The river is running low, slow and very clear. Lots of vegetation washing downriver. Not just the eel grass and roots, but also lots of filamentous green algae. Even hula grubs were tough to work. We did a long float and it was a grind. We squeaked out a mere five bass between the two of us. One largemouth and four smallmouth. Everything on the hula grub. Had a few other pecks and a few other missed hooksets but it was very slow overall. We'd float hundreds of yards with no action. The bright sun made photography tough. Everything kept getting washed out. I managed a few decent pics that depict the clarity of the river. Autumn colors just starting to pop. I imagine they'll go fast.

You can see Branson unhooking a bass in the lower-right of the photo below. Interesting when you don't catch anything for long stretches and then boat a double. I have a feeling that a run-and-gun float trip was too much given the conditions. Perhaps a slow wade early or late would be the way to accurately pick it apart. USGS 4.88' / 47 CFS. By the way, the frog in that pic above was about 1-1/2" long!

DuPage River bullfrog DuPage River grass pileup DuPage River smallmouth DuPage River clarity DuPage River beauty Renwick Road bridge over the DuPage River

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Creek Chub Pikie
October 4, 2010

Fox River Fishing Report: Wade fished solo at the Fox River after work for a few hours until dark. Started out with a #3 Mepp's Aglia in silver / squirrel and worked it downstream through a waist-deep run. Picked up three little smallmouth in short order, all in the 7"-9" range. That's an Aglia for you. It's a great anti-skunk lure, but the fish don't tend to be very big. As the sun sank behind the treeline, I tied on a Lucky Craft Sammy 100 topwater and began working tight to a knee- to waist-deep shoreline with sparse large boulders. I picked up two smallmouth on topwater, both around 12". At least they were getting bigger! I capped off the wade with a beautiful 18" bronzeback that swirled beneath the Sammy twice before finally engulfing it and tailwalking across the surface upon hookset. Waded back amidst an orange afterglow in the western sky and flocks of Canada geese noisily returning to the river's many gravel bars for the night. USGS 11.15' / 538 CFS.

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Creek Chub Pikie
October 3, 2010

Fox River Fishing Report: Wade fished solo at the Fox River for about 1.5 hours early evening 'till dark. I started out with the #3 Aglia in silver / squirrel and picked up five smallmouth while bulging the lure downstream just beneath the surface. All of the bass were small. I switched to the LC Sammy 100 in pearl ayu towards dark and worked the heck out of it. I worked through all of my known "big fish" areas in the stretch and only managed a 12" smallie for my topwater efforts. Hoped for the big blowup but it never happened. Hands were cold. Time to bust out the thin hunting gloves. USGS 11.18' / 577 CFS.

Fox River gravel bar

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Creek Chub Pikie
October 1, 2010

Fox River Fishing Report: I met my fishing buddy Kevin in the late afternoon after work and we launched my kayak just north of the Geneva dam and explored the pool between Geneva and St. Charles. I've only ever shore-fished this area, so it was nice to paddle and fish through some new water and get a different perspective from the kayak. There are some HUGE homes (more like "estates") on the west side and it was really nice to check them out from the water. Amazing architecture and perfectly landscaped / manicured lots plus some beautifully reinforced flagstone shoreline. Unfortunately with the river flowing so low and slow, most of the water looked like carp water. There wasn't enough current to have smallies holed up on typical structure, but we did managed to find a rogue here and there on both the east and west sides. I paddled us north all the way to the St. Charles dam and back. Some areas around downtown St. Charles are shallow enough to bottom-out on. But there is increased flow around there so it helped with the paddle back.

In all we boated ten smallmouth on a variety of baits. The biggest were 15" (3" black and silver floating Rapala), 16-1/2" (5" double-tail Yamamoto hula grub), and 16-7/8" (1/4-ounce Terminator 'white thumper' spinnerbait), 17" (#3 Mepp's Aglia in silver / squirrel). USGS 11.23' / 645 CFS.

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