Fox River Deadfall
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October 7, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Traveled light and fished my closest spot to home. Was only there a few minutes when I got a nice thump on the hula grub and caught the biggest fish of the outing. Got a whistle and a yell of, "Nice fish!" from a passerby. Did a long exploratory wade but only scored four more smallies in the low water. Stuck with the hula grub the entire wade. A couple of the fish were in the 13"-14" range. Not a stellar outing, but glad I hit the river for a few hours.

Fox River smallmouth bass Fox River, Aurora Poppy

topCreek Chub Pikie
October 5, 2012

Rock River Fishing Report: During the last Illinois Smallmouth Alliance (ISA) Bronzeback Blowout, fly fishing aficionado Ron K. approached me and said he was bidding on a guided trip on the Rock River offered by ISA member Eugene Collins. Ron said it was for two people and asked if I'd like to attend, should he win the trip. Well, Ron won, and October 5 he made good on his offer.

With the river so low and the cold front moving through, we knew we were in for a tough day. We were both ready to see some new water and make the best of whatever unfolded throughout the day. Ron drove to my house and I drove from there. By 11 AM, we met Eugene at a launch on the Rock River.

Eugene had his boat in the water and was patiently awaiting our arrival. His boat is well-equipped to fish the big water of the Rock and spot-hop as needed. It became immediately clear to me that kayaking the stretches he showed us would take some serious effort -- his setup with a 50 hp outboard and a strong-thrust trolling motor with dual batteries was really the way to go. Form follows function, and it was evident that Eugene had spent a great deal of time learning the river and knew what to do, and what not to do. He paid close attention to his electronics so he could follow the main river channel accurately and save his prop.

The sky remained overcast the entire day and we experienced some chilly wind gusts that were probably up around 20 MPH. Luckily, we were bundled up and able to deal with the elements. Eugene also did his best to provide a variety of areas for Ron and I to cast, some were very sheltered and comfortable.

Ron struck first with a smallmouth on a sinking fly alongside some big rock structure. It was like a jolt of warmth throughout the boat and just what everyone needed. We kept on the spot and I hooked up and landed a smallmouth that bit a hula grub hopped along the bottom. Although I tried various baits throughout the day, the hula grub was best and helped me bring 11 smallmouth to hand. About four of them were in the 14" to 16" range. The rest were smaller, a few barely able to get the hula grub in their mouths.

Ron kept at it with the sinking flies and tied into a few more smallies. It was fun watching him cast the fly rod and still be able to accurately hit his targets despite the wind gusts. A few jokes were made about stripping baskets and the like, all of which Ron took with a grain of salt! Hey, what are friends for?!!

Eugene generously refrained from fishing and was careful to keep the boat in position to optimize our comfort and angles of attack. He finally made a few casts with a diving crankbait and picked off the largest fish of the outing, a beautiful 18" bronzeback. We were all thrilled at the trophy and experiences like that make you forget about the chilly wind for a while.

Overall I was impressed with Eugene's knowledge of the Rock River, his hospitality, willingness, and safety consciousness. He gets an A+ in my book for his guiding efforts. Thank you Ron for the generous invitation, and thank you Eugene for the Tour de Rock!

Fox River smallmouth bass Fox River smallmouth bass

topCreek Chub Pikie
October 3, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Got out in the Cuda to try some topwater through the drizzle. Got soaked but had fun -- and as an added bonus, all the blood washed off my reel! Caught four smallmouth and four largemouth. $1.99 black Gander Mountain buzzbait gurgled through mild current along rocky banks. Day sure had the big fish vibe. Love autumn days that are overcast and calm. Bubble trails on the water...........

With the low water, I saw lots of exposed stuff that I never knew was there. Concrete pilings mid-river. No wonder the walleye guys were always fishing out there! River is down a good three to four feet. Gravel bars, shoreline rock piles, all kinds of iron stuff, broken sea walls, etc. that I've never seen before. It's neat and sad at the same time. It's just about mind-boggling how much water we've lost. It's hard to convince myself that it'll ever return to 'normal', but you know the precipitation has gotta come eventually.

Two of the better buzzbait takers. First and second pic are the same fish. Third was the biggest of the float. Fought like heck. Actually peeled off some line.

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

topCreek Chub Pikie
October 2, 2012

Fox River Fishing Poem:

Started out with 301
Casting pilings in the sun
Stringy greens would prove a pain
And all the pics look much the same.

Number five was colored well
But made my thumb bleed red as hell
I pressed on 'till supper time
And ended up with nine bronze fine.

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

topCreek Chub Pikie
October 1, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Wish I could say October started off strong, but tough bite today. I worked hard for what I brought to hand. Covered a lot of riverbed, over three different towns. My mainstay was the Mega Bass Prop Darter alongside structure in current. Shallow didn't matter as long as it was moving water. Ankle deep held fish. Ended up with 13 smallies, most in the 12" to 14" range with a few around 15". They sure smack the heck out of that bait when they're home! Some foliage is very colorful making for a pleasant backdrop to river fishing. 10.85' / 251 CFS

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© 2018 Fish The Fox. All Rights Reserved. | "Fox River Deadfall" artwork by Paul Turnbaugh. Used with permission.