Wet Wading Last July
Looking out my window this morning I was seeing this.
We've had a lot of snow lately up here and though I have been catching a few white bass through the ice like these guys. I can't wait for open water.
Anyway i've noticed that there have no fishing reports in the warmwater section for a long time and rather than dwell on the this bitterly cold winter I thought it might be nice to remember summer again and how nice it was to wet wade.
Since much of northern Illinois is heavily agriculturalized most of the streams are channelized and the fishing as a result isn't very good. However, if you take the time to explore, and go through your topographical maps or gazetteer there are untouched streams to be found.
This trip took place back in July of 2013 on a hot 88 degree day on a northeastern Illinois warmwater stream. This stream is less than an hours drive from my house and after the spring trout stocking I pretty much have it all to myself.
Anyway this was a perfect day for wet wading and for using my 7'6" Cabelas LST 2 wt along with the old faithful on this stream a size 8 wooly bugger with a purple body and a pink tail.
I pulled into the parking lot by the bridge and strung up my rod and decided to head downstream where my favorite spots are. My primary quarry would be rock bass and smallmouth bass which both live in this stream in good numbers. As I went downstream the riffle below the big pool would be my first spot to hit.
The water willows were becoming abundant this year. I swung my wooly bugger through the riffle where after a few casts I had my first fish of the the day, an average size common shiner.
Followed shortly by this typical rock bass.
and this one.
A few more rock bass came to hand before the riffle was played out. I headed downstream to this run which is always good for a few fish.
The rock bass were stacked up under this tree.
Casting the wooly bugger under the tree I could see a rock bass follow it out. To to get him to strike I sped up the retrieve and watched this monster rock bass pounce on the wooly bugger.
Needless to say this guy a nice bend in my 2 wt and unlike the normal one run and done rock bass this guy kept scrapping until he was brought to hand.
As it turns out there were quite few rock bass under the tree and the technique was always the same. Cast the the wooly bugger under the tree, watch the fish follow it out, speed up the retrieve so the fish thinks it's trying to get away and watch the fish pounce on it. All the strikes were very aggressive. Here are some more rockies that came from the run.
If you think this sounds like fun well, you are certainly right. Even though the smallmouths didn't make an appearance that day I thought to myself this is what fishing is all about. Keeping it simple, wet wading, and watch the fish strike your fly. Who could ask for anything more.
Those last pictures look a lot better than your first two. Cool looking little stream!
:smile:Great reflections! reminded me of some of my own memories of the past year.
That had to be a blast on a 2 weight.
I'm soooo ready for some warm weather.
That amount of snow is insane. I guess you guys are getting a little tired of it by now.:rolleyes:
Great pictures of the bass and your fishing adventure! I guess I am going to have to start free-stoning during the winter months in TN as the tailwaters are not cooperating.
Shawn, that's putting it mildly. We had 5" last Wednesday also. I grew up in central New York so I'm used to a lot of snow but, this is getting old. I've been tying flies, going through my gear, patching up my waders and reading LRO forums to keep me going until we get some open water. The next ten days are calling for temperatures above freezing, all the way into the 40's for the next 10 days. That should start melting some of the snow. Having over 12" of snow on the ground in March is ridiculous.
Hopefully the generation schedules on the Clinch are more conducive to fishing.
Looks like your still getting the white stuff according to the Weather Channel. When will it end? (I guess that is THE question.) I will be up in your neck of the woods (around Naperville) in May on business. Think it will be gone by then? Any places you would recommend to wet a line?
The snow better be gone by May. If you're going to be by Naperville I can recommend both the West Branch of the DuPage River and the Fox River. Both are good rivers for smallmouth bass and the DuPage has a nice population of rock bass and a few good size bluegills too.
The DuPage flows right through Naperville and oddly enough some of the best fishing is right in town. Most of the river flows through parks or forest preserves so access isn't an issue. The DuPage is a small shallow rocky stream that lends itself well to wading.
If you go farther to the west towards North Aurora you'll come across the Fox River which is much wider than the DuPage but is also shallow and rocky. There is also a chance of picking up a bonus walleye in the Fox. The Fox flows through several towns (St.Charles, Geneva, Batavia etc.). These are all older communities (former mill towns) with old dams and also with some very nice restaurants and antique shops. One area on the Fox I can recommend is fishing below the lower Batavia Dam. Dam is kind of a misnomer as the dam is a low head dam (as are all the dams, not like the TVA or Corps dams). This stretch runs through a forest preserve and you'll fell like you're in a remote area. You'll see plenty of ducks, egrets, herons, deer and and even a bald eagle sometimes. The usual smallmouth patterns work fine.
Given this cold winter the bluegill and crappie spawn will definitely be delayed. You might be able to hit the spawn. You can try Silver Lake in the Blackwell Forest Preserve.
For more info on DuPage County Forest Preserve lakes go to;
Thanks for the information and the link, Softhackle! And for stirring up some memories! I recognize the Fox and DuPage rivers, as well as the towns of St. Charles, Batavia, et al. I lived in Carol Stream as a kid back in the early 60s. I remember my dad taking us fishing to Pratt's Wayne Woods. I imagine it's changed a lot since then. But it's good to know there are places with access. Let's hope the snow is long gone by then. It should stay light until 8:00 or 8:30 in May, so I should be able to get a couple of hours of casting time in the evenings while I'm there. What do you recommend for tackle?
I would recommend a 9' 6 wt fly rod with a bass bug taper line. A 3x leader should work fine. As far as flies it's hard to go wrong with a chartreuse and white Clouser minnow (size 4), brown. olive, and black wooly buggers (size 4 through 8). I'm also partial to olive and brown bunny leeches, size 4 and olive and white bucktail streamers tied Thunder Creek style.
If you have a little extra time something that might really bring back some memories is fishing along the lakefront for yellow perch. I was always partial to Montrose Harbor. The Park Bait Shop is right there and is open at about 4 am or so. I know it's not fly fishing but, one one of favorite guilty pleasures is catching a bunch of perch from Lake Michigan with the city skyline in back of you.
As far as security goes I've always considered it a safe area. I've been fishing it over 20 years and have never had an issue there. The police patrol it pretty well plus early morning will have a lot of joggers, birders etc. Even at sun up the lakefront is a busy place.
Looks like you used to live a little west from me. I live in LaGrange.