Friday, March 27, 2009

LaSalle Lake March 27, 2009

I got to the lake just after sun up and it was cold and windy. There was a lot of fog blowing over the water from the warm side of the lake. Once you left the ramp area, visibility went down and you had slow way down.

A boat ahead in the fog.

Once I approached the spot where we did good last week, I saw there were three boats on it so I moved down the bank a ways and started to fish. It took about 20 minutes before I caught the first fish. It wasn't the biggest fish in the lake, but it was a fish. As I moved down the bank I noticed a large bird in the same tree where we had seen another large bird the week before. This time it was a Bald Eagle and I was able to get a couple photos despite the fact it was a quarter mile away.

Bald Eagle

There was a lot of wildlife around the lake today including nesting geese, turkey vultures, redwing blackbirds, and seagulls. There were plenty of large carp spawining in the rocks on the warm side of he lake and a few of them came all the way out of the water whle chasing each other over the rip rap.

Turkey Vulture

Nesting Goose

I spent most of the day throwing crank baits and I probably chose a larger bait than I should have because I ran across a former fishing partner who was using a smaller lure and he had a couple real nice fish in his livewell that he released after I took a couple pictures for him.

I tried a couple more spots with similar results and then ran to a spot where boat control would be a little easier in the wind. I deceided to throw a plastic worm and managed to land a decent catfish on it. He could have swallowed the bass I caught a couple casts later.

I worked my way around to the wind blown bank and the average size of the fish went up a little, but after looking at my watch I realized I had better head for the ramp after the next fish. It took about three minutes and another 15 inch Largemouth was in the boat.

The water temperature was 63 at the ramp and in the mid 80s in the discharge canal. I didn't spend any time in the discharge canal because the wind wasn't making it easy to fish in there the way I wanted to.

The wind was so strong out of the north that even after I hooked the boat to the trailer, the tail would blow off to the side making it impossible to pull the boat out of the water without having the boat rest on the fender. Lucky for me another boater was kind enough to hold the boat steady for me while I pulled forward up the ramp.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Using Satellite views of Fishing Lakes

I recently updated the pages on my site that allow you to display satellite views of different lakes. Google offers some great technology to webmasters that allows them to bring visitors some very useful mapping options for their favorite fishing holes.

So what can you do with these pages?

The first thing that you would want to do is click on the lake you want to visit. If you don't have the Google Earth plug-in, you will be prompted to download it. Also, if you do not have a compatible web browser, you will be shown a list of browsers that have been tested by Google and certified to work with their Google Earth technology.

Once a lake is displayed on your screen, you will want to use the slider control to zoom in or out. some of the lakes offer very high resolution graphics and you can zoom in very close. Next, the top control allows you to level off and choose where "North" will be oriented so that you have more of a bird's eye view of the lake. You can pretend you are bird or that you are flying around the lake in an airplane. The middle control will let you control your flight. You will want to spend some time experimenting with the controls until you are proficient at flying your way around the lake.

If you plan to fish the lake, you can look for points, coves, downed trees, or other structure. You can develop a plan to hit these areas rather than launch with no plan at all. This way you will be more likely to be fishing water that contains fish. On some of the maps, you can even see drop offs, mud lines, eddys, and other things you would not be able to see from a boat. Once you have a general idea of where these things are, you can use the electronics in your boat to learn more about the areas and fish them more effectively.

Some other things I have added to the pages allow you to see a standard map, hybrid map (combination of a satellite and standard map) or a down looking satellite view. These can help you find your way to the lake or locate the various amenities that might be near the lake. You do not need the Google Earth Plug in to use these maps.

If there is a lake you'd like to see added to my web site, let me know. Even if you don't plan to visit some of the lakes, you can still have some fun pretending you are a bird.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

LaSalle Lake March 18, 2009

I met Mike Matlock at the boat ramps just as the lake was opening. It was still dark so it took an extra minute or two to get the lights out and set up. As Mike was backing my vehicle and the trailer down the ramp, I realized that the drain plug was still in the car. Mike stopped in time, and after I put the plug in we set out into the darkness.

We ran towards the warmer side of the lake and found a spot about halfway down one of the banks, far enough away from the other boats that were starting to congregate on that side of the lake. After a few minutes of casting it was "Fish On"! I landed a nice Smallmouth before the sun was up. Mike quickly followed with a nice Largemouth, then another, then another, then another....

Mike with a nice LaSalle Lake Smallmouth Bass
Mike with a nice LaSalle Lake Smallmouth Bass

For a while it seemed like every cast was good for a fish. I threw crank baits and Mike switched off between a small crank bait and a 7 inch worm. I'm pretty sure he caught more fish on the worm than I caught on the crank baits, and he didn't have to worry about those sure-set hooks winding up stuck in his finger like I did. Ouch!

The sun came up a short time later and looked spectacular through the clouds. Fortunatly for us, it quickly dissapeared behind more clouds and that helped keep the fish biting. Once the sun made a brief appearance later in the morning, the hot bite quickly stopped and the fish were fewer and farther between.

LaSalle Lake Sunrise

Mike and I lost count of how many fish we caught. Most were in the 12 to 15 inch range with a few larger ones thrown in. Both of us lost a couple really big fish before we were able to get them to the boat, but we caught more than enough nice ones to make us happy. We caught Largemouth, Smallmouth, Catfish, Drum, and a few Striped Bass.

Mother nature blessed us with better weather than what was predicted. It was warmer than forecast, and the rain showers held off until the boat was washed, covered, and put away. The water temperatures at the lake ranged from around 62 at the ramp to the mid 80s in the discharge canal.

More Pictures from this trip:

You can visit LaSalle Lake and take a 3D Tour here:

Des Plaines River Northern Pike

This pike was caught Feb. 16th 2009 in the Des Plaines River. I was fishing with Al Bernicky. To see more photos from this trip, visit: