Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Des Plaines River - September 15, 2009

This morning was one of the more scenic mornings on the river. The sun was already above the horizon and there was a little bit of fog rising off the water when I got there. Instead of running my normal route, I decided I’d run back to where we had caught the big Smallmouth a few days earlier.
Sun thorugh the I-55 Bridge
As I pulled out of the marina, my windshield fogged up. I had to stand up in order to see what was on the water ahead of me.

Fog rising off the water

As I took off I realized I had the entire river to myself. There wasn't another trailer in the parking lot.

And we're off....

I stopped to take a few photos along the way.

Sun through the fog

As I headed towards my destination, I was tempted to stop and fish several spots where I'd caught fish in the past, but I kept going.

Scenic reflection

I passed the lotus field but the fog was still rising off the water so the photos weren't as good as I would have liked.

Lotus Flower

I made several casts before I hooked the first fish. It was a good one but it got away. A few casts later and I had another one on. This time I landed a chunky 17 inch Smallmouth. I already had one of my older cameras on a tripod and figured I’d hit the timer button and take the picture that way instead of doing the “hand” shots. It worked – if what you’re looking for is an example of how not to take a picture. The sun was right behind my head so the photo turned out very dark.

How NOT to take a picture

A little later on I managed to catch another slightly smaller fish. It was a nice fish but not a giant like the ones we got last week. I hammered that area with several different types of lures and only caught one more smaller fish before I gave up on that spot.

2nd fish of the day

I tried another spot I’ve never fished before and didn’t catch anything. There was a Green Heron standing on a sunken boat and he didn’t catch anything either so I didn’t feel too bad.

I'm glad I don't have to fish like he does

After giving up on that area, I made a long run to another spot where I usually get a couple fish. There was a barge being loaded with some kind of chemical and some of the workers were giving me nasty looks even though I wasn’t anywhere near them. I struck out with the lure that usually works for me in that spot and decided to throw something much bigger at them. It worked. On the second cast I hooked and landed a big Largemouth Bass.
Largemouth Bass

A few casts later I hooked another one. It was a nice fish but a little smaller than the last one.

2nd Largemouth of the day

After casting that area for a few more minutes, I ran to the spot where we caught most of our fish a few days earlier. I started throwing the same lures I used last time and caught several of the same medium to small fish we got from that spot last time. I decided that since I had already caught a few good fish, I’d throw bigger baits and try for another big one. I had a couple hits from smaller fish, but no big fish.

I fished another spot where we had caught a couple fish during the last trip but struck out there too, so I decided to fish one more spot I hadn’t fished in almost two years. I had a couple hits from what felt like smaller fish even though I was still throwing a bigger bait at them. After several casts I hooked a fish and still am not sure what species it was. My guess is a Warmouth or Rock Bass. No matter what it was, I was surprised that fish hit that big crank bait.

Warmouth or Rock Bass? I'll take it!

On the way back to the marina, I spotted a groundhog on one of the points. I stopped to watch it as it pulled some of the plants down and bit into them. It was interesting to see it look for specific ones and leave others alone. I was also amazed at the way it was able to use its hands almost like we do.

What's for lunch?

This one looks tasty


The water was warmer than it was a few days earlier. The temperature ranged from 89 at one of the discharges to 84. It was sunny all day but a few clouds began to move through as I was getting off the water. That was nice because they hung around long enough for me to wash the scum from the river off the boat and not have to worry about water spots.

Someone else enjoying the nice day


  1. Sounds like you put your time in and it paid off with fish in numbers, if not, always in size. Nice Largemouth Bass there, Bill! Always enjoy your photography skills and animal scenes.

  2. Hey Bill. Looks like a good day fishing. Just in case you don't know about this site, it's great for fish indentification. I found out about it a couple of days ago.
    Even if you're not looking for a specific fish, it's a fun site.