Monday, April 26, 2010

New Web Site is Live

I've spent the past 6 months working on a new website to help outdoorsmen and women preserve the memories they capture during their adventures. Now, anyone will be able to create a unique product with their memory preserved on it at

I have a new 24x36 framed print of a favorite fishing spot hanging in my living room that was converted to Black and White using a tool on the web site. My wife was skeptical until she saw it and now she wants to use the image on all our holiday cards this year. It looks awesome. You can even convert photos to Sepia if you wish. It's very easy to create a piece of fine art that you would be proud to display in your home or office.

The mail lady just delivered a few more items that I created at the site using some scenic photos I took during a fishing trip. I ordered a couple refrigerator magnets, a mouse pad, and a jigsaw puzzle to give as a gift. Now every time I reach for my mouse or go into the refrigerator, I'll be reminded of the time I caught the biggest steelhead of my life.

Visitors to the site will be able to use some of the photos from my library or upload their own. I was able to find a print vendor that allows me to offer high quality products and very competitive prices. There are hundreds of product variations to choose from.

One person who is having his bathroom tiled ordered a few tiles to be mixed in with the ones that were originally picked out.

Another person uploaded a graphic with his company logo and ordered a tote bag.

A friend said he is looking through his pictures to create a calendar that shows the best fish he caught during each month of the past year.

The refrigerator magnets are going pretty good too. I just ordered a key chain with the dogs picture and can't wait for that to show up. I might also get one with a picture of my boat for my boat keys.

Rather than list all of the products here, take a look at the site and see for yourself everything we have to offer. Compare the prices too. Chances are that big department store in town or mega-sized website you've been using for prints uses the same print vendor.

To view a tutorial of how the site works, you can visit this page:

I'll be replacing the videos with better ones eventually, but there is another one that shows some of the products that are available:

As always, please email me any ideas or comments about the site. There is a contact page on the site that will give you my email address.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Heidecke Lake - April 20, 2010

Calm Afternoon at Heidecke Lake

I pulled into the parking lot at Heidecke Lake around 3:00 pm for a couple hours of afternoon fishing since it wasn't looking likely I'd have another chance to get out this week. I was surprised to see an almost full parking lot. As far as fishing goes, I wasn't expecting too much since I never do very well at this lake when its sunny. On top of the bright sunshine, there was also very little wind keeping the lake almost like a sheet of glass.

Small Striped Bass

I ran to an area of the shoreline that did not have any other boaters around and began to beat the shore line pretty good. I saw a lot of Freshwater Drum cruising by, and even a few Common Carp getting ready to begin their spawning ritual. It took a while, but I eventually tied into and landed a small Striped Bass

A Real Nice Walleye

A short time later I had another fish on the end of the line. This one was much bigger and put up quite a fight. I had the net within reach and decided to use it once I saw that I had a good sized Walleye clamped onto my crank bait. I scooped him up, took a couple photos, and released him to fight another day.

A little Smallmouth Bass
The next fish took a while to find. I was almost ready to go try another spot when a small Smallmouth Bass tried to make off with my crank bait. After a quick photo, he was back in the water too.

A nice Musky

Shortly after I got to another spot that I wanted to try before I had to head back home, another good fish hit the crank bait. This time I knew I had a good fish on. It fought hard and made a few powerful runs before I got it close enough to see I had a good Musky on. I grabbed the net and quickly realized that the fish wasn't going to fit, and before I knew it, the lure got tangled in the net with the fish thrashing next to it. Luckily I was able to get my hand under the fish before he got away.

Released to fight again another day

After a few quick photos I lowered the Musky back into the water and he took off like a torpedo. I untangled the lure from the net, put everything away, and called it a day. So for not expecting much, it turned out to be a great outing. The water temp was 62 and the air warmed to 65.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

3 hours at LaSalle

LaSalle Lake - April 8, 2010

I got to the lake right around 8:00 am. Before I pulled into the lot, I noticed the windmills that stretch as far as the eye can see were all turning at a pretty good clip. That told me the lake would be fairly rough. I still think it's funny that so many windmills surround a nuclear power plant, but I guess it's a good thing that they do. As I pulled into the parking lot I noticed that I was the only one there other than a couple shore fishermen.

I launched and headed for spot number one. I was only able to fish the north shorelines because the wind would have made it tough to stay out of the rocks on the east and south banks. There are no west banks other than within the restricted areas and you wont ever see me in there. As it was, the wind was carrying me along the shoreline a lot faster than I would have liked.

My first fish was a nice Bluegill that hit the crank bait I was throwing for bass. A few casts later and I had a 5 lb channel cat in the boat. After that it was slow going. I caught two more small catfish on crank baits and that was it. Never saw a Bass which is rare.

The highlight of the trip were the flocks of Pelicans I saw. I have never been so close to them and I was really kicking myself for forgetting to grab both cameras and my cell phone. I would have gotten some great photos of the Pelicans and the fog.

After switching spots a few times and not getting a bite for 2 hours, I packed up and headed in. I was still the only person dumb enough to brave the 25 mph+ wind out of the NNW and the 43 degree air temp since there were still no other trailers in the parking lot. The water temp was 55 at the ramp and 89 back in the discharge canal. Most of the lake was in the 70s.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Sunday on the Water

Heidecke Lake - Des Plaines River - April 4, 2010

Easter Sunrise at Heidecke Lake

I got to Heidecke Lake just in time to see a wonderful red an purple sunrise. But you know the old saying "red sky in the morning, sailors warning"... that kind of turned out to be true considering before long the wind was blowing past 35 mph out of the south.

The wind is picking up fast

I had a limited amount of time to be on the water before I had to be back in time to get to a family gathering. Fishing was slow and after two hours I hadn't had a bite so I started thinking about heading for the Des Plaines River where it would be easier to deal with the wind. As it was, the wind was pushing me towards the rocks and without a bite to show for it, it wasn't worth the effort to stay out of the rocks so I left for the river.

Early morning swim at Heidecke

As I was packing up, I noticed something bobbing in the waves. Upon closer inspection I saw that it was some type of critter swimming across the lake. It looked like a beaver to me but I never saw the tail so I can't be 100% sure that's what it was. I picked up the camera and took a few photos before I headed into the waves for the boat ramps.

Young Bald Eagle

I made the short drive to the river and with the limited time I had left, I decided I'd try two spots and then head home. I struck out at spot number one, although I hooked and lost a very small White Bass before I got it to the boat.

I left that spot after a few minutes then headed for spot number two. On the way I spotted a young Bald Eagle sitting atop a dead tree in the water.

Channel Catfish

I got to spot number two then proceeded to let the wind carry me along the bank as I threw a couple different crank baits toward the shoreline. About halfway through the drift I caught a nice Channel Catfish. A couple casts later I snagged a big Carp. I brought him to the boat, got him in the net so I could get my lure back, then flipped him out of the net back into the water. As I ended my drift, I hooked and lost a tiny Largemouth Bass.

Pelicans over the Des Plaines River

The day started out in the mid 40s but quickly warmed into the mid 60s. The water at Heidecke was only 52 which was 4 degrees cooler than the previous day. The water in the river was in the 60s. As the day progressed the clouds thickened, and after I got the boat put away and we left for our family gathering, the rain and thunderstorms began. All in all it was a great Easter on and off the water.