Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Des Plaines River - 5/18/2010

Blustery day on the River

My plan was to fish Heidecke lake again for Walleye during the late afternoon and early evening hours, but when I got there it was closed. I guess somebody fell asleep and didn't realize the high winds that came through earlier in the day had subsided quite a bit.

I called the Braidwood office and was informed that the lake was open, but then opted for the river instead. It was still a little windy but not so much that Heidecke should have been closed. I ran down river and fished for a short time before I had a small fish hit the crank bait I was throwing. He came off pretty quick but a couple casts later I had a much better fish on. I put this one in the boat, took a few photos and let him go.

Largemouth Bass

I fished on for a while without another bite so I decided to work my way up river. I couldn't buy a strike so I went even further up river. I probably could have done better had I targeted the spawners, but that's not my idea of sport fishing.

Bald Eagle

As I made my way up river, I spotted a Bald Eagle in a tree. He was tough to see against the dark sky but I stopped anyway and took several pictures.

I got to the first spot I planed to fish and struck out. I saw a lot of Gar coming up and figured they'd drive out a lot of the fish I was after so I moved. I got to the next spot, made my first cast and a giant Gar hit the lure. He came up, shook is head and as soon as the line came in contact with his beak, he was gone with my lure. A short time later I hooked a Smallmouth Buffalo. I brought him to the boat and decided he wasn't worth bringing up for a picture so I played him for another minute next to the boat until he was able to unhook himself.

A pair of Bald Eagles

I hooked one other fish briefly before I decided to head back. I never saw it but it felt like a nice fish. On the return trip that same Bald Eagle was still in the same spot, only now a friend had joined him. I took several more photos before stopping at one more spot to try my luck.


I hooked another Largemouth Bass that looked smaller than the one I caught earlier, but he was able to toss the lure when he came up and shook. After that I packed up and headed home wishing I had been able to spend the time on Heidecke instead of the River.

A lot of Bass are spawning right now, and on top of that, the wind was blowing all the smells from the nearby industry right down the river which did not make for a pleasant trip. The water was 62 degrees and high from the recent rain, but not so bad that it wasn't fishable. I've seen it much worse out there and at least I was on the water and caught a couple fish. The wildlife viewing was nice despite the smells and lack of fish, and that's never anything to complain about.


  1. You tell a common "story" that a lot of us fishermen and gals have experienced. "If I only would have used my other mind and went to this water instead of that one." Anyway, Bill, I always enjoy your photography even if the fishing isn't always great. Keep up the good work!

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  3. Nice largemouth, just wondering what wt. rod and length are you using?

  4. That particular fish was caught on a 7 ft med action spinning rod with 8 lb test P-Line Evolution. The baitcasters I normally use are 6.5 or 7 ft Hvy action with P-Line florocarbon in 10-12 lb test. I sometimes bring 6 to 6.5 ft spinning rods med to med-hvy depending on where I'm going. For steelhead I use an 8.5 and 9 ft rods both med light with 6 and 8 lb P-Line CX Premium mono.

  5. I really like the long rod concept for the largemouth bass and spots I fish for. I never used anything less than 7 ft. with lures such as worms, jigs and lizards. I just feel you get more play with a longer rod. Florocarbon is the only way to go as far as line is concerened. Enjoyed your post.

  6. I also have a baitcaster rigged with P-Line Spectron. It does not dis-color like similar lines and casts great. I use it for throwing into the stuff that would rip floro to shreds. I just rigged a rod with 15 lb test Spectron which is like a 4 lb mono as far as diameter, and as soon as my eyesight returns to normal, I can't wait to get out and try it with plastics.

    The mono is the only way to go for steelhead since with the light line you need the stretch. Where I fish for them, there is a limit on hook size too.

    P-Line evolution isn't a floro, but it has a lot of the same characterisics and has less stretch than mono. I forget what they call it but it can't be beat on spinning gear. I do sometimes wish that the floro would cast as nice on the spinning gear though.