Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Heidecke Lake 5-11-2010

Geese at Heidecke

I met Mike Matlock at Heideceke Lake around noon on Tuesday, May 11th, 2010. The skies were cloudy and every once in a while a small rain drop would find its way down from the clouds. It looked to be a perfect day for fishing. The water temperature was only 55 which was quite a drop from the last time either of us had been there.

First Cast, First Fish

As we left the cove, I realized I had left my cameras in the car in plain sight. I turned around, went back in and retrieved them before we headed off to our first spot.

My first Walleye of the day

I stopped the boat well before the shoreline we were going to fish and mentioned that the drop off we were approaching was sometimes good for a fish or two. Sure enough, I landed a small Striped Bass on my very first cast.

One of my Smallmouth

Within moments, Mike had a Smallmouth Bass on. He put it in the boat, unhooked it, and quickly released it. With two quick fish in the boat, I was hoping that was an omen for a good day.

Inspecting the power lines

We weren't fishing for more than a couple minutes when a helicopter buzzed over us. It was inspecting the power lines that run over the lake. Heidecke used to be a power plant cooling lake, but the plant has since been demolished, removing the former source of artificial warmth and current that helped grow giant fish all through the northern Illinois winters.

The wind picks up

I made a comment that the wind was not as strong as was predicted, which was dumb since the wind really picked up as soon as I made that comment. Keeping the boat positioned so Mike could have a good angle at the shoreline became a little more difficult at that point.

Mike with the best fish of the day

I put another fish or two in the boat including a keeper walleye. But then a short time later, Mike tied into it's grandmother. This was a real good sized walleye. The fish came up and we could clearly see the lure in the fishes mouth. The fish went down again and I heard Mike exclaim, "oh", as if he had lost it. But the line quickly tightened back up letting us know the fish was still there. The fish came back up and Mike asked me to net it since now the lure was in the fishes back. I've only seen that happen one other time where a fish was hooked, threw the lure, and still managed to hook himself - and that was a Catfish. After a picture or two, the walleye was in the live well with the other one.

Channel Catfish

We continued fishing, and once things slowed we doubled back and drifted the same area again. We caught more fish but fishing was a little slower. Mike landed a big Channel Catfish that went back in the water and I had one stretch where I hooked three Smallmouth almost in a row but only put two in the boat. None of the Stripers I caught were worth bragging about, but they were fun nonetheless. I only had one possible musky take a crank bait off the end of my line.

Feathered Fishing Guide

As we made our drift, we came across a couple of diving birds that neither of us had seen before.

A pair of diving birds

They would float in the waves, then disappear under the water.

Diving under the water

The sounds they made as they communicated to each other reminded me of a small puppy playing with his buddies.

About to release a small Striper

Once it was time to go, we headed back in and pulled the boat out, then proceeded to the parking lot to remove the fish from the live well so Mike could take them. As I was trying to get the bigger fish that Mike caught, its gill plate put a pretty good slice in my thumb. Then when I handed the fish to Mike, it got him too. My wife said she would have liked a picture of us standing there sharing the same towel to wipe the blood off. We probably did look kind of funny.

Another fish about to be landed


  1. Lake sure seems to be holding up for you for now. I would like it because of all the different species you have to try for. Nice pictures, once again, Bill. Glad you went back to get the camera.

  2. Unbelievable trip. What a variety of fish. Were all of these fish caught on the fly, and if so was streamers the order of the day? I really enjoyed your pics and post.

  3. Everything was caught on crank baits. We tried a few other things, but kept switching back. Smaller seemed to work better.