Friday, June 25, 2010

Slow day at the Monee Reservoir

Monee Reservoir Shoreline

When I turned into the parking lot at the Monee Reservoir right at 6:00 am, I was surprised to see quite a few cars in the lot already. I wound up being 5th or 6th in line to rent a boat for the day. I was on the water by 6:20 hoping for one of the big bass that swim in that lake.

It didn't take long before I hooked one. The fish took the plastic worm I was throwing and made a powerful run before it jumped and threw the whole thing back at me. I got a good look though and was kicking my self for not setting the hook a second time. This would have been one of the biggest Largemouth Bass I'd caught all year.

First Catfish of the day

I continued working my way around the lake and had another fish grab the worm and make a powerful run. I got a good hookset into the fish this time but quickly realized that it wasn't a bass on the other end of line. I could feel the tell-tale head shake of a good sized catfish and sure enough, that's what it was. I brought it to the boat and unhooked it without removing it from the water.

Second Catfish of the day

Bass were no where to be found. The concession worker told me he thought the storms had them shut down and it sure seemed like he was right on. He's there everyday and knows what's going on so I figured I'd change tactics. I started throwing a crank bait and quickly hooked another nice fish. It wasn't as big as the first one, but it was still able to toss the lure before I got the fish to the boat. Another foot and it would have been in the net that I was leading him towards.

Since the bass were not cooperating, I decided I'd try throwing live night crawlers into the open holes in the lily pads. I never use live bait but figure it couldn't hurt to give it a shot. I had a couple fish grab the worms but think they were bluegills because they'd pull and then there'd be nothing. I gave up on that pretty quick.

Monee Reservoir Lily Pads

I started to make another trip around the lake and manged to catch another good Catfish on a plastic worm, and 4 smaller Largemouth on crank baits. My trip was then cut short by a phone call telling me a hose had come apart on my pool and we'd lost a foot of water. Luckily that took a flathead screw driver and less than 60 seconds to fix.

Typical Largemouth Bass for today

One thing that I noticed was that a few times a dragon fly would get close to landing on a lily pad, there'd be a swirl. Since the skies were bright blue, I knew the bass that weren't deep would be tight to cover and seeing a couple bass go after dragonflies at least let me know they were in there. They weren't around the edges but backed well into the pads - away from the area I spent most of time targeting. Next time I'll have a rod rigged with 50lb braid so I can get something through those pads closer to the shoreline.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Monee Reservoir - June 6, 2010

Deer in the lily pads

I hit the Monee Reservoir with Chris Nolan early Sunday morning. We were the first ones there and the first ones out in a rental boat. The weather forecast from the night before was for possible showers and clouds. None of either were anywhere to be found. The water was 72 degrees and the skies were clear as could be since cold front had passed through the night before bringing tornadoes just to the south.

Chris unhooks the first fish of the day

We started fishing in a spot I usually do pretty good in but we didn't get a thing. After fishing there for a few minutes we moved to the next spot and Chris caught the first fish of the day on a crank bait which was also his best of the day.

My first fish of the day

We moved on and I soon had my first fish of the day on. It hit a plastic worm tossed into an open pocket in the lily pads. A short time later, Chris had another fish in the boat which was caught on a different crank bait.

Small turtle sunning itself
We moved on and found that it was getting harder and harder to control the 12 foot aluminum row boat we were in due to the increasing wind speed. Chris spotted a nice Northern Pike swimming along the weed line with its head out of the water. He threw a lure 15 feet in front of it, but the fish was still spooked and it took off.
My best fish of the day
I did the best I could do with the transom mounted trolling motor I brought which was much more powerful than the ones you can rent. As we were moving against the wind, I felt a fish pick up the plastic worm and set the hook on my best fish of the day.

Another Largemouth Bass about to be released

The fish fought hard and jumped higher than any Largemouth I'd ever seen before. A short time later it was in the boat for a couple photos before it was released to fight another day.

Turtle climbing onto a log

We made our way back around to where we started and fished the area again since it usually produces a good fish for me. Not today though. We gave up on it and moved on to the north half of the lake.

My last fish of the day

As we made our way between an island and the north bank, Chris spotted a fish thrashing around in the weeds. We couldn't get it to hit anything so we kept moving. Before we got too far away from that spot, I tossed the plastic worm just outside the weed line and felt a fish pick it up. It didn't take long to get my last fish of the day to the boat.

Turkey Vulture over the lake

Because the trolling motor had been running non-stop all morning due to the wind, the battery began to show signs of tiring. We decided to head back before the battery was completely dead so that we wouldn't have to row.

Monee Reservoir