Monday, October 11, 2010

Back On The Water

Des Plaines River - October 11, 2010

Two Pelicans on a Stump
 It's been a while since I've been on the water. For me, being off the water for any length of time is very difficult. It's just one of those things I need to do. I've had some neck and shoulder problems recently so I figured it would be best give things a rest - not that it helped any. Also, for the last year and a half, lack of steady work has allowed me to fish during the week when things are less crowded. Now that I'm back to work full time, I'm back to fishing on the weekends and holidays with the crowds. Today was the Columbus Day holiday so I was able to get out. I had a tough time deciding where to go. Long story short - I went back to the Des Plaines river since it's close and I wasn't sure how long I'd last out there.  
Calm Morning
I put the boat in the water and headed off to a nearby spot where I figured there would be fish holding. It was a beautiful morning with a few clouds, light breeze, and air temps in the low 60s. The water temp was a lot warmer than I expected for a mid October day - high 70s. That told me the power plants up river would be pumping full steam. I went the other direction though.
As soon as I got to my spot I began casting a crank bait along a drop off. I could see fish jumping all around but quickly noticed they were carp. Jumping carp usually do not bode well for a good day of bass fishing on the river. I had a small fish hit the lure but lost him right away. A short time later I snagged the crank bait in the rocks. I began to try pop the lure free like I usually do when I get hung up, but something didn't feel right. I kept this up as I got closer to where the lure was stuck and thought I felt a couple of pumps on the other end. I pulled back and the lure didn't budge - until it took off in the other direction. I scooped a nice Flathead Catfish into the net after a good battle. Unfortunately that was the only fish I caught there, but it was certainly nothing to complain about. I placed him back into the water after taking a few photos.

Flathead Catfish
I ran to another spot where I figured I'd find fish and managed to catch a nice Freshwater Drum. I was hoping for a decent bass and was a little disapointed when I got a look at what it was. Still, it wasn't anything to complain about. I released this fish at the side of the boat without bring it aboard.

Freshwater Drum puts up a good fight
A short time later I caught a small Largemouth Bass and released it without a photo since it wasn't anything to brag about. A few minutes later I decided to run up river after catchng another one slightly smaller than the first.

I wanted to stop at one of my favorite spots but there was a long line of barges tied together that had it blocked off. There was no way I was going to be able to get at it so I kept going as far as I could go until I reached the lock.

Turkey Vulture glides over the river
I began fishing away from the lock chute and caught more floating weeds than anything. There was no avoiding them. My only hope was that a fish would hit the lure before the lure would pick up some of the debris that was very plentiful in the water. There were no takers though.

A few Turkey Vultures were gliding right over my head and didn't seem to concerned about my presense. Acoss the river I noticed two more in a tree. Usually I start seeing Bald Eagles about this time of year on the river but I didn't see a single one today. then again the weather has been unseasonably warm.

Turkey Vultures in a tree
As I made my was away from the lock, a tug approached pushing a couple of barges. The doors opened and the rushing water created enough current to wash a lot of the weeds out. The two guys standing at the front asked if I had caught anything. I replied that I landed a nice flathead and a couple small ones but that was it. Since I hadn't gotten a bite other than a nice Green Sunfish that hit a lure that way too big for him, I moved to another area.

Green Sunfish
I hooked a couple more bass at my next spot including a couple nice Largemouth, and a Smallmouth, but only managed to put another dinky Largemouth in the boat. After beating up the area pretty good, I realized that the many gar that I was seeing had probably chased out what I was after. I saw Gar in all shapes and sizes and hooked a couple of them too. I brought one about 30 inches to the side of the boat and luckily he got away before I was going to have to unhook him.

A small Channel Catfish
By this time I was starting to realize I'd better quit before I over did it, so I hit one more quick spot on the way back. Too bad I wasn't fishing for Bluegills because I found the motherlode. There were some big ones mixed in with the crowd that was holding along a weed edge. I fished the area for a few minutes and after landing a small Channel Cat, I decided to pack it up and head for home.

Bluegills everywhere
I never did catch what I was after, but still had a decent day. I suppose even if I would have struck out it was still a nice day to be on the water. I still kind of wish I had taked the time to drive another hour and a half to fish Powerton Lake, but that will have to wait until February when it opens back up for boats, since it will be closed for the season by the time I get another chance to get out again.

1 comment:

  1. Great photos and sounds like you got into some nice fish! I came close to having to unhook a gar for a friend once, like you thankfully it was a CUR and didn't have to deal with it.