Illinois River - December 30, 2010
Icy Parking Lot
Since it's been a while since I fished for Sauger, I thought I'd try to get Jim Lukancic and Al Bernicky out on the river so we could try our luck. Jim had got called back to work for a couple days after being laid off and wasn't able to go, and so Al and I were disappointed he wasn't able to join us.
Launching the boat very carefully
The ride out to river was a messy one. The boat was covered with snow and road scum by the time we got there. The parking lot was a sheet of ice. That was great for the kids who come to the park to sled down the hill, but not great if you're pulling a bass boat. We took our time and had no trouble getting the boat safely in the 35 degree water. By this time, most of the morning fog had dissipated leaving a dreary and overcast day.
Bald Eagles in the distance
As soon as we were on our way to fish our first spot, I spotted a couple Bald Eagles in a tree up river from where we were. We never went close enough to try for some good photos and I figured that we'd see more of them during the day.
A Bald Eagle flies by
A short time after we started fishing, Al said " That bird is going to fly right over your head and you don't have your camera ready?". Sure enough, before I could grab the camera and get a good shot, a Bald Eagle flew right over us. I missed the good shot but caught him flying away from us.
One of my first nice Sauger
Fishing was slow. I caught one or two smaller fish in the first spot we tried, but since we were looking for more and bigger fish, we decided to move. Sitting in a bass boat when you're flying down the river at more than 50 mph is one thing. Doing it when the temperature is at about the freezing mark is quite another. I had to suck it up and take it for a few minutes while we ran to our next spot. That was one cold ride.
A young Bald Eagle watches over our fishing spot
On the way down river, we spotted more Eagles. I wasn't about to try to photograph them as we were moving for fear I'd freeze to death before I could aim the camera. I anticipated the air temperature was going to be a bit warmer than it was and I left my extra clothes in my car - which was parked back in Als driveway.
Once we began fishing, I caught a nice fish right away. That gave us hope we were going to have a better day. Unfortunately every time we found ourselves on top of a school of fish, we had to move to let the tug boats get at the barges were fishing near.
Another fish out of the same hole
I caught another fish once we were able to get back on top of the same spot where had I caught the first, but we were forced off a few minutes later by another tug pushing a couple barges. This got old real quick. I'd catch a fish and we'd have move right away before we could get any more.
A Barge passes us on its way up river