Fox River North Aurora Dam Removal

On January 8th the above article on the Fox River North Aurora dam removal appeared in the Aurora Beacon News. I thought it would show up on their website, but it never did. Rather than leave it on my Waterdog Journal Facebook page, I thought I would put it up here.

The day the article came out, I put up the following:

Two of the best fishing stretches on the Fox River are between Batavia and Aurora. I say two, though it could be one, but it’s split in half by the North Aurora dam.

These are the stretches where I used to spend the bulk of my time fishing and know them well. I’ve canoed the pool above the dam numerous times and years ago when I spent a lot of time and energy on dam removal issues, I dreamed of the day I could wade around in that area. I already know where I want to go.

In today’s Beacon News there is an article by Denise Linke (I’m assuming she’s related to Rob Linke). It’s about the possible removal of the North Aurora dam. If nothing screws up, it can happen in less than two years.

I’m speechless. I would like to see this happen without a single glitch.

Did you know that between the dam and the mouth of Mill Creek, on the west side, there are small limestone bluffs?

Like I said, I already know exactly where I want to go.

A couple of things I find disturbing about the article is that one North Aurora Village Trustee, Laura Curtis, cast the only dissenting vote. I’ve read other articles where she compares the North Aurora dam to the ones in Geneva and St. Charles. They built their downtowns around their dams, so they have some value, don’t they? She failed to mention that those downtown areas evolved around their dams over a period of over 100 years. In all the years that the North Aurora dam has been in place, the Village has done virtually nothing in the area.

You have Harner’s Bakery and Restaurant on one side (worth stopping there if you get a chance), and a dance studio and the police station on the island. That’s it. There’s nothing really to speak of radiating out from the dam. Old strip malls if you can call that a down town.

The other thing I find bothersome is the insistence of keeping the mill race. The article states that the whole project could be benched if the mill race can’t be preserved.

That I don’t understand at all. I’ve walked the whole length of the mill race numerous times. In the water. I like it because it behaves like a small creek for a relatively short length, the whole thing is not that long, and the fishing isn’t bad on a good day.

But if their reason for preserving it is because it may have some kind of historical significance, I just don’t see it. Again, for all the years the mill race has been there, the Village of North Aurora has done practically nothing with it.

One side can’t be accessed at all because of the handful of homes that line the shore. The island side that’s a park isn’t much better. Most of the shore is overgrown to the point of being nearly impenetrable. And if you could get through it, the bank is too steep to do anything with. My suspicious nature tells me there’s more to it than meets the eye. Has me wondering who lives in those handful of homes along one shore.

Hopefully the engineering studies will show that water will still flow through the mill race if the dam is removed. Over a dozen years ago when I was heavily involved with the dam removal studies and issues on the Fox River, I checked out the area where the mill race starts. There’s a good chance the water will still flow.

I hope so. I’d like to see that dam gone. It would be disappointing for something as insignificant as that mill race to end what could be a vast improvement of a nice sized stretch of the Fox River.

But then, who am I to talk. My own desire to see it gone is so I can go wading around in the river between where the dam currently sits and the mouth of Mill Creek.

Did I mention the small bluffs along the west shore?

Really would be nice to find out if the fishing is as good along there as I think it could be.

Doesn’t get any more self serving than that.


Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Sleigh bells ring
Are you listening
In the lane
Snow is glistening
A beautiful sight,
We’re happy tonight
Walking in a winter wonderland


Gone away, is the bluebird
Here to stay, is a new bird
He sings a love song,
As we go along
Walking in a winter wonderland


In the meadow we can build a snowman
And pretend that he is Parson Brown
He’ll say are you married
We’ll say No Man
But you can do the job
When you’re in town


Later on
We’ll conspire
As we dream by the fire
To face unafraid
The plans that we’ve made
Walking in a winter wonderland


Sleigh bells ring

Are you listening

In the lane

Snow is glistening

A beautiful sight,

We’re happy tonight

Walking in a winter wonderland


Gone away, is the bluebird

Here to stay, is a new bird

He’s singing a song

As we go along

Walking in a winter wonderland


In the meadow we can build a snowman

And pretend that he’s a circus clown

We’ll have lots of fun with Mr. Snowman

Until the other kiddies knock him down


When it snows

Ain’t it thrilling

Though your nose, is a chilling

We’ll frolic and play, the Eskimo way

Walking in a winter wonderland




Which is Worse

I can’t decide which is worse.

Wasting my time, energy and debatable artistic talent tying a fly.

Or, sitting down and making a multicolor etching of said fly.

I can and have done both in what seems like another life, but the combination of the two…

I don’t know.

In 2015 both talents seem quaint at best.

I can buy all the flies I’ll ever need for considerably less than the investment it would take to tie them.

As for etching, don’t they make a Photoshop filter for that?


End of an Era

End of an era, for me any way.

Once upon a time, typesetting the financial sections of company annual reports was a very lucrative business. I had the opportunity to work on a few of the AR’s from some of the top companies here in Illinois. Little companies you may have heard of like Sears, Allstate, Walgreen, Grainger, Morton International, Harris Bank, Motorola and Peoples Energy. Amongst many others. Over the past 25 or so years I typeset the financials on well over 200 AR’s.

As I said, it was once lucrative.

Years ago here in the Chicago area there was an informal group called The Chicago 35. They were the top 35 design firms around here. Over the years I got to work for and with over half of them.

If you ever read any comments I make about how things look… websites, magazines, photos… it stems from the association I had with those designers. I do my best to keep my mouth shut, but now and then I just can’t help myself.

I was very well trained.

Mediocrity is unacceptable.

Question everything.

This also caused big problems for me. I’m never very happy with the things I produce for myself. I have to force myself to accept and put out there things that I feel fall short.

I’ve almost learned to live with it.

Then about 10 years ago, things started changing. Financials were simplified to the point of being the ugliest things in an AR. The typesetting of them was sent out to places like India, China and other countries where English is barely a second language. In order to compete with them, I would have to do the AR’s for free.

For the past few years I’ve only had one AR to do, a little drug company called Abbott Laboratories. Beautiful AR year to year if I can boast a bit, done by a design firm called Hartford Design. The owner Tim says he fly fishes, but I’ve never seen it. If any one reading this has a need for high quality design for damn near anything, give Tim a call.

And if you get him out fly fishing, take a picture of the event and send it to me. I want proof of what he’s told me in the past.

I just sent off an email to Hartford… due to time constraints caused by the first full time job I’ve had in over two decades, I will no longer have the time to work on the Abbott Annual Report.

And with that, another door on the past slams shut.

Now, what’s next.