For almost six years I’ve been living within walking distance of the Yorkville dam. I think I’ve fished near the dam, that would be between the dam and the Route 47 bridge, only once in those 6 years.
Prior to that, when I would make the drive to this area from Elmhurst, I started out fishing near the dam just to get a feel for how the river behaved in this stretch. I quickly migrated down stream of the Route 47 bridge and rarely went back.
I remember one time I was fishing a few hundred yards down from the bridge. From the bridge down for as far as I could see, I had the whole river to myself. Between the bridge and the dam I could see anglers milling around like a bunch of ants. I counted 27 of them in that small stretch of the river.
To fish around that many other anglers would drive me crazy, but it was a pretty common sight around this dam. The average angler thinks that the only place to fish on a river is near a dam. I found out over the years that there is no convincing them otherwise.
Years ago there was a big push to remove as many dams as possible from the Fox River. The Yorkville dam was a big issue. I wanted the thing gone, it served no purpose. The community came out strong in keeping the dam, which was expected. What surprised me was the amount of anglers that came out in favor of keeping the dam. No amount of science or logic would convince them that removing the dam was the best thing you could do for the Fox River and fishing. Which would be good for the fisherman.
They didn’t want to lose their fishing spot and that was that.
So much for that.
The dam has been rebuilt, the Marge Cline Whitewater Course is in place and anglers can’t fish anywhere near it. They’ve been effectively cut off from the dam they fought so hard to keep.
There is no poetic justice sweeter than that which sticks it up the asses of people that should have known better.
Am I gloating? Why, yes, yes I am.
The plan is to put a bridge over the whitewater course. This will allow anglers access to a manmade berm, I guess island, and they’ll be able to fish along the dam again. Fishing will never be allowed within the whitewater course itself. According to the project manager the bridge will be done late summer/early fall. Since this whole project took longer than anticipated, I don’t expect to see it done this year. But you never know.
You can still wade out in front of the dam, you can’t wade through the whitewater course to get there.
I wander down along the whitewater course fairly often. It’s a nice walk from my house, decent exercise. Based on conversations with anglers along here, they had no idea you can no longer fish along the south shore. You don’t see the signs when you pull into the parking lot, they’re down along the river.
They are also completely unaware that the shore on the north side of the river is a public park. I went looking for it on the Yorkville Parks and Recreation site and it’s not even listed there. Since I got this info from former Yorkville Mayor Valerie Burd, I’ll take that as a legitimate source of information.
The park on the north side of the river extends from the dam down to the Route 47 bridge. If you turn east onto Main Street off of Route 47, you’ll immediately see a small parking area. I would imagine you can park along Main Street as long as it’s legal. It even looks like you can park just up from the dam, but I never checked this out thoroughly.
Once you get there, if you don’t go out wading in the river you’re going to have a problem. This shore is not lawn chair or upside down 5 gallon bucket friendly. It’s been a long time since I walked down the channel between the north shore and the island, but my memory is of ankle deep water when the water is at normal levels. I don’t see the point of sitting along that shore, if it’s even physically possible.
If you can get to the south shore of the island, at least you’ll be fishing some deeper water. I remember one spot in particular that I avoided going near while out wading.
It is kind of interesting to see how this area has changed. The Geneva Kayak Center opened at the head of the whitewater park and every weekend there are lots of cars in the parking lot with canoes and kayaks strapped on top. Quite a few venture out in their kayaks trying to figure out how to deal with even this small whitewater. The kayakers call it play and you can see the difference an experienced kayaker makes, they play.
Whitewater Ice Cream opened up right on the edge of the parking lot selling ice cream, along with Creative Kernels selling pop corn and a variety of other things I believe.
And the number one thing I’ve noticed, the area is a lot cleaner, virtually no garbage.
It’s a sad day when you realize you have to ban anglers from a stretch of river in order to ever see it clean again.