It seemed simple enough.
Drive around for a little over 100 hundred miles, stop and talk to a couple of people and wind up on a fishable stretch of the Fox River by 2 p.m. I had planned on fishing a couple of creeks, but the weather was perfect for fishing the river. While I drove around I planned out my whole approach, where to walk, where to cast and where to sit and take a break at the end of the day.
Though the river was flowing a little high, it was at a level where wandering around the river wouldn’t be much of a problem. The more I thought about it, the more I was looking forward to fishing the river. Everything went according to plan, except for the wind factor. It kept getting worse throughout the morning and early afternoon.
A few minutes before 2 p.m. I drove the road along the river, right on time. Wind blown white caps covered the river and were heading up stream. All of the spots I normally read and cast to were indistinguishable from everything else. I knew I could still pick things apart, but the wind was coming straight out of the west and I would be walking straight into it.
Back to my original plan of fishing a couple of creeks.
The tall narrow valley of the creek did a good job of diverting the winds. The noise rushing through the tops of the trees gave away the strength of the wind, but down on the floor of the creek valley the winds were barely noticeable.
I was hoping the smallmouth bass had made it up stream to this spot nine creek miles from the mouth. Hasn’t happened yet. Out of the first stretch I had to entertain myself with catching some decent sized creek chubs. The males are just now starting to get their bright spawning colors and the knobs on their heads. Since I didn’t feel like scaling down my lure, I landed a few decent sized creek chubs, but none were picture worthy.
Or I’m getting tired of taking pictures of creek chubs.
The next 20 minutes or so was just a walk in the woods as I stumbled along to the next likely fish holding spot. I was in no hurry to get there. I had a feeling it would be empty.
Everything is starting to green. With no thick canopy yet, the forest floor is all lit up.
A thin carpet of flowers on the forest floor adds a touch of color.
You would think that in the 15 years of wandering for miles through woods like this in the spring, I would have found morels by now. At least one. No such luck so far, but I do seem to know where the skunk cabbage live. I hear you can make a tea out of them that will help if you have asthma or bronchitis. Not sure I can convince my wife and mother-in-law to give it a try for their asthma issues.
I know there’s a type of tree fungus that is edible, I found some last year, but it was on Forest Preserve property, which makes it illegal to remove. The fungus found today looks like something between the edible and inedible fungus. It was best to leave it alone.
I could tell I wasn’t into fishing this creek, I felt more like wandering around. When I got to the fishing spot, I cast for awhile, got to watch what looked like crappie pecking at the tail of the lure and I could tell that was the best it was going to get. The smallies weren’t here yet, I could feel it.
The next creek I fished was more out in the open. The wind had also started to come out of the north, blowing straight down the creek. All line control and the ability to feel the taps of fish were lost. I somehow managed to catch a couple of smallies, but it was pure luck since I couldn’t feel the hit on the lure.
I found myself wandering down the shore, casting aimlessly and trying not to step on frogs. Avoiding the frogs turned out to be the more interesting of these endeavors.
I knew the fishing wasn’t going to improve when I got attacked by the killer geese. My interest in fishing after that waned dramatically. The incessant wind wasn’t helping.
I gave up and went wandering through the woods. I think in order to make the morels show up we need a little rain. It’s been a little too dry around here. I also think the only way I’m going to find a morel is to stumble and fall flat on my face. As I’m lifting my nose out of the ground, one will be staring back at me.
Of course, as I headed for the car and walked past one last fishing spot, I had to make a couple of more casts. I didn’t even know I had a fish on till the huge bow of wind blown line was pulled taught. The smallie had to hook himself, there was no real effort or skill involved on my part.
I was done, beat up by the wind and I headed home.
An hour or so later I stepped out my front door for a smoke of a cheap cigar. The air was still, no sound of wind rushing through the trees. The wind had completely died. I considered heading down to the river for those last few minutes of daylight. The effort required to accomplish that seemed daunting.
A nearby chair had my name on it and the hell with daunting. I was just being lazy.