The last I heard, here in the Chicago area this was the mildest winter in 75 years. You would think this would be an ideal setup for the creek fishing I like to do. I’ve been checking the creeks throughout the winter and they never got the amount of ice that I’ve seen in years past. In one creek in particular I haven’t caught a smallmouth bass since the last day of 2011. I thought for sure they would not only be there throughout the winter, I thought for sure now would be an excellent time to be fishing for them.
So far, that hasn’t happened.
I’m far from disappointed, the catching of fish is a bonus for getting to spend time in solitude and silence. Here the silence is so thick that when the car engine is turned off, the silence covers you like a blanket. You suddenly become painfully aware of the ringing in your ears, ringing that is probably there all the time, you’ve just learned to tune it out. Here, that is impossible.
Few cars travel down the road so there is no road noise. In the four years I’ve been coming here, I rarely run into anyone. I’ve never seen another person fishing the creek. I’ve only come across one other set of foot prints in those four years.
Today, all that was heard was the wind hissing through the bare branches and a chorus of song birds. The occasional squirrel rustling through the leaves. Got to see my first chipmunk of the year scurrying beneath a tangle of downed trees. Down in the valley the song of water over rock could be heard.
A couple of mallards were spooked off the water. A few feet later, two pairs of wood ducks jumped and moved further down stream. This would go on for the next hour and a half. I’d get closer to the wood ducks, they’d move a little more down stream. I see them in this stretch of the creek throughout the warmer months. One of these days I’d like to find where they live.
The taps of creek chubs came immediately. A few small ones were landed, then one big female.
I thought for sure this meant a few smallmouth bass in the deeper pools, but it became a stroll down the river teasing the chubs. Or they were teasing me.
A good part of the next hour and a half was spent in the meditative state running water over rock seems to put me in.
I can feel my heart rate slow. My breathing slows with my heart rate. I’ve been told that you can’t feel your blood pressure go up and down. I think that’s said to and by people that have never spent hours wandering down small creeks. I could feel my blood pressure lower.
I seem to have it timed so I can hit two creeks and a small pond in a leisurely afternoon of fishing. I think if the fishing were to become hot and heavy, this first creek would never be left, but for now, the more the merrier.
Second creek, first cast and a smallmouth bass near 16 inches obliged. And that was it out of the creek.
Here to it was dead quiet. The road in the distance doesn’t get used much and it was nice to sit in the soft dead grasses of last year and enjoy the view.
The walk back to the car along the pond had me spooking the nesting geese that call this place home every year. They build their nests right along the pond. I never see eggs or goslings. I’m assuming that’s because of the eagle, the owls, the red tail hawks and the coyote that also visit this place.
You would think the geese would learn.
A number of blue gill were caught from the pond and quite a few more bass self released while being reeled in. None of them were worthy of a picture, but the pond was.
As I got closer to the bridge I could hear a handful of girls chattering away as young girls do. They were hanging out on the small bridge tossing rocks in the water, talking nonsense and of course, texting away to whoever wasn’t there.
Found out that girls scurry away quickly when they see an old guy in waders with a weeks growth of beard come stumbling and crashing out of the woods. That’s okay, I wanted the bridge to myself.
I plopped my ass on the guard rail, lit up a cigar and stared off into the space over the creek.
Eventually, I went home.