I Caught a few Fish

I Caught a few Fish

Over the weekend I stopped at the site of the now gone Blackberry Creek Dam for a total of 45 minutes. Around 20 minutes each time, enough to smoke a small cheap cigar.

In that 45 minutes I caught five fish and missed three others. I knew the fish would be here. Before the floods came the fish were already up in this creek, smallies, crappie, carp and suckers. It was the only creek in the area that I could find that was partaking in the yearly spring spawning run up the creeks.

The water is still high and going in the water would be foolish. I intentionally didn’t put on waders in order to keep from being foolish and attempting to go in the water. It wouldn’t have been the first time, but I’m learning.

So, here’s a few of the fish.

A rough estimate:

This year marks my 18th year of fishing the Fox River and it’s creeks.

On the low side I estimate I’ve made a little over 1,300 trips out to the river or one of it’s creeks.

Each wading trip consisted of at least two miles for an estimate of 2,600 miles. Since I also have to walk the shores to get to where I want to wade, that’s another 2,600 miles walking along their banks. I know both those numbers are actually higher.

On average I catch 20 fish per outing, but who knows really. Now and then I’ll get skunked and I have had a few 100 fish days. Quite a few over 50 and lots of other good days of 30 or more. But we’ll say 20 for it’s simplicity. That’s roughly 26,000 fish caught. Probably more than that were hits with no hook up or fish that didn’t want to stay hooked.

Largemouth, smallmouth, muskie, pike, walleye, white and black crappie, white and yellow bass, three varieties of sunfishes, channel and flathead cats, carp, four varieties of suckers and creek chubs. I can’t think of any others. Oh, shad.

But this is the first time in all these years and all this fishing and wading that I caught one of these.

A yellow bullhead.

I assumed they didn’t live here.

Of course, I couldn’t have taken a worse picture of the slimy little thing if I tried.

31 thoughts on “I Caught a few Fish

    1. Ken G Post author

      It’s been years since I’ve gone that far north Bob. I’m surprised that the perch never head downstream. I don’t think of them as river fish and with all the dams up that way and the flatter river bed, probably better conditions for them.

    1. Ken G Post author

      It was fun day Jim. I payed for it on Sunday after moving around about a thousand pounds of dirt for my garden. I thought I was in better shape.

  1. Dan "The Impractical Fisherman"

    I am surprised you have never caught a yellow bullhead on the Fox. I have seen a few reports of people catching them up near the McHenry Dam, but that is way north of your hood. Good to see you wading again, hope it is the start to a good season.

    1. Ken G Post author

      I’ve caught them out of other creeks that don’t feed the Fox. Odd for the Fox. This one was caught downstream of the pond that was used as a bypass channel. I’m wondering if it came out of the pond.

    1. Ken G Post author

      I was a bit lazy this winter Josh. Could have gone a couple of times over the winter, but it was nice and warm at home. Now I’m waiting for the flood waters to recede. I need to wander down the middle of the river.

    1. Ken G Post author

      They are just small catfish Robin and I do like catfish. If I could find a place where there’s a bunch of them I’d consider it.

        1. Ken G Post author

          You have a great site Olaf. I don’t have the time anymore to keep up on what everyone is doing, but I like what you’re doing.

          Hopefully you see this response. I hear some sucker species are exceptional table fare. You ever partake and have an opinion on that or are you strictly C&R?

          1. Olaf

            Thanks, Ken. The feeling is mutual!
            I have yet to eat any suckers, but almost everything I read about them (going back to some of the first things written about them in the early 1800s), and those I’ve talked to who’ve eaten suckers back up the idea that they’re good fare. To me the most intriguing recipe is “sucker balls” because grinding the meat takes care of the little bones, and deep frying essentially dissolves what’s left of them. I’m definitely going to give it a shot this year, either with fish I catch or with the dying suckers I keep finding left behind by bowfishers on a creek near you. I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about smoked suckers lately.

            Speaking of less-commonly-eaten fish, last fall I brought a couple shortnose gar and a silver carp home for the kitchen. The carp I cooked poorly and didn’t like. I think it was my fault, and I’ll try again the next time I catch one. The gar was amazingly good. No fish taste, easy to clean (if you have tin snips for the armor), pure white and firm. More like gator than fish. This year I’ll be cooking, smoking and making gar jerky. Can’t wait.
            Got any info about the water levels of BRC? Hoping to head out there in the next week or so.

              1. Ken G Post author

                Thanks for that link. I’m going to have to try this.

                I heard the same thing about grinding them and deep frying fish balls. It is pretty firm white meat.

                I’m heading to BRC tonight. Way upstream was barren of fish over the weekend and a bit high, but the creek was barren before the flood even near the mouth. The Fox is still at 6000 cfs, which fills the creek all the way back to the bridges. Have to stay on shore then, which I don’t like. No gauges on that creek so you don’t know what it’s like till you get there.

                1. Olaf

                  The lack of USGS measurements for that creek drives me nuts! It’s an hour or more drive for me, so I can’t just buzz over and check it out on a whim. Sometimes I have to be in Batavia for work, so it’s fairly easy to convince myself to drive to the creek “just to take a look” and then to convince myself that “a few casts won’t make me late for dinner” and then to spend the drive home thinking I shouldn’t have fished for so long with the water so high/low and trying to think of ways to excuse my lateness without lying. Most of my other favorites have stations and I know what numbers mean good wading and fishing. If I just had a helicopter it would be much simpler.

                  1. Ken G Post author

                    Sorry I didn’t get to this earlier. The mouth is still filled with the Fox River to depths not worth walking in, as I found out the hard way.

                    I talked to the IDNR fisheries biologists out of Silver Springs about putting gauges on BRC and LRC. Probably won’t happen in our lifetime.

                    They don’t seem to like to talk about either creek much. I get the impression they really don’t want many wandering around either of those creeks. I can see why, fishermen do seem to trash things and far upstream they’re both quite beautiful.

                    1. Olaf

                      I spent an hour or two on a section of BRC today, way upstream. Water was a little higher than average for that stretch, but not what I’d call high. Usually see a lot of fish (redhorse and hogsuckers, mostly) within the first minute on the bridge, but saw none today. Fished a few locations and got a couple taps but nothing I’d call a real bite. Lots of logjams that accumulated over the last 3-4 years were gone completely and the water was moving through more efficiently than I’ve seen in a long time there.
                      Haven’t explored any of LRC except the first hundred yards up from the mouth.

    1. Ken G Post author

      I didn’t notice the eye till I looked at the pictures Nick. I think the sun angle is what made it light up.

  2. walt

    You list a few species I haven’t yet caught on a fly, but I’ve actually caught a couple of those bullies on a feathered hook, while chasing carp, I believe. As kids, we used to catch them on little balls of tasteless white bread. The fish may have been good eating.

    1. Ken G Post author

      I only remember going fishing three times before I was 27 Walt. Caught a bullhead one of those times on a hook wadded up with a chunk of Wonder Bread. The stuff was like glue when it got wet. I remember wandering the shore of the strip mine pit was more important than the fish.

    1. Ken G Post author

      I could see them swimming around Howard and was able to avoid them. Besides, I was a good 8 feet above the water, that would have truly sucked.

  3. CHUCK KOENIG

    HEY KEN THATS A CUTE YELLOW-HEAD WHAT EVER. MORE GLAD TO HEAR YOU CAUGHT SOME SMALLMOUTH AT THE EX-DAM SITE. HAVE TO TRY IT THERE WHEN I FUGURE OUT WHERE THE HELL IT IS!
    CHUCK K. D.P. LUNKERBUSTERS

  4. Ken G Post author

    Chuck,
    Three blocks west of Route 47 and one block north of the Fox River right in Yorkville.

    Right now the access is limited as they work to replace the bridge. We’ll see how it all looks when they’re done with everything later this year.

  5. Ken G Post author

    Olaf, it will be interesting to see what some stretches look like once the water comes down more. Based on what I saw last week, I think some stretches have changed. Didn’t see much in the way of fish upstream either last week. At least I found a few near the mouth, I just won’t go in that water again till it comes down a lot more.

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