Category Archives: Fox River

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A Couple of Creek Walks

Went on a couple of creek walks Friday and Saturday. Decided to finally hit the Fox River on Sunday.

I’ll take the creeks.

The fishing in the creeks has been less than spectacular this year, but doing okay is better than doing nothing at all. I still think it’s because we really haven’t had that much rain this spring. Enough to keep things growing, but we’ve had no major high water events on the Fox at all. I think the fish have had no real reason to head up the creeks for their annual spawning run. Why run up a creek if staying in the river is working out just fine.

But, what do I know. I’m no fisheries biologist. I just wander around and observe things, then my brain makes all the connections gathered over the years and draws a conclusion.

The creeks are stunningly beautiful right now. Bright greens of spring, dense under growth, all kinds of flowers and a wide variety of wildlife.

Fishing seems secondary, which it pretty much has become.

My one venture out into the Fox on Sunday resulted in catching one smallie and seeing a gar for the first time ever in this stretch of the river, but not once did I raise my camera to take a picture.

Too wide, too far away, not interesting.

I may have talked myself out of fishing the river much at all this year. The creeks have so much more to offer, at least in terms of sights and sounds.

And if the smallie fishing sucks, so be it. I’ll scale down and play with creek chubs.

The river simply doesn’t provide what I need. The quiet, the closeness, the solitude and the wildlife practically sitting on your shoulder and talking into your ear.

Yup, sounds like I’ve convinced myself.

From Friday’s creek walk:

From Saturday’s creek walk:

From Sunday’s river walk:

I got nuthin’.

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Walking and Fishing

Got out a couple of times this week walking and fishing.

One evening after work I went out walking with the hopes that the sunset would turn out better than it did.

Another evening after work I went out fishing, which requires walking.

I don’t understand how you can do the former without the latter.

I’ve always been intrigued by the abstract qualities of my surroundings. This goes back to my painting and drawing days 30 odd years ago. I have no clue if I successfully capture what’s in my minds eye, but I keep doing it. That probably accounts for the fact that I never get bored while out and about. Probably also accounts for the fact that others get annoyed with me if they happen to be out and about with me.

I’m easily distracted and tend not to pay attention to company very well.

As I look at the thousands of pictures I have laying around, I have hundreds of ways I want to see them put together. Combinations, associations, computer painted and played with.

I’ll get around to it some day, maybe.

Since I don’t seem to have the interest in reading and writing words lately, here’s a bunch of pictures from my two days of walking and fishing.

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My Last Cast

Before I got to my last cast, the day started out innocuous enough.

Went to a spot two miles inland on a creek to see if the smallies had moved that far. Something was spawning, but hard to tell what.

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I knew the suckers were on their spawning run, the riffles were loaded with them. Yes, the trained eye will see them.

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Other than that, the creek was devoid of life. Frogs singing on the edges, lots of the usual unidentified birds, things turning green, but I can’t recall even seeing a minnow, so I cut things short after an hour and headed for another creek.

My first cast on this creek started where I would eventually make my last cast. The picture at the top of this post shows the spot, more or less. To the right is a plunge pool that drops to around 6 feet. The water moves through here quickly and there is so much oxygen in the water that you can’t see through the water. It’s not all that wide and about 30 to 40 feet long before it quickly slopes up and all pours over a barely ankle deep rock bar.

Like I said, not much to it.

I always try to get a lure to the bottom of the beginning of the plunge pool. I know the fish like all the oxygen and I know big schools of minnows like to roll around in the rush of water. Using only 1/16th ounce jigs, getting something that light down to the bottom of water like this is a challenge. But I can do it.

I started out with two powerful hits from smallies with some weight on them, but they had no interest in staying hooked so I wandered off downstream.

Smallies were in all the usual places and then some and I wound up going 12/10.

That took a couple of hours and then the wind picked up, the temperatures dropped and my sweatshirt was back in the car. Called it quits for the day.

Which brings me back to the beginning, to where I started and my last cast.

I was hoping the smallies had forgot they had been briefly hooked and sank the little lure down to the bottom a few times.

Nothing, so I made my last cast.

Put the following up on Facebook the other day and I can’t think of a better way of describing it…

I am now the proud owner of a custom made two piece medium light fast action rod.

Tied into the heaviest fish I’ve ever had on.

It kept diving down to the bottom of a 6 foot deep plunge pool that has relatively quick water running through it that keeps you from seeing the bottom.

Made a valiant effort to bring it up so I could at least see the damn thing, but it would dog it’s way back down to the bottom.

It was fighting like a big flathead, a really big, heavy flathead.

Then the rod snapped in half.

Shit.

Really?

So, I grabbed the braided line, smart, I know, and tried to hand line it in.

Shit.

Stupid.

But it almost worked. I almost get the damn thing to a point where I was going to at least get a look at it.

Then the lure snapped off.

Fuck.

Me.

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Moving up Quickly

The smallies must have liked the warmer weather, warmer water and perfect creek levels and in the past few days have been moving up quickly.

Friday after work it took a good hour and a half to get to a spot on a creek that normally takes under an hour. Traffic has sucked all week as stupid people dropped from the sky onto the roads to screw things up for everybody else.

About an hour and a half of fishing and went 9/4 on smallies. Foul hooked a couple of carp/suckers and thought I had another one foul hooked when it went airborne. A gar nearly 3 feet long with my little lure in the edge of it’s snout. A twist as it came down and the lure flew back at me. That was pretty cool to watch. Makes me wonder about those other two that I thought I foul hooked.

Fished the first quarter mile of a creek for those. Heard that a couple of stray smallies and a bunch of catfish were caught further up. They’re all moving up faster than I thought they would. They must have liked this weeks weather too.

Tomorrow I think I’ll go check another creek two miles in to see if they’ve got that far.

I’m also eternally grateful that the average fisherman will never figure out how to fish small flowing water.

More for me.

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Off to a Slow Start

Off to a slow start, but it’s a start.

With the rain we had I didn’t even expect to get in the water let alone fish it. The creek of choice was still blown out, that one has a gauge, but history was telling me the other creek may not be bad.

It wasn’t. Up a couple of inches, but running crystal clear.

Went 3/6 on smallies. Foul hooked a couple of carp or suckers, but luckily they self released.

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When I got there, a few kids were killing carp and suckers with bows. I’ll never understand that unless you’re eating them. Talked to one of them. They haul all the dead ones away like you’re supposed to, but the whole process just doesn’t make any sense. I could see killing off carp, but suckers?

Other than the killing, I was impressed with the one I talked to the most and his knowledge of creeks, fish runs and he keeps track of similar records as I do. We compared notes on fish catches and kills from the previous two years. His count last year was down over 75 percent from the year before that. I mentioned the brutal winter we had and the fish kills I saw. Was like watching a light bulb go off over his head and he asked more questions along those lines.

As I said, I was impressed.

Luckily they left as I was getting in the water and I had the whole place to myself for an hour and a half.

I needed that.

Out wandering around in the woods, or this time of year, wandering and fishing creeks, is the only way I know how to relax. I can sit all I want, read all I want, if I had a hot tub I could soak in it all I want, but nothing beats wandering down a creek, doing a little fishing and staring off into space. As well as letting my mind go along with the stare.

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The fish were pretty much in one spot, so I stood pretty much in one spot and took a picture of the sunset over the creek every few minutes.

I look at them now and they are a bit repetitive, but then, I guess, that’s a sunset.

That slow decent below the horizon with a slight variation in light and color as it goes.

Just enough to keep you standing there watching the whole time.