Tag Archives: canoe the fox

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.

North Zone Waterfowl – Ducks Done but There’s Still Geese

Wrote this on December 10th and never did anything with it…

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Some waterfowl observations.

For the first couple of weeks of the waterfowl season, it sounded like a war zone around Yorkville. Since then, things have died down considerably, hardly hear any shooting. There’s also not many geese hanging around down this way. They usually show up in bigger numbers when the ponds in the area start to freeze over. This stretch of the Fox River doesn’t freeze over because of the effects of the Yorkville dam and that’s a draw for the birds.

But, I have to drive east everyday for work now. I take Route 126 through to I-55. Between Yorkville and Plainfield it’s primarily farm fields. The closer you get to Plainfield, the more birds you see. Hundreds upon hundreds of them. In the fields, flying overhead in massive V’s and all over the DuPage River.

I’m assuming the draw for all these birds is Lake Renwick and all the strip mine pits in the area that are now fishing clubs. As those start to freeze over, a lot of the birds move to the DuPage River, which almost never freezes over.

A smart waterfowler would do a bit of research and check out the hunting opportunities around Plainfield. I know you can hunt on the DuPage River further south of Plainfield, only I can’t remember the details. No public blinds as far as I remember, so you’d need a boat blind. Better still, it might be worth someone’s while to find out if you can drift shoot out of a canoe through that section. I know you can do that on the Fox River down stream of Silver Springs State Park, why not on the DuPage?

As long as there’s open water around Plainfield, the birds will stick around. I’ve noticed for years that the geese hang around in that area all winter mainly because of the DuPage River. I would imagine there has to be a way to take advantage of this.

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Well, things have change a bit since then.

The season for ducks in the North Zone ended on December 18th, but the season for Canada Geese doesn’t end till January 17, 2013. There are still massive amounts of them around Plainfield, but the turn in the weather on Thursday has changed things a bit on the Fox River.

Friday night the geese were moving onto the Fox River down from my house. You don’t think of them flying at night, but I hear them all the time heading down to the river and then talking up a storm once they get there. That means this cold front has started to freeze the ponds in the area and they’re heading for open water. The river will get some skim ice now, but it won’t start to freeze over for awhile yet.

Cruising along the river on Saturday showed geese gathering all over the place. This is the first I’ve seen this all season. Remember my comment above about drift shooting down river from Silver Springs State Park?

I stopped on the bridge over the river that defines this down stream edge of the State Park. In the pool below the bridge and for down stream as far as you could see were geese, at least a couple of hundred of them. This is where you can supposedly start drift shooting on the river. If you want to try this I would get that info verified to make sure, but it’s been done in the recent past and I haven’t heard that things have changed.

That being said, I was out this morning around the beginning of shooting time watching a couple hundred geese leave the river and head for the surrounding fields.

No shooting to be heard anywhere.

The 10 day weather forecast shows low 30’s during the day and teens and twenties every night. This should bring considerably more geese to the river.

If you’re a dedicated Canada Goose hunter, you might not want to miss this.

To: Fox River Waterfowl Hunters Below Yorkville

From: The Guy That Lives on top of the Hill Above the River

Some advice…

When you put your boat in the river at 4 a.m. at the boat ramp six blocks away…
When you start up you’re noisy little outboard motor…
I can hear you like you’re right outside my bedroom window.

The river has some pretty decent current through here.
It’s also not that deep.
So don’t be surprised if you hear a crunching noise come from the underside of your boat.
If you miss that shallow spot, turn around and try to come up stream…
Now you sound like you’re driving your boat through my living room.

I’ve been out on my front porch at that hour listening to you go through this.
There’s something you probably don’t notice because of all the noise you’re making.
Every duck and goose within a mile of you is now flying away from the river, squawking and honking like crazy.
Must have been hundreds of them down there.
Quite a few are flying over my house.

Try this, put your boat in at the ramp near Route 47.
Let your boat drift down the river to the blind you want to use.
DON’T START YOUR MOTOR. FIGHT THE URGE.
You have plenty of time and when you get there and shooting time arrives, you might actually have something to shoot at, instead of sitting there listening to all the gun shots coming from either side of the river.
Those are all the birds you normally would have sent their way.

When you’re done, DON’T START YOUR MOTOR. FIGHT THE URGE.
Just let your boat drift down stream and get out at the boat ramp at Silver Springs State Park.
The other hunters in the other blinds up and down the river will thank you for this…
…and then they don’t have to fight the urge to shoot the motor off the back of your boat as you go by.

Sincerely,

Ken G

Things to do, Places to go

If you’re looking for things to do, places to go, first off, this coming weekend, September 22nd and 23rd:

Northern Illinois Hunting and Fishing Days

Our FREE family-fun event serves to educate our communities with the knowledge, safety skills, and experiences gained through the Outdoors. Sharing the experiences that make our sporting way of life a special privilege is quite possibly the most important thing we can do. Providing our role in history as conservationists is the way to carry on what Outdoorsmen and Women have fought for, for over 100 years to ensure our lands will continue to be in good hands.

We are dedicated to enhancing the outdoor experience for future generations by enjoying the recreational opportunities and symbiotic relationship to humanity that the outdoors provides.

I’ve been going to this event with my kids for at least 15 years. I highly recommend it. I’ll be manning the booth for Heartland Outdoors, so stop by if you get a chance.
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In order to survive as a freelance graphic artist, I have no choice but to rely on Chicago and it’s suburbs. That’s where those kinds of jobs are. In order to get to them, I have to drive north and east to get out of Yorkville. (You know where Aurora is? I’m 15 miles southwest of there).

I bitch and moan about it all the time, it can be a chore getting out of town. But living on the edge of civilization has it’s benefits. On a really clear night I can just make out the Milky Way directly over my house. The wild turkey wander down my street every morning. I have more birds in my neighborhood than I can identify. A great horned owl likes to roost in the tree outside my bedroom window and pretty soon, drifting over the Fox River a couple of blocks away, the bald eagles should show up.

To go north and east to the main roads, I drive back roads. Through huge tracts of corn and soybean fields.

Today I saw the first of the corn fields being harvested.

Fall is here whether we’re ready or not.

I’ll bet that if you’ve ever come hear to read anything, you’ve never looked at the column on the right. It’s not long lists, but you will find things to do and places to go, only they’ll have nothing to do with movies, restaurants, plays or anything that requires being indoors. They are all about the outdoors, enjoying and exploring them.

And that’s what you should be doing for the next six weeks. At least.

The weather has finally cooled down, making it worth getting out and wandering around. Each of the links to the right will have plenty of info on where to go to enjoy this fall season. Each of those links has even more links with still more resources.

The possibilities are endless and the fall season is too short.

You’ll notice that the bulk of the links take you to places within an hour drive of Chicago or one of it’s suburbs. As much as I like Galena and the Mississippi Palisades, they’re a good three hours away and with gas prices the way they are, why drive for three hours when one hour will get you to some very beautiful places to watch fall roll in.

My personal favorite would be a canoe trip down the lower stretches of the Fox River out of Ayers Landing. A little further drive, but worth it. If you don’t want to go that distance, you can always come to Yorkville and rent a canoe from Freeman Sports. Take one of the longer trips.

If it’s a hike you want, check out the Kane County Forest Preserve site. Look for the forest preserves along the west side of the Fox River just south of Batavia. A nice easy hike on a paved bike trail and well worth it.

No matter what, no excuses for not getting out. All the info you need is just to your right.

It’s looking like this weekend will be as perfect as it gets

A little over a month ago, I put up a post:

Seems Like a Perfect Weekend for Paddling Down a River

It sure looks like another one is coming up this weekend.

The water level on the Fox River is going to be perfect.

The long range forecast is calling for perfect weather.

The fall color just might peak this weekend, or it will be close, which would be perfect.

The water levels on all of the other local rivers sure look perfect to me.
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But then, you may not like floating on water. There’s always that possibility.

Well, you can always go for a walk.

Fox Valley Park District / Trail Maps

Looks like the weekend is going to be perfect for that too.