Tag Archives: city of yorkville

What? What’d I do Wrong?

A few times a week I take a walk. I live a little over a half mile from the Yorkville dam and it’s a nice hike there and back. Actually have a decent steep hill to walk up and down to test and stretch my joints and muscles.

Whenever there are fishermen hanging out fishing around the dam, you can bet at some point one of them will be fishing in the, well, that’s the problem.

Is it a bypass channel?

Maybe a kayak chute?

Or is it the Marge Cline Whitewater Course?

The average fisherman is a pretty simple human being and when it comes to fishing, you can’t tell them where they can or cannot fish. Especially if you’re not making it painfully clear to them.

Once you start having a conversation with them, trying to explain to them that they can’t fish in a certain area, the conversation gets turned around. It gets twisted in a way so that the fisherman at least thinks he’s winning the argument. He’s going to fish there. He’s going say whatever he has to say to make that happen.

By the time you are done, you’ll be doubting your sanity and wondering if there isn’t a camera crew from TruTV hiding off behind a bush somewhere filming the whole thing.

There are signs on either end of the kayak chute saying No Fishing in the Bypass Channel. I knew when I saw the sign that it was a waste of time. The type is too small.

Look at the bottom of the photo. There’s a guy standing behind the sign fishing. When I told him he couldn’t fish there, I got “I didn’t see anything on any sign.” When he didn’t argue with me and packed up and left, I knew he was lying.

That’s what fishermen do.

Take a look at the last line of small black type. No Fishing in the Bypass Channel. In order to be an effective no fishing sign you have to have one this big with nothing else on it but the no fishing warning. The no fishing warning has to fill the whole sign and, even then, you’ll find fishermen standing right next to it fishing and when you say something you’ll get the exact same response I did.

Part of the problem is, what the hell is a bypass channel? You can bet that’s running around the in the fisherman’s head.

I wandered all over the park. I know this is called the Marge Cline Whitewater Course, but I couldn’t find a sign anywhere stating that. The name should be on the sign to make it clearer to the fishermen. They have no clue what a bypass channel is, but they do understand putting titles on important things.

Not that they care.

To simplify it even more, since there are usually kayaks playing around in the whitewater course, even fishermen know what a kayak is.

Call it a kayak chute, put that on the signs and be done with it.

No Fishing in the Kayak Chute.

In the long run it still won’t matter. It didn’t matter the other day when I was wandering around along the kayak chute. There were two people fishing the fast water of the chute. While a guy in a kayak was telling one they couldn’t fish there, I thought I would take pictures of the other.

He saw the other fisherman getting shagged off, so he hurried things up a bit and fired off a few casts all the way across the chute.

As the guy in the kayak floated toward him, the fisherman turned his back on him, walked further up the shore and started fishing up there.

I already know if you were to confront this guy he would first deny seeing the sign, which would be a lie. Then he’d say he didn’t know, which would be another lie. Then he’d say he wasn’t fishing around the kayaks, which is irrelevant.

You can see how this would continue. He’d always have something to say in his defense, even if his defense is pointless.

That’s what the average fisherman does.

The guy in the kayak saw me taking pictures and wandered over to where I was standing. We talked awhile about the ignorance of fishermen. The other thing that came up was the hazards of hooks getting lost in the chute. Inside those little kayaks, all they have on their feet are neoprene socks, no shoes or boots. The other day while wandering around the kayak chute, I found these lying around.

These hooks are relatively small, but to a kayaker that flips over and has to put his feet down, getting one of these in your foot is going to suck. Even worse, I found one of these on the bottom of the river the other day.

That can cause some pretty major problems.

The kayaker and I talked about signage, it’s size, what it should say and where it should be put. That night, I put a comment on the City of Yorkville Facebook Page saying that they need to do something about this. They need to put up more and bigger signs.

Today when I wandered down to the river, someone had put up a new sign.

That’s not going to work. The type is even smaller than what is on the big yellow sign that the fishermen say they never saw.

Plus they call it a Whitewater Park. Now you’ve got the fishermen even more confused. Still another term. I already know a fisherman is going to tell you he wasn’t fishing in the park.

So, here are my suggestions. Call it a kayak chute. Simple and to the point. No Fishing in the Kayak Chute. Six words I know is a lot, but I can’t figure out which one to get rid of to make it even shorter for the fishermen to understand.

Make the signs big, huge, bright yellow with gigantic black type that fills the sign from top-to-bottom and side-to-side.

One has to go on the south side of the river near the footbridge. If necessary, get two of them, that way they can be seen from a variety of directions.

Another one needs to go on the bridge. As you walk to the end of the bridge, the whole field of view should be filled with the sign. This photo will give you an idea of what I’m talking about. As you walk, all you should see at the end is nothing but sign.

The other option is to have a bunch of 3 foot by 4 foot signs made up, again, filled with No Fishing in the Kayak Chute. All along the kayak chute, on both sides, one of these signs should be placed every 50 feet. From the beginning to the end of the kayak chute.

I have a feeling that won’t be all that visually appealing.

Even then I already know that idea is doomed to fail.

One day you’ll go down to the kayak chute and there will be a fisherman.

He’ll be standing smack dab in the middle between a couple of the signs, fishing the kayak chute.

He’ll be so centered between those signs that if you got out a tape measure and measured, you’d find that he missed dead center by less than an inch.

If you go up to him and tell him he can’t fish in the kayak chute, his eyebrows would go up, his eyes would widen, his head would slowly turn both up and down stream.

Then he’d look you dead in eyes and without batting an eye he’d say…

“I didn’t see no signs.”

Blackberry Creek Dam Removal Progress —
March 24, 2012

To play catch up, you can read the past progress reports here.
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Over the last 10 days there’s been a lot of activity on the other side of the Fox River where all the prep work is continuing for the removal of the Blackberry Creek Dam. Lots of chainsaws running and wood chippers working away. Heavy equipment can be heard moving around. A large chunk of land is being cleared all along the creek.

I’ve decided to wander over to the construction site every week to 10 days in order to track the progress. Going every day is a lot like sitting around watching grass grow. I like to be able to show bigger leaps in the work progression.

One of the things I was told was that as much of the silt as possible is going to get removed from behind the dam first. I was also told that the amount of silt behind the dam will raise an eight acre parcel of land by another foot. That’s a lot of silt.

The work to achieve that is progressing. A rock road has to be constructed along the creek in order to keep equipment from sinking into the ground.

They are slowly making their way around.

But also have a long way to go.

In some areas it’s hard to tell how they’re going to deal with all the silt.

About 300 yards up stream of the dam the pool of the dam ends. I’ve got into the creek at this point and have waded almost a mile further up stream. There were virtually no fish here to be caught and the creek bed is no different than all of the other creeks in the area, rock and gravel.

You can bet I’ll be up here looking for fish migrations when the dam gets removed and the fish start to move.

The dam is supposedly eight feet tall, but I think it’s another foot or two higher than that. With the water level flowing normal for now, there’s barely a foot of water flowing through over all the silt all the way up to the dam. That means in that short 300 yard stretch behind the dam, the creek bed drops 10 feet over that 300 yards. It will be interesting to see what the shoreline will wind up looking like once this project is complete. On one side, it sure looks like it’s going to be a natural limestone wall.

I have a feeling this stretch is going to wind up looking a lot like Waubonsie Creek in Oswego off of Route 25. That creek plunges down pretty quickly to get to Fox River level and there’s a nice natural limestone wall that lines the creek. I’m still hoping they don’t stair step the pools as drastically as they did on Waubonsie. Just let the creek find it’s old bottom and leave it at that.

It will be interesting to see what they find buried in all that silt. Over the past 175 years there are probably all kinds of things that have been preserved down there. Remnants of the past are already showing up that were once buried under the water.

I’m sure they’re going to find a lot more.

Blackberry Creek Dam Removal — Day One

To play catch up, you can read the past progress reports here.
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From my vantage point on the south side of the Fox River, I could see that there was heavy construction equipment moving around by the Blackberry Creek Dam. Of course this meant that after the work day ended I would have to go check out what was going on.

Sure enough, the removal of the dam has started. A decent sized notch was cut into the west end of the dam.

What I thought was concrete behind the dam is actually a cap that must have been added at one time. I didn’t get a picture of the back of the dam yet, but you could see it was solid stone.

As I was taking pictures, a woman showed up to do the same. Not being much of a reporter or journalist, I failed to get her name. My now anonymous source said she worked for the City of Yorkville. Of course, that was an open invitation in my eyes to ask all kinds of questions, as well as make my usual semi informed comments.

Apparently this section of the creek is going to get drained. This will be accomplished by creating a diversion channel further west. Years ago I had seen plans that was to move this last stretch of the creek further west. I’m assuming the diversion channel will be going in that same spot. I hope to get a picture of that when it happens.

Once the pool of the dam is drained, the built up sediment behind it will be removed and then the dam. Then there will be rocks put in place to stair step the flow of water down the creek. I compared it to what was done on Waubonsie Creek in Oswego when a dam on that creek blew out years ago. She said that’s exactly what will be done.

I hope here on Blackberry Creek they put in shorter steps of boulders. I never did like how high the ones are on Waubonsie Creek. The water is slowly knocking down some of the boulders on that creek so I imagine eventually it will level out. Water tends to do that.

I didn’t ask a time estimate, a lot of that could be determined by the weather, but I could easily see this all getting done relatively quickly. Maybe the comment I made about going miles upstream in the fall to see if the fish have migrated that far might become a reality.

Now that there is no water coming over the dam, a couple of interesting things could be seen. The dam had been patched once before. It looks to be a four foot square concrete plug that was put in place.

One of the concerns raised about not taking out the dam brought up what would happen if the dam failed at a later date. It could damage the new bridge that was going to be put in place. On the east end of the dam, there was water coming through the face of the dam. It might take years, but I would think that’s a failure waiting to happen.

I enjoy seeing the breach in the dam. A tremendous amount of water is pouring through a gap about 5 feet wide. Once the concrete cap is removed, I don’t think it’s going to take much to pull the stones apart and the dam should go away quickly.

About a quarter mile up stream from where the dam now sits is a park. I’ve walked around in the creek just off the park. You can bet once the dam is gone I’ll be walking this stretch.

Something to look forward to later in the year.