Tag Archives: fishing ponds

Decisions, Decisions…

Decisions, decisions on where to go this weekend.

Do I go to this stretch of the river…

And try to catch a few of these…

Or maybe a few of these along with them…

Or do I go to one of the creeks that look like this…

And try for creek versions of the same fish…

Or humor myself catching these on the creeks…

Or do I go here, my secret ponds…

And try for these…

Or these…

Or maybe this big girl…

Or maybe some combination of all three places.

Decisions, decisions…

Whichever I choose, I really should take out my Dicky, give it a good washing and bring him along everywhere I go…

He’s getting a bit lonely.

Blackberry Creek Dam Removal Update
Better Late than Never

To play catch up, you can read the past progress reports here.
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One of my goals for 2012 was to put up weekly updates on the removal of the 175 year old Blackberry Creek dam.

It started out okay and I did put up a few posts, but on August 3, 2012 I gave up. There was nothing to report, the project, which was slated to be completed by the end of the year, had come to a screeching halt.

The hold up was the bridge that is collapsing. The part that is collapsing is attached to part of the dam. The work to fix the bridge and remove the dam has to be done all at once. No problem there really, but in order to start working on the bridge, some wires had to be moved. That seemed to take forever.

For the past month I’ve been hearing heavy equipment moving around on the other side of the Fox River, where the dam is. Curiosity finally got the better of me and over the long New Years weekend I went to see what was going on.

The dam removal geeks out there might want to download this pdf of the construction plans first. It’s moving along as planned now, finally.

The following shots were taken a couple of days apart, one gray day and one crystal clear. They’ve definitely moved in some big machines.

One of the new bridge abutments is just about done.

I actually behaved myself and didn’t walk across the bridge to see how the other side was progressing. Unusual for me. On my next trip there I’ll have to approach it from the other side so I can get a better view of this.

With the work going on, I even stayed out from under the bridge, just in case.

The side that is collapsing has really deteriorated the last few months.

Further upstream is more work being done.

A coffer dam was put in place on the creek.

A bypass channel was dug that drains the creek into a park pond.

Further down is the other coffer dam.

And the channel that releases water out the other side of the pond and back into the creek.

What will be interesting is what happens when they finish the work and put the pond back to normal. The creek doesn’t have much of a smallmouth bass population, but it does have largemouth and a variety of sun fishes. Might be some new species living in the pond when they’re done.

Between the two coffer dams the creek has all but dried up and dredging should start soon. The dam is almost 10 feet tall and even though the creek bed has a fairly steep gradient, there’s still a lot of sediment that has collected over the last 175 years.

The construction plans are calling it silt, but I know silt, I’ve been stuck in it on the Fox and just about all of the creeks that feed the Fox. This is not silt. Besides, I’ve walked on it. It’s pretty densely compacted sand and gravel, picture that up to 10 feet thick.

For those that are curious and live around here, you can already go see how this is probably going to look when they’re done. Years ago a dam on Waubonsie Creek in Oswego collapsed.

The construction plans for Blackberry Creek calls for the building of three sets of riffles along the newly exposed creek bed. The same thing was done on Waubonsie Creek. I initially hated them. They were just knee dams made of big rocks. For someone that likes to wade down creeks, it created a pretty dangerous hazard. Over the years though the water has been winning. Yearly high water events have been moving the rocks around and the man made riffles are looking less and less like a knee dam every year.

It will be interesting to see if the Blackberry Creek dam removal gets done by spring. Blackberry Creek already gets a pretty good run of spawning fish that time of year, even if they could only go upstream a quarter of a mile because of the dam. There are a lot of parks and forest preserves upstream that I’ve checked out over the years, but I’ve always failed to fish the creek. I have no real interest in catching largemouth bass from a creek. I’ll wait till the smallies move in and take over.

Which I’m sure they will do.

Strolling and Fishing

I guess it could be considered a hike since it’s over a half mile of walking through this. And this is the easy part.

For now, I have it all to myself. That will change in a few years, but till then I plan on taking advantage of my good fortune. This place is pretty well off the beaten path, not much around it either, so there’s a chance even years from now no one will come here. Few like to hike in, an absolute must here. I know other places like this, but they don’t have ponds.

Four ponds to be exact. Three of them I found out, with some pretty healthy fish.

I couldn’t figure out why the fish were reflecting bright orange. Every picture of a fish I took had that orange. I’d turn them away from the sun, more orange. The sun wasn’t doing that. It wasn’t till I looked at the close up of the bass, the reflection off it’s eye that I remembered I was wearing a bright orange hunting vest, given to me by this guy as I was heading out to the ponds, just in case.

This day was a perfect sunset day. Surprisingly not much color, but no wind, wisps of clouds and bright blue. A flock of about 30 doves hung out around the pond all afternoon. Restless, as they roosted for no more than 10 seconds, then would explode out of the tree and circle the pond. Again and again, but never when I snapped off a shot.

End of the day was quickly approaching, I was heading out. Not sure what it would be like hiking out of here in the dark, didn’t care to find out. One pond, never fished, because there is virtually no shore access and what could be seen of the pond seemed small, shallow and weed choked. I was able to bush whack my way in at two spots. The weeds are all gone, the pond is much bigger than I thought and much deeper. After two others, the last fish of the day.

Just one more fish, but the next cast saw the lure snapped off on a submerged log.

It was time to go. It was getting a bit dark.

That last pond was haunting me all the way back to the car. Still is. Next year, all grown over again, how the hell was I going to do this? Small canoe? Too long of a hike. Float tube? The idea seems sound, but the logic of floating around in a little tube disturbs me. Cut more paths in? No, I like the impenetrable shore…

Think, think, think.

My Bones Hurt

The other day while out running and gunning down the river, hitting spots to see if fish were around…

I slid down an eight foot tall near vertical, in my eyes, embankment.

Half way down my foot gets jammed up on a rock, my other foot doesn’t. An inelegant landing on the river bank and I hear myself say out loud…

I’m getting too old for this shit.

This morning I was out at sunrise. Barely 30 degrees. Feels raw, damp.

I’ve never been checked, but I know my joints are riddled with arthritis of some sort. I know my back is screwed up, that’s been checked.

I can feel it in my bones, literally. This change in weather. When I stretch and bend and move I can make virtually all of my bones snap and pop. I can do this when I’m not even trying, this time of year.

I get the weirdest looks from those close enough to hear this performance.

I’ve been out since sunrise, out fishing, out screwing around in the yard. Building nonsense things, cutting grass. The weather man says it’s 47 degrees out and I think that is the high for the day.

It’s now 3:30 PM, I just came in a few minutes ago. I can feel the flush rush of heat to my head, cheap high. My back feels like someone beat on me with a baseball bat. I stretch, everything pops from the base of my skull down to my fingertips.

It feels good.

I’m tired, but too late for a nap. I’ll be up all night.

I am getting too old for this shit.

Bamboo — The Last few Pictures

Got the rod out to a pond and a creek for the last couple of days I got to use it.

Skunked it on the pond, but fishing was a bit difficult that day anyway.

Now to sit down and write something semi-coherent about the rod and the experience. The rod was a pleasure to use. Fly fishing? I have issues with it.

For some fly fishing may be a way to achieve nirvana, a method of fishing that lets you enter into some mystical state where you become one with your surroundings. Heaven knows enough have written about such things.

It may be an extremely efficient way to cast flies and hope a fish may appear remotely interested.

But to me a fly rod is a tool and in this case, kind of like trying to split logs with a hatchet.

But I digress…

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The Outdoor Blogger Network teamed up with Fall River Flyrods, Montana Fly Company and RIO Products this spring to put together a rig consisting of an 8ft, 2-piece, 5wt “South Fork” bamboo rod, Madison reel, and double taper, floating line to be fished by 15 far-flung anglers over the course of the season. One of those 15 anglers will own the rod, reel, and line when all is said and done, along with an accompanying journal in which all 15 anglers will record their thoughts and experiences during their time with the rod. With a first season like that, the story of this brand new rod is off to a very good start.