The first week of September I purposely decided to take myself out of the loop. I let my writing drop off. I decided for the rest of the year I was going to fish alone and I think I only broke that rule once for my friend Ed. When hunting season arrived I was going to go hunting alone. If it weren’t for the FOID card expiring at the wrong time, I would have had more solitary days out in the woods under my belt by now.
I’ve kept in touch with everyone, still fed fishing reports to Dale Bowman. Email, phone, facebook and other ways were all employed to talk to everyone on a regular basis. It got to the point where I was barely going five miles from my house though. No reason to do that. Forest preserves, a state park and the river are all right here.
When I got invited to a luncheon for area outdoor writers, I thought it might be wise to go. A number of them I haven’t seen in a long time and it would probably be a good thing to go be social. Or so I’m told. Even at the last minute I toyed with the idea of blowing it off, but chose not to do that.
I’m glad I went. A few people I hadn’t seen in a few years. The conversations were had in a way as if those years never happened. Slipped right into talk about fishing, hunting, how’ve you been?
The luncheon was held in St. Charles. Even when I was fishing the river extensively further north than where I live now, I never came up this way. Far less water that can be waded. The restaurant was right on the shore of the Fox River. I made the mistake of sitting facing a window that overlooked the river. I’m sure I looked distracted as I stared blankly out the window. Apparently this was noticed and I was asked if I ever fished this stretch.
No, but I bet I could make it across the river to that island, I told them. Even with the water a little high. Of course, everyone had to look. I even described the route across the river. Then I described how it would be hard to get to the other shore, it looked deeper and the fish would be on that shore. We compared a few river fishing notes then got back to the reason for the luncheon. That’s how conversations go when you stick a bunch of anglers in the same room, things drift off.
On the way home I decided to stay on the road that stays closest to the river. I hardly ever come up this way any more. I live a two minute walk to the river, so what’s the point. I was soon driving past old familiar spots. Spots I haven’t fished in over six years.
There were my old parking spots. Off in the background were stretches of the river I knew well. I could still remember specific days I was out wandering down the middle of the river, could recall the fish caught. This kept going down the river. I’ve parked there, I’ve fished there. I went past the spot where I first fished the Fox in 1996. I could recall the car I was driving, the wading boots I had, the gear I was using and even how I had walked just off the shore in the water and how I was casting into the river.
Forty five minutes later as I was getting close to home I was still playing the parked there, fished there game in my head. When I got home I looked up how many miles I had driven, it came to 22 miles. Except for the the pools above the 3 dams in this stretch, I had waded all of it. Comes out to be just shy of 18 miles. It took a few hundred trips to cover that much river and quite a few stretches were fished numerous times. I’ve also canoed the pools above those dams, so I guess I covered all of it.
But that’s only part of it. I’ve also covered quite a few miles of the Fox outside of that area. Then there’s the creeks that feed the Fox. Many more miles there.
Then there’s all the other rivers in the area that I’ve fished. I guess I’ve been out wading and fishing a lot over the past 15 years.
I have a list of rivers in northern Illinois that I want to get to that stretch from the Fox to the Mississippi River. In 15 years I haven’t even come close to achieving that goal. At 55 years old, I’m starting to wonder if I have it in me to accomplish much more over the next 15 years. One knee is starting to fail me, a hip burns when I walk too much. And then there’s that back pain.
On my list of rivers to fish are a fair amount of creeks. One little creek off in the far northwest corner of Illinois, in the driftless area, is rumored to hold trout. Would be nice to go find out for sure before that knee gives out entirely. This river and creek fishing list would make a good book, with pictures. I need a sugar momma to bank roll me.
I was glad to have gotten out this day after all. It’s something I should do more often. It was enjoyable.
Only, I don’t know if I’m talking about getting out more often to meet up with friends I haven’t seen in awhile. Sit around shooting the shit, talk fishing and find out how’ve they been.
Or am I talking about getting out fishing more.