Chicago Sun-Times
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Pipe Down

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For a change, drainage tile went into the water instead of water into drainage tile. And may it do some good . . . for a change.

I'm mainly curious how and if it will work out.

On Saturday, 14 guys worked Tile Fest, a variation of the old Shabbona Lake Sportsman's Club's Rockfest, at Shabbona Lake in DeKalb County.

Instead of piling rock on the ice to build habitat--the old style of Rockfest--in Illinois' most intensely fished lake, the group drilled holes in the ice and dropped in some 200 clay drainage tiles--sized roughly 4 inches by 6 feet.

They made six piles in the southwest corner of the lake--that's the right corner if you're looking at the dam face--in 8-10 feet of water, said guide Jay Angel.

Dan Raih of DeKalb hatched the idea and supplied to the pickup to tote the tile, donated by an excavating company. Angel and Raih brought the guys together. Rich McElligott and Angel worked permits through the channels (the official ones not the water kind).

Denny Sands will have the piles marked on the big map at Lakeside bait shop and on his fishing maps.

I'm always curious how these structures/artificial habitats turn out.

The Christmas trees that neighbors sink in our town pond annually work like a charm. So do the wooden stake beds built by crappie guides, then sunk in Rend Lake.

The verdict is still out on the fancy artificial structures put in Braidwood Lake last year. And the reef put in Lake Michigan off Hyde Park in November, 1999, hasn't worked out as well as hoped.

Now, will the tile piles at Shabbona attract fish, fishermen or both?

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on February 5, 2008 6:08 AM.

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