Heidecke, the former cooling lake near Morris, reopens Wednesday morning, April 1, as usual. I hope to be walking the shoreline, trying for a muskie or big walleye, by dawn.
This hybrid conviently was caught at dawn two years ago on opening morning.
The best news is the water levels are about normal again, according to Steve Anderson of Graybeard's the concessionaire at the launch.
Here's more, including biologist Rob Miller's assessment.
Miller said smallmouth remain strong, but largemouth struggle as the fishery shifts toward smallmouth. That has been going on for years and regular fishermen already know that. Miller said some extra largemouth were stocked last year.
Walleye seem good, though not as crazy good as the surveys in 2007, and average around 16 inches. Walleye probably will remain the glamour fish, along with muskies.
Muskie in surveys have been averaging around 36 inches. With the lake no longer functioning as a cooling lake with the associated thermal fluctuations, Miller expects muskies to again reach 30-plus pounds.
Jim Giglio popped this 36-incher on a spinner bait when we were fishing near the final day in the fall of 2006.
Catfish should be better sized than at Braidwood, crappie will likely remain rare but good when caught accidently on crankbaits. Hybrids and bluegill were strong for fishermen last year, Miller didn't have anything of particular note on them.
At the Tinley Park Show, I bumped into guide Greg Heath and he said since the lake is no longer a cooling lake, the key is finding new current breaks, instead of just focusing on the current around the bridge.
Graybeard's at the launch will offer bait and basic food (through separate doors), but boat rentals are a couple weeks away.
The launch opens at 6 a.m. (weather allowing), shore fishing at 6:30 a.m. Close is sunset. It will be open every day.