On Monday, Bill Barkstrom pulled out another example of the return of the Des Plaines River, a 36-inch northern pike.
He weighed it at 8 pounds, 5 ounces, before releasing it near where it was caught by Lemont. It looked so good and the story was so good, that I doubted at first. But the 23-year-old from Burr Ridge had a very worthy Fish of the Week.
Shortly after talking with him Tuesday, he had it posted on YouTube. Well most of the video. He tried to make sure the exact spot was not visible.
FOTW tops the Midwest Fishing Report in the Sun-Times each Wednesday. An extended online version appears here by midnight Tuesday. E-mail FOTW nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's the original tale via e-mail from Barkstrom. Below that I added some additional comments after I spoke with him.
This is a pic of a 36" 8lb 5oz northern pike that I caught on the Des Planes River near Lamont. My friends and I were just about done fishing and we were packing everything up when I remembered about the light rod i had farther up river. My buddy went to go grab it to his surprise there was a huge fish on the end of the 6lb line. Almost lost it when he wrapped my line around a submerged tree but we got him in for a picture. Biggest northern I've caught in the Des Planes as of yet.
``As of yet,'' that's the part that gets me. I like the feeling behind it.
He and some friends honed in on a good fishing spot on the Des Plaines. He boats there, then fishes from shore. He said it technically it could probably be reached from shore.
About a year ago, he saw a guy catch a northern at the spot. Of that, he spoke some of the truest words about fishing the reviving waterways around Chicago and the collar counties: ``I would never think to even fish there.''
The pike was caught on a minnow under a bobber. There's the secret. It's a minnow that works very well for the area and that part of the story stayed with Barkstrom.
While we are on secrets, Barkstrom was partially reluctant to give too many details because the 34-inch muskie caught by Steven Kachlic near the Hofmann Dam at the end of April caused a crush of fishermen there when it was named FOTW on May 5.