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Des Plaines surprise Fish of the Week

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Steven Kachlic is a regular on the Des Plaines River in the Hofmann Dam area. But in 30 years of fishing there, the 50-year-old Stickney man never caught anything like he did on April 29, a 34-inch muskie.


Fortunately Berwyn photographer/artist Miro Ledajaks was walking with his son when they witnessed Kachlic battling the good fish before releasing it.

For the wonder of it from that location, Kachlic's muskie earns FOTW honors. FOTW tops the Midwest Fishing Report each Wednesday in the Sun-Times. An extended online version appears here by midnight Tuesday.

E-mail FOTW nominations to

First Ledajaks' account, then details from Kachlic.

My son and I decided to take a little walk along the Des Plaines river near the dam in Lyons/Riverside. Just as we were walking up we watched as Steven Kachlic struggling with a nice sized fish. I assumed it was just going to be another large carp, we quickly realized that it wasn't a carp at all but a 30-32" Tiger Muskie.

Steven says that in the 30 years he's been fishing here, he's never seen a muskie come out of this river. i took a picture for him and he asked me to contact you to see if you would feature it in your "Fish of the Week" report. Incidentally within about 15 mins of this this group of fishermen pulled in 3 smaller Northern Pikes.

I had several biologists examine the photo and they declared the colorful fish a pure muskie rather than a tiger.

Kachlic was simply fishing for northern pike. He was using a golden roach on a No. 6 Eagle Claw hook under a small bobber.

``This is the first muskie I got in 30 years of fishing there,'' he said.

He estimated it at between 8 and 10 pounds. Oh, he also caught a couple pike too.

And BTW, Ledajaks has quite the art page at

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I would bet that it is a Busse Lake stocked fish that went over the spillway and down Salt Creek into the DPR.

Several natural muskie have been captured in the DesPlaines River the last few years, although it has never been stocked by tne IDNR.

I knew it would be a matter of time before someone finally pulled one out from there.

I have to disagree with the biologist assessment, however.

Pure strainers don't have caudal and anal and tail fins with stripes like that. but if possible, the fish could just be deformed or have wacky genes considering the water and the quality of water it came from.

In recent years Tigers have been stocked below the dam, but very few of them. Size limit on DPR is 36" - with a sign of it posted in the area or near the fence behind Mr. Kachlic. From that, I have reason to believe otherwise.

This river never ceases to amaze me.

that leads me thinking what else could be in there that really shouldn't be? Crazy things are in that river

Steve's fish did not come from Busse via Salt Creek. Busse was first stockedd in 2007 and those fish are about 10" shorter.
The fish is definitely a natural. Note the pointed tail fins. Coloration varies greatly and pure muskies often have striped fins.
For a good comparison, visit the Muskies, Inc. website and view the Know the Difference poster.

Nothing makes fishermen crazier than Muskie - the entire subject seems to bring out the worst in people.

That fish is from Busse, I have actually caught musky from Busse the exact same size-butcher.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on May 5, 2009 9:30 PM.

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