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South on Northerly

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Unlike golf, fishing is not a good walk ruined, not if you walk the shores of the right places.


This is one of my favorites--Northerly Island. And I hiked and fished the length of it Saturday night.

And caught fish, just not nearly as many or as big as I had hoped.

My hope had been to find at least one good smallmouth. If I had been bed fishing back toward the north wall, I might have had a better chance. But I would rather not fish smallmouth on beds. I've done it, but don't plan to make it a habit.


This was the best I could do, a quality Lake Michigan smallmouth, but no where near the 18- to 20-incher I had been hoping to pop. I lost one about that big. I didn't do anything wrong, it just came unhinged before I could flip it up.

Considering it was a holiday, I wasn't sure about the parking. But I was able to park at the small fisherman's lot on the east side of Burnham.

The $10 fisherman's parking lot passes, good for tjhat lot and the small one by DuSable Harbor, are available at Henry's Sports, Bait & Marine. I was glad I checked my previous pass, which had expired. There's also usually parking right at Northerly Island by the nature center/police center.

So I hiked and fished my way the entire west side of Northerly Island. It's been a long time since I have made that walk, let alone hiked and fished it.

Switched up lures several times, but only caught fish on reddish or orangish Wiggle Warts slowly bounced off the bottom.

There was a smattering of fishermen, trying for perch and catching mainly gobies. One couple fished for carp and had caught a couple of the big ones cruising Burnham.

At the end of the walkway, two fishermen worked for some small perch. I expect in the next week for the perch to come in good, then Burnham/Northerly Island will be more packed with fishermen.

I looked at the rugged pile of rip-rap, then pushed on. Put it this way, it was rugged enough that I was glad I had switched to my black work boots instead of sticking with sandals.

It looked fishy as all-get-out, but I couldn't pop a single fish. Several small trout followed crankbaits in. I even tried jigging a jig and grub in the dark places between rocks.

So I turned and worked my way back as the sun set near Soldier Field.

And finally popped the decent smallie above. Then a few steps away lost a much better one. I suspect there was a bed I couldn't see out deeper.

The carp couple, complete with new baby, were still enjoying the night scene settling in just off the nature center parking lot. So was I.

It was time.

The final revelers straggled out of a party tent on shore. I was the last car in the fisherman's parking lot. Somebody else got the lights.

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I wish I new you were coming out. The perch should finally start this week downtown. Smallies have really slowed, unless you fish beds. Some males are a bit more active.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on May 24, 2009 7:17 AM.

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