Ray Hinton with a lakefront lake trout and Mike Stroobosscher with a Chicago River walleye made Saturday a memorable day in Chicago fishing and share Fishes of the Week.
Stroobosscher went from work to walleye wonder in downtown Chicago Saturday. The same evening, Hinton caught a President Obama commemorative lake trout on the South Side lakefront.
Stroobosscher took time at his advertising job downtown on Saturday for some fishing. Over the summer, the 39-year-old from Palos Heights brought in an old two-piece Browning rod with 8-pound monofilament to fish on his lunch breaks from the Chicago Riverwalk.
He experimented with jigs and crankbaits, trying to find ones he could cast from high above and get down deep enough. He learned to catch crappie, and largemouth and smallmouth bass. He settled on deep-diving Rapalas.
Once he caught a smallmouth big enough to bust his line when he tried lifting it to the Riverwalk. That's what he was afraid of on Saturday when he hooked a good fish on his Rapala between LaSalle and Wells.
``At first, I thought I had another nice smallie on there,'' he said. ``Luckily, he didn't shake [when I was lifting.]''
Realizing it was a walleye, before risking busting the line, he snapped a photo, then lifted the fish. The line held, so he said he took a better photo from the bridge before releasing the fish.
As we finished talking, he asked my opinion why there isn't an official effort to stock walleye in the river and lakefront. There is no good answer; my opinion involves lots of swearing on my part.
On a different level, it is almost as hard to explain why some falls there's a spat of lake trout caught on the Chicago shoreline, especially on the South Side.
But Hinton has been at it for about the last two weeks, catching more than a dozen lakers.
``This particular laker hit like a freight train and it's an unbelievable thrill,'' he said. ``I said they would return.''
Saturday evening, he was fishing with a friend and caught a good one as Obama's motorcade passed.
``That laker was our welcome wagon for our president,'' the Chatham man said. ``We got some joy out of it.''
Hinton puts the time in to learn how to catch the lakers. His primary method is walking the shoreline and casting white Bombers.
``It takes work getting them fish,'' he said. ``They are a hard fish to catch. You have to put some time in.''
My favorite part of his story was how Hinton, when he took the fish home, left two young couple brothers, James and Jeremiah Jordan, hoist the laker for photos.
It was a double day Saturday for memorable fish in Chicago.
FOTW was a little different this week, being the lead for my outdoors column in the Sun-Times. Usually FOTW tops the Midwest Fishing Report on the outdours page of the Sun-Times each Wednesday. An extended online version appears here, usually by midnight Tuesday.
E-mail FOTW nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.