This is the first rivers section of the Midwest Fishing Report for 2011.
Ken Gortowski says this is a river redhorse, a protected fish in Illinois. I don't know my redhorses well enough to confirm it is a river redhorse. He has an interesting discussion on it below under the Fox River report.
This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears on the Sun-Times outdoors page on Wednesdays. Well, this is the rivers section for rivers around Chicago fishing.
Normally, I post the online MFR, including the rivers section, by Wednesday morning. With a pair of sick boys, I am behind this morning.
I think I will probably separate out the rivers section like this until the fall.
If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For an overview of nearby river conditions, click here. Rivers across the area are receding.
I need to get my guys back into the habit of sending reports.
DES PLAINES RIVER
Hope to have a report from Andrew Ragas, Counsellor of the Fish Parliament www.fishing-headquarters.com by next week.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
Gortowski sent this Monday report:
The air was cold, the water was cold and my feet got pretty cold while standing in the water, even with plenty of layered wool socks. The river was up, but surprisingly clear with well over 2 foot clarity. Got out to a creek and dredged the bottom to see if anything was migrating. Covered a quarter of a mile and spent a fair amount of time at the mouth. The clarity on the creek was a little less than on the river which surprised me. The creek too was running high.
When you dredge the bottom, bottom feeders will sometimes hit. Hooked a river redhorse in the mouth. This is a good thing. I've always known that they are indicators of a healthy river system. Found this little write up by a guy name Craig Springer:
"In Illinois, the river redhorse is protected as a threatened species. Though biologists have found the fish in stretches of the Fox, Des Plaines, DuPage, and Kankakee Rivers, pollution and sedimentation from agriculture and urbanization compromise many of the clean spawning gravels the fish needs and reduce populations of the filter-feeding animals it depends on for food. For these reasons, scientists now treat the sensitive redhorse as an indicator species to show where river conditions have declined or improved."
Based on that, it makes sense to find it where I did. Development planned in this little watershed may someday end that. The proposed development is being watched and hopefully it will get rejected.
Since they resemble carp, makes you wonder how many of these get tossed on shore by those that don't know any better.
In another month this creek will be filled with river redhorse, quillbacks, carp and a wide variety of other fish all juggling for the same spawning grounds. I've heard rumors of gar in one creek. I've never seen one anywhere in the Fox Valley, but I know how they feed based on what I've seen on the Kankakee River and Rock Creek. I'm wondering if I've been misjudging those surface dimples all these years and attributing them to another fish species.
Long term weather isn't showing a significant warm up any time soon, but I may have to start my creek adventures as soon as the water levels stabilize in the next few days.
I would rather be getting skunked far up a creek with the sights and smells of spring around me, I no longer need to comb the river as in the past. Too many others hitting the river looking for bragging rights on landing hawgs, pigs, bronze bombers, monster bronze or whatever other nickname an angler can come up with for a simple smallmouth bass.
ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA
There's some sauger being caught out of Ottawa. However, downstream of Starved Rock dam is another matter.
Thom Matejewski at Time on the Water Outdoors reported the river crested at LaSalle, but clarity is less than an inch and there's lots of debris. The IWT tournament for this weekend is already postponed.
The river, while flooded in some Indiana locations, did not reach levels expected earlier in the week and is already falling.
Ed Mullady sent this:
As the water settles down, many will be fishing where there is usually a wooded or grass shoreline area! Pike, catfish, some bass should be caught if roads to reach places are okay.
Best to call ahead to check conditions through the high water situation.
Bullheads and catfish will be going for nightcrawlers and minnows.....Bobber and minnows around over the bank waters for pike, some bass, both largemouth and smallmouth. Croppie also up against where banks are usually at on minnows, small spinners.
ST. JOSEPH RIVER, MICHIGAN
Click here for BJ Sports. If somebody fishes the St. Joe regularly and can do weekly reports, I would love it.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT