For the last several years, our youth group has helped with moving fish from the IDNR boat to Northern Illinois Anglers Association tanks be tagged for the Kankakee River Fishing Derby.
Now that's the kind of activity right up my alley, so I usually gather a van full of some of our kids and other kidsfrom our church's youth group to help (Andy Koster is below demonstrating the proper technique).
The strengths this year were lots of drum, a mess of beautiful crappie, big walleye (a 21 1/2 and a 20 1/2 were in the protected slot and needed to be released), multiple sizes of very fiesty smallmouth, healthy channel catfish and some smaller flatheads.
The surprises were a three eels, including one big one that Mark Meents described as near three feet. They did not bring the eels in. The eels led to a long explanation from streams biologist Bob Rung about the life of eels, which use both rivers and the ocean.
He figured the little ones were probably going to be here for a couple years, while the big eel was probably on its way back to the ocean.
On biologist Rob Miller's boat, one of the helpers said they missed a walleye that probably topped 8 pounds. Now that's a walleye.
Hall of Famer J.R. Black said they had a gar of near 5 feet.
Big enough that Rung said, ``It was a doozy, probably the biggest I have ever seen.'' It was so big, they did not try to get it into the tank. And mind you the tanks were the usual big horse trough tanks.
The procedure was gathering fish with the IDNR shocking boats, bringing them back where kids (such as two of my boys above) carry them to the NIAA tanks, where they are documented and later tagged before being released.
The derby starts Friday and runs through July 8.
Click here for details.