Friday, August 12, 2011

Fishing the Big Lake and the Chicago River

Yesterday morning (~6am-9am) fished the Chicago river from Union Station all the way to the lake, then down to the planetarium. It was nice and sunny, only a few tentative hits. I was throwing 2" tube jigs in grey with red specks and green ones with red specks; also threw white spinnerbait, a mepps black fury, and pink 1/16 oz jigs tipped with gulp 2.5" smelt minnows. Met Ron from the Chicago Park District around the Columbus drive bridge, and he gave me lots of great tips.

Once I got to the lake, I saw some rocks and weeds and threw my trusty 2" green tube jig- and got this little guy:

It was great to beat the skunk! Also caught a lot of gobies on the tube jig, including this big guy (the largest goby I'd caught):

I had to go to work, so that was it for the morning. After work (~5pm) I came back out to the lake and met Jeff Nolan, Sun Times fishing contributor, who gave me a wealth of tips and a good bass spot... So I headed up the coast, back to the river spot he suggested.

The spot looked super fishy, and it indeed was! On my first cast (jighead tipped with gulp smelt) I got a real strong hit and pulled up this fella:

Took a quick picture, threw him back, and quickly recast to the same spot, and immediately got another hit, this time way stronger! I was super excited. I hadn't yet caught ANYTHING in the river, and this was too good to be true! After a short battle I met my first Chicago river bass!

Around that time Jeff (who was on his bike) showed up and gave me some more tips on the spot, and I proceeded to land 2 more LMB, all on the same pink jighead and gulp smelt, bunny-hopped along the bottom per Jeff's suggestion. The fish all seemed healthy and put up pretty good fights. I'm not sure how long each one was, I didn't have a way to measure them... but I sure will next time.

Around the 3rd bass, a security guard came out and told us we couldn't fish there, that the management company of the building owned the sidewalk or something like that. There was a short argument, and I'm glad Jeff was there (apparently he's seen this happen before, and it even made the paper that the can't ban fishing there...!) I had to catch my metra home, so I headed off... But all in all, a GREAT day fishing, made possible by tips from other fisherman. A few short months ago, I couldn't tell the difference between a LMB and a bluegill, but thanks to the generosity of those on and fishermen I've met along the way, I think I'm becoming a better fisherman.

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