6/18/15 – Fishin’ in the Dark

I had to come home from Dwight early to take care of some things at work and to go to band practice at church. I had my fishing gear, the weather was clear and I wasn’t quite tired, so I headed over to the Salem Reservoir.


Sunfish were feeding hard on the surface. I had some poppers and flies and thought about it for a second, but I decided to see if I could add some bullheads to my 50 species collection. I caught a Brown Bullhead in Ohio, but I still needed yellow and black. Didn’t end up seeing a black bullhead, but caught some small yellows.

Yellow Bullhead - Ameiurus natalis – Angling Species #42 / 2015 Species #41
Yellow Bullhead – Ameiurus natalis – Angling Species #42 / 2015 Species #41

The yellow and black bullheads can look pretty similar, except for their chin whiskers. I guess I should call them barbels. Chin whiskers sounds better though.

We are about half-way through the year, and I only have nine species left for my goal. I started with no specific species goals in mind, but now I’m really thinking about individuals.

I know that I could wait till the Mazon river is low, and probably catch with decent certainty Orangespotted Sunfish, A couple of redhorse species and Northern Sunfish (maybe pumpkinseed too).

Between there, the Kankakee, Heideke Lake and Mazonia / Braidwood. I could target Mooneye, Goldeye, Pickerel, Northern Pike, Musky, Wipers, Hogsuckers, White Suckers, Gar, etc. Sangchris isn’t too far for striped bass. Carlyle has all three buffalo, Goldeye, Flatheads, etc.

That’s not even counting microfishing.

All in all, I have started to narrow things down to big “target groups”

  1. Horseshoe Lake (Alexander County) Area – Lots of good species there. Gar, Orangspotted Sunfish, etc.
  2. S.E. Missouri – Warmouth, Chain Pickerel, tons of unique micros – make my way over to pick up some shadow bass!?
  3. Dwight Area – Tons of species I need
  4. Embarras River – Suckers, Redhorse, etc.
  5. Carlyle – Buffalo, Flatheads
  6. Lake Michigan – Charter for Trout / Salmon
  7. Ice Fishing – I REALLY want to catch a Burbot.

Those all offer best bang:buck.

Of course, I would love to hit the American Shad run on the east coast, pickup Jumprocks in Georgia, Run around Saltwater Fishing (If I lived by the coast, my original goal would have been 150!), And catch two of the “holy grail” – Blue Suckers and American Eel. Both are hard to predict where to find, and a little luck is involved.

6/16 – 6/17/2015 – Mazonia and Flooded Rivers

Day 1 -

We went up to Visit Rachel’s Dad at his new house, and I was given the thumbs up for fishing. Unfortunately, between the time I planned to get up there and we actually went, excessive amounts of rain blew out all of the rivers.

The other bad (good) part of the trip was that I didn’t take many pictures because I was trying to conserve my cell phone power, being as I was fishing from dawn till dusk every day.

First spot was one of the bridge crossings on the Mazon river. I sat and stared at it longingly, because I just knew there were all the Suckers and Red Horse I wanted to catch in there somewhere, but there was no place to even stand where you could get a line out. I looked at it for a little while, and then moved on to Mazonia. I drove around hitting the little lakes on the North Unit, and started catching little sunfish. I made my way down to Carp and Gar Lake for gar. It took me a good 45 minutes to walk in to a fishable spot at the channel that connects them, which made me feel like a fishing Kayak is a worthy investment. I tried some inline spinners, and got nothing. I switched to rope lures, and had several follows by longnose gar back to my feet where I was standing in the water. I figure-8’ed them just like musky, but they were not hitting. This water is SUPER clear, and while they were interested in the lures, they wouldn’t take them.

After I left there, I headed to the South Unit lakes and caught a bunch of sunfish. I should have kept them, but it was still early in the day, and I wasn’t really prepared for it. 20150616_095712 20150616_150006 20150616_053220I should have got a picture of the red ear, but my phone was at 5% and won’t take pictures at that point. It was probably the biggest sunfish I’ve ever caught. They were all hitting hard on Carolina Rigs on the bottom.

I also caught this little top minnow, which I was convinced was a new species, but Ben Cantrell crushed my hopes and dreams, and informed me it was just the male pattern of Blackstriped Topminnow, which I already had caught.20150616_145657


I also headed over to Kankakee where it meets Rock Creek, in the hopes that the creek might be flooded, but not have so much flow.



Day 2

Started at Monster Lake, at the Granary Creek cutoff. I caught a few nice bluegill there, and a couple little ones, which promptly became flathead bait. The bite was pretty slow, and I didn’t get any flatheads – but I live near a super flathead spot, so I’ll just have to hit it when the waters are right.

Late Afternoon, I went down to Ponderosa, which has a 10 sunfish limit, and caught a nice mix of bluegill, redear, and green sunfish. Right before I ran out of worms (that doesn’t happen too often). Yellow Perch started biting, hitting #40 of the 50 species I want to catch this year.

Yellow Perch - Perca flavescens – Angling Species #41 / 2015 Species #40
Yellow Perch – Perca flavescens – Angling Species #41 / 2015 Species #40

Went back to Duane’s and cleaned the sunfish, which took forever since I am terrible at it. However, after watching a quick youtube video on how to clean and de-bone perch, I made quick work of them. I’m a much better perch cleaner than bluegill cleaner.

All in all, I had a great time. It was rainy, muddy, and flooded and I got enough hiking in to last me a while but I’ve got a huge number of spots that are already scouted fully for when I go back up there. I have to get a redhorse, something about them appeals to my catfishing nature.

6/13 – Floatin’

It was Rachel’s birthday this last weekend, and we decided to go on a float trip to the Bass River Resort with some friends! Of course you float on water, and guess what else lives in water???

Blackspotted Topminnow
Blackspotted Topminnow

Blackspotted Topminnows were super aggressive and very prevalent here. It was hard to get the hook down to the shiners I was seeing. Ended up catching two shiners that were new lifers:

Bleeding Shiner - Notropis zonatus – Angling Species #38 / 2015 Species #37
Bleeding Shiner – Notropis zonatus – Angling Species #38 / 2015 Species #37
Striped Shiner - Luxilus chrysocephalus – Angling Species #37 / 2015 Species #36
Striped Shiner – Luxilus chrysocephalus – Angling Species #37 / 2015 Species #36

In this same area, we absolutely hammered longear and green sunfish. I also caught a fairly large bluegill, but I was in neck deep water, and didn’t have my camera or a way to hold onto it without putting it inside of my swim trunks.

20150613_065609 20150613_070212 20150613_070844


Once we actually got to floating, I ran some inline spinners and really small crankbaits (Rebel Crickhopper and 1/10th oz Rebel Crawfish). It was really amusing to see the fish running after them in the ultra-clear water. Even tiny shiners would chase after these lures that were twice their size. Overall, I caught two new lifers.

Rock Bass - Ambloplites rupestris – Angling Species #39 / 2015 Species #38
Rock Bass – Ambloplites rupestris – Angling Species #39 / 2015 Species #38
Smallmouth Bass - Micropterus dolomieu – Angling Species #40 / 2015 Species #39
Smallmouth Bass – Micropterus dolomieu – Angling Species #40 / 2015 Species #39

Overall, I was really thankful to get to go on this trip. It was Rachel’s birthday trip, and she was gracious enough to let me chase an admittedly silly obsession.

Plus, she’s letting me go up to the Mazon and Kankakee Rivers this week to chase some more fish! There are some good chances at Redhorse, bullheads, pickerel, pike, and sunfish that I don’t have as well as some hopefully clearer creeks. Lots of rain in the forecast, but I never really cared about that!