In an effort to take advantage of the amazing temperatures we were having, I’ve been fishing like a madman. Unfortunately, I don’t have much to show for it in terms of fish caught. Reading reports on Windy City Fishing leads me to believe I might be the only one not catching huge numbers of fish! Alas, I figure the more I fish, the better I’ll get, and eventually I’ll be able to land many fish per outing.

On the other hand, because I seem to get skunked so often, it’s incredibly exciting for me to land even one fish! I’m still very new to fishing, and I still get a huge thrill landing even the dinkiest baby of a fish.

Since I haven’t been catching much, I decided to condense all my recent trips into one post. Here goes…

WEDNESDAY 3-21-2012 – The Pond

the pond at night

I decided to try night fishing the pond, I wondered if the higher-than-normal daytime temperatures might entice a bite out of the bass there. I read some reports of other fisherman having nighttime success, so I headed out to the pond. Long story short, nada. It was a great time, a very nice air temperature, and it was very relaxing to cast in the dark. There were a few splashes near me, but the bass weren’t interested.

Every now and then I heard a very strange sound, and I listened carefully to figure out what it was. Eventually I realized it was a bug zapper at a house across the pond. ZAP! ZAPZAPZAP! Some bugs were meeting their maker.

I also heard (and saw glimpses of) bats flying around the pond, probably enjoying a feast of newly hatched bugs. I definitely appreciated their handiwork, since I wasn’t being bothered by any bugs whatsoever. It’s very cool to hear bats chirping as they fly through the darkness; as they flew around me their chirps were moved across my stereo image (it’s an audio thing) which was very interesting!

THURSDAY 3-22-2012 – Salt Creek

Three herons (I think)

The next day I had some time on my way home from work, and I decided to check out a new stretch of Salt Creek. The creek runs north to south near my house; I think Busse was created by damming it up. The creek flows from Busse down through a variety of industrial and residential areas, before eventually meeting up with the Desplaines River (I think, I’m still mapping it in Google Earth). I saw a huge number of minnows (maybe some were tadpoles?) and found a very nice kayak/canoe launch. Will definitely have to kayak from here sometime.

Stood on the bank for about an hour, throwing a variety of lures with no takers. Up closer to Busse, the creek definitely seems like a creek.. But down here, it is a little wider, and seems like a small river. I’m sure there are game fish in this stretch, just have to figure out how to catch them…

FRIDAY 3-23-2012 – Busse Lake

Had some time after work, so I headed to Busse for about an hour. On my way I stopped at Dick’s to pick up some stuff, including a red craw-pattern rat-L-trap, which has been killing it in the area on bass.

Second cast, I hook the craw on a rock, and somehow manage to break my braided line. What the hell, Busse!? Well that’s $5 I’ll never get back. I need to figure out how to make rat L traps.

There were two guys fishing right on the dam on the main pool side; I couldn’t quite figure out what they were going for. It looked like they were casting right into the pool under the small dam, but they didn’t seem to be catching anything. I wondered if any fish were gathering under the dam.

the north pool dam at Busse

Saw another guy shore fishing in one of my favorite spots, and he was getting bite after bite on a worm/salamander/creature softbait. It was great to see someone getting action at Busse! He managed to catch at least one when I was there.

After a while I had to go, but I’d be back… I wanted in on the action.

SATURDAY 3-24-2012 – Busse Lake

it was foggy

I’ve been eager to get the kayak out since January. Finally the time had come! Friday night I loaded up the kayak on my car, went to Dick’s and got some supplies for my fishing vest. I used the vest wading for steelhead in Michigan a couple weeks ago (or was it last weekend?) but I just put my lures loose in the pockets. That resulted in a few small holes in the pockets, and a few larger holes in my hands. Apparently people use small tackle boxes in the pockets. Who knew!?

So I put together an assortment of lures in a few small tackle boxes, filling my fishing vest with everything I’d need. I had a soft plastics tackle box with tubes, worms, creatures, bullet weights, and hooks; I had a jig box with twister tails, grubs, and jigs of all sizes; then I had a crankbait box with a selection of my favorite crankbaits, including some handmade ones from Mike Muston of Flushing, Michigan, Their action is incredible!

Got up extra early saturday morning, ate some oatmeal, drank some (not enough) coffee, and set out in the dark… for Busse Lake. Why did I choose Busse, where I’ve been skunked so many times before? Reading reports, it seemed many people have been KILLING it at Busse. I wanted in on the action! I still have never caught a bass in the kayak.

I drove to Busse, noticing that all the entrances were closed except the one I wanted to enter- the Higgins road entrance near 290. I arrived just about at sunrise, and there were already about 15 cars parked inside the preserve. Wow, I guess I wasn’t the only one trying to get out today. I quickly unloaded the kayak, parked my car, and was in the water in about 10 minutes.

I caught this deep diving crankbait
on a texas-rigged plastic worm

The fog was incredible- the air temperature was rather cold, but the water was warm. I think that situation will cause fog every time- but I don’t really know science. It was great fun paddling through the dense fog, only being able to see a little bit in front of me. It was like a tylenol commercial for baby boomers. Not sure why I thought that…

I worked the shoreline with a variety of lures, nothing. I trolled a crankbait, nothing. I worked the channel near the boat launch, some shallow areas that seemed like nice spawning grounds, and even some downed timber where that guy had success the night before, and nothing. I did however manage to catch a new lure, looks like a deep diving crankbait. Nice! I’ve found so many nice pieces of gear at Busse, it lessens the blow of the almost expected skunk. It was a great outing in terms of kayaking, but alas I went home without any fish pictures.

SATURDAY – part 2 – Salt Creek

I decided to head back to Salt Creek again, this time with my waders. I got there about an hour before sunset, and was really hoping for some bites. I put my waders on, threw on my fishing vest (which by the way is an awesome way to carry tackle! So convenient, and I can travel lighter. No big tackle box needed… Just grab what I need from my pockets. I love it!)

I stepped into the water, and that’s when the problems started. First of all, the water was extremely muddy, flowing quickly, and filled with big rocks. I didn’t have my wading staff. As I attempted to enter the water, every move was stopped by a huge rock I couldn’t seem to get around. Finally, I was able to get around the rock, but then suddenly discovered there was a two foot dropoff just on the other side! I almost ended up swimming in the creek instead of wading. I tried to find some other spot to enter, but nothing. All along the banks it seemed the creek got very deep, very quickly. There seemed to be no easy way to enter the water.

I tried hiking up a path, looking for another entrance. I found a bridge which looked promising. I was about to step in the water, when it occurred to me I’d better check the depth. I stuck my rod in the water, tip down, to get a sense of the depth. Almost the whole rod went in the water- vertically- and it was clear that this spot had a four foot dropoff. Not a good idea to step in!

Discouraged, I fished a bit from the bridge. Scanning the water, trying to remember everything I’ve read about river fishing, I tried to make sense of what I saw. Which ones were riffles, which ones were pools? I found an area where the water flowed in a circle, and the current seemed much weaker. It was also under some bushes. Sure enough, when I cast my jig n twister, I got some bites! Unfortunately I couldn’t get anybody to commit, and once again ended up leaving empty handed so to speak.

This guy grabbed my lure and shoved it into his mouth
Then he spit it out for me. Thanks frog!

I did end up hooking a frog accidentally with a white jig n twister. He grabbed it with his hand and shoved it into his mouth! I didn’t know frogs did that. I tugged on the line and he quickly spat it out. I’m glad I didn’t hurt him, I like frogs.

It’s always great to get out, and I like exploring new areas, even if I’m skunked. I’ll definitely have to come back here with a kayak, and see if I can find one of those elusive Salt Creek muskies.

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