I fished all these spots, and concluded
there are no more fish in the river

Sunday there was no question as to my destination… I was headed to the Fox. I think I’d rather tangle with a single feisty river smallie than catch three pond bass.

Actually, just kidding, I’d rather catch lots of fish!

But I’d rather catch river fish. At least that’s the way I felt on Sunday. So I packed up the mini cooper, and hit the road. I wanted to try some new spots, so instead of heading to Batavia I headed almost due west to St. Charles.

After driving around downtown St. Charles aimlessly for about twenty minutes looking for a parking spot, I finally found one. Then I had to figure out how to get to the water- there were these pesky fences in the way. I found a ledge, hoisted myself up, and jumped down to the other side. The river here, as Ken G had warned me, was different. Looking down at the water, I couldn’t really figure it out. It all looked the same to me. I tried to find pools, seams, and eventually found a few. The water seemed very low, but I don’t know- I’d never been there before.

In quick succession, I lost about four lures on rocks, timber, or something else. Couldn’t see into the water, and it was hard to work the lures out when they got stuck. That’s part of why I like wading so much. Some other people were fishing, they didn’t have any luck either.

I hopped another fence, and while looking for a new spot I saw a pretty hilarious sign. I should clarify, a few weeks ago I would have thought it very funny, but after my recent goose encounter, I know it’s for real.

I did not go that way

I lost more lures, and was frustrated. I couldn’t figure out the water, couldn’t get my lures back, and wasn’t getting any bites. The wind was picking up, and it was getting colder.

I hopped back in the mini, and headed down stream. I passed lots of nice houses, and I daydreamed about living on a river like the Fox. I imagined myself going wading every morning, catching fish after fish while drinking my morning coffee, feet from my kitchen. That would be sweet.

Finally I arrived at Les Arends, which turns out to be on the west bank of the river, right across from where I’ve had so many adventures on the Fox. I wanted to see what this side was like.

Long and muddy story short, it was freaking muddy. Muddy as hell. I entered the water, and immediately sunk down up to my waist in mud. I crossed a small channel, got to an island, and looked for a suitable wading staff. Found a nice solid stick, and used that to navigate out into the water.

Saw some nice purple trees on my way to the river

And this wasn’t normal mud, mind you. This was mud that, as you walked through it, released exploding bubbles of extremely foul-smelling gas into the air. Every step I took in the water, the mud sucked me down and released fart bubbles from the bottom of the river. There was a trail of rank river fart bubbles behind me. There was an angry storm cloud of river farts following me around the river.

At long last I made it out of the fart mud and onto some nice rock and gravel. That’s when the caddisflies attacked. They’d been around the past couple of weeks, but somehow they hadn’t bothered me. Today, I was in the perfect spot for the wind to blow them right into my face. They they crawled around everywhere, all over my fishing vest, jacket, sweatshirt, fishing rod, reel, waders. Then I felt one on my neck, I went to scratch it off, and there it went down my back. Some of its friends went down there with it.

I worked all the spots that I could, with a variety of lures, and didn’t get even a hit. After about 45 minutes there, my makeshift wading staff standing straight up in the fart mud, caddisflies inexplicably finding their way into all my parts, I had enough.

There were some very pretty flowers
covering a lot of the forest
Not pictured: the fart mud

Made my way back through the mud, over an island, crossed a small channel, and was finally back on some nice rocks. When I got to my car, I basically stripped down to rid myself of smushed caddisflies. I wasn’t done yet, though.

I drove south, crossed the bridge, drove north, parked, and was soon in a much nicer location. No fart mud. For the next two hours, I slowly worked my way downstream along the east shore. I literally threw everything in my various tiny fishing vest tackleboxes. Nothing. I saw lots of geese, ducks, some herons, but no fish. As I fished the clouds came in, covering up the sun, and the wind picked up. It was cold!

Eventually, I was ready to throw in the towel. I was originally going to fish until sunset, then fish after dark a little to see what I could catch… But I was freezing cold, covered in fart mud, and tired.

Of course the river had one more thing to throw at me, another shore made of fart mud. Maybe this was the river’s way of keeping my humble. Just when I think I’m figuring out the river, it throws fart mud at me.

Fox River mud

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