Wednesday, June 5, 2013

First Fox River Wade of 2013

I was still excited but very, very groggy.  Summer wading happens at dawn and dawn is happening earlier and earlier every day.  

I picked up Dan (Pondboy) and we hit a drive thru for breakfast and more important for me coffee!  
Down the road we found the Fox River and the next thing I knew I had my breathable chest waders on, and my drift rod set up with Raven equipment up and down the rod.  Raven high vis mono, Raven premium balsa float, silicone float tubing, micro-swivel, fluro leader, Raven split-shot, and all that terminated to a Raven specialist hook.

I nose-hooked a minnow, set my float and worked the waist deep water for any structure I might bump my bait into.  I was set up perfectly for what happened next.  My specialized float designed for fast deep current dipped below the surface and slid to the right. I pulled the line tight and the specialist hook attached itself to the top lip of this cute channel catfish.

I caught cute little cats smaller than this in this stretch of river last year.  If I were a betting man I'd wager this might be one of those cats after a year of filling his belly.  I can't wait until he gets to be as big as my largest caught on this stretch

Hardly any time passes before Dan's drift picks up a fish.  Another channel cat, this one was a nicer fish than mine and we both beat the skunk.

A problem we encountered directly related to the river depth.  I'm 6' 2" tall, Dan isn't.  There were some spots we'd have to back Dan out of in order to keep water from entering the top of his chest waders.  In another the flow was strong enough to cause him problems.  With one part concern for my friend and another part smart @$$ I walked parallel and upstream from Dan to give him some slack water to make crossing the center of the river channel easier.

Once on the other side we made our way down to a warm water discharge.  We can't wade this stretch of river without trying to catch something in the swirling flow.

Both of us score bronze!  Two nice looking 12" smallmouth bass.  The fun part about smallmouth this size is when you're used to catching largemouth a smallmouth this size feels like a much larger fish.

Eventually we make our way off the river.   Not many more bites led us to another problem; extra bait.  I've written abut what to do with leftover bait before.  Today was different.  Today we fished a little pond for bass.  We didn't catch any bass though.

We caught channel catfish.  Who knew there were beautiful, clean catfish in a little, odd-shaped pond. 

Dan's cat was the bigger of the two caught.  We didn't get rid of much bait but we did get to catch a few pond catfish before our time was done and we had to pack up and go.

I mentioned on the forums of DuPage Angler that I thought I would devote more time to purposely catfishing this year.  I guess today was as good a day as any to start catching Mr. Whiskers.  Today it was accidental.  Next I think I'll try catching catfish on purpose.  They tug well.

I was itching to go wading and I got to.  The river is still too crazy fast to want to step in for a walk but ponds help scratch the fishing itch.  I'm hopeful the rain will level off to a healthy amount for trees, ponds, and crops but at the same time allow the rivers to drop in height and flow.  I love wading rivers.  I got bit by that bug and it's just in me now.  I got my first wade in for 2013.  The first of many to come.

5/26/2013 USGS Fox River 11.68 ft 1580 cfs @ Montgomery Gauge