Saturday, March 8, 2014

Harrier Lake - First Weekend of March

I usually fish with several members of DuPage Angler on any given weekend.  This weekend's fishing was discussed on a Facebook group starting last Monday.  All the active ice anglers have a Facebook group and we talk fishing, ice fishing, more fishing, and probably something about fishing too.  This week we decided by committee that we would be fishing Harrier Lake in the DuPage County Forest Preserve District.

I fished Harrier earlier this ice season.  I didn't have very good luck at all so I was a bit uneasy going back.  I only caught two bluegills last time I was there and I hadn't read many reports from the lake this season. Still a bunch of my fellow DA Ice-Heads want to go, I go.

Left to Right: SteeliePete, JC1Crappies, CrankinKing

Left to Right: BrimReaper, SteeliePete
I found some of my DA friends quickly enough as they were the large group on the ice as well as the only ones on the ice.   There were already holes drilled and fishing happening but very few fish had been caught.  I put the battery on my ION auger and started to make swiss cheese of the ice. drilled a tennis court sized grid of holes through 20+ inches of ice.  My flasher showed me my holes were above 10-15 feet of water but there wasn't much activity at all on the flasher's dial.  

I saw a concrete drain on the shore and drilled holes toward it hoping to find a hole, edge, weed edge, or something that could hold fish.  I flashed the holes and stopped when I found what I thought was an 11 foot deep spot with a foot and a half of weed growth on the bottom.  The thing was these weeds were moving!

I grabbed the custom ultra-light I made last season.  It had an orange colored Fiskas tungsten jig tied on the 2# test ice line.  Two red and two natural colored spikes were impaled on the jig's hook before it was dropped down to the moving "bottom".  This "bottom" came up to take a look at my jig!

That "bottom" was a perch!  Not much of a perch but it was a species I don't usually catch so I was excited to see it come up for a picture.  That and I beat the skunk with this perch so the pressure to catch fish was officially off!  I wonder if....

Yup!  More "bottom" perch bit my jig!

This fish hit my dead-stick rod.  It's a light-power rod I made that I set up with a slip-float, a split-shot, and a pink Custom Jigs and Spins Diamond Jig.  I managed to rig a dead-stick up between the perch I was catching and releasing. 

This was the chunkiest of the perch I'd catch today.  In all I caught 8-10 perch with no other species mixed in.  Today was totally a perch day.  I enjoyed that!  I enjoyed catching a species I don't see often in my area of northern Illinois.  I enjoyed besting my personal best perch with the one in the gloved-photo above.  (Still not huge but better than my first perch ever)

More than 20" of ice in March.  I'm wondering if we'll be able to fish on top of the water up to May?