Fox River Deadfall
Fish the Fox
A PERSONAL JOURNAL CHRONICLING FISHING ADVENTURES AT THE FOX RIVER AND BEYOND.
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March 31, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: March 31, 2012: Every once in a while even a seasoned smallie fisherman tangles with a specimen that makes their knees buckle. Today was my day. The fish pictured was catch number eighteen during a phenomenal day of Fox River fishing. I caught it on a Jonn Graham Warrior Jig (swim jig) tipped with a 5" Big Hammer Tail. I was bringing the bait downstream near some rock and the brute plowed it. Awesome fight and I could not believe the shoulders on the fish once I lipped it. Think I yelled a few expletives, but they were meant in a good way! I beached the Cuda and hopped out for some photos using my wireless remote before measuring and releasing the fish. Just awesome. Taped at 20.25".

Ended up boating an even twenty smallmouth during my afternoon outing. My most productive lure was a slow-hopped 4.5" Yamamoto Flappin' Hog in 301 color rigged on a weighted Owner wide-gap hook (thanks Joz). The smallies were definitely on a crawfish feed because they all stunk! If you've ever kept a bass in a livewell and they've puked up crawfish parts you know the smell I'm talking about. (I know this from my Minnesota days.) My hands, jacket, and kayak sure stunk like "used" crawdad!

I also caught about a half-dozen smallmouth on the Eric Bait late in the afternoon when the fish were more active. All in all a magical float and fishing trip. The Cuda performed wonderfully. I'm really having a blast with it! USGS 11.69' / 1,470 CFS

Fox River smallmouth bass

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March 30, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Was out and about with my kids and stopped by the river for a few casts. Tried a 1/2-ounce black spinnerbait slow-rolled upstream alongside structure in mild current and got bit on the first cast. Was a drag-peeler. Tried a few more casts but the wind was chilly for the kids so we continued on with our errands. USGS 11.85' / 1,810 CFS

Fox River Smallmouth bass

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March 28, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Shore fished and spot hopped with my boys on a day off. Bites were far and few between. The river had dropped considerably and my high water milk run proved difficult. The kids had fun exploring and my oldest found a five dollar bill! He is such a lucky kid. I finally connected with a foot-long smallmouth while bringing a swim jig downstream through a current seam. We photographed some killdeer eggs in a ground nest near the river. Soon after we called it a day and went to lunch.

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March 27, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Got on the water for about an hour. Really wanted to see how the SOT Cuda fared in the wind. Was steady at around 20mph with gusts up to 30mph. I dropped in at a FP with fairly swift water and paddled downstream for about 1/4-mile. The kayak tracked nicely and holding position in the wind "was a breeze." I fished a swim jig and got bit while bringing the bait downstream and alongside the face of a laydown -- perfect smallie spot. Was getting peppered by a hailstorm of caddisflies the entire outing. Blanked in my big fish areas although no worries, I lost light fast and didn't have time to thoroughly work them. Did toss the Sammy, which was a nice change. Paddled upstream through the current without issue. Loaded up in the dark. Was an invigorating outing and I was glad I made the time to get on the water.

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March 25, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Kayaked and fished with my brother and nephew on Sunday AM. We dropped in at a forest preserve where the parking lot is only about 25 feet from the river, which is fairly low and calm with some shallow / exposed bedrock to launch on. (The only real obstacles were the goose poop!)

I outfitted my brother and nephew in my tandem kayak and paddled solo in my Cuda. It was my first time in the Cuda and I was a bit tentative initially. Being in a sit-on-top kayak was new for me and the feeling of the higher center of gravity sure was different! I stayed out of the current for the first few hundred yards and when I got a little more comfortable I paddled upstream into the main current. I tested out turning, backing up, etc. -- all the normal stuff you do during a day of river fishing. In about 15-20 minutes I was pretty comfortable and began fishing. As soon as I started casting, everything was second-nature and I just concentrated on fishing. I tossed a medium-sized swim jig and picked up three smallies, the largest a dark-barred 15" behind shoreline boulders.

It was a short outing but overall I really liked the Cuda and the biggest plus for me was how comfortable the seat is. It was like sitting in my car. Great comfort beneath me and great back support. Paddling was easy and I look forward to many more trips. USGS 11.86' / 1,830 CFS

Jackson Kayak Cuda Old Town Loon 160T
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March 24, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Shore fished solo for a few hours mid-morning. Water has dropped quite a bit. I fished a swim jig through current seams, around outside turns and faster water near heavy structure. Ended up landing six smallmouth and one largemouth. Got into some good sized fish, with four in the 17"-18" range. Largest taped a hair over 18". Nice morning. Very humid and the midges weren't bad at all compared to previous trips.

Fox River smallmouth bass Fox River smallmouth bass
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March 22, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Got out for a short fishing trip in my tandem kayak with my buddy Kevin. River is still on the high side. Boat control was a bit of an issue and I did more paddling than fishing. We worked for 'em. I caught two smallmouth and two largemouth fishing a large swim jig. Kevin fished the Eric Bait and caught two smallmouth. We each boated a big smallmouth. Got off the water around 11:45 and went to lunch. USGS 11.85' / 1,810 CFS

Fox River smallmouth bass Fox River smallmouth bass
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March 21, 2012

New Jackson Kayak Cuda on the prowl: I put my roof rack on today and anxiously awaited quitin' time so I could get to Paddle & Trail in Aurora to pickup my new fishing kayak. My sons and I walked through the outdoor display area and looked at all the kayaks they have for sale. We were anxious to see mine and looked all over for the sweet black and red combo. I'll admit, I got a little nervous when I didn't see it. Finally, I spotted it, still shrouded in plastic wrap the way it had shipped from the factory. There was my name written largely across the wrap. The color and the way the molding came out looked fantastic! I was stoked.

Charlie came out and quickly cut the plastic off. A quick lookover and he helped me carry it over to the car. A few minutes later, the new kayak was securely tied down and I was on my way. A seamless pickup! Fifteen minutes later we were home. A few neighbors came over to check it out. Some are in the "same boat" as me with kids, and have gotten into canoes or kayaks since knowing me. Nice how the fun spreads.

Jackson Kayak Cuda
(mine is "black widow" color)
Length: 14.3 feet
Width: 29.75 inches
Weight: 74 lbs
Capacity: 400 lbs
22 inch wide flat standing platform

Jackson Kayak Cuda
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March 20, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Wish they could all turn out like this. Fish hammered one of Jonn Graham's large swim jigs. Again, second cast. Only issue was keeping the damn midges off the camera lens -- they were swarming by the hundreds. Some Fox River brutes on the feed lately. Loving this warm spring. USGS 12.11' / 2,330 CFS

Fox River smallmouth bass
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March 19, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Quick wading spot hop. Just tossed the Eric Bait. Landed four, 19", 17", 17", 15.5". Rain had lots of bud covers washing downstream. USGS 11.22' / 2,750 CFS

Fox River smallmouth bass on YouTube
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March 18, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Wade-fished solo early evening and stuck close to shore. Tossed a large swim jig and picked up a 17.5" smallie tucked alongside heavy shoreline structure. Popped one more smaller bass before switching spots. Was getting dark and tied on the Eric Bait. Cast upstream at a current break ... as soon as the spinnerbait fluttered into slack water it got slammed. Thrashing and spinning were tell-tale signs of a cat. USGS 12.20' / 2,520 CFS

Fox River channel catfish
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March 17, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Took my two boys out for breakfast, to Gander Mountain, then to the Fox for some shore fishing and visited a few playgrounds. My youngest son landed a fat 15" smallie on a pearl jig and twister. I caught a couple and finished up with a hawg of a smallie off some urban structure. Wasn't as easy to find 'em today. Fishing may have improved later in the afternoon. We wrapped it up around noon.
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March 16, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Got out with my 8-year-old son for about 45 minutes of shore fishing. Was an abbreviated outing because he did not like being around the swarms of midges. We fished pearl jig n twisters and worked around shoreline structure -- dabbling, bringing the bait through eddies, and letting the current hold and flutter it around outside turns. Brent tangled with a foot-long smallmouth, then a largemouth. I ended up landing nine smallmouth, biggest 16" and 17". Caught 5 out of one seam. Nice to see 'em bunching up and active. They are hitting aggressively. USGS 12.21' / 2,550 CFS

Though their swarms can be annoying, midges are harmless. They spend most of their life underwater in the larval stage. Once they emerge, they rely on their stored energy to mate. Then die. If you're getting bit by insects along the river, they are probably mosquitos or flies. Beware of the (harmless) midges!

Fox River boy fishing Fox River smallmouth bass
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March 14, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Last Sunday I spotted this gem of a day in the forecast and put in for some time off. Got a quick reply from my boss, "Don't even think about writing in a vacation day or I won't approve it. Put in regular hours and have fun!" My original plan was to kayak the Fox with my buddy Kevin, but Mother Nature changed that with the rain several days ago. Flow was too fast.

Plan B was a rod & gun club for what I hoped would be some easy pickins for largemouth bass and northern pike. However, my wife hosts bunco tonight, so had me busting my tail last night cleaning on top of clean. Basically taking orders with a smile. I was whooped after a 1:30 AM bedtime and kayaking was the last thing I felt like doing today.

So plan C was to shore fish the high water Fox and just spot-hop some urban areas. I met my buddy Kevin around 11 AM and we hit the river with jigs and twisters. Final score for me was 8 smallmouth and 2 white bass. Landed smallies at 16", 17" and 18". Broke for lunch at Bistro One West in St. Chuck and put away a few pints of Two Brothers Domain DuPage on the deck along with a good meal. Nailed the 18" after lunch and got it on the GoPro HD Hero2. Super urban spot. Ridiculous. Minimal effort / good times / great weather. Glad we stayed close to home.
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March 11, 2012

Fox River Fishing Report: Wade-fished solo mid afternoon. Went two for three on the swim jig and missed one on the hula grub. Water is still up, so a quick spot hop and stayed close to shore. Hits were aggressive when I found 'em. USGS 11.99' / 2,080 CFS

Fox River March smallmouth bass Fox River smallmouth bass Fox River
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March 8, 2012

After my strike-out at the rivers, I figured I'd try my luck at some lake fishing. I drove up to a rod & gun club where I knew I'd be the only one out. The wind was chilly at times, but when it subsided, it was downright nice out. The lake I chose has northern pike, largemouth bass and walleye. It's typically good for a pike or two early season. I was immediately struck by how clear the lake was. I had never seen it this clear. Visibility was at least 10 feet. I could see bottom in most areas. I fished a large swim jig with a brush guard on it and worked around weed beds, logs, and any structure I could find. The lake almost seemed lifeless, as I went a good hour without a bite or even seeing much aquatic life.

I worked my way around to the back of the lake where it tapers to a little slough with lots of laydowns. It was more sheltered and sun-drenched and there were several dozen grass carp schooled up around 2' beneath the surface. They were massive! I launched a hard cast towards the opposite shore and slow-rolled the swim jig near bottom, ticking a log or rock here and there. Finally the swim jig got pounded by what I think was either a big bass or walleye. It fought hard but did a head-shake near the surface and came off. I caught a brief glimpse of it, but not enough for a positive ID. The commotion got the attention of the grass carp, which spooked in all directions and muddied up the cove.

After that it was more / less hiking around the shoreline and casting. I did notice a few crayfish scooting along the bottom, spooked some fingerling perch around fallen logs, saw about six HUGE painted turtles sunning, and got strafed by the nervous chatter of a belted kingfisher. Despite the lack of fishing, the solitude was nice, the sun felt good, and it was nice to be casting.

At the end of the outing I walked over to the man-made trout stream and caught a 16" rainbow on the swim jig. The little 'bow skied upon hookset. I kept it for dinner, as it's a catch-and-keep area. Hoping my luck improves with the warmer weather. The last couple outings have been tough fishing for me!
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March 7, 2012

I hit the Fox River for what I thought was going to be some easy catching with the swim jig. The level was up and I worked tight to some sun-baked structure. Kept expecting for the jig to get slammed by a springtime behemoth but it wasn't meant to be. I left with my tail between my legs and made a drive to the Dupe. I bypassed my first spot and went for an easy-access area and ran into my friend Jim. He had beat me to 'em and had already caught two nice ones on a large swim jig. We teamed up and fished a few more areas in the gusty wind. There were whitecaps blowing upriver -- it was like wading across a windy lake! No smallie action so we called it a day.

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© 2013 Fish The Fox. All Rights Reserved. | "Fox River Deadfall" artwork by Paul Turnbaugh. Used with permission.