Oct 25, 2008

Mineral Springs Park

As some of you know, I've been trying out fly fishing lately. When you think about fly fishing you think trout. Well, here in central Illinois the trout fisheries aren't exactly around every corner. While we don't have pristine gravel bottom streams filled with trout feasting on may flies, what we do have is Mineral Springs Park in Pekin. Every fall, the DNR dumps a bunch of rainbow trout into the lagoon at Mineral Springs. While it isn't exactly their natural habitat, and I'm sure they don't thrive, it does provide us with an opportunity to catch trout. Really our only opportunity, so don't laugh if you're reading this from Colorado; it's all we have.

Dave and I went to Mineral Springs park with our fly rods, (I got a nice St. Croix 8wt for my birthday, thank you honey) and tried our hand at fly fishing in a lake. While it wasn't as exciting as standing in the rushing waters of the Mackinaw River, it did provide some entertainment. Unfortunately the only real excitement I had was watching Dave catch fish after fish while I caught none. It was bad, I was even using a very similar fly and standing 5 feet away from him using the same techniques. Anyway, Dave caught one blue gill, enough crappie that I lost track and two rainbow trout. The two trout are shown below.

Oct 19, 2008

Flying the Mackinaw

Dave and I went to the Mackinaw River to work on our fly fishing abilities, and they need some work. Perhaps we should call Mr. Jonn Graham of Streamstalker fame for a guided tour and some tips. This was my first fly fishing experience ever and I think it was only Dave's third or forth.

Well, we drove around for 3 hours looking for a place with public access AND shallow enough water for waders (the later being the real problem). Once we settled on a place we tried hard, really hard. The water was clear, the leaves were coming down, the sun was out and the wind was howling down the valley; overall the day was a perfect example of why I love the outdoors. Ultimately we didn't catch any fish on fly rods but later in the day Dave abandoned is fly and threw a craw daddy crank to catch the pictured smallie on his second cast. The thing squirmed away after the picture but before we could get measurements, but it looked to be in the 2 pound range.

It's obvious I have much to learn and you'll probably be kept up to date on my schooling. So here's what I've learned so far.:
- The location of the only place acceptable for public waders on the Mackinaw within a reasonable driving distance.
- How deep one needs to stand to ensure the current will overpower one.
- I don't know how to catch fish with flies
- A canoe would make access easier
- I need to go try again

Sorry the only fish picture is out of focus....

Oct 18, 2008

Fly practise and a 15lb catfish

I was practicing my fly fishing technique in preparation for a serious trip tomorrow and I caught a catfish in my neighbors yard.

I had tied a small piece of cloth to the line and was practicing the cast. My distance goal was to get it over the railroad tie you see in the picture. After the cloth landed on one particular cast, bam. Straight out from behind the garage the cat had it and wouldn't let go. I set my rod down to chase him off. He ran, but took the cloth and my rod with him. Afterward I went out for a picture and discovered the little rascal is friendly as can be.

Oct 13, 2008

Banner Marsh Trips

This was the last weekend for fishing on many area public waters before the waterfowl season opens. Also, my wife was out of town leaving me plenty of time to slack off, so I went to Banner Marsh twice in two days this weekend. First day was slow, second day was sloooow. The two pictures are from when Dave and I went Saturday. I had a 10 incher and the pictured 3.5lb bass and Dave caught what I believe to be his first fish on a fly rod, it's not much to look at but a major milestone none the less. Sunday produced no fish, but not for lack of effort. We threw everything in the box and couldn't muster up a fish. In a true sign of desperation, we even trolled crank baits.