Monday, March 8, 2010

The Mighty DuPage

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to get out with probably one of the most well known Northern Illinois fisherman Ken G. I know a lot of people frown upon Ken and his beliefs on fishing and conservation. He encourages people to share information and to give actual locations. It was an honor to fish, converse, and explore with him this past weekend. I hope to have many more days on the water and/or trails with him.
 Saturday afternoon after a LONG night of drinking I met Ken G on a new stretch of the DuPage that I've never fished before. I pulled up to our designated meeting spot and Ken was already puffing away on his cigar, waded up ready to fish, except he was heading back toward his car. He had been walking around the shore and made the decision that the part of the river we planned on exploring didn't favor our conditions at all. We decided to hit the area that both the West and East Branches of the DuPage River come together. Both of us figured this would be a hot spot since two very different river systems would come together. The East Branch is a very slow moving river that allows a lot of sediment to settle making it very murky. The West Branch has more faster moving water which helps keep the water clear. We were both excited to get into the water and see what was in-store for us.
We both suited up for battle and grabbed our weapons of choice. I've been real stubborn the past season of fishing, and its carried onto this year so far. I prefer throwing flies with a fly rod then spin fishing lately. Ken grabbed his spinning gear and we worked up the East Branch first. The water from shore looked VERY promising. I slowly slide down the bank and went knee deep into mud. I was able to get a few casts in before I climbed out and worked back down stream. Ken had already crossed the river and was going to work upstream to downstream on the West Branch. I worked the mouth of where both join together. Once we were both across from each other we decided to work each shoreline down river. Ken and I worked for about 2 hours that afternoon and went about 300 yards downstream with no fish for our efforts. It didn't put a damper in my mood. I was able to walk and pick the brain of someone very knowledgeable. We walked through the fields toward our parking spots and talked. He inspired me to get involved in the conservation, especially in our area. If I would like to take my kids and grand-kids to the same rivers and lakes I fish today, things need to change.
The next morning a small group of us were going to work different parts of the river and compare notes. I finally met Sam which is another avid fly fisher. Him and Matt worked from where Ken and I had left off the day before. Ken and I walked downstream about another 100 yards and got in again with my fly rod and Ken with his spinning gear. We decided to use the exploration method from the day before. We made it down to the water treatment plant. This is where Matt and Sam caught up with us. We fished the area together for about 10 to 15 minutes before it started to sprinkle on us. With the long walk back to the car we called it quits. There were no fish caught today either, and again, it didn't bother me one bit. I learned much about these rivers in the two days I spent on there but I was also inspired by the three guys I explored with. Ken inspired me to really get involved and do what I can to better our waters and wilderness areas. As we got back to our cars, Matt pulled out a magnificent custom bamboo fly rod that he built himself. He was also fishing with a spinning rod that he had built himself. It was great to see and something that I may want to get into. Then comes Sam. I'm not sure how long Sam has been tying flies, but he is great at it. He graciously gave me a few flies that have worked well for him on the DuPage last season. Now, I've tried to tie a few flies here and there, but never really sat down for an extended amount of time to get decent at it. Thanks to Sam, that is going to change.
Getting out to walk a river, take some pictures, and just soak in the world around me was great. The river systems that we worked have promising water for late spring/early summer. I can't wait to get out again and get a line wet. Until next time...

1 comment:

  1. Great post. Looking forward to catching up with you guys this year.