Monday, December 29, 2008
Today might just be our last icefishing trip for sometime? We started out early today because the forecast was for another sunny, warm day. Our fishing partners for the day were Bill and Al from Chicago. Bill has a really cool fishing website called http://www.catchphotorelease.com/. Al is a Bass Pro Shops seminar speaker and avid tournament angler.
We started out with 4 inches of ice, but we could only get to the ice from one corner of the dock. The edges were not even frozen due to all the rain and warm temps. The water was stained and the fish were scattered, but moving around in about 6-10 feet of water. Action was not fast, but fairly consistent as we caught 30 nice bluegill, a bass, and a catfish in about one hour of fishing.
We could have caught fish all day long, but the sun was shining and the ice was melting and weakening pretty fast. We decided to get while the getting was still possible! We tried 3 other ponds for safe ice, but none of them were worth the risk. We headed down to East Peoria and showed the guys the new fishing park http://www.hookedonfishingpark.org/ and then headed over to the burger barge for lunch.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Dave came out on his first icefishing trip ever, and he hit the jackpot on his second fish! He was just learning how to read the vexilar, still learning how to operate the fishing pole, still just getting a feel for what was going on when he hooked the most beautiful fish ever caught in Central Illinois! We stocked just 2 golden trout in the entire lake and Dave managed to catch the very rare prized fish: a Golden Trout! The best part of the story is that we got the whole thing on film! I will post the footage as soon as I get a chance!
Friday, December 26, 2008
Today I started fishing at 8 am. Chef Todd, my dad and I headed to the lake despite tons of ice and fog. Chad and his brother in-law Alex were running a bit late, but met up with us about 9 am. Jonn and his dad were going to fish with us today, but they were completely iced in. Jeff and his dad also were going to fish with us, but decided to wait until we headed towards their neck of the woods at noon. As soon as we got to the lake, we drilled a few holes and were marking some fish initially, but only caught one fish from our first spot. After about 10 minutes we all kind of headed to where we each thought the fish would be biting!
Chef and Dad headed across the lake to our usual honey hole, but I decided to try out a new spot in shallower water towards the finger of the lake where the creek comes in and OH MY GOODNESS! I picked the right spot!! In 9 feet of water right along the edge of 15 feet of water, the fish were stacked up about 7 feet down. After catching three 2lb bass and 5 boone and crockett bluegill in 6 minutes, I convinced the two old guys to head over my way. Chad and Alex showed up as we were all getting set up in the new spot.
Alex has never been fishing before, but caught on real quick! He immediately learned how to read the vexilar and kept us all updated as to what depth the fish were swimming by. His first fish was this unbelievable 11.25" bluegill!
Chad and Alex fished in the shallow water and were catching fish every time down!
Dad and Chef chose to stay on the deeper cut in about 15-18 foot of water, and they had to wait a minute or two between fish. I don't think they minded the little bit of R&R, I think they were very content with the little bit of a slower pace. (I tried to think of a good old person joke, but couldnt?) Anyhow, here are some action shots of the old men:
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Well, it only took my dad and I about until 7:30 this morning to realize that not too much work was going to get done today. He called at just about the exact minute I had picked up the phone to call him and talk him into a quick fishing trip this afternoon. My oldest brother Chad called only about 15 minutes later thinking the same thing! We decided we would be able to all get away about 11 am.
We headed for a new set of ponds today on the outskirts of Elmwood. Our original destination was going to be our lake out in Norris, but 20 mph wind and falling temps made us head for a more sheltered location. I needed to prefish these ponds anyway, cause I am taking the owner's family on a guided icefishing trip in about 2 weeks. There were 3 ponds we needed to pre-fish, all stocked with different types of fish.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Today I had the privilege of fishing with Jonn Graham and his father in-law Richard. Jonn is a teacher at some school in some small city in the middle of nowhereville? He also is more commonly known as the "Stream Stalker". Supposedly he knows how to catch smallmouth bass in various rivers and streams? Richard is a first class guy (why did you let Jonn marry your daughter??) hehe!
I would definitely not have been fishing again today, if Jonn wasnt a crazy schoole teacher on Christmas Vacation. Although it was much warmer today, it felt much colder! The temp was 30 degrees, but there was a 25 mph wind blowing snow from the South. The roads were icy, snow was blowing near white out conditions at times, and it was just pretty much miserable outside. Jonn still wanted to fish, so I figured I would give it a try?
I needed to try out a small subdivision pond that I stocked just a year and a half ago, but we could only locate and catch one fish there (some advertising for my pond stocking abilities!) anyhow I know there are some real nice fish in there, cause we just electrofished the pond in November and were pretty excited about the icefishing prospects this year. We will be back to redeem ourselves shortly. Today was too miserable outside to move around and drill new holes.
Next place we tried we pretty much hit the mother load! The action started a bit slow, and it definitely didnt help that I missed gaffing a super nice channel catfish at the hole for the first fish of the day! Sorry about that one Jonn. After about 45 minutes on the ice, the snow stopped and the wind died down to about 15 mph and the fishing turned on just as fast as you could drop down your jig. Once the action heated up, it didnt matter what jig went down, and didnt even matter if there was any bait on it either.
It didnt take Jonn and Richard very long to fill up their bucket and we were headed home before noon. I think I got Richard hooked on the vexilar unit. At one point during the trip, he was basically teasing the fish with his jig. He would get a fish going after his jig and just keep pulling the jig up to see how far the fish would follow! We had a great time today, lots of fun! Here are some pics:
Monday, December 22, 2008
So I told Luke not to expect too much as far as action is concerned, but that we would give it a try. I explained that since it has been so cold the last 3 days that the fish would be pretty sluggishly inactive and hanging out towards the deepest, warmest water of the 7 acre pond. That is where we headed first, towards the middle of the lake where the old creek channel meets up with the dam.
I was feeling pretty good about my prediction as soon as we drilled our holes and put the vexilar in. The screen lit up with fish and Luke even gave me an atta boy for knowing exactly where the fish would be. I dropped my Northland Bro's Bug Bloodworm down towards the fish and a nice bluegill came right up to eat the jig before it even stopped falling! It wasnt until my second drop down that Luke was literally calling me an icefishing genious when I pulled up a nice 1.75 lb largemouth bass with a Northland Forage Fry jig tipped with Berkeley Gulp. Then my big head mojo must have oozed over into the hole alarming the fish at that particular location that if I caught another one I might be too full of myself to get out of my bucket seat. Anyhow for the next 10 minutes I never got another nibble and decided we needed to move on???
So I packed up and headed to where I figured some hungry fish would be hanging out, still in deep water, over by the dam. Luke headed over to a much shallower flat on the other side of the lake to drill some holes. I didnt' laugh out loud, but chuckled inside a bit at his section of the lake he chose to try out. There was no way the fish would be up on that flat feeding during this massive cold front!
I didn't even bother drilling another hole or even fishing really for that matter. He had enough fsh to fill a 5 gallon bucket before I even got over there with all the gear.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Nowadays, snowstorms only mean TONS of extra work and are quite inconvenient, but for some reason I can't help but get excited when I hear 3 to 5 inches expected! I still tend to stay up way too late and neglect my normal responsibilities on winter storm eve, hoping to wake up in the morning and be snowed in. Pretty much making me worthless the next day, regardless if the storm comes or not.
Such was the case today. Heavy icing was expected last night, and my dad and I were already making icefishing plans for today, yesterday afternoon! (when the roads are bad, you can't make it to work, but you can always make it to the lake!) We got the ice, but not bad enough to keep both of us from making it in to the office. The weather didn't cooperate enough for us, so in order to salvage our fishing plans we had to fall back to plan B. Plan B was used numerous times this year on Fridays. It is to work real hard at the office in the morning, get tons of work done and then slip out unnoticed sometime after lunch and head straight for the lake. (today due to the combination of the night before anticipation, the icy roads, and the fact it was Friday; we procrastinated at the office just long enough to justify a days work and headed for the pond) If anyone is still reading this fishing report after being ran around a collaberation of random thoughts that probably doesnt make any sense to anyone but me, well i can't really think of anything to fill in the blank there cause its getting late and hopefully you get the point? so anyhow here are a few pics and a fishing report from Friday, Dec 19.
Air Temp 34 degrees
Water Temp 37 degrees
10-15 mph NW winds
3 acre pond
11 feet deep
4.5 inches of Ice
2.5 hours of fishing
1 largemouth bass
Fish were suspended throughout the water column. Most fish were caught 7 feet down, but occasionally they would come up as close as 2 feet below the ice. Walleye were caught on goldfish fishing with flex bite tip ups. Crappie were caught on fathead minnows, suspended at 5 feet below the ice. Largemouth hit a Northland forage fry tipped and dipped in Berkeley Gulp Alive. Bluegill were biting fairly light on a variety of small jigs tipped with wax worms or pieces of Gulp.
Here are some pics of our catch today!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
I guess I am in hunting mode right now. Oh my goodness, did you see the picture of the deer listed above? My brother in law Jared was out bowhunting with his bro Blake on Saturday after Thanksgiving and boy did they have a day to remember out in the woods! The events below of how the giant came down are I guess you could say "based on a true story".....When a big deer comes down, you know there has to be some kind of weird twist of events or scandal of some sort...Right?
Anyhow, Jared was perched up in his favorite tree just like he spends most Saturday mornings this time of year. Blake was a few hundred yards away in the other treestand. So everything was just fine and dandy out in the timber when Jared decided to wake up from a little cat nap about 8:15 am (this is where the based on a true story comes into play, the cat nap portion adds just a bit of flavor to the tale). I dont actually know what Jared was doing, but I do know that standing 15 yards away broadside before him was the same deer Blake is holding for the picture.
I guess I am running out of time this morning, so I will just get to the point. Jared had a perfect 15 yard shot on this monster, pulled back and the arrow immediately flung out of his bow and right over the Giant. His, I should say, my sisters arrow release thing did not hold the arrow like it was supposed to....this is the part where I am chuckling to myself as I am writing. The deer didn't know what had happened and just slowly moved a few yards, presenting Jared with another clean shot. This time realizing he had the wrong thing to hold arrows he kind of tried to hold the thing clamped shut on the arrow and that didnt work out as planned either. This arrow did hit the deer and even knocked him down on the ground, but it hit his leg and not his heart.
The giant deer is laying on the ground about 25 yards in front of Jared, but guess what, he only had 2 arrows to start with. (Chuckle has turned into a bit of a laugh this time) After a minute or so the deer decides nap time is over and gingerly gets up and heads down the trail towards Blake. As soon as the coast was clear, Jared jumps down from the tree and races back to the truck for some more supplies or something? He gives Blake a call on the phone to tell him what just happened, but before Jared could say much of anything Blake says, I just shot a MONSTER!
Before the hunt, they decided they would sit until 9 am. So about 8:45 Blake was getting antsy and just about to hop out of his stand when he spots the Booner slowly meandering down the trail towards him. He had almost too much time to think about what was coming his way, kind of like a 3 point shooter with nobody close enough to him and too much time to think about his shot. Although Blake is a fairly new bowhunter, he has had plenty of prior Buck Fever (or Jared Type) crazy experiences to get him ready for this exact moment. Here is another unique pic of this Boone and Crocket deer.
I am heading to Iowa this weekend for a 5 day deer hunting trip! I have been practicing with my brother's ruger .454 hangun for this trip! I am really getting excited.