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Andrew R
ANDREW
RAGAS

Andrew's Adventures

Weekly DPR Report 10/25/2010

Wed, October 27, 2010

My weekly report for the DesPlaines River watershed. Posted every Wednesday in the Chicago Sun-Times, and once a week at Heartland Outdoors.

October 25, 2010

Before Tuesday morning’s very interesting storm, the fishing was good, and everything was predictable and consistent. Now with the gauge having risen to a 3.5, and an increased flow of 500, the fishing could be either a feast or famine. All it might take is a simple adjustment in approach, and the same success from the previous weeks could be had with these changed river conditions.

Thankfully, we have gotten our much-needed rainfall. Wading is still safe to moderately safe, but I would be careful if exploring and venturing off to new-found waters as water clarity is now reduced very stained.

Northern Pike, Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, and Walleyes have been making headlines over the course of this past week.

Pike up to 31-inches are being caught by anglers who are wading, and fishing by boat. Dan Sims, David Mannion, and I were lucky enough to tie into one fish apiece like this on a wade outing last week. Fish were extremely active and most commonly found in deeper holes, log jams and laydowns, and pools with flowing water. Now that the river is filled up to some degree and back to normal levels, they will be all over the place, and still relating to the same areas. Crankbaits, 5 and 6 inch Jerkbaits, Spinnerbaits (black with oversized orange blades / white & gold), In-line spinners (Sims Spinners) and Bucktails (Mepps) with #4, #5, #6 blades. Colors vary on a daily basis but those that contrast well with the water clarity, and produce a vibration and flash are proving to be most effective. Afternoon and early evening hours are offering the best opportunities at fish.

In addition, Bass anglers have been getting lots of enjoyment from this river. Largemouth up to 18 inches, and Smallmouth up to 16 inches are being caught from the lower stretches of river. Best areas have been log jams, rock piles, channel edges, arms and points, and deeper holes. Fish are feeding heavily at the moment and crankbaits, spinnerbaits, in-line spinners, and rattlebaits all in shad patterns have been catching the most fish.

Dan Sims, my frequent wade partner and owner of Sims-Spinners, recently enjoyed a 20-fish outing with attorney, Brian Toth, and he had this to say about the Bass fishing success:

“Brian and I fished new water on Sunday morning (October 24th) through the afternoon. I have scouted this area on aerial maps before as it is full of pools and current areas, and with some Walleyes being on the move lately, I thought it was worth a try. We met at 10am and fished until 4pm. We were really on the hunt for some DPR Pike action with a bonus Eye if we could get lucky. At the time of our wade, the water was still SUPER LOW even after the little rain we received on Saturday. Gauge was at 305. We put in and started upstream. It was chute after chute after chute. Looks perfect for some Walleye action with a little higher water. For the most part, the water was no deeper than 2-feet anywhere we went. We fished 3/4 of a mile upstream coming to an area where the river widened very nicely. We walked up on this area with stealth to ensure we didn’t scare any fish from this pool. We were casting into this hole for maybe 3-4 minutes when I began to think, ‘Man! I hope this isn’t one of those days…’ Just then a TANK takes pass at my #5 spinner. WOW! I had this fish on for 15 seconds. I couldn’t believe my own eyes! It was a HUGE Bass! Four-pounder, no doubt! Brian and I looked at each other and said, ‘AWWW MAN!!!!!’ I have lost big fish before, but never a tank like this from the DPR of all places. With nothing to show on our wade up, this was it. Go big or go home. After that it was on! We fished this hole and others nearby for the next 2 hours with non-stop action. They were simply crushing our Sims In-Lines, fish-after-fish, and all Largemouth Bass. If only I could put together 20+ fish days like this every outing.”

Lastly, Walleyes and Sauger are being found in decent number on the river and its tributaries. When not out on daytime wades and floats for Pike and Bass, we’ve been wading during the nighttime and low-light hours in pursuit of these fish; Often starting at sunset and staying past 9pm. Walleye up to 24 inches, and Sauger up to 18 inches are being found right now. Areas to look for are hard bottomed pools (rock and gravel) and holes with moderate flowing water. Dams are good choices also, but the deeper holes and eddies leading up to them and several hundred yards downstream from them are even better. Fish are not heavily concentrated as most spots are yielding three to four fish at most, so it would be best to cover water, stay patient, and “hole hop”. However, five fish outings are possible right now, and the best results are coming on larger sized plastics fished on 1/8oz jigs (Lindy Munchies, YUM Grubs, and Walleye Assassin Shads) and three to six inch minnowbaits (Rapala X-Raps, Husky Jerks, F-11’s, Smithwick Rogues and Rebel Minnows). Color combinations vary, but mix and match until the magic color is found. As long as the lure is producing vibration and fish can see a large profile swimming in the water, that’s all that really matters.

Water temperatures are holding at 55 degrees right now. The fishing is good, but with the receding water and changed conditions, it can be a feast or famine type of outing.


Brian Toth, showing off how low the water levels were prior to today’s rainfall. / Sunday October 24, 2010.


Brian Toth, with one of many Largemouth Bass caught on #4 and #5 Sims Spinners. / Sunday October 24, 2010.


Dan Sims with a very nice Largemouth Bass taken while wading with Brian Toth. Caught on a #5 Sims Spinner. / Sunday October 24, 2010.


Dan Sims with a positive sign, holding this 15 inch Smallmouth Bass from a wade outing last week. Caught on a #5 Sims Spinner. / Wednesday, October 20, 2010.


Andrew Ragas with another Smallmouth Bass taken from a recent wade outing. Caught on a #5 Sims Spinner. / Wednesday, October 20, 2010.


Close-up of a 31-inch Pike caught by David Mannion./ Wednesday, October 20, 2010.


David Mannion with a 31-inch Pike that was caught on a wade outing last week. Fish was caught with a #5 Sims Spinner. / Wednesday, October 20, 2010.


Andrew Ragas with a long and skinny 31-inch Northern Pike. This fish came within the first five casts to begin the afternoon wade. Also caught on a #5 Sims Spinner. / Wednesday, October 20, 2010.


Andrew Ragas with a 25 inch Northern Pike caught on a weekend float trip with Dan Cahill. Fish was caught on a 3/4oz Northland Reed Runner spinnerbait, black/orange blade with black Stankx grub trailer. / Saturday, October 23, 2010.


Andrew Ragas with an 18-inch Walleye caught on a tributary of the DesPlaines River. Fish took a jig and plastic. / Sunday, October 24, 2010.


Tim Bixter brings his 24-inch Walleye to shore. Fish was caught on an F-11 Rapala at 8pm during a nighttime wade with Andrew Ragas. / Monday, October 25, 2010.


Tim Bixter holds his 24-inch Walleye. Fish was caught on an F-11 Rapala at 8pm during a nighttime wade with Andrew Ragas. / Monday, October 25, 2010.

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