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Recent entries


Just Fishing

Getting Through Winter

Mon, February 14, 2011

For me, Winter is the worst. Starting in the late Fall I can sense the feeling of dread overtaking me. Then it comes, my last fishing trip. I usually get skunked or darn close to it as the water is practically frozen. Then comes the cold, the wind, and the snow, Winter decends. Like a caged tiger pacing around a cage, I prowl the house wondering how I’ll make it through the following three months. Over the years I’ve tried a number of things to pass the time. Of course I tried ice fishing, didn’t do it for me. That makes my wife pretty happy. I actually have an off season.

A few years back I thought I could stay in touch with my fishing gene by writing so I did a few articles for Bob Macuilus at The Outdoor Notebook. That adventure started with discovering a story my Dad had written years ago. My Dad had since passed and my sister and I thought it would be cool to punch it up and try to get it published. All this took time and that Winter passed a little quicker. Turned out my interest in writing faded pretty quickly although my friends would tell me I just wasn’t interested in giving up my insights about fishing. It was hard for me to disagree with that.

Another Winter I got interested in designing a product that would solve the problem of caring a second rod when you wade fish. I made a simple sling devise I called the River Quiver. I went through the whole process of trademarking the name, packaging the product, getting labels made, and fortunately, having a wife that could sew, producing them. I think the highlight of that Winter was getting the River Quiver advertised in In-Fisherman. I sold a bunch through a website. It was cool to chat with guys from all over the country about their fishing adventures. At that point, prehaps because Winter was ending, I lost interest while getting tied up in the selling process. I sat at a few outdoor shows and went on a few radio shows. Most of the time I was wondering, why was I doing this when I could be out fishing. That and my wife going back to work ended that adventure. Of course I’m picking some of the more interesting things I’ve started during the Winter. Many other Winters were so dull, so mind numbing, its a wonder I survived. Or it least it felt that way.

So that brings me to this past Winter. I started the way I always start, hoping to fish. After a couple weeks of withdrawls I decided to make the long drive down to the Shelbyville Spillway. You have all heard the stories of great multi-species fishing. But in Winter the stories of muskies had lured me there. Now I also had heard the stories of a virus back around 2008 that hit the muskies especially hard. Still, it was Winter and it was soft water fishing, so off I went. Long story short. I got skunked. There was a couple other guys out there and I saw 2 or 3 get large carp I’m pretty sure they snagged. For a brief time I had scratched my fishing itch.

After a couple weeks I was climbing the walls again. My family is used to this state and are great at cheering me up. And then another break in the weather provided another fishing opportunity. Powerton opened up to shore fishing. I headed down there a few days after Christmas and enjoyed a wonderful day of catching small hybrid stripers and white bass. Met the guy that caught that huge catfish on the cover of Heartland Outdoors a few days earlier and a few of his friends. I’ll bet they’ve caught a few more giants this Winter.

January began to pass and the idea of going to a outdoor show or two came to mind as a way of passing this worst time of year. At the same time I began to wonder about the possibility of a new boat. The thinking behind that was I have a small boat for restricted lakes and a bigger Alumacraft for bigger water. I wondered about fishing out of something that would work for both. So off Cam and I went to the Muskie Show and then America’s Outdoor Show. Here’s a couple pictures of that.

The Muskie Show
Muskie Show


The Heartland Booth
The Heartland Booth


We had a good time and I even got some ideas about my next boat. I came pretty close to a deal when I got hung up by not being able to sell my Alumacraft. All the while Winter has been passing by and yesterday was the boat opener at Powerton. We’ve almost made it!

Sunday I finally sold my bigger boat so now its on to the serious business of finding a replacement. I’m really having fun thinking about a new rig to fish out of. It seems like I’m going to make another Winter.

Oh. I forgot to mention one of the bigger reasons for the boat change. I am just starting up Fishin Friend Guide Service. For this new adventure I wanted to be in a nice comfortable rig that guys would enjoy fishing from. In March, April, and May I’ll be available on weekends. Then in June, July, and half of August I’ll be available daily. As I said in an earlier post I like to fish for what’s biting so I won’t get totally locked into one lake or one fish. The lakes I’ll focus on will be LaSalle, Heidecke, Shabbona, The Illinois River, Evergreen, and Spring Lake North and South. Anyone interested in more info can contact me at 815 433-6109. I’d be happy to talk to you.

Catch you later.




Pete 101

Sat, February 12, 2011

Time to punch out a little more about myself as it relates to fishing. Some of the first questions I received were about what fish I target. The short answer is I like to fish for what’s biting. Living in Ottawa I’m lucky to have many good options that are a reasonable drive from home. So let’s see if I can give you a brief rundown of where I fish and what I target.

The Illinois River runs right through town just 5 minutes from my house. White bass are available in good numbers at certain times of the year. They fight hard for their size and will practically knock the rod out of your hand when they strike. I really like getting bites and it’s not unusual to catch 50 or more in just a few hours of fishing. The river also holds a decent population of smallmouth bass. When a good bite is on I’m only too happy to fish so close to home. When things are slow in this pool, Starved Rock is just 15 minutes down the road.

LaSalle Lake is another regular stop for me. Here I am usually chasing both largemouth and smallmouth bass but hybrid stripers are available in good numbers and occasionally I can find fish over 8 pounds. As much as I like bass, they are no match for the explosive power of hybrids. If those fish jumped I’m not sure I’d fish for anything else. And while I don’t really target them, anyone who fishes out there is going to catch blue and channel catfish. My biggest cat to date was a blue a little over 30 pounds. I’ve seen a number of pictures of fish over 50!

Over the past few seasons I’ve become more fond of Shabbona Lake. No doubt this lake is almost always crowded but the fish are there. Most of the time on Shabbona I’m searching for muskies, but occasionally I’ll fish for largemouth bass and have caught some good ones. I love the thrill of the chase when looking for skis. And after hours of casting, nothing jumps your heart rate faster than when one of those brutes strikes your lure.

I can’t mention muskie hunting without mentioning Spring Lake North. Over the last number of years I’ve caught more fish on that body of water than any other. This lake fits me well because I like to get bit and it’s full of smaller skis. This lake probably isn’t for the true muskie hunter as your chances of running into a real big fish just aren’t that good. But the lake has good numbers of fish between 26 and 34 inches with some bigger fish available. The biggest drawback for me is that it’s a long drive. If not for that, I’d be there quite a bit more.

This isn’t all the places I fish here in Illinois and doesn’t address all the trips I take to northern Wisconsin but I have to stop somewhere. I’ll throw in some pictures from the last couple of seasons to give you an idea of what I catch. A few of the shots will be of my youngest who got quite a few memorable fish this past season.


Nice Striper

5 lb. Bass

 Nice Ski

Bunch of Stripers

Big Muskie/ Little Boy

Big Northern

Big Bunch of Bass

Topwater Muskie


The Opener

Thu, February 10, 2011

I couldn’t be happier that Jeff has invited me to blog at Heartland Outdoors. I consider this one of the finest outdoor sites going. The idea of blogging is something I’ve kicked around for a number of years and now I’m finally typing my opening entry.

So how do I start? I guess an introduction makes sense. My name is Pete Riedesel and I’m a fishing nut. I now imagine all you readers saying, “Hello Pete” in unison. Fishing has been a passion for as long as I can remember. I have pictures of me casting from my crib. Friends signed my grade school autograph book, “To the future publisher of Fishing Facts.” On the day I graduated from high school I headed to northern Wisconsin to fish a few hours after the ceremony was over. A few short years later I graduated from college with a teaching degree and quickly landed my first real job. Now, some thirty years have passed and I’m still teaching, still fishing, and still loving them both

My goal for the “Just Fishing” blog will be to provide readers with insights and information about my fishing experiences.  Along the way, I hope to have fun as well as get to know many of the readers of Heartland Outdoors.

Can the new season get here soon enough?


Sunrise on a northern Wisconsin muskie hunt.

Sunrise on a northern Wisconsin muskie hunt.



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