I’ve been harping for the past few weeks that ponds, rivers and streams are the places to go to catch plenty of fish. I am not saying that big water, like Geneva, the Chain and Delavan aren’t any good. They are big and harder to fish. They are farther away, too.
What I am trying to do is to help the average guy get out more often without spending a ton of time and a bunch of gas, because budgets are tight and leisure time is diminishing.
I’ve always been a fan of hitting a local pond that is close enough to my house that I can reach it by foot in a reasonable amount of time. It’s convenient and I’m sure the exercise is good for me.
If it were totally up to me, I’d be at that pond every evening after dinner until dark, but family commitments and household chores have some priority, at least they do to my wife of 37 years.
Sometimes I make a game of my little jaunts. I may give myself an hour to fish and see how many bass I can catch. My current record is seven and I am always willing to spend 60 minutes trying to beat that mark.
Occasionally, I’ll grab a rod and walk to the water with the thought that I am going to go home after catching two bass. Sometimes, I head home after 10 minutes and sometimes it takes two hours. I like challenging myself with my little mind games.
There are times when I will fish and only bring one lure. It may be a lure that I need to learn how to work better and this forces me to do that.
Maybe the one lure method is something I do to make myself decide to either keep using or eliminate it from my tackle box. You should have some confidence that every bait you carry can catch fish during the right times and conditions and this is a way to prove to yourself if a particular lure is worthy.
I almost always have a rod in my trunk along with a tiny tackle box with a few baits that I favor for local pond fishing. A good two-piece rod will fit in any vehicle and this keeps you at the ready to attack a local pond that you spot while in the car.
A pair of shoes is a necessity to carry in the trunk to change into so you can get a few casts in at a local pond on your lunch hour. People look at you funny when you walk back into the office with clods of dirt trailing behind you.
You don’t have to stretch every fishing trip into a whole-day excursion.
Fishing report: Northern Illinois – Dave Kranz from Dave’s Bait, Tackle and Taxidermy in Crystal Lake reports: “Fishing has been good as of late. Vulcan Lakes at the Three Oaks Recreation Center in Crystal Lake has been turning out hot bass action when the winds have been gentler. Always try to fish the points and shoreline that the wind is blowing toward. Drop-shot rigs featuring Roboworms work very well, as do jig/plastic combos and shallow running crankbaits. Catfish are hot all over with Sonny’s stinkbait and chicken livers being the top producers. Fishing in the slop using topwater frog baits is one of the best ways to spend time on the water right now and it is a technique that works great for bank anglers, too.”
Honest John from C.J. Smith’s resort on Grass Lake sends word, “Nice catfish are being caught and the channels are the places to be. Nightcrawlers, stinkbait or shrimp are all good bait choices. Bluegills are coming on strong in the shallow channels on trout worms or use a No. 10 hook tipped with a redworm or waxworm. Smallmouth bass are being caught at the Spring Lake Bridge on nightcrawlers, golden roaches and spinnerbaits. Walleyes are really biting and the Lake Marie sandbars are the hot spots. Drift over them using XL fatheads or leeches for some real action. Largemouth bass are very active. The channels all around Spring Lake are producing some nice ones. Nightcrawlers or medium golden roaches are best live baits. Also try small-to-medium crank baits and assorted plastics to tempt them. Muskie action has been fair.”
Lake Michigan – Captain Bob Rossa of Migrator Charters says, “Fishing on Lake Michigan has been good this past week. Kings, Cohoes, steelhead and lake trout are all being caught. Fish from 80 to 200 feet of water. The salmon and steelhead are being caught in the top 80 feet of the water column, while most of the lakers are being taken right on the bottom. Moonshine’s RV Wonderbread has been a good lure for the salmon and steelhead, while a green and white Spin-N-Glow, tied 24 inches behind a chrome dodger, has been a very good bait for lake trout. Perch season is closed for the month of July in Illinois.”
You are able to apply online for the second lottery for free Illinois Dove Hunting permits for hunting at select state sites. Online applications may be submitted from now until Tuesday. Any resident hunters who were unsuccessful in the first lottery, residents who did not apply in the first lottery, and non-resident hunters, are eligible to apply for permits in the second lottery. After Tuesday’s deadline, hunters may apply for remaining free dove permits on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 8 a.m. on July 31. For more information, check the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/dove.
• Northwest Herald outdoors columnist Steve Sarley’s radio show, “The Outdoors Experience,” airs live at 5 a.m. Sundays on AM-560. Sarley also runs a website for outdoors enthusiasts, OExperience.com. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.