FLYFISHING JOURNAL - Searching For BassBy Robert Piorkowski - July 1, 2000
My goal this summer was to get out and flyfish at least once a week. I spent the winter watching tapes, reading books and magazines and attending seminars. I was ready to catch anything that swam. My homework paid off on several occasions. With the high water, I changed my fishing location from the major rivers to the feeder creeks. These tributaries would have high water after a rain event, but will empty quickly. Some tributaries will actually become flooded due to the main river. These are the tributaries to identify, they have low flow, but are flooded from the main channel.
This year, the rains had been consistently erratic. Just as the rivers were returning to a good level, the rains would return. It always seemed to rain the day before I planned to go fishing. If I picked a Friday night, It was sure to rain on Thursday. Finally, after several weeks, we had a dry period and I found time to fish.
On Friday after work, I headed to the Fox River to flyfish below Batavia. The water was flowing fast and muddy, but I waded across the shallows to an island. I had fished the area in low water conditions, so I knew a stretch of shallow ground for wading. I made my way to the downstream end of the island so I could fish the current break. There was a very visible current seam separating the fast current and stagnant back flow. I casted out a clouser minnow pattern 3 feet into the fast current, and slowly stripped it back into the slack water. I fan casted upstream and downstream into the current, while maintaining my position at the end of the island. Just inside the calm portion of the seam, something inhaled my fly. There was no jumping, only heavy pulling out into the current. I managed to get the fish onto the reel, and after a several minute fight, I netted several pound carp. The black and white clouser minnow was firmly set in the side of his mouth. I took several photos and released the fish. Right fly, technique and location but wrong fish. It wasn't the elusive smallmouth, but a great fight for the first fish of the year on the new flyrod. I continued fishing the current seam, but had no more action that evening.
The next Friday after work, I headed to fish the Kankakee River at the DesPlaines Conservation Area. Like the Fox River, the flow was fast and muddy. I decided instead to fish the feeder creek above I-55 in hopes that it had a lower flow. At the mouth, I fished the mud line where there was a slight current break. It seemed the muddy Kankakee water would flow into the creek, then the cleaner creek water would push it back. I saw a shore angler catch a bass, so I new fish were in the area. I used the same approach as with the Fox River. I casted out a clouser minnow pattern into the fast current and slowly stripped it back into the slack water. I fan casted upstream and downstream into the current and slack water searching for fish. With no luck at this spot,