Water conditions and temperatures this week aren’t much different than last week, when we featured largemouth bass fishing tips.
One change is small creeks have even less current flow, so fishing creek mouths on the Illinois River likely isn’t any better this week than last week.
Cajun’s bait in Utica reports the river anglers still catching almost exclusively catfish and drum, that is if you don’t count foul-hooking Asian carp. (Yours truly was fishing some pilings this week and caught a common carp instead. Under the Peru bridge, a married couple from the suburbs had a stringer full of drum. Obviously they had no qualms about eating a fish that's shunned by some people).
Fred Reutner in Mendota isn’t always forthcoming with good news if the fish are biting at Lake Mendota, but he says he was catching “nothing at all” at Mendota, Kakusha and Johnson Sauk Trail in recent days and weeks. He says if he hadn’t gone to a private pond that hadn’t been fished in years (and caught a lot of bullheads), he wouldn’t have caught hardly anything at all this week. (He also joked that a lot of the Lake Mendota bluegill definitely are in his freezer).
Many area anglers have been on trips up north in recent weeks.
This writer’s Spring Valley buddy Rick reported catching lots of bass in Minnesota (Star Lake). When guys saw him not catching fish with a Hula Popper in the early morning and evening, they turned him on to Wacky Worms, with excellent results.
Ken Pozzi of Dalzell reported back from a trip to one of the flowages in northern Wisconsin. He said while the crappie usually are near sunken cribbing at this time of year, he found them suspended under and along peat bogs this time.
NewsTribune coworker Andy Rapp of the Princeton area shared a photo of a big muskie his brother landed, and which they cleaned. To their surprise, they found a baby loon in the stomach. They’d heard stories about that but never witnessed it.
I was out and about this weekend and was amazed to still see ripe mulberries on trees.
That's the latest, by about two and a half weeks, I've ever seen mulberries still falling from trees ... and some berries still are green.
Anyway, seeing that enticed me to head to a couple of mulberry trees overhanging the Hennepin Canal west of Wyanet where I often can catch big carp and occasional channel catfish.
It was weird this time. I had 30-pound test on so I could turn and stop the fish, but I needed stronger hooks. I had three fish straighten hooks on me and get away; I actually used a small, but thick, short-shanked hook to finally land one of the fish. A couple of the fish bit and ran extremely quickly; those likely were catfish; I'm sure I missed out on fish for the table.
When you hook a big catfish or carp among snags and brush in tight quarters, they tend to head straight for the brush and are about as easy to stop as a freight train.
My dad and I used to use steel Eagle Claw hooks instead of the thinner stuff when we went for the big ones. I should have had bigger hooks. (See last week's fishing report about the importance of being prepared.)