Though they don’t sell anything or make profits down there, Barto Landing in Spring Valley is back in business.
After record flooding left about two tons of logs on the banks and a thick layer of soupy mud on the boat ramps and parking lot, volunteers have managed to remove most of the signs of the flood of 2013.
The landing in Spring Valley was a busy place Sunday, as some pleasure boating resumed, and as the two-day Illinois Walleye Trail state championship ended with a 3 p.m. weigh-in.
During the weigh-in, Spring Valley Walleye Club chief Bill Guerrini was relaxing in the walleye club’s garage-sized clubhouse, aka “the mule barn.” There’s a fresh coat of mildew- and mold-resistant paint on the walls, a super-clean concrete floor, and no signs of flood damage to chairs, tables, posters or even a big, old, mounted crappie near the ceiling.
But the flood indeed inundated the little building. Club members had removed everything from inside the building before the flood. Guerrini showed where there’s still a high-water mark on the exterior at the very tops of the door frames.
Outside at the landing, the volunteers had a work day to get rid of logs, wood and debris, a work day to bulldoze and shovel mud. Inside the building, they had to shovel out mud and then pressure-wash the interior six times before the mud and debris all was out of it and off the floor.
The coat of paint makes it fresher than before.
Tournament venue just fine
As for the tournament, Dave Hall of Oglesby teamed up with Mark Mazur of Gurnee for the Illinois Walleye Trail state championship after Mazur’s brother had to work. Hall wound up with the big fish of the day, a 5-pound walleye, and the duo had the best catch of the day — four walleye totaling 15 pounds.
They benefited from sportsmanship of Tom Giachetto Jr. and Sr., who were leading the IWT season standings coming into the tournament.
When Mazur’s boat’s big motor stopped working, he decided to head back toSpring Valleyfor the weigh-in about 10 minutes earlier than usual. He was running the boat on a little kicker motor and didn’t know if he’d be able to make it in.
Upon request, the Giachettos, who had been fishing alongside Mazur and Hall all day, agreed to stop fishing in the tournament a few minutes early and to follow them back to Barto Landing. Mazur and Hall had called the tournament director, Adam Sandor, and asked if it would be OK for one of them to bring their fish to the weigh-in on the Giachettos’ boat, just in case they couldn’t get the boat back to the dock in time.
The Giachettos had an extra fish bag available for them to keep the fish alive, but they didn’t have to use it, as the boat made it back toSpring Valley.
Hall and Mazur wound up posing with first-place and “Big Fish” plaques, and the Giachettos wound up with second-place plaques.
Hall would not say where they were fishing. He only said they were catching walleye — not sauger — at or near creek mouths.