Illini West Whitetails

Uncle Dan's Fishing Day


I had an interesting day today as well.  One of my contacts with a large private conservation organization wanted me to assess some fish population issues in a strip mine area near Galesburg with multiple bodies of water.  He has been fishing the area extensively and has seen some bass in disturbingly poor condition.  He wanted me to fish the area with him and give him an assessment on the various populations. 


We met in Victoria Illinois at 6:30 this morning and enjoyed some huge breakfast rolls and mediocre coffee.  We then proceeded to the strip mine area this fellow was concerned about.  Lake 1 contained about 15 acres and had a very complex shoreline.  A modest algae bloom indicated decent fertility.  We fished scum frogs, spinner baits, swim jigs, chatter baits, and soft plastics.  We caught approximately 15 bass ranging in length from 8" to 15 inches.  All bass appeared to be in excellent condition.  After lunch in a local tavern we launched into pond 2. 


     This pit was gin clear and dominated by vascular plants, primarily pondweed and coontail.  Everything was tried again, but I was able to school this former tournament angler on the fine art of soft plastics.  Bass conditions here were a little poorer but still not of great concern. 


     Pit #3 was maybe 20 acres and very complex with extensive shallow shelves, tiny islands, rock piles and lots of structure.  I should note that from early morning until quitting time he had the front of the boat and trolling motor control.  I took this handicap in stride and focused on my fishing.  I went immediately to the mega-10" Berkely power baits in both brown and blue.  My angling partner continued to struggle with a variety of baits in a largely ineffective manner.  At one point I recall him grumbling under his breath about a lucky SOB, but I have no idea who or what he was talking about.   I had 2 massive break offs and landed 2 fish weighing 4# 11 oz and 4 lb 2 oz. along with perhaps 30 smaller fish ranging from 1 to 3 #.  One of the very large fish was in poor condition but most other fish looked great.  We finished our day with a couple of chores for the land owner, who is a wholesale sporting goods distributor, and departed at about 6 p.m. 


      My angling partner was still in a very bad mood,...grumbling about spankings and "his water", but I really don't know what made him so upset.  I was able to report to him that multiple year classes of bass are present in all 3 pits, most fish appear to be in good body condition, and there is no great cause for concern.  He said we should get together again very soon and something about freezing and hell and some other incoherent stuff.  Anyway, it was a very fun day today.  I always enjoy being of help to one of our fine Illinois citizens, oops this guy was from Iowa.  No wander he was weird.