Piscator And upon all that are lovers of virtue; and dare trust in his providence; and be quiet; and go a Angling. "Study to be quiet." Sir Issac Walton
The hours that I spent with my rod parallel to the green waters of pond and roiling torrents of the mighty Kankakee. Often waist deep in the bubble and flow, with my Converse Chuck Tailors protecting my heels, soles and toes from shards of beer bottle and pop-tops atop the shifting limestone home of catfish and river clam. I saw sunrise and sundown bookending my hours transifixed upon the lessons of Heraclitus and wall-eyed quarry below. Bass-Yanker, I!
The magnetic pull of God's own torpedoes with my Twister Tails hooked through their lips and gills darted my soul with them and meditations on my hours on earth as so much plastic line to be pulled in vain from God's Will. Vanitas, Vanitatum ominia vanitas!I drank a lot of beer too.
One Day while casting and reeling with colleague and boon chum Charlie Olson a Compleat Angler and River Ranger, just west of Momence we listened to two rough sons of the spillway and millrace - not far from our places in the flow. A funeral procession snaked along the banks of Kankakee River toward St. Patrick's Cemetery. One of the men stands up, takes off his hat, and bows.
"That was a very nice thing to do," says the second man.
"Well," sniffles the first, "we were married for 25 years."
Charlie and I were moved to toast his gallantry with a couple of stout swallows of Rhinelander.
Now for the Art of catching fish, that is to say, How to make a man that was none to be an Angler by a book, he that undertakes it shall undertake a harder task than Mr. Hales, a most valiant and excellent fencer, who in a printed book called A Private School of Defence undertook to teach that art or science, and was laughed at for his labour. Not but that many useful things might be learned by that book, but he was laughed at because that art was not to be taught by words, but practice: and so must Angling. And note also, that in this Discourse I do not undertake to say all that is known, or may be said of it, but I undertake to acquaint the Reader with many things that are not usually known to every Angler; and I shall leave gleanings and observations enough to be made out of the experience of all that love and practice this recreation, to which I shall encourage them. For Angling may be said to be so like the Mathematicks, that it can never be fully learnt; at least not so fully, but that there will still be more new experiments left for the trial of other men that succeed us.
But I think all that love this game may here learn something that may be worth their money, if they be not poor and needy men: and in case they be, I then wish them to forbear to buy it; for I write not to get money, but for pleasure, and this Discourse boasts of no more, for I hate to promise much, and deceive the Reader.
BEST AREAS TO FISH: In town of Momence, below Kankakee Dam and Wilmington Dam are best spots - whole river system is experiencing slightly higher than normal but falling water levels. Fishing conditions are fair and improving with and moderate water clarity. The spring rains are here...check water levels. Remember...April showers brings big fish in May and June! Go Fishing!
WATER CONDITION: Water levels are higher than normal for this time of the year. Water levels are falling and with low to moderate clarity, 50 degrees.
FISH: Walleye ... rated fair, post-spawning most anglers who are catching fish are below dams and along rocking shorelines. Spawning activities should begin the first 2 weeks of April. Best success with drifting and casting floating jigs and minnows and lead heads with twister tails tipped with minnows, boat/bank, below dam in tailwaters, rocky shorelines, and woody structure along banks are best areas. Fish caught range from 3 to 8 pounds.
FISH: Crappie .... fair, spawn conditions, some anglers are catching small fish. Best fishing with casting to cover and structure with lead heads tipped with twister tails and or minnows, casting twister tails, minnows with a slip bobber are also producing, both boat and bank anglers are finding crappie
FISH: Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass .... rated fair, spawn conditions, most anglers are catching fish. Best fishing with casting to cover and structure with inline rooster tails and safety pin type spinner baits, lead heads tipped with twister tails and or minnows, casting twister tails, minnows with a slip bobber are also producing, both boat and bank anglers are finding some largemouth and smallmouth bass. Fish caught range from 1 to 3.5 pounds.
FISH: Northern Pike ... spotty, post-spawning activities have begun, most anglers who are catching fish are below dams and along rocking shorelines. Best success with drifting and casting lead head with twister tails tipped with large minnows (golden roaches, suckers), in backwaters, boat/bank, below dam in tailwaters, rocky shorelines, and woody structure along banks
FISH: Rock Bass .... spotty, spawn conditions, anglers are catching fish. Best fishing with casting to cover and structure with lead heads tipped with twister tails and or medium sized minnows, casting twister tails, minnows with a slip bobber are also producing rock bass
Carp, suckers, buffalo, and catfish have started to wake-up to spring.
Information provided by Franks Bait Shop in Momence and The Dam Bait Shop in Wilmington