Saturday, September 29, 2012

September on the Kankakee

Will Winans shares the following thoughts about one of his favorite local fisheries, the beautiful Kankakee River: Will fishes and Amber takes some great shots!  As always- click on individual pictures for larger images.

Last week, my good friend Amber drove through Chicago for a visit, en route to New Hampshire.  Amber, being from Western Montana and having guided white water for several years in the Flathead and West Glacier, has introduced me to countless Western rivers.  I saw her visit as a good opportunity to show off some of the water that I fish here in the Mid-West. 
We spent a day floating the Kankakee River, my go to fishery for day trips and summer smallmouth for as long as I can remember.

September is one of my favorite months to fish the Kankakee and this year has been no exception.  The smallmouth bite has been fierce.  Fish are aggressively feeding before water temps drop and things slow down for the Winter.  The Kankakee, along with most local rivers this year, is low but exceptionally clear. 

 River grass and weed beds cover large stretches of the water but provide great cover for fish and filter much of the silt that clouds the water.

As usual, baitfish and small crayfish patterns have been the ticket for pulling fish out of runs and away from weed beds.   Dry flies and soft hackled nymphs, with a little persistence, produced a few fish for us in the early morning.   

I definitely accomplished my goal of showing an old friend that there’s more to Northern Illinois than endless suburbs and smog.   Here in Chicago, we might not have the Blackfoot River or the Bob Marshall Wilderness in our backyards but if you get a chance to spend a day on one of our local smallmouth rivers, just imagine a few mountains on the horizon and you won’t know the difference!

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