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Illinois Bonus fish


Johnsfolly

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As part of my last trip back to Missouri, I got in early to St Louis. I had seen the flooding around the Mississippi river from the air and could not believe how much water was around. I have been keeping track of the states that I have caught fish and for the 20 some years that I have lived in MO I have never caught a fish in Illinois. I had bought non-res fishing licenses twice already. First time I was staying in Pontoon Beach for the Indycar race out at Gateway. I only had two hours to fish. I lost two gar and got no other bites at Horseshoe Lake. As I was headed back to the hotel to get ready for the race, I saw a slough that had a couple of carp surfacing but I had no baits that they wanted. My next trip was a total bust with heavy rains and darkness.

So I really wanted to get any fish on this trip. I went to Horseshoe lake and found out that it was a free fishing weekend. With some redworms in hand I went to catch an Illinois fish :)! At horseshoe the wind was heavy at best and gale'ish at worst :angry:. That lake is very shallow and I was getting no love from any fish while have my bait blown back towards me. I moved to another location that I found on goggle maps. It turns out that the next location was a restored wetland with heavy lotus growth, limited open water, and NO FISHING!!

I did pass a small lake that looked to be part of a small community and headed back to that lake. I asked a couple of guys bank fishing if it was a public lake and got the affirmative. Started fishing near a patch of lilies using a trout magnet jig and float. I got a couple of timid strikes. So switched to a worm. Missed a couple of strikes then got a good hook set on my first Illinois fish, a white crappie (Maryland has mainly black crappie and this was also the first of this species in 2019).

White crappie - Edelhardt Lake - 14Jun19.jpg

I followed that up with a bluegill then it was time to get on the road to Columbia.

Bluegill - Edelhardt Lake - 14Jun19.jpg

So Illinois was checked off the list, the 26th state so far :D!

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My friend asks about us visiting him in Vermont. With the work that I have to do by the end of the year I don't think that I will have time to get up that way and finish the last three northeast states. I really want to fish Maine. Got several marine sculpin to catch😁. Some big enough to eat.

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Your trips are making me so envious.....I have goals and they often include catching a certain sized fish. After fishing in Colorado and targeting what is essentially bait to me(I know small trout aren't bait but on a size comparison they are), I know am looking into 3 weight fly rod and buying a pack of small hook and hitting up every ditch everywhere I go for work. It seems to me its less about catching a monster all the time and getting out no matter what the circumstances are.

I still have goals(catch double digit bass, double digit walleye and double digit trout locally) but your pushing me into a realm I never really thought I would run into. I have zero knowledge of the "minnows" you catch but I am slowing getting hooked.  Keep doing what your doing.

I mean seriously who says.....I haven't crossed off Illinois think I'll go fish for whatever will bite. Count me in as hooked.

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22 hours ago, Devan S. said:

 It seems to me its less about catching a monster all the time and getting out no matter what the circumstances are.

I still have goals(catch double digit bass, double digit walleye and double digit trout locally) but your pushing me into a realm I never really thought I would run into. I have zero knowledge of the "minnows" you catch but I am slowing getting hooked.  Keep doing what your doing.

I mean seriously who says.....I haven't crossed off Illinois think I'll go fish for whatever will bite. Count me in as hooked.

Good luck Devan! I appreciate that I have influenced the way that you want to fish. It is addictive.

I used to fish for just bass, sunfish, crappie, trout and would fish the same spots the same times of year year after year. I was kind of jaded. I always kept track of different species that caught. In 2009 I read in Bassmaster of guys going to catch all of the black bass species at that time. That looked interesting. I found that the majority could be caught in Georgia. My dad lived in GA at the time. So I researched spots to fish when I went with my family to visit. Before going I caught a 17 inch smallmouth on an excaliber spit n image WTD bait in MO. I had caught a spottrd bass with that bait earlier. I used that same bait and caught a northern largemouth, shoal bass, and a redeye bass in GA. I had hoped to catch all species with that one bait but lost it in GA😢. Later that week I fished in FL and missed a couple of suwannee bass in FL that I still need to catch. I haven't gone after the guadelupe in Texas. Now they have added four more redeye species as well as the choctaw bass. So I have more work to do to catch them all.

Back in MO I began a quest to catch a trout in each of the designated trout waters including the "wild" trout streams to the trout parks. Drove well over 2000 miles to get that accomplished. Goals became a big part of my fishing.

Targeting multiple species began in earnest in 2014. Microfishing began in 2016 when I figured out how to catch darters in a creek in Columbia. I continue because it is a great way to catch a high number of species as well as a way to fish more creeks, ponds, lakes, etc. It allows me to bond with my daughter who likes to catch the little fish. Since 2014 I have caught 74 new life list species.

With travel for work I get to fish the east coast as well as the midwest. So the tracking states with fish caught just works for me. I love the research in field guides or internet to confirm species or research areas to fish for target species. I have met a few guys that help me a lot on confirmation of species. I have some guys that won't count fin rays or lateral line scales. So they send me photos to give my opinion of what they have caught. I am willing to help where I can with folks that want to microfish or find new species.

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32 minutes ago, Johnsfolly said:

. I have some guys that won't count fin rays or lateral line scales. So they send me photos to give my opinion of what they have caught. I am willing to help where I can with folks that want to microfish or find new species.

Guilty as charged.

Every Saint has a past, every Sinner has a future. On Instagram @hamneedstofish

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31 minutes ago, Ham said:

Guilty as charged.

Count me in. 

Money is just ink and paper, worthless until it switches hands, and worthless again until the next transaction. (me)

I am the master of my unspoken words, and the slave to those that should have remained unsaid. (unknown)

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