Don’t miss any of Don’t blogs, outdoor news , stories, or reports from Illinois Outdoors. Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.
Great fishing is not that far away. Have you ever heard anything like that before? Well believe it because it’s true.
I just fished the Fox Chain of Lakes and had one fantastic day on the water. You would probably say the same thing if you caught about twenty walleyes, a half dozen largemouth bass, a nice handful of striped bass, catfish, perch, and drum.
Now don’t think for a minute that I really have the Chain dialed in. It has been a long time since I’ve been up there. I did have a little help from a local guide and did some research on the web. But that's not what this article is all about. It’s about having a place to fish that is close to home.
The Fox Chain offers anglers the Fox River, a variety of lakes, and numerous channels to fish. With heavy boat traffic on the weekends, there are still a lot of no wake waters available to fish and they’re probably the better locations to wet a line.
When I fished the Chain, I hit a number of channels, Lake Marie, and the north branch of the Fox River off Grass Lake. I have to tell you, I really enjoyed being out there.
So the great fishing really is not that far away. From the area where I live in the south suburbs, it’s less than two hours away. And if you wanted to spend a weekend up there or a full week summer vacation, there are plenty of places to stay from campgrounds to some pretty nice motels and resorts.
If you have not traveled up to the Chain in a long while I would suggest hiring a guide. The reason for this is to take all of the questions and work out of trying to figure out where to fish and what to use. Should you take a trip for a three day weekend or one for a whole week, hire a guide on the first day if you can. Some times people fish a lake for a week and out of frustration; hire a guide on the last day. Once they find out how to fish the water, everything is great. So wouldn’t you like for that to happen on the first day? What you learn up front will carry on for your whole trip when you’re fishing on your own.
I have my ways of fishing and kind of know what works best on a lot of lakes and rivers that I fish. It’s a bit different for me up at the Chain because I have not fished there for such a long time.
I fished mostly with live bait using a #6 Aberdeen wire hook tipped with a fathead minnow. The line had a small splitshot attached about eighteen inches up from the hook. The minnows were worked off the bottom and positioned the boat along the edges of drop offs in the river and channels.
The day started out with a nice handful of stripers in the Fox River. I love these fish because they hit so hard. More could have been caught if I stayed on the spot longer, but one of the targets was walleyes. It was my personal challenge for this trip
It wasn’t long before they were found. After catching several here and there, I kept on moving to keep the action going. Actually, almost every likely spot that I tried produced fish. Again, the advantages of listening to a guide and doing some homework will really give you an education as to where to fish and what to look for so that you are fishing productive water.
So with gas being as high as it is, do we have to drive all the way up to the Wolf River in Wisconsin for striped bass? Do we have to go to Lake Erie for walleyes or to one of the southern states for bass? Not really. Traveling to far away destinations is fine, but we can really have just as much fun fishing closer to home. If nothing else, it surely would be easier on our pocket books.
The Fox Chain of Lakes really does offer great fishing that is not that far away. Give them a try.