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6-29-04 - Y'all remember this guy from the spring right?

David works a stickbait across the surface.

All that hard work paid off for David with a respectable largemouth.

Last cast and it's my first Crappie on the fly!

6-29-04 - ...So there is another lake besides Axehead in IL!

Waters Fished: Independence Grove
Fish Caught: 1/2 personally
Outing Date: 6-29-04
Weather: Just another beautiful day
Air Temp: upper 70's
Water Temp: didn't take it
Water Level: normal?
Water Color: clear, slightly green, visibility 7'+
Fish Species: Largemouth Bass, Bluegills, Black Crappie, Walleye
Pattern Fished: Flying Bunny
Pattern Color: Chartreuse & White, Chinchilla, Black & Olive
Fishing Quality: Crappie ;)

Sometime last week I got an email from David...you might remember him? I met up with him and FAT on the Pike early in the Spring Steelhead Run. Well, David "had an idea" and quite a good one...we should fish Independence Grove. Now, I have buddies who've fished there including Tim "The Enchanter" and Frank Nardomarino, but I'd never been. It'd be a weekday after-work trip...no problem I can swing those anytime as long as they're close!

As the day approached I did some research...won't go into the details here but I.G. happens to have Muskie, and more recently I guess they've switched to stocking Pike. It's a newer Lake County Preserve - I guess it opened 4 years ago? Well, David sent me pics of his brother's musky...man I was ALL HOPPED UP as the workday dragged on! In fact I recall opening an email to David with "here muskie muskie muskie".

FINALLY I got on the road, only to be met with unusually heavy traffic. Well, not really "unusual" but rather the occasional jam that forms on 94 heading north around Half Day Road....as I finally made my way close to I.G. David called to let me know he had rented the boat, had his trolling motor all set and was just waiting for me!

So some tips...you can't launch your own boat in IG..it already has Zebra Mussels! You can rent a rowboat for a very reasonable fee, and you can either rent a trolling motor OR bring your own. Additionally, it seems that if you're not a Lake County resident, you get charged $5 per car for parking. But I guess they let that slide as there was some big Reggae concert going on.

David and I finally got out and headed for the spots that get less pressure..all the while serenaded by the band! I started with the Flyin' Bunny in Chartreuse and White, but as we passed over some bait I noticed they looked a lot like the gray chinchilla I had tied up, so I switched over. ON the far side I finally figured out what would work...fast strips with pauses brought several follows and taps from smaller bass....but nothing connected.

As sunset slipped away we worked our way back...oh yeah...I guess with the concert the kept the park open later than normal too (normally it closes at sunset). Well, David finally started getting hits and got his skunk off with a Bass...not huge but respectable. He has landed much larger in I.G.

After the boat was returned, I stopped over at the Fishin' Pier and David met me there....the bugs got thick so David called it a night...meanwhile there was a bunch of slightly younger guys fishin fatheads and having good luck...on WALLEYE. That got my excited..maybe I'd hit a walleye as darkness continued to creep up? BTW, did I mention that despite not finding this anywhere in the IL regs, Independence Grove is posted all along the shore as Catch and Release ONLY?! But I guess bait is OK.

Well, no Walleye for MP, but I did get a hit. After the guys left I turned and fished the side they had been working...by now it was dark, concert was over, folks were leaving, easily 9:00 PM...and I was getting eaten up. On my last cast I worked my black & olive bunny really slow and got a SHARP hit...I figured small bass but surprise surprise...my first Crappie on the fly rod!

Thanks for the invite David, we'll do it again (here walleye walleye walleye)...

  MP 

 

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