Fox Lake Fishermen Excited Due To High Water


Fox Lake Fishermen Excited Due To High Water

Now that the Fox Lake Chain has reopened for boating, many businesses are breathing heavy sighs of relief.

And yet some anglers still haven’t realized the potential for some excellent fishing on Fox Lake and the surrounding Chain O Lakes.

I learned a long time ago that high water levels on a river or lake act like a green light for the various species of game and pan fish to migrate close to shorelines.

Take the Fox River as one example. Many years ago I got serious about bank fishing the Fox for smallmouth bass right after an extended period of heavy rainfall.

The fishing rigs I used were nothing more than a #8 hook, split shot and a small minnow. The other set up was a tiny Mini Mite jig tipped with the smallest minnow I could buy.

I found smallies within 6-12 inches off the bank, holding in slack-water pools. I also found bass suspended under drainage pipes, deadfall trees, concrete protrusions and chain link fences jutting out and over the water. I also discovered walleyes in these spots as well.

My experience has shown me that the average angler tends to stay away from high water conditions because some fishermen are leery about working the current, or they just don’t know how to tame the savage beast.

Our recent flooding conditions brought the Fox Lake Chain to a standstill, and yet there were quite a few anglers on the shorelines working pods of walleyes and crappie with great success.

Antioch angler Ron Hertzberg gets the Daily Herald at a local grocery store there and e-mailed me about this matter. Here’s what he asked.

“I’ve read some of your columns over the past year regarding high water levels and various successful outings. How can I catch fish on the Chain with very little public access areas?”

I answered him with some simple solutions. I suggested he ask some neighbors for permission to fish from their docks and piers (if they’re not under water) and drop a line right under the pilings. Use live bait with small jigs as well as a slip float and live bait.

Experience has shown that game fish like bass and walleyes have a tendency to tightly school up under these kinds of conditions. Pan fish like crappie and bluegill do the exact same thing. It’s not uncommon for a shore angler to fill a bucket with pan fish in a short period of time.

I also suggested that if the shoreline property owner refuses permission, then look to the various marinas on the Chain and ask the operators for access. I told Ron that I knew of a half-dozen anglers who hit the jackpot on Pistakee and Bluff Lakes while dropping lines all around piers and boat launch areas.

Another example is to try Barnacle Bob’s Resort and rental on Lake Marie. Buy some bait there and ask Tom the owner for permission to fish the back bay where he tethers his boats, that is if you’re not planning to rent a boat and hit the lake (847-395-2036).

One other suggestion: Use very light line, like 4-6-pound test, and tie on a flouracarbon leader in order to make the line more invisible underwater. Go small in your lure choices, like brightly-colored, one-sixteenth ounce jigs, and tip the jig (either a Lindy Fuzz-E-Grub of Mini Mite, with a tiny minnow or piece of nightcrawler.

The rest is up to you.

By Mike Jackson, content writer for the Daily Herald



Great comment about bank fishing where there’s fast moving water. I definitely look for similar type conditions when I’m fishing (which is always shore fishing). If there’s undercut banks where there’s slack water that’s also another great place to find bass, especially in the summer.

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