A few weeks ago I visited Starved Rock State Park on the Illinois River. The primary objective was to do some hiking and enjoy the fall colors, but the river was too tempting, so I got my fishing gear out to see what was biting. I tied two #10 octopus hooks on my line about 6 inches apart, baited them with pieces of nightcrawler, and dropped them in the shallow water below the concrete retaining wall next to the Starved Rock parking lot. My first fish was an invasive species common in Lake Michigan, a round goby. I didn't realize they were this far downstream from Chicago! I passed along the information to the IL DNR, and while not surprised, they were glad to have the report for their database.
Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus)
Fortunately my next fish was an Illinois native, a freshwater drum. It was too big to hoist up the wall with my 2 lb line, so I had to walk it about a hundred yards to the end of the wall where I could access the water.
Freshwater Drum (Aplodinotus grunniens)
After a few more gobies, I caught this green sunfish. Three species in about 15 minutes seemed good enough for me, so I packed up the gear and enjoyed a day of hiking.
Green Sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus)