Sunday, July 12, 2015

Shelbyville Dam river carpsucker

Shelbyville is becoming one of my favorite spots to fish when the other rivers in Illinois are high.  June was the rainiest in Illinois history, so needless to say, the rivers are high right now!  The water level at Shelbyville was the highest I've seen, but the water was still fairly clear.  I started off throwing a jig close to the spillway and found that crappie were biting.

Black Crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus)

When I switched to a piece of nightcrawler on a small hook, I caught sunfish and yellow bass.  The yellow bass are especially abundant here.

Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)

Longear Sunfish (Lepomis megalotis)

Yellow Bass (Morone mississippiensis)

I rigged up a sturdier rod with a baitfeeder reel and fish finder rig.  Before I chummed the area, I used a whole nightcrawler on a #4 Octopus circle hook.  My first catch wasn't what I was expecting!

I chummed the concrete in front of me with corn and alfalfa pellets.  While I waited for fish to arrive, I continued fishing with nightcrawlers.  Based on what I caught, carp were the first fish to arrive in my chum area.

Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio)

I held the 12 ft crappie rod in my hands while I kept an eye on the baitfeeder rod sitting on the concrete.  Similar to last time, I rigged up the crappie rod with a #10 Octopus hook and one or two pieces of corn.  It wasn't getting much action, but I saw the baitfeeder rod twitch every so often.  After a few stronger taps I put tension on the line and brought in this fish, a surprise lifer!

River Carpsucker (Carpiodes carpio) - new hook & line species #294

River carpsuckers are similar to quillback (see the previous post), but they have rounder snouts and their eyes are closer to the front of their heads.

The easiest way to tell the two species apart is to look at the lower lip.  If there is a nipple in the center, then it's a river carpsucker.  No nipple, and it's a quillback.

After a while the bite changed from carp to buffalo.  They seem to arrive a bit late, but once they show up, they really show up in force.  Using two rods baited with corn, I caught seven buffalo over the course of the afternoon.

Smallmouth Buffalo (Ictiobus bubalus)

Despite the rain in the morning, it got pretty hot in the afternoon.  When I finished the last of my three bottles of water, I decided to pack up and call it a day.  I threw a jig one last time and caught another crappie.  All fish were catch, photo, release today!