Sunday, June 4, 2017

Quick trip to Sandy Creek

I probably won't be calling Illinois home for much longer, and with that in mind I decided to check out Sandy Creek one more time before I move.  We had some flooding this spring, and I wasn't sure if the creek would be in good shape, but I took the chance and made the 45 minute drive up.  The water level wasn't too bad, but I was surprised to find a pretty serious logjam clogging up my fishing hole!  Some of the trees were felled by beavers, but I couldn't tell if they washed downstream on their own or if this was an active beaver dam.

I started off by throwing a spinner under the bridge for a bit.  The action was slow, but I did manage two decent white bass.  They tend to show up whenever the water level is high enough for them to swim up easily from the Illinois River.

White Bass (Morone chrysops)

I brought a container of worms from my parents' compost bin, and the pool formed by the logjam looked pretty fishy, so that's where I fished.  My first catch was a new species for Sandy Creek, which probably puts the total up to somewhere around 45 unique species.  White suckers aren't particularly exciting, but it's always cool to see something different.

White Sucker (Catostomus commersonii)

The big fish of the day were channel cats.  I ended up catching half a dozen fairly large ones.  One of them broke my 6 lb line right at shore, but an hour later I caught him again. so I was able to remove his temporary lip jewelry.  All of the fish were released.

Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus)

The only other species for the day was freshwater drum.  Fortunately none of them swallowed the hook deep, which they often tend to do.  Drum always put up a good fight for their size.

Freshwater Drum (Aplodinotus grunniens)

I was surprised to not catch any smallmouth bass, bluegill, longear sunfish, or rock bass.  Usually those are four of the most common species near this bridge.  Perhaps once the logjam is gone and the water clears up they'll move back in.

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