Norm Minas reached back.
“I am sick to death of it; to use old hippie term, I am jonesing for low water,” Minas said Monday before heading out to fish the reflooded Kankakee River.
The analogy seems apt from a former roadie for rock bands and one-time Dead Head in his younger, single days.
It`s been an unprecedented run of flood waters, with repeated crests, since early June on the Kankakee, the great wading river in the Chicago area.
“My wader wearing is pretty much to keep skeeters off me and the mud off my ass,” Minas said.
But there are methods to his fishing the flooded Kankakee, even if he can’t wade.
In general, good fishermen know rising waters mean fish are concentrated close to shore in eddies and pockets, and feeding.
“But when it stays flooded, in the smaller areas the food wears out,” Minas said. “The re-rises replenish some of the food. In winter, these fish would be feeding once a week. Summer, they are feeding every day, but still there are lulls. You can catch a dozen one day, then fish 15 spots the next day and catch four.”
That lack of consistency has Minas “wondering with all this high water if they are not getting in tune with my techniques. That is why I am switching things.”
He has been tinkering with Berkley Heavy Weight worms.
“I have been playing with those, Texas rigging them and sliding them across the top of cover, trying to go real slow and let them feel it coming by,” Minas said.
In the first few floods this summer, he did very well working ChatterBaits by flooded cover, but that slowed recently.
“I am planning to go back fishing more swimbaits again,” he said.
He is tinkering with Magnum Super Flukes and Slug-Gos. He is considering putting a bullet weight about six inches in front of the baits, then anchoring the weight between two bobber stops.
“Just something a little different,” he said.
He has tried the Lindy Walking Sinker with different presentations.
The central theme in his experiments is to try different things that work in floods.
In an odd ongoing, re-cresting flood like this–“I have never seen anything like it”–Minas found a few general rules on species.
“Gar are more out in the open water; channel catfish and walleyes are on the edges of faster flow; smallmouth [bass] are tucked in behind anything flooded,”he said.
As to where, if water levels are not too high, he likes to work a lure a foot or so over the top of flooded water-willows.
“But when it gets higher, then anything that breaks current,” he said.
And he means anything.
“People joke, `There’s Norm, out fishing the grilles in the state park again,’ ” Minas said.
Even with flooding again closing the Kankakee to boaters, the Kankakee River Fishing Derby runs through Sunday.
SPRINGFIELD:In a victory for science and wildlife management,Gov. Bruce Raunersigned HB352. It gives the Illinois Department of Natural Resources the tool of a limited hunting and trapping (one per permit) on bobcats, a top predator in all 102 counties.
WILD THINGS: Skeeters. Everywhere. Lots.
STRAY CAST: Cubs/Sox: Freshwater drum/redhorse suckers.
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SHOW & GO
FESTIVAL OF LAKES FISHING DERBY:The 12th annual derby is at Wolf Lake in Hammond from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday. The first 275 kids (15 and younger) receive a free rod and reel. Click here for Festival details.
WOMEN’S DIVE DAY: The Professional Association of Diving Instructors host an inaugural event on Saturday. Click here for more.
BLIND DRAWS: Draws for IDNR waterfowl blinds (two years) will be held for Mississippi River Pool 20 and 21 at Twin Oaks Sportsman’s Club, Quincy; the draw for Pool 24 will be held at the IDNR office in Pittsfield. Both are at 10 a.m.