clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Illinois fishing survives the heat wave: Gulls can wait

The gulls sitting on the rail by the launch on the south end (hot side) of Braidwood Lake will have to wait on their buffet after the cooling lake weathered the heat wave.
Credit: Dale Bowman

We escaped major fish kills after the first extended heat wave since the back-to-back drought summers.

That’s true statewide.

“Surprisingly, nothing out of the ordinary so far,’’ fisheries chief Dan Stephenson emailed.

On Monday, I checked both ends of Braidwood Lake, the cooling lake in southwest Will County.

(Well, first I took a pass by the Ponderosa launch at Mazonia South. Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait & Tackle in South Wilmington told me some big bluegill and redear had been caught. I only enticed bait-stealers with an ice jig and wax worms.)

No one was at Braidwood’s south launch (hot side). By last Wednesday, site staff found water hot as 104 degrees. There were reports of a few dead hybrid stripers.

On the north end (cool side), there were four boats out and no shore fishermen. I found a couple dead hybrids and big gizzard shad in the rocks. More bothersome was an apparent phytoplankton bloom on the north end, something often connected to dissolved oxygen (DO) crashes.

LaSalle Lake, the cooling lake south of Seneca, appears to have survived the heat wave well.

“Have not had any issues at LaSalle Lake,” biologist David Wyffels said. “Water temperatures are running in the 95-96 range. DOs have been good, upwards of 11. Really haven’t seen any issues. LaSalle has been looking good, even with the hot weather.”

As of Monday, LaSalle Fish Hatchery manager Ed Hansen said it was still mid-90s at the intake (cool water), but while guys have been out checking there were no signs of a significant fish kill.

On the responsible fisherman level, if you’re fishing catch-and-release in extreme conditions, reconsider your options or quit riding your moral high horse.

As Capt. Chris Taurisano of T-Bone Guide Service posted Thursday, “No musky fishing for me for awhile. The water temps on our waters have hit 80 degrees and its certainly time to put the big boy/girl rods down and fish multi species until we get a major cool down.”

If catching fish to eat in these conditions, bring lots more ice than normally. Bluegills or catfish at 95-100 degrees burn through ice astonishly fast.

O PEOPLE: The first four “WeFishASA” podcasts, brought by members of the American Sportfishing Association, are out. It is the brainchild of Dave Kranz of Dave’s Bait, Tackle and Taxidermy in Crystal Lake and hosted by The Outdoor Experience’s Steve Sarley. Guests ranged from tackle insiders to Kevin VanDam. Click here for show site.

HUNTING: Squirrel season opens Monday in Illinois. Iroquois State Wildlife Area is the only nearby site to open then for squirrel; most nearby sites open for squirrel in early September.

STRAY CAST: Chris Sale is to Steve Carlton what a hedgehog is to a porcupine; Aroldis Chapman on the Cubs is like a field-corn kernel embedded in a strawberry boilie.