A final evening at Heidecke Lake: Considering a wish list for the cooling lakes

Considering a wish list for the cooling lakes with Rob Miller and a final evening at Heidecke Lake.

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Edward ``Eddie Walleye’’ Grych treks out at sunset Monday from Heidecke Lake, where fishing for the season ended Tuesday.

Dale Bowman

MORRIS, Ill.--As I barreled toward Heidecke Lake, Curt Pazdro messaged a photo of his son Wyatt with a 38-inch muskie he caught bass fishing.

Figures. Monday was too beautiful to stay in front of the screen. I dropped our daughter at work, then made it to the former cooling lake with an hour and a half to fish.

Fishing is ending on the cooling and Mazonia lakes. Heidecke closed Tuesday. Braidwood, LaSalle and Mazonia (except Monster, which is open year-round) close next Tuesday.

Before I fished, I called regional fisheries administrator Rob Miller for a wish-list conversation.

My first question was on concessionaires.

``They have had trouble enticing people to make a go of it [at LaSalle],’’ he said. ``I know the building is still there. I can’t give a definitive answer. I think that ship sailed for Heidecke and of course we never had one for Braidwood.’’

As to winter shore fishing at LaSalle, Miller said he was not involved in those discussions and hadn’t heard it mentioned in years.

But that led to a discussion about the possibility of shore fishing at Dresden, which has never had legal access. I’m tempted to sneak in and try a few casts every time I pass.

Miller even had a shore spot in mind at the closed tavern on the south side. But he has never formally approached Exelon about it.

As the possibility of an ice-fishing season at Heidecke, Miller said, ``Well, I proposed it in 2006 or ‘07 and thought it was close to going. Then at 11th hour there were some concerns by law enforcement. That’s as much traction as it got.’’

I totally agreed when Miller said, ``It would be interesting, to say the least, if guys could catch a walleye or temperate bass through the ice.’’

The final question was on summer fish kills.

``Always been of the opinion that we [always] have some sort of fish kill, especially as they have ramped up,’’ he said. ``This summer I think we dodged a bullet, but I know we had a fish kill.’’

More will be known about the scope of the kill at Braidwood after the every-other-year survey, which began on Tuesday.

``It is amazing, such a resilient fishery out there,’’ Miller said. ``It blows your mind that those fish can find shelter in those events.’’

Miller warned me that the water at Heidecke was really high. It was higher than I’ve ever seen it.

But I had a tiny largemouth bass on my second cast with an inline spinner. I threw the spinner parallel to shore both ways, then fancasted with a Rat-L-Trap. It was good to be out. I went 3-for-5 (largemouth, green sunfish, bluegill).

Walking in with Edward ``Eddie Walleye’’ Grych at sunset, a big muskie crashed in the southeast corner of the north pool. Then crashed again. I tried to reach it with my Rat-L-Trap, but came up short.

When it crashed a third time, a guy on a bike, who had a muskie topwater tied on, made several casts over top of where it crashed with no response.

It was time.

ILLINOIS HUNTING: Remaining firearm deer permits go on sale over-the-counter Tuesday. A list is at dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/deer/Pages/DeerSeasonsDeadlinesAvailablePermits.aspx.

CAMBER EXCHANGE: Camber Outdoors’ networking event in active outdoor careers is at the Lincoln Park REI, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Register at camberoutdoors.org/events.

PADDLING: The free Skokie Lagoons Fall Paddle Fest is 1-4 p.m. Saturday at the Tower Road boat launch. More info at fpdcc.com/event/fall-paddle-festival/.

WILD THINGS: Ed Buric in Darien emailed, ``Today I saw my first sedge of sandhills heading South. It was not a local flight, they were high and really hauling.’’

STRAY CAST: Those who busted Lin Brehmer for tweeting a W.P. Kinsella reference, ``have a catch,’’ are like leeches of provincialism (Erpobdella chicagoua?) who kvetch about ketchup on hot dogs.

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