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A Special morning: Trying for steelhead, catching bonus bullhead/bluegill instead, plus Stray Cast

Jason “Special One” Le gave a lesson about fishing for steelhead on a beautiful Sunday morning shared with students from the University of Chicago doing a documentary on lakefront fishing; plus the Stray Cast.

Sunday morning came beautifully at Diversey Harbor. Credit: Dale Bowman
Sunday morning came beautifully at Diversey Harbor.
Dale Bowman

As he threaded a night crawler on the hook, then pushed it up the line and blocked it with a shrimp (a Michigan City technique), Jason ‘‘Special One’’ Le said: ‘‘The is 6-pound line. So if you get a big one, take it easy.’’

He’s right to give me such advice.

We tried for steelhead Sunday at Diversey Harbor. Le’s friend Donnie Nguyen used a similar technique, then, at dawn, a fly, too.

Near dawn, Le said: ‘‘As soon as the sun comes up, they start biting.’’

The first steelhead jumped around 7:15 a.m., but we didn’t hook any of the acrobats.

At dawn, just after a steelhead jumped, Le hooked up. We thought it was a steelhead, but he had a yellow bullhead. While big for its kind, it was not nearly the size of a decent steelhead.

We saved it in a bucket to show documentarians from the University of Chicago: doctoral student Joshua Silver and undergrads Allegra Hatem and Macallister Rescorl. They’re making a documentary about lakefront fishing, which should be ready in the spring. Others might have bumped into them already.

While watching rods, Le and I answered questions on aspects of lakefront fishing and life. Le, a YouTuber known as Jason Special, checked their equipment. We enjoyed the interruptions when Le caught a second big bullhead and Nguyen caught a thick bluegill. The bullheads were released. I took the bluegill home for lunch.

In between takes, Le said: ‘‘Steelhead are the pickiest eaters.’’

He meant it and yelled at me once for standing by the bucket because the steelhead might see me and get spooked.

As morning wore on, Le was encouraged by the building west winds. It didn’t change our success. A final steelhead jumped at 11 a.m., and Le cast near it. No uphook came.

It was time.

We packed gear, then lugged it to Cannon Drive.

Jason “Special One” Le caught the surprise of two bullhead Sunday at Diversey Harbor while trying for steelhead. Credit: Dale Bowman
Jason “Special One” Le caught the surprise of two bullhead Sunday at Diversey Harbor while trying for steelhead.
Dale Bowman

Navy Pier

Brian Murphy, the chief operating officer at Navy Pier, said the north side is open for fishing (a winter favorite for perch) and anglers have a parking discount. Bob Jurgeto tried Monday morning. He found no early perch, but he said that angler parking is $9 if leaving before 10 a.m. and that there’s now a cashier’s window next to the doors.

Illinois hunting

Pheasant, quail and rabbit hunting opens Saturday. Corn harvest through Sunday (81%) was at the five-year average (80%).

Wild things

Flooding last week dropped the number of sandhill cranes at Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area in Indiana. That will change in coming weeks to peak around Thanksgiving.

Stray cast

Not disclosing location works about as well for anglers as it does for Matt Nagy.