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Fall shore fishing Chinook in IL: Roughly 50 hours per fish, according to INHS data; plus Stray Cast

Illinois Natural History Survey data suggest that in recent years it has taken about 50 hours of effort per Chinook caught from shore in September in Illinois.

Anglers lined both sides of the mouth of Jackson Park Harbor Sunday morning, where Chinook are being caught. Credit: Dale Bowman
Anglers lined both sides of the mouth of Jackson Park Harbor Sunday morning, where Chinook are being caught.
Dale Bowman

The splash carried easily across the water at dawn Sunday from the end of the jetty at the mouth of Jackson Park Harbor. Immediately, another angler dipped a big net in the water, then brought up a Chinook of about 10 pounds.

Timing is everything. Few things more so than the ebb and flow of fishing for returning Chinook from shore in the fall.

Saturday a number were caught at Jackson Park. I had an hour Sunday morning and thought, with the southwest winds, odds might be good to see one caught. I guessed right.

Last week, I wondered how many hours a shore angler in Illinois puts in per Chinook caught from shore in the fall.

Charlie Roswell had a partial answer from Illinois Natural History Survey data.

“As [Lake Michigan program manager Vic Santucci] points out, we don’t have a full picture of the fall shore fishery for salmon because our creel survey data are limited past the end of September,” Roswell emailed.

But Roswell, assistant aquatic ecologist for the INHS’s Lake Michigan Biological Station, did find an interesting breakdown.

“We do typically see some salmon anglers (and fish) show up in August, but the month of September might be best for characterizing or describing the most consistent part of the fall salmon `run’ (or the first half),” he emailed. “I took a quick look at the five most recent Septembers with directed effort estimates from our creel survey (2015-2019). Our data show approximately 50 hours, on average, are spent targeting salmonines for each shore Chinook harvested in September (range for these five years: 28-76 hours).”

So my guess I spent 50-plus hours of effort per fall shoreline Chinook caught is about average.

“One thing I should maybe point out is that that number is only for Chinook—we also see coho and rainbows showing up in the fall shore fishery as well, so the time needed to catch any fish is going to average significantly less than 50 hours,” Roswell added.

An angler walks back the jetty right after netting a Chinook at the mouth of Jackson Park Harbor Sunday morning. Credit: Dale Bowman
An angler walks back the jetty right after netting a Chinook at the mouth of Jackson Park Harbor Sunday morning.
Dale Bowman

HOF

Brian Drendel of Geneva is one of three to earn induction in the 2022 class of the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame, the Illinois Conservation Foundation announced Friday.

The Batavia High School science teacher pushed for high school bass fishing to recognized by the Illinois High School Association. When the IHSA started bass fishing as an activity in 2008-09, Drendel was ready. After retiring as wrestling coach in 2006, he had started a fishing club.

I can attest to Drendel being most helpful in spreading information and starting events for high school fishing. For good reason, he is president of the Illinois Bass Fishing Coaches Association.

BIG GOODBYE

Ed Bohn, the retired Alsip fireman, put an exclamation point on his last professional bass tournament, catching big bass (5-pound, 11-ounces) in the 2021 Annual Fall Sturgeon Bay Open. He partnered with Jason Julian Sr.

Ed Bohn hoists the big bass of the the 2021 Annual Fall Sturgeon Bay Open, the last pro bass tournament he plans to fish. Provided photo
Ed Bohn hoists the big bass of the the 2021 Annual Fall Sturgeon Bay Open, the last pro bass tournament he plans to fish.
Provided

WILD THINGS

The racket of dog-day cicadas quieted in the last week and I’ve spotted dead or dying cicadas on the ground and sidewalk while rambling with Lady. . . . Dryness in some areas appears to be accelerating fall color.

STRAY CAST

World Business Chicago is to creative enterprise what the late Tim Grounds was to goose calling.