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Wading into a washtub

More to savor the final minutes of the first wet wade of the summer (old sneakers and swim trunks) than anything, I was fan casting downstream as I slowly waded back to the car.

When I rolled a big smallmouth in a nondescript stretch of the Kankakee River Saturday evening, curiosity got the better of me.

What was she doing there?

I made another cast to the same spot, and caught a typical 12-inch river smallmouth. Then missed a couple more.

So I finally waded up to the spot, and discovered that over the winter the river had carved out a small depression about the size of a washtub, which was a foot or so deeper than the surrounding water.

It held fish in an otherwise unbroken stretch of water.

With three floods over the winter, the Kankakee has seen some changes.

One of my favorite wading stretches by Aroma Park has a new island.

The big island there (the one where canoeists rest) is much bigger, nearly reaching the railroad bridge in low periods.

And the small island, where I used to stash my extra rod and pack when fishing the edges of the deeper pool, is nearly gone.

Changes come.

The joy of feeling the press of water on my legs stays with me.