A reader asked me to post online the list of species caught from Chicago waters.
Navy Pier (above) is one of those special fishing spots in Chicago, from shore or boat.
I originally started the species list for a Sun-Times outdoors column six years ago in response to Eric Sharp of the Detroit Free Press saying Detroit “stands alone” as an urban fishery. And I came up with 50 species caught by modern fishermen.
I updated the list in Sunday’s column in response to a publicity stunt next month–the 30/30 Fish-A-Thon–by some Michigan guys.
Tony Hansen, deputy director, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, and Gabe VanWormer, video producer for MUCC, will begin a 30-hour fishing marathon in an effort to catch 30 different species of fish in Michigan.
It’s about more than Michigan fishing, as the online site makes plain: ”The 30/30 Fish-A-Thon is a fishing marathon to prove a point. Asian carp and other invasive species threaten our way of life.”
I gathered the implication that Michigan fishing was somehow more special than in Illinois or Chicago. That’s silly. Asian carp have been impacting our fishing for years. And we both fight the spread of Asian carp and have adapted.
In updating the species list for Chicago fishermen, one of the fishermen I checked with suggested posting the list online, so any updates could be made.
To count for the species caught in Chicago, the fish needed to be caught from Lake Michigan, Wolf Lake, the lagoons or the Chicago river systems.
Originally, I started by cross-checking and combining the species lists kept by Rita and Steve Somen and the one kept by Carl Vizzone. Originally, I had 33, but I made it 34 on second thought, by giving both yellow and brown bullheads.
2 black crappie
4 brown trout
6 & 7 (yellow and brown) bullhead
8 channel catfish
10 common carp
12 emerald shiner
13 gizzard shad
15 golden shiner
16 green sunfish
17 largemouth bass
18 mirror carp
19 rainbow trout
21 rock bass
22 round gobie
25 white bass
26 white crappie
27 white perch
28 yellow perch
29 yellow bass
31 golden roach
35 northern pike and 36 walleye from Chicago harbors in recent years
37 sauger from the rivers
Boaters have added an interesting batch of species over the past couple decades:
38 lake trout
39 tiger trout
40 pink salmon
41 Atlantic salmon
42 brook trout
And there are more 43 pacu and 44 piranhas caught than I really like to think about.
The lagoons have given us 45 bighead carp and 46 grass carp.
Wolf Lake has added
47 tiger muskie
The Chicago River gives us a broad group, which could probably count as several species, 50 hybrid sunfish, dubbed ”idiot fish,” by Vizzone and Ken ”the Lakefront Lip” Schneider.
In the past few years, we have to add 51 northern snakehead caught from Burnham harbor and 52 bowfin from the Chicago River.
There’s a couple species–gar and flathead catfish–I think have been caught but I just haven’t been able to confirm them. And I think there is a rare hybrid of carp and goldfish caught too from the Chicago river systems.
If you have species to add, post below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.