I drive by Allen Park almost every day. It is one of the first spots I got to know when I moved here back in 92. The Illinois River was the first spot I fished, and I fished it regularly for many years. It was just 5 minutes from home and full of white bass, and if you knew what you were doing you could catch smallies and some largemouths too. Eventually my range expanded but I’ve always had a soft spot for the Illinois around Ottawa. Unfortunately the invasion of carp:asians, silvers, and bigheads for more than a decade now has destroyed much of what was a wonderful fishery. While you can still catch some fish, it is nothing like it was, as beneath the surface the invasion has reached mind boggling proportions. You’ve probably seen videos of jumping carp as they are scared from shallow waters in some parts of the Illinois and other southern rivers.This is a bad problem but not the only one. To my knowledge bigheads don’t jump, but they are no less devastating to a waterway. They spawn so much and grow so large and so fast that they simply take over any place they swim. Today I saw the evidence. The DNR was seining just upsteam from Allen Park today in an attempt to control them. To do this they drop a large net in the water and then slowly draw it into a circle to trap everything in the middle. They caught this many in one try. Just once! I took a couple pictures of the results.
They estimated the catch at 110,000 lbs. That is the nightmare that continues under the water in the Illinois. As I walked across the bloody parking lot I could only be depressed.