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Recent entries


Just Fishing

Nightmare Confirmed

Sat, December 13, 2014

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.

bigheads from the Illinois River near Ottawa



more bigheads


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.


110,000lbs on the first drag???Def not good.

Posted by WhitetailFreak on December 13

They’re way out of control.  That’s just sad

Posted by Andy Meador on December 13

Yeah…. was there any question about this?
I have seen large schools of silvers at the Dayton Dam as long ago as three years.
This is not a new development.
They are up in the Kankakee river now, to the Wilmington dam, -so they are established ABOVE the Dresden Island L&D.
The next dam up-river, is Brandon Road L&D.
Brandon lock and dam is the last physical barrier before the electrical barrier.
They are there.
The DNR has been removing them from Rock-Run Rookery lake for two years now.
They are throughout the river, at LEAST up to Brandon, and my bet is that they are past it by now.

Posted by Raptor on December 13

This is horrible. I used to spend a fair amount of time on the Illinois with a buddy catfishing the LP/Spring Valley are but it’s been a good 5 years since we have done it consistently because of these invasives. I can’t imagine it’ll ever go back to normal but I have often wondered, is there any way science can find a gene in these species that is unique to them and absent in the native fish? Could they then make a chemical to disperse in the water that would specifically target and kill these nasty sobs? Maybe that’s a pipe dream but when you think of the amazing things science has brought us why would that be so far fetched? Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Posted by esox_lucius on December 13

I’ve known there were large schools of these invasives for the last few years. I’ve seen them in all my fishing spots. I’ve always wondered how big the schools were and hoped they weren’t too big, but I never imagined it was anything like this. If I’m doing the math correct at a 4 lb. average that haul was something like 25,000 fish! I just can’t get my head around that. When you just look at the river from the bank its seem like nothing has changed.

Posted by Pete R on December 13

I’ve had the same line of thought ESOX.
Seems really the only potential avenue to explore, and no, it’s not really that far-fetched.

Posted by Raptor on December 13

  Ya it was the IL rivers problem,even laughed about the jumping carp until they started jumping closer to the Great Lakes, now they finally say we have to do something, I think they started worrying too late. Those suckers are showing up in the whole Mississippi river basin, not just the IL river, gonna follow some little stream or creek into the Great Lakes. One electric barrier on the IL river wont be enough. Letting the shipping companies police their own ballast got us the gobbies ,lamprey eels, zebra mussels and what not. The fish farmer Companies sent us the Asian carp, now if we let them get rid of the Clean Water Act, they can pollute the rivers, kill all the fish and crow about how they solved the invasive species problem.

Posted by joecarver on December 13

Probably not even a dent in the population

Posted by BIGPOND on December 15

It is sad to see, but we must deal with the consequences of another’s actions without looking for a virus, bacteria, or chemical to kill them.  As with all things biological, some will survive, adapt, and become immuned (e.g. “Roundup” herbicide resistant weeds).  This arms race to continue to find a way to kill the Asian carp is a waste of time and money.

Posted by mountain man on December 15

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