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Post Info TOPIC: Illinois River Fishing Report Summer 2009


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Illinois River Fishing Report Summer 2009

After many down years in the Illinois River sportfishery, fishing took a turn for the better in the summer of 2009 due to the third highest flood on record this past spring.  High flood levels increase the amount of habitat for sportfish spawning and also provide juveniles with better foraging and nursery habitat.  In the mid-1990's, the Illinois River was a major bass fishing tournament destination.  Since, bass abundances were in steady decline within the Illinois River, but have made a strong comeback recently.  Largemouth bass numbers and size (up to 5 lbs) were greatly improved this summer.  White bass fishing was tremendous this summer with great numbers and fish reaching 20 inches.  There's nothing like a large white bass nearly ripping the rod out of your hand when pitching a crankbait or soft plastic into a large school of them.  And, they're not too bad in the frypan either.  Channel catfish populations in the Illinois River are doing fantastic and blue catfish are starting to be captured at higher rates.  Channel catfish numbers are strong and fish in the 10-15 lb. range are common.  Havana, Illinois once again hosted a Bass Pro Shops endorsed catfish tournament, which was a great success.  To end this post for visitor's around the world, I must say something about the Asian carp situation.  For those not familiar with Asian carp, please go to youtube and type in Asian carp to get footage of the situation here on the Illinois River.  It's one thing to see this on video, but a completely different thing to view this in person.  The good news.  To our knowledge, we have not lost any native fish species as a consequence of the Asian carp invasion.  The bad news.  The reach of the Illinois River around Havana unfortunately boasts the highest densities of Asian carps of anywhere in the world.  As of 2007, we predicted a staggering 4,100 silver carp per river mile with biomasses of 18,000 lbs per river mile.  We fear that this number is even higher now after a massive spawn in the summer of 2008.  Perhaps most importantly, Asian carps are now knocking on the doors of Lake Michigan.  Recent tests suggest that Asian carps are less than a mile below an electric barrier constructed in the upper Illinois River to prevent invasive species transfers between the Mississippi River basin and the Great Lakes basin.  Ongoing research at my field station is aimed at finding additional ways to prevent range expansions of Asian carps and in predicting their effects should they invade Lake Michigan.

Packer stuck in Bears territory

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