I have been completely neglecting the Des Plaines River this year. While not the first, I discovered it's smallmouth secret last year, enjoyed the crap out of it, and have left it alone so far this year. I've been focused on other venues and the kayak thing therefore I've all but completely ignored it.
Saturday evening, with a few hours of alone time, I grabbed the waders and 6wt for a short visit and evening of top water fun. This was my go to spot last year for smallies on top so I was hoping it would be the same a year later. I was in the water a little bit before the top water bite would start so I slowly fished some stretches that I never really worked that thoroughly before. I picked up a couple of smaller fish on minnow patterns but nothing to write home about.
Made it down to the top water stretch and sat there for about ten minutes - just waiting for the activity to start. Sure enough, one splash...then another and another. It's go time! For the next hour, I had a ton of blow ups. Many of them missed but plenty of them did not. Still, not one picture worthy fish. It was dink central.
I noticed that the heavy ice this winter reallllllllly changed the bottom of that river. Holes that were there before really weren't that big this year. Other places had holes that weren't there before. Made for a couple of dicey steps on occasion but I was no worse for the wear. One of the biggest, and easily most recognizable changes, was the lack of vegetation. Last year there were lilly pads, submerged vegetation, and tons of algae. This year - virtually none. At best, I would say there is 10% of the vegetation compared to last. Not sure if that has something to do with the dink problem but it sure seems like it might.
I had a good time for the couple hours I was there but I had to get back home. Not sure if I'll be back again this year but who knows. It's just a few minutes from the house and waiting if I get the itch again.