R.I.P. Bluff City Quarry

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R.I.P. Bluff City Quarry

Postby RonG » Sep Wed 16, 2020 12:16 pm

Once known as the sixth Great Lake, this hotspot was an angler's paradise. BCQ was deep and had beautiful blue water the color of Lake Michigan. I don't know how they got there, but it even had zebra mussels. :shock: I caught my PB largemouth and smallmouth there. When I moved out west here the place had a thick tree and brush lined shoreline. The vegetation was removed later and the shores were all stone, gravel and dirt like many large quarry lakes. I was first introduced to it by someone who had access to it and a key to the large gate for the access road and a gang of us did some bang-up night fishing. Typical that Darth Wader outfished us all.

The fish were large and plentiful and HUNGRY. Largemouth, smallmouth, yellows, whites, crappies, perch, gills, flatheads and channelcats were the usual suspects there. The catfish were monstrous, the kind you see in photos where guys are holding them vertically and their whiskers are up by your face and their tails down by your ankles. I hooked one so large once, I couldn't get it through my 6" ice hole and had to unhook it and watch it swim away.

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Sadly, when making a run to pick up some beautiful hardwood for some projects yesterday, I saw the lake was gone. Maybe there's a puddle there somewhere but no water could not be seen from the north end or the the southwest entrance. An obnoxious bumper to bumper caravan of semi-dumptrucks were bringing in loads of rock and stone and dirt and filling in what's left of it. Seriously, dozens of trucks were in sight at any given moment.

I knew there was an agreement to partially fill it in to preserve the unique alkaline water of the calciferous and historic Bluff City Fen that is across the road from it, but I didn't know they were going to eliminate it. Another one gone, another one gone. Another one bites the dust. Hey! Fill in this one too. Another one bites the dust... :evil: :evil:

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Re: R.I.P. Bluff City Quarry

Postby joetrain » Sep Wed 16, 2020 2:18 pm

I knew about that place but never had access to it. Sounds like it was a gem.
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Re: R.I.P. Bluff City Quarry

Postby badger75 » Sep Wed 16, 2020 4:56 pm

I don't know where this is/was located. Can you give a hint?
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Re: R.I.P. Bluff City Quarry

Postby Rambler » Sep Wed 16, 2020 7:27 pm

Badger - it's in the Cook Cty section of Elgin. Southeast of the US 20 bridge over the Fox.

As a HUGE fan of native prairies I'm in favor of preserving the few we have left in "The priarie state". But too bad a great fishing spot had to be sacrificed.
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Re: R.I.P. Bluff City Quarry

Postby catchafew » Sep Wed 16, 2020 8:21 pm

Ron, Sorry to hear of this loss. This wasn't the spot where you drove your cars in a tunnel under the road? Fished it long ago if it's that spot, which was a gem.
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Re: R.I.P. Bluff City Quarry

Postby RonG » Sep Thu 17, 2020 2:00 pm

badger75 wrote:I don't know where this is/was located. Can you give a hint?


If you were headed west on Rt 20, just a little west of Villa Olivia, you come down a big hill as you approach Elgin and you would see the large body of water on your left.

Rambler wrote:Badger - it's in the Cook Cty section of Elgin. Southeast of the US 20 bridge over the Fox.

As a HUGE fan of native prairies I'm in favor of preserving the few we have left in "The prairiestate". But too bad a great fishing spot had to be sacrificed.
Keep calm and fish on...


I believe the quarry was part Bartlett and part Elgin. I don't think the quarry is going prairie. There's a garbage facility there, I think, a recycling separating center. Bluff City Fen across Gifford Road has gone prairie preserve. That was a wonderful spot too with jumbo perch as large as 14". That's gone now being a nature preserve with no fishing. The grass studiers along with the bird and butterfly worshipers are a tight-knit clan with walkie talkies and cell phones that will turn you in in an instant if they see you there fishing.

catchafew wrote:Ron, Sorry to hear of this loss. This wasn't the spot where you drove your cars in a tunnel under the road? Fished it long ago if it's that spot, which was a gem.


The quarry and the Fen are connected by a tunnel under Gifford Road. It was more of a way to get to the Fen so maybe you were fishing there. There's also was a creek along side that road. Both bodies were spring fed and the overflow of the quarry dumped into the Fen. There's a freaky pond in the Fen that never freezes too that is ruled by a couple white swans.

Ice fishing was great in the quarry if you could deal with being yelled at by a million coyotes in the dark.
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Re: R.I.P. Bluff City Quarry

Postby Rambler » Sep Thu 17, 2020 4:31 pm

Ron - didn't mean to suggest the quarry is being turned into a prairie. But if it has to go in an effort to improve the fen then, while it's too bad, I prefer prairie restoration over quarries regardless of their fishing opportuities.

When Joliette & Marquette explored Illinois they thought they were in an eden. The prairies teemed with wildlife. Shouldn't we try to preserve a small vestige of that heritage?

I understand your nostalgia for the quarry. We all have fond memories of places from childhood that have for varieties of reasons, disappeared.
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Re: R.I.P. Bluff City Quarry

Postby RonG » Sep Thu 17, 2020 9:28 pm

I was looking for this one really good article to post...there's some good ones about the uniqueness of the Fen that I know you would like. It was stated that the reason to partially fill in the quarry was to help the Fen, but it's obvious the main reason is commerce. All the empty land in that area is disappearing for large factories, warehouses and distribution centers, even a pot shop. They've got their garbage site there. It'll be interesting to see what other non-eco things they build on that land. I've lost my 3 best ponds + the Fen + the quarry. Everyone loses as I really haven't been fishing much because of it for the last two years...no fishing=no goofy RonG reports.

The quarry has been gone to me for over a decade, maybe 12 years now. We started ninja night fishing it without the guy with the keys to the gate. We got bolder and moved on to day fishing on the weekends. Then we found a sneaky way to drive our cars in, and would step out of our vehicles and walk 20 feet and start fishing. One labor day morning, me and a friend fished it. While reading later that day on WCF or similar site there was a report of some anglers being hauled out in handcuffs. If the story was true, they missed me by an hour. I don't need any of that so I quit cold turkey and never returned. 'So very hard to be sitting at home on a boring night knowing what would await me with a short 5 minute drive. Breaking the addiction I'm sure was harder than quitting smoking or quitting heroin, but I did it. 8)
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