Kayak Help

Fishing tips, fishing questions, fishing information, whatever... post here. Not Chicago specific.

Kayak Help

Postby Gergar90 » Mar Mon 18, 2019 10:31 am

Hello everyone,

I hope y'all are slowly thawing out and getting back on the swing of things (i'm a Californian transplant so I did not partake in the winter activities). I just purchased my first kayak and have so many questions about general areas and safe practices here in North eastern IL. I have also noticed that a lot of y'all kayak a few rivers so I have very ignorant questions about launch and pickup sites, in regards to having to have someone pick you up or if you can just laugh and one back to the same spot. All help and advice is greatly appreciated.
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Re: Kayak Help

Postby Aux Pleins » Mar Mon 18, 2019 5:41 pm

Chicago River or even most of the Des Plaines you will have no problem paddling upstream back to the launch, when they're not at flood stage. The fox or kankakee is almost always going to be a 1way float.
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Re: Kayak Help

Postby billebob5 » Mar Mon 18, 2019 7:05 pm

Another option on the Fox is to get out and wade upstream if you can’t keep up with the flow. Been there. Done that. Just come equipped for that aspect before for launch.
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Re: Kayak Help

Postby Scipio24 » Mar Mon 18, 2019 7:22 pm

Of course it depends if you're fishing with someone or solo (I assume your question is for solo, though). I'll comment on the ones I have done.

Des plaines - generally easy enough to go up & down stream solo
Dupage river - same as above
Fox - have to keep an eye on the flow, as it can be a tough paddle back up stream depending where you go. I'm generally okay in my area (Elgin/st. charles) to go up & downstream, but again going to depend on river levels.

For access, forest preserves usually have river launches (lots of lakes for that matter), but if you are able to carry or portage your kayak, you can literally almost launch anywhere. I've dropped it from the side of the road in some rivers!
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Re: Kayak Help

Postby Gergar90 » Mar Mon 18, 2019 7:29 pm

y'all are great, thanks for the confidence boost.
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Re: Kayak Help

Postby badger75 » Mar Mon 18, 2019 7:46 pm

Another option for the Fox river which I used once last year and plan to use several time this year.
Check out Rocktown Sports in Aurora (630-506-5706). They have a weekend service to shuttle you up-river (2 different drop points). Near one was $10, which I tried to see how I liked it. Gave me a several hour float (I stop along the way and fish special spots not accessible from shore). They have a floating dock just above the Aurora casino on the west bank. Easy to pull out, walk a block and get your car which you can pull up right next to your kayak and load up. It was super easy.
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Re: Kayak Help

Postby polishfly » Mar Mon 18, 2019 9:33 pm

I agree with what has been said about solo flow above. If youre looking for launch sites check out the Go Paddling app.
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Re: Kayak Help

Postby billebob5 » Mar Mon 18, 2019 9:44 pm

Badger where are the drop sites?
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Re: Kayak Help

Postby Rambler » Mar Tue 19, 2019 7:08 am

For the lower Fox (the most beautiful stretch of the river) check out Ayers Landing in Wedron. They will shuttle you & your boat upstream for either a 4 or 6 hour (I recommend the 6) paddle back to their location for around $25. Fishing in that stretch includes smallies, musky, pike and cats. You can stop for lunch at a spot just below the Rte 52 bridge. Be sure to have $3 cash to put in the box. Might have gone up in the past year or so so make it $5.

Another option is what is probably the only circular river trip possible anywhere. Drive down to Channahon. Go thru town on Rte 6 & watch for the signs for the I&M canal parkway. If you go over the Dupe you've gone too far.

Go to Bridge St & turn right. Go over the Dupe & park in the lot on the left. You will be right along the I&M towpath. The Dupe is on the East, the I&M is on the West. Put your boat in the Dupe & paddle down it to the confluence with the DPR. The fishing along that final stretch of the Dupe can be good. The DPR is a big river at that point so stay along the river right shore. Paddle down to McKinley Woods Forest Preserve. You have to watch for it. Portage over to the I&M & head back the way you came. There's almost no current in the canal. You'll arrive back where you parked. Fishing along the bank of the DPR can be good. You can tuck in behind Moose Island to get out of the wind if necessary. Fishing in the canal can be good too - I've caught some nice LMBs in it.

Along the way you can ponder all those who came before. When Jolliett explored the area in 1673 he reported to the King of France that the drainages of the Great Lakes and Mississippi could be connected by a short canal. It of course didn't happen until the 1840s when a group of Illinois legislaters known as 'The Long Nine' because they were all over 6' tall, pushed a bill through the state government funding the building of the canal. The Long Nine was led by the tallest member - a guy you may have heard of - Abraham Lincoln.
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Re: Kayak Help

Postby grems » Mar Tue 19, 2019 11:12 am

Fishing guidance and a history lesson, thanks Rambler!
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Re: Kayak Help

Postby badger75 » Mar Tue 19, 2019 8:26 pm

The $10 is to North Aurora, below the dam. Its in the park on the south side of Butterfield. The other is further north, to the Glenwood FP on the east bank. This will require a portage at the North Aurora dam - do so on the west bank.

Several islands in those stretches (ie places with less fishing pressure). I have seen bald eagles, white egrets (I think that is what they were), and even a great horned owl. Plenty of song birds, springtime you will hear oriole - tough to see them unless you set out sliced oranges.

Once, I had me wife help with the car shuttle. She put me in below the Geneva dam on the east bank. Very nice launch point. I floated to my take out above the North Aurora dam. Too much fishing, exploring, etc. Got late. I pulled out in the dark. Needed to start earlier and keep better tabs on my distance to go. Lesson learned. But I do want to do that stretch again.

I have heard of two people, two cars. One car at the launch point, one car at the take out. Uber or Lyft in between. One person stays with the watercraft. Kind of like those logic puzzles I loved as a kid.

Sorry Rambler, no history lesson. Although I do like your suggestions - will check them out.
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Re: Kayak Help

Postby Rambler » Mar Wed 20, 2019 7:30 am

I've always found it interesting that back in Lincoln's time the Democratic party stood rock-solid against government investment in infrastructure while the Whigs (Lincoln's party) and later the Republicans were in favor of it. When Lincoln was in the White House the Federal government invested in the transcontinental railroad (little know fact is that Lincoln chose the spot where it would cross the Missouri), land-grant universities, and other things that all these years later, we take for granted. My, how things have changed.
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Re: Kayak Help

Postby billebob5 » Mar Wed 20, 2019 8:03 am

thanks Badger. I do like the stretch from N Aurora to the casino. Plenty of fishable areas in there.
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Re: Kayak Help

Postby ffishman » Mar Wed 20, 2019 8:19 am

Check out the forest preserve lakes. There are a bunch of them and some good fishing can be had.
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Re: Kayak Help

Postby Rambler » Mar Wed 20, 2019 11:59 am

billebob5 wrote:thanks Badger. I do like the stretch from N Aurora to the casino. Plenty of fishable areas in there

Never been on that stretch - I'm sure there's good fishing. But as I've always said, I don't fish to catch fish - I fish for the aesthetics of the experience. And the aesthetics of the lower stretch are the best on the Fox. Try it - I'm sure you'd agree. There are stretches that give the feeling of remoteness - especially when the river starts to drop into the LaSalle anticline.
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