Apple River Idyll

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Apple River Idyll

Postby Rambler » Aug Thu 22, 2019 8:55 am

Sorry for the length of this one.

Decided to spend yesterday on the Apple on DNR property south of the state park to try for some smallies. I was in the river by 9:30 with my M setup throwing a white twin-tail twister on a red jig. Got a bunch of hits and finally hooked a small one.

This is an amazingly beautiful spot. Rock walls line the opposite side of the river and the flood plain is a showplace of native wildflowers. Green-headed conflower, Prairie coneflower (AKA Mexican Hat), sneezeweed (got its name because in the old days they used its dried leaves for snuff), heliopsis (AKA false sunflower) and most abundant, Jewelweed (AKA spotted touch-me-not). I was surprised I didn't see any hummingbirds - they love touch-me-nots.

Just before lunch I heard thunder rolling in the distance. I debated whether to stay or go. Stay won. The storm slid off to the southwest. Put me in mind of Robert Pirsig's observation in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance when he was riding across the Great Plains how in the summer in this part of the country storms tend to blow in from the southwest. Why when we're occupied in such a zen experience as fishing do other zen-like things come to mind? Must be that fishing is a mind-clearing exercise that frees your thought processes from the day-to-day nonsense of living in the 21st century and opens you up to other considerations.

At lunch time I headed back to my car for a sandwich and to switch from my M setup to a UL setup. All the fish that had hit my lure that morning were pretty small.

Tied on a 1/16 oz yellow & red skirted Panter Martin spinner and walked back to the river. Caught a 6-7 inch smallie on the 1st cast. And I continued catching them. I lost count at 12. Nothing big but lots of action. Some of them put up good fights. At one point I was standing in the river opposite a small overhang in the rock wall. I tossed the lure under the overhang and got a hit from something bigger than what I'd been catching. I saw it flash in the water - but it got off.

Kept fishing my way downstream & under a bridge catching more dinks. At the bridge there was a 14" rainbow lying dead in the water. A non-survivor of the DNR's stocking program. Too bad - really beautiful fish, not one of those pink ones they stock sometimes.

After a bit I decided to go back to the overhang and try again for the 'big' one. Sat down on a log to think about my approach and decided to try something a bit more aggressive than the spinner. A pink 1/8 oz jighead, pale yellow twister tail and safety pin spinner was the ticket. Tied it on and went back to the overhang. On the 3rd or 4th cast the fish nailed it. Put up a great fight but soon enough came to hand. Not big as smallies go but the biggest of the day. Have to say I was pretty pleased with myself. And I decided to make it the last of the day. But boy, was it great to stand in a clear running, gravel bottom river in such a beautiful spot.

On the way home I couldn't resist stopping at Lake Le-Aqua-Na for some LMB fishing. Spent the early evening throwing buzzbaits from a rickety, old dock. I went 0-for-4. I hooked a big one by a log but it got off just as I was about to pull it out of the water. Promised myself to go back there with my canoe before too long - that lake is loaded with bass.
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Re: Apple River Idyll

Postby vman01 » Aug Thu 22, 2019 9:28 am

Beautiful clear water sure looks inviting. Great day catching Rambler.
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Re: Apple River Idyll

Postby urbanHog312 » Aug Thu 22, 2019 9:40 am

solid day rambler. im around those parts often; bouncing between pheasant and smallie haunts with my pup.
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Re: Apple River Idyll

Postby DasGoby » Aug Thu 22, 2019 9:55 am

Great report Rambler! Apple River is a hidden treasure. I have very found memories of the times I took my kids there.
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Re: Apple River Idyll

Postby Woohoodude11 » Aug Thu 22, 2019 10:03 am

Been wanting to try again there, but boy is it a hump to get out there. Nice job and great report.
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Re: Apple River Idyll

Postby bobberwatcher » Aug Thu 22, 2019 12:20 pm

Half of the fun of fishing is the atmosphere, the other part, the fish and those are nice ones!
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Re: Apple River Idyll

Postby Aux Pleins » Aug Thu 22, 2019 12:21 pm

Red eyed evil ones.
Nature and shit.
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Re: Apple River Idyll

Postby Lip_Yanker » Aug Thu 22, 2019 2:16 pm

Nice outing Rambler.

I remember it was always peaceful when I was there, haven't been for a few years now. I should remedy that.
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Re: Apple River Idyll

Postby joetrain » Aug Thu 22, 2019 2:43 pm

Good post Rambler.
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Re: Apple River Idyll

Postby Rambler » Aug Thu 22, 2019 3:22 pm

bobberwatcher wrote:Half of the fun of fishing is the atmosphere, the other part, the fish and those are nice ones!

As I've said before, catching fish is just icing on the great cake of life. My day yesterday helped prove it.
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Re: Apple River Idyll

Postby Peter Piper » Aug Sat 24, 2019 8:04 am

Great effort! The Apple River and Aqua na in the same day, you had it all. I hit Lake Galena a couple times a year and would like to do what you did some day. Nice report.
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Re: Apple River Idyll

Postby Skifish1 » Aug Sat 24, 2019 1:22 pm

the area you waded is about as beautiful as you could find in northern Illinois, Vermilion river can be stunning also but size of Apple makes it a cooler place.
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Re: Apple River Idyll

Postby HEDDONFROG » Aug Sun 25, 2019 2:08 am

Awesome report Scott. Haven’t been to ARC since I was probably 17. I’ll have to make the trip soon
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Re: Apple River Idyll

Postby Lip_Yanker » Aug Sun 25, 2019 8:55 am

Rambler wrote:On the way home I couldn't resist stopping at Lake Le-Aqua-Na for some LMB fishing. Spent the early evening throwing buzzbaits from a rickety, old dock. I went 0-for-4. I hooked a big one by a log but it got off just as I was about to pull it out of the water. Promised myself to go back there with my canoe before too long - that lake is loaded with bass.


Was just doing some reading on the IDNR website... better hurry of that's your goal.


https://www.ifishillinois.org/profiles/ ... rnum=00003
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Re: Apple River Idyll

Postby Rambler » Aug Sun 25, 2019 9:40 am

Well shit. Thanks for the heads up.
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Re: Apple River Idyll

Postby Skifish1 » Aug Sun 25, 2019 5:33 pm

http://theshoppersweekly.com/lifestyle/ ... tate-park/

Essentially no natural lakes out that way good to hear that they are taking steps to improve a recreation spot in that area. If you're a fisherman your options out that way are rivers however access is limited. Wish they would create some more public access and change the stupid laws that streams and rivers out that way the water and river base is owned by landowners. Limits options for locals.
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