Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Fishing information and reports for for the rest of the Cook County Forest Preserve District waters.

Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby Wolfnight » Oct Sat 07, 2017 2:33 pm

Been all over Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier and Horsetail of late. Fishing much harder this year. Water temps seem OK, water color and levels OK. Wind difficult. Few bass at Turtlehead, bluegill and odd Crappie. Arrowhead really hard, odd bass and bluegill. Horsetail under pressure, plenty of bluegill, odd bass, two large carp 10lbs +. Tempier been the most consistent. Bluegill, white bass, plenty of cats, bullheads and channel, plenty of carp. Cats are coming out better this year; chopped worms and lobworm been awesome. Corn has been catching bluegill, big at that, and some carp. Caught largemouth and some white bass in the deeper part of the lake off the peninsular. 8-12 feet of water, stony bottom, little weed. Anybody else catching at this lakes? Have not seen many anglers this past three months.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby JB » Oct Sun 08, 2017 10:00 am

Good post there. Welcome to the site. Most members fish further north so we don’t see barely any posts from those lakes. Glad to see they aren’t fished out. Tampier has always interested me but can’t say I’ve fished it all that much. I didn’t know there were white bass in there. I’ve heard crappie and walleye but with the shad population it’s a tough fishery. I’ve iced it a couple times but with no results. Anyway thanks for posting.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby ccorso » Oct Sun 08, 2017 11:16 am

I've tried tamper and arrowhead a few times over the past two years and didn't have any success. I live nearby and would love for these lakes to be solid fisheries, but I typically find it worth my time to drive farther away for better waters than to spend my morning or afternoon at one of these southwest forest preserves getting skunked. I'm not sure if it's an issue of them being over fished or under stocked. Probably a little of both.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby Wolfnight » Oct Mon 09, 2017 3:27 am

Thank you gentleman for your replies and advice. Words of wisdom from those in the know! My problem is time; I live very close to the Southwest Forest Preserves which means a 10 minute car ride and me on the bank fishing within 30 minutes. I have fished the DPR at Columbia Woods and had some success, but river flows, color and time of year have to be right to get the best results I have found. I have tried Joe’s Pond, Maple, Saganashkee, the Sag Quarries and Papoose the past 15 years. In the early days these were good. I agree over fished and under stocked is an issue. I also believe the economy meant folks took everything home. I always catch and return. 5lbs 14 oz largemouth my best fish out of Horsetail in 2014. I have seen bigger in there. I guess I will have to try harder and figure out how to make the best of a declining fish pool! Thanks again, tight lines.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby UglyStick » Oct Mon 09, 2017 9:24 am

I've lived and fished in the same area all my life. The worst part of preserve fishing is closing time.
Just when things are starting to get interesting, you're looking at the parking lot for the official
announcement that you're no longer welcome. Aside from the posted above reasons, those two
bad winters we had killed a lot of fish and other wildlife. Bullfrog Lake was most notable as three
to five pound bass littered the shore line after ice out. Sag Quarry East was another hit hard in 2014.
I've walked many shore lines then, and since, and the numbers will come back eventually. I'd love to
fish Tampier after sunset. There are many big fish in there from netting samples.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby JB » Oct Mon 09, 2017 12:22 pm

Ah yes ugly stick there was that fish kill I almost forgot. Shallower ponds like bullfrog were decimated. Agree with tampier would love to unlock that place and figure it out.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby WetWader » Oct Tue 10, 2017 12:45 pm

Arrowhead and Turtlehead produced decent numbers on frog over the summer. look for the duckweed and visible weed edges or shady areas to hold the most fish at each.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby Rambler » Oct Tue 10, 2017 12:50 pm

Used to fish Tampier for pike. Haven't been back in years. Good post.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby Wolfnight » Oct Wed 11, 2017 4:31 am

I gonna persevere with Tampier this fall. Figure it all out. One benefit, Sheriff Joe, he brings me coffee even when it is 20 below! God bless him! Will let you know how I get on.....tight lines all
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby Wolfnight » Oct Thu 19, 2017 4:54 pm

Fished Tempier yesterday, SSW wind, speeds up to 12mph. Water temp around 54. Fished in one place, long pole, 13m with worm and corn. Had 25 catfish, mainly channel, biggest 1lb 8oz,1 largemouth, 14 inches, three small white bass, 4 carp. Got smashed by something very big. Total fish weight 25lbs 7oz. All fish were returned alive unharmed (I always catch and release). Very interesting session. Could not catch on a single worm or two grains of corn, but when I cocktailed with both on the hook the fish responded. Gonna try the far end of the lake tomorrow. Fish are definitely moving around.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby Wolfnight » Nov Mon 06, 2017 4:15 pm

Been trying hard at Tampier. Fish definitely moving into the deep water. Still catching cats, carp, small white bass and Crappie shore fishing at both ends of the lake. Worms and corn. Water temperature now falling away. Fish seem to be tightly shoaled, I catch a few then they disperse, then return later. Magical time of the year for me being in nature. Less people, less pressure. I will fish Tempier until it’s freezes. Still hoping for a special day but that is the joy of fishing. Tight lines everyone.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby JB » Nov Tue 07, 2017 10:57 pm

Agreed, if you are willing to stick it out into November the crowds go away and there is the chance you will land a big fat mama. Nice to see numbers on the cats I wonder if they are due to stockings? I'm just waiting on that wind from the south day pushing fish into the shallows. I just hope we see some more warm weather and not this 40s stuff the rest of Nov.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby Phil6 » Nov Wed 08, 2017 9:49 am

Have you caught any bigger cats in there? Been having some luck with 1-2LB cats but would like another 8lb+ before we get ice
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby Wolfnight » Nov Mon 20, 2017 8:15 pm

Biggest cat me ever had was 5lb, 3 years ago, very old and scabby fish. Fished Tempier again today. All on my own, aside from Sheriff Joe. Wonderful. Wind off my back, sat down and caught 5 cats only, biggest just over 1lb. Water temp a very cold 40. Fished deeper water from the shore on the peninsular. About 13ft. Water level very high after rain. Could not believe the pull from right to left, almost like the DPR in flow. I could trot my worm and corn! Will do Tempier again on Friday.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby Wolfnight » Nov Fri 24, 2017 7:17 pm

Fished Tempier again today. Water level down 6 inches. Water temp 41 (up 1 on Wed), no draw off, SSW wind over my left shoulder, water gin clear and loads of Comorants above. Weather reached 61. Got skunked! Never had a bite. I did hook something just before sunset, big cat I think but it smashed me. Never saw the bite! I wonder if the birds spooked the fish, forcing them to tightly shoal up in the middle of the lake. Comorants made several dives, taking some big fish. Cannot believe I caught nothing, but guess that is the fun of fishing! Will try again the weekend.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby Wolfnight » Nov Wed 29, 2017 9:12 am

Tried Tempier again Tuesday in the deep water off the peninsular. Weather temp 58 degrees, water temp up to 44 degrees. SW to WSW wind 11-14 mph although the wind got up mid afternoon. Overcast. No comerants. Caught two carp, one cat, one largemouth (10 inches), one Crappie. BUT I fished terrible. Missed loads of bites. Must be fatigue! Point is the fish are there, one always knew they were there. Issue came down to bait presentation. Quite a strong right to left flow, if you held the bait back, fish took an interest, running through nothing.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby ccorso » Nov Wed 29, 2017 11:20 am

Nice report, what were they biting on?
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby Wolfnight » Nov Wed 29, 2017 4:02 pm

Sweetcorn, chopped worms, lobworm. Sweetcorn best as water was gin clear. I have always caught even at 20 below with sweetcorn, whether at Tempier, Horsetail (at the deep end), Turtlehead or Papoose. Gonna try Tempier again the weekend, especially if water temps continue to rise.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby Tombull72 » Dec Sat 09, 2017 8:58 am

Fished Arrowhead on the 5th last week for about 2hrs with nightcrawler and slip bobber just dropping in the weed lines. Got 4 bass from about 1 1/2 to 3lbs. Relatively new to fishing in this country but this leads me to believe that the lake may be promosing come spring.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby Wolfnight » Mar Tue 06, 2018 7:43 pm

Fished Turtlehead today for five hours. Wind S to SW @ 9 mph. 36 air temp, overcast with some snow - water temperature 42.5, slightly up on Sunday. I have not seen TH this low for at least two years, the drains must be completely clear. Trees are out of the water again and the bank-line must be 12-15 feet below its highest. All looks really good. Now onto the fishing. Fished far end of lake, very pleasant. Fished pole and lob-worm, over chopped trout worm. Had nothing for two hours, then had three bites in as many minutes. Landed one large-mouth, 1lbs 10 oz, an immaculately conditioned fish which I returned to catch another day. Lost one other bass which was bigger. After that no more bites for the rest of the session. Still not been skunked yet! Gonna try Arrowhead later this week with worms and spikes. Great to be out again.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby catchafew » Mar Wed 07, 2018 12:55 am

Good to see some Southside lakes get some write ups.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby Wolfnight » Mar Sun 11, 2018 4:47 pm

Fished Tempier again today, opposite the Dam in 9ft of water. Water temp a colder 40c, 2c down on midweek. Air temp 38. NE wind, 9mph. Water very murky. Fished five hours, had three cats, biggest 2lb 5 oz, all caught on sweetcorn fishing hard on the bottom. Again the fish were there, just not quite having it. Plenty of fisherman on the banks today, mostly on the rocks at 131st street. A very enjoyable day, really looking forward to when the temps warm up.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby ApcoFishing » Mar Sat 31, 2018 7:16 am

I do pretty well at these spots. Arrowhead was not so good last year for me, lot of little ones. Good for live bait and the kids. I do pretty well at tampier but timing is the key there. Sunrise sunsets are your best chances (like most places). Had one there a week afo on small lopless crank. Summer I am a fan of the senkos. Check out my catches from tampier, arrowhead, and others on the fishbrain app. Just had my 100th catch yesterday in under a year. Apco fishing
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby Wolfnight » Mar Sat 31, 2018 8:55 am

Thanks for the post. I have ventured out around 8 times to Tampier the past two weeks. Shoreline water temperatures are gradually rising. Fished on the shore opposite the dam yesterday. Water temp was 47 degrees, although it still felt cold. Sat down for five hours. Fed some fishmeal chum with chopped worms and sweetcorn with some spikes. Fished hard on the bottom. Nothing for two hours then I caught two white bass, then the cats moved in; caught several channel and bullheads. Around 12 noon the carp moved in, caught 12 carp in an hour, biggest 6lb 2 oz. Then everything disappeared. Nothing for the last hour. All caught and released. Best day of the year so far. The fish are starting to move around, probably getting ready to spawn once the water temperatures pick up. There were several folks fishing both on the shore and in boats. Did not see much caught, did see a large mouth jump clean out of the water.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby Wolfnight » Sep Sat 01, 2018 1:29 pm

Fished Turtlehead again today. Pouring rain but plenty of fish moving around. Fished red spikes and chopped worm on pole. Water temp cooler after the rain. Caught 20 bluegill, 3 crappie, 2 largemouth, all caught and released. This lake is showing some real promise this year. Good color. Weeds under control. Less pressure for some reason.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby Bassin' Ted » Sep Sun 02, 2018 10:37 am

Arrowhead has some nice-looking slop on the west end. Been thinking about hitting it.

Nice to hear about Turtlehead. Had some great days there when I was a kid.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby jonny2can » Sep Tue 04, 2018 3:08 pm

Thread got me motivated to hit horsetail and papoose. First hit horsetail. Shoreline was really weed choked. Not a bite. Then hit papoose. Walked around back to the wall by suggestion and got one bass throwing plastic on top of the green weed cover in a corner. Small guy and not even pic worthy.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby Wolfnight » Oct Wed 17, 2018 7:48 pm

Fished Turtlehead plenty the past few weeks. Lake all to myself! Catching bluegill, Crappie and Bass, consistently on worms, spikes and even corn. Water temps starting to drop but even yesterday managed 12 bluegills, 2 crappie and a large-mouth in 3 hour session. As mentioned previous water looking very good, great color, no flooded banks, water level best for a few years. Bluegill in particular of a very good size. Get the sense the Lake is starting to come back, long may it continue. Back out to Tampier tomorrow. Tight lines all.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby jmdog2003 » Oct Wed 17, 2018 8:06 pm

I gotta pay props to anyone that finds success on the Cook County FPs. My dad used to take me to Tampier and I don't think I ever got anything over 5". Also tried Sag Quarry without much luck as I lived right by it in my high school years. But I would reckon now is a good time to hit them as the crowds have disbursed.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby Wolfnight » Oct Thu 18, 2018 7:27 am

They are very hard fisheries believe me, having fished them 15 years+. That said, there are some very large and wild fish in these lakes. Never been caught most of them, and in wonderful condition. I caught a 5lbs+ largemouth out of Horsetail in April. Beautiful female, full of spawn, so I handled her gently and immediately returned. I have seen bigger in Horsetail. Saq Quarry also has some great specimens. Tampier a harder nut to crack IMO, so vast. One good things as you say is the lack of pressure, past September all these lakes are very quiet, which means enjoyment in nature. Tight lines.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby Wolfnight » Oct Thu 18, 2018 7:08 pm

4 hours at Tempier today, opposite the dam. Nice 7-9 mph SW breeze. Water temps 54. Fished pole and corn. Cupped some groundbait, chopped worm and corn at the start. Could not get a bite for two hours, then with five red maggots on the hook I landed a 2lb channel cat. Then I had six large carp in 30 minutes, biggest 5lb. Then nothing more. Could not get a bite on corn or worm. Very strange. Fish only taking maggot. Still a reasonable day. Tight lines all.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby UglyStick » Oct Sat 20, 2018 3:53 pm

Need those dark gloomy days for success at Tampier. Otherwise you wait all day and the police kick you
out just when it's getting interesting.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby Wolfnight » Nov Sat 03, 2018 6:03 pm

Spent three hours at Arrowhead today. All on my own, saw nobody. Water temps 52. ENE wind, about 10 mph. Fished off the slabs into the deep water, 15-16 feet hard on the bottom. Nothing for an hour then started getting bites on worm, corn and red spikes, changing baits regularly. Around 4pm landed a nice 8 inch crappie, then 2x 6 inch bluegill, then a 1.5lbs channel catfish. Got bites into darkness before having to pack up. A very enjoyable session when you know the the fish are there, which to be honest I had not expected for Arrowhead. Right at the finish a very big largemouth jumped right out of the water in front of me, looked around 4-5lbs. Gonna try Sag Quarry East Sunday. Tight lines all.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby Wolfnight » Nov Sun 04, 2018 7:58 pm

Fished Sag Quarry East from 12 noon until 3.30pm. Pouring rain the whole time. Water temp 50. Southerly wind. Water level good, water color very good, clear but not gin clear. Had 22 bluegill, 1 bullhead around 1lb and a 1lb trout, all caught on red spikes. Total weight 5lbs 4 oz. a very encouraging session, the restocking of Saq Quarry is starting to reap benefits. There were three other anglers as crazy as me in the rain, one had caught a 2lb largemouth. Btw if anyone can advise as to the easiest way to load photos that would be much appreciated. Tight lines all.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby tatonka12345 » Sep Sat 21, 2019 7:17 pm

Have been working my way around Turtlehead the last couple of weekends and haven't caught much but for a few crappies and some bluegills. Have been fly fishing from shore and the bass haven't been going after a wooly bugger or grasshopper.

Water levels have receded the last couple of weeks also due to limited rain. Water is fairly clear though and there isn't much algae growth either which is pleasant to fish in.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby jonny2can » Oct Wed 02, 2019 6:55 pm

Hit up turtle head lake 12 to 3pm between the rain today. First time fishing here so kept it basic. Wacky senko, rage craw and paddle tail swimbait. Main lake got me one large mouth and the pond got me a handful of bluegill. Even got a bite on the tiny pond behind the pond but no hook set. Also some clown got mad at their cheap pre-rigged Shakespeare spinning setup and decided to toss it in the water. Was floating about 30 feet out. One cast and my gamakatsu snagged it out. Brand new cause wrapping still on shore and barcode still on handle. Garbage can like 25 feet away but people are jerks. Lake arrowhead gave me a skunk and muddy shoes. Also hit up a certain nature and botanical lake a little north of there and caught a beauty 2 lb large mouth then a employee told me no fishing allowed. Pretty sure two geezers ratted me out. But yea I agree from previous replies these are tough lakes.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby ccorso » Oct Fri 04, 2019 4:12 pm

Nice fish out of the "no fishing lake". I've been tempted to hit that one but never had the balls
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby Wolfnight » Oct Sun 06, 2019 3:25 pm

Well done for giving these lakes a go. I have fished them all summer and now into the Fall. Man they are very hard this year. Not been skunked yet but every outing is a struggle to put any fish together. Best catch has been 12 white bass in one session yesterday out of Tempier. Small but in perfect condition; caught on worm. Arrowhead dead as a dodo, maybe it is the flooding project they are building has unsettled the fish. Horsetail not a patch on last year, is this fished out? Turtlehead seems to be OK, gonna give it a go these week after the rains. Tight lines all.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby jonny2can » Oct Wed 09, 2019 5:29 am

Yea walked to the stream that the flooding arrowhead overfills into and seen no fish trapped. Not even small bait fish. My friend went to tampier yesterday and always caught 4 small white bass on crawlers. Will probably give turtlehead another go in the spring.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby Wolfnight » Oct Sat 12, 2019 7:23 pm

Fished Sag Quarry today, 36 bluegill and 3 crappie. All caught on worm in the deep channel on the East fishing on the bottom. Wind off my back helped my presentation. Fished very light 3lb line with 18 hook. Fish never left me. Water color perfect, temps 58c. Gonna try Turtlehead Sunday. Tight lines all.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby Wolfnight » Oct Mon 14, 2019 8:00 pm

Fished Turtlehead today. Water temps 59. Wind off my back. Caught 60+ bluegill on worm and red maggot. Terrific conditions and water clear. Had to fish on the bottom at 12 feet to catch. No bass anywhere which is interesting. Tight lines all.
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Re: Turtlehead, Arrowhead, Tempier, Horsetail

Postby ccorso » Oct Tue 15, 2019 4:35 pm

Thanks for the reports, any size to the bluegills?
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