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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I live in Bridgeport near the South Fork of the South Branch of the Chicago River, a/k/a "Bubbly Creek". There are some spots for fishing along the river, including the Canal Origins Park at 2701 S Ashland Ave. I have had fleeting success there in the past with panfish (mostly bluegills), and I've also seen people haul in monster carp using french fries for bait. Can anyone share their success stories at the Canal Origins Park? I'd love to know how to fish for bass around there. As the sun starts to set, there are fish literally jumping out of the water!

Also, earlier this week I went out fishing and got skunked, but the weather was so nice that I went walking around the area, and discovered that there is a river walk west of Ashland right outside the Sun-Times publishing plant, and there are spots for fishing along the South Branch of the river as well. The guys at Henry's told me that people have had success catching catfish there. Thanks.

For those wondering, yes the river banks east of Ashland (Canal Origins Park) are nasty -- broken bottles, empty dime-bags, urban jellyfish -- but it's not horrible, and it doesn't smell. The river walk west of Ashland is much cleaner, but I don't know if the fishing is as good there, as I haven't tried it out yet.
 

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Knowing the history of "Bubbly Creek", it's still hard to believe by many that it is fishable today. For those who don't know, this was a dumping ground of animal waste back in the days of the stockyards. It got the name "Bubbly Creek" because of the decomposing matter in the water.

But... there are plenty of fish in this stretch of the Chicago River today!

Drew, I would recommend any traditional techniques for largemouth bass - plastic worms, crankbaits, spinners, etc. One thing to note - though there are likely some bass jumping, the carp are likely the ones making the must jumps and splashes. The huge goldfish also cause a ruckus.

Check out some of George's reports on this forum. The techniques he uses should work well on your stretch of the river.

Welcome to the site. Looking forward to your reports.
 

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hey drew all I have heard about bubbly creek is bad news for fishing.

I Have never fished that far south on the river, so i cant give ya any help really.

But this is a cool quote from Upton Sinclair's book The Jungle

"'Bubbly Creek' is an arm of the Chicago River, and forms the southern boundary of the Union Stock Yards; all the drainage of the square mile of packing-houses empties into it, so that it is really a great open sewer a hundred or two feet wide. One long arm of it is blind, and the filth stays there forever and a day. The grease and chemicals that are poured into it undergo all sorts of strange transformations, which are the cause of its name; it is constantly in motion, as if huge fish were feeding in it, or great leviathans disporting themselves in its depths. Bubbles of carbonic gas will rise to the surface and burst, and make rings two or three feet wide. Here and there the grease and filth have caked solid, and the creek looks like a bed of lava; chickens walk about on it, feeding, and many times an unwary stranger has started to stroll across, and vanished temporarily. The packers used to leave the creek that way, till every now and then the surface would catch on fire and burn furiously, and the fire department would have to come and put it out. Once, however, an ingenious stranger came and started to gather this filth in scows, to make lard out of; then the packers took the cue, and got out an injunction to stop him, and afterwards gathered it themselves. The banks of "Bubbly Creek" are plastered thick with hairs, and this also the packers gather and clean."

here is some other info...for more current times.

Two heavily polluted streams that joined to create the south fork were later filled in, but their courses can still be seen today in the configuration of streets and railroad tracks in the area. By the 1990s, the only living animals in the creek were huge numbers of bloodworms feeding on the estimated 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) of rotting blood in the bed of the hypoxic creek.....The creek has remained toxic to the present day; as early as 1950, a resident remembers the air being "rancid". Some wildlife and vegetation has returned in recent decades, and the area has been increasingly occupied by residential development such as Bridgeport Village. Areas near the creek have been designated for recreational uses including parks, and developers and the city agreed on a 60-foot (18 m) setback to allow for remediation......A program to oxygenate the creek by continuously injecting compressed air into the water has met with limited success: The creek's odor and bloodworm population is much reduced, and fish now venture there.!!!!! ( there ya go)

....As of 2007, the City of Chicago and the Army Corps of Engineers are considering a $2.65 million feasibility study to look at restoration options, which would have implications for the remainder of the Chicago River system due to the unusual challenges of Bubbly Creek. The creek's waters are largely stagnant, having little gravitational flow, but the study will look into possibilities including a meandering stream amid a wetland to restore an oxygenated system.

Hope this helps ya some...if not it neat to know the history of what ya fishing!.

Welcome to WCF!

JayPee the HHF!
 

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Nice post Jaypee.

"The Jungle" is a classic novel with the setting being the Chicago Union Stockyards (though that's not the name they use in the book). All that remains today from the era of the stockyards is the entranceway Arch. If you're from Chicago, and not familiar with the Union Stock Yards, well, you should learn about it. I even have it on my ipod.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Stock_Yards

http://www.ci.chi.il.us/Landmarks/U/UnionStock.html

The Chicago History Museum has some great information as well. Worth the visit.
 

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For those wondering, yes the river banks east of Ashland (Canal Origins Park) are nasty -- broken bottles, empty dime-bags, urban jellyfish -- but it's not horrible, and it doesn't smell. The river walk west of Ashland is much cleaner, but I don't know if the fishing is as good there, as I haven't tried it out yet.
I was born not too far from there in 1956 and moved out in 1967. My great grandfather built an apartment building on 24th and Leavitt in 1890 that's still in the family with family still living in it. We used to walk over to the Ashland bridge and bubbly creek and a small group of 8 year olds would sit there for hours throwing lit matches on the river hoping it would catch on fire.

My first fishing experience, after getting bored trying to light the river, was dropping cinder blocks and bricks from the Ashland bridge onto anything that moved in the water. Not kidding, we didn't have fishing poles. Carp didn't seem to mind the river even back then.

East side of bridge, north side of river, channels that hold barges and out into the river itself. The water should be 50 degrees right now. Yes the shores there are virtually non-existent and ugly, but not impossible to access if you're daring. Haven't done it myself in about 6 or 7 years, too far away now.

Look for some well placed ropes you can hold onto in order to lower yourself closer to the waterline.

Unless my friend doesn't leave them there anymore.

I got to go to the stockyards before they shut down. When I think of it, I can still smell them. Lots of friends and families fingers are buried there somewhere.
 

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Better off going out to McKinley Park Lagoon. That place has really cleaned up. I work down the street from there and took a walk around there a week ago. Seems pretty promising. I know there is alot of Bass in there. I am going to go hit it up what the weather breaks a little more.

Bubbly Creek os Just as Bad as the WWD @ Busse....... :idea:
 

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Nice post, Ken. Wish I could have visited the stockyards, for the history.

Would LOVE to see a quality pic of a fish from Bubbly Creek. Hmmm... might have to make a visit this weekend.
 

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I live right down the street (roughly archer and loomis) and I have gone a couple times in hopes of catching big carp, with no success. I talked to a guy who goes there often for catfish and pulls out good sized ones. I've been told that the steep bank along ashland just north of the Canal Origins walkway with the rod holders is the place to catch the carp (it forms a little cove) howver I stiopped by last week and the area, though still littered with milk crates etc, is now marked of as bird sanctuary so I am not so sure if its acceptable to bypass the fence and set up there.

Im not a fan of McKinnley so I would love to be able to have some success at bubbly creek, it being so close to home and all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I hit up Canal Origins Park yesterday around 7:15PM and fished 45 minutes just before sunset. I caught a couple bluegills off of nightcrawlers, but mostly wound up feeding their friends, losing my worm about 6 times. There were some other people fishing, and they were catching bluegills, too.

Not a major success story or anything, but it was great to catch a few fish and bust my '09 slump.

Also pleased to report that the river and its banks were relatively clean, perhaps due to recent rains and an increased police presence late at night (mostly via police helicopters lighting up the banks with search lights to chase away the homeless and hookers/johns).

-Drew
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I hit my creepy spot at the Canal Origins Park yesterday (Thurs) from about 5:45P to 7:15P. I was using nightcrawlers and going for sunfish/bluegill, but didn't catch anything. There were about 8 other people there. Some guys were fishing for carp and also didn't catch anything. Another group was fishing for catfish I believe, and had caught a small perch or two, but that was it. Not sure why there was no bite. Maybe the water was too cold despite the nice day?

I'm going out again tonight around 5:30-6PM for another quick hit, and am going to try to use some rooster tails to lure the bass that I just know are hanging around in the still water by the fallen trees! I hope the river has warmed some.

-Drew

p/s The shoreline was not as disgusting as it usually is, maybe b/c it is early in the year. There is still a lot of trash there though.
 

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BigRick said:
Great thread, props to jaypee on citing "The Jungle". Great little novel that one...
I second that. Especially love the regression to animalistic human nature it portrays at the end, truly a classic.
 
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