Ok, I finally got over to Lake Opeka from 11am - noonish. Fished the south end near the 'keep away from golf course' fencing. North/NW steady mild winds, sunny with cloud cover occassionally. Threw out 4" black senko and was skenko'd, leech tipped jig and nothing, several different spinners and the white one with dual tear-drop blades ruled the day with two nice LM, about 12-14" each. Not bad for a first time out and shore fishing. (still working on a camera!)
Met a guy on his lunch break working the shoreline with a 4" Rapala, he was getting a handfull of bumps but no takers. Says he sees a couple of older gentlemen in 'my spot' with bobbers out at lunch, but never sees them hauling in anything. He also reported seeing people in boats work the golf course side and reeling 'em in one after the other (glad I have a boat and will be able to get to the better areas this weekend )
FYI: there are fees for Lake Opeka: yearly fishing fee around $20 - 40 for individual or family/resident or non-resident; and a boat launching fee of $40 per season. IL DNR Fishing licenses are not needed nor honored, you must have a Lake Park pin for fishing.
That's what I thought last year. But, after experiencing the paucity of fish in the FP lakes and the limitations of boat access, I don't think its that bad. especially if you look into area fishing clubs that charge $2k a year to fish in their lakes (I don't personally know the names of them, but have spoken with several anglers of means who have said memberships). Given the limited options and the fact that I live four blocks from Lake Opeka, have a 12' fishing/row boat, and have gotten skunked far more than rewarded at Beck and Busse, yes, if Lake Opeka has fish and these fees limit the bucket fisherman and extremely heavy angling action of public lakes then I would say it is well worth it. The draw backs are: 1) the best fishing (west shoreline) is inaccessable except by boat, at least during the summer when the golf course is open; 2) boating is limited to weekends April - October with weekdays added June - August and only after 10 or 11am till sunset. But IMHO the benefits of limited anglers, stocked LM and abundant croppie and carp (so says the old guy at the bait shop!) and a lake that isn't overun with weeds and litter outweighs the comparatively small expense. I know I may come off sounding a bit negative on the fishing op's around nw chicago (and I am ) I actually love to fish near home and think my technique level needs to increase more than the amount of fish around the FP. But I also like to actually catch a fish now and again and have had incredibly poor results in anything other than private ponds around Des Plaines; which is partly why I frequent this board, the fact that yuz guyz on WCF actually catch fish in the FP waters (and with lures/plastics no less!!!) indicates that ya'll are doing something right and I want to learn what it is. Nevertheless, in summary of this epistle, I do think the fees are worth it, if in fact I have the same results on an ongoing basis, and hopefully better from a boat. We'll just have to see........
Now that I think on it, if you try to launch a boat in the Chain o' Lakes or the Fox River, you are hard pressed to find a convenient public access and seem to be almost forced to pay to launch at a marina, and last year when I looked into that it was at least $10 a day, which is what Opeka is unless you buy a season pass. So comparatively, Lake Opeka is somewhat of a deal (again, presuming my results are the same or better from a boat).
Ahh, I could rant on, but I think I am just going through withdrawl from a week of Northwoods fishing!