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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello WCF,

I am a new member and I look forward to sharing ideas with all of you. But like most new members I am going to start off by asking some advice about a lake I have never fished.

I am heading out to Heideke next Friday and I am hoping to do some catching, rather than just wetting some lines. I am not all that picky about what I catch for this first trip. I would love to catch bass, stripers, walleye or anything else. I will be bringing my boat down, and it is about an 1.5 hour trip for me so if you can put me in the right area or give me ideas about bait/presentation I would greatly appreciate the help. BTW i don't have a depth finder at the moment so comments about depth wont be much good to me.

I have been having some decent success at Shabbona if anyone needs some ideas for that lake feel free to let me know.

Eric 8)
Captain of the Jolly Mon
 

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My advice would be to wait until Mid-September when the water cools down some. My advice then would be to run to the North side and troll cranks in 8-12 feet. When the water is cool, that consitentally puts fish in the boat.
 

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Ah... a maiden voyage to Heidecke Lake, the very lake that inspired me to start this site 9 years ago.

I think my number 1 suggestion would be to have some live bait. This time of year can be tough at Heidecke - which you'll find is a big time live bait lake anyways.

For smallmouth and walleye i'd go with jigs and minnows. For catfish and even hybrids, chicken livers can do the trick. Another method for hybrids from a boat is to find the schools of shad that the hybrids are chasing and crashing through the surface. Then throw some baits in that area and hope for the best.

Another good method from boat is to work parallel to the center dike with some crankbaits. A Rapala DT10 can be a great bait to do this.

And keep in mind Eric, that Heidecke Lake was originally built as a cooling lake for a power plant and is therefore supposed to "catch" the wind. Some serious waves can get going with even a small amount of wind so be prepared for that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Nice fish Matt. I see you are from Aurora. I am just down the road in Montgomery (just moved from Aurora). We should get together and wet some lines sometime. Without the wives of course, mine always seems to outfish me as well. This way one of us would be guarunteed to be the top fisherman for a day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm back. I never got a chance to report in on my first outing to Heidecke so here it goes. We hit the water by 7 am and headed out to see if I could get the boat under the famed low bridge. Success! We just barely made it, but we were there. The guy at the bait shop had informed us of "striper alley" on that side of the lake. The water was like glass on that day, and I can honestly say I have never in my life seen so many fish jumping clear out of the water. I was certain we were in for a great day of fishing. I was wrong. We tried everything we had in our arsenal. Top water, Deep divers, Trolling, Crawlers, Bass Minows, Golden Roaches, every color under the sun, Spoons, spinner baits, buzz baits, chatter baits, and probably a few others I am forgetting about. We got squat. About 1 pm we headed back under the bridge and decided to troll the shoreline on the other side. Finally about 1:15 pm I pulled in my first fish. A beautiful striper, probably about 4 inches long, maybe 4.5. Then five minutes later I caught a small one. That was it for the day. We pulled out about 2:30, my buddy was skunked and I had two very small striper to brag about. I will not be detered though. We will be back to try this lake again in hopes we have better luck next time.

Our only theory for why it was so slow (and we didn't see anybody pull in a fish all day) is that maybe the lake was too calm. I had heard that this lake always has some chop to it. But it stayed like glass all day. Has anyone else experienced a dry spell out there under extremely calm conditions?
 

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Seemed like it would be a perfect day, right Eric? Well that's Heidecke for ya. If had SO many times when I thought I was gonna slay 'em there, only to go home with an empty tank of gas.

From everything i've heard the last couple of years, the key for boaters is to follow around the schools of shad that are being chased by the stripers. Then throw some kind of shad-like bait amongst it.

For smallies and walleye it seems live bait worked on drop-offs does the best.
 

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Jolly, a chop out there always helps. The lake is in drawn down right now as well, which might be affecting things. Normally right about now, things should start to pick up, My guess is that the next sustained cold snap will get them going. For boating, my only method is the one I listed above. When you are trolling along the shore, you will notice lots of humps. Just try to keep the boat in 8-12 feet and you will consistently put fish in the boat when the water is right. Eyes, stripers, smallmouth, catfish, drum, crappie, muskie. It is a smorgasboard out there when they are turned on. I'll take you out there if I am able to make 2 trips this Fall. Its the wife's favorite lake, so she is already booked for trip #1 :wink:
 

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Looks like we may have to wait awhile to partake in our Heidecke adventures. This is really disapointing. With it being only a half hour away from me, it is a great place for those 1/2 day trips in the Fall.

Today's Suntimes

BONEHEAD NOTE: Here's how the Illinois Department of Natural Resources gets a bad reputation: bonehead bureaucracy. For weeks, it has been known a drawdown for construction of 30 inches would happen at the Heidecke Lake, the former cooling lake near Morris. We even mentioned it in the last two Midwest Fishing Reports. It long has been known that gravel would need to be added to extend launches to make them safe for use. Never happened. So over the weekend, when guys started having trouble at the launch, site staff shut down the launch and the lake to boats. Then, to make it even worse, on Tuesday somebody in Springfield seconded the decision to shut the lake down to boaters for about 90 days during the construction. Apparently, one of only a couple of public waterfowl spots in northeast Illinois will be closed for the entire duck season in the north zone. This is a very fixable problem: dump and level some gravel. I guarantee some duck-hunting or fishing construction guys would do the work. As of Tuesday, the lake is closed to boaters, as is the concession stand. The lake is slated to remain open for shore fishermen through the final fishing day on Oct. 9.
 

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Thanks Justin. Honestly though, my wife catches all the fish out there. JD from JD Spinnners gave one of his homemade "Turbo Cranks" a few years ago and that darn lure just kills them there. My wife tied it on and I laughed at her and she refuses to use any other lure now. All of the bigger hybrids and walleyes have come off that darn lure. She probably outfishes my Shad Raps 4 to 1. Luckily she lets me hold them for the photos :p I have a suprise for her this year though. I have about a half dozen of those cranks now so I am really excited to put them out on a 3 rod trolling spread and seeing what happens.
 
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