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New Member from Chicago/Des Plaines Watershed


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#1 Redfin

Redfin
  • NANFA Member
  • Border of Chicago and Des Plaines Watershed

Posted 08 February 2018 - 11:25 PM

Hi,

I've never posted anything before, but I've read just about every topic on here over the past few months.  I got a NANFA membership as a gift a while ago and hope to become an active member of the community.  I live just outside of Chicago so, sadly, actual collection of fish doesn't happen, but catching them is still fun.  

 

In the past I've kept various minnows, green sunfish, bluegill, and bass.  I currently keep a 10 gallon with two rusty crawfish, a 30 gallon with 8 fathead minnows, and a 20 gallon with 3 comet goldfish. In the future my goal is to keep redfin pickerel, but I don't want to rush into something like that.

 

I've learned a lot from the forum so far and look forward to continuing to learn and hopefully sharing my own experience.

 



#2 Michael Wolfe

Michael Wolfe
  • Board of Directors
  • North Georgia, Oconee River Drainage

Posted 09 February 2018 - 07:04 AM

Welcome Redfin. If you are used to keeping fish (as it seems you are), pickerel are not difficult to keep. I have never converted one to pellets, but I did have one for several years that we kept thriving and growing on a colony of guppies and rosy reds.

If you can get a really small one (3-4 inches). You can keep them in a 20 long for years before needing a larger tank.
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#3 olaf

olaf
  • NANFA Member

Posted 09 February 2018 - 10:01 AM

There's collecting around here. It's not like collecting in MO, AL, etc., but it's still fun. In the local creeks and rivers there are a variety of natives, big and small, and if you drive just a little bit west you can get into some pretty good diversity, with several darter species and lots of other fishes. If you go through my album in the gallery, you'll notice fish from Cook, Will, Kendall, Kane, Grundy and other northeast IL counties. http://gallery.nanfa.org/v/members/Olaf/  Uland Thomas's gallery is also full of stuff from around here. 

Here are some from nearby:

 

Mottled Sculpin

26959088080_fd047b133c_k.jpg

 

Rainbow Darter

33026987733_ff4ee9f062_k.jpg

 

Orangethroat Darter

26627405744_993b35c329_o.jpg

 

Blacknose Dace:

32996943754_38c7289aa4_k.jpg

 

In a couple months the suckers will be spawning. The most visible will be the Shorthead Redhorses:

gallery_3630_69_112724.jpg

 

All of the above are from one small creek in Kane/Kendall counties, so about an hour west of the city. Closer to Chicago, in the suburbs, you'll find fewer colorful darters, but there's still some fun to be had. I made a poster for a local Meet the Creek event (Salt Creek, which enters the Des Plaines in Riverside/Lyons) and some species I included or considered including were Northern Pike, muskie, walleye, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, rock bass, white and black crappies, white sucker, chubsucker*, freshwater drum, bluegill, pumpkinseed, orangespotted, green, and warmouth* sunfishes, black and yellow bullheads, channel and flathead* cats, creek and hornyhead chubs, blackside and johnny darters, blackstripe topminnow, freshwater drum, gizzard shad, spotfin shiner, golden shiner, common shiner, striped shiner, central stoneroller, fathead minnow, bluntnose minnow, and probably more shiners and minnows I’m forgetting. * means I'm not sure it's in Salt Creek, bold means I've personally found it on a hook or in a net (except muskie, which I've seen verifiable Salt Creek photos of, and chubsucker, which I'm pretty sure I've seen but have no proof of). 

 

We'll have to try to get a group of Chicagoland nanfans together this spring for some exploration with seines and dipnets. A lot of the waters around here are rebounding from the horrors of most of the 20th century, and as the water gets cleaner and the dams go away, the fishes are returning. 


Redhorse ID downloads and more: http://moxostoma.com

#4 Redfin

Redfin
  • NANFA Member
  • Border of Chicago and Des Plaines Watershed

Posted 09 February 2018 - 02:51 PM

Welcome Redfin. If you are used to keeping fish (as it seems you are), pickerel are not difficult to keep. I have never converted one to pellets, but I did have one for several years that we kept thriving and growing on a colony of guppies and rosy reds.

If you can get a really small one (3-4 inches). You can keep them in a 20 long for years before needing a larger tank.

Thanks for all the advice. I've read some similar things and originally bought my 30 gallon tank for a small redfin pickerel, but decided against purchasing one because I'm going to college in a few months and so can't give one the proper care or attention that it deserves.  My goal is to eventually set up a heavily planted tank and take a trip to catch a small redfin pickerel.  I know there are grass pickerel closer to me, but I've always wanted a redfin for the aquarium.

 

 

There's collecting around here. It's not like collecting in MO, AL, etc., but it's still fun. 

Those are some awesome pictures!  I completely agree that there are a lot of fun fish in the area, but I was under the impression that collection of fish was illegal, is that not the case?  If I'm wrong please let me know.

 

I've actually been to Salt Creek and it's cool to know that it has such a diverse fish population.   I agree that the area's fish populations and waterways are improving and it's great that people can more easily go out and enjoy nature now.



#5 olaf

olaf
  • NANFA Member

Posted 10 February 2018 - 09:20 AM

If you've got a fishing license, collecting in IL is legal (not gamefish, of course). Are you staying in the area for college?


Redhorse ID downloads and more: http://moxostoma.com

#6 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Board of Directors
  • Ohio

Posted 10 February 2018 - 02:51 PM

And you positively have grass pickerel very close. Maybe not quite as pretty, but identical in behavior. I have been able to get them on frozen shrimp.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#7 taldridge0321

taldridge0321
  • NANFA Member
  • Pigeon Watershed, North Carolina

Posted 11 February 2018 - 04:08 PM

Microfishing is a great way to target a lot of different species and all you need is a fishing license. If you are interested and have any questions feel free to ask. 



#8 Redfin

Redfin
  • NANFA Member
  • Border of Chicago and Des Plaines Watershed

Posted 11 February 2018 - 08:02 PM

If you've got a fishing license, collecting in IL is legal (not gamefish, of course). Are you staying in the area for college?

Thanks for the info, I'm not sure why I thought differently.  That is a very good question, one that I wish I knew the answer to.  I haven't decided where I'm going yet, but I'll definitely look into the fish population of the area when I do decide.

 

 

And you positively have grass pickerel very close. Maybe not quite as pretty, but identical in behavior. I have been able to get them on frozen shrimp.

You're right, there are grass pickerel close to me, but I've really wanted a redfin pickerel for a long time even though they are similar in most aspects.  Who knows, I might change my mind once I do get one.  I've been interested in the whole Esox genus for a while and want to eventually have one of the American pickerels because those are really the only ones small enough to put in a tank in my opinion.  How long did it take you to convert them from live food to shrimp?

 

 

Microfishing is a great way to target a lot of different species and all you need is a fishing license. If you are interested and have any questions feel free to ask. 

I just began to try micro-fishing the past few years actually!  What I've done so far is get the smallest hooks I can from the fly fishing section of Bass Pro Shop and use tiny pieces of beef jerky or cut off the tails of tiny artificial baits and that's worked a little bit for tiny sunfish.  I haven't really gotten into anything smaller than that though.  What type of baits have you had success with?



#9 taldridge0321

taldridge0321
  • NANFA Member
  • Pigeon Watershed, North Carolina

Posted 11 February 2018 - 08:09 PM

Thanks for the info, I'm not sure why I thought differently.  That is a very good question, one that I wish I knew the answer to.  I haven't decided where I'm going yet, but I'll definitely look into the fish population of the area when I do decide.

 

 

You're right, there are grass pickerel close to me, but I've really wanted a redfin pickerel for a long time even though they are similar in most aspects.  Who knows, I might change my mind once I do get one.  I've been interested in the whole Esox genus for a while and want to eventually have one of the American pickerels because those are really the only ones small enough to put in a tank in my opinion.  How long did it take you to convert them from live food to shrimp?

 

 

I just began to try micro-fishing the past few years actually!  What I've done so far is get the smallest hooks I can from the fly fishing section of Bass Pro Shop and use tiny pieces of beef jerky or cut off the tails of tiny artificial baits and that's worked a little bit for tiny sunfish.  I haven't really gotten into anything smaller than that though.  What type of baits have you had success with?

Try this site for hooks, line, weights etc. http://www.tenkarabu...shing-gear.html. You can easily catch a variety of species by microfishing, Shiners, Chubs, Darters, Madtoms etc. Try using bits, and I mean bits, small bits, of red worm or earthworm on one of the hooks from the website. Gamakatsu Ultimate are my favorite. Gulp Maggot bait in white, will work as well, but worms are the best. 



#10 Redfin

Redfin
  • NANFA Member
  • Border of Chicago and Des Plaines Watershed

Posted 11 February 2018 - 08:55 PM

Try this site for hooks, line, weights etc. http://www.tenkarabu...shing-gear.html. You can easily catch a variety of species by microfishing, Shiners, Chubs, Darters, Madtoms etc. Try using bits, and I mean bits, small bits, of red worm or earthworm on one of the hooks from the website. Gamakatsu Ultimate are my favorite. Gulp Maggot bait in white, will work as well, but worms are the best. 

Thanks for the link, that's the website where I learned about the Owner New Half Moon Tanago Hook and I have bought a lot of tiny hooks in that same style.  I've found that it really increases my hook-up ratio on the smallest fish because they can more easily get their mouth on the point of the hook.  I'm definitely going to look at the rest of their products before I start fishing this year though.  

 

I have a compost bin in my backyard so I'm definitely going to try using small bits of tiny worms.  This isn't really for micro-fishing, but I've found that gulp minnows are amazing for every type of sunfish I've gone after besides bass, but even then it works for smaller bass too.  So I'll make sure to try the gulp maggot bait because I've had a lot of success with that.  

 

I've seen a couple reviews saying Owner has smaller hook points/bites and a couple saying Gamakatsu has the smaller hook point/bite.  So far I've gone with Owner, but I'll try out the Gamakatsu Ultimate next time go micro-fishing



#11 taldridge0321

taldridge0321
  • NANFA Member
  • Pigeon Watershed, North Carolina

Posted 11 February 2018 - 09:32 PM

Thanks for the link, that's the website where I learned about the Owner New Half Moon Tanago Hook and I have bought a lot of tiny hooks in that same style.  I've found that it really increases my hook-up ratio on the smallest fish because they can more easily get their mouth on the point of the hook.  I'm definitely going to look at the rest of their products before I start fishing this year though.  

 

I have a compost bin in my backyard so I'm definitely going to try using small bits of tiny worms.  This isn't really for micro-fishing, but I've found that gulp minnows are amazing for every type of sunfish I've gone after besides bass, but even then it works for smaller bass too.  So I'll make sure to try the gulp maggot bait because I've had a lot of success with that.  

 

I've seen a couple reviews saying Owner has smaller hook points/bites and a couple saying Gamakatsu has the smaller hook point/bite.  So far I've gone with Owner, but I'll try out the Gamakatsu Ultimate next time go micro-fishing

No problem, you sound like you know your hooks already though.  The Gamakatsu Ultimate is expensive and that's why it's not as popular. Last time I checked, they are the smallest out of the two. They are 7 bucks for 5 hooks. Some folks file their hooks points down, and that would be a cheaper option, but I just try to keep stocked up on them. I use Owner too every now and again. With the worms, they are segmented, so try to use only one segment if you can. Really small piece. Also use a small piece of the Gulp Maggot bait if you happen to buy that. They last forever anyways. Good luck to ya!



#12 Redfin

Redfin
  • NANFA Member
  • Border of Chicago and Des Plaines Watershed

Posted 11 February 2018 - 09:41 PM

Some folks file their hooks points down, and that would be a cheaper option

That sounds like an awesome idea, I'm for sure going to try this!   Thanks for the advice with the worms too.



#13 taldridge0321

taldridge0321
  • NANFA Member
  • Pigeon Watershed, North Carolina

Posted 12 February 2018 - 02:13 PM

That sounds like an awesome idea, I'm for sure going to try this!   Thanks for the advice with the worms too.

Not a problem, happy hunting!





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