Month: June 2021

Lake Storey Report – June 12

Last weekend we took the summer (almost) Lake Storey challenge during a weekend family camping trip. My brother, Brent, and I hit the water at sunrise and my oldest boy, Jayce, joined us as we wrapped up our day. As expected, conditions were quite weedy, but I must say that the water clarity was as good as I can recall being a clear green rather than the normal murky green. And as crazy as it sounds, we were the only trailer in the lot the whole Saturday morning. Read on for the results.

6:30am Brent with our first bass of the day caught on a spinnerbait

Date: June 12, 2021
Location: Lake Storey – Knox County, IL
Time: 5:20am-12:35pm
Weather: Sunny/calm to breezy
Air Temp: 72-90F
Water Temp: 83-85F
Totals: 10 bass (Brent = 8, Troy = 1, Jayce = 1), 6 bluegill
Lures: 5” Yamasenko wacky rig – 8 bass, Spinnerbait (white) – 2 bass, Waxworms on a 1/16oz. jighead hung from a slip bobber – 6 bluegill
Top Bass: 1-11 Brent Senko
Top 5 Weight: 5-15 (1-11,1-3,1-2,1-0,0-15)

Trip Lyric
“’Cause, Mama, I’m so hard to handle now.”
Hard to Handle – Black Crowes (1990)

Several fish were hard to handle as seen in this snip from some GoPro video

Notes and Nonsense

Hot Seat – While not technically summer, you sure couldn’t tell as it was flat out hot, reaching 90F during the latter portion of our day. If you left your seat for even a short stretch of time, it sure got your attention when you sat back down. Same for my phone as I had to hide it in order to prevent the “iPhone needs to cool down before you can use it” message. You certainly can’t be without a phone at the ready on a day when bites are tough as you don’t want to miss a scattered photo opportunity.


Slippery Fish – It seemed like the fish were extra slippery on this outing as several got loose in the boat and one unfortunately slipped from the grip while getting a rinse. The latter was Jayce’s lone bass that had swallowed the hook on his Senko pretty good. As a result, it was bleeding, so I decided to wash it off before taking a pic. Jayce stated that it was a bad idea and despite what I felt was a good grip on the lip, his bass gave a good shake and swam away. I’m sure the bass was happy, but we had a boat full of disappointed anglers and Jayce threatened to not go fishing we me again. Can’t really say that I blame him after my boneheaded move that prevented a pic with his catch. At least we had the catch (and unintentional release) on video that will be posted another day.

12:13pm my lone bass of the day

Secret Weapon – Many times over the years, we have joked about having a “secret weapon” in tow that we plan to unleash on the fish with stellar results. Sometimes it’s an unorthodox or forgotten lure or perhaps a spray bottle of some can’t miss scent. In the case of this outing, it was Jayce. During the hour and a half that he spent casting with us at the end of the seven-hour trip, we caught the majority of our fish. Too bad I didn’t rouse him from the tent at 4:45am. Maybe next time.

Jayce, our “Secret Weapon” of the day with my bass as I let his get away later before snapping a pic

12:28pm Brent with Top Bass of the day as is slips away

Uncle Brent put a whooping on me on this trip. My youngest boy, Zac, had tagged along for a bit of boat ride and he is all about inquiring who is the better angler, his dad, or his uncle. Zac was right on the money on this day with his vote for Uncle Brent. No argument from me although I need to teach Zac about the whole front versus back of the boat excuse. I don’t think it would have mattered on this day. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Today’s post features a pair of bass from some Knox County public waters. It sure is fun to see these locales share a weekly update. These two fishing holes hold many personal memories and I enjoy seeing others taking a shot at making memories of their own.

Weight: 1-1
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: June 8
Weather: Bright sun, air temp 70s
Water Temp: 72-74F
Location: Lake McMaster
Lure: Dark colored wacky worm
Angler Comments: Caught one other bass too small to even measure. Had other bites but failed to hook and land any other fish.
Top 5 Weight: 10-14 (2-10,2-8,2-6,1-14,1-8)

Weight: 1-3
Angler: Jayce Jackson
Date: June 12
Weather: Sunny/calm and hot
Air Temperature: 90F
Water Temp: 83F
Location: Lake Storey
Lure: 5” Yamasenko wacky rig (cinnamon black purple flake with red tip)
Structure: Flat with scattered weeds
Editor’s Comments: This was a last-minute bass that got Jayce on the board. In fact, after this catch we called it quits to end our day with a last cast catch. More on the catch in an upcoming fishing report.
Top 5 Weight: 3-7 (1-3,1-3,1-1)

As a sidelight, I got to sit around the campfire with both anglers and spin a few yarns this past weekend. A good crew and happy to have them play along here on the Top 5. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – June 19, 2016

Today’s flashback takes me across the river for what was my first ever trip to Lost Grove Lake. Plenty of water, plenty of weeds and plenty of bites on this outing, just couldn’t fool any real quality bass.

Originally Posted 6-29-16

I took the plunge and invested $44.59 (with fees) for an out of state Iowa fishing license to take a shot at some relatively new water in nearby Scott County.

Date: June 19, 2016
Location: Lost Grove Lake, IA
Time: 4.75 hours
Weather: Sunny/breezy
Air Temp: 72 to 85F
Water Temp: No reading
Totals: 19 bass
Lures: Senko wacky rig (green pumpkin black flake or natural shad) – 17 bass, Booyah Buzz Buzzbait – 1 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 1-9 (Senko)
Top 5 Weight (only 2 at 12” or better): 2-11 (1-9,1-2)

9:51am Top Bass at 1-9 and 14.5″ on a Senko wacky rig

Notes & Nonsense

Small Bites – In addition to the small bites from the bass, the size of the lake coupled with my modest watercraft setup means that I must chop the lake up into manageable pieces. My plan is to hit five or six different sections of the 390-acre body of water as I rack up visits and eventually get a look at the whole thing.

Topography – I have managed to secure a decent topo map of the lake from somewhere on the internet so it is cool to get look at what is going on below the surface in terms of contours and some manmade structure items. However, there are a few issues with my cut-rate depthfinder setup and GPS from my phone. A work in progress quite unlike my normal stomping grounds that are rather familiar after twenty five or thirty years of acquaintance.

Not Much of a Boat – As I was casting around some flooded bushes near a walk-in access area a couple fellows on the bank looked my way and one of them said, “That ain’t much of a boat” to the other guy. Glancing around the crowded lake that Sunday morning I counted six other watercraft including a couple tricked out bass boats: 250HP, Power Poles and so on. Easily over $100,000 of fishing equipment within view certainly lent credence to his observation. I also got to hear the same guy say, “Hey, he got another one” as I landed a pair of bass while they were watching including the 1-9 pictured above. I’m sure they meant no offense in their evaluation of that old 8’ johnboat and I took none, just got a laugh knowing that you can’t judge a book by the cover.

Several more trips over the years to Lost Grove have been hit or miss for me with most outings taking place in the heat of summer. I’ve found decent numbers but haven’t managed to fool much over two pounds. From internet reports and a couple firsthand observations, I know there are some good bass in there. I guess so far, the Iowa fish have outsmarted this Illinois boy. I haven’t purchased an Iowa fishing license this year and may just stick to some Prairie State waters, old and new. Talk to you later. Troy

Hennepin Canal Report – June 5

A weekend camping trip along the historic Hennepin Canal afforded the opportunity to make a few casts. The heat was on with a blast of summer weather a few weeks early, but a handful of fish made it worth our while.

Date: June 5, 2021
Location: Hennepin Canal – Henry County, IL
Time: scattered during afternoon
Weather: Sunny/breezy
Air Temp: 90F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 3 bass (Troy – 2, Jayce – 1), 2 bluegill, 1 pumpkinseed
Lures: 5” Yamasenko wacky rig (various colors) – 3 bass, Waxworms on a 1/16 oz. jighead hung from a slip bobber – 2 bluegill, 1 pumpkinseed
Top 5 Weight: 2-11 (1-10,1-1)

No giant, but my first Hennepin Canal bass was still rewarding

Notes and Nonsense

Paddle Fishing – A midday canoe rental found me, Carly and Jayce paddling through the weed choked waters in the 90-degree heat. We had a goal to reach a nearby lock and an hour to make the round-trip. Reaching the lock, I figured that we had time for some casts in the open water of the deeper pool and the first cast was a winner for my boy, Jayce. A solid canal catch made for some smiles, some excitement, and a proud dad before we turned around for the return paddle to the launch.

Jayce actually claimed the first Hennepin Canal bass for our family

New Species – Later in the afternoon, I tried my luck from the bank armed with a Senko for bass and some waxworms for panfish. Along the mossy bank of the canal, I found a couple open spots with a batch of panfish on beds. While they weren’t very cooperative, I did manage to fool a few, including my first ever pumpkinseed. This attractive member of the sunfish family was a cool and unexpected catch.

Going to have to add a new column to my spreadsheets for a new species

Top Bass – As my limited casting time window was winding down, I spotted a decent sized drum cruising in and out of sight in front of me. I dropped the Senko and waxworm in its vicinity numerous times along with reeling a crankbait past but not even a glance from my quarry. With only a few minutes of fishing time remaining, however, my Senko got a thump and a decent bend in the rod when I set the hook. For a moment, I thought the fight is on with my sought-after drum, but the catch turned out to be a 1-10 bass instead. All good.

Top Bass at 1-10 and I know where some bigger ones live now after a little scouting

Overall, a fun hour or so fooling around on some new water. I also made a few discoveries along the way that may bring me back to the canal with a few poles in the future. Plenty more to the weekend family adventure but those are tales for another post or two. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

One of our young anglers works in a few casts on some new water and reels in a bass for our Top 5 Update.

Weight: 1-1
Angler: Jayce Jackson
Date: June 5
Weather: Sunny/breezy, air temp upper 80s
Location: Hennepin Canal
Lure: 5” Yamasenko wacky rig
Top 5 Weight: 2-4 (1-3,1-1)

Good job, my man, and a fun catch. As I was along for the ride on this one, more to come in the full fishing and outdoor reports when time permits. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – June 3-5, 2016

Today, I am taking the easy way out and letting the pictures do the talking. The slideshow below looks back at a June 2016 family camping/fishing trip to Little John Conservation Club. We’re hoping to do more of both activities this year as the last few years our outings have been a bit sparse. Stay tuned on that project but for now enjoy some fish, family, and fun from five years ago this week. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Stats

Another month means another Top 5 Stat Update. Thus far, 2021 is exclusively a battle of the bass as no other species have been submitted. Five months into our 2021 quest we sit at 48 bass total courtesy of seven anglers. As such, we are almost halfway to the goal of 100 bass with just over half a year of fishing remaining. Hopefully, some stable spring weather is finally here, and the hits will keep on coming. In the meantime, here is a breakdown of our 2021 submissions.

2021 Totals
January = no submissions
February = 2 bass
March = 19 bass
April = 14 bass
May = 13 bass

Top 5 Weight by Month
January = no submissions
February = 7-3 (3-15,3-4)
March = 21-14 (5-5,4-3,4-2,4-2,4-2)
April = 21-6 (5-3,5-2,4-0,4-0,3-1)
May = 14-14 (4-6,2-12,2-10,2-10,2-8)

Boat vs. Bank
Boat = 1 bass
Bank = 47 bass

Boat vs. Bank Weight
Boat = 2-10 (2-10)
Bank = 24-3 (5-5,5-3,5-2,4-6,4-3)

Public vs. Private
Public = 44 bass
Private = 4 bass

Public vs. Private Top 5 Weight
Public = 24-3 (5-5,5-3,5-2,4-6,4-3)
Private = 9-6 (2-10,2-8,2-6,1-14)

The Baits (* = new record)
Lipless Crankbait = 15 bass (Top Bass 4-3 Jim Junk)
Plastic Worm = 10 bass (Top Bass 4-6 Jim Junk)
Crankbait = 6 bass (Top Bass 4-0 Brent Jackson)
Spinnerbait = 6 bass (Top Bass 4-0 Brent Jackson)
Chatterbait = 5 bass (Top Bass 5-3 Jim Junk)
Jig = 2 bass (Top Bass 1-8 John Kirkemo)
Creature = 1 bass (Top Bass 5-5 Jim Junk)
Livebait = 1 bass (Top Bass Patricia Kirkemo 2-10)
Stickbait = 1 bass (1-11 Troy Jackson)
Swimbait = 1 bass (1-13 Troy Jackson)

Monthly Top Bass (* = new record)
No submissions
3-15 Jim Junk
5-5 Jim Junk
5-2 Jim Junk
4-6 Jim Junk

Top 10 Bass (* = new Top 10 all-time)
5-5 Jim Junk (3/26)
5-3 Jim Junk (4/8)
5-2 Jim Junk (4/6)
4-6 Jim Junk (5/25)
4-3 Jim Junk (3/30)
4-2Jim Junk (3/19)
4-2 Jim Junk (3/24)
4-2 Jim Junk (3/28)
4-1 Jim Junk (3/30)
4-0 Jim Junk (3/23)
4-0 Brent Jackson (4/2)
4-0 Brent Jackson (4/12)

Angler Weights
Jim Junk 24-3 (5-5,5-3,5-2,4-6,4-3)
Brent Jackson 14-11 (4-0,4-0,2-5,2-3,2-3)
John Kirkemo 10-14 (2-10,2-8,2-6,1-14,1-8)
Troy Jackson 10-6 (3-1,2-0,1-13,1-13,1-11)
Landon Hannam 2-12 (2-12)
Patricia Kirkemo 2-10 (2-10)
Jayce Jackson 1-3 (1-3)

There you have it, a solid collection of bass submissions and nearly all from the bank on public waters. I find those aspects to be fun bit of the breakdown as they represent locales and approaches that are generally available to anyone looking to make some casts. Keep up the good work, crew, and anybody else out there who wishes to join the quest go ahead and email your catches to Talk to you later. Troy