Month: February 2023

2022 Top 5 Hennepin Canal Bass

I am still trying to get the 2022 recaps posted as 2023 is already featuring open water. A handful of casts on The Canal have come up empty this month but sooner or later, I expect to find that first cooperative bass. In the meantime, let’s take a look back at the Top 5 bass landed last year on The Hennepin Canal. Check out the YouTube video below and read on for some stats and a comparison to my 2021 Canal Top 5.

2022 not only marked my first full year of fishing The Hennepin Canal but also saw me launch a boat on the waterway for the first time. Not surprisingly, my Top 5 for 2022 eclipsed my Top 5 from 2021 but not by much as 2021 featured some solid catches from the bank in roughly five months of fishing.

2022 Hennepin Canal
Top 5 Weight: 15-15

2021 Hennepin Canal
Top 5 Weight: 15-6

Who knows what The Canal holds in store for 2023 but I plan to find out. In addition, I have a few new goals and destinations in mind as I “Prowl the Canal” for another year. Talk to you later. Troy

Sledding Silliness

Zac and I kept up our annual tradition of a visit to the local sledding hill after a recent snowstorm. A GoPro in tow just adds to the fun as evidenced by the YouTube video below. While we had a good time, here’s hoping that the snow is over, and we can move on to some fishing videos instead.

Fingers crossed and talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

Year number ten of the Top 5 project is off and running with a pair of early season bass. Fittingly, Jim Junk, our two-time defending Top 5 Champ, kicks off 2023. Read on for the details.

Weight: 3-9
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: February 19
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless crankbait

Weight: 3-1
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: February 19
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Lipless crankbait
Angler Comments: Made it out to Banner for a couple hours this afternoon and managed these two healthy Fulton County bass.
Top 5 Weight: 6-10 (3-9,3-1)

Well done, Jim, and here’s to another productive year of Top 5 fishing. It is worth noting that Jim’s catches bring our all-time Top 5 total to 970 bass, leaving only thirty to go to hit the 1,000 bass mark. Good luck to all and talk to you later. Troy

15 Bass on The Hennepin Canal-Part I

Most folks my age and beyond likely recall singing along to an old ditty relating to navigating “Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal.” Such a place was far, far away to this midwestern grade schooler in the 1970s, and geographically it still is a ways away all of these years later. However, I do have a contemporary of the Erie Canal in my neck of the woods that I have been exploring since June of 2021. I’ll save the history and comparisons for another time, as what we are exploring today are some fishing highlights from last year.

I give you Part I of “Fifteen Bass on The Hennepin Canal”, a series of clips featuring catches from the historic waterway. My 2022 fishing on The Canal covered fifteen stretches of water as I divide The Canal into sections using roadways, tubes, locks, siphons, aqueducts, and bridges as dividers. This allows me to document my catches more precisely. More on all that some other time, as well.

For now, have a look at the first of two YouTube clips featuring video of one catch from each of the fifteen locations. Some stretches I fished only once, some several times, and some many times. The catches in the clips do not feature the largest bass from each section as the Top 5 Canal Bass deserve a post and video of their own.

Stay tuned for Part II featuring eight more catches from eight more stretches. Talk to you later. Troy

No Dice On The Ice

My son, Jayce, mentioned going ice fishing several years ago. As no one in my family had ice fished for many years, any gear we used to have had long been passed on to someone who could use it. Therefore, I purchased an auger, four ice fishing poles, and a batch of jigs a few years ago. Last year, I even rigged the poles in preparation but the ice deteriorated before we got our shot. This year, we missed the first batch of ice, but Mother Nature came through with a second cold wave to refreeze local waters to my liking. The return of safe ice coincided with a Saturday and forty-degree air temperatures, so it was game on.

Our deluxe ice fishing bucket

We spent roughly an hour on the ice as sunset approached and could not muster a single bite. I do not profess to be a prolific ice fishing angler, but I still figured that I could put Jayce on at least a few fish. Even without any bites, we had a good time learning about testing the ice, drilling holes, rigging lures, presentation, and engaged in the regular goofing off.

Goofing off for a pic (above), YouTube video from the outing (below)

It was an evening custom-made for ice fishing in my book. Nearly fifty degrees, roughly half a foot of ice, and winds blocked by the treeline are what I call optimum conditions. I never even put on my gloves the entire time. While no fish showed up, we did see a dozen turkeys, an osprey, and one deer that ran across the road in front of the truck as we headed home.

Who needs a billboard or bumper stickers?

Good father-son time, fresh air, and some new fishing skills added to the repertoire. With warming temperatures and some rain in the forecast, it looks like those skills will be put on hold until next ice fishing season. Not a problem, as we accomplished our mission of getting out on the hard water. Now we’re ready for some lures to make a splash. I suspect that we still have a substantial wait, but come on, open water. Talk to you later. Troy

2022 Fishing Recap – Partners


It is always enjoyable to share the fishing hobby with others as detailed in today’s recap.

Date: March 20 (with Brent)
Location: Snakeden Hollow (5 lakes)
Time: 12:10pm-6:00pm (4.50 hours fishing from boat, the rest walking)
Weather: Sunny/breezy to windy
Air Temp: 59-71F
Water Temp: no reading
Totals: 11 bass (Troy – 6, Brent – 5)
Lures: Rapala Shad Rap (blue) – 5 bass, Spinnerbait (green) – 3 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (chartreuse sexy shad) – 2 bass, Chatterbait (white) with twin tail trailer (root beer pepper green) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 1-11 Rapala Shad Rap (Troy)
Top 5 Weight (only 4 at or > 12”): 4-5 (1-11,1-3,0-12,0-11)
Comments: Always good to get on the water with my brother. We’ve been doing this for a long time as 2022 marked thirty-five years of fishing at Snakeden Hollow together. The bass didn’t welcome us back with a flurry of activity but good to get on the board with my first bass of the year (Brent already had several from an earlier trip).


Date: April 29 (with Jayce)
Location: Hennepin Canal
Time: 5:45pm-8:00pm (fishing from boat)
Totals: 2 bass
Weather: Overcast/breezy, temp 64F
Lures: Whopper Plopper (I Know It) – 2 bass
Top Bass: 2-3 (Jayce)
Top 5 Weight: 3-7 (2-3,1-4)
Comments: I introduced my son, Jayce, to The Canal and while the bass were stubborn, he did get a quality fish and the Whopper Plopper found a new fan. In the interest of providing an honest fishing report, he also outfished me two bass to zero.

Date: May 14 (with Dad and Jayce)
Location: Lake Storey
Time: 5:45pm-7:30pm
Totals: many bluegill and a few golden shiners
Weather: Sunny/calm
Lures: Waxworms on a jighead hung from a slip bobber
Comments: Jayce and I joined Dad at one of his panfish spots amidst some ugly water conditions after a nasty storm the previous evening. Fortunately, panfish can usually be found even on tough days. We fooled enough to keep us interested as icing on the cake to hanging out, telling tales, talking trash, and goofing off.

Date: June 18 (with family)
Location: Hennepin Canal
Time: afternoon hiking and fishing from bank
Totals: 8 bass – Carly (3), Jayce (2), Julie, Helena, Zac (1 each)
Weather: Sunny/calm
Lures: 5” Yamasenko or Bass Pro Shops Stik-O wacky rig (various colors)
Top Bass: 1-3 (Helena and Jayce) – wacky rig
Top 4 Weight: 4-4 (1-3,1-3,1-0,0-14)
Comments: A camping trip allowed for an afternoon family hike and prowl on The Canal. Success all around as everyone landed at least one bass. June, the Senko wacky rig, and a walk along The Canal are an effective combination.


Date: June 26 (with Jayce)
Location: Hennepin Canal
Time: 5:45pm-7:30pm (fishing from a boat)
Totals: 1 bass (Jayce – 1 bass, Dad – 0 bass)
Weather: Partly cloudy/windy
Lures: Whopper Plopper 90 (Terminator)
Top Bass: none at 12” or better
Top 5 Weight: none at 12” or better
Comments: Our second outing together on The Canal wound up with Jayce as the winner again. During our two boat trips on The Canal, he has been the only angler to land a bass. I have to wonder, is he bad luck for me, or am I good luck for him? Still haven’t taken him to my best spot yet and not sure if I want to.

Date: September 4 (with Brent)
Location: Knox County, IL public strip pits (6 lakes)
Time: 6:15am-1:30pm (5.00 hours fishing, the rest walking)
Weather: Overcast/breezy
Air Temp: 66-69F
Totals: 73 bass (Brent – 44, Troy – 29) 1 green sunfish (Brent)
Lures (Troy): 5” Senko wacky rig (natural shad) – 17 bass, Chatterbait (white) with Zako trailer (Tennessee Shad) – 8 bass, Whopper Plopper 110 (bone) – 1 bass, Rebel Pop R (rainbow) – 1 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 1 bass, Special K Spinnerbait (bleeding shiner) with Zoom Creepy Crawler trailer (root beer/pepper/green) – 1 bass
Lures (Brent): Senko wacky rig – 16 bass, Mann’s Chug n’ Spit Popper – 15 bass, Spinnerbait (white) – 13 bass
Top Bass: 3-10 Senko
Top 5 Weight: 14-5 (3-10,2-14,2-12,2-10,2-7)
Comments: The best day of the year in terms of both quantity and quality along with exceeding our pre-dawn parking lot Top 5 Weight and Top Bass predictions. On this outing, I also provided catch by catch Top 5 updates on social media and the bass sure made it look like we knew what we were doing. Such success is extra satisfying on the walk-in strip pits as you pay your dues in terms of exercise navigating the challenging terrain.


Date: September 17 (with Brent, Jayce, and John Kirkemo)
Location: The Rock, Peoria County private water
Time: 7:15am-12:15am
Totals: 70 bass, 1 crappie combined
Weather: Partly cloudy/very windy 66-72F
Water Temperature: 73-74F
Lures: Senko wacky rig (various colors) – 35 bass, Spinnerbaits (various) – 25 bass, Mann’s Popper – 5 bass, Chatterbait (white) – 3 bass, Whopper Plopper 110 (Terminator) – 2 bass
Top Bass:2-4 Brent (Spinnerbait)
Top 5 Weight: 8-2 (2-4,1-11,1-8,1-7,1-4)

The way things shake out, I spend a lot of my fishing time flying solo. Other obligations for some of my partners, distance, and not interested in getting out of bed before sunrise are a few factors that limit partnering up. So when I do get a chance to share bank or boat, it’s always fun to have some company, and another lure in the water. 2023 is off to a good start as Jayce and I just hit the hard water. Stay tuned for the first fishing report of the year and talk to you later. Troy