McHenry Dam

Discussion in 'ILLINOIS RIVERS TALK' started by Klag, Jun 11, 2007.

  1. Klag

    Klag New Member

    Messages:
    129
    State:
    Georgia
    I'm gonna be visiting my dad up on the Fox soon, and was wondering if theres any big fish near the McHenry dam? I don't have a boat, so would be limited to bank fishing.

    Also, are there shad in the Fox? Down here in Georgia, cut shad and blueback herring are the cut bait of choice. Is it just bluegill up there for cut/live bait for the bigger cats?

    Thanks for any info!
    :)
     
  2. Polish Moose

    Polish Moose New Member

    Messages:
    54
    State:
    Illinois
    Klag, I'm not familiar with the McHenry Dam. I was up there once and remember thinking it was odd there was no one wading as is common place elsewhere on the Fox. I'm not sure if its deeper, or if it isn't allowed there, but access could be limited. I think there are probably some dams not to far downriver. I'm sure someone else is more familiar with the area than I am and hopefully they can help you out.

    As for your other questions, there are fish all up and down the Fox. Channels and flatheads in decent numbers. My personal best is 25 lbs, but have seen and heard of larger flatheads. Don't really see any shad down by me in the Fox, more shiners, suckers, and creek chubs. Anything that is alive and legal makes good bait though as long as it is hearty enough to stay alive on the hook. Good luck when you are up here and let us know how you do.
     

  3. vegasryder

    vegasryder New Member

    Messages:
    324
    State:
    illinois
  4. Puddycat

    Puddycat New Member

    Messages:
    47
    State:
    Clarksville,TN
    Hey Dave, I used to live about ten miles from the McHenry Dam and fished it about once a month in the summer time. I recently moved to Clarksville,Tn where the real fish are...anyway. Its only about 12-16ft deep on the backside of the dam. Your best bet is to use dip bait for some channel cats. There are no blues that far north on that river and flatheads are few and far between on the Fox. The Fox river is extremely shallow with little or no current because of all the dams that are in place. You will have better chances if you go at night time because of all the rec. boaters that exist on the fox chain of lakes. The fishing up there is just not what its like down south. If you catch a couple of channel cats its considered a good day. I hope this helps and good luck.
     
  5. Klag

    Klag New Member

    Messages:
    129
    State:
    Georgia
    This is all great info, thanks everyone!

    I catch plenty of smaller size channel cats, usually in the smaller creeks and channels. Since I release everything I catch anyway, it's usually more fun catching some of the larger carp in the area. But I'm probably going to be spending more and more time up there, and I was hoping to meet some of the larger Fox River cats :) There are some deep areas in the Chain-o-Lakes, maybe I'll find some bigger ones around.

    Thanks again, and I'll keep everyone posted :)
     
  6. wizazz

    wizazz New Member

    Messages:
    15
    State:
    Illinois
    Hiya guys... I fish on the Fox and Chain of Lakes every other Day.... The fishing here is Great.. better than most people say and think... The Chain of lakes have and hold alot of world record size fish.. Amazinglly... The Catfish are very abundent too... on a Average night i catch 40+ catfish... Blues, Channels and Flatheads..... You dont see that many flatheads but they are there.. I mostlly catch Blues and few channel cats... depends on bait used... if you use Shrimp... you'll catch mostlly Channel cats.... If you use Live bait such as 4" - 7" bluegills, perch or crappie you will catch a bunch of blues... they "LOVE" crappies. I knoticed sumthing at the Chain of Lakes... Try to only fish at night for catfish... they Rarelly bite during the day because of heavy boat traffic and after 12 at night its like totally dead and the Fish are going nutz on the water.

    As for the mchenry Dam.... its ok there... Over Fished in that area and the only way you can really catch anything good is at night... the dam is in a Park area and its closed at night... so you need to stay on the Top of the dam side to fish.... dont fish on the bottom of water fall side... its too shallow and i never seen anyone catch anything in there... its best to take a boat and fish at night around the other side of the island on the top of dam using live baits... Bluegills and such using a 9/0 or 10/0 circle hook and 75lbs to 125lbs triple swivel and about 4oz weight..... you should catch many many flateheads......

    Goodluck at the Dam...... But you would have much better luck at the Chain of lakes. Besides the Rock River... the Chain of Lakes is the #1 Fishing Lake System in Illinois... Always has. Always will.
     
  7. wizazz

    wizazz New Member

    Messages:
    15
    State:
    Illinois
  8. stickusmc

    stickusmc New Member

    Messages:
    222
    State:
    Glasford, Illinois
  9. Klag

    Klag New Member

    Messages:
    129
    State:
    Georgia
    This is fantastic info! Thanks!!! I leave tomorrow for about 7 days up there. My dads lake house is right before the first bridge in the Chain, coming from the river. Dont really have much boat access but I'll try the live bait from the bank and see how it goes. My dad does have a boat, but it's really not a fishin boat and I'm not sure if he would go out at night hehe. Any particular lake on the chain better then others? Maybe the fish will come far enough into the shallows at night to eat some live gills :)

    Thanks again!!
     
  10. Shawn

    Shawn New Member

    Messages:
    408
    State:
    Illinois
    You're not catching any blue cats in the Fox. Likely male channel cats showing their spawning colors. There are flatheads in the Fox, not a lot of giants, but 20s and 30s are occasionally caught.

    If you're after channel cats, get some good dip bait and fish in the current. If you're targeting flats blugill, sunfish, and bullheads lively as possible.

    The Fox gets some good pressure, and boat traffic.

    Shawn
     
  11. wizazz

    wizazz New Member

    Messages:
    15
    State:
    Illinois
    I usually Fish Bluff Lake in a Boat on the Chain on the east bank of the lake, I was there last night on Shore because we didnt have our boat and Caught Less Fish than the Normal but i still caught several. I caught 4 Large Channel cats ranging 7 -18lbs and 6 Blue cats 10-20lbs. a couple of the biggest fish we put back because anything around 20lbs and up is no good eating.


    "Shawn" Yes there is blue cats in the Chain... they are getting More abundant over past several years... They have been being stocked by the DNR there and others..... i personally have and friends have caught blues and transported them to dump in the lakes..... There not BIG ...yet like in mississippi river... problly wont be... but they are there... you problly wont see them ether depending on the baits you use... I find at the chain they only bite live baits to catch the larger blues.... in the mississippi i seen they bite cut baits mostlly... i'm tempted to bring some larger blues from mississippi river but its way to hard to tranport a 40+lbs blue cat that far... much easier to move the 5lbs er's and less...
    you can easilly tell the difference between the 2 species.... channel cats 99% time have spots on the body even when they grow large... Blues dont. :eek:oooh:
     
  12. vegasryder

    vegasryder New Member

    Messages:
    324
    State:
    illinois
    Wizazz-I`m gonna have to call you out on this one...This email is from the IDNR, Frank Jakubicek is the one who wrote it to me.

    Hi Kenny,
    No blue catfish have been stocked by the IDNR or collected by them
    either. The channel catfish population in the Chain is self sustaining
    and doing quite well. Channel catfish are one of the most abundant
    species in the chain and a large part of the predator base.

    Some channel catfish are more "blue" in color than others but none are
    true "blue catfish". The closest place to try and catch a blue cat may
    be Braidwood Lake. Blue catfish were stocked there several years ago
    and have been stocked several times to try and establish a fishery.
    Blue catfish are more tolerant of warm water and may do well in
    Braidwood because it's a nuclear cooling plant and almost never cools
    down to the level of local lakes temperatures.

    Flathead and channel catfish are the only catfish species in the Fox
    Chain O' Lakes system.

    Keep fishin'!!

    Frank Jakubicek - District Fisheries Biologist
    Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources
    8916 Wilmot Road
    Spring Grove, IL 60081
    phone: 815/675-2319
    fax: 815/675-0103
    frank.jakubicek@illinois.gov


    -Now you and your friends might of stocked the lakes with blues...but it`s not good to pass out bad info out to others...
     
  13. Klag

    Klag New Member

    Messages:
    129
    State:
    Georgia
    Just got back from 8 days of fishing the Fox, never made it to McHenry Dam because the fishin was so good from my dad's back yard.

    Ended up with 3 flatheads, 30lbs, 22lbs, 15lbs and over 200 channel cats with 20 over 10lbs and 4 over 13lbs. Was the best catfishin I ever had.

    Every single fish released, only 1 out of 200 swallowed the circle hook, but he still lived.

    Caught one channel cat twice! Was exactly 11lbs, and had bad markings from a boat propeller - a chunk missing out of his head all the way to the bone, 1 eye missing and his top dorsal fin broken. It was an old injury, not fresh but this fish was instantly recognized by all of us as soon as we got him to the bank.

    All the fish were beautiful and happy with big fat bellies. They gonna be big next year!!
     
  14. vegasryder

    vegasryder New Member

    Messages:
    324
    State:
    illinois
    Looks like you had a great time!!!Thanks for realeasing the cats,especially the Flatties...
     
  15. Klag

    Klag New Member

    Messages:
    129
    State:
    Georgia
    Yea, these were the biggest channels I ever caught - and my first flatheads too! Every cat released, we released the flatheads at the boat ramp to make sure they were able to swim away (and they were) before we left them. Only one poor channel cat has a 2/0 circle hook stuck in his throat.
     
  16. Klag

    Klag New Member

    Messages:
    129
    State:
    Georgia
    This was the thing that stood out the most the more I think about it. Some fish were so fat that we didn't let them touch the ground because they would have damaged themselves they were so fat. They looked ready to explode!