• Dale Bowman

Heidecke Lake opener: Notes from shore, mainly

MORRIS, Ill.--I found it curious, in tretrospect this morning, that virtually all the couple dozen people I asked this morning if they had caught any fish on opening day at Heidecke Lake said the same thing, ``Not yet.''

Not, ``No,'' but the hopeful, ``Not yet,'' as if catching was surely to come.

The most hopeful of all might have been Ralph Kintzele, who was trying out fly fishing for the first time in years. I like that concept.

He would have been glad with anything that hit his streamer fly, but was really hoping for one of the hybrid striped bass or a muskie.

``I hate to think what would happen if I hooked into one of those,’’ he said.

That's a thought I like.

Actually I was hoping more for a walleye or muskie.

I primarily went with a firetiger Rat-L-Trap, but also occasionally threw an inline-spinner.

The only thing I caught was two big scales that came off a big carp I apparently briefly foul-hooked.

The only fish I saw hooked by several dozen shore fishermen was one undersized walleye,

released. And I heard of one small hybrid caught.

But I suspect the center dike improved as the south winds pushed bait on shore and the

afternoon warmed into the 60s.


I spot-hopped up to the ``No-Fishing sing in the north corner on the east side, then back and down the center dike to the ``No Fishing'' sign far out there, far beyond the last fisherman.

That always makes my day.

At one point, site staff were taking water temperatures and told me they had 40 degrees.

That is awfully cold for opening day.

Any opening day, even if trying for walleye, hybrids or muskie.

Out on the far end, I found a Sox hat crammed into the rocks.

My guys.


And that find seems apt with baseball season about to start.

Kirk Neetz of Lemont is my kind of guy. He came walking down the center dike with all his stuff

crammed in a true hiker’s backpack, not a knapsack over his shoulder, but a true backpack that

put the weight on his waist.

He was after big hybrids or muskies with a Herky Jerky, a muskie lure classic.


As I was about to walk out, I watched a dick in a camo duck boat pull up well past the no-wake

sign and wash a major wave on the shore fishermen clustered on both sides of the bridge on

the center dike. Here’s where you earn true dick in camo duck boat status: He then blew out

before the no-wake sign on the other side and spun a reverse wake on the shore fishermen

by the bridge.

That’s a dick.

Otherwise, it was a splendid half morning, no fish and all, at Heidecke.

On the way home, I had a call from old friend Pete Riedesel, of Fishin Friend Guide

Service. He had been on a boat with his son Cam, who was on spring break.

They were pulling out of Heidecke and heading to LaSalle Lake. They had caught one nice smallmouth bass. He said they found 44 degrees pretty much all over the lake.

There you go. With the forecast this week, I suspect water temperatures and fishing will both go up this week.

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