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One day, a few years back, my son, a few of his friends and I, decided to spend the day scooping up minnows and crawdads with a minnow seine down at Stonehouse Park Campground in southern DeKalb County.  Stonehouse Park (daily fishing fee) has a spring-fed pond that is well-stocked with bass, catfish and bluegill.  It also has the Big Indian Creek flowing through its property.

Usually, when we drag the 8-feet seine across the bottom of the creek, we end up with a net full of minnows and crawdads, a few small suckers and carp, and occasionally, we get lucky and a larger carp surprises us.  We flip the net over, let them all loose and see which ones are dumb enough to get caught again.  We name those fish after our favorite high school coaches and let them go too.

On this day, time and time again, the net was empty.  One or two very small minnows was all we saw after several hours of seining.  The boys were disappointed. I was tired and befuddled. I couldn't figure out where all the minnows went.  We were down near the bridge at Suydam Road.  We decided to make one last run across the creek and call it a day.

We started dragging the seine in ankle deep water and headed across the creek where the water grew to waist deep.  All of a sudden the net exploded.  Something hit the net so hard that it twisted completely around.  We drug the net back to the shallow side and lifted it up.  Inside was a 47-inch muskie.  That explained why there weren't any minnows!

Local Hotspots

The Big Indian Creek was dammed to form Shabbona Lake State Park.  This is one of the premier fishing lakes in the Midwest.  It is well-stocked with bass, crappie, walleye, sauger, catfish and... muskie.  State record sized muskie.  And occasionally the big fish hop over the dam and head down the creek to the Illinois River.

Another favorite DeKalb County fishing hole of mine is just west of Sycamore at a rest stop on Route 64.  Its one of the few public access points on the Kishwaukee River.  An abandoned railroad bridge serves as a catch-all for limbs and debris and while there's plenty of snags to lose hooks, lures and sinkers on, there are also lots of fish.

The Kishwaukee River is a surprising source for a variety of fish.  Most think of it as a river full of carp and redhorse suckers.  But I've landed some northern pike (early spring), bass and when the water levels are high some good-sized channel catfish.

One of the better spots on the Kish is at the Knute Olson, Jr. Forest Preserve off Baseline Road near Genoa.  North of the Baseline Road bridge (A), up to the golf course, and south of the bridge a couple of hundred feet (D), is great for wade and fly fishing. There are also some gravel pit ponds in the preserve (B, C) with plenty of fish but the smaller pond (C) gets mossed over early.




Sycamore RV Resort off Route 23 in the north side of Sycamore offers daily fee fishing on two large gravel pit lakes.  It has great fishing for bass, bluegill and catfish and there are some super-sized carp in there. The Sycamore Park District is developing a fishing pond near the treatment plant as a park and it has long been rumored that this pond has good fishing.

Rotary Park near the Dodge Addition in DeKalb offers free fishing.  It is stocked with a good supply of bass, bluegill and catfish.  Its a great place to take the kids and walk the dog while you fish.

There is a place on the Kish I refer to as the Snake, at Coltonville Road in DeKalb that offers a sometimes rewarding and always challenging fishing opportunities. Because of limited access and lots of natural holes carved from the current winding through so many curves it is best to innertube or light canoe this stretch. Wear a life jacket because the holes move. Stay completely away during high water times. Expect lots of limbs and snags, including a beaver dam north of the Coltonville bridge. But use surface lures and you'll catch bass and an occasional large northern.

There are some other fishing holes in and around DeKalb County but I am afraid to mention those here.  I could get tarred and feathered for that.  But if you send me an , I might give you directions.  Happy fishing!