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My unlikely, two part fish story came this winter when I was looking for somewhere to fish. This winter was particularly difficult because here in Northern Illinois we only had safe ice for a week or two. Fishing was  limited to rivers where I never had any luck, let alone it was winter! Now many people know that the Chicago River had been polluted for many years and is still a fairly nasty river in most areas. Something that people don't know is that you can fish it. I'm not going to give specific spots but if you go online for power plants and/or poke around through some trees and look for small warm water discharges, you will find hungry panfish. Never had I driven further into the city to fish. Another interesting thing was that I hooked a 20+ inch pike in a small creek by my house on a tiny twister tail. Anyway, I'd like to hear some of BBG.com's unlikely fish stories if you guys have them. Thanks

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Looks like what I've found long the Santa Ana River, Reach 2 (Prado Dam in Riverside) to Reach 4 (Big Bear Lake). Water is polluted with urban run-offs, sanitary sewer treated water, and animal-human wastes contributed from various areas and sources. However, with wader and boots on, I found interesting results:

 

Electro-shocking throughout the spreading basin, and about 4 miles upstream from the dam:

 

Panfish: 8" to 12", up towards 1.8lbs.

Trout:  Brown and Rainbow, 4" to 16", up towards 3.5lbs.

Bass: large mouth, various sizes, largest captured was 9lbs.

Carp: variety of monstrous size!

Cat: bull, flathead, and channel found. Max weight of channel at 22lbs.

Along with crawdads, and plenty of baitfish

amazing that trout can live in that water!

As long as the water doesn't exceed a certain total suspended solids (turbidity) bacterial and fungal infection threshold, yes, the trout will dwell with ease. I wouldn't eat the fish though.

I hear you Jacob but it can't be that bad with Crawdads still surviving.

!  They probably couldn't without those Catfish and Carp  cleaning the river up somewhat. Leo-Watch out for the Bill Murray Baby Ruths!

LOL! I hear you.

You get to electroshock? ! Dude, ever since I was a kid, I've dreamt of tagging along with a state biologist while they electroshock a lake. It'd be so cool to see what floats up.

@john - LOL the Caddyshack reference. I wouldn't want to have one of those float up :)

Jonathan, you have to do it once as part of the bucket list. Why not contact the local DFG to work as a volunteer near by. You have to go through a 3 days, 2-hrs per session on safety and equipment training. I had an 8 hours course on proper handling and field safety, and yearly follow training. What a freaking pain, but it's the price to pay for fun in the sun. I wish I have money for the proper tools and licensing, but..who say I can't rig one up and go eletrocute-fishing.

To bad electro-fishing is illegal here in OK.  Only folks that can legally do it are the ODWC.

One day last Summer I was fishing my local river in the afternoon catching a few nice gills when I set the hook and the fight was on.....This fish took me directly into a nearby treetop and I couldn't stop him with my light action rod. I felt like I was getting him back out when the pole went limp and my head dropped in disgust.....I grabbed another rig and began to regroup revisiting that moment in my mind for some time to come........I continued fishing for a few more hours and decided to head for the house......Got the boat ready and began to idle out of this location that I call the Beaver Pond....I was nearing the mouth where the cut narrows and comes up shallow to 3 feet.....I glance down for no real good reason and a float similar to mine was next to the boat and moving a little...... I dropped into idle and reached out to grab the float but it pulled out of reach and went down.....Seconds later it surfaced again and I eased toward it and snagged it with my landing net.....To my surprise the nice bluegill was still hooked and dragging the terminal tackle....For his heroic efforts I released him and just shook my head all the way home.....That doesn't happen everyday!

Now that's a fighter! Love hearing those wonderful stories on the water. For a moment, I thought you would have snag a cat, carp, or even a gator.

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