The Illinois State High School Bass Fishing Championship takes place in the spring, making it one of the best times of the year. Late in April, 283 schools competed in sectional tournaments for the right to compete in the state championship. At the end of the day, 50 schools qualified to compete on Lake Carlyle for the third High School Bass State Championship in high school sports history.

I drove down to the tournament site expecting to have a great weekend watching young amateur fishermen competing at the highest level. Instead, the Army Corps of Engineers had to shut down the lake. It was 13 feet above normal pool and all the launch docks were under 3 to 4 feet of water. The area had experienced 10 straight days of rain. The IHSA has said they will reschedule the tournament as soon as the lake water recedes to a safe level. When that happens, I’ll report on the final winners.

I had a great time with my fishing seminar at the Ecology Center, with a good turnout for a Saturday midday event. Everyone seemed to have a good time and learned a few things to help them with their fishing. A few were planning to head to Lovelace Park for some fishing with the kids the following weekend. The kids’ fishing program, offered by the Ecology Center, is a great opportunity. If the kids or grandkids aren’t down there on Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., they’re missing a chance for a great time.

Because of all the rain last month, the rivers and lakes attached to them have been almost unfishable until this past week. The Mississippi, Illinois and part of Rock River are still areas where a great deal of caution should be used. Lake Geneva has been producing some good catches of panfish and rock bass, though perch have been hard to come by. The Chain of Lakes has just removed the “no wake” barriers on the main lakes, but some of the best fishing is going on in the channels, where the crappies are in and are biting. The Skokie Lagoons have been pretty slow the last couple of weeks, hoping that some sunshine will bring the bass out of hiding and back to chasing baits. Busse Lake has been producing some nice largemouth bass in the 2-4-pound range around downed trees and brush piles.

Get out there and wet a line; you can’t catch fish in the living room. Until next time, keep a tight line.

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