Got a message from Austin Aducci owner of Grab Your Fly Charters telling me to take Friday the 7th of September off work. We’re fishing the Kankakee River for smallmouth. Bring lunch and invite a friend. Deal. Austin and I have been trying to fish together for quite some time now. Our schedules never quite mesh well. Dave Kuntzelman from Urban Assault Fly Fishing and I have also been trying to fish together this summer. Dave was on his way down to fish with me a few weeks ago and got into a wreck. Totaled his SUV. Shitty luck. I got a hold of Dave. He got off work and this time didn’t get into a wreck.
I left my place at 4:30am EST. Had to be at the launch at 6am CST. Turned out the googles made it seem like a much longer drive than it really was. Dave and I both got there at the same time. 30 minutes early. Damn we’re good. We met Austin and made the decision to do the shorter float because of the bad weather that was coming in.
We shot down to the launch and did the truck swap dance. As soon as we got on the water we could see lightning in the west. Storm was coming. Not 5 minutes into the float we were already into fish. We stayed on fish most of the day. The only time we weren’t catching smallies was when the storm pushed us off the river. We chilled in a duck blind and had a beer breakfast at 9am. Not a bad way to start the day. The temp dropped a bit but the smallies were still eating.
The smallies in the Kankakee that we caught were all healthy and chunky eating machines. They all had shoulders on them and were bending 7wgt rods easily. There were a few caught that went 16 or 17″ long but they were thick. I love that. We saw some big ones give chase to smaller ones and that, as always, was intense. Streamers were the fly of the day. We caught some on poppers at the end of the day, but they couldn’t resist a nice streamer sliding by in the current.
The section we floated was beautiful. No development on either side. We only saw two other people the entire day. They were wading and fly fishing. I was amazed that this quality fishery was empty. Austin told me it almost always is. Crazy. That’s hard to come by when you’re so close to a major city like Chicago.
If you want to spend an awesome day on the water you need to look Austin up and book a trip. He doesn’t just run the Kankakee, he also guides on Lake Michigan for carp, steelhead, salmon, brown trout, and lake trout. Both Kankakee and Lake Michigan trips are a 45 minute to an hour outside of Chicago, so if you’re in the Windy City for work or play, hit him up. You most definitely won’t be disappointed.