With a break from all the rain, the Kankakee River has dropped to normal levels and the fishing is on fire right now. Jerry Bush of Joliet has been spankin’ the big catfish. His preferred technique is floating chicken livers down river into pools, channels and bridge pilons. “I use a baitcaster with braided line with no weight so I can feel the bite better,” notes Bush. “Sometimes I have to let out 200 feet of line and the braided line won’t stretch like mono, so you can feel those cats grab the bait.” Some guys prefer spincast reels with heavy mono. Whatever your preference, use at least a 12-pound test line, it needs to pull in big fish, in fast current. There are also a lot of rocks that will nick and weaken the line. So it also pays to cut off the last 10 feet of line from time to time and re-tie your hooks.
Smallmouth fishing is also fantastic right now. Helgermites or crawdads are the hot bait. Some guys do well with plastics, other guys prefer live bait. Either way, get out an dhit the water. There are some great areas by the road bridge in Wilmington near both North and South Island. A few fish are being caught below the dam, but best bet is further downriver. Look for channels and pools in the main river, or fish weeds along the shoreline. There is some good bank fishing by South Island in Wilmington. Stop in and get your bait at Angelo’s, and talk to Mike, he knows where the fish are.