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Braidwood Lake apparently survived summer fish kills well

A bass fisherman releases fish caught March 1 Braidwood Lake. Thscene should be repeated often aganext year because cooling lake

A bass fisherman releases a fish caught March 1 at Braidwood Lake. That scene should be repeated often again next year because the cooling lake survived the summer fish kills well. | Dale Bowman~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 25, 2012 11:42AM

District fisheries biologist Rob Miller reached for a gridiron analogy when discussing a fish survey last week on Braidwood Lake.

That’s a hopeful sign.

The 2,400-acre cooling lake in the southwest corner of Will County suffered an extended fish kill during the lengthy heat wave in early July, but nobody knew for certain the extent of it.

They put two shocking boats out. The one Miller was in started by the old rearing pond.

‘‘We hammered them, over two bass a minute, all sizes: 14 and 15 and 16 [inches] were the most common, but we were getting fish up to 20 inches, and they were all like footballs,’’ said Miller, who still is crunching data for comparison.

They didn’t duplicate that extremely good start in another six or seven stations on the north side of the lake, but Miller was ‘‘really encouraged.’’

‘‘Any place you saw wood, you saw fish,’’ said Miller, who said that was particularly true if it was near deeper water. ‘‘From the DNR boat ramp and around the eastern edge, holy cow, it was incredible.’’

Rip-rap also held bass.

‘‘We got these hybrid stripers,’’ he said. ‘‘We didn’t get a lot of them, but we got them to 18 inches. Most were 17 or so. And they were good-looking.’’

Hybrids were stocked last year as an experiment.

‘‘It is amazing,’’ Miller said. ‘‘That is the growth we used to see at Heidecke [Lake].’’

Hybrids, a cold-water fish, are normally a species susceptible to summer fish kills.

‘‘Man, like I told the guys, it never ceases to amaze me,’’ Miller said. ‘‘Where they are finding refuge, I have no idea. But they are finding it. We were talking high temperatures this summer.

‘‘Granted, we did lose some fish, but that is the nature of the beast out there. Sure nice to know guys aren’t going out there this spring thinking they are looking for the two remaining fish in the lake.’’

South winds chased them before they could survey spots on the southern end, so Miller didn’t sample his favorite areas for blue catfish. But he expects they survived well, too.

‘‘You don’t want to ring the bell and say, ‘Everybody get your sticks ready for next spring,’ but it was better than I expected,’’ Miller said.


An oddity of weekend waterfowling was several pintails taken at nearby public sites. During opening weekend for the north zone, hunters at Heidecke Lake bagged four pintails among the 46 ducks taken by 74 hunters over two days. A lucky youth bagged a pintail at Mazonia/Braidwood State Fish and Wildlife Area during the youth hunt in the central zone. William Powers State Recreation Area staff reported a fair opener Saturday on Wolf Lake (57 hunters, 14 geese, three mallards, nine other ducks).

† Forest wildlife program manager Paul Shelton reported that bowhunters had harvested 15,401 deer through Sunday. The five-year average is 15,617.

Stray cast

Rupert Murdoch buying the Tribune is like thinking of the DMF Bait Co. doing a hostile takeover of L.L.Bean.

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