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American idyll: Town pond provides perfect endingto another summer

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Opening-day results Sunday for nearby public sites:

DES PLAINES CA: 83 hunters, 856 doves, 10.3 doves dph; MATTHIESSEN SP: 111, 1024, 9.2; IROQUOIS COUNTY SFWA: 64, 581, 9.1 (another 115 doves shot by non-draw hunters); SILVER SPRINGS SFWA: 131, 867, 6.6 (record number of standby hunters); KANKAKEE RIVER SP: 42, 219, 5.2; CHAIN O’LAKES SP: 23, 14, 0.6; SHABBONA LAKE SP: 60, 34, 0.6.

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Updated: September 4, 2013 2:47PM

Annual cicadas raised a racket Sunday at sunset as I cast my way around the town pond. Everybody should have that local spot to fish for a half-hour or an hour to clear their heads.

The town pond is mine. It’s where I can think the colloquial dog-day cicadas seem more apt and descriptive.

With a couple of hours before the cold front arrived, I was determined to catch a largemouth bass on my favorite topwater, a Skitter Pop.

A few fish surfaced, not as many as I had hoped. The guys in two johnboats puttering back toward the launch were not throwing topwaters. That should’ve signaled to me to use slower baits, but I’ll waste my time throwing a topwater any chance I get.

One blowup on a topwater is worth 10 bass on a wacky-rigged Senko.

Besides, my day already was a success, a stamp of approval on summer’s end.

My daughter and her friend had wanted to wade and swim in the Kankakee River one last time. It happens to be 100 yards downstream of a favored fishing spot.

I wet-waded out with them. Water levels are extremely low, so I felt safe wading off to fish as they swam.

Not long ago, my daughter would’ve come along to fish. But she reached that age when friends trump fishing with dad.

I feel time marching on.

With less than an hour, I figured best to go with a spinner. A classic Beetle Spin with a crayfish-imitator plastic was the right call.

When the plastic shredded, I fished the bare spinner at the head of riffles. It worked fine enough for me to go 3-for-3 in a half-hour. That was enough.

I waded back to the island, then sat to watch them swim and to enjoy the perverse pleasure of watching paddlers trying to navigate low water.

With the low water, we waded a different route back to shore. And I found a hole I didn’t know about, something to file away for another fishing day. In the evening, I wanted my holiday time alone and hit the town pond.

Darkness came, but I fished on, hoping one last cast would raise an explosion. Never happened. The mosquitoes thickened around my bare legs and bald head.

It was time.

There will be another summer, more changing annual rites to note.


Teal season opens Saturday in Illinois. Some teal are finally arriving, at least in central Illinois, according to reports on Heartland Outdoors.

Conservation Congress

The next Conservation Congress has been pushed back to April 11-12 in Springfield. Contact Elizabeth Norden at (312) 814-3161 or

Stray cast

The late Elmore Leonard wrote with the calm of an old duck hunter in a blind watching a flock of mallards cup to land in the decoys.

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