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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
7 years ago I posted a report on this body of water shortly after the preserve opened.......

Took an old friend and his 9 yr old son to fish this new preserve, approximately 3 weeks ago. After a brief review of the lake map we chose to fish the neck down area located near the Northwest corner of the lakes basin. This area proved to be prime and has all the ingredients to hold fish....Although I would have liked to have spent more time looking for key fish holding areas, our time was limited due to very pricey boat rental costs and hourly charges. I witnessed several nice bass caught from the shore in this area by shorefisherman using crankbaits. The young fisherman in our boat caught four of the six Largemouths that we brought to the boat in the three hrs we fished that morning, all fish were between 2 and 5 lbs and were caught on whole nightcrawlers pitched parallel to the deep weedline.
This preserve lake has great potential and currently holds numbers of adult class game fish and panfish alike, unfortunately I believe this preserve will get a very slow start on its popularity level as certain rules, regs and boundries will make the preserve an unattractive one. If your not from lake county theres a fee...If you want to use the beach and your from lake county theres a fee.....If you want to rent a boat there is a fee ($27 for 4 hrs no motor)....If you want to keep some of your catch you cannot as there is a catch and release rule in effect for the next 2 yrs for ALL fish caught. Last year Lake County voters viewed a memorandum on LCFP and voted in the land acqusitions that would be payed for by our state taxes....It was all good, but I bet you never thought you would have to pay twice.

7 years have passed since the L.C.F.P. decided to ignore proper lake management at this facility...with the mind set of NO HARVEST=NO STOCKING.....Tens of millions of dollars were spent on this preserve but very little thought when it comes to lake management.

Well managed fisheries that are kept in check by proper harvest regulations host healthy and fast growing year classes....Canadian wilderness resorts (and ONLY those north of the 52nd parallel) show positive results thru "no harvest" due to a very short 4 month open water period and the type of slow growing species that inhabit those waters.While eutrophic, or man made lakes like I.G. that host warm water species and are located in the 42nd parallel may show some promise in the early stages of a lakes life thru "no harvest", inevitably this practice leads to irreversable stunting in warm water species...i.e. large heads and small bodies, big eyes and a very slow growth rate.....High metabolism rates and 9 months of open water is why predation alone cannot keep this lake in check.

I have observed dramatic stunting at I.G. due to underharvest. What if it was a true trophy, a fish of a lifetime. Do you think that specific site regulations,...i.e. 1 Largemouth over 21" or 1 Musky over 48"...or a panfish limit of 15 would be more appropriate than no harvest at all?....Allowing for recruitment throughout the species instead of significantly slow growth rates?....Here's a little proof....the enclosed pic was taken last year, at I.G. Scale samples were taken from this Walleye at time of capture...analysis determined that the age of the fish was more than 6 yrs old. If your mentality is the same as the L.C.F.P's...NO HARVEST=NO STOCKING than you shouldn't worry about the possibility of this lake being pillaged.....it's doin' that all by it's self!....Check out the size of this poor Walleye's eyeball.



Yeah...let em go...I am an advocate of catch and release, I'm also well knowledged in lake management and agree on the signifcance of protecting the forage base. Allowing the base to stunt due to overpopulation will lead to very few successful spawns and very high mortality rates. The stunting that already exists at I.G. is irreversable....meaning that 5lb 5oz Largie caught last year just might go 5lb 5 1/2 oz next year. 100 acres of water can only harbor and sustain a determined poundage of overall fish....kinda like a fish tank...or a barrel.

Fish are a renewable resource....their healthy, nutritious and good for you. Eating a select part of your catch (species not subject to consumption warnings) is beneficial to the lake environment, the sport, and the commerce and revenue it attracts.


The enclosed pic is of a healthy 7yr old Walleye caught and released from a well managed preserve lake with specific site regs...observe the large body mass, small head and proportionate sized eyeball...these are the traits of fast growth...the benchmark for a healthy fishery.



I live less than 5 minutes from this preserve and wouldn't waste the gas to fish this broken lake.

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Thanks for the report! I agreed something like that keep one bass over 21" and 48" musky........all lakes is different! Fishery speicalists study on IG would be nice! Maybe protect bass between 14 and 18 inches and only keep one bass over 23" it would help bluegills stay in good shape and bigger but its depends on lakes and ponds.
I don't understand that Sterling Lake get muskies almost every year while IG got few a long time ago! Why?
Walleye don't look good in IG and maybe lack of food for walleye but I don't know! I think that keep all carp you want in IG would be good idea.....I saw many carp swim at south side of IG shallow weeds bay! I don't mind a few but big carp! Too many carp is no good!
I feel that IG get pretty heavy fishing pressure.....I caught a bass that small lure already in the mouth from other fisherman lucky bass I removed it and let it back into the water. Other bass have red marked in mouth!
 

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I think for a catch and release facility, independence grove is a fantastic fishery. The fish i caught yesterday were all fat and healthy. The one i had on that was four pounds plus was a pig. I remember the post last year with the 50" muskie, tell me thats a small, stunted fish! Maybe your just protecting your honey hole, which is fine, but i'll continue to enjoy the good fishing it produces. If you really need a meal, then yes, go elsewhere.
 

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Interesting perspective but, as I have also been fishing there since its inception, I have to disagree. If your theory was true, then, theoretically, all lakes that were around for the thousands of years that went by prior to man fishing them would have stunted fish. This would be shown in the population today through repetitive defects.

That combined with the fact that I have rarely if ever pulled a fish out of the water at IG that was deformed, underdeveloped, diseased etc. disproves your theory in my opinion.

Well thought out though.

Neil
 

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there was no 50" Muskie. That pic was of a nice 40"+ fish, no where near what the angler claimed. I agree with the Mod on this one-this lake is mismanaged. It's a shame, since it can be such a nice body of water. Now, if we can just fish in the dog pond...
 

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It'll be interesting to see what happens with this lake - I do know that it does produce some very large Northern Pike as well - I've even seen them cruising the shallows. Personally, I think this lake is just in the path of industrialization and gets overfished by people who think just because it's "Catch and Release Only" it'll be like shooting fish out of a barrel.

My best example(and the best Largemouth and Smallmouth lake around these parts that I've fished) would be Big Rock in the western suburbs. When I first started there it was amazing to catch 2-4 pounders on average. It's the only place other than when I've fished in Florida that I've seen the schools of shad busting the service because a school of bass were underneath then gorging! I've seen, up until the last time I was there, Largemouth cruising that had to be at or over six (I know what they look like as well since my personal best is an estimated 9.5!). BUT, the one thing I did notice is that over time these fish became more wary of the baits...

Also, Big Rock is a flooded quarry just like I.G. From my experience, any quarry lake I've fished can be extremely difficult at times. And this was also a quarry lake that had limited shore fishing areas - Half of it was all steep cliff drop-offs. But anyway, I haven't seen major stunting with I.G. to this point, but who knows? Maybe it could even just be the walleye population that's not taking to this lake! I've seen that happen before as well...

Bottom Line - there can be tons of different reasons for anything like this happeneing....

I personally only like fishing it in the late fall...

FWIW,

TNote
 

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I like ig just the way it is. i dont fish for walleye and ive caught 2 over 20 inches there. U said in ur report u caught five bass between 2 and 5 pounds. a 5 pound bass is good for any illinois lake. i dont believe the fish are stunted at all. i think complete catch and release is what has made it souch a good lake.
 

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Catch and release

Muskymod1: You have some good points there. I am a catch and release guy, but I think on certain days un-announced, the DNR could post a sign that certain size fish could be taken as you mentioned about the ones over the 20 inch length for Largemouth bass. The size would of course have to be determined by the DNR to make sure your not removing the breeding bass. If you were there at that certain day you could, if you wanted to, take one Largemouth or say 5 blugills. I would leave the musky as is catch and release only. There aren't that many, and they do their job of eliminating a lot of small fish. They could also let you take bluegills 8 inches and over. This also would be certain days only as mentioned before. I think this would solve any stunting problems. Of course the DNR would have to have a yearly check of what size fish and how many are in the areas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I had an idea this rant would warrant some replies, and I thank all of you that did....I realize there's alot of anglers that escape from the concrete jungle and make there way to this preserve for a chance to catch a few decent fish....and technically, that's what it's there for......the lake has some big fish in it... just as it did the day it opened.

Unfortunately the growth rates of these fish are very slow, and stunting is evident in all species.....in theory this lake is beyond maximum capacity...I'm sure alot of you would beg to differ due to the level of success you may have experienced here... however the thought of every Bass in the lake being able to attain a size of 7,8, or 9lbs simply due to a C&R policy isn't realistic......the reason the L.C.F.P. doesn't annually stock this preserve is obvious...NO HARVEST=NO STOCKING.

Any aquarist's out there??????....the size of a body of water always determines it's maximum capacity.....once thats reached stunting is imparitive......without harvest there's no chance of recruitment of the species.......stunting is irreversable, any remote chances of a successful spawn actually passes on the stunted trait.....and self destruction begins.

Those of you that fish this preserve and find the fishing good should look at this era as the golden yrs....because it's truly downhill from here.

Over the last few yrs I've taken scale samples from fish, and even experimented with acoustic telemetry implants to chart and track daily fish movement....to be perfectly honest with you, this fishery is in big trouble.

Bido has a recent post from I.G. with some very good pics....take a good look at the big largemouth his partner caught....giant head and unproportioned body....apparent stunting. Prove it to yourself, take a scale sample from a 4-5 lb Bass caught here..... a fish of that size and specie from this demographic area should be aged @ 7-9 yrs old.

Nothing short of a public outcry will save this body of water from certain demise....If you enjoy fishing here as I once did, you should contact the regional district manager at the L.C.F.P. and express your feelings towards specific site regulations in hopes of saving this preserve from certain death.

http://www.youtube.com/muskymod

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Maybe lack of food? I went there only one time two years ago and caught several bass! Not bad for the first time. I don't fish there since is 15 dollars to enter! Maybe some big fish is come from early and young fish become slow growing so when all old age fish gone then all fish become slow growing because of lack of food and heavy fishing pressure but I am not sure! If its catch and release only and I wondered anyone catch real big bluegills and monster crappie? My son caught lot of bluegills there when he fished with me. None over 8 inch long! Maybe some big one somewhere out there in deepwater around underwater islands off the shore. Someday maybe this summeri would kayak fishing and fish around underwater weeds off the shore! I am not sure if kayak allowing?
Catch and release only for muskies would be good idea and they always low in number and control of small panfish, shad and carp! Keep all carp!
I wondered, why DNR wouldn't work on IG? Sterling Lake and IG is the same Lake County Forest Preserve!
 

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Wow, that was a wealth of information. Muskymod's theory sure makes a lot of sense to me. I surely do not have the knowledge to debate this issue but I think that some to the FP managers should listen since most of the lakes around here do suffer from stunted fish. The most disapointing species would be panfish :(
 

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i agree with mod i dont really keep alot of fish but if it will help this body of water {if its not to late} put regs on the fish if they are worried bout the spawning fish taking outta there then put a slot limit but again gotta remember what mod said... no harvest=no stocking makes sense to me but will definently fish this body of water again
 

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I'm pretty sure that, since IG is under the Lake County FP department, that there is plenty of cash to stock lakes without hesitation. NO HARVEST = NO STOCKING, yes, but if they wanted to stock there would be plenty of funds available to do so.
 

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nod oh yeah they have plenty of funds to stock it every now and again but i'm not the smartest cookie of the bunch, but i think its lazyness or i could be wrong... and another thing you gotta think about maybe there lookin for more land to be a preserve i mean glen raven just opened a year ago lake carina just opened last oct maybe there using the funds for more preserves just think they may need to do somethin before it gets worse than it is now.. i know they are making a killing on the boat rentals and renting out the north pavilion
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The issue is not about stocking, or money....it's about proper lake management....or the lack there of...Specific site regs at this preserve are 5yrs over do. The reason why the preserve decided to renig on their inital policy which was C&R for the first 2 yrs, is not clear or logical......but it doesn't matter now,...it's broken, and it won't get fixed.

The men in green read these threads often....but I'm sure if they read this one, they'll look the other way.

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Wow? What a WEALTH of information here.

With this information posted in this thread, its tooooo much for my feeble mind to understand :oops:

But.... I never knew how precise all this information can be. Not that I don't appreciate it, but it makes me understand that I'm glad I just fish :oops:
 
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