I first visited this small creek in the late 1990’s with two friends in search of tranquility in fishing. Not known as a great fishing location, Franklin Creek flows through the lovely valleys of a park by the same name. Located in Lee County, Illinois, about one mile northwest of Franklin Grove, Franklin Creek’s low lying areas along the waterway supports a bottom land forest of silver maple and hackberry.

The creek supports as many as 19 species of fish. The most common species are smallmouth bass, carp and creek chub. The flooding of the nearby Rock River aids in the stocking of fish as it backs up into the creek.

Franklin Creek is not a wide body of water and one could cast from one side to the other. Trees such as white oak, red oak, black oak and shagbark hickory line the shoreline. Slippery elm and Kentucky coffee trees are in the area. Ravines support an upland forest of sugar maple and basswood as well as a variety of shrubs normally found in southern areas.

Ground pounders walk the bank fishing in one deep pool after another. It is an experience of being at one with nature. I managed to entice a creek chub in one pool and a smallmouth in another. Ground pounding is probably just another name for stream walking.

Older literature on angling seems to gear all fishing to angling in streams. I have found it a natural conversion from fishing big rivers to moving up the feeder creeks like Franklin Creek. Fish too move up the creeks in search of safety, food and shelter from the heavy currents of big rivers.

Ground pounding can be a matter of wading to another location for better placement of the lure or moving up and down the shore to find a better spot.

After a heavy rain, or when backwaters are otherwise swollen, wading provides and opportunities to get to fish that have taken advantage of the conditions that allow them to forage back into creeks. The ground pounder is a trailblazer into otherwise under fished areas. There is no telling what one might find back there.

I found this time that the park had changed a lot since my first visit. The creek however remains much unchanged. There was no need for specialized tackle or accessories. Primarily all I needed was my waders. My chest waders worked but hip boots would be more comfortable in the warm days of summer.

I do not wade into water that is deeper than my waist even though my waders go up to my chest. The belt around my waist is added protection should I topple over in the water. It will slow the flow of water into the waders and allow time to get up right and out of danger.

Polaroid sunglasses and sun blocker are a constant companion on fishing trips. In addition to protecting my eyes, the glasses aid in spotting fish.

A small tackle box fits in the zippered pocket of my waders and contains enough tackle for a day of ground pounding. If I think I need more tackle, then it is time to break out the fishing vest with space for tackle, water, a camera and some lunch.

The day’s game plan is simple. From the parking lot, just wade into the stream and move down stream. I would normally wade upstream but the waters there are too deep. Wading in streams is stalking. The fish relate to certain structures and conditions in the water.

The secret to this type of fishing is to learn the body of water and analyze the shore to see just where the fish might be located. Some of the structure in the water is obvious. Things like downed trees, sandbars, points of land, bends in the creek, undercut banks and large rocks are good. Other structures require learning through practice.

The ground pounder must constantly analyze the water surface, shadows showing depressions or weed growth. Creek bottoms are subject to frequent changes due to flooding. Underwater riffles are located by casting and bouncing a lure along the bottom. This method is good for breaks in rocks and vegetation in a weed line.

Ground pounding is a challenging way to fish. It takes time, patience and skill. It is interesting to search for a new challenge and to spend a few hours.FranklinCreek has long been that to me. It was good to be back there again.



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  1. Pingback: Missouri Smallmouth Bass Fishing Places | Bass Fishing Tips Today

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