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updated: 4/25/2012 6:33 PM

For the record, here's a pond primer

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Maybe I should record directions and a series of tips and put them on a special telephone line for readers to access.

I'm sorry if my words make it sound like I'm copping an attitude, but to me it's like I've opened the sluice gates and created a flood of emails.

Even though I have a new boat and outboard engine which give me the freedom to go after striped bass, walleye, and smallmouth on the cooling lakes, my first love is to fish the ponds in the Northwest suburbs.

No one showed me where these are located. I had to burn up the gas and time to discover the right locations, the right ponds that were devoid of "No Fishing" signs. The bulk of the ponds are located in housing areas and industrial parks. I try and stay away from Canada goose-infected ponds simply because of the amount green tint left in the water.

Here's a typical e-mail pertaining to this very topic.

"Mike, you are always talking about the ponds in your column . Where are they?"


"Mr. Jackson, how will I know which ponds are the better ones to fish?"


"Do the ponds you fish have much weed growth?"

I really don't mind answering the questions over and over, even though the email authors have written several times. My hope is some of you use the tips I pass along and try to be innovative in your own style of angling.

There are hundreds of large and small ponds through the Northwest suburbs, with a few mid-size gems tossed in for good measure.

Now that I've cleansed my soul, I will now offer Mike Jackson's List (however off-base it may be) for how to find a good pond where you can catch fish.

Even with the high price of gasoline, I suggest you put enough fuel in the tank to take you throughout Cook, DuPage, and Kane Counties.

•Hit the industrial parks first and carefully look for signs that prohibit fishing. If there are none, look for shoreline growth of cat tails and tall weeds. If the pond water is clear, check to see if fish are swimming around and search the shorelines for spawning beds.

•Forget the ultra-small ponds because Canada geese use them for landing zones. Look for weed growth 5-10 feet away from the banks.

•I am always looking for big panfish, even though I rarely bring anything home from these treasure troves. My experience has shown me the fertilizer run-off can be a serious negative if you choose to eat the fish.

•I'll rig two light spinning rods. One has a Little Action Mac, pre-rigged worm, while the other is setup with a 1/16th-ounce Mini Mite jig tipped with a waxworm or maggot.

•A slip float is one of the most valuable tools one can use. If you don't have one, or don't know how to use it, ask the person behind the counter to teach you.

•Weedlines are fantastic holding places for all kinds of fish species, including bass, pike and muskies. But in these situations, you would be doing yourself a favor if you had a minnow bucket along with the smallest little swimming critters your local bait shop has to offer. Put a minnow on a Mini Mite or a #8 hook under the float.

•If you don't get any action, move up or down the shoreline until you locate fish. Don't invest any more than 10 idle minutes in any one spot.

I know I've repeated myself in this column, so please make good use of this information and discover some of these beautiful ponds on your own.

•Contact Mike Jackson at, and catch his radio show 6-7 a.m. Sundays on WSBC 1240-AM and live-streamed at

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