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SeanL

Mazon River

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Hey everyone- looking for feedback regarding floating this river after reading mixed comments about some possible issues with the locals. If we put in/take out at bridges, is it an issue? I used to live in the Ottawa area and always wanted to venture over, but never felt comfortable doing so. Just want to gauge any possible issues before venturing out there.

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As I understand it, technically it's illegal as it's a non navigable waterway and there are people that own both sides of the stream so, if you float it you are trespassing..

I floated the Mazon a lot in the 90's and early 2000s. The float was Oxbow Rd to Pine bluff. The only issue was comming back to a flat tire once. No puncture so it could have been kids.

Then once I was wading at White Tie Falls and some old guy chewed me out, and really was not nice.

So not to freak you out, but I met met some people at Oxbow bridge that were catching darters, putting them in an aquarium and photoing them. They reported a scary experience involving guns, but were still back.

I talked to a local. Nice guy and he said that if I wanted to float the river with my kids I could park my vehicle on his property anytime I want. He said there is only one other "crab-ass" who objects.

If it were me I would ring a doorbell and wave a $20 around.

 

Fishing wise, a 14" fish would be big. Scale down and have fun.

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I quit fishing the stretch Mark mentioned when I heard the clickety-click of shotguns and turned to see two guys pointing 12 gauges at me .

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One of my favorite Illinois smallmouth rivers both for its fishing and scenery. As indicated above there are some issues with floating the river but personally I've never encountered a major problem. To really learn the river and not have to deal with the issues mentioned, you should schedule a trip with fellow ISA member Mike Allen of Midwest Waters Angling. He knows the Mazon as well as anyone and will get you on some great smallmouth action.

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One of the reasons the land owners are so uppity is that the Mazon is known for fossils. If you go to a museum anywhere in the world, they are likely to have a section of "Mazon Creek fossils".

Collectors used to go in there with shovels and such and tear up the banks.

 

There is a book called "Paddling Illinois" by Mike Svob. You will find detailed maps in there.

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Thanks for all of the feedback guys, I'll have to check out that book as it sounds really interesting. Looking to explore a bunch of unfamiliar territory in the kayak. Still kicking around the idea of checking out that river if I get a chance sometime.

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Thanks for all of the feedback guys, I'll have to check out that book as it sounds really interesting. Looking to explore a bunch of unfamiliar territory in the kayak. Still kicking around the idea of checking out that river if I get a chance sometime.

 

I emailed the conservation officer from Grundy county just to ask out of curiosity.

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The conservation officer got back to me and confirmed pretty much what I thought.

 

It's a non-navigable, non public waterway and there are landowners that own the stream bed.

It's pretty much all private property and you can be arrested for... quote... criminal trespassing. He was on his way to check on someone who was parked roadside. A land owner called.

 

You would need to get permission from landowners and "there might be 10 of them in a 1 mile stretch".

 

After our conversation, I would not go back.

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These kind of issues are not even an issue in Wisconsin and most other states. When is Illinois going to get the water navagation laws right as stated by the federal government?

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the land of lawyers do something right ?

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Mark,

 

I appreciate you taking the time to check into this. Although the answer wasn't what I was hoping for, it will keep me out of some potential trouble. Guess I'll venture further west and check out the Vermilion more instead. I used to fish near the Matthiessen park area but have plenty more areas to explore there.

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Mark,

 

I appreciate you taking the time to check into this. Although the answer wasn't what I was hoping for, it will keep me out of some potential trouble. Guess I'll venture further west and check out the Vermilion more instead. I used to fish near the Matthiessen park area but have plenty more areas to explore there.

 

No prob, I was curious myself. You know every-time I went there I was pretty much on edge. Am I going to come back to a flat tire or a ticket on the windshield. I would like to know, exactly who owns what on there. I not sure how one would go about doing that.

Just so you know, fishing wise, fishing wise you'll hear a lot about the Mazon, from what I fished it's pretty good for numbers but most of the fish are not real big. Yeah, every now and agin someone pulls a hog out but for the most part it's a lot of 10-12" fish.

Also of that stretch I described which is a major chunk of the whole river, the LONG last stretch is a lot of slow moving mud bottom carp water. I used to float it with my buddy which a square stern canoe and we used to just blow there with a trolling motor to get to Pine bluff and take out. Prior to that there is some fun riffle/pool riffle/pool stuff and like Bart said it's really scenic, but a hog factory it's not.

beyond Pine bluff I have never explored and the IDNR owns that. It's legal to go in there but there is a lot of down trees so paddling might not work. I am also pretty sure it's closed part of the year due to nesting birds.

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So frustrating Illinois laws seem to be a rubber stamp year by year insufficent progressive thinking. I know there are a lot of non navigable waterways that get a lot of traffic that may at least have public access and for the most part landowners have more or less accepted people passing through. Id imagine its the less frequented rivers with just bridges for informal access are more problematic. Since i fish the kish a lot many different areas i always wonder if dropoing a yak in at a bridge is legal. Eveb if it was as soon as im down river some i may be on private land. Just seems crazy that if you are floating thru on a yak that its a problem in many illinois areas.

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There has to be a happy medium between respecitng landowner's rights and the public's right to use the waterway. I've actually found the landowners around the Mazon to be quite friendly if you are respectful to them. The one time I asked a landowner for permission to access his property to wade fish I was granted permission. I spoke to another landowner who gave me his phone number and said I could park on his property if I ever needed river access. The current landowner adjoining Oxbow bridge will allow you access if you call him and introduce yourself. His phone number is posted next to bridge. Every time I meet these people I stress I am a member of ISA, a steward of the river and respectful of landowner's rights and will not pollute. I think thats what most landowners really want to know. I have never had a bad experience with a landowner when fishing the Mazon. I wouldn't be deterred from fishing the Mazon, otherwise, your missing out on fishing one of Illinois' great smallmouth streams.

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There has to be a happy medium between respecitng landowner's rights and the public's right to use the waterway. I've actually found the landowners around the Mazon to be quite friendly if you are respectful to them. The one time I asked a landowner for permission to access his property to wade fish I was granted permission. I spoke to another landowner who gave me his phone number and said I could park on his property if I ever needed river access. The current landowner adjoining Oxbow bridge will allow you access if you call him and introduce yourself. His phone number is posted next to bridge. Every time I meet these people I stress I am a member of ISA, a steward of the river and respectful of landowner's rights and will not pollute. I think thats what most landowners really want to know. I have never had a bad experience with a landowner when fishing the Mazon. I wouldn't be deterred from fishing the Mazon, otherwise, your missing out on fishing one of Illinois' great smallmouth streams.

 

That is true. I didn't see the number, but like I said further upon this thread, a landowner offered to let me park on his property. And it would be a really nice gesture to leave a 20 dollar bill or a gift card.

But like Joe and the IDNR officer I spoke to mention, if you venture anywhere off that person's property, you are potentially trespassing. so my question is, how does a cop know when he gets called who owns what property? Seems to me there must be some kind of map somewhere to designate where the property lines are. Where questions like JoeR's could be answered. The county building? Does the landowner with the complaint come out with a survey when you get busted?

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I use this county property search map from time to time.

Not sure if I understand it all that well, but I do find some interesting stuff and info. > http://www.wingis.org/maps/PropertySearch.aspx

Click on a plot of land and it will mark out the property.

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There is a county plat for sale if you inquire. It lists boundaries & taxpayer of record which might be the resident owner or a trust.

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