I recently received the March Bronzeback Newsletter and noticed that the speakers at the upcoming Bronzeback Blowout feature the guides from Midwest Waters Angling Co. Of note, the speaker descriptions highlighted that Mike Allen and Kurt Nelson guide rivers located near the Fox River Valley including the DuPage River and that they use jet boats as part of their business. The feature really stuck out to me as I don't believe the use of jet boats is appropriate on rivers as small as the DuPage based on experience.
I can only offer my own experience. I learned fishing river smallmouth on the DuPage as a teenager in Naperville in the 90's. After college and living in Chicago for ten years, I recently returned to the area about three years ago and began re-exploring the DuPage. I was pleasantly surprised to see the dirty smelly river I grew up with transformed into a world-class smallmouth river with opportunities for days of catching multiple smallmouth in the 16-20" range. I now fish the river extensively in between bass club tournaments, especially in late summer and fall.
Last summer, I started fishing a new stretch of the Dupe. After catching several bass 16-18", I heard the noise of what I thought was an outboard motor coming up the river which seemed odd to me given that the DuPage is a small river. Around the corner came a jet boat running what sounded like full throttle, traveling about 25-30 mph. The stretch of river I was fishing was at best 30-40 yards wide. This process was repeated on several occasions on subsequent trips, including cutting short an outing that I could only describe as the best day of river smallmouth fishing I've ever had. I later learned from another angler on the river that the boat belonged to Midwest Waters Angling as part of a guide service which they use to run to a spot several miles upstream.
I have several issues with the use of a jetboat in this manner. Aside from the obvious safety issue to others in the river, the water conditions are ruined for the day after the boat passes. The boat generates a wake which is too big for a narrow stretch of river that muddies the river in addition to what is kicked up by the boat itself. You end up with a conveyor belt of silt, mud, and grass coming downstream for hours. I can't imagine that this is good for the river either.
Unfortunately I'm unable to make the Blowout as I would love to discuss this issue there.. I think its great that anglers who are obviously passionate about the sport are able to make a career out of what we all love. I just think the use of a jetboat is an issue and isn't fair as the day's fishing is adversely affected for the day after it goes through. MWAC may not even be aware that their boat is creating this issue. It would be nice to see a solution that would benefit all that want to fish the river, maybe as simple as operating at a slower speed that doesn't kick up the river.