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The History and Heritage of the Mazon River


Mark O'Donnell
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Hi ISA Guys (and Gals),

 

The Mazon River Watershed has planned an evening program on the river's history and heritage at the Carbon Hill History Museum (875 Second St.) from 6pm to 7pm. on April 2nd.

 

The museum will display old platbooks, geological books, old and current maps, old postcards and photos and storytelling about this unique and special natural resource.

 

 

Mark O'Donnell

 

 

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Hi ISA Guys (and Gals),

 

The Mazon River Watershed has planned an evening program on the river's history and heritage at the Carbon Hill History Museum (875 Second St.) from 6pm to 7pm. on April 2nd.

 

The museum will display old platbooks, geological books, old and current maps, old postcards and photos and storytelling about this unique and special natural resource.

 

 

Mark O'Donnell

Mark,

 

I've heard the Mazon while a good smallmouth stream is difficult to access as it flows thru private party owned by farmers disinclined to allow access.Are you able to comment on its accessibility?

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Yes Guys,

 

Access is very limited. Though can be done at some (but not many) bridges.

 

There is a group that has tried to formulate a forest preserve district in Grundy County that would secure land adjacent to the river (and maybe access to it). I do not know if they have been successful yet in getting this off the ground.

 

Mark O'Donnell

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Additional info can be reviewed at www.mazonriver.com. Then click on "forest preserve"

 

Access is very limited. Though can be done at some (but not many) bridges.

 

There is a group that has tried to formulate a forest preserve district in Grundy County that would secure land adjacent to the river (and maybe access to it). I do not know if they have been successful yet in getting this off the ground.

 

Mark O'Donnell

 

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Thanks Mark.As I understand the web info the forest preserve initiative was just started last November.If so it'll take time to bear fruit if any. In the meantime all you canoe/kayak guys should find one of those bridges and float the Mazon. With limited access it may hold a lot of good sized,unpressured smallmouth.Am not sure if you'd be legal if you remained afloat the entire time under Illinois law but even if not it would be more difficult for landowners to ask you to leave and they might not bother a floater.It's worth a try.

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The river is attached to one of the many lakes and ponds of Mazonia F&W area.

I have floated a little ways up, but wasn't sure if it was simply a ditch or the actual river at that point.

 

An interesting access point is the bridge on Rt. 53.

Not sure of the legalities with private land on this one.......know ahead of time.

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Hey ISA'ers

 

Have fished the river many times near I-55 however it is not quite "smallmouth water" there, that occurs more downstream. Used to canoe it quite often in the late 70's. Then something happened that p***ed the landowners off real good at the put-in point at the McArdle Road bridge. One lady one time came running out of her house and threatened to call the Sheriff on me for "trespassing". Later, the State or County condemned the bridge and it was closed for a number of years before a new one was built.

I think Prairie State Canoe club still has outings on it occasionally!

 

Mark O'Donnell

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I have canoed the mazon several times with the prarie state canoeists,we would put in at rt. 113 and float down to the take out.I don't remember the name of the the take out,but I do remember that the natives are not friendly.We had to be very careful not to even step onto private property.

I can't say what the fishing was like as the PSC is rather anti fishing and I couldn't fish and keep up with the group

 

Ed

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Ed, I understand.

 

Lately we have been entering into some dialog with a paddling group regarding stream work. We always are on the lookout for perceptions and how our dealings with other organizations will effect our membership and mission statement. We have worked hard to establish good relationships with many groups and as the ISA has grown in stature, size and influence, more and more groups are seeking us out for help. So.... we try and keep our ears open for things like that.

 

Jim

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I used to put in at White Tie and Oxbow, there is a bridge there. Take out at Lorenzo. Beautiful trip. I was both collecting fossils and fishing. I used to fish it a lot in the 90's. It's very picturesque. I remember those trips with great fondness.

Most smallies were in the 10-14" class. A 16" would be a pretty good fish. Numbers were high enough to keep you interested.

Those trips lasted a whole day, but we were hunting rocks too.

 

Access totally sucks. I mention an access point, however. Be forewarned. Upon returning to it once (the last time I went), our truck just happened to get a flat tires, then another on the way home). The locals do not appreciate the tourism. There are erosion problems and fossil geeks have been known to tear up the banks, going so far as to bring shovels in. The fossils found on the Mazon have their own little category and if you go to the major museums those fossils are often refered to as Mazon Creek fossils. It was pretty cool going to the Denver Museum and seeing one of my favorite smallie haunts mentioned.

Anyway, many of the fossil geeks I've met have been pretty damn fanatic and some downright nuts (sound familiar?). So I'm not suprise taht the welcome was wore out.

 

Then there was the time I was verbally assaulted be a gentlman who was older than God, well maybe not God, but I think he definatly he saw some of the fossils in their pre dead state, and lets just say, his anger management classes weren't working.

 

I have been told, by someone from the DNR that it is illegal to be on the Mazon at all. That said, the Mazon is listed in Mike Svob's Paddling Illinois, with maps and access points. I would think he would have done his homework. Quite frankly, I'm not sure who to believe. But legality aside

 

Regarding that paddling club....

Enough fisherman leave lasting evidence of their prescence to give us all a bad rap. Face it...a lot of fishermen really suck. Anybody who's done a river clean up knows that.

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