The Bayou in Sterling Illinois

The Bayou in Sterling was my favorite place to fish when I was a teen and I took my kids there years later. Some places were good for Crappie, some good for Bluegill, others good for Sunfish, Bass, Catfish and Carp. It may all look the same but each spot offers different species of fish. A person could walk the whole bank from one end to the other. Then they put a walking path in. The walking path is nice, I have used it many times myself, but now the fishing path is no longer accessible since the bulldozed dirt and trees from above down the steep bank right to the water’s edge. They did add two docks, but they have limited room and they are only on two small areas and the docks are so noisy that they scare all the fish away when you walk on them. I have fished them several times and found fishing to be bad. It is not possible to get a boat in the bayou because the ancient stone inlet is not high enough. The tracks are plenty high enough to make a bridge out of beams so boats could get through, but this has been talked about before and nothing was done. Years ago the bayou had a boat ramp and people could keep rowboats in the water down by the toboggan slide. Now there are two noisy docks and that’s it. This bayou does have good fishing, but those fish will die of old age since it doesn’t have good access for fisherman. The Rock River and Bayou are some of the best attractions in this area and needs better access.


We don’t have many places to fish around in the Sauk Valley area, we have the Rock River which has very little access for fishing, Lake Carlton which is small and over fished and that leaves us with the Mississippi River which is also over fished. The Rock River has places that would be good fishing if there was access. We have the Nelson slough, which is so silted in at the mouth that no boats can get in there during the summer in normal water levels. It cannot be fished from the banks because it is private property and no one is allowed back there. There is a lake below that which is also silted in and cannot get boats back in there. We have Oppold Marina which is nice to launch boats, but boats cannot get back into the back waters in the park because they only put a small tube in instead of an opening for boats. There is a lake below, on the other side of the road which is pretty big but again there is no access, is is too silted in at the opening down river to get boats in and it is not possible to walk it and fish from shore because it is thick brush and woods and private property.

Sterling Rockfalls only has one boat ramp on the lower pool and that is Lawrence park, which is a popular launch but in normal summer water levels it is not deep enough to run any boat unless it has a jet-drive motor or the motor has to be idled in shallow drive which is dangerous because the current is strong and washes boats down river. The water is only about 12″ deep with big rocks everywhere. To get down river where the deep water is takes about a 3 mile boat ride in this shallow dangerous water. The only other ramp is in Como and there is only enough room for two vehicles to park. It’s obvious that the people in charge don’t care about fisherman.

About Dave Tackett

Dave Tackett is from Sterling Illinois. An avid fisherman since childhood, he has fished all over the Midwest, mainly the Mississippi River pools 8-19. His home waters are pools 13 & 14. After fishing Bass tournaments for many years, he gave it up to fish for Walleye year round. He now guides and fishes for fun. He likes to take photos of the scenic places he visits on the river and likes to keep a video camera running to get footage for his Walleye DVDs. Photography is now where he most of his time working, using professional DSLR cameras and lens. These photos include landscape around the Mississippi River and the Rock River, river birds like eagles heron, egrets etc.
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