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Illinois hunting and fishing

Shabbona Lake barrier fence project completed

April 20, 2011 at 01:47 PM

President of Quad County Hawg Hunters Chapter of Muskies Inc. Plano, Il.

About a year and a half ago, Clint Sands, a member of Muskies Inc. and Shabbona Sportsman` s Club and co-owner of Shabbona’s Lakeside Bait and Tackle, had an idea. He thought that a way to keep the escaping fish from going downstream in Indian Creek never to be seen again. He shared his idea with his father, Denny, and a friend and fellow muskie angler Duane Landmeier. The three of them put some thought into the idea and thought of ways to make the project a reality and make it work.

In the past, the local clubs had done muskie rescues that consisted of a mile and a half stretch of Indian Creek. This was a very physical job that needed a lot of people donating a lot of time and energy to retrieve the fish and get them back into the lake. The new idea was to try to contain the muskies that went over the spillway in a close proximity (250 yards or less) of the spillway.
Thanks to the State of Illinois for allowing us to go ahead and doing this project it will make our job easier in the future.

On March 12 we started the building phase of the project. Eric Peterson, a local concerned walleye angler, joined us by donating his time, knowledge and energy. Eric works with aluminum extruded materials every day in his job, so we had him order us the parts and build the fence with different fishing club volunteers assistance. On March 19 the fence was completed. It took 24 hours of hard work by the contractors along with a lot of help from local fishing club members and concerned anglers. Thanks to the Shabbona Sportsman’s Club, Quad County Hawg Hunters Muskies Inc. and other concerned anglers who helped out. Without them this would have never happened. There are always other things that need to be done that the contractors cannot do and the clubs and concerned fishermen did that.

The fence looks very professionally done. It covers the area up to 48 inches above the normal water level and goes up on the bank quite a ways to prevent fish escapement. There is a roadway that needs a little touching up when the roads are not posted to get some stone in the park. That access road down to the creek bed allows a truck to get within 6 feet of the bank. This will allow members of a fish rescue to efficiently get the fish from the water to an aerated tank in literally seconds which will make fish survival very much higher.

A very big thank you goes out to the Hugh C. Becker Foundation. They took requests from two Muskies Inc. clubs for the fence project and approved $5,800.00 towards the project. They were a big part of the funds needed for this project. This foundation has grants available for any worthwhile project that benefits muskie fisheries or conservation. The Twin Cities Chapter of Muskies Inc. helps to manage this foundation. Hugh Becker Foundation is one of the great conservation minded groups in the country. We need more quality minded people like this in the United States.

A big thank you goes out to the clubs that donated their hard earned money towards this project. Those clubs were were Illinois Muskies Alliance Member Clubs the Quad County Hawg Hunters Muskies Inc., Fox River Valley Muskies Inc., Shawnee Muskie Hunters Muskies Inc., Mississippi Valley Muskies Inc, Midwest Musky Club and the Illinois Muskie Tournament Trail.
Other clubs and donators were Shabbona Sportsman’s Club, Shabbona` s Lakeside Bait and Tackle and Denny Sands. The total cost of the fence was about $15,000 all raised from muskie clubs with no money from taxpayers being used.

As many of you readers know there are a lot of special projects that are completed time and again that take a bunch of hard work and volunteers to get it done. Some of these projects benefit every angler (not just muskie anglers) in the area that the project is being done in. This often goes by without notice. If it were not for people like Denny Sands, Clint Sands, Eric Peterson and Duane Landmeier who put time in on projects like this one for the benefit for others many projects would just get talked about and never get done. These individuals live and breath for their favorite sport fishing. Thank you again to these four fine conservationists for their efforts.

Be sure to take a walk down below Shabbona’s spillway and see the nice job that was done. The area between the spillway and the barrier fence in Indian Creek will be a no fishing area.

This will make Shabbona Lake an even better place to fish in the future for all species of fish.

I am very proud of all of the clubs that helped in making this happen. It has been my pleasure and look forward to working with you in future projects. Thank you.

 

 

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