Finally, the pike


The consensus among the many anglers lining the perimeter of O’Leary’s Lake this morning was that the pike weren’t biting. At least not like they had been the past few days.


“I caught two yesterday,” said Ron Hanson, of Dubuque, who was watching a couple of lines laced with golden shiners.


Gary Harry, standing nearby, had also caught two yesterday, and two the day before.


O’Leary’s, a Mississippi River backwater below Lock & Dam No. 11, is a popular spawning ground for northern pike, and early April is prime time to latch into one.


But today, the fish seemed “elusive,” according to Brad Hawkinson, of Hazel Green, Wis., who was tossing an orange crankbait along the east shore.


Then, as the morning sun warmed the water, anglers’ luck began to change.


Chris Duve, of Dubuque, had been fishing for yellow perch with red worms when a pike hit as he was “jigging” his bait toward shore.


Moments later, a chunky pike inhaled one of Hanson’s shiners. He promptly beached the fish.


The swallowed hook was difficult to remove, so he took the fish to the nearby Eagle Point Fishing Barge — owned by his father, Carl — and freed and deposited his catch in the live well.


Hanson returned to shore and wasted no time baiting his hook and making another cast. Unfortunately, the shiner came loose and plopped into the water several feet away.


“There went 85 cents,” he said.


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