June 2016 River Report and Newsletter. 


Greetings from the river.  Conditions this year on the Kankakee River are the best and most stable I’ve seen in years. Pre-spawn angling this spring produced some incredible smallmouth, both in size and in sheer rod-bending power. According to the IL DNR’s shocking surveys, fish numbers are up this year. After more than 60 days logged on the water so far, I’m going to strongly support their claim. This year’s mild winter has been good to these fish and the river’s ecosystem is very alive.


As we move into summertime, flows are dropping to expose the labyrinth of features throughout this geologically unique river.  We’re scaling down from giant streamers to smaller swimming patterns, fishing higher in the water column. And top water flies are coming into play. With water temperature heating up, fish are looking up. I’m anticipating an excellent popper season this summer. Plant structure has exploded in the last few weeks, providing thick colonies of water willows and river grass where fish are finding cover and food.

Dates are available for July, August and September. These are great months for digging into the layers of fly fishing, from understanding the technical concepts of fly presentation and reading water to improving casting efficiency and observing the ecosystem that makes up the river valley.  2016 is turning out to be an outstanding year on the Kankakee.  Visit bigriverfly.com or email me directly to set up your trip.  Gift certificates are available for Father’s Day.
Huge thanks to all who have been out there with me and for the continued interest.  This spring has been memorable and I’m excited for the months ahead. I hope your summer is filled with many hours outdoors and on the water.
 Join me on the river.

Captain Will Winans

Booking Now for Spring/Summer 2016.



Water temps are heating up early this year and fat river smallies are bending rods already. Contact me today and set up your trip for 2016. Join me on the river. 

Booking Now for Spring 2016

Upcoming Events:
Captain Will Winans will be sharing insights on his home water, the Kankakee River and other Illinois fisheries during two free presentations in the coming weeks. Will spends more than half the year rowing these waters. With spring just weeks away, join Will for a free seminar and discover, revisit or maybe learn something new about local fisheries and ecosystems within a short drive from Chicago.
Chicago Fly Fishing

Presentation at Chicago Fly Fishing Outfitters
       Sunday, February 28th, 3:30-4:30pm

Presentation at Orvis Chicago
       Saturday, March 5th 10:00am to 12:00pm