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Take tour of the mighty Rock

Published: Friday, Aug. 15, 2014 11:51 p.m. CST
Caption
(Matt Jones/Sauk Valley Media)
This picture shows the beauty of the Rock River at sunset. The river offer a wide variety of attractions as it winds from Oregon down to Erie.

For those of you who may not know exactly what this river has to offer, I figured I am more than qualified to offer some insight as to some areas that are not only great for fishing, but also just some general areas that are must sees along the mighty Rock.

This river is known for great fishing for many species of fish. That’s no big secret.

But many people have never seen the actual beauty of this river. I have fished all over the country, and let me tell you, we all live on one of the most beautiful rivers our country has to offer.

The stretch of river from south of Rockford to the Oregon dam is spectacular. 

This piece of water is settled in deep rolling hills, with rock faces and islands galore.

While it is mostly known for the giant Black Hawk statue just north of Oregon, the hills and woods are very beautiful, as well.

This area is a very slow-moving stretch of river that offers great access to not only boaters, but also sightseeing for the bank-bound person.

There is a ton of bank access for fishing, and bird watching.  

The fishing for channel cats is as good as the Rock has to offer, and that says a lot. My favorite stretch up that way is the first couple of miles above the Oregon dam. The super-high hills, the paddle boat, and yes, the statue, make this a must see if you haven’t, and I am all about good fishing.

Now, from Dixon up to the face of the Oregon dam is also a visual masterpiece of sorts, and boasts more good fishing from both bank and boat.

One of the more well-known areas on this stretch of river is the whirlpool rock. This area located upriver of Lowell Park in Dixon offers beautiful scenery and some killer fishing.

The earlier mentioned Lowell Park is as cool of a park as you’ll find anywhere, with boat and bank fishing available. Set in the deep woods, this park is neat to just take a walk or drive through, and is home to a ton of wildlife like deer, turkeys, and squirrels. 

As you head upstream farther, the many islands are neat to see. The face of the dam is a fisherman’s paradise, and is also home to some of the biggest eagles in the Rock River Valley.

Now, from Dixon down to Sterling, the river changes somewhat.

The banks flatten some, and the water deepens. This is a stretch of river known more for recreational boating; however, don’t be fooled. There are some monster fish swimming the depths there.

Along with the fishing, what the city of Dixon has done with the waterfront is simply awesome. Bank fishing can be found in Dixon by the dam and at Page Park on the north side of the river, where the Cabela’s tournament calls home.

Oppold Marina offers both boat access and bank fishing, and even some more recreational opportunities.

Now, the river southwest of Sterling and Rock Falls is simply phenomenal.

Long, twisting, and full of cover and depth changes, this is, in my opinion, the best all-around fishing on the Rock.

Deep holes and shallow runs and rapids are home to good populations of all the Rock’s species, including flatheads and channel catfish. The crappie and walleye are very abundant here, as are the largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, white bass, bluegill, carp, northern pike, and even the shovelnose sturgeon.

Spoonbills, muskie, and a few other species reside here, also.

One would also be crazy to miss out on the serenity one can find on this pool. Very light boat traffic and virtually no pleasure boating makes this a peaceful piece of water.

The area of river from Erie to Hillsdale is awesome and virtually free of any real development.

If you like wildlife, and trees, and sky, and water, this is where you want to be. In a day here, you can expect to see very few boats.

However, you may see turkeys, deer, otters, and virtually any animal that resides in the whole state. Heck, Bigfoot isn’t out of the question.

Bank fishing can be found in several areas, such as the lower dam and the upper dam in Sterling and Rock Falls. Lawrence Park is a great bet, as well. The old Route 2 boat ramp and Prophetstown State Park are also areas that offer bank and boat access, and P’town Park is as quality a campground as you’ll find anywhere.

So to sum it all up, if you like animals, fishing, and awesome scenery, then there is no reason you can’t fall in love with the Rock River. It has it all, and it’s right here for you to enjoy.

So stop thinking about it and do it. Until next week, Go Catfish!

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