CHICAGO — Name a waterway in Chicago, and David Kuntzelman has fly-fished on it.
He's caught bass and trout in Diversey Harbor, northern pike on the Des Plaines River and carp all over Lake Michigan and the Chicago River, including as far south as Bubbly Creek.
"That was pretty gross, but kind of fun," said Kuntzelman, of Edgewater. "It's a big, nasty-a-- creek, but there are a lot of carp in there. I've always been of the persuasion that if there's water, and there's fish, I can fly-fish there, and I'll find a way."
Kuntzelman, 33, a longtime Chicago resident, felt there were other city dwellers out there just like him. Three years ago, he started the "Chi-Tie" club, where, once a month, people tie fly-fishing flies while drinking beers at a city establishment. The next meeting is at 6:30 p.m. March 14 at Galway Bay, 500 W. Diversey Pkwy.
The club started with three members, but it has about two dozen now. Most of men are in their mid-30s, hailing from Lakeview, Logan Square and other North Side neighborhoods.
"It's a good excuse to hang out with other fly fishermen, talk fishing and have a few beers," said Kuntzelman, a machinist who makes instruments for the physics and chemistry departments at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "There are several suburban clubs, and it was hard for us to get to the suburbs from Downtown in rush hour. We're just trying to build a Chicago fly-fishing community."
Kuntzelman said he hasn't picked up a traditional spin rod in six years. He commutes by bike to UIC, and, when weather permits, he'll stop at Lake Michigan's Belmont and Diversey harbors on the way home to fish.
He also owns a canoe, from which he'll fly-fish as he floats on the Chicago River and other local waterways.
And Kuntzelman said Chicago is a mostly untapped market for fly fishermen.
"People are stuck on going to pretty places like Wisconsin or farther north," he said. "They tend to ignore the city."
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