Illinois morel mania heating up
Morel mania is starting in earnest through more of Illinois.
While reports from southern Illinois have been trickling in daily (including the above April 7 picture of 12 morels in one cluster from Bob Creel in St. Clair County), warm weather has spurred many more fungus findings.
That finally includes central Illinois. First came the annual e-mail from Jeff and Linda Harris, showing little grey morels on a Journal Star page. This year their first find in Fulton County came on Easter Sunday.
Next came a call from John Robinson of Decatur reporting good hunting there. Robinson said the yield is even better south near St. Elmo and Lake Shelbyville where hunters found yellow morels up to 5 inches tall on Wednesday.
The Decatur Herald & Review even ran a front-page story on Phil Wright, who says he can smell morels. Writes Bob Fallstrom:
During the last two weeks, Phil Wright of Decatur emerged from the timbers down south with nearly 54 pounds.
“He’s got the nose,” his wife, Juli, said.
“I know where to go,” he said. “I start looking around Nashville in Southern Illinois and the Carlyle-Greenville area. Then I work my way north to the Vandalia area, Fillmore and Ramsey.
“Next week, I’ll search around Stonington. It will be still another week after that before the mushrooms start to appear in the immediate Decatur area.
Also on Wednesday, the Web site Morel Mania had a glowing report about yellow morels from Adams County near Quincy.
And late Thursday came a cryptic call from someone named David who said he found 11 yellows near Peoria. Cryptic because he left a phone number that’s disconnected. That’s about typical for morel hunters, who don’t tend to share more information than they must.
The Web site Morels.com had a report of several greys in the Peoria area on Thursday
With warm weather finally here and plenty of moisture in the ground, the next few weeks have the makings for a huge haul of morels. The only hunters who are out of luck this year are those who relied on the flooded Illinois and Mississippi river bottoms.
During turkey season mushroom hunters are reminded they must wait to enter the woods until after 1 p.m. on public land. That’s probably also a good idea on private ground.