Morels popping in southern Illinois
Spring has been slow in coming this year, which has already frustrated some diehard morel mushroom hunters.
Reports of scattered black and grey morels have trickled in from southern Illinois. Click here to visit the best site to check morel reports, Morel Mania’s page devoted to the subject. There were reports last weekend of five, eight and 28 morels found in the timber in the Carbondale area.
The best report came on Sunday from near Makanda and Little Grassy Lake, where a shroomer claimed to have found “in two hours ... 28 nice brown and gray morels.” That’s probably no great surprise, since this is about the time morels should start popping according to Tom Nauman of Morel Mania. Now we’ve just got to hope the ground warms up and gets mushrooms popping through the leaves, like the little fellow at right. This picture and the one atop the page were submitted by photographer Gretchen Steele.
Once temperatures stabilize and warmer weather arrives, the morel motherlode can’t be far away.
Certainly it won’t be long now before someone e-mails with a picture like this one, taken May 2, 2007 after the Girone family (Mark, father Michael and Katharine Rose) found 345 morels in Marshall County in four hours of walking.
Certainly there should be plenty of moisture. Even prior to the recent rains, Nauman (based out of central Illinois) commented on April 3:
“I’m anticipating a good, if not great, morel crop here locally. Our ground is saturated with moisture. It seemed like we had snow or rain every three or four days this winter and early spring. The best part is that it melted slowly and soaked into the ground without a lot of run off. Our lowlands and river bottoms may be too wet, but elsewhere should be super. The first Sighting of the year ever reported in our area was on March 31, 1998, the year of EL Nino. Of course what happens in the next few weeks in regards to the weather is critical. The weatherman is calling for high temperatures in the upper 50’s and low 60’s for the next week with possibly several days of rain. I fully expect reports from the Springfield, Decatur, and Champaign latitude late next week. As long as we keep getting rain and the temperature doesn’t get too warm too fast, we’ll have a good year.”
Give us a few warmer days and we can all start to experience the sight that prompted Jeff Nolan to take this picture a few years back.