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Jeff Lampe
Jeff Lampe

Jeff Lampe has been outdoor writer at the Journal Star in Peoria for 12 duck seasons. He lives in Elmwood with his wife Monica, sons Henry, Victor and Walter, and Llewellin setter Hawkeye. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., he is an avid fan of the Bills and still has mental scars from four consecutive Super Bowl losses. Outside of hunting and fishing, Lampe's main passion in Illinois was Class A boys basketball (which sadly no longer exists). Former publisher of the Class A Weekly newsletter, Lampe is a co-author of "100 Years of Madness" and "Classical Madness," both books focusing on prep basketball in Illinois.

Illinois Outdoors


A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Illinois hunting and fishing

Bluegill red hot in the strip mines

May 24, 2010 at 03:32 PM

If you’ve got a good spot to catch bluegill, take Tuesday off from work. Or get out this evening. Or Wednesday. Just don’t wait too long because the big bluegill are headed to the beds and biting like mad.

At least they were this morning in the 20-acre, deep, clear, Peoria County strip-mine lake I fished with Journal Star opinion page guru Mike Bailey (pictured below with a nice gill).

We caught about 60 bluegill, redear and crappie. Of those I’d say probably 50 were bluegill. Nice ones, too. Lots of 9-inch males in bright colors and a pair of fish that topped 10 inches.

Bailey had not been fishing in years but showed that he still had skills. Seems to me he caught more fish than the old veteran JS sports reporter Phil Theobald did in the same lake. Dare I say Bailey could outfish Theobald? Well, anybody could have looked good today.

Just to recap: the bluegills are up on the beds and biting. Now is a good time to get out of work and go fishing.

The only other point worth making off today’s trip is this: Bailey caught a lot more fish when he downsized hooks to a small, 2-spot ice-fishing jig. If he would have started with that jig on, we’d still be cleaning fish.

Illinois hunting and fishing


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