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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.

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Scattershooting

A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Catch a cold to catch crappie

March 16, 2009 at 07:10 PM

I’m not one to advocate calling in sick when you really feel well. But if you have any vacation days to burn and you like catching crappie, Tuesday looks like a good one to avoid work in any fashion possible.

It will be warm. And if today is any indication, crappie will be biting.

Reports from Spring Lake this evening are that anglers are hauling in plenty of crappie. And the anglers don’t need boats. Fish are coming all along the road on the south lake. Fish 20 feet out from shore with a jig and bobber set 2 feet deep. Tip it with a waxworm or, better yet, a minnow. Reel in a few inches and twitch. Reel in a bit and twitch. Then be ready to land a fish.

At least that’s the way it went today at Spring Lake in Tazewell County. Spring is a shallow backwater that warms quickly. If you know similar water, I’d head there first.

But crappie were also biting fairly well in strip mines on Monday. Some sort of live bait seemed to be the key, as fish were not taking jigs alone all that well. Chef Todd reported 13 nice crappie, four or five bluegill and three bass in a few hours today. He was fishing a Fulton County strip pit and said he saw schools of fish. But he had few waxies and no minnows. “Dude, if I had minnows I’d have cleaned up,” he said. How he knows that, since he didn’t have any, I’m not sure. But I tend to agree.

Anyway, you can bet I’m finding a way to go crappie fishing Tuesday after having to work all day today.

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