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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

Emiquon bass biting well

April 05, 2010 at 03:49 PM

The bass are biting at the Emiquon Preserve near Havana.

No shock there, I suppose, but you never know for sure. There was always a chance they might not hit as well as last year, when anglers regularly reported 100-fish outings.

No need for worry says my buddy The Farmer, who fished for three hours this morning with his wife and boated about 65 bass—the longest of which went 16 inches.

“It was typical Emiquon fishing,” he said. “Fantastic. If you are a meat fisherman you won’t like it, but I can catch these fat bass all day.”

That’s pretty much what they did, fishing first with purple or pink spinnerbaits and later with plastic worms and salamanders after the spinnerbaits stopped working.

“We probably didn’t get more than 200 yards from the launch the whole day,” Farmer said. “And the bass are bigger and heftier than last year. This year you’ll catch 13- to 15-inch bass that will try to take your pole away.”

But not everything is perfect at Emiquon.

The main drawback right now is very high water that has flooded the old rock parking lot. Instead of parking in the lot, anglers are forced to park on the ramps leading down to the lake. Farmer said several anglers launched smaller boats on Monday with success, but he noted, “There’s not much room to turn around.”

The Nature Conservancy said it plans to draw down water levels as soon as possible, but so far has had only limited success.

As a result, areas that last year were just 1 feet deep are now 5-6 feet deep. “But the water is still nice and clear,” Farmer said.

And the bass are still biting.

As for other species, well the Farmer never caught anything but bass. “But I never tried for anything else,” he said.



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