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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

Wild Things 3-8-09

March 08, 2009 at 04:32 AM

Giant sycamore leaf

Anyone who has a sycamore tree in their yard can tell tales about large leaves from these trees. Few can top the leaf that bonked Alan Cotton in the head last November while he was walking through his Spring Bay yard.

Cotton said the leaf (pictured above) was 21 inches wide and tall. “I’ve seen them as large as a dinner plate before, but this was twice that size,” Cotton said.

Emiquon opener

While no firm date has yet been set, The Nature Conservancy is moving closer to opening its Emiquon Preserve to fishing. Jason Beverlin of The Nature Conservancy said the plan at present is to open the 2,000-acre restored wetland “sometime in April.”

“We’ve still got work to do, but I think we’ll be ready to open” in April, Beverlin said.

There will be no bank fishing allowed once the site opens and boats will be limited to electric motors only. We’ll keep you posted on future plans to fish this lake, which has the potential to be one of the best public bass fisheries in central Illinois.

Tip of the week

Two to three hours after sunset today will be the best time to view the ringed planet Saturn, which will be 780 miles from Earth — the closest it comes all year. Look to the east sky to see the planet.


Millions of dollars Illinois receives in 2009 from the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act for conservation and education.

Paying their way

Hunters, shooters and anglers continue to pay their way. Last year hunters, shooters and archers paid a record $336 million in excise taxes under the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act. Since 1939 Pittman-Robertson has generated $5.6 billion for wildlife conservation.

Illinois will also receive $8.1 million this year from the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act. Overall anglers paid out $273 million in fishing-related excise taxes in 2008.

Fishing guide

The 2009 Illinois Fishing Information guide is available and includes a few minor changes for area lakes that take effect April 1.

  • Anglers at Dawson Lake will this year be limited to 15 crappie per day.
  • Lake Bloomington has a daily limit of 25 bluegill/redear of any size.
  • Anglers at Snakeden Hollow who use live bait larger than 8 inches must use a quick-set rig.
  • Anglers are not allowed to fish within 250 yards of waterfowl blinds that are owned or maintained by the Department of Natural Resources.
  • Lake Shelbyville has a limit of 15 crappie per day: five under 10 inches and 10 over 10 inches.

    Wild on the Web

    Long-time blogger J.R. Absher — who runs the — has a new companion site. Absher’s newest offering is called Slugs & Plugs and offers another good site to surf for outdoors information.

    Kudos corner

    The Illini Muskies Alliance is spending more than $1,000 to buy two pumps for the muskie rearing ponds at Jake Wolf Fish Hatchery in Manito.

    Turkey tags

    Click here to take part in random daily drawings for remaining spring turkey hunting permits that start Monday.


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