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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

Scattershooting at doves, Al and carp

August 05, 2010 at 09:36 PM

Rambling through the outdoors hoping to see evidence of Al Gore’s inconvenient truth between now and Sept. 1.


Let crybabies in Michigan file lawsuits about Asian carp. Illinoisans are too busy making the most of the high-flying pests to line the pockets of lawyers. This weekend is proof positive, as Bath’s Boat Tavern holds the sixth annual Redneck Fishing Tournament and Time on the Water Marina in Spring Valley debuts Carpalooza. ... Redneck anglers can fish today from 5-7 p.m. or Saturday from 9-11 a.m., 1-3 p.m. or 5-7 p.m. The goal is to collect as many Asian carp as possible using dipnets or by enticing them to jump into your boat. Needless to say, there will be plenty of beer served, along with music, food and other fun. ... Carpalooza includes two bowfishing tournaments and an open house at Time on the Water from Saturday at 9 a.m. to Sunday at 6 p.m. Time on the Water owner Frank Hyla has really transformed the old Riverview Marine business. Stop by to check out the new archery range or visit with more than 40 archery manufacturer representatives expected.


A customer recently told Outdoor Hall of Famer Al Hayden, “The Spoon River looks like a porcupine.” Galesburg bait guru Hayden was momentarily confused until the customer explained he was referring to all the bankpoles lining Spoony. After a summer of high water, frustrated bankpolers are finally hooking into some chunky channel cats. ... Speaking of hungry bottom dwellers, water boiling into the 90s and above has not cooked blue cats at Powerton or LaSalle lakes. “Their metabolism is through the roof and they are feeding and hitting hard,” said guide Matt Jones. “They are absolutely slamming baits.” ... Pining for similarly juicy fishing tips from Minister Morris? He returns in late August after a summer of sleeping late and relaxing. Preachers have all the luck. ... The Department of Natural Resources has officially granted state record status to Washington angler Pat Crumrine’s 0.64-pound pumpkinseed out of the Emiquon Preserve and Jack Bailey’s 69-pound Kaskaskia River bighead carp.


While Tiger Woods may not supplant Jack Nicklaus as best golfer ever, there’s no similar intrigue in pro bass fishing. Kevin VanDam, 42, recently won his third straight Bassmaster Angler of the Year title and has 19 BASS wins against stiffer competition than ex-best Roland Martin, who also has 19 wins. Even at that, 20-year veteran Van Dam’s career earnings are just $4.5 million — less than journeyman golfer Bubba Watson banked the past three years on the PGA Tour while winning once. ... Showtime: Hunting, fishing and outdoor living vendors gather Saturday (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Sunday (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) at Lowderman Auction Center west of Macomb. The Outdoors Expo also features seminars by Tim Wells, Les Davenport and Dan Vinovich, a pop-up archery shoot Saturday (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.), duck and goose calling contests and more. Admission is $5 or free for ages 13 and under. Meanwhile, outdoor collectibles are the focus Sunday at Celebrations 150 Hall in Utica from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. ... The Illinois Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations is online and should be available soon through license vendors.


Disturbing? Or no big deal? In recent days I’ve seen doves bunched in flocks as large as 50 birds. That seems early to me and to former wildlife biologist Norm Emerick, who is fretting over similar sightings in Knox County. Think the gray ghosts will migrate before Sept. 1 yet again? Here’s hoping July’s warm temperatures (average of 77.7 degrees compared to 70.2 last year) continue until the dove opener. After back-to-back slow seasons, dove hunters deserve a little global warming this August. ... Speaking of doves, the Illinois Conservation Foundation has a free youth hunt (for ages 10-17) at a swanky property near Pecatonica on Sept. 4 from sunrise to 2 p.m. The same dove-filled spot will play host to a fund-raiser hunt on opening day for $250, including lunch. “Last year everyone there had their limit in an hour and a half. And last year wasn’t particularly good,” said Mark Spangler, the new ICF honcho. For details call (217) 720-4389. ... Incidentally, the Iroquois County Conservation Area topped Illinois public areas last year with 9.84 doves per hunter.


There’s still time to join the Friends of Rice Lake. So far we’ve raised more than $5,000, but memberships have slowed to a trickle. While we’d sure like to bankroll goose pits for Double T or gravel for Banner Marsh, we need your help. Learn more at or just send a check ($25 for a basic membership; $50 gets you a hat or t-shirt) to: P.O. Box 4004, Bartonville, IL 61607. ...  As if bowhunters weren’t antsy enough, resident archery deer permits went on sale Tuesday. There are also 11,348 non-resident combination permits left from an original allocation of 25,000. ... Target time: Archers seeking to hone their eye can fire away at 3-D shoots held this weekend by the Pekin Archers Saturday and Sunday (7 a.m. to noon) or the Deer Creek Legion, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days. ... The state stocked 25,000 largemouth bass in Canton Lake to supplement the population there, which is otherwise low in number and high in quality. ... Parting shot: The only worthwhile reality show on television is Benelli’s Duck Commander program.

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Saw a huge flock of doves this morning in Eastern Christian County. I would estimate 100-150 birds. One of the biggest groups I have ever seen together. Seems like they are migrating through early. They are everywhere right now.

Posted by illin on 08/06 at 08:18 AM
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