Illinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
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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
 

Scattershooting

A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Illinois hunting and fishing

Wild Things 3-29-09

March 29, 2009 at 03:01 AM

Crappie time of year

Now is a prime time to catch crappie in Illinois, as evidenced by the 2.57-pounder pictured above. Craig Hutton of Manito caught the 18-inch slab on St. Patrick’s Day out of a small lake in Mason County. No, he did not use a green jig.

13-1

Weight in pounds and ounces of the state record bass caught in 1976.

MWC tourney

Final weigh-in for the 23rd annual MWC Walleye Tournament at Barto Landing in Spring Valley should start today at about 1 p.m. Spectators are asked to park at Hall High School and to ride a shuttle bus.

Local fish scent

Sometimes it pays to stink like garlic. At least it does for Gourmet Bait , a Springfield-based maker of fish attractants. The company has expanded to the Peoria area and according to marketing guru Dennis Medley of Morton, 4-ounce bottles of six different brews are available at Dink’s in Lewistown, Wolf Hollow Archery in Chillicothe, Ellsworth Archery in Banner, American Sport in Havana, Pleasant Hill Antique Mall in East Peoria, Smiley’s in Bloomington and Al’s Sporting Goods in Galesburg.

Visit prairiestateoutdoors.com to enter a drawing for free samples.

Trout season opens

Trout season opens at 43 sites in Illinois on Saturday including: I&M Canal in Utica, Hennepin Canal Visitor’s Center, Siloam Springs State Park, Road Pond at Jim Edgar-Panther Creek SFWA and Miller Park Lake in Bloomington. Trout anglers 16 and older need a $6.50 trout stamp and a 2009 fishing license. The daily limit is five trout. Most sites open at 5 a.m.

Tip of the week

Your 2008 hunting and fishing licenses expire Tuesday. Buy 2009 licenses at vendors, at 1-888-673-7648 or online (dnr.state.il.us).

Outdoors answers

Q: “They took the boat dock out last year at Powerton Lake. Do you know if they are going to replace it this year?”
— Robert H. Bryant Sr., Peoria
A: The old docks are battered beyond repair according to site manager Stan Weimer and there’s no money to pay for new docks. Barring a generous bass club or other charitable group, there will be no docks this year.

Birding bits

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are in southern Illinois and should be trekking to central Illinois soon. Whooping cranes are also whooping north. Birds that followed ultralight airplanes south last fall started leaving Florida this week and several other whoopers have already arrived in Wisconsin.

Camp out to camp

Saturday is the first day to reserve a camping spot at Evergreen Lake — the area’s finest campground. The event is so popular there’s a drawing at Comlara Park Visitor Center at 1 minute after midnight Saturday to determine the order people are in once sites are allocated at 8 a.m. Phone-in reservations start April 6 at (309) 726-2022, Ext. 221.

Critter corner

In the wilds of Illinois in April ...
Peak breeding for American toads.
Wood ducks and Canada geese nest.
Doves court and nest.
Walleye and muskellunge spawn.
Whip-poor-wills start calling.
Wild turkey gobbling peaks.
Whitetail bucks grow antlers.
Snipe begin courtship flights.
Coyotes and raccoons are born.

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