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Four ways to beat $4 gas

June 01, 2008 at 04:12 AM

Are gas prices making you think twice about fishing?

You’re not alone. Bait shops agree fishing traffic is down so far this spring. One cause is the rash of rainy, chilly weather. But another reason anglers have yet to wet a line is the sticker shock of $4-per-gallon gas.

So maybe this isn’t the time to haul the family north for a fishing trip. That doesn’t mean you have to let dust accumulate on your rod. Here are four ways for anglers to beat the soaring costs of gas.

Fish local

No, we don’t have the pine trees or scenery of the Northwoods. But we’ve got very good fishing within a half-tank of home. Bob Fernetti is proof.

Fishing last Saturday in a tournament on the south end of Spring Lake, Fernetti caught and released the bass of a lifetime. His 25-inch, 9-pound, 12-ounce lunker is yet another in a series of huge bass to come out of south Spring Lake.

Unlike previous wall hangers from the past few years, Fernetti is no savvy tournament veteran. He’s a guy from Havana who was tossing a chartreuse spinnerbait in a good location.

His previous big bass was a 4-pounder caught by accident while catfishing in a strip mine.

“I don’t bass fish a lot and at first I thought I had a log,” he said. “And when I first got her her close to the boat I thought it was a carp. I’d never seen a bass that big before.”

Few have. But if Fernetti can, so can you. Right now Spring Lake is as good a bet as any for bass, plentiful bluegill and catfish (which should bite all summer).

Here are 10 more local lakes that offer good fishing and decent scenery.

Boat: 1. Banner Marsh (bass); 2. Argyle Lake near Macomb (catfish, saugeye, crappie); 3. McMaster Lake at Snakeden Hollow (muskie, walleye); 4. Double T near Canton (bass, muskie); 5. Fulton County Recreation Area (panfish, bass).

Bank: 1. Eureka Lake (bass, bluegill); 2. Hennepin Canal (bluegill, bass, walleye); 3. Anderson Lake (catfish); 4. Dawson Lake near LeRoy (bass, saugeye); 5. Snakeden Hollow walk-ins (bluegill, catfish).

Find freebies

Cutting down on other costs lets you spend a bit more to fish. A prime example is the upcoming Free Fishing Weekend. From Friday through June 9 you don’t need a license to fish. And there are events catering to kids all over Illinois.

Some offer instruction. Some have free food. Most provide giveaways and a good chance to catch fish. That can make for an inexpensive but memorable day with the kids.

Several good events are scheduled for this Saturday.

  • At Fulton County Recreation Area near St. David, admission is free 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. along with prizes, food and seminars. Call (309) 668-2931.
  • At McNaughton Park in Pekin, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call (309) 495-4734.
  • At Miller Park in Bloomington, 8 a.m. Call (309) 827-7988.
  • At I&M Canal Lock 14 in LaSalle, 8-11 a.m. Call (815) 223-3671 or 223-2382.
  • At Reed City Lake near Mapleton, 8:30-11 a.m. Call (309) 635-4154.
  • At Beardstown’s Hard Road Ditch, 8-9:30 a.m. Call (217) 323-2555.

On June 14 there’s an 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. event at a prime Wildlife Prairie Park lake. Call (309) 676-0998, Ext. 6758.

As more events are scheduled, we’ll list them Sundays in the Out & About section.

Snag a carp

Want to fight the biggest fish of your life? For many people the best opportunity to do that is not by heading for Minnesota, Wisconsin or even the Atlantic Ocean.

Just go to the Illinois River below Peoria Lock and Dam, where the wicket dam went up Friday for the first time in months. Snagging is legal year-round below Peoria Lock and Dam. While action will be slow this week, Asian carp will gradually mass below the dam.

As they do you should be able to snag a silver carp or bighead with every other cast. But be ready. These carp will fight harder than any other freshwater fish in Illinois.

Paddle or wade

What better way to save gas money than to idle your motor and paddle a canoe or wade a stream with rod in hand.

People who travel to fish often do so because of the scenery. Streams in central Illinois are as close as we come to scenic. And thanks to all the rain we should have plenty of water for the forseeable future.

The Mackinaw River is one great spot for paddlers and waders. So is the Spoon River and several other smaller creeks (if you can get access). Canoes also work well in weedy strip mines and farm ponds or on smaller bodies of water like the Hennepin Canal.

There’s even a canoe outing on the Mackinaw Saturday, starting at the Comlara Park visitor center. Cost is $20 for canoe and shuttle. Call (309) 726-2022, Ext. 221.

While stream fishing has been slow so far, warm weather should make smallmouth bass and channel catfish easier to find and more apt to bite. Best of all you can catch those fish while admiring tree-lined streambanks — and still have enough gas to get home.

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Or…Quit voting for Democrats to run things here in Illinois…Democrats = HIGHER Taxes. We pay to much in tax and as a result we have higher gas prices.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/01 at 09:16 PM

Ridiculous.  You can acuse Blago of a lot of things, but he has consistently resisted tax increases.  To my memory, the highest the national debt has been in the last 30 years (and probably ever) is under Bush jr. and Reagan.  Be fair.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/02 at 08:52 AM

JeffM - Are you serious???? Blago has done nothing but raise permits/license prices since he has been in office. Not just in the DNR either. It’s been all over. He has driven trucking companies to set up shop in neighboring states because of the increase in permits/licenses. How much are you paying now for your car/truck/boat for registration compared to before??? Hope you don’t have a vanity plate! Any time government increases mandatory fees it’s a TAX. Blago is THE worse governor that this state has ever seen. Not only has he raised fees for sportmen, he has raided DNR monies for his “projects” and now the DNR is strapped. You should be furious as this is money that you and I paid for the purpose of hunting/fishing and outdoor sports. He basically stole money from IL sportmen. I just can’t believe people were dumb enough to vote this loser in for a second term!!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/02 at 09:07 AM

IT’s the American way of consuming anything and everything that has the most to do with high gas prices.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/02 at 09:38 AM

TC is right.  But….with all the fees that he has raised, all the special funds he has raided, and all the agencies has has cut, it still is not enough money to pay for his social programs.  My fear:  a new governor will have no choice but to raise our taxes, a tax raise along with this governor’s fee increase, i.e. camping fees (and higher food and gas prices) will make it very hard to keep living in this state.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/02 at 10:22 AM

Jeff M must be a blinded individual by the party he belongs to.  It is time for our governments to stop thinking they can subsidize for the poor and the elderly. The old people have done a crappy job at saving for retirement in their own private accounts, and 75% of the poor are lazy and don’t deserve our money.

Also, fellas…. an old timer once told me, “gas is like sex, no matter what, you still gotta have it, so quit complaining”

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/02 at 06:06 PM

Interestingly, I stated Blago has resisted raising taxes, four people have responded to my post, and no one has identified a tax that has increased.  As for TC’s post, user fees are not taxes.  Either you can tax and subsidize or pay your own way.  If you are paying a user fee, your paying your own way.  For example, the increase in camping fees was to cover the actual cost of electricity.  This is not a tax, its simply paying for what you are using.  If you don’t subsidize such costs, you have to raise user fees.  We all know that inflation, even minimal, causes things to get more expensive.
  By the way, as for Blago, I’m not a fan, just using him for an example.  The controlled pheasant hunting situation really does make me furious.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/03 at 10:03 AM

Jeff, you are dead wrong. And since you think fee’s are different from taxes (I lump them in the same freakin bucket), lets talk about the tax increases ole blagojevich wants.
First, he has proposed a tax increase of 7.1 billion on Illinois businesses, which would make illinois the 9th highest taxed state in the union. Also, this tax isn’t something you notice because it is hidden in business tax, but it still affects you.
Also, all this dude wants to do is raise more taxes and fees on licenses, tollways, and basic government services. 
I could go on and on and on and on and on and on.

Also, I have one question for you… are sales and property taxes actually a tax? or are they a fee? my answer is it doesnt matter what you call them, all i hear is a loud sucking sound coming from my wallet to springfield

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/03 at 06:32 PM

Jeff M,

Take the blinders off! I can’t believe that you feel a mandated “fee” as you call it isn’t the same as a tax! What about the mandated license increase Blago instituted for all wastewater treatment plants in Illinois? This hit cities totally out of the blue and it was mandated that cities pay it. This was also after budgets were done and it became an unbudgeted item for the cities. Where did they get the extra money for this fee??? Either raising rates for wastewater treatment or increase taxes. Even though you don’t feel that Blago has increased taxes, the poor decisions he has made has led to more increases for everyone living and doing business in this state! I guess I think different in that any increased fee is a “tax”. What happened to our “user fees” from the DNR that Blago raided to put in the general fund and lumped it in with tax money there??? Apparantly he feels the same way
since he took user fees and mixed them in with tax dollars. People need to wake up and shouldn’t listen to what a politician says, but rather watch what they do. Just because Blago claims to never raised taxes, look at what he has done. What if Blago instituted a $2500 “air license” that everyone had to have to breathe the air of Illinois, would you be OK with it? After all it’s only a user fee…..TC

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/05 at 10:24 AM

Ok, first of all, I’ve said you can accuse Blago of a lot of things, that I’m not particularly a fan, and that I was using him as an example.  The point of my first post was to respond to the original point, “Democrats = HIGHER Taxes.”  I get sick of the Republican party claiming to be the party of fiscal discipline, but every time they are running things, the deficit goes through the roof.  Yes, Democrats spend too much money; to my memory, Repulicans spend a heck of a lot too.  The best shape I recall the economy being in in my lifetime is under the Clinton administration (with Greenspan plus a hostile congress). 
  As for fees versus taxes, I’ll try to be a little clearer.  I tried to exemplfy, writing “the increase in camping fees was to cover the actual cost of electricity.”  In other words, when you pay for the cost of what you are using, its a fee.  A “$2500 ‘air license’ ” would not be a fee, regardless of how it was labeled, because air does not cost $2500.  However, the electricity a camper uses at a campsite may cost an extra $5 these days.  I don’t know about the accuracy of the number, but it doesn’t seem completely far fetched.
  As for the mandated fee on waste water plants, sounds like a disguised tax.  Labels don’t matter; its what the amount represents.  As for the wasy that fee was implimented, like I said, “You can acuse Blago of a lot of things” . . .
  Have a good weekend you all, enough of this, going fishing.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/06 at 07:14 AM

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