Illinois Outdoors at
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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

Ice is nice in Illinois

January 20, 2009 at 03:46 PM

This is no year to have dull blades on your ice auger.

That’s the conclusion after an outing today to a Knox County strip mine lake. After laboring to drill through 8 inches time and time again, I realize it’s high time to visit Presley’s Outdoors to pick up new auger blades. Because there should be ample opportunity to use the auger this winter. At least in terms of ice, this is shaping up to be one of the better hard-water fishing seasons in a long time.

The ice is so safe that more and more first-timers are showing an interest. Today brought a chance to introduce Gordon Inskeep to ice fishing for the first time. A diehard bass angler and coach of the Elmwood bass fishing team, Inskeep naturally caught a bass as his first hard-water fish. In fact, he caught three green fish—hooking almost as many bass as bluegill.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Overall, though, the bite was fairly slow. Fish would hit in spurts and then shut off. We finished with about 20 fish, including several pesky green sunfish. All in all, not a great haul. But the sun was shining, the wind was blocked by the high sides of the lake and there was enough ice to make even a chicken like me feel safe. The plan is to clean the fish as soon as I get done typing and fry them up tonight for our Men’s Club meeting (the menu also includes duck gumbo from Chef Rusty).

The other good news is that waxworms are back in stock in many Peoria shops. While mousies worked fine today, I’d prefer a waxie.

Illinois hunting and fishing

So if you’ve ever considered ice fishing, this is the year to get out and give it a try. There’s plenty of ice and should be for several days, if not weeks. Just make sure your auger is sharp.

And be on the lookout for this rascal we ran into. Ice fishing is so good this year, even raccoons are giving it a try.

Illinois hunting and fishing


Story and comments

Making light of our crooked governors

January 20, 2009 at 07:43 AM

Here are a few attempts at making light of our crooked governors.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Illinois hunting and fishing

Story and comments

Deer population control, in Canada

January 20, 2009 at 07:38 AM

Ours is not the only government entity grappling with what it sees as an overpopulation of deer.

Here’s a short story from the Toronto Star. Note the spelling of favorable.

Expanded fall deer hunt proposed in Ontario

TORONTO - The Ministry of Natural Resources wants to expand the fall deer hunt season to control an exploding population.

In the past decade, says wildlife adviser Christine Curley, herd numbers have increased by as much as 25 percent in some areas.

She says deer are thriving because of more favourable winters, old farm fields growing back into young forests and other factors.

Curley says more deer equals more road crashes and crop losses so the ministry wants to add 22 new hunting regions and longer hunting periods.

For example, says Curley, an area that has a two-day season could be expanded to seven days while one-week seasons would double.

The ministry says deer reproduce quickly and one healthy herd can almost double its numbers during a favourable year.


Story and comments

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