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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

Ending at Emiquon in style

October 02, 2009 at 07:18 AM

If Wednesday was my last fishing trip to Emiquon for the year, I can comfortably say my season out there ended well.

Fishing buddy Gordon Inskeep and I had planned the trip for weeks and were originally supposed to fish all day Monday. A forecast calling for 30 mph winds changed all that. So we opted instead for Wednesday and it worked out perfectly. The weather was gorgeous, we were first on the water and we wound up catching close to 150 bass. The only drawback was that none of them topped 15 inches. Sizes were better overall, but we still did not manage a real lunker.

The highlight of our outing, though, had to be catching two bass on one lure. Both Gordon and I pulled off the trick, as you can see in the pictures. His double is above. Mine is below. This is not unique to us, though. Everybody who fishes crankbaits at Emiquon seems to have the same story. That includes Fred Lantz of Elmwood, who loaned us the boat we used Wednesday. I’ve got a picture of his double to post at a later date.

I’m not going to go on at length about Emiquon for fear of angering selfish people who want it for themselves. But I will make this point once again: If you can go someplace, catch more than 100 fish and get doubles on one lure, there sure must be plenty of largemouths around.

Incidentally, our best action was in 6-8 feet of water on the sides of ditches. Crankbaits were best, particularly white and gray colors. Sexy Shad was also a good option. And I caught several fish on Rat-L-Traps. Eventually we slowed down and caught fish on tubes, Senkos and plastic worms—not as fast and furious as on the crankbaits, but after awhile you get tired of dealing with all those hooks. My fingers have holes in them everywhere. When the fish are biting as well as they were Wednesday, it’s nice to just have a single hook to navigate around.

Then again, it’s also kind of nice to catch two fish on one lure.

Illinois hunting and fishing

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Illinois hunting and fishing

Pike are truly prehistoric, with pix

October 02, 2009 at 06:18 AM

Ever wonder if northern pike are prehistoric? Flathead came through with all the evidence you need in this picture of a truly ugly pike sampled from Lake Candlewick on Sept. 9 during a routine fall population assessment.

Flathead called it “the ugliest northern pike I have ever seen. The eye on this side had an incredible wicked glow!”

While this one is an ugly rascal, I can tell you that fishing for northern pike ranks as one of my favorite angling pastimes. Maybe if I lived up north where they are pests I would feel differently. But since there are such limited opportunities for northerns here in Illinois, they represent a trophy to me.

And now should be a good time to target pike, which will be putting on the feed bag for fall. Hmmm. Maybe a trip to Spring Lake south is in order?

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