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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

Emiquon bass biting well

April 05, 2010 at 03:49 PM

The bass are biting at the Emiquon Preserve near Havana.

No shock there, I suppose, but you never know for sure. There was always a chance they might not hit as well as last year, when anglers regularly reported 100-fish outings.

No need for worry says my buddy The Farmer, who fished for three hours this morning with his wife and boated about 65 bass—the longest of which went 16 inches.

“It was typical Emiquon fishing,” he said. “Fantastic. If you are a meat fisherman you won’t like it, but I can catch these fat bass all day.”

That’s pretty much what they did, fishing first with purple or pink spinnerbaits and later with plastic worms and salamanders after the spinnerbaits stopped working.

“We probably didn’t get more than 200 yards from the launch the whole day,” Farmer said. “And the bass are bigger and heftier than last year. This year you’ll catch 13- to 15-inch bass that will try to take your pole away.”

But not everything is perfect at Emiquon.

The main drawback right now is very high water that has flooded the old rock parking lot. Instead of parking in the lot, anglers are forced to park on the ramps leading down to the lake. Farmer said several anglers launched smaller boats on Monday with success, but he noted, “There’s not much room to turn around.”

The Nature Conservancy said it plans to draw down water levels as soon as possible, but so far has had only limited success.

As a result, areas that last year were just 1 feet deep are now 5-6 feet deep. “But the water is still nice and clear,” Farmer said.

And the bass are still biting.

As for other species, well the Farmer never caught anything but bass. “But I never tried for anything else,” he said.


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Illinois hunting and fishing

Aiming for a picture a day

April 05, 2010 at 09:33 AM

Years ago I had a chance to interview famed nature photographer Jim Brandenburg about his unique book “Chased By The Light.”

For 90 days in the fall of 1994, Brandenburg took only one picture per day. Illinois hunting and fishingHe captured some amazing images during that span ... and a few he wished had been better. One of the fascinating parts of the book for me were his descriptions of the pictures and how hard he worked to get the perfect shot each day. The overall idea was cool enough that it has generated many imitations in the years since. In fact, Brandenburg did the same thing in a 2003 book, “Looking for the Summer.”

Anyway, while mired in a funk recently I decided to tackle something remotely similar, albeit much less difficult and undoubtedly less impressive.

For the next year I hope to post an outdoors-related picture every day to my Scattershooting blog. Understand, I’m not going to limit myself to taking only one picture per day. But I will post just one picture per day.

Now this is certainly not a novel idea, as there are plenty of Web folks who have already tackled this concept. Click here to read a page that gives advice on how to pull this off.

But I need something to get me energized again. There are too many negatives swirling around the world of newspapers. Careers are ending. Papers are closing. The future is in doubt. Enough said.

It’s my hope that taking pictures of the natural world will help me put that in perspective. Then too, part of my motivation for trying this is that I frequently see images I wish I had taken but failed to get because the camera was elsewhere. I am going to force myself to carry the camera everywhere this year.

Above is my first effort, dated April 5, 2010. This pair of Canada geese was feeding in a small pond located near the corner of Heinz Road and U.S. Route 150. Look for plenty more goose pictures in the weeks to come, since I enjoy watching these big birds as they prepare to nest and raise their goslings.

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