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

April 11: Picture of the Day

April 11, 2010 at 07:17 PM

Fishing today was fairly slow. a few bluegill. A few small bass. One 12-inch walleye. But the bay that had yielded so many crappie and bluegill earlier in the week produced very little this afternoon. Maybe by the end of the week.

Most productive today was seining the spillway below Gordon Inskeep’s small lake. We managed to net a tidy bucket full of minnows and left plenty behind for seed later this spring. No need to go buy minnows when there’s a supply like this readily available.

Next time I hope the crappie bite as well as the minnows seine.

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Illinois hunting and fishing

Wild Things 4-11-10

April 11, 2010 at 05:27 AM

Outdoors answers

Q: “I had a lady tell me her husband hit a large, white wolf in December on his way back from Chicago. She told us her husband hit this wolf on U.S. 34 between Galesburg and Monmouth. Is this possible? Are there wolves in west-central Illinois? I would like to know as I have children and family that hunt, fish and camp.”
— Ray McIntire, Oquawka

A: Yes it’s possible someone hit a wolf in Illinois. Since January, at least three credible reports of large canines surfaced out of northern Illinois, including one trail-cam picture. Since 2001 Illinois has had at least four confirmed wolves.

But I certainly wouldn’t stop your family from getting outside in fear of a wandering wolf.

Morel update

The question is on the lips of mushroom hunters everywhere: “Finding any yet?” One of the best places to find an answer is on the Internet. Visit the Illinois forum on and you’ll get updates and pictures every day about who is finding what morels in different parts of the state.

So far in central Illinois, most common finds have been small gray morels of 2 inches or less.

Turkey time

Wild turkey hunting season opens Monday in the North Zone and runs for five segments through May 13. Hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to 1 p.m. On state sites that allow turkey hunting, mushroom hunters are asked to delay searching for morels until after 1 p.m.

Dips of the week

Last Monday Cleveland police officers somehow mistook a women’s dead body along Interstate 90 for a deer. The officers, who later expressed remorse, sent a highway crew to collect what they called a deer carcass.

Critter corner

Researchers discovered a new species of giant lizard in forested mountains of the Philippines. The 6.5-foot-long golden-spotted monitor lizard is closely related to another monitor but feeds on fruits rather than carcasses, as do most monitors.

Researchers first spotted the lizard on the main island of Luzon after seeing local Agta tribesmen carrying one. Zoologist Eric R. Pianka called the news “a spectacular discovery.”

This ‘n that

Evergreen Lake produced another fish that would qualify as a state record if caught by an angler. Trap nets yielded a muskie that topped 40 pounds last Thursday. See pictures at ... Pottstown 3-D Range ( is open every Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to noon through September. Cost is $10 for 40 targets. New trails are open. ... South Dakota pheasant season will run Oct. 16 to Jan. 2, 2011 with a daily bag of three roosters.


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