Illinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
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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
 

Scattershooting

A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Illinois Outdoors

A not-so-big blue catfish

May 19, 2008 at 08:57 AM

How much difference does hot water make to fish growth? Well, consider Flathead’s Picture of the Week (above) of Dustin Seidel, a summer intern with the Department of Natural Resources Division of Fisheries. The blue cat Seidel is holding weighs 11 pounds and came out of Canton Lake on May 16, 2008 during an annual electrofishing survey at the lake. This blue cat was stocked at Canton Lake from 1999-2001, at about the same time blue cats were stocked into Powerton Lake and LaSalle Lake, power plant cooling lakes. Anglers in those last two lakes are catching blue cats above 30 pounds.

Yet as Flathead points out, “The growth rate for blue catfish in Canton Lake is normal, not like the incredible growth rates seen in the warm-water lakes like Powerton or Lasalle Lake.”

Warm water makes big fish.

One other side note about Canton Lake. Flathead reports that as of May 16, “crappie and bass have not spawned and were still holding in deeper water.”

Hmm. Might be worth a visit to Canton Lake soon. Just don’t forget to buy a boat sticker, which are available at the campground on the lake.

Story and comments
Illinois Outdoors

A gorgeous spotted gar

May 14, 2008 at 11:45 AM

Due to technical difficulties (in other words, I went fishing Monday instead of coming into the office) Flathead’s Picture of the Week was delayed a few days. But fear not, as always our famed photographer has provided a picture.

This week’s shot shows the teeth of a large spotted gar collected from the drainage ditch at Spring Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area by IDNR fish biologists. This fish was stocked into the new Emiquon Preserve water area near Havana. The spotted gar perfers water areas with submerged aquatic vegetation and clear water. One of the goals for the Emiquon preserve is to create a diverse native fishery that once existed in the Illinois River valley backwater lakes. 

Do you think next week’s picture from Flathead will be of him with the big gobbler he shot in Peoria County?

Story and comments
Illinois Outdoors

Eureka Lake bass are plump

May 05, 2008 at 06:34 AM

This week’s edition of Flathead’s Picture of the Week shows fisheries biologist Wayne Herndon and his son Christopher after the annual Lake Eureka shocking survey on May 2, 2008. Wayne is holding a 7- and 5.5-pound largemouth bass, underlining what the survey showed once again. Eureka Lake has a strong bass population. The other highlights of the survey was a very strong white crappie population from 7 to 9 inches with a few fish up to 1.5 pounds.

Story and comments
Illinois Outdoors

Saugeye strong at Argyle Lake

April 28, 2008 at 03:41 AM

This edition of Flathead’s Picture of the Week proves there are some big saugeye at Argyle Lake State Park near Macomb. Above is site superintendent Robin Hinchee with a pair of big saugeye netted Wednesday. Highlights of the survey were an abundant saugeye population from 1.5 to 9.5 pounds and a healthy crappie population from 8 to 13 inches. As a reminder, the current crappie regulation is a 9-inch minimum size and 10 fish per day, daily creel limit.

Story and comments
Illinois Outdoors

A Lake Storey bounty

April 21, 2008 at 07:13 AM

Biologists used trapnets to survey Lake Storey near Galesburg on April 17, 2008. Here are some of the fish highlights from that survey, as provided in this week’s edition of FLATHEAD’S PICTURE OF THE WEEK. Pictured from left to right are John McIntosh, Jeremy Hackspacher and Brennan Jensen. John and Jeremy are high school students at Monmouth-Roseville and Brennan is a high school student at United. They were completing a high school job shadow experience with fish biologist Ken Russell. The fish pictured from the survey are an 8.6-pound walleye, 3.4-pound hybrid crappie and a pair of 7-pound channel catfish. 

Overall results from the fish survey showed that Lake Storey has a very abundant black crappie population from 7 to 8 inches long. About 1 out of every 1,000 crappie is over 1 pound. 

The walleye population is good with the majority of the fish from 1 to 5 pounds. Walleye had moved shallow last week during the netting survey.

The channel catfish population is also nice with the majority of the fish from 1 to 8 pounds.

The bluegill population is average with most of the fish under 7.5 inches.

Story and comments

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