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Jeff Lampe
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 Outdoors

Bluegill on beds in the rain

May 27, 2008 at 02:41 PM

At first this morning, the bass were biting and the bluegill were finicky. So finicky they would not even eat crickets, one of the first times I’ve encountered that.

But as long as I can catch chunky 19-inch fish like the one above (on a Mann’s Hard Nose senko), bass fishing is fun. This fish was on a bed in 5 feet of water and first slapped at my Senko. Next time I let her have it and set the hook. And this fish was not alone. There were plenty of bass on beds in the lakes we fished.

Not so bluegill. At least not in the morning. But after a few hours of catching bass with Gordon Inskeep in a weedy strip-mine lake near Middle Grove, I made the mistake of catching a crappie. From that point forward, I fished a tiny Road Runner with a black and chartreuse tube jig and wax worm. And the bluegill started biting.

They started biting despite a cold rain that had mist forming on the warmer lake water. And despite a cold front that had us bundled up.

By the time we left the bluegill were actively guarding beds. I think they feel like they’ve waited long enough and the time is here to spawn.

So while we passed several unoccupied beds, we found plenty of bedding bluegill and redear from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. If weather stabilizes at all this week, which looks unlikely, bluegill fishing should be very good. And you can bet I’m going to give them one more try one of these days.


  • Spring Lake yielded a 9-pound, 12-ounce largemouth bass to a tournament angler on Saturday. He was fishing a spinnerbait on the south end. More details as we learn them.
  • I heard reports of several nice catches of bass (numbers) and bluegill (numbers) in lakes over the past weekend. I guess despite the rainy weather, fish were biting. But only four legal fish were weighed Monday night at Presley’s Outdoors tournament out of Banner Marsh (East Point Access).



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