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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

Bring on the heat, please

August 06, 2009 at 05:02 PM

Monday should have been the night. A full moon was two days away. Weather was warm and relatively stable. Surely the top-water bass bite would be strong.

“You better think of another article,” fishing buddy Gordon Inskeep said after our outing in a bass-filled Peoria County lake produced only a handful of sluggish top-water fish.

That’s been par for the course for me this year. While I love to see bass explode after buzzbaits, poppers and surface frogs, those lures have just not been very productive for me. Even the fish we do catch lack the usual explosive strikes.

Maybe the unseasonably cool weather is to blame. Maybe it’s all the rain. Whatever the case, for the first time in years I’m hoping for a string of hot, muggy, 90-degree days. I’ll gladly sweat to enjoy an evening of surface-slashing bass.

In addition to fishing top-water for largemouths, another good warm-weather plan is to wade for smallmouth bass.

High water and cool temperatures have put wade fishing on the back burner this summer. But this weekend should be an excellent time to tie on ratty sneakers and get wet.

Smallmouth guru Jonn “Stream Stalker” Graham said area creeks and rivers are finally in prime condition. Graham often fishes the Mackinaw River and offered this report: “Smallies, white bass, walleye, rock bass and drum all seem to be active,” he wrote. “Small blade baits have been stellar. And inline spinners fished around current and depth will catch everything that swims in the Mack right now.”


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