Illinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
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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
 

Scattershooting

A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Illinois hunting and fishing

Illinois River amazingly fertile

July 27, 2009 at 09:09 PM

While Asian carp have overrun the Illinois River, they have not run out every other species of fish.

It is an amazing testament to the fertility of the Illinois River that there remain as many other fish swimming in its waters as there are. Monday morning I spent time with fisheries biologists Ken Russell, Wayne Herndon and Rob Hilsabeck during an annual sample on the Illinois River at Henry and at Lacon. In 22 minutes of electroshocking at Henry, we netted 29 different species—many of them in excellent body condition.

Yes, far too many of them were Asian carp like these, many of which jumped into our boat.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Illinois hunting and fishing

To me, it would seem like all those carp would move everybody else out of the river. Surely there can’t be enough food for all these fish plus the native species. And there’s no doubt some species are suffering. The biologists all agreed that gizzard shad just aren’t found in the same abundance they once were.

Herndon said the river used to be filled with 7- and 11-inch gizzard shad this time of year. Not any more. We saw only one large shad and this group of smaller fish near Henry. That’s worrisome.

Illinois hunting and fishing

But there was also good news in the survey, news that I’m writing more about for this Sunday’s paper (and for PSO). So I’m not going to say much about it. I’ll just leave you with a picture to set the scene.

Illinois hunting and fishing

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