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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

Morels here, but small

April 27, 2008 at 10:03 PM

Somebody called to argue with me the other day about a comment that morel season around here was behind schedule. He told me, “Why I’ve found about two dozen little greys.” So I asked, “How little?” He answered, “They were all about a half inch or so.” I thanked him for proving my point once again. See, by now there should be big greys around. But we’re behind a bit. Ask mushroomers and they’ll tell you things are slow.

State reporter Matt Buedel from the Journal Star took vacation to go shrooming. On Thursday his haul was the batch of tiny grays at right.Illinois Outdoors As he said, “I normally wouldn’t pick morels this small, but since they were the first finds of the season for me, I had to cut them.”

Undaunted, Buedel went out again Friday in Cass County. He did a little better, as you can tell from the picture below. Not a great day. Not a sack-filling day. But better than his meager haul from Thursday. As he said, “I’ve got a back pain no mushroom hunter would bemoan. Came home from Cass County last night with 250 morels, mostly half-frees, but a handful of nice-sized greys.”

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Sunday brought more of the same. People all over Elmwood were lamenting the little mushrooms they were finding and the lack of anything worth picking. But things have to get better. An e-mail late this evening brought the following words and picture from Darrin Symonds of Brimfield:

“Couldn’t agree more about your article in Sunday’s paper on morel timing this year. My 2 1/2 yr old daughter (Addie Mae Symonds, pictured below) and I have been scouting the woods for the past week. Today after viewing the picture of the GIANT mushroom she wanted to go again. So in a short trip on some property just south of Dunlap we found our very first mushrooms of the year. And yes she does know what they look like because she pointed out the first at the bottom of an elm stump. While we only found 6 total we know there coming and plan to return on Tuesday.”

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Keep the reports coming. This cold front may well delay the morels for a few more days, but sooner or later the big ones have to start popping.


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