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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

Of bass, bucks, raspberries and more

June 14, 2009 at 02:45 PM

Rambling through the outdoors wondering how vacation can pass so quickly.


Despite an influx of muddy water and grumbling about tough limits, Bassmaster Elite Series pros weighed some nice sacks at the River Rumble on Pool 19 of the Mississippi River. I’ll take Randy Howell’s opening day five of 16 pounds, 4 ounces anytime. Action concludes today with the top 12 to weigh-in at 4 p.m. at Riverview Park in Fort Madison, Iowa. TV coverage airs Saturday at 8 a.m. on The Bassmasters. ... Those who can’t make the tourney still have a chance to chat with top bass pros Denny Brauer, Shaw Grigsby, Gary Klein, Tommy Biffle, Matt Herren, Mark Davis, Mike McClelland, Jeff Kriet, Jared Lintner, Jason Quinn and Scott Suggs. Bass promoter Terry Brown of Normal arranged for those elite anglers to be on hand Monday from 5-8 p.m. at Sam Leman Chrysler Jeep Dodge at 1602 Commerce Parkway in Bloomington. “They’ll have boats and trucks, will sign autographs, give tips and you can ask them anything you want,” said Brown, who runs the Web site and was a guiding force in this year’s first Illinois High School Association bass fishing state finals.


Don’t expect increased prices for Illinois hunting and fishing licenses, deer permits or waterfowl stamps any time soon. Legislators are not supporting of fee increases proposed by the Department of Natural Resources. DNR is still pondering a new parking fee, equestrian fee and a few other possible increases, but even those require legislative approval by the Joint Commitee on Administrative Rules. ... Former Eureka resident Les Davenport would like the DNR to limit non-resident deer hunters to one buck each fall. While impact would be largely symbolic, it would send a message that the state is managing the Illinois deer herd with Illinoisans in mind. Who knows? It might even convince a non-resident to shoot a doe. ... The head count for conservation police officers is 125. In the next three years, 30 officers are expected to retire — including local Sgt. Jim Dever. So hiring a new class of CPOs is critical. With that in mind applications are being accepted ( and testing is set for Monday to Thursday and again June 22-25. While there’s no guarantee of hiring, the state is optimistic about receiving federal grant money.


Roger Woodcock of Farmington coined a snappy new term: the Spring Slam. Since retiring after 36 years as chief administrative officer for Farmington, Woodcock has been living the outdoor dream life. His slam consisted of a 19.5-pound gobbler shot on April 24, a 3-pound bass on 4-pound test line on April 29, a mess of morels May 4 and a bucket of 15 crappie weighing 17 pounds he caught on May 5. “At a city council meeting, one of the aldermen asked me how the retirement thing was going. I replied, ‘The turkeys are gobbling, the crappie are biting, the mushrooms are popping and the beer is cold.’ ” Man, retirement sure sounds good. ... On a more sobering note, word is Siloam Springs State Park is one of several sites in Illinois that has had problems with the white pine weevil, yet another tree pest endangering our forests. ... Speaking of weevils, Our Neighbor Ash sez he had an encounter with a cougar the other day but she turned him down.


Wet weather has caused headaches for farmers all spring and promises to cause headaches for deer hunters who don’t have a strategy for hunting standing corn this fall. Because you can be sure we’ll see standing corn through bow season and into gun season. As of June 7 only 73 percent of corn planted had emerged compared to 96 percent on average. And corn stood 7 inches compared to the usual 15 inches while only 23 percent of beans were up compared to the norm of 76 percent. ... Peoria Bass 25 guru Doug Starr is touting Mill Creek Lake in southeast Illinois as a fall fishing destination once pleasure boat season ends. Despite ample traffic last weekend, a Bass 25 angler caught an 8-pound bass in practice and someboday added a 5.9-pounder in the tournament. Add in ample catfish, muskie (a 51-incher was caught Memorial Day weekend), stripers, clean rental cabins, plenty of docks and decent crappie and you’ve got a 811-acre lake worth driving three hours to visit come fall. ... Parting shot: While it’s still early, the time has come to check raspberry patches — and to wreck another diet plan. Next to rhubarb pie and chocolate cake, my favorite sweet treat is fresh black raspberries over vanilla ice cream.


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Flathead's Picture of the Week :: Big bucks :: Birdwatching :: Cougars :: Dogs :: Critters :: Fishing :: Asian carp :: Bass :: Catfish :: Crappie :: Ice :: Muskie :: Humor :: Hunting :: Deer :: Ducks :: Geese :: Turkey :: Upland game :: Misc. :: Mushrooms :: Open Blog Thursday :: Picture A Day 2010 :: Plants and trees :: Politics :: Prairie :: Scattershooting :: Tales from the Trail Cams :: Wild Things ::

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