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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

Wild Things 10-04-09

October 04, 2009 at 01:49 PM


Wild turkeys shot during the 2008 fall shotgun hunting season in Illinois, which this year runs Oct. 24 to Nov. 1.

Outdoors answers

Q: “I haven’t heard or seen anything yet about this year’s fall trout season. What do you know about this? Is there going to be one? Or has Blago struck again? Last year the size was incredible, some real bruisers 17 inches and longer.”
— Jason Smolarchuk, Germantown Hills

A: Don’t panic. Fall trout season starts Oct. 17 across Illinois. Local sites being stocked with rainbow trout are: Mineral Springs Park Lagoon in Pekin, Argyle Lake, the pond at the Hennepin Canal visitor’s center, Siloam Springs State Park and Citizen’s Lake in Monmouth.

The daily limit is five trout. Anglers over 16 must have a trout stamp plus a fishing license. There’s no guarantee fish will be as big this year, though.

Did you know?

A red-breasted merganser was clocked at 100 mph while being chased by an airplane — the fastest speed ever recorded for a waterfowl.

Tip of the week

Anglers in search of fat crappie would do well to visit the south end of Spring Lake. During recent fall surveys, biologist Wayne Herndon sampled an abundance of fat slabs over 9 inches. Herndon credits a huge, late spawn of gizzard shad.

You speak

“(In regards to) your great article about Jim Zikus landing the grass carp. Hamm’s Tavern near Anderson Lake serves grass-carp sandwiches that are terrific. And by the way, this is one of the cleanest bar/eating establishments around.”
— Jean King, Creve Coeur

NOTE: Staff at Hamm’s Tavern (309-759-4100) say some customers visit strictly for the grass carp sandwiches.

Birding bits

Next Saturday is the scheduled start for this year’s airplane-led migration of 21 whooping cranes from Wisconsin to Florida. Birds are scheduled to make several stops in Illinois.

Wild on the Web

In the wake of Ken Burns’ recent documentary “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” the Sierra Club launched a new Web site. Sierra Club is also giving away a trip for two to Yosemite National Park and San Francisco. Visit the site to enter.

Kudos corner

Thanks goes to the River Valley Gobblers chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation for last summer’s Jakes Day. More than 70 youngsters attended and had a chance to fish, to shoot shotguns, rifles and bows and to learn more about the outdoors.

Critter corner

In the wilds of Illinois in October ...
Deer rut starts.
Beavers gather winter food.
Bullfrogs, woodchucks hibernate.
Peak of migration for woodcock, chimney swifts and green-winged teal.
Katydids sing in trees at night.
Snapping turtle hatchlings head for water.
Puffball mushrooms develop.
Lakes turn over and stratify.
Last rabbit litters born.
Striped skunks fatten up for winter.
Whooping cranes pass over Illinois.
Hickory, pecan and black walnut fruits start dropping.
Little bluestem turns bronze color on hill and sand prairies.

This ‘n that is now offering migration alerts on Twitter. Visit ... Jay Angel has taken over for veteran scribe Al Rostello as outdoor writer for the LaSalle News-Tribune. His columns appear every other Saturday and he also writes a Web log for
compiled by JEFF LAMPE


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