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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 12-21-08

December 21, 2008 at 06:22 AM


Number of rabbits shot last year at Banner Marsh after the end of duck season.

Ice fishing underway

Ice fishing is heating up in northern Illinois and along the Mississippi River. But here in central Illinois, hard-water fishing has been mostly limited to small ponds. Even that may be shaky after Friday’s rain and warm weather.

Prior to that, Lake Storey was the best bet locally and had 4.5 inches of ice at the water tower, which is typically a night-time hotspot for crappie and bluegill.

Ice anglers are drilling holes all the way down to Sunset Marina in Pool 16 on the Mississippi. Farther north there is up to 6 inches of ice in some area of Pool 13.

Another hotspot worth a trip is the Fox Chain O’Lakes, which has a strong panfish population. For information call Triangle Sports & Marina in Antioch (1-847-395-0813).

Powerton opener

The end of duck season brings a fresh start for anglers at Powerton Lake.

The cooling lake south of Pekin opens to bank fishing Monday. Boat fishing will be allowed starting Feb. 15. Fishing hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Flathead and blue catfish have been the main draw at Powerton the past few years, though the lake still has a solid population of smallmouth bass.

Wild on the Web

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources offers free shipping on hundreds of publications for teachers. Click here to find a list of available publications.

Banner Marsh hunting

The end of duck season also changes hunting programs at Banner Marsh, which opens to upland hunting starting Wednesday. Hunters must sign in and sign out at the check station. Rabbits are typically the best bet at Banner, which offers very little in the way of pheasants or quail.

A better bet is Canada goose hunting, which is also allowed on a sign-in, sign-out basis. Goose hunters are allowed to hunt throughout the marsh.

Outdoors answers

Q: “I have unused muzzleloader deer hunting permits that I can use in the late-winter season. Since these are muzzleloader-only permits, do I have to use a muzzleloader to fill them?”
— Roger Schneider, Pawnee

A: Yes, if you are hunting with an unfilled muzzleloader tag during the Jan. 16-18 late-winter season you may use only muzzleloading rifles. Hunters with unfilled firearm deer permits or youth season permits can use any firearms allowed — shotguns, muzzleloaders and handguns.

Deer harvest debate

Last Sunday’s story about the decline in firearm deer harvest in Illinois prompted a heated discussion on Prairie State The story elicited more than 120 comments, including the following from Don Higgins:

“We need to get the politics out of the management of our deer herd. Having our herd in the hands of a bean counter with puppet strings tied to dirty politicians is a recipe for disaster.”

And this from someone named snshunts:

“I don’t think there is reason to panic, yet. This was the first year in many that the harvest numbers were down compared to the previous year. The last few years have spoiled us. Now if the trend continues over the next couple years, then something will need to be addressed. We don’t need any knee-jerk reactions to one ‘bad’ year.”


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