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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

Illinois hunting and fishing

Wild Things 5-2-10

May 02, 2010 at 06:18 AM

Bluebird update

This week we welcome back regular updates from “Bluebird Herb” Unkrich of Edwards, who spent five days and 50 pictures trying to get the photo of the male bluebird above.

Unkrich has 57 bluebirds nests underway along his Peoria County route. In those nests are 254 eggs, 40 of which have hatched.

Bluebirds are apparently in good shape this spring, since he has six nests with six eggs instead of the usual five eggs. “Years past I may find one six-egg box every five years or so,” Unkrich said.

Unkrich also advises anyone who tends to bluebird nests to put pure vanilla extract on the boxes to keep the buffalo gnats at bay. Otherwise the bugs take a toll on hatchlings.


Average weight of 234 bass caught during last weekend’s Peoria Sportsman Club Spring Lake tournament.

Did you know?

The old Copperas Creek lock chamber on the west side of the Illinois River at the end of Banner Dike Road was built in 1876 and was the state’s second lock and dam. The first lock and dam was built at Henry in 1872.

Bat caves closing

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has closed state-owned caves in an effort to spread the halt of a fungus that is killing bats. Iowa has also closed state-owned caves.

An estimated 1 million bats have already died from white-nose syndrome, first found in New York in 2006 and now found as nearby as parts of Missouri across the Mississippi River from Pike County.

“We will also be working with private landowners that may have caves on their property to educate them about white-nose syndrome and encourage them to follow our actions until our scientists get a handle on this and figure out how to stop it,” said Chris McCloud, DNR spokesman.

Once upon a time…

Chautauqua Lake was once the place for some of the finest fishing in central Illinois. In an April 26, 1960 article, former JS outdoor scribe Howard Kenny recounted how anglers caught hundreds of white bass and crappie at the lake, writing, “Lake Chautauqua continued to hold the Peoria area fishing spotlight over the weekend ... When the big crappies start to hit at Chautauqua, it means another period of top angling.”

Wild on the Web bills offers links to more than 500 campground databases from around the country.

Kudos corner

The Spring Valley Walleye Club continues to set an example of what a well-organized, committed conservation group can do to help. This year alone SWC will complete numerous improvements at Barto Landing in Spring Valley including repairs on docks, hand-rails at the new bathroom and landscaping and curbing.

Critter corner

In the wilds of Illinois in May ...
Beaver, skunks and bobcats are born.
Geese start hatching.
Smallmouth salamanders start to change to adult shape.
Spawning starts for many Illinois fishes.
Birds, including warblers and shorebirds, moving north on spring migration.

This ‘n that

The 51.75-inch muskie Greg Davis of Peoria caught last Wednesday at McMaster Lake in Snakeden Hollow is thought to be the 42nd documented 50-incher in Illinois history.



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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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