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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 5-4-08

May 04, 2008 at 05:41 AM

Weight in pounds of a flathead catfish caught out of Sangchris Lake on April 19 by Robert Rhude.
Near-record fish
Illinois anglers caught two near-record fish in April. The first was a 69-pound grass carp caught out of Lake Petersburg on April 3 by Tony Karrick, grandson of Havana resident Joe Griffin. Karrick’s fish was just eight ounces off the Illinois record, hauled from Lake Petersburg on July 13, 2000.
And on April 19, Robert Rhude caught a 76.5-pound flathead catfish at Sangchris Lake while fishing a live bluegill. Rhude was unable to get his flathead weighed until April 21, when he took it to the Department of Natural Resources office in Springfield. The flathead was still alive when weighed and was just 1.5 pounds off the state record 78-pounder caught Aug. 11, 1985 below Carlyle Lake.
Biologist Dan Stephenson said a Springfield angler caught another 76-pound flathead out of Sangchris about 10 years ago.
Meteor shower Monday
Keep your eyes to the skies Monday morning for the annual Eta Aquaride meteor shower, which should reach maximum activity in the southeast skies before dawn. So if you are heading to work or out turkey hunting, watch for a free fireworks display.
Bilge bill under review
BASS is among the groups supporting federal legislation that would exempt recreational boaters from a permitting process that will otherwise kick in starting Sept. 30.
Under the Clean Boating Act of 2008, recreational boaters would again enjoy an exemption from rules designed to regular water discharges from cargo container ships, cruise ships and supertankers. Without the exemption, a boater could in theory be fined for operating a livewell, emptying bilge water or even for simply running a boat engine.
“If action isn’t taken soon, anglers will need to have a permit just to empty, or even operate, their livewells,” said BASS Conservation Director Chris Horton. “We don’t need another impediment to angling and boating at a time when we’re trying to grow participation.”
Habitat for a blonde
Each spring for the past four years, George Ioeger of Bayview Gardens puts up hollow logs in his trees to provide nesting habitat for squirrels and birds. It’s a wildlife-friendly practice he learned from his late father, Joe Ioeger of Spring Bay.
One year a screech owl moved in. But mostly his hollow hotels are occupied by squirrels. And while several of those squirrels in the past have had blonde tails, this year yielded a unique baby.
“She’s pure blonde from head to toe but she doesn’t have pink eyes, so she’s not an albino,” Ioeger said of the young squirrel he feeds apples, corn and nuts.
Guess even a blonde squirrel finds an acorn now and then.
Tip of the week
Looking for a sleeper walleye lake in Illinois? Try Lake Pittsfield, where biologists this week sampled two walleye over 10 pounds and “a bunch of 5- to 7-pounders” said Stephenson. The lake has also produced a 12-pounder in the past and has hybrid stripers ranging between 11-14 pounds.
Speaking of hybrids, Spring Lake near Macomb could soon emerge as a hotspot for big stripers based on recent samplings by biologists.
This ‘n that
Wildlife watchers can drive their cars on the levees at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call (309) 535-2290. ... Main Gate Archery off U.S. 13 between Ipava and Table Grove offers 3-D archery shoots, including next Sunday, May 11.
compiled by JEFF LAMPE


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