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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 8-22-10

August 22, 2010 at 04:09 AM


Number of Asian carp Randy Stockam of Havana “caught” to win this year’s Redneck Fishing Tournament on the Illinois River out of Bath.

Flatheads are old

Ponder this the next time you catch a massive flathead catfish and take it home for a fish fry.

Last Tuesday while fishing with Guide Matt Jones on the Rock River, Scott Dean of East Peoria caught a 40-inch, 32-pound flathead catfish. The fish had been tagged by the Department of Natural Resources in 2001 when it was 36 inches long and weighed 22 pounds.

In other words, the fish added just 10 pounds in nine years. Now imagine how long it takes a flathead to reach 50, 60 and 70 pounds.

As for Dean, he was happy to release that fish and a 53-pounder also caught that same day. And he was sure to think his wife, Ann Dean, who bought him the trip as a 14th anniversary present.

You speak

“It was like watching piranhas eating a cow swimming across a river.”
— Darrell “Buster” Culjan, Utica, describing white bass feeding on shad in the Illinois River last week

Carp removal

Not that you will likely notice a difference, but anglers and fun-seekers helped remove thousands of Asian carp from the Illinois River the weekend of Aug. 7-8.

Of those, 3,239 were caught by competitors in the Redneck Fishing Tournament held by Betty DeFord at the Boat Tavern in Bath. “That’s what this event is all about, getting some carp out of the river and raising awareness of how many fish are out there,” said DeFord, who has scheduled next year’s tourney for Aug. 5-6, 2011.

Bowfishermen also did their share at a pair of events in Spring Valley. Top team in an evening shoot bagged 354 fish, well under the winning total of more than 4,000 last year but still a good number of carp.

Did you know?

More than 17,700 students took hunter safety classes in Illinois last year.

EHD outbreak

Residents of Chicago suburb Crete have been finding dead and dying deer that appear to be suffering from EHD, epizootic hemorrhagic disease.

The virus is spread by insects and is more widespread during dry years when deer congregate at remaining waterholes.
Illinois typically has small outbreaks of the disease most years but the last widespread problems came in 2007, when thousands of deer died in 57 counties statewide.

Birding bits

The fall migration of birds and bugs is well underway across Illinois. Ruby-throated hummingbirds and other birds have been passing through since late July and dragonflies and butterflies are following suit.

Here are bird species to watch for in mid- to late-August: nighthawks, warblers, gnatcatchers, blue-winged teal, shovelers, cedar waxwings, various shorebirds, mourning doves, ring-billed gulls, Mississippi kites and grasshopper and song sparrows.

This ‘n that

Thanks to relatively mild winters and good spring moisture, elk populations are in good shape as hunters prepare to head west. Visit for in-depth review of elk hunting prospects in the U.S. and Canada. ... Monday is the last day to apply for the second lottery for 2010 Illinois fall shotgun turkey permits at


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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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