Jeff Lampe's outdoors column for Friday
Rambling through the outdoors wondering why Canada geese always fly over me in the truck but are not so reliable while hunting.
Blue catfish and small channel cats are biting at Powerton Lake, which opened to bank anglers Monday. Opening day produced a 30-pound blue that was released while a 22-pounder left the lake Wednesday according to Tom Grider
of Riverside Bait in Pekin. Shad and cut baits are best and prime times have been 8-10:30 a.m. The hot-water ditch is the hotspot so far. .?.?. Keep it clean: Bank anglers at Powerton are urged to clean up after themselves, since there have been rumblings about slob anglers jeopardizing the fishing lease, which is up for renewal. .?.?. Reports from Powerton also indicate bluegill are more cooperative than white bass or smallmouth bass, which Chef Todd
predicts are due for a comeback once boaters launch again on Feb. 15. One tip? Skip the shoreline pattern for smallies and back off the bank.
Here are one proud papa's 2008 resolutions: 1. Welcome Walter David Lampe to the world (not in time for a tax break, though); 2. Make Prairie State Outdoors.com the hottest outdoor Web site in Illinois, if it isn't already; 3. Take the boys fishing more often; 4. Catch and release a 7-pound bass, or watch Gordon Inskeep
do the same; 5. Shoot a limit of quail in one day — possible even today, though maybe not with my shooting skills; 6. Canoe the Spoon River; 7. Find another excuse to get paid to ride a mule with Ken Parr of Metamora; 8. Camp again at Evergreen Lake's Comlara Park, the finest campground around; 9. Shoot a specklebellied goose; 10. Pick up my 2006 turkey mount from Dave Emken of Yates City before one of us kicks the bucket.
My column about trumpeter swans elicited an interesting e-mail from Tom Elsberry of Paris, who read the story reprinted in his local paper. Wrote Elsberry, 'We have had trumpeter swans on and around our farm for several years. Two years ago we had as many as 200. This year .?.?. they started arriving on Thanksgiving with about 15 and now we are up to 100 or so. Two years ago we had a student from SIU researching the birds and last year we had a student from Indiana State University.' .?.?. Speaking of trumpeters, several neck-collared swans were spotted in recent weeks in the strip-mine ground near Elmwood, Farmington and Hanna City. .?.?. Anyone interested in hunting for wild boar or rams at Ted Nugent's Sunrise Acres in the next few months should call Larry Pollack at (309) 274-9653. .?.?. Best false rumor this month has the state releasing rattlesnakes into the Shawnee National Forest to control wild turkeys. Bigfoot in Woodford County is more believable.
Ice fishing season is near at hand, with the annual Lake Camelot extravaganza set for Jan. 26. Let's hope this was a good year for apple jack vintners. .?.?. Fall morels are no myth, as Dustin Mahrt of Peoria discovered earlier this month when he found mushrooms growing in the snow on Peoria's Callender Ave. Though that clump of morels was too far gone to eat, Mahrt vows to add fall hunting to his to-do list for 2008. .?.?. Did you know?: English pointers are technically just pointers. Somewhere along the way the Officials of Dogdom dropped the English part, though few of us commoners followed suit. .?.?. Remington Arms acquired Marlin Firearms, in the process buying the oldest shoulder-arm designed firearm still being made: Marlin's Models 39 and 336 which date to the 1890s.
Don't believe that bit of Bartonville knowledge about hedge balls keeping rodents at bay — a myth apparently started by a furry varmint. 'I put out about 50 hedge balls and the squirrels ate every one,' said Louie Doney of Galesburg. 'My squirrels have some of the nicest pelts you've ever seen.' .?.?. Random thought: After watching 'Elf' about 16 times in the past week, Peter Dinklage has replaced Verne Troyer and Billy Barty as my favorite vertically challenged actor. .?.?. Speaking of the inch-impaired, our Neighbor Ash sez he is still looking for love in 2008. Any takers? 'Even a midget can get more dates than me,' he laments. .?.?. Parting shot: Word from the Illinois High School Association points to the spring of 2009 as best-case scenario for a start to prep bass fishing tournaments. A Jan. 14 board meeting will reportedly determine whether the IH$A pursues the issue. I bet the vote is a formality, given the positive response so far. In other words, there's money to be made in prep fishing. Think the IH$A will say no to that?
JEFF LAMPE is Journal Star outdoors columnist. Write to him at 1 News Plaza, Peoria, IL 61643, call (309) 686-3212 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.