Outdoors & More


Fishing lures many people—pardon the pun—into our great sport. Now that we’re into the spring season, it’s always enjoyable to turn through the tackle catalogs. It is amazing all the new lures that come on the market every year. After all my years of wetting a line I still remember my very first lure—a River Runt for $1.25. While I still have my very first fishing rod, the River Runt has since been long gone. I can remember fishing at Moline’s Riverside Pond and casting that lure for carp. A few years back I remember entering a tackle store near Lake of the Woods. On one wall there were many muskie and northern lures priced from around $20 to $60. You’ve got to be a pretty dedicated angler to spend that kind of dough for a lure. Personally, I think some lures are designed to lure the fisherman in than the fish.

Fishing license
In case you forgot, on March 31 your 2016-17 Illinois fishing license expired. You can purchase your new license at any authorized vendor or go online to dnr.illinois.gov. Remember, a license must be on your person when fishing. Having a current fishing license also prevents getting a kink in your neck from constantly looking around for a Conservation Police Officer.

Rock bass
Is it me, my knife or both that’s wrong when trying to fillet a rock bass? The past two years I’ve caught a lot of good-sized rock bass at Ten Mile Lake in Minnesota. They’re good eating, but it seems they have skin that’s tougher than a squirrel’s. When we go up there again this fall I’m bringing my chainsaw.

Spring trout season
The Illinois spring trout season began on Saturday, April 1 at various locations. Most stocked sites begin at 5 a.m., but it is best to check the IDNR website. Make sure you have a current Illinois fishing license and an Inland Trout Stamp. If an individual is under 16, is blind or disabled, or is an Illinois resident on leave from military active duty, the license and Trout Stamp is not required. The daily catch is five trout per angler, and these are great fighters, easy to clean and taste great. Approximately 80,000 trout were stocked for the spring trout season. The same number of released trout will happen in the fall later this year. Trout can be caught on worms, waxies, salmon eggs, prepared dough baits, lures, etc. My favorite trout rig is a slip bobber, split shot and a number 6 Lazer Crappie Hook with a live minnow.

Ice fishing poor again
I can’t speak for all of northern Illinois, but over here in the western part of the state, Mother Nature didn’t do us ice anglers any favors this winter. Up and down temperatures, along with rain, made for some dangerous walking on thin ice. About 13 other ice fishermen and myself traveled to northern Minnesota and had good luck with 15 inches of the hard water when we were there and caught mostly ringed perch. Local ice fishing tournaments down in the Quad Cities were all cancelled because of the dangerous ice.

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Quotes of long past
• An inability to stay quiet is one of the most conspicuous failings of mankind.

• The giraffe must get up at 6 a.m. if it wants to have its breakfast in its stomach by 9 a.m.

• Do incubator chickens love their mother?

• Abraham Lincoln once said, “He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I ever met.” Old Abe also said, “My father taught me to work; he did not teach me to like it!”