Chicago Sun-Times
Stray Casts will intelligently report and observe, hopefully with a touch of wit, on daily occurrences, reports and releases related to Chicago-area outdoors from bucks to bass to birds to bugs

June 2008 Archives

How are first mates like the Sox?

They sweep the deck.


Site super Stan Weimer said Powerton Lake will reopen to boat fishing on Saturday, June 28. Hours will be the normal ones for summer: open at 6 a.m., close at 8 p.m.

Come Saturday, the cooling lake near Pekin will no longer just be home to shore fishermen.


Tom Grider at Riverside Bait and Tackle in Pekin just called and said the word floating around is the plant will be operating on a limited basis, so water temperatures should be low this summer. Traditionally smallmouth fishing at Powerton peaks in late spring.

With the fish not seeing pressure for more than half a year by boaters, it could be worth the drive.

Sometimes the best catch is something other than a fish. Say the big turtle Jeremy Potoczny caught unexpectedly from a pond in Palatine earlier this month.


His proud grandfather Ron Potoczny helped the 13-year-old unhook and release the turtle. And also ran back to the truck for a camera.

Oh, but there is more. FOTW tops the Midwest Fishing Report each Wednesday in the Sun-Times.

According to a special bulletin from the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council, ``the U.S. EPA is proposing two general permits under the Clean Water Act that will cover discharges incidental to normal operation of commercial and recreational vessels.''

The proposal for smaller recreational vessels appears far saner than originally thought.

Note the meeting in Chicago on Thursday, June 26. It will be held Ave Hotel, 160 E. Huron St, Chicago, from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Below is the complete special bulletin.

The bullfrogs reverberated across the pond this morning.

If Storm or I stepped too close to water's edge, tell-tale splashes extended in a sequential row from the nearest out along the shore. It was something like my second boy playing a sequence on the bells.

This was the week when I am glad to be an outdoors guy.

The world opened up and expanded.

This week usually comes in late May or early June, but it's finally here.

To the fisherman who called at 4:27 Friday and again at 3 sharp Saturday, may a shore guy catch a 2-pound, 1-ounce perch at Montrose.

And weigh it on a certified scale.

In front of witnesses.

Before the floods came on the mighty Mississippi River, Kenny Campbell landed this 51-pound, 36-inch flathead with a little help. It's Fish of the Week for June 18, 2008.


FOTW tops the Midwest Fishing Report each Wednesday in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Campbell caught his flathead on May 31 while fishing with family and friends in East Dubuque, Iowa.

Another young guy caught the fourth Illinois record fish of 2008.

Rod Kloeckner of the Belleville News-Democrat reported Bryan Short caught a 64-pound bighead carp from Horseshoe Lake on Saturday. The 24-year-old from O'Fallon caught the fish on the last cast of the day while bass fishing.

The other three Illinois record fish in 2008 were caught by teenagers.

Because of the flooding, the Fox River and Chain O'Lakes are closed to boating from the Wisconsin line to the Montgomery dam.

For the latest, go to or call (847) 587-8540.

But closed to boating doesn't mean closed to fishing.

As one of my smartass fishing friends, North Sider Todd Carlander, noted when he sent this photo: ``The Chain is closed to boating but it's still legal to fish tied off to the pier!''


Here's some other advice.

Oh, we caught fish--lots of jumbo yellow perch, double digits in rock bass, a 5-pound drum, a smallmouth bass and a fat-bellied prespawn bluegill--downtown on the Chicago lakefront Saturday night.

But what stuck with me more than anything was the ambiance of the night. For good reasons, I consider Chicago one of the greatest urban settings for fishing, or maybe the greatest.


The sun, setting on the Loop and downtown buildings, was caught spectacularly, by a tall ship (above) as it passed the Chicago Lighthouse.

A cover band playing under a tent at the Chicago Yacht Club pulled memories from my youth--Prince, Mellencamp, Lipps Inc.--at a party for the (NOOD) Regatta sailors deep into the evening.

A little after 10 our fishing ended, about the time the fireworks began east of Navy Pier.

Friday morning I saw my first mulberries of the spring.

Saw may be stretching the verb a bit.

Let me put it this way: I found the first green nubbins of mulberries on my morning ramble around the town pond with Storm, our irrepressible Lab mix.

My instincts were June 13 seemed late for mulberries to be ripening.

Apparently so.

``I have a school of perch close to 18 inches,'' Bruce Fehr said.

The aquatic curator for the world's largest Cabela's called me back to talk about ``his babies'' this afternoon, June 13, 2008. He's held his job since the store opened in Hamburg, Pa., in 2003.

Last week, Mike Norris, the Chicago-area fishing guru, happened to stop by the Hamburg Cabela's on a business trip. He was so struck by an 18-inch yellow perch, thick black crappie and 15-pound largemouth bass that he called me. Then went back and took some photos of the perch.

The original post on Thursday drew enough interest that I called Fehr, nicknamed ``Fish Boy'' by his peers.

As promised, here's some details.

18-inch yellow perch?

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``I have seen an 18-inch perch,'' Mike Norris said.

As things I've heard driving the boys home from karate, it was a doozy. And grabbed my attention last week.

Mike let it sit there for a good dramatic pause, then explained.


Using a homemade mix of Wheaties and strawberry gelatin he brewed himself, 12-year-old Bryan McDonald won the third Mayor Daley's Spring Carp Derby on Saturday with three carp totaling 39.5 pounts.

At the final horn, the Southeast Side kid landed the day's big fish, a 23.75-pound carp. That earned him Fish of the Week honors.


FOTW tops the Midwest Fishing Report in the Chicago Sun-Times each week.

There's all kinds of angles to this story.

Details for the first statewide bass fishing tournament in Illinois next spring were set Monday at the board meeting of the Illinois High School Association.

Key dates are sectioanals on April 24 and the state final on May 8-9 with the waters to be decided. Each school may enter up to two boats with up to three students per boat, though only two may fish at a time. Each boat may weigh five fish at the end of competition.

The complete release from the IHSA is below.

``I once saw a crow pick up a cherry life saver and dip it in water and then eat it,'' Alan Anderson e-mailed last month.

This was the lead-in to a note he forwarded about a crow learning to stack bread.

It reminded me of a book I read as a teenager about crows and their languages, a book I wanted to give the oldest boy for summer reading.

Of course I googled and couldn't find anything that sounds right. If somebody knows the book--keep in mind it would have been published more than 30 years ago--e-mail me at or post below.

Here's the tale of the crow learning to stack bread.

On Fridays, Stray Casts will be given over to other viewpoints, ``Borrowed hooks and other looks.''

I hope to start it next Friday, June 13.

Rob Russow must have a good fantasy life. The rising fishing star from Brookfield is 10th in the current rankings of FLW Fantasy Fishing.

Russow, who just graduated from Illinois where he was president of the Fighting Illini Bass Club, is as good at fishing as fantasy fishing. He already has six top 10 finishes in various levels of FLW competition. His FLW profile is here.

A late entry pulled out Fish of the Week for Alex Tuccori, 12, and his 30-pound-plus carp.


FOTW tops the Midwest Fishing Report in the Sun-Times each Wednesday. Photos and more of the story are posted here.

This week, I had another wonderful photo of a kid with his first white bass (which I am saving, so the Dad who sent it hang in there) and a bunch of other good big fish (Brian and co-workers hang in there). Just before I sent in the Midwest Fishing Report Tuesday afternoon, Tom Tuccori sent the story of his son's catch and I had time to get it in.

Scuzzy governmental decisions are almost universally announced on Fridays, usually late in the day.

True to form, word of the approval by the Illinois Department of Agriculture for the permit to build a megadairy near Nora in Jo Daviess County came Friday. The megadairy is the idea of California businessman A.J. Bos.

Word filtered out just after opposition to the megadairy had won a small victory in court: Fifteenth Illinois Judicial Circuit Judge Kevin J. Ward ordered Ag to turn over documents requested by Bern Colleran under the Freedom of Information Act.


In February, I toured the area with some opponents, including Brian Clerkin, who couldn't resist trying for smallmouth in a bit of open water on the Apple River.

``It's just so peaceful,'' the 16-year-old said.

No irony, no sarcasm, no general snarkiness, none of the stuff that comes too naturally with teenagers.

Simply, ``It 's just so peaceful,'' apropos nothing and everything,while the four kids and I picnicked at Kankakee River State Park today.

And it was peaceful.

It reminded me of an earlier evening when I caught the sun setting on the river, a much lower river.


Very simply that may be the greatest value of Illinois state parks, a place of peace.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from June 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

May 2008 is the previous archive.

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