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

September 2008 Archives

OVERALL OUTLOOK

The big news is the opening of archery deer and turkey on Wednesday, Oct. 1.

botwstevehanson

And we will go to a Buck of the Week, such as Steven Hanson's last fall, as soon as good photos start piling up. I would guess late October or early November.

Topping the report this week is a Q & A with Tom Micetich, Illinois deer project manager.

The extended online version of the Illinois Hunting Report, the paper version appears in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays, is usually posted here late on Tuesdays.

If you have suggestions, email me at outdoordb@sbcglobal.net or post in the comments.

We begin with the Micetich Q & A.

Watching the Sox the last two days reminds me of the old Big Bucks bass tournaments on the Chain O'Lakes: where guys threw final casts with spinner baits on the point on the way back to Grass Lake Marina, hoping to land a kicker big enough to get them into the Classic.

(May baseball run long enough on both sides of town to make daily Strays Casts worth it all month.)


Kevin Grandfield, a Wilmette reader, wondered about finding mentors for birding a couple weeks ago.

I forwarded the question to Alan Anderson, a Des Plaines birder who has done many things in the birding world, including for the Chicago Audubon Society.

hummingbird9-23-04

Joys, such as catching a hummingbird at the feeder above the petunias, are worth sharing.

Anderson's suggestions were wide-ranging enough that I shortened them greatly for the Sun-Times today, but, as promised, here's his extended answer:

As far as mentors, I only have a bit of advice. I have more info for 'new birders' but finding a mentor might take some luck. It's probably a 'group of mentors' he'd get, but perhaps someone will have more time to spend with him or other new birders.

I'm not sure how many local birders are members of this, but he should check out: http://www.birdingpal.org/. He might find someone near him on this group. New birders should either/or/and:

(The specifics follow.)

Swept away

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I am in the very bizarre spot of requesting people contact Gov. Blagojevich and urging him to veto two bills, one of which would seem to rescue 11 state parks from closure.

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SB1103 would restore the money cut for parks and historic sites, and other even more important things like substance abuse programs. And SB790, which sweeps money from funds, including several significant outdoor funds, dedicated funds supposedly untouchable, to pay for 1103.

Both passed the Senate on Tuesday. They had already been passed by the House, so Blagojevich has up to 60 days to sign them.

Or veto them. If you wish to push for that, go to http://www.illinois.gov/gov/contactthegovernor.cfm

This is a bogus either/or scenario: closed parks or swept funds. We should have a choice of really paying for state parks.

And the legality of 790 is much in question.

Here's some background news links from the past few days:

http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/heraldnews/news/1181239,4_1_JO24_PARKS_S1.article

http://www.prairiestateoutdoors.com/index.php?/pso/article/illinois_senate_approves_fund_sweep/

Wild smallmouth video

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Nate Herman of the Peoria-based pond and fish management group just sent this video of feeding smallmouth. Click here.

I will see if Roman Modrowski can post the video on the Sun-Times site.

Here's Nate's note:

Justin and I went Scuba Diving on Monday and got some great video footage of feeding smallmouth bass. We just sit on the trampoline underwater and the smallmouths eat right from our hand. You can check out the video on you tube by clicking the link: HandFeedingSmallmouthBassScubaDiving

Thanks,

Nate Herman

www.hbpondmanagement.com

Cabelas Trophy Properties

Lake Mapping Partner

309-303-5691

OVERALL OUTLOOK

This is the extended online version of the Midwest Fishing Report, which appears in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays. Originally, I was trying to post the online version by midnight Tuesday. It's going to be more like Wednesday morning most weeks.

If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at outdoordb@sbcglobal.net.

kteye123

The cooling lakes are only open a couple more weeks, but the final weeks at Heidecke can be good, as Katie Subject shows with her best walleye of the year, caught with spoonplugger Mike Lynch.

Fox River wading guide Ken Gortowski had an unbelievable Saturday trip for smallmouth. See that in the Fox River report and more below.

At least Bears fans can make a late catch.

As Chuck Caporale did Sunday morning, Sept. 21, with this 36-inch northern pike on Lake Elizabeth in Twin Lakes, Wis.

FOTW9-24-08

And for the story, as much as the fish, Caporale earns Fish of the Week honors. FOTW tops the Midwest Fishing Report each Wednesday in the Sun-Times.

I find myself planning Sunday outdoor excursions around Bears games in September. By late September, I usually have a feel for whether I need to cut short trips to watch the Bears play.

I think I know with this team already after three weeks.

Here's Caporale's tale.

During the hunting seasons, the extended online Illinois hunting report is usually posted here on Tuesdays. Otherwise, the Illinois Hunting Report comes at the end of the Midwest Fishing Report in the Sun-Times on most Wednesdays.

With the aerial surveys for waterfowl being flown (they are weather dependent), I will update if needed.

If you have suggestions, email me at outdoordb@sbcglobal.net or post in the comments.

OVERALL OUTLOOK

harvest9-20-08

Over the last 10 days I've driven all over Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Iroquois, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall and Will counties and have seen exactly one harvester in the fields. And this one only took a couple strips of corn Friday afternoon and stopped. I assume it was still too wet.

Harvest is far off last year's pace for those getting out to scout for the archery deer opener on Wednesday, Oct. 1. Through Sunday, corn was only 1 percent harvested statewide, compared to 40 percent at this time last year.

Full report follows.

I haven't heard from Jean SmilingCoyote in years. But I remembered her last week.

The 3-year-old was chasing butterflies in my wife's sun garden, every year becoming more of a butterfly garden. And I grabbed the camera when a clot of butterflies, monarches I first assumed, landed on my wife's sedums.

butterflies9-18-08x

Sharp readers have already figured out those aren't monarchs, but painted ladies.

And so they are.

I have a little Robert Graves in me: The night at Montrose Friday reminded me that ``the moon rides like a ship through scudding cloud.''

(Yes, I am in a muse quest for the eternal supernatural female.)

As to fishing, it is never a particularly good sign if I am sidetracked on moon and muses.

And the kings were on the tough Friday night.

They were getting some smaller kings off the south rocks. (Can we still call it the south rocks?). But I was on the west side of the mouth by the golf course.

montrose9-19-08jorgeirizarryking2

Then Moy Rodriguez came by and said somebody had a good one.

He was right, half an hour later, Francisco Colon came by with a king his 13-year-old grandson Jorge Irizarry could barely hoist.

I have a little Walt Whitman in me too: Love to celebrate the ``body politic.'' And I do below.

Shooting for the Olympics

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Two young shooters from Illinois were among the 18 from 11 states selected for intensive training and evaluation Oct. 8-12 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Both Brett Bachmann, 16, of Highland Park, and Kelcey DePatis, 17, of Donovan (Iroquois County), were selected in trap.

All were selected from the Scholastic Clay Target Program.

Two Chicago-area coaches were among the seven volunteer SCTP coaches from five states also invited to attend the camp to learn advanced skills in coaching shooting sports.

They were Brian Bachmann, 50, of Wilmette, in trap; and William Marquardt, 52, of Deerfield, in skeet.

The complete release is below.

Every now and then, I can't help myself and my heart is touched.

FOTW9-17-08cliffords2

Such as Julian Clifford catching his first fish, a bluegill off his grandpa's pier. For the photos and story sent by that proud grandpa, Chris Clifford, Julian earns Fish of the Week honors.

FOTW tops the Midwest Fishing Report in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays.

Here's Chris' account:

This is the extended online version of the Midwest Fishing Report, which appears in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays. Normally, I will have the MFR posted about midnight on Tuesday.

If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at outdoordb@sbcglobal.net.

flood9-16-08aromaparkcut

OVERALL OUTLOOK

There's no mystery here for anybody who survived 6 to 11 inches of rain last weekend. One of my favorite fishing spots, the old dam at Aroma Park on the Kankakee, is under several feet of water, and likely to stay that way for awhile.

During the hunting seasons, an extended online Illinois hunting report is usually posted here by Tuesday evening. Otherwise, the Illinois Hunting Report comes at the end of the Midwest Fishing Report in the Sun-Times each Wednesday during hunting.

With the aerial surveys for waterfowl being flown (they are weather dependent), I will update if needed.

If you have suggestions, email me at outdoordb@sbcglobal.net or post in the comments.

OVERALL OUTLOOK

deerstand11-11-06gerryrodeendavefredrickson

It's the lull before the real start of hunting with the opening of deer on Oct. 1. Time to look at deer stands, such as this beaut by Dave Fredrickson (he's on the right) and Gerry Rodeen.

Crops and crop harvest remain way behind schedule. Opening day for archery deer is going to look much different this year than last. Let me put it this way: last year at this time, corn was 21 percent harvested compared to the 1 percent on Monday. And with the saturated soil, it will be late this week before farmers get back into the fields.

Full report follows.

Normally, ``Borrowed hooks & other looks,'' other views on Chicago-area outdoors, runs on Fridays. There was nothing normal about the rains over the weekend.

So here comes a ``Borrowed hook'' on a Monday morning.

foxflooding9-14-08

Fox River wading guide Ken Gortowski and general Fox advocate with an edge sent this. It was first posted in another form on WindyCityFishing.com

I figured it would come and it did tonight, a call for a walleye stocking program in southern Lake Michigan in response to two documented big walleye from downtown Chicago in the past year.

walleyemikeosuch

On Thursday, Mike Osuch caught his of 7 pounds, 5.5 ounces.

walleyechicago10-08-07tonipellegrinotomkijanowskix

Toni Pellegrino caught her 6.75-pounder on Oct. 8, 2007.

The proposal came as a comment I pulled from the original posting about Osuch's catch and it becomes the seventh ``Borrowed hooks & other looks,'' other views of Chicago-area outdoors.

The pitch is below.

Mike Osuch caught the heaviest walleye verified in modern Chicago off the southern tip of Northerly Island about 5:40 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 11.

walleyemikeosuch

He had it weighed at 7 pounds, 5.5-ounces on the certified scales at Henry's Sports, Bait & Marine Thursday morning.

Details below.

So last week, I saw my first woolly worms (woolly bears) while out driving to some story. And the first three were dark, and I mean no question about it dark.

Ah ha, is it a sign?

For a couple days I kept the camera handy while out and of course only find mixed ones or pale ones like this.

woollyworm9-9-08cropped

For what it is worth, as of Thursday morning, my count was three dark, two pale and one mixed.

The big push is still a couple weeks away I suspect.

Does it mean anything?

OVERALL OUTLOOK

This is the third posting of an extended online Midwest Fishing Report, which appears in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays. Sorry about the lateness, I've been tied up on a story the past couple days. Normally, I will try to have the MFR posted about midnight on Tuesday.

If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at outdoordb@sbcglobal.net.

BEST BET: SHORELINE SALMON

The salmon in Lake Michigan are starting to come in.

Mikey B & Mike with kings g-pier 9-9-08 001

As two Mikes show in this photo sent by the Salmon Stop (as you might guess) in Waukegan, where the salmon were coming in good Tuesday. Just like they are in Chicago and other places around southern Lake Michigan.

More of BEST BET and the rest of the report follows.

The question Mike Lovinger had was how big a smallmouth was it he caught Sunday off Chicago.

FOTW9-10-08

The fish in question was good enough to earn him Fish of the Week honors.

FOTW tops the Midwest Fishing Report in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays.

From Lovinger's description and photo, I am guessing he had a 5-pound-plus smallie, maybe a pound under the Illinois record (6 pounds, 7 ounces), caught by Mark Samp from a Fulton County strip pit on March 26, 1985.

Here are the details of Lovinger's catch.

This is the third extended Illinois hunting report posted here. It should become a regular feature on Tuesdays through the hunting seasons.

With the aerial surveys for waterfowl being flown (they are weather dependent), I will update if needed.

If you have suggestions, email me at outdoordb@sbcglobal.net or post in the comments.

dueling pheasantsx

OVERALL OUTLOOK

The big news is the annual state forecasts from Pheasants Forever--click here--and Quail Forever--click here.

All I can say for Illinois hunters is don't expect to get photos like the one above of dueling cockbirds I lucked into a few years ago.

Forecasts are below.

On my morning ramble with Storm last week, I finally was able to get a photo of my own cicada killer.

cicadakiller09-02-08tight

I do enjoy my small outdoor pleasures.

The cicado killer was dead on the sidewalk. I stuck it in a small plastic container so the kids could be properly amazed, and, to their credit, all four were.

On a wider scale, I was more curious this week about the possibilities of the remnants of Gustav. It brought 3 inches of rain and some interesting reports on IBET, the birding network for Illinois.

Mike Planthaber raises a good question about the boundaries of Fish ot the Week and it became the sixth ``Borrowed hooks & other looks.''

FOTW6-04-08-2

In essence, he suggests, for example, that Alex Tuccori, 12, and his 30-pound-plus carp is more worthy of a FOTW because it was caught from South Ridge Lake in Hoffman Estates,

fishing by john 251

than say J.J. Phillips, 13, with his 42.5-inch muskie from Lake of the Woods.

Below is Planthaber's question/suggestion, followed by my reaction.

There was no formal Fish of the Week today because there were several nominations that fit the same rough idea: summer family outings with young ones. And they became the main part of Wednesday's outdoor column in the Sun-Times.

Instead, we have three fishes of the week, beginning with J.J. Phillips.

fishing by john 251

Normally, FOTW tops the Midwest Fishing Report on Wednesdays in the Sun-Times.

Here's the extended stories and photos online.

First J.J.'s story given by his Dad, John Phillips of the Field Museum, below.

OVERALL OUTLOOK

This is the second posting of an extended online Midwest Fishing Report, which appears in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays. If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at outdoordb@sbcglobal.net.

Change is coming today in terms of a cold, wet front. Unfortunately, some of the change is several days of north and northeast winds, likely to pile up warm water on the Illinois shoreline again and hamper the fall rush of kings.

John with Bass - 38

John Hochberg lands a smallmouth on an outing with Bob Long Jr. on the Fox River Saturday. Rivers--Apple, DuPage, Fox, Kankakee, Vermilion--are in good late summer/early fall wading shape, some are even very low, unless the remnants of Gustav dump on us.

With school underway, far fewer are fishing until the shoreline salmon run begins.

The report follows.

This is the second extended Illinois hunting report posted here. It should become a regular feature on Tuesdays through the hunting seasons. If you have suggestions, email me at outdoordb@sbcglobal.net or post in the comments.

dovebreast90206

OVERALL OUTLOOK

My hope was to have an updated photo of a plate like this one (a dove breast and jalapeno slices wrapped in bacon plated with fresh tomato, sweet corn and grapes) from the opener a couple years ago. Unfortunately, I opted for Iroquois County SWA, where I was lucky enough to draw a stake, but I did not even fire my gun.

Here's the opening numbers in order for select public sites. (I updated again with the new apparent state public leader, pulled from PrairieStateOutdoors.com.)
Site: hunters, doves bagged, dph
Madigan SP: 30, 427, 14.2
Sangchris Lake SP: about 50, about 650, about 13
Shelbyville SFWA: 108, 1,196, 11.1
Jim Edgar-Panther Creek SFWA: 152, 1,509, 10
Matthiessen SP: 116, 919, 7.9
Kankakee SP: 87, 648, 7.5
Des Plaines SFWA: about 115, 700-plus, 6.1-plus
Green River SWA: 146, 841, 5.8
Shabbona Lake SRA: 60, 276, 4.6
Silver Springs 127, 234, 1.8
Chain O'Lakes SP: 25, 8, 0.3
Iroquois County SWA: 58, 17, 0.3

Doves taking the dive?

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I am curious to see what other public sites were like.

All I can say about the opening afternoon of dove hunting at Iroquois County SWA on Monday is ouch.

iroquoiscountyswa9-1-08doveopener

If the best photo I have is of a guy setting spinning-wing decoys, you know things were tough.

Should have more details tomorrow on other sites.

About this Archive

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

August 2008 is the previous archive.

October 2008 is the next archive.

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