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 2009 Archives

Erin O'Neill takes Fish of the Week honors both for a good fish and a good tale from Caleb Svoboda.

FOTWErin's Muskie

Ted Koski called this evening and raved about how the redone north launch area at 95th Street looks. He was one of those who helped push it through to the finish. And it took years. i hope to give it a tour with him within the next day or so.

The IDNR has released preliminary figures for the fish on the Rock River. And I agree the numbers are likely on the conservative side because of the flooding and hot weather.

Below is the release:

It's live video, so if you have tender ears be forewarned. But it is pretty interesting.

The muskie rescue below the Shabbona Lake dam is rescheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday. Details are below

The IDNR has lifted its boating restrictions on the Fox River from the Montgomery Dam to the Stratton Dam. But also check the Fox Waterway Agency for its possible no-wake restrictions.

The IDNR release is below.

Bowfishing Association of Illinois president Ed Devries sent a note that Sharon Trame shot a Bowfishing Association of America world record for shortnose gar while bowfishing from the shore of Rend Lake.


As of this morning, the Chain O'Lakes and the upper Fox River were opened to boating. The lower river is no-wake, but that probably will change shortly. For updates, check the Fox Waterway Agency.

Rock River: Fish kill

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Here's more on the Rock River fish kill.

Be aware the YouTube video is graphic in parts.

Gone fishin'

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I apologize for no posts the past couple days. I am fishing the PMTT with Joe McCartin in Eagle River, Wis., and my internet access has been spotty. I should be back to normal by late Sunday or Monday.

We raised five muskies today and saw four others caught. Unfortunately, none of the caught ones were in our boat. There's tomorrow.

The fish kills on the Braidwood and LaSalle lakes are considered very minor, and impact mainly gizzard shad, according to the IDNR. That's the usual case in minor kills.

Kishwaukee: open

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Boating restrictions have been lifted and the Kishwaukee River is open for recreational boaters again.

White mulberries?


As might be expected in late June, lakefront perch headlines the Midwest Fishing Report. And so does the start of the venerable Kankakee River Fishing Derby.

Of course, the muskies caught by Lance Zimmerman and his daughter Autumn on June 15 are Fishes of the Week. I already ran an extended story.



Pete Riedesel reported the beginnings of a fish kill at LaSalle Lake Tuesday morning. I'm tracking down more information.


One legged Carl said he loved to see kids holding fish. Especially when taught by their dad.


Perch fishing the last week brought plenty of dads and sons out around Chicago. And here's a ccouple of my favorite photos from the past week, beginning with Robert Sanchez Jr. giving his dad the big eye at Montrose Thursday.

Just in from the IDNR:

Rising Water Leads to Restricted Boating on
Rock River

No recreational watercraft allowed until further notice

Due to rising water, swift currents and floating debris, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is restricting boating on the Rock River in Lee, Ogle and Whiteside Counties. This restricted area is off limits to all recreational watercraft until further notice. IDNR has authorization to designate restricted boating areas when navigation is deemed significantly hazardous.

The Chain O'Lakes and the upper Fox River were placed on no-wake today, while the Fox River from Stratton Lock and Dam to the Montgomery dam was closed to boating. The Kishwaukee River in Winnebago County was also closed to boating.

A friend was coming back from an outing Sunday in Will County when he stopped at Wilmington Dam on the Kankakee. And when he saw the disrespect shown gar, he blew up:

There's a fish-eating advisory for the Dixon area of the Rock River.


They came.

And lined the entire length and width of Northerly Island Saturday.

As has become tradition in late June, for a perch derby.

The fifth annual Northerly Island perch derby was Saturday, keeping up the tradition. A perch derby was the first public event after the old airport was X'd out.

And ``Jumbo Jimmy'' Baczek caught. Hey, not all can be jumbo jumbos.


There was no mistake about the glory fish during the perch derby at Northerly Island Saturday.


Other fish highlighted the perch derby at Northerly Island Saturday. The best came shortly after the event concluded at 9 a.m.


In the Chain area, the lower river below the Stratton Lock and Dam was put at no-wake today. Check for updates at

Here's more including a pretty cool photo of the black bear roaming NW Illinois.

There are fish stories too good to wait for Fish of the Week.



Thnik big and cute for the day Lance Zimmerman and his daughter Autumn had Monday on the Chain O'Lakes.

Do we have a second black bear within a year wandering around Illinois. Check out Thursday's story in Freeport's The Journal-Standard.

Perch fishing on the lakefront headlines Chicago Wild Weekend Wanderings. They're here.


The crowd filled in slowly on the south side of Montrose harbor at 5 a.m. Thursday, but that will be different this weekend. Thousands will be perch fishing at Montrose, Belmont, Diversey, Burnham, Northerly Island, McCormick, 39th, Casino Pier and 95th by the weekend.

A rescue below Evergreen Lake on Wednesday produced 123 muskies, among a batch of other notable fish.

Spillway Recovery 2009 019-2

So there was a small window at Montrose at dawn, literally.


Chicago lakefront perch again lead the Midwest Fishing Report.

The announcement for the drawings for Illinois waterfowl blinds is below:

Conlin retiring

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Mike Conlin is retiring on July 31, after 38 years with the IDNR. The Sun-Times exclusive is here. I will post more of an extended conversation with the head of the Office of Resource Conservation later.


It's a symbol as much as anything, the 14.5-inch yellow perch that Tom Harris caught in the rain and east wind driving 3-foot waves Thursday. The Chicago lakefront perch and the story earn Harris Fish of the Week honors.

FOTWTom Perch

A reader asked for a reference for a fishing guide in the Chicago area who guides for carp.

A belated congrats to Dan Basore for taking first in casting with old rods and reels at the Old Reel Collectors Association's National Convention on the grounds of the International Game Fish Association in Dania Beach, Florida.

Chad Enright caught a lake sturgeon below Lake Bloomington, according to this story by Scott Richardson.

Bullfrog season opening Monday in Illinois and walleye headline Weekend Wanderings.


Eric Sharp of the Detroit Free Press has a good take on the issues of Great Lakes restoration. It's posted here.


District wildlife biologist Bob Massey gave some reasoning for the rarity of roadkill beaver, a question raised by Len Genis with this photo of one in the south suburbs on I-57. Downstate biologist Bob Bluett added an interesting observation.

A Polish-speaking only hunters safety course will be held at St. Charles Sportsmen's Club in Elburn on Aug. 1-2. Details below

Barbara Johnson of Arlington Heights was elected as an at-large member of the board of directors during the 2009 Ducks Unlimited Annual Convention.

Below is the release.

Lakefront perching, the start of bullfrogging in Illinois and finally hints of summer patterns headline this week's Midwest Fishing Report.


Pam Harvey earns Fish of the Week honors with this 30-inch, 10-pound walleye.

jackrigonibass picture 005

Yeah, 9-year-old son Jack Rigoni had successful rite of passage for fishing his first ``rubber worm'' with his dad Gary at a Naperville retention pond on May 26.

``Wow, was he in for a surprise,'' Jack said.


On the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, 11-year-old Alexandra Martello was visiting her grandfather at Burnham Harbor. She was fishing with a kids pole, 6-pound line and a hot dog as bait. When . . . well, hang on.


South suburban Steve Skupien with young anglers Amy and Jeremy Skupien won this year's Angler Young Angler event out of Hennepin on the Illinois River Sunday.

I loved the attitude of Chicagoan John Mannerino and his grandson Jack Wilcek, who finsihed second.

Connor Naughton and his brother Garrett had a good time at the BAI AIM Grass Lake tournament on Saturday.


Ed Devries, president of the Bowfishing Association of Illinois, tells the story nicely:

Illinois is holding exams again for conservation police officers. We desparately need qualified people to try from the Chicago area.

Below is the release from the state:

I had about given up on seeing this.


But Sunday, I remembered one corner of a gravel road near some houses on the border of Kankakee and Iroquois Counties. My thought was a corner with houses has a chance of asparagus. And bingo, there was a big patch of the wild stuff growing along a ditch.

Hadn't really intended it that way, but it turned into a walleye weekend. But lucky it did.


Well, I knew Saturday would be walleye with Scott Duncan and Mike Gofron on the Chain.

But so was Friday by default with Pete Riedesel on Heidecke Lake.

In both this photo, and in our natural suburban/urban world.


There's much there. Like fawns with this doe wandering around Oak Park and recorded by Bill Fuhry.

He sent this note:

Len Genis had a good question: ``How often do you see road-killed beaver?''


It made me think. As much as I travel the area, i rarely see roadkill beavers. Just as I see a lot more live coyotes trotting by major roadways than I do roadkill coyotes.

Here's Genis's question:

Consensus seems to be Lorenzo Pious caught a pacu Thursday afternoon at Washington Park lagoon.


The pacu has been reviving in the tanks at Henry's Sports, Bait & Marine on South Canal. Originally, there had been a home for it, but that fell through. Thanks for Henry's for the photo. Anybody want the pacu?

Weekend wanderings

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Free fishing days should highlight this weekend wanderings. Except that I would hope all regular readers already buy licenses.

This week's weekend wanderings will be clipped and tight. I want a couple hours of sleep before being at Heidecke for the 6 a.m. opening today.

Lorenzo Pious caught an odd fish from Washington Park lagoon this afternoon. So far, we have not fully ID'd it after he brought it to Henry's.

Any pet shop owners who want to offer ID help, please e-mail me at

Obama appoints Davis

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Obama appointed Cameron Davis, a long-time champion for the Great Lakes, as a special advisor to the EPA to help oversee the restoration of the Great Lakes. Davis was well-known around Chicago as executive director of the former Lake Michigan Federation, and is the former co-chairman of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.

Here's the release from Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.

Illinois has adopted the interactive hunter education course as an option to preparing for part of hunter ed. The online course allows students to complete coursework before attending required classroom and hands-on field course training needed for their Illinois hunter education certificate.

To check it out, go to

I'm not sure how much difference this will make either way in making it easier for kids to get their hunter ed in. But I'm all for anything that makes it easier to get kids through the training, and it strikes me that in 2009 partial online training probably makes a lot of sense.

If instructors or parents with more experience in kids and hunter ed have thoughts, please post below or let me know at

The complete release from is below:

Near record cold put a damper on fishing early in the week, but the weekend looks better. Free fishing days and some surprises highlight this week's Midwest Fishing Report.


Surprises such as this 46-inch muskie caught by guide Thad Hinshaw. It's not surprising he caught a muskie like that. But where is. He e-mailed last week:

The muskies are fairly active down on Prairie Lake.

I was tired of fishing day after day after day without seeing many
muskies at all on Evergreen, so I took a drive down to Prairie.
Ended up catching this 46 inch fish, loosing a low 30 inch fish,
catching another muskie that was 20 something inch and getting follows
from 5 other fish.

Needless to say, I will be going back down when I get a chance.

This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays. Normally, I post the online MFR by Wednesday morning.

If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at

Sam Boone caught this monster chinook salmon on Saturday.


The South Side man was fishing on Capt. Dan Keating's Blue Horizon out of North Point Marina.

And it takes Fish of the Week honors in a week loaded with quality entries.

``This is one of biggest spring kings I have ever seen down here,'' said Capt. Bob Poteshman of Confusion Charters, who weighed it at just under 29 pounds.

Here's more.

Here are the top 10 finishers from ``Fishing for a Cure'' at Braidwood Lake on Saturday, with the general press release posted below that.

The American Bird Conservancy has produced and posted a short film ``Trap, Neuter, and Release: Bad for Cats, Disaster for Birds'' on one of my favorite peeves in the outdoors, feral cats and free-roaming housecats.

If you care, I highly suggest going to

In Sunday's Sun-Times column, I tried to put Rudy Steffan's story of his catch of a 44-inch common carp on May 8 in the context in recent history of sport fishing on southern Lake Michigan.


The Midlothian man launched from 95th, but his carp was caught and released in Indiana waters.

But it made me wonder what is the ruling if it had been caught in the reciprocal waters. Could it be both an Illinois and Indiana record?

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from June 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

May 2009 is the previous archive.

July 2009 is the next archive.

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