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

July 2009 Archives

The buzz about tonight's Walleyes Chicago fundraiser at Murphy's Bleachers tops this Chicago Wild Weekend Wanderings.


Illinois just announced the waterfowl dates. More to come. Release is below.


The Grand American Trapshooting Championships is one of those things I'm ashamed to say I have yet to visit. It's one of the major outdoor events, which was brought to Illinois largely through the political skills of former IDNR director Joel Brunsvold and Downstate Rep. Dan Reitz. I visited the World Shooting and Recreational Compllex in Sparta when it opened but haven't been back since. The Grand American opens Wednesday.


They should be smiling. They had first pick at the Kankakee River State Park drawing for waterfowl blinds.


Wonderful bass from local ponds and lakes headline the Midwest Fishing Report.


With squirrel season opening Saturday in Illinois, we begin again with the Illinois Hunting Report.


Here's to northern pike, a often forgotten species on the Fox Chain O'Lakes, and a pike good enough for Fish of the Week.


The best sign at the Rock Bass Rally at Northerly Island on Saturday was the perch being caught, the reverse of rock bass caught during the perch derby last month.

A pair of fun fishermen--new Plano mayor Bob Hausler and Chris Clemmons of Newark--won Cabela's National Team Champions honors on Devils Lake in North Dakato.


Walleyes Chicago really gets going with a Friday Nite Fish Fry & Fundraiser at Murphy's Bleachers.


I had high hopes for the waterfowl blind draw at Kankakee River State Park today.



It's a good weekend for a bunch of varied outdoor things for this week's Chicago Wild Weekend Wanderings.


Information for Illinois' controlled pheasant hunts are below. Sign-ups begin Aug. 10.


A South Side reader reported three separate piles of glass shards this morning at the Richard J. Daley Boat Launch at 3120 S. Western.

BAI preisdent Ed Devries sent this account of the State Bowfishing Championship on the Illinois River out of Henry:


If the launch on the Sanitary and Ship Canal at 3120 S. Western is to succeed, it will be because of guys like Larry Farmer and Edward ``Bridgeport Eddie'' Goetz.


Andy Mikos would get my vote as the best non-charter captain for fishing salmon and trout off Chicago, and he won the Evanston Boat Ramp tournament over the weekend with a couple great anchor fish. That's a good lead-in to a mid-summer Midwest Fishing Report.


For the family connections story as much as the 50-inch muskie with a 24-inch girth caught and released on Big Barbee Lake, Ed VanCleave earns fish of the week honors.

FOTWEd's Musky 5

For more than a decade, American white pelicans have shifted east to become an odd but common sight along the Illinois River valley, and in the past several years even common as far east as Braidwood Lake. Apparently, they are becoming more than visitors.

Eric Corya of Wildcat Creek Outfitters in Zionsville, Ind. is a fly fishing guide for carp near Chicago.

One side of me is an English major/arty-farty sort; another, a husband/dad/taxpayer/homeowner, and, finally, a guy who disappears in the outdoors.


John Rogner is a wildlife pro and a lifer. Frankly, he is qualified to be boss over IDNR director Marc Miller. That and the timing in these tight times are the things I find odd about Rogner's hiring to be an assistant director at the IDNR. That aside, I second everything in the statement by Jack Darin, director of the Illinois chapter of the Sierra Club.

At 7:50:04 a.m. today, DogDayz was the first boat to reach Mackinac Island in the 101st Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac.

Conservation Congress, a throwback idea from former IDNR director Brent Manning's reign, is being revived.

A few years back John Rogner was mentioned as a possible IDNR director. Now the long-time supervisor for the Chicago field office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was named an assistant director for the IDNR.

There's nothing like brothers and fishing. Especially along the Chicago River.


Teenagers pitching tents at Montrose harbor, my kids hanging with a kestrel and petting a black rat snake. Strange the things that can root me to this earth, tug at my heart and make me hang on.


Mayor Daley not only dedicated the launch named for his late father, the Richard J. Daley Boat Launch at 3120 S. Western Avenue on the south bank of the Sanitary and Ship Canal, but hung around to tour the site.


Mac sails today

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For those who know me, it probably seems odd for me to say I like covering the Mac yacht race from Chicago to Mackinac Island, Mich. But I love it.


Jim Saric's The Musky Hunter television show has picked up three Telly Awards. That's a big deal, especially considering the show also won two Tellys in the inaugural season in 2007.


We're all over the map for Chicago Wild Weekend Wanderings, Daley dedication of a launch to kids camping out at Montrose.


If you have a stay reserved at Eagle Creek Resort on Lake Shelbyville, better come up with another idea. A judge has ordered it closed becasue of mold issues.

Dam safety tabled

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Mercifully, the over-reactful plan, Dam Rule 3703, to create 350-foot safety zones below damsin Illinois has been tabled.

ICAST best of show

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Overall Best of Show at the 2009 ICAST in Orlando, Fla. was the Hobie Cat Mirage Pro Angler, both a boat and a kayak. The other bests ofs are below in the ASA release.

Just received my letter about Illinois' free upland permits only being available online.

Mayor Daley is expected for the Saturday morning dedication of the Richard J. Daley Boat Launch at 3120 S. Western Avenue on the south bank of the Sanitary and Ship Canal.


Iroquois Alligator

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Be careful out there. Two Indiana teens, Zach Ramsey and Casey Sonaty, bagged an alligator from the Iroquois River on the Indiana side in Jasper County.

Birders continue to pour money into the economy, according to a report just released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As a matter of fact, you can call me Bird Boy.

Steelhead coming in

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Wednesday's column in the Sun-Times features skamania coming in at Michigan City, ind.


Summer. It is time for the big bass like Paul Cook's for Fish of the Week and catfish, like these.


It's symbolic of Chicago summers, this 5.5-pound bass caught from waters of the southwest suburbs by Paul Cook. And a worthy mid-summer Fish of the Week.


The Spring Bird Count in Cook County was a near record. Compiler Alan Anderson sent the final revised tallies, which included 62 checklists with 199 species. (Changed the Canada goose count to note the change Anderson noted.)

Here's a YouTube video on the largest common carp caught and released on the Chicago River.

With a second place at Green Bay on Sunday, Bill Sutton of Lindenhurst and Bill Vojak of Antioch won the Masters Walleye Circuit Central Division Team of the Year title.

MWC09 Central Division Team Of The Year

Mike Gappa was the perfect guy to talk to about Illinois bears.


So, I have this dilemma.


Suburban Chicago ``Ice Men'' star Tony Boshold took the TV guys from ``Angling the Great Lakes'' perch fishing on soft water off Chicago.

Steelhead coming in, weird biking and a new paddling event highlight this Chicago Wild Weekend Wanderings.

Yes, I said weird biking this is Tour de Fat ride in Chicago last year. Details are near the end below.

Eric Sharp has another fine piece on fly fishing for carp in the Detroit Free Press.

I hoped to do a story on what the impacts the Springfield budget mess will have on the IDNR, but director Marc Miller didn't have much to report on the ``fluid'' situation.

Illinois CPOs issued more than 600 citations over the last two weekends including the holiday one. That included some 38 for OUI (operating under the influence). Maybe it helped. For the first 4th holiday since 2005 there were no boating fatalities.

Complete release is below:

The yo-yoing weather (water temps holding in the mid-60s up north) has made for an odd mid-summer Midwest Fishing Report, but there's still some quality fish like the 12-2.5 coho caught by Robert Civinelli on Gypsy Dancer off Chicago.


Illinois' lead biologist on invasive fish, Steve Shults, had an interesting take on the number of bighead carp being found in Chicago lagoons, the latest caught by Gregory Hamilton from the Columbus Park lagoon on Friday.

Kirk Harootunian is catching ``out of this world'' 10-inch-plus hybrid bluegill from a Lake County pond, and earns Fish of the Week honors for the story as much as the size.


The International Game Fish Association, keeper of fishing records, has not received the application for the possible world-record largemouth bass caught in Japan last week as of Tuesday afternoon. However, IGFA conservation director Jason Schratwieser said, ``I anticipate getting one.''


A good duck census by the USFWS means a 16-day teal season and makes a liberal duck season virtually certain, according Illinois waterfowl biologist Ray Marshalla. The USFWS release is at the end below.

Nate Herman of Herman Brothers Pond Management in Fulton County sends around the neatest videos. Here's a fish feeding one.

So after two hours being crushed in the Taste of Chicago, we decided to redeem our souls by visiting North Park Village Nature Center Friday. And had an even better treat than anything we sampled at Taste.

The Birmingham News is reporting that Alabama may be the next state to make bass fishing a statewide championship sport for high schoolers.


Gregory Hamilton (he's behind his grandson, Martise Hardeman) caught what appears to be a bighead carp from Columbus Park lagoon Friday evening. Biologists confirmed it is a bighead (sentence CHANGED).


Has the greatest record in fishing been tied or broken? ESPN is reporting that is a possiblity with a bass from Japan.

It's a long holiday weekend and weather looks good for Chicago Wild Weekend Wanderings.


Don't forget perch fishing and your local ponds or lakes.


That's George Drozd helping load his buddy's Lund at 95th Street Thursday around lunch.

Here's Ducks Unlimited breakdown on preliminary figures from the USFWS showing breeding ducks up by 13 percent, and notably mallards are up 10 percent.

The no-wake on the lower river section of the Chain O'Lakes area was lifted this morning, according to the Fox Waterway Agency.

Dare we finally dream that it will actually be a summery holiday weekend. Signs and forecasts point that direction. That possibility and lakefront perch info headline the Midwest Fishing Report.

About this Archive

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

June 2009 is the previous archive.

August 2009 is the next archive.

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