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

August 2009 Archives

An old-time IDNR guy sent an interesting note about the annual cicadas I was hearing for the past month, which had me wondering if there were more than usual. This morning Bill Anderson snapped a photo of this one, he called a ``Dogday Harvestfly Cicada.''

Harvestfly Cicada

Apparently, there was good reason why I had such trouble finding a good photo of doves lining wires. That isn't good news for the opening of dove hunting tomorrow.


I covered the Chicago Triathlon for the Sun-Times on Sunday. For somebody like me, it forced a reality check.

Cicadas: Out of time

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I am not sure if it means anything or not, but I have run into a number of cicadas over the past month.


In passing this week when I called about a 24-10 king caught in mid-August, Indiana biologist Janel Palla said she was anticipating one of the better shoreline runs for bigger kings this year.

It's a packed weekend for Chicago Wild Weekend Wanderings, everything from gearing up for the start of hunting on Tuesday to the start of a hawk watch for a 10th straight year to the Michigan City boat show to a special day to explore Emiquon Preserve (below)


Is BlackBerried a verb yet?

At first, I didn't think ``Chef Todd'' Kent was going to get recognition for his pumpkinseed, which he caught in late July in hopes of establishing the first Illinois record for the species.

The young man with the big king caught on the St. Joseph River at Berrien Springs on Sunday is Tyler Harmon.


Below is the official word on why the IDNR will not have bowfishing for bass. What's left unanswered, at least to my satisfaction, is why that distinction and protection is not made for other native species when requested.

Illinois bass fishermen had best pay attention Bowfishing Association of Illinois president Ed Devries sees no reason why bowfishing for bass should not be OK. I will try to get a stance from the IDNR today.

The beginning of the shoreline run of kings in southern Lake Michigan leads this week's Midwest Fishing Report.


I am perverse enough to just enjoy running flower photos on an outdoor site.


The 24-pound, 10-ounce chinook salmon caught by Bob Tortolano on Aug. 14 earns Fish of the Week honors and needs some perspective.


For the last week, I have been trying to get a good shot of doves lined up on wires. This was the best I could do at a morning grit spot near a feed mill.


There's something beautiful in a northern pike photographed in the right light, especially when it comes from a Chicago harbor.


Sidetracked can be a good thing.


Bill Meyer makes a strong case for tweaking how Illinois fisheries managers look at and define trash fish.

Kings a'comin'

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Anthony Johnson drove to Racine, Wis. to try for kings without success, so the Chicagoan returned and stopped at Montrose horseshoe where he popped two 17-pound-plus kings this morning.


As William Meyer, the current holder of the Illinois shortnose gar record, suspected, the gar caught by Charles ``Mac'' Sloan from the Kankakee in the wee hours yesterday was ruled a longnose after measurements by biologist Steve Robillard at Henry's Sports/Bait & Marine Friday morning.

Well, the hope I had to play with the jumbo perch holding in the weeds off Olive Park this morning were put on hold while I wait to see whether biologist Steve Robillard declares Charles ``Mac'' Sloan's gar, a shortnose or longnose. William Meyer, the New Lenox gar aficionado who holds the shortnose record, thought it was a longnose. Otherwise, as befits a back-to-school weekend, there's a bunch of kids' stuff mixed for this Chicago Wild Weekend Wanderings, and a sign of the times with the return of salmon and the surprising continuation of the perch bite. And Conservation World at the Illinois State Fair goes through Sunday.


Biologist Steve Robillard took a look at an e-mailed photo of the gar caught by Charles ``Mac'' Sloan from the Kankakee just after midnight this morning and said, ``It could go either way.''

shortnose gar 8-20-2009 007

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has completed initial safety testing for navigation on the electric barrier on the Sanitary and Ship Canal near Romeoville. The barrier went to full-time operation Monday morning, and safety testing ended Tuesday evening.

Add shad and drum to species that bowfishers may pursue in Illinois, a result of legislation sponsored by state senator Dan Rutherford (R-Pontiac).

I have real mixed feelings.

Steve Palmisano posed an interesting question Tuesday: ``Have we ever seen a year where we catch perch and salmon at the same time?'' From the Chicago shoreline?

That question headlines the Midwest Fishing Report.

Of worms and Gofron

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``Just having a kid go out and pick a night crawler at night to go fishing the next day. I bet there are kids are who don't know how to do that. They see a night crawler on the driveway and wonder how it got there.''

Sometimes it is good to get sidetracked in an interview.

Nicole Lalka earns Fish of the Week honors for a representative of a good summer for big bass caught from the ponds and small lakes of the Chicago area.

FOTWnickis 20 inch bass

A couple reminders and the release of the 2008-09 Illinois Public Hunting Areas Report online top the Illinois Hunting Report. By next week, we will be gearing up for the dove opener. Yes, the dove opener and we should have some looks at how conditions look around the state by next week for doves.

This is close to fishing heresy for Chicago. But has Mike Gofron unseated Al Lindner as the greatest fisherman, or at least the greatest competitive fisherman, to come from the Chicago area?


The red-bellied pacu that Dave Zarnowski caught off Northerly Island on Aug. 7 apparently was the first such caught or captured from Lake Michigan in Illinois.


The Illinois Public Hunting Areas Report for 2008-09 is out. i was a little surprised to see total trips drop slightly (4 percent) to 272,394 from 283,237 in 2007-08, but that could simply be a function of the weather last fall and winter.


The kids did all right.


The third "Sgt. Tommy's Kids" kids fishing day is Saturday at Herrick Lake in Wheaton. It is open to all kids with military, police or fire personnel in the family. But make sure to register in advance.

I never tire of the Chicago skyline from the water.


With our second straight hot weekend, finding water headlines Chicago Wild Weekend Wanderings. For myself, that means playing on Lake Michigan with my family this morning, and hopefully we will catch some practice of the Air & Water Show while tubing and swimming. But Downstate, the Illinois State Fair opens today and runs through Aug. 23, and with it the free Conservation World opens inside the fair. And I love it.


The IDNR will hold an auction of confiscated and abandoned property on Aug. 29 at the IDNR Jack Perschbacher Service Center warehouse in Pawnee. It's the first one since 2005.

The outdoors is broad enough, diverse enough, that it is important to have a multitude of voices covering it. So I was truly saddened to hear from Steve Sarley last night that last Saturday's ``Outdoor Experience'' radio show was his last on WIND (560-AM), though he hopes to bring back the show in some form within 60 days.

Visitation for Homer ``Bud'' Hulet, former president of Chicagoland Muskie Hunters, is from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. today at the Matz Funeral Home, 3440 N. Central Ave., Chicago. Shortly after I received word from Dean Rosset about it, Duane Landmeier sent a touching note I thought worth sharing.

Here are some details on the Corps plans for the electric barrier on the Sanitary and Ship Canal near Romeoville, including a heads-up that all navigation in the area will be closed 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily through Friday from mile marker 296.0 to mile marker 296.7.

In response to the report released last week about finding DNA evidence of Asian farther upstream in the Sanitary and Ship Canal than expected, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will announce this morning a planned increase in the operating parameters for the electric fish dispersal barrier near Romeoville.

Apparently, it was a red-bellied pacu that Dave Zarnowski caught while perch fishing at Northerly Island on Friday.


Once again lakefront perch fishing leads the Midwest Fishing Report. That and some quality bass on Chicago-area ponds and lakes.

In only his third time fishing for salmon, Calvin Ng, a 21-year-old from Bridgeport, caught a 39-inch chinook weighing 23 pounds, last Wednesday, and earns Fish of the Week honors.


With the heat limiting even squirrel hunters, there's nothing earth-shattering other than a couple reminders about permits.

Proud dad Tom Brooks had more on his 10-year-old daughter Emily shooting a Bowfishing Association of Illinois-record grass carp, a 56.7-pounder, from the Des Plaines River Monday night.


Three chicks from the first piping plover nest found in Illinois in 30 years--along the Lake Michigan shoreline--were released Friday at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan.


Make it yet another bowfishing record for Illinois, and another from a girl, this time a 10-year-old.


Illinois lead biologist on invasive fish, Steve Shults, had a tempered response to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers's report on Friday about Asian carp possibly advancing up the Sanitary and Ship Canal. His key point was ``As of now, traditional monitoring has not produced a physical specimen of Asian carp from the canal.''


Yes, I am far afield here, but too many years of hours of traveling for outdoors stuff helped me become addicted to radio, especially sports talk. The Patrick Kane saga made me remember Roger Ebert talking about Steve Dahl.

A couple veteran waders made strong suggestions about staying hydrated in the comments of Friday's Chicago WWW. Before you think this is as ignorant as TV people telling you to stay cool when it is really hot, there is some very specific reasons for waders and the warnings to stay hydrated.


WINAMAC, Ind.--On Thursday, I expanded my river horizons with a fishing float on the Tippecanoe River in Idiana about 2 hours southeast of Chicago.


Asian carp may be closer to the electric barrier on the Sanitary and Ship Canal near Romeoville than previously thought, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

OK, the weather service is going crazy about heat warnings this weekend. Sounds to me like wet wading, wading and floating should lead this Chicago Wild Weekend Wanderings, and maybe perch fishing off Chicago.


Dave Zarnowski caught a 17.5-inch black pacu from Northerly Island Friday afternoon.

black pacu 8-7-2009 001

Gone fishin': And again

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I will try to catch up tomorrow afternoon, but I spent a 12-hour day floating and fishing the Tippy today and am doing the big lake tomorrow. May tomorrow morning be as fruitful as today was.

It began with this e-mail from Nick Pezdek about a big smallmouth caught from the Mazon River.


The wildly successfully reopening of perch season in the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan on Saturday headlines the Midwest Fishing Report. It is so good the hyperbole is building and we're searching for a historical perspective.


Applications may begin at 8:30 a.m. Monday for the state-operated controlled pheasant hunting areas. That leads the Illinois Hunting Report.


There's been bigger Fish of the Week, but, so far, not caught by a bigger fish. State Rep. David E. Miller (D-Dolton) earns FOTW honors with an 8-pound coho.


Jerry Schultz wondered why there are so many more turkey vultures around, and if it had anything to do with more roadkill. For a guy like me, that is a perfect question. I already knew there were more TVs around the Chicago area, but why is a bit trickier.

So when the IDNR stocked northern pike and smallmouth into section of the Rock River devastated by the kill in June, a flathead fanatic made a crack about the species deemed essential to stock. OK, maybe it isn't flatheads just yet, but there will be channel catfish added.

So, I had to stop by wife's office this morning--it is in one the many of the strip malls along Route 30 around LaGrange Road--and was stunned when a wild canine bolted through the parking lot.

Retired Downers Grove pipefitter Bob Kosiewicz sent a story early this summer about a muskie fishing trip on Lake Kinkaid with his partner Dianna ``Di'' Seymour. I think it is a piece of woman's muskie fishing history in Illinois.


Bourbonnais, Ill.--Last week, I happened to call Bourbonnais mayor Paul Schore after his sons drews the first pick of waterfowl blinds at the Kankakee River State Park. And at the end I just asked about outdoor stuff and Bears training camp.


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

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