Last year, I did shore fishing for opening day at Heidecke Lake.
This year, I think I am doing it by boat when the former cooling lake near Morris reopens to fishing on Thursday.
It opens at 6 a.m. for boaters, 6:30 a.m. for bank fishermen. Close is sunset.
There are some new regulations: crappie have a daily bag of 15, largemouth and smallmouth bass have a protected slot (12-18 inches) with a daily creel of three (only one may be longer than 18).
Biologist Rob Miller said the crappie regs are to protect a beginning fishery. They have noticed some young of the year for the past couple years.
Walleye remain solid. There was another stocking of 133,000 2-inch fish. He said 60 degrees seems to be the magic number for catching them. Opening day will not be near that, despite air temperatures that might be pushing 80..
Hybrid striped bass are the other glamour fish, but the big ones weighing in the teens just haven't been seen for awhile.
The muskie limit is now 48 inches, in essence Heidecke has become catch and release for muskies. ``I haven't collected that many that size,'' Miller said.
Catfish remain decent; bluegill OK, though not many big ones.
Here are directions from the IDNR:
From I-55 to exit 240 Lorenzo Road/Pine Bluff Road travel west approximately 7.5 miles to Jugtown Road. Turn north on to Jugtown Road and travel 1 mile to stop sign. Go straight and enter Heidecke Lake.