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Lifetime licenses? Devil is in the detail.

Legislation has been introduced in Lansing to create a package of lifetime hunting and fishing licenses. On the surface, it sounds like a good idea that would save sportsmen and women a few bucks. But the devil is in the detail. The legislation, HB 5334 sponsored by Rep. Richard LeBlanc (D-Westland), calls for establishing lifetime licenses for fishing (restricted and…

Rule No. 2

My purpose here isn’t to keep rule No. 1 a secret, it’s a takeoff on the saying my high school football coach often eschewed. Odd though it may seem, he’d find a way to fit it into pep talks, chew-outs and general conversation time and again. He’d say, “Watermelon is the second best thing in the world. Everyone has their…

Is 10 brook trout too many?

The Department of Natural Resources’ proposed change in the brook trout creel limit from five fish to 10 fish is more controversial than I thought it would be. It wasn’t that long ago that the daily limit was 10 fish, and it had been 10 for quite a few years. From what I understand, the change from 10 to five…

Bill for Fish Management Fund on the move

House Bill 4193, Rep. Frank Mautino’s DNR Sustainability Bill, was placed on the schedule for a second reading and short debate today.  At 3 p.m., I learned that floor amendment No. 1 was filed by Mautino, and that the bill was assigned to Rules Committee. In other words, the bill is moving. Enter retired DNR fisheries chief Mike Conlin. He…

Fun fishing in early walleye territory: crankbaits!

I hear from anglers who assume that crankbaits only work in warm temperatures. Not true! Crankbaits will work opening weekend and all the way through summer, trolling or casting. Most people troll crankbaits, but in a rip-rap area or other structure, there’s nothing wrong with experimenting with some crankbait casting. When trolling cranks, you have three choices: long-line, use lead-core, or…

Lunker Lure helping more than just anglers

Anglers outside of southern Illinois may not realize that some of the lures in their tackle boxes are being produced in Perry County by an organization with a history of helping mentally and physically challenged adults. Lunker Lure, which began production in late 1960 in Carterville, has been contracting with 5-Star Industries in Du Quoin for more than 6 years….

The South dominates high school fishing finals

Southern Illinois high schools ruled the bass fishing finals in 2012. The Highland Bulldogs' No. 1 team of Joe Bardill and Jared Mettler landed five bass totaling 13 pounds, 9 ounces to win the fourth annual Illinois High School Association state bass fishing tournament held Saturday at Carlyle Lake. Highland No. 1's two-day total of 27 pounds, 13 ounces bested…

New fishing show coming to Illinois in 2013

Be it the rough economy or a change in hunter and angler shopping habits, outdoor shows in the state have have experienced difficult times in recent years. Just to give a couple of examples: the once-prominent Rosemont show has changed ownership at least three times and the Deer Classic in Collinsville shut down last year. But there is still some…

A new forage base In the Chain

As you may have heard, the Chain O' Lakes has developed a large shad population as of late.  This increasing forage base has changed the ecosystems in the lakes and will certainly affect the way you will fish these bodies of water. One can argue that the increase has bad consequences. However, if you take a minute and think about…

Spawn incomplete despite warm temps

Thanks to an unseasonably warm March, many anglers thought that come the season opener this Saturday, that many gamefish would be done spawning and already in early summer patterns.   After interviewing several bait and tackle dealers in metro-Milwaukee, and doing a bit of fishing myself last weekend, that just doesn’t seem to be the case. In fact, after an entire…

Early season walleye jigging tactics

I love using jigs but too many anglers aren’t fishing them correctly. Just starters, understand that you won’t always feel the thump of a walleye when it strikes a jig. Guys expect that sure bite or hit. Many times you don’t feel it. So often you  drop the jig down and it stops. Maybe you’ll just feel some extra weight….

A wind knot runs through it

It’s Hollywood, all Hollywood. You see a guy casually walking through the woods, along a stream, with fly rod in tow, it’s Hollywood. And while Brad Pitt could look good almost anywhere, it won’t be as he (actually) strolls along the River that Runs Through It. Maybe it’s because I’m out of practice, maybe it was just the wind, maybe…

Pen projects' unsung heroes

It’s all about what’s going on behind the scenes to make our sportfishing resource one of the best on the planet. Yes, we know about the fish hatcheries themselves and the personnel who collect the fish eggs, hatch them and get them ready for fish stockings each spring – the salmon and trout for the Great Lakes. But it doesn’t…

Ohio fishing license sales soaring

An abundance of warm spring days sent Ohio fishing license sales soaring this year, according to the Ohio DNR Division of Wildlife. “An unusually warm spring is drawing increased numbers of anglers to Ohio’s streams and lakes,” said Vicki Ervin, the division’s communication manager. Between March 1 and April 5, overall license sales were up 76.5 percent over the same period in 2011, records…