Chicago Sun-Times Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us (Editor) Newspapers Chicago Sun-Times 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Heidecke Lake, the former cooling lake, has a lot of fish stories ]]> Lead story image

The big crappie being caught in the opening weeks of fishing at Heidecke Lake reinforce how much of an anomaly the former cooling lake is. Over the last several years, district fisheries biologist Rob Miller moved adults from nettings at Milliken Lake and added some young crappie in years when LaSalle Fish Hatchery had extra. “But it is not a typical crappie fishery,’’ Miller said. “It tends to be sporadic.’’ Sporadic, when it is on this spring, has been good for crappie reaching 13 and 14 inches, big crappie for northeast Illinois. But you have to think differently when chasing … ]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 02:24:25 -0500 <![CDATA[ ]]> Lead story image

Midwest fishing report AREA LAKES: Crappie and bass time. Ken “Husker’’ O’Malley, Water Werks Fishing Team: “On sunny days, bass are up shallow. Cloudy days push them back. Wind blown shorelines have been best.’’ CHAIN O’LAKES AREA: Triangle: Crappie are top bite, otherwise look for walleye in current or around main lake points; for bluegill, sunny days are best. COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS: Winds have been the limiting factor. BRAIDWOOD: Catfish are best bite; see FOTW. Jon’s: A 6.5-pound largemouth caught. MAZONIA/OTHER STRIP PITS: Jon’s: Crappie (mostly 9-10s, at Mazonia), pike and bass are starting. LaSALLE: Henry’s: Chicken livers taking good … ]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 22:44:04 -0500 <![CDATA[ Record Illinois sauger? It seems that weigh ]]> Lead story image

Some fish are big enough to flop over the hide-and-seek of tournament fishing. Say, the sauger Joe Miller caught March  28 on the Illinois River while prefishing for the Masters Walleye Circuit tournament out of Spring Valley. All Miller boated was a sauger likely big enough to break the longest-standing gamefish record in Illinois. Except by the time his sauger was officially weighed, six days after being caught, he missed the record by several ounces. All the same, Miller was happy to take time Thursday morning from working at his shop, Red’s Auto Repair in Lake Barrington, to talk about the … ]]> Sun, 13 Apr 2014 02:34:09 -0500 <![CDATA[ Chicago River yields monster walleye ]]> Lead story image

Gerardo ‘‘Gero’’ Cortez asked and answered the right question about walleye and the Chicago River last week. ‘‘I was down there Monday or Tuesday and asked Ryan, ‘Hey, any walleye in there?’ ’’ Cortez said. Ryan Whitacre is a dedicated Chicago River fisherman and a member of the urban-savvy fishing and entrepreneurial group known as the Cast Crew. Cortez answered his own question with an exclamation point when he landed and released one of the biggest walleye ever caught from the river while fishing Friday near North Park University. ‘‘That is a good spot,’’ said Cortez, who lives in Humboldt Park. … ]]> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 20:47:59 -0500 <![CDATA[ 4/9: Midwest Fishing Report & Fish of the Week ]]> Lead story image

MIDWEST FISHING REPORT SMELT: None to slow. Netting runs through April in Chicago. Hours are 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. SPRING TROUT: Season opened Saturday in Illinois. Local waters include Axehead, Belleau, Green, Horsetail and Wolf in Cook County; Grove, Pickerel and Silver in DuPage; Bird Park Quarry and Rock Creek in Kankakee; Banana and Sand Lake (Illinois Beach State Park ) in Kane; and Milliken and Pine in Will. Trout stamp required for those 16 and older. Daily bag is five. AREA LAKES: Crappie and bass are beginning. Ken ‘‘Huskier’’ O’Malley, Water Werks Fishing Team: ‘‘The big-bass bite is … ]]> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 20:47:59 -0500 <![CDATA[ Hunting sandhill cranes isn’t for everybody, but it isn’t unethical ]]> Lead story image

Hunting sandhill cranes is like eating horse meat: In terms of science, there is nothing wrong with either. But I have no interest in hunting sandhill cranes or eating horse meat. I came to mulling this because of a question from faithful reader Craig Holderness. In the last decade or so, sandhills have become the great harbinger of seasonal change in the Chicago area. And we have one of the great stopovers for sandhill cranes nearby at Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area, southeast of Valparaiso, Ind. In the fall, as many as 20,000 sandhill cranes congregate there. For the last … ]]> Sun, 06 Apr 2014 02:35:32 -0500 <![CDATA[ Conservation police officers coming from closer to home ]]> Lead story image

Home matters. That’s the best thing I took from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources holding a graduation ceremony for 14 conservation police officers Friday in Springfield. Half the class came from the Chicago area, though none was from Chicago. That’s a step in the right direction. There long has been a disconnect between urban/suburban anglers and hunters and CPOs, who for the most part come from far Downstate. IDNR director Marc Miller was especially proud to have a second class in two years. There’s still a long way to go. The ceremony brought the number of CPOs up to … ]]> Tue, 01 Apr 2014 19:58:24 -0500 <![CDATA[ 4/2: Midwest Fishing Report & Fish of the Week ]]> Lead story image

MIDWEST FISHING REPORT LAKEFRONT COHO: Wind and weather are wild cards. CHICAGO: Steve Palmisano, Henry’s: ‘‘Good up and down the lakefront.’’ Gary Bloom: Saw two or three coho ‘‘in most every bucket’’ Sunday at Montrose. INDIANA/SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN: Capt. Bob Poteshman: Going out of Hammond Marina and primarily doing red Dodgers and small flies in or in front of the shipping channel. Mik-Lurch: When weather allows, Buffington and Gary Light are good. Weather Tuesday restricted fishermen to mouth of the Ditch. In marinas, skein on bottom works best; some on jig and squid. Dave Repya: New Buffalo and Michigan City coho … ]]> Tue, 01 Apr 2014 19:58:24 -0500 <![CDATA[ Michigan runners class of field in Shamrock Shuffle ]]> Lead story image

The landscape is still trapped in winter drabness, but there was green aplenty Sunday for the 35th Shamrock Shuffle downtown. As the sun rose over Lake Michigan on a calm morning, executive race director Carey Pinkow- ski said: ‘‘Finally. It is a rite of spring.’’ Jake Riley, 25, who finished second last year, won the men’s side in 23 minutes, 6 seconds.  His fellow runner from Hansons-Brooks Distance Project A in  Michigan, 22-year-old Katie Kellner, won the women’s side in 27:13. ‘‘It has been such brutal weather all winter,’’ Kellner said. ‘‘Just watching the sun come up, I thought, ‘It is … ]]> Mon, 31 Mar 2014 21:04:48 -0500 <![CDATA[ It’s slow, but spring action is starting ]]> Lead story image

I   found myself on Wednesday looking at and to check for reports nearby of morel mushrooms. There weren’t any. It’s one mixed-up spring coming out of an all-time Chicago winter. On Tuesday, smelt netting opens on the Chicago lakefront. A week ago, a reader wondered if the ice will be off the shoreline enough to throw nets. It should be, though a significant ice cap flows back and forth with the wind on Lake Michigan. I am not sure that would matter. Smelting is now a rite of tradition and memory more than netting. ‘‘Smelt fishing this year … ]]> Sun, 30 Mar 2014 02:34:26 -0500 <![CDATA[ Spring turkey hunting upon us ]]> Lead story image

Turkey hunting will be different this spring after the historic winter. In Illinois, spring turkey hunting begins this weekend with the youth hunt in the south zone. ‘‘Turkey hunters are going to be facing, particularly in youth season, winter birds,’’ said John Burk, a regional biologist for Missouri, Iowa and Illinois. ‘‘It will not be a classic spring hunt and the bird comes in. Basically, you need to get in front of them and ambush them. A lot of country is set up for that. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where they are heading. If you … ]]> Tue, 25 Mar 2014 20:45:16 -0500 <![CDATA[ Masters Walleye Circuit event this weekend at Spring Valley ]]> Lead story image

… ]]> Tue, 25 Mar 2014 20:45:16 -0500 <![CDATA[ 3/25: Midwest Fishing Report and Fish of the Week ]]> Lead story image

MIDWEST FISHING REPORT LAKEFRONT COHO: Coho are in. Limits in Indiana: Michigan City, Portage, Gary Light, Hammond Marina and the shipping channel. All depends on ice being out. Capt. Bob Poteshman, Confusion Charters: Coho are running 15 to 18 inches; shipping channel was best Monday. Crankbaits working, as well as Dodgers and flies. Steve Palmisano, Henry’s: Some being caught at 39th Street. Stacey Greene, Park Bait: Coho on south side of Montrose. Mik-Lurch: Shore fishermen taking some at Hammond (jig and squid) and Portage. DERBY: Henry’s Coho Derby is 7 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Navy Pier. It’s $5 parking … ]]> Tue, 25 Mar 2014 20:45:16 -0500 <![CDATA[ Fish kills a concern in wake of conditions this historic winter ]]> Lead story image

Rob Miller had a good idea about what he would find when he put a camera into Milliken Lake at midweek: dead fish. Pond owners, fisheries managers and homeowners are wondering: How much impact did the historic winter have on fish? The critical point is near. Stocking is scheduled to begin for spring trout season, which opens April 5 in Illinois. Milliken, a Will County lake near Wilmington, was to be stocked Tuesday. ‘‘That got me keenly interested,’’ Miller said. ‘‘Originally, it was dug as a barrow pit for the old interstate. There is maybe one trough of 8 feet. … ]]> Sun, 23 Mar 2014 02:32:40 -0500 <![CDATA[ There’s nothing like opening day at LaSalle Lake ]]> Lead story image

MARSEILLES, Ill. — As we drifted a bank early Saturday, Pete Riedesel put it well — long before we pounded hybrid striped bass on opening day of fishing at LaSalle Lake. ‘‘Finally, a Saturday I am not aimlessly wandering around the house,’’ he said. The day ended up being about far more than just shaking off the historic winter. We caught about everything the cooling lake south of Seneca offers: largemouth bass (about 30, up to 2 pounds), smallmouth bass, hybrids (two dozen, the biggest was 2.5 pounds), yellow bass, white bass, freshwater drum, channel catfish and blue catfish. The … ]]> Tue, 18 Mar 2014 20:17:01 -0500 <![CDATA[ 03/19: Midwest Fishing Report & Fish of the Week ]]> Lead story image

MIDWEST FISHING REPORT LaSALLE OPENER: Water temperatures were in the 40s on the cold side and 80 in the hot chute. All launches should be open. Concessionaire trailer is scheduled. March hours are 6 a.m. to sunset Wednesday through Sunday. Some big blues and some decent-to-good largemouth and hybrids were caught opening day. CHAIN O’LAKES AREA: Greg Dickson, Triangle: Good ice conditions. Concentrate around spawn areas for pike. Bluegills better. Look for walleye around any current. Crappie will keep improving through ice-out. COOLING LAKES/PITS: LaSALLE: See above. MAZONIA: Jonathan Meder, Jon’s Bait: Ice is getting sloppy. BRAIDWOOD: Open daily from … ]]> Tue, 18 Mar 2014 20:17:01 -0500 <![CDATA[ A time for talking at yellow perch summit ]]> Lead story image

Jumbo yellow perch are magical, whether they are being hooked on Lake Michigan or their fillets flipped in a hot, buttered pan. Yet, for the last two decades, it feels as if Lake Michigan perch have been under the sway of dark magic as populations crashed. In an ideal world, we could catch jumbo yellow perch every day from southern Lake Michigan. We don’t live in anything close to that perch heaven. So what do we realistically want? Me? Other fishermen? Fisheries managers? There will be questions and some answers at the lakewide yellow-perch summit being hosted by the Lake … ]]> Sun, 16 Mar 2014 02:30:24 -0500 <![CDATA[ Yanel wins ride with record day ]]> Lead story image

Ryan Yanel drove into bowling history Sunday and out the other side. He opened with a 289, then went back-to-back on 300s and closed with a 254 for a scratch 1143 in the men’s finals of 53rd Beat the Champions at River Rand Bowl in Des Plaines. That’s how to win the top prize of a new Ford Focus from the Chicagoland Ford Dealers. It was the first back-to-back 300s and first 1100 scratch in BTC finals history. His opening three-game total of 889 established the BTC finals record and smashed the River Rand record of 814. It is one … ]]> Sun, 09 Mar 2014 23:04:42 -0500