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Outdoors: Nothing trite about this brown trout

Jacob Fiorio holds freak brown trout originally stocked Wiscons1999 he caught Thanksgiving near Gary Light. | For Sun-Times Media

Jacob Fiorio holds a freak of a brown trout, originally stocked in Wisconsin in 1999, he caught on Thanksgiving near Gary Light. | For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 29, 2012 6:28AM



Jacob Fiorio’s fish was so freaky-looking that I forwarded the photo to Indiana’s Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert.

That’s when the story got interesting.

But let’s start with Thanksgiving, when Fiorio was fishing with his dad, Steve, near Gary Light.

Steve Fiorio is no stranger to freaky fish. Two years ago, he caught one of the most mythical yellow perch, 165/8th inches long, from southern Lake Michigan. That catch, too, was near Gary Light.

Of this year’s outing, he messaged, “We were fishing the shoreline when he tied on a green jig with a white twister tail.’’

And Jacob latched on to a monster fish.

“What a fight!’’ Steve Fiorio messaged. “I was thinking I want to get the video camera, but then, if I did not net it and it got off, he would throw me in.’’

He stayed in the boat, and the fish was landed.

It was a fat-bellied 28-inch fish, a worthy catch for the 14-year-old from Dyer, Ind., who had focused on getting a big one all year in rivers, streams and lakes.

“He has not stopped smiling (me too),’’ Steve Fiorio messaged. “He has really put his time in. He would fish in the rain and the wind and did not give up.’’

After I looked at the photo, I wanted to confirm that it was a brown trout and sent it to Breidert.

“Brown trout with an ADLP fin clip based on the picture,’’ he quickly emailed back. ‘‘Looking at information, it appears to have been stocked by Wisconsin in 1999. So, that said, it is a 12-year-old fish.’’

Breidert also sent the info to Wisconsin biologists, so more info may be coming on just how much trout and salmon move around in Lake Michigan.

Illinois hunting

Looks like a warming trend for Illinois’ second firearm deer season, Thursday through Sunday. Some over-the-counter permits remain. Heidecke Lake is the best nearby, stand-by public site. . . . Saturday is the deadline for the first application for spring turkey permits.

Wild things

A crescendo of sandhill cranes flew through the Chicago area Friday. Even famed Lake Michigan fishermen Andy Mikos took note from Morton Grove.

“There was not a moment of the day from sunup until sundown that I could walk out of my house and not hear them,’’ he emailed. ‘‘I found their flight pattern very interesting. It looked like they were constantly regrouping overhead or maybe they were just being social as they casually rode that strong northwest breeze south.’’

I suspect many were headed to Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area, southeast of Valparaiso, Ind., where more than 10,000 were counted last week.

John Vukmirovich watched from the 10th Ward on Friday, then emailed, “The second skein looked like Morse code blips against the lead-gray sky. Their message? Fall’s over, winter’s here. When I turned away, a blast from the north hit me in the face: message received.’’

Watch them carefully. A report on the Indiana birding network said several whooping cranes have been mixed in with the sandhills at Jasper-Pulaski.

Stray cast

Marvin Miller was like the bull shark that made it up the Mississippi River to Alton in 1937.



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