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Recent entries


Through the Lens

Outdoor Illinois Magazine Returns in Digital Format

Tue, August 15, 2017

I was tickled pink to receive this e mail from Mark Alessi, Chief, Division of Wildlife Services for IDNR

“It is my pleasure to announce that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program and the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGGREC) to bring back Outdoor Illinois!  This time it is a wildlife-specific online journal that contains articles on Wildlife, People, Land, Research, and Recreation.  Please take a few moments to look through the site, and to visit our annual hunting forecasts (  Right now, we have posted deer/turkey/squirrel and furbearer forecasts.  Upland game and waterfowl forecasts will be coming soon! There are plenty of other short articles to look at as well while you’re there.  If you have ideas for Outdoor Illinois: Wildlife Journal, or areas that you think we need to provide more information on, please e-mail me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and let me know.”

To visit other websites regarding wildlife in Illinois, please visit our Living with Wildlife in Illinois ( and our White-tailed Deer: Illinois websites (

I’ve already raced over to view the new publication, and I don’t think you will be disappointed! Here’s hoping someday funding will return so that paper copies with also become available again!


Fishing Old School Style

Thu, June 29, 2017

In this world of full of the latest and the greatest technology that finds fish for us, marks the spot, and all but puts them in the boat combined with rods and reels that also sport one technological miracle after another, there is much to be said for returning to our fishing roots.

A simple pole, a coffee can of worms, and bucket. That’s all we really need some days. Perhaps a pocket full of some plastic, or a little jig, a length of cording and a washer for a stringer, and few extra hooks to round things out.  Don’t we all remember the excitement of heading out with Mom or Dad, Grandpa or Grandma for that walk to the edge of the creek, a stretch of river bank – the farm pond in the pasture?

There’s not much to go wrong. Not a whole lot of moving parts on a jigging or cane pole that can break, no batteries that can die.  It’s a bit primitive. Just the fisherman and the world around him. It allows us to go back and reexamine why we fish in the first place. It allows us to feel that staccato bam-bam-bam bite of a bait sized drive by bluegill bite or the solid smack and thump hard hit of a young aggressive bass. The gentle tap and nudge of a crappie.

Fishing “old school” allows us to concentrate on the world around us, marvel at the colors and shapes and feisty attitudes of some fish. Little fish with big fish personalities. The birds sing and swing by to snatch up bugs or fish, a fat raccoon lumbers along the bank looking for a hand out. This is what fishing used to be before the bells and whistles, before maps, and fish finders, jet boats, air boats, and twin 250’s.  Before the world of tournaments, trophies and TV. This is what made us love fishing in the first place.

I challenge you to leave the big boat, the fish finders, the tackle box behind. Take only what you can carry, and take a walk down the path to a piece of water.  Find a spot, have a sit on the bucket or the bank.  Let fishing at its most basic remind you of why you learned to love it so much.  The sights, the smells, and the feeling of satisfaction of filling the stringer with supper.

Perhaps Herbert Hoover said it best, “Fishing is much more than fish.  It is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers. “


Fishing’s Future Contest Now Underway

Wed, June 07, 2017

South Padre Island, Texas — The fourth annual Fishing’s Future National Youth Catch-Photo-Release Contest began June 3, 2017. The total value of the grand prize package is more than $9,600 and it will be awarded to a young angler after the conclusion of the contest on August 12.

Fishing’s Future is America’s preeminent organization dedicated to helping young people and their families build better and deeper bonds using sportfishing as an educational, recreational and conservational rallying point. Thousands of families have been introduced to the sport by Fishing’s Future, and contests like this one and the sponsors supporting it ensure that fishing’s future will be bright for generations to come.

Each week for 10 consecutive weeks, Fishing’s Future will randomly select four winners to each receive a Shakespeare UglyStik rod and reel combo, Plano tackle box, Buff USA headgear, fishing line from McCoy’s Premium Fishing Line and Seaguar, plus a selection of Berkley lures and more.

After those weekly winners are selected, Fishing’s Future will hold a random drawing for three more prize packages, as follows:

The 2nd Place prize winner will receive a camping package from Bass Pro Shops valued at $700.00.
The Grand Prize winner will receive a week-long vacation package to Texas’ beautiful South Padre Island for a family of four. It includes air fare, a six-day, five-night stay at the popular Schlitterbahn Beach Resort Water Park, a guided shark fishing excursion, a guided bay fishing trip for redfish and spotted sea trout, a vogue on the Black Dragon Pirate Ship, and much more. The Grand Prize must be scheduled and completed during the 2017 calendar year. The Grand Prize is valued at more than $9,600.

To enter, a contestant must be a resident of the continental United States both at the time of his or her catch and at the time of the prize drawing, born on or after August 12, 2000. In addition, he or she must make a legal catch of a fish of any species between June 3 and August 12, 2017 and complete an entry at, which requires that he or she:

provide a photograph of the contestant with the fish,
release the fish alive and
submit a 100-200-word essay or personal reflection he or she wrote about the catch.

Contestants may enter as many separate catches as they wish, but each catch may be entered only once and each catch requires a unique photo and story. All submissions become the property of Fishing’s Future and may be used to promote the contest or other organization efforts. Remember to #FishingsFuture when entering.

“At Fishing’s Future, we’re working to connect kids with nature and the outdoors and to build better and stronger family relationships,” says founder Shane Wilson. “There’s no better way to do that than through fishing. Our efforts have resulted in thousands of new anglers and an equal number of families bonding through the great outdoors.”

Sponsors include Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, Buff, McCoy Premium Fishing Line, Plano, Schlitterbahn Beach Resort Water Park, Seaguar, Shakespeare, South Padre Island, Tenkara USA, Ugly Stik, Osprey Cruises, Jim’s Pier, Gabriella’s Italian Restaurant, The Palms Resort and Café, Blackbeard’s and Sea Turtle Inc.

About Fishing’s Future:

Fishing’s Future uses recreational angling to connect children and their families to nature and each other through education and the protection, conservation and restoration of our nation’s aquatic natural resources.

to see events calendar, donate used or surplus fishing gear to our “2nd Casts” program, form a chapter or donate much-needed support. All donations are tax deductible, lead directly to more angling participation and help to ensure fishing’s future.

Please follow and like Fishing’s Future on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram… and don’t forget to #FishingsFuture and fish!


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