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Heartland Outdoors

Stay Safe this Paddling Season

Wed, April 18, 2018

Paddlers are itching to get out on the water after this year’s long and cold winter. Review these simple safety tips before you head out on the water for your first paddling trip this year.

Check your canoe or kayak for any needed repairs or maintenance after being stored for several months. Look for holes and leaks, make sure all hatch lids fit snug and securely and check your paddle blades for signs of cracking or splitting.

Dust off your life jacket and make sure all buckles and zippers work properly and look for holes and tears. Replace the life jacket if it has damage that cannot be repaired. Wear a life jacket at all times while on the water, regardless of your swimming ability.

Wear a wetsuit or dry suit, along with layers, to help avoid hypothermia or cold water shock. Do not wear cotton. Dress for water immersion, not the air temperature. You can adjust your clothing needs as the water heats up over the next several weeks.

Always bring along a dry bag with a set of extra clothes you can change into if you get wet, a first-aid kit and a protected cell phone or weather radio. Pack plenty of water to stay hydrated. Stretch before you enter your boat to help prevent injuries.

Let a friend or loved one know where you are going and when you are expected to return. It will be easier to find you if you need help.

Be Aware of Changing Conditions
After snowmelt and heavy rains, water levels can rise quickly and produce strong and fast current. “Strainers” are numerous on most rivers, especially after high water events. A “strainer” can be a pile of tree limbs and debris, usually found on the outside of river bends where they continue to collect and pile up. The river’s current can suck you under a deadly “strainer” and hold you underwater with little chance of escape. A “sweeper” is found above the water’s surface and can be a tree that is ready to fall into the river. Hanging tree limbs can knock you out of your boat or grab you by your life jacket or clothing and not let go.

Always be aware of where low head dams are on the river you are paddling. Never go over a low head dam. Watch for warning signs, as well as signs telling you where and when to get off the river. Put back in well downstream of the low head dam. The hydraulics of the dam will not let you escape as the turbulence of the water will be strong enough to keep pulling you and your boat under the water over and over again.

Jet skis, motorboats, water skiers and anglers will be out on the water when the weather is nice. Give everyone plenty of room. If a “wake” is approaching your boat, point the front of your boat into the wave to prevent your boat from tipping when the wave strikes.

New Water Trail Maps
Now that you are prepared for water fun, start planning your trip with the new Iowa DNR Water Trail maps. Pocket-sized brochures for a dozen water trails, including the Lower Des Moines, Maquoketa, South Skunk, and all of the Raccoon Rivers can be requested. Download easy-to-print PDF versions formatted to 8.5 x 11 from the Iowa DNR Web site at

Media Contacts: Todd Robertson, Iowa DNR River Programs Outreach Coordinator at 515-243-3714 or John Wenck, Iowa DNR River Programs Water Trails Coordinator at 515-725-8465.


Stocking of 740,000 catchable size trout underway.

Wed, April 11, 2018

MADISON - Stocking trucks are rolling from state fish hatcheries now and will deliver about 740,000 catchable-size trout to more than 400 inland waters in time for opening day of the 2018 regular inland trout season.

Additional fish were raised and are being stocked through cooperative rearing agreements with fishing clubs and 70,000 fish will be stocked in urban fishing waters cooperatively managed with the local municipality and used as a place for fishing clinics and kids fishing.


Youth Hunters harvest around 1,723 birds

Tue, April 10, 2018

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – According to preliminary data from Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), young turkey hunters harvested 1,723 turkeys during the 2018 spring youth season, April 7-8. Top harvest counties were Franklin with 51 turkeys harvested, Miller with 43, and Maries with 43.

Young hunters checked a little over 4,000 turkeys during last year’s youth weekend.

MDC’s Turkey Biologist, Jason Isabelle, says the drop in harvest can be attributed mostly to unseasonably cold temperatures this weekend and for much of spring thus far.

“Weather was the biggest contributing factor to this year’s low youth turkey season harvest,” Isabelle said. “Temperatures that were well-below average probably made it difficult for young hunters to spend as much time hunting this past weekend as they would have with more seasonal temperatures.”

Isabelle also notes that in addition to cold temperatures this weekend, spring has been slow to get here this year causing turkeys to be a little behind schedule as far as the winter flock break-up.

“When turkeys are still flocked up as they are in much of the state right now, it can make for some very challenging hunting,” he said. “With warmer temperatures in the forecast, hunting conditions should be much more favorable for the upcoming regular spring turkey season.”

For county-specific information on turkey harvest, visit MDC online at

For more information on the upcoming regular spring turkey hunting season, April 16-May 6, get a copy of MDC’s 2018 Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet, available where permits are sold, or online at

Hunters who harvest their first turkey can have the accomplishment recognized through a special certificate from MDC, complete with a photo. Learn more at


Carlyle Lake Pool Update

Tue, April 03, 2018

As of 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 the pool elevation at Carlyle Lake was 450.76 feet, referenced to the National Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD). The current release rate is approximately 5,560 cubic feet per second (cfs). The inflow for Monday, April 2, 2018 was approximately 10,910 day second feet (dsf). With current precipitation on the ground, Carlyle Lake is forecasted to crest at 452.0 feet NGVD on Saturday, April 7, 2018. Carlyle Lake Dam is operating as designed, helping reduce flood stages on the Lower Kaskaskia and Mississippi Rivers.
Due to the rising water level, some breakwaters and facilities will be overtopped and caution should be used when boating near these and other submerged structures. Boaters are also reminded to use caution and watch for floating logs and other debris that may be present. Some township roads around the lake will also become inundated, motorists should use caution when driving in low lying areas around the lake.
Boat ramps impacted by the high water conditions include: Allen Branch, Patoka, and Peppenhorst Branch. High water ramps at Dam West, Dam East, Coles Creek, Apache, Tamalco and Boulder will be available for launching.
The Corps of Engineers continues to work closely with their partners, the Carlyle Lake Association, Mid-Kaskaskia River Association and the Okaw River Basin Coalition to monitor the situation. For more information, contact the Carlyle Lake Project Office at (618) 594-2484 or email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


Lake Shelbyville Seeks Volunteers

Tue, April 03, 2018

Lake Shelbyville - Enjoy the outdoors?  Looking for a quiet place to RV this
summer?  The U.S Army Corps of Engineers, Lake Shelbyville, is looking for
volunteers to help take care of Opossum Creek Campground, and Lithia Springs
Campground at Lake Shelbyville. The campground volunteers would be
responsible for cleaning within and around the Opossum Creek Campground or
the Lithia Springs Campground. The positions can be accomplished by an
individual volunteer; however, a pair of volunteers for this position is

All equipment and supplies, for all of these positions, are provided by the
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In return for approximately 20 hours of
volunteered service per week, volunteers will be provided a free campsite
that includes electric, water, and sewer hookups. Volunteers who work 250
hours or more at federal recreation sites also earn a free annual pass.  For
more information please call (217) 774-3951 Ext: 2 or visit the Lake
Shelbyville Project office at 1989 State Hwy 16, in Shelbyville, IL or email
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) .


Archery Deer Applications for Beaver Dam/Horseshoe Lake

Sat, March 10, 2018

PLAINVIEW, IL – Archery deer hunting applications are available through March 30 for the special drawings at Beaver Dam State Park, Carlinville, and through March 31 for the special drawings at Horseshoe Lake State Park, Granite City for the 2018-19 Illinois Archery Deer Hunting Season.Hunters can obtain an application either online or from park offices to apply. Site-specific applications will offer nine weekly intervals at Horseshoe Lake State Park and 11 weekly intervals at Beaver Dam State Park.  Applicants must prioritize their hunting weeks and will be selected randomly in a lottery drawing.

Beaver Dam State Park (Macoupin Co.) offers approximately 450 acres of hunting area.  The hunting area consists predominately of upland hardwood forested acres with an interspersion of cropland and grassland.  Horseshoe Lake State Park (Madison Co.) offers an estimated 600 acres of hunting area, which consists of small to medium size woodlots surrounded by cropland and grassland components.  There are two separate areas open to archery deer hunting at Horseshoe Lake State Park (Bend Road or Walker’s Island). Follow the links to the Hunter Fact Sheets on the IDNR website to obtain the archery deer site applications:

Goode’s Woods Nature Preserve, a 40-acre woodland nature preserve located in northern Macoupin Co. and a satellite area of Beaver Dam State Park, will allow one archery hunter per week.  Thirteen total weeks will be available for archery deer hunting this area. Bohm Woods Nature Preserve, a 90-acre site located in Madison Co., and a satellite area of Horseshoe Lake State Park, will allow two archery hunters per week.  Thirteen total weeks will also be available for archery deer hunting at Bohm Woods. Follow the links to the Hunter Fact Sheets to obtain the archery deer hunting site applications:’sWoodsNaturePreserve.aspx

Drawings will be held on the first working day in April (April 2) at each site.  All areas (Beaver Dam State Park, Goode’s Woods Nature Preserve, Horseshoe Lake State Park and Bohm Woods Nature Preserve) require the harvest of an antlerless deer prior to harvesting an antlered deer.  Archery deer hunting for people with disabilities is also available at Beaver Dam State Park through a reservation system to hunt from an accessible blind location.

For more information or to pick up an application, contact Beaver Dam State Park, 14548 Beaver Dam Lane   Plainview, IL 62685, phone 217-854-8020; or, Horseshoe Lake State Park, 3321 Highway 111, Granite City, IL 62040, phone 618-931- 0270.


Firewood Cutting Opportunity at Carlyle Lake

Thu, March 08, 2018

Permits will be available at the Carlyle Lake Project Office from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. beginning March 8, 2018.  A total of 15 permits will be issued on a first come first serve basis and there is no charge.  All permit holders will be limited to four cords of firewood which may not be used for commercial use or resale. Previous permit holders from Dam West Campground must reapply.  Trees will be located throughout the campground and vehicle access will be limited to paved surfaces only.  Cutting will be permitted Tuesday through Saturday beginning March 12, 2018 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 

For more information on Carlyle Lake, contact the Carlyle Lake Project Office at (618) 594-2484 or email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


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