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updated: 8/15/2012 6:21 PM

Big trouble in the Everglades

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Thank goodness we don't have the tropical climate of south Florida.

There have been times I have been contacted to come to someone's pond or creek to help identify some species of fish. Quite often the visiting swimmer was pegged as a piranha. It was subsequently removed by people who deal with situations like that.

Thankfully, though, there's been nothing like this in south Florida, where the matter of invasive snakes has gotten out of hand.

University of Florida researchers say a 160-pound, 17-foot Burmese python found in the Everglades last week is the largest ever seen in the state, and is more evidence the invasive species is established in the park. The snake was carrying 87 eggs, also a record. The find shows that the non-native species is growing virtually unchecked, and breeding at astounding rates.

How did the first snakes find their way in to the Everglades? People, of course.

They dumped their unwanted pets into the land of plenty and left them to fend on their own -- which they seem to be doing quite nicely.

Fowl rules:

The Illinois DNR is apparently embracing the recommendations from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the upcoming waterfowl season in this state.

The recommendations include 60-day duck seasons in each of the state's four waterfowl hunting zones, along with Canada goose hunting seasons of 90 days in the North and Central zones, an 83-day Canada goose season in the South Central Zone, and a 71-day Canada goose season in the South Zone.

The Illinois seasons are based on a five-year plan for waterfowl hunting season dates that was developed last year and continues through the 2015 season.

For 2012-13, Illinois will open the regular duck, Canada goose, and snow goose seasons on Oct. 20 in the North Zone, Oct. 27 in the Central Zone, Nov. 10 in the South Central Zone, and Nov. 22 in the South Zone. White-fronted goose seasons open Nov. 5 in the North Zone, Nov. 19 in the Central and South Central zones, and Nov. 22 in the South Zone.

The proposed daily duck bag limit is six and may include no more than four mallards (two hens), three wood ducks, one mottled duck, two redheads, four scaup, two pintails, one black duck, and one canvasback.

The proposed daily bag limit of mergansers is five, only two of which may be hooded mergansers. The possession limit for ducks and mergansers is twice the daily bag limit by species and sex.

Fishing report:

Fox Chain: Walleye action is getting better every day, especially right at or near the current area around bridges. If channel catfish is your game, try Pistakee Lake in 7 feet. Bluegill activity is better every day on Channel Lake, north end.

Fox River: You can find smallies in the holes right off the riffles.

Lake Michigan: Perching has been slow, If you want salmon you may have to dredge the depths down to more than 150 feet near Waukegan.

Bangs Lake: Largemouth still good on outside weed edges.

• Contact Mike Jackson at, and catch his radio show 6-7 a.m. Sundays on WSBC 1240-AM and live-streamed at

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