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updated: 8/20/2014 8:56 PM

Stratton Lock and Dam gets overhaul

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Construction will begin soon on a $16.7 million improvement project at the Stratton Lock and Dam on the Fox River in McHenry County.

Illinois DNR officials claim the Stratton Lock and Dam Life Extension Project will improve three components of the lock and dam facility.

A new structure will be built upstream and replace the existing gates. The boat lock will be extended in the downstream direction on the river, which will double the current capacity of the lock.

Finally, the berm on the west side of the Fox River will be rehabilitated to correct erosion problems.

Construction will not interrupt normal lock usage or water level control. More than 24,000 boats pass through the Stratton boat lock annually.

Parks and Rec:

Sometimes law enforcement people refuse to accept there's more to an individual situation than what's covered in the rule book.

An Alabama man who fired his gun to summon help after his son was struck by a boulder while climbing in Montana's Glacier National Park was issued a warning by park rangers following the recent incident.

While it has been legal since 2010 for visitors to carry firearms in all national parks when consistent with state laws, it remains illegal to discharge a gun within Glacier.

Shark saga:

From the Outdoor Hub comes a tale reminiscent of Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, as a Texas angler found himself fighting a massive tiger shark for more than seven hours over the weekend.

Ryan Spring was fishing with his father when he hooked a 12-foot, 7-inch shark off the coast near Port Aransas. The shark immediately starting dragging Spring's boat, which was about the same size.

"It was like seven hours of pure pain and suffering," Spring said. "But it was all well worth it though."

Saltwater anglers are well aware that larger sharks are quite capable of moving small vessels, and more than one kayak fisherman has been dragged along by a determined fish. But moving Spring's boat for 15 miles is still a staggering feat.

Spring said he occasionally set down the rod to get a quick breather, but it did not take long for the fight to pick up again. The angler recalled that on several occasions the shark was moving so fast and erratically it almost overturned the boat.

Fishing report:

Fox Chain: Excellent walleye and crappie angling on Pistakee, Fox and Petite Lakes. The walleye bite is a tad slower on the upper lakes. Night-bite crappies picking up on Lake Marie.

Forest preserves: In Cook County, Busse Lake is seeing an improved panfish bite, especially near the main dam.

Lake Michigan: The perch bite appears to be better on the far south side, but it's the Chinook activity that seems to be catching angler attention, especially at Waukegan and Northpoint Marinas. Some fish are very close if not in harbor areas.

• Mike Jackson can be reached via e-mail at, and you can catch his radio program 6-7 a.m. Sundays on WSBC 1240-AM. You can also visit his web page,, along with a new Facebook page.

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