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Articles filed under Outdoors

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  • So, here’s the story: Every fishing trip is an adventure Apr 9, 2014 7:33 PM
    Fishing is fun, but the best part just may be the stories that come from it, and Mike Jackson explains in his weekly outdoors column.

  • Some early surprises from the Chicago River Apr 3, 2014 12:39 AM
    In his weekly outdoors column, Mike Jackson uncovers some surprising results while fishing the Chicago River.

  • Trout fishing opens Saturday in Cook County Apr 1, 2014 1:27 PM
    The trout fishing season in the Forest Preserves of Cook County starts at dawn Saturday, April 5. Catchable-sized rainbow trout are being stocked this week into Axehead Lake, Belleau Lake, Horsetail Lake and, new this year, Green Lake.

  • Montrose harbors some good early spring fishing Mar 26, 2014 7:44 PM
    Hang in there — our time is just about here for soft-water angling.

  • Protect yourself in the great outdoors Mar 26, 2014 7:44 PM
    Protecting one's self from the sun is easier than ever thanks to new sunscreens and lightweight clothing, but prevention still is up to the individual.

  • Chippewa ask 7th Circuit to allow night deer hunt Mar 25, 2014 6:56 AM
    Wisconsin’s Chippewa tribes have asked a federal appeals court to allow tribal hunters to shoot deer at night. The Chippewa have been pushing for decades to hunt deer at night in northern Wisconsin’s ceded territory even though the state has banned the practice out of safety concerns. Two years ago the tribes mounted another attempt, arguing the state has allowed night hunting to cull deer and slow chronic wasting disease. Crabb rejected the tribes’ arguments in December. The tribes filed notice in January they intended to appeal. They submitted a brief Monday with the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing night hunting has become more common and the state can’t argue it’s unsafe. A state Department of Natural Resources spokesman didn’t immediately return a message.

  • Algae could provide weapon against invader mussels Mar 25, 2014 7:03 AM
    Scientists at Wayne State University are researching how algae might help disrupt reproduction of zebra and quagga mussels in the Great Lakes. Biologist Donna Kashian says preliminary study indicates algae produce chemicals that may inhibit the invasive mussels’ spawning. She and physiologist Jeffrey Ram are trying to identify chemical cues the algae release and determine how they could be used to develop a control strategy. It would be a cleaner alternative to attacking the mussels with toxic chemicals. The research eventually might help curb the destructive mussels, which have caused widespread damage to the lakes since arriving in the 1980s in ballast tanks of oceangoing ships. The filter feeders deprive fish of food, crowd out native mussels and clog water intake pipes.

  • Bill would waive hunting, fishing fees for seniors Mar 20, 2014 5:28 PM
    Legislation proposed by state Rep. Jack Franks, a Marengo Democraqt, woud waive hunting and fishing license fees for Illinois seniors. Fishing licenses typically cost $15 and hunting licenses cost $12.50. But residents who are 65 and older pay only half the price.

  • Seeling: A world-class angler, journalist and friend Mar 12, 2014 11:56 PM
    Mike Seeling made his mark as a journalist and angler, and managed quite a friendship with Daily Herald outdoors writer Mike Jackson. It turns out he was world-class in all areas. Seeling gave the Daily Herald 43 years of his professional life before retiring in 2007 from his position as director of photography. He was 67. We shared a lifetime of fun in the great outdoors. So, yes, I’m mourning the loss of a great pal.

  • Illinois halts plan to require ATV permits Mar 9, 2014 9:39 AM
    Illinois officials have put a hold on plans to require permits for most all-terrain vehicles. The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises reports the Illinois Department of Natural Resources won’t require off-highway vehicle owners to buy the permits until further notice. Lawmakers approved the new $15 fee for ATVs last year. It was set to take effect April 1. But legislators say they need more time to look at the law and possibly clear up confusion about who must buy the permits. IDNR Director Marc Miller says the delay is “a good faith effort” to make sure all rules are in place before vehicle owners have to buy a stamp. Money from the permits was tentatively slated to develop trails and parks for use by ATVs.

  • Wisconsin restricts lead tackle on northern lakes Mar 9, 2014 9:38 AM
    The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is getting set to restrict lead tackles on three northern lakes. Anglers won’t be allowed to use any lead-containing items smaller than an inch on lakes Escanaba, Pallette and Nebish in Vilas County beginning April 1. The DNR conducts research on the lakes and wants to ensure loons and other water birds don’t ingest small lead items. The agency will ask anglers on all three lakes to fill out a survey about their experiences using non-lead tackle.

  • The cold truth: Still plenty of opportunity in Illinois Mar 6, 2014 9:05 AM
    Illinois is missing an opportunity to market its many great fishing locales, especially in a year when northerly states will have delayed start to the season.

  • Ice anglers should tell DNR about stuck shanties Feb 28, 2014 6:17 AM
    Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wardens are asking ice anglers to tell them about stuck shanties as removal dates loom. The agency says anglers have been asking for advice about how to meet the deadlines because their shanties are frozen in after temperatures climbed into the 40s and then dipped below zero again. The wardens say anglers should do their best to get the shanties out by the deadlines. Anglers sure they can’t make it should explain their situation to the DNR and the wardens will use discretion. Shanties were supposed be off Wisconsin-Iowa boundary waters by Feb. 20. They must be off Wisconsin-Minnesota boundary waters by March 1; southern inland waters by March 3; northern inland waters by March 17; and Wisconsin-Michigan boundary waters by March 15.

  • Indiana DNR says ‘13 deer harvest fell 8 percent Feb 28, 2014 6:15 AM
    Indiana’s wildlife agency says disease and new hunting rules may account for a big drop in the number of deer that hunters took during last year’s harvest. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources says hunters killed about 125,600 deer in 2013, or more than 10,600 fewer than state’s record harvest of more than 136,000 deer in 2012. That’s an 8 percent drop. DNR biologist Chad Stewart says at least two and possibly three factors contributed to the lower harvest. He says that includes the lingering effects of a widespread outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease in 2012 and a record antlerless harvest that year. Stewart says the second season of new hunting regulations aimed at lowering deer densities in some areas of the state may have also played a role.

  • Frozen now, but Fox River will be hoppin’ for Mid-Am Race Feb 27, 2014 8:01 AM
    For much of this winter, the Fox River has looked more like frozen tundra than a vibrant waterway; a cold, white sheen of snow-caked ice, crisscrossed by wayward snowmobile trails and skinny ski tracks. But the Fox will spring to life on the first Sunday in June as the Mid-America Canoe and Kayak Race returns for its 53rd year running.

  • Havasu’s heating up for record redears Feb 26, 2014 10:17 PM
    My recent conversation with Frank Byrzicki included our never-ending passion to find jumbo smallmouth and huge bluegills. I have written a number of columns as to how I’ve stumbled upon ponds containing bluegills weighing over a pound. Most of these “gold mines” are situated in the metro area, but there are a couple that lie situated alongside several major highways. Frank and I have ultralight setups that have been put together specifically for big ’gills, and when we hook the hump-nosed bulls the catching turns in to what I’ve described as a rodeo event. Some of the sub-species I’ve caught, like redear sunfish, rarely come up to the sizes of the regular and hybrid bluegills. I’ve managed to coax the local fish to the hook buy using a Mini-Mite jig tipped with a small piece of worm or a juicy spike (maggot). But the real reason I called Frank was to alert him to some news I received from a friend in Arizona. A week ago Ron Lindner informed me he was traveling to Lake Havasu in Arizona to meet with brother Al. These super-sharp anglers mapped out a strategy to locate and catch jumbo redear sunfish from Lake Havasu. I implored Ron to call me when they located the big fish. The call never came. But it was dramatic news that subsequently came from another friend who lives in Phoenix. His rapid-fire sentences and shortness of breath suggested to me I’d better allow him to get his story out. He told me a potential world record redear sunfish, 5.78 pounds, had just been caught and weighed on a certified scale. The lucky angler is Hector Brito, who first thought he had a big catfish on the end of his line. Wildlife officials say Lake Havasu is home to a population of unusually large sunfish because of the existence of invasive quagga mussels. Redear sunfish, also known as shellcrackers for their habits of snacking on shellfish, are a favorite of many anglers because of their rich flavor. While they usually dine on snails, biologists have found that the fish is a useful ally against quagga mussels, which damage local ecosystems. Redear sunfish meander along the bottoms of lakes searching for these tasty morsels, which the fish then crack open with powerful jaws and swallow in chunks. The mussel is forced through its hardened throat, where an additional set of teeth destroy the shells. Hector was using a drop-shot rig, a small hook, and a piece of worm. Arizona Game and Fish Department spokesman John Galbraith was the guy who weighed the fish on a certified scale. “I don’t know what the genetic potential is for redear,” he said. “But this record fish was not even a spawning fish. There’s some out there (in Lake Havasu) that are in the mid 6 range, easy.” The previous record was a 5.55-pound fish caught by Bob Lawler in 2011. While certainly a state record, Brito must now wait for his fish to be confirmed as the world’s largest by the International Game Fish Association. And now I understand why the brothers Lindner were eager to catch some of the big fish and capture the action on digital video for their television show. • Contact Mike Jackson at, and catch his radio show 6-7 a.m. Sundays on WSBC 1240-AM and podcast at

  • Pet peeve: Wild critter on the prowl Feb 20, 2014 3:14 PM
    Here's another example of how not to treat a wild animal.

  • Late-blooming Skarlis diversifies — with crappies Feb 20, 2014 3:14 PM
    Tommy Skarlis made his name as walleye tournament pro, but he's added to his repertoire with success in crappie tournaments lately.

  • Outdoor notes: local fishing and Waukegan Harbor Jun 25, 2014 6:52 PM
    In his weekly outdoors notebook, Mike Jackson updates the dredging at Waukegan Harbor and offers an update on fishing hotspots.

  • Time to reflect on a contemplative endeavor Feb 5, 2014 10:22 PM
    Fishing has the unique ability to be both relaxing and a huge kick in the pants - frequently at the same time.

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