How to Hold a Musky (and other info)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Fishing: Lake survey finds muskies doing well

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources netted a muskie at Evergreen Lake last week that topped 51 inches and weighed 2½ pounds more than the state record.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources biologist Mike Garthaus said the beast weighed 41.1 pounds. The current record from the spillway below Lake Shelbyville in the Kaskaskia River weighed 38½ pounds.

The Evergreen muskie was just one of several collected during the annual look at fish populations at the 900-acre reservoir in northern McLean County.

The survey, which also nabbed a muskie 49 inches long, was three days long instead of the usual four, so about 10 fewer muskies were counted than average. But Garthaus said that didn’t concern him as the ones he saw spanned several year classes and all of them were healthy.

“If I can get fish small through big, I know we are getting survival. That’s all I can ask,” he said. “Muskies are doing fine.”

Despite troubles with muskie survival at hatcheries in recent years, Evergreen Lake has been receiving its full share of fish. Indeed, it received extra fish last year.

Evergreen also yielded four saugeyes weighing more than the state record of 9 pounds, 10 ounces which the lake now holds.

Our friends at Evergreen Lake are posting weekly fishing reports at http://www.mcleancountyil.-gov/parks/parkscm.aspx?divid=1

Trout season

It’s a sure sign of spring when;

Robins return to the Midwest;

Rivers fill to the brim, and;

Trout season opens in Illinois.

The latter happens at 5 a.m. Saturday. To prepare, IDNR will stock more than 60,000 rainbow trout at 42 locations throughout the state. They include Miller Park in Bloomington; Lake of the Woods in Mahomet; Bureau County’s Hennepin Canal Parkway; the Illinois and Michigan Canal, Utica; Springfield’s Illinois Department of Transportation Lake and Washington Park Pond; and Clear Lake at Kickapoo State Park.

To keep trout, anglers must have inland trout stamps, which sell for $6.50 each. Sales of stamps cover the cost of the stockings. They can be purchased at IDNR offices in rural Clinton, Springfield, Chicago, Alton, Benton and Sterling or at with a credit card or phone (888) 673-7648).

Trout anglers also must have a valid fishing license. Last year’s licenses expired March 31.

Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs acting director L. Tammy Duckworth reminds disabled veterans they can obtain a free fishing license by visiting one of the state’s 51 Veteran Service offices. A list of locations is available at or by calling (800) 437-9824.

Trout cannot be taken from the stocked sites before the season officially opens.

For more information on the trout program, call (217) 782-6424 or visit

Club notes

Fishing guide Paul Center of Angling Adventures-Custom Rods speaks on reservoir fishing for saugeye and walleye to the PrairieLand Anglers today at 7 p.m. at the Bloomington Public Library. It is free and open to the public.

Professional bass angler Greg Hackney will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Times Past Inn in Bloomington. Cost of the event sponsored by the Bloomington Normal Bass Club is $10. Kids under 16 are free.

Record crappie?

Brett Larson of Shabbona caught a new Shabbona Lake record crappie last month while ice fishing. It weighed 2.8 pounds and was 17 inches long. Aaron Meyers, who was with Larson at the time, held the former state record of 2.7 pounds.

Added drama comes from the fact the crappie might be a hybrid. If so, it would better the current state record. DNA tests are needed to be sure.

By the way, that same Evergreen survey that turned up the state-record muskie nabbed a crappie that tipped the scales at 1.9 pounds.

Tournament notes

Randy Cox of New Berlin and Greg Correll of Pleasant Plains won first place in the Springfield Crappie Club’s eighth annual Open Buddy Crappie Tournament on March 31 on Lake Sangchris.

Their seven-fish limit weighed 8.43 pounds. Neil Jones and Brian Plank were second with 8.4 pounds, including the first Big Crappie prize with a fish that weighed 1.72 pounds. Steve Reed of Washington and Dan McQuern were third.

The Springfield Crappie Club hosts open buddy tournaments April 14 at Clinton Lake, May 12 on Lake Shelbyville and July 21 on Mark Twain Lake in Missouri. Visit or call (217) 527-1861.

Larry Reece had big bass and won the Bloomington Normal bass tournament at Lake Sangchris on March 24. Credit for big bass went to someone else in last week’s Hook, Line & Sinker based on incorrect information provided to the newspaper.

Scott Richardson is Pantagraph outdoor editor. Phone (309) 820-3227 or email Read past outdoor and fishing columns or take part in online discussions at


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