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Enjoy the weather, and get outdoors

Plant some flowers, plant your garden, go fishing. Wow, this weather shouldn’t be wasted. I hope we are not just getting spoiled.

Last Sunday, 71 teams of mostly local fishermen fished the Illinois River in the Illinois Walleye Trail Tournament. The fishermen had a wonderful day to try their skills boating walleye and sauger. Water temperature was about 20 degrees warmer than it was last year, resulting in more fish caught.

Many of the teams reported they caught 30-40 keepers with an average size of 15-16 inches. But some of the bigger fish avoided the hooks, so therefore the weight was not as high as the fishermen wanted.

Randy Carroll and Shawn O’Malley won the event with a total weight of 13.6 pounds. They also won the big fish award with a sauger that weighted in at 3.22 pounds.

This tournament can be considered a lead-in for this week’s Masters Walleye Circuit Tournament again to be hosted by Spring Valley. Each year, a tremendous amount of work is done by volunteers to make one of the most successful walleye tournaments in the Midwest. There will be 152 teams competing in this year’s tournament.

One of the exciting parts of this tournament is the weigh-in each afternoon. If you have never watched the weigh-in before, I suggest you come to the weigh-in Saturday and Sunday to see this exciting event.

Important: Do not drive to Barto Landing. All spectators need to go to Hall High School and ride the shuttle to the landing. They are constantly going back and forth so there will be hardly any waiting.

Good luck to all competitors. Be safe!

• Whitetails Unlimited had another successful banquet last Friday night. I will add more info next column.

• The PHS Sportsman’s Club also had a successful banquet last week. There were quite a few species of game and fish available to those who attended. The recipient of this year’s Mike Smallwood Outdoorsman Award went to Earl Towne, who is said to enjoy all forms of hunting and fishing. The club also showed its appreciation to Mike and Mary Jo Carrow for their involvement in many of the club’s activities. Special thanks was accorded to the family of Tony Wysocki for their memorial gift to help some student to go on the Canada trip. Thanks also to the Kirgan family for their memorial gift for the Canada trip.

By the way, we still have room for six people if you want to join us this year.

• Trout fishing: The Illinois Department of Natural Resources will again host an inland trout fishing season beginning April 7. The location is the Hennepin Canal Parkway lagoon, and it will start at 6 a.m.

Fishermen will need a current fishing license and an inland trout stamp. They do not sell them at the center. Young people under the age of 16 do not need a license or stamp. Sixteen and above will need both.

Limit for each angler is five trout. Common bait for catching the trout is wax worms, red worms, marshmellows and corn. Most people use a small hook and a bobber.

To get to the Parkway, travel north of Route 6 on Route 40 about a mile and turn west. If you are coming south on Route 40, the road is about 1 to 2 miles south of Interstate 80. Plan for a great weekend.

Last thought: It’s almost time for morels.

Lee Wahlgren is the BCR Outdoor Columnist. Contact him at pdub52@gmail.com

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