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Recent entries

Andrew R

Andrew's Adventures

Monster Fish: DNR Survey Pix

Tue, April 12, 2011

My good friend and fishing buddy, Kenny Lookingbill, was a summer 2010 intern with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and currently serves as a volunteer. Throughout much of last year he frequently told me stories of his goodwill fish adventures, shared with me all of the data collected, and informed me about some of the nice fish electroshocked and netted.

Presently, Kenny has been looking for work opportunities relating to biology and fisheries management in Illinois and the surrounding states. Unsurprisingly, like it has for practically everyone of our ages (22 to 25 yrs. old), his work search has gone dull just as mine has. Despite that, Kenny has continued spending significant amounts of time volunteering with the DNR on their surveying field trips.

He presented a strong point to me regarding what our state of management is currently facing:: “I feel the need to continue to help the DNR because the program is facing problems with state funding. Likewise they won’t hire enough help for the DNR to run effectively and to do the things they need to do without the need of volunteers.”

Below is a synopsis of Kenny’s latest field trips, along with photos displaying some great specimens that reside in their corresponding lakes. I will be making more of these kinds of “shocking posts” as Kenny continues to inform and share the wealth with me from his volunteer trips.

Dawson Lake- March 31-April 1

Frame nets were set out on Dawson Lake on March 30th and surveyed the following day, then reset for a second run on April 1st. We collected walleye, saugeye, largemouth bass, black crappie, white crappie, yellow perch, redear sunfish, and bluegill. We recorded data for crappie, walleye, and saugeye only.

Overall it is a very impressive fishery with very good numbers of legal size saugeye in the 16-19” range with some fish collected over 20”. Walleye were few and far between due to the lack of stocking effort since the saugeye stocking program was implemented. The ones that were remaining were all over 20” with some measuring in between 25-27”. The crappie population consisted mainly of the black species with very few white crappies present. They were measured in between 8-13” in length with the average fish coming in at around 10”. There were only two perch collected; for whatever the reason they were not around, although they may still have been deep. The bluegill fishery is as good as it is going to get on a public lake, with many fish were in the 8-9” range. The redear were also very impressive with many fish over 9” present.

Clinton Lake – April 12

Gill nets targeting hybrid stripers and walleye were set right off the bat upon arrival at the lake. We then proceeded to check frame nets for black nosed crappie to be used in rearing ponds. After little luck with collecting crappie, we took off to go collect the gill nets, which yielded well over 100 hybrid stripers altogether, while only one walleye around 21” was collected. The mesh size in the nets only yielded hybrids over 16”. A great number of fish over 20” were collected with many going over 5lbs. The big fish of the day was around 24” and going nearly 10lbs.

Hopefully I will have more “Shocking Posts” from Kenny to share with you all this year. Closing out, Kenny urges anyone to volunteer with the DNR as it is a very fulfilling experience, and for everyone to buy their fishing licenses.