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OUTDOORS: On fishing shows, open houses and warmer weather

Not to mention meeting Bears great Dan Hampton

I just finished a weekend at Bedford Sales 50th Anniversary Open House in Morris. It sure was nice to reminisce with many old fishing acquaintances and meet some brand new ones. The show was great, and the crowd overwhelmed the facility. If I hadn’t gotten there early, I wouldn’t have found a parking place.

While I never miss a Bears game, it was extremely nice to finally meet Dan Hampton in person. I fondly remember him on the 1985 Super Bowl Bears. He is still a giant of a man, and now has taken up farming and TV commercials.

Forrest Wood, president of Ranger Boats; Edwin Evers, professional bass angler; Jason Przekurat, professional walleye angler; and Jim Saric, the Musky Pro, were all in attendance. I also got to see my first V-8 mercury outboard. There seems to be no limit on the sizes of the outboard industry today. There is no limit to the prices, either, as some of the boats exceeded $80,000.

There was a large assortment of new plastic lures and some very nice fishing rods as well. I was looking for an inflatable life vest, but they haven’t come in yet. They should be very nice to fish while wearing them as they are very thin and lightweight. One should be wearing one especially during winter months. Your survival time is only 40 minutes in 35-degree water.

I even was able to visit with my youngest son, who fishes a lot of bass tournaments. He is now back to being the vocalist in a new band in the Morris area.

Overall, it was a very nice weekend even though I wasn’t able to fish or hunt. After arriving home I hit the recliner, as the old legs are not as spry as they used to be.

The next event my wife and I will attend will be the La Salle County Pheasants Forever Banquet at the Pitstick Pavilion north of Ottawa. This will be held on Saturday, March 14. Cocktails at 5 p.m. and dinner at 6:30. Hope to see many of you there.

I also hope the weather breaks soon. By that I mean temps in the upper-30s, as I am ready to get back out on the water and river fish.

Fishing report

Walleye and sauger are still stacked up in deep holes all along the Illinois River. It's been two weeks since I was able to get out. The sub-zero weather placed some ice close to shore in boat ramp areas, so I hope with tow boat action and warmer temps it will remove some of the ice.

The fish should still be hitting on live bait just as good as before. Slow vertical presentation is the best way to put some fish in the boat. Some of the larger female fish should be moving up on river shelves getting ready to spawn. They are usually over the 14-inch limit. There is still a six-fish daily limit on these fish, so it is handy to have a measuring device in your boat to stay on the legal side.

Some nice small mouth bass were showing up in the Fox River as well. A couple I saw were at least 16 or more inches. They have to be at least 18 inches to be kept, and you are only allowed one fish.

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