Month: May 2021

Top 5 Update

Some wacky weather lately in the area but a pair of anglers managed to add a couple bass on both ends of the recent cold front. Our current Top 5 leader reeled one in before the weather took a downturn to add to his already impressive total. And a youngster with a couple years of Top 5 experience weighed in with his first catch of 2021 as the weather began to take a turn for the better. Read on for the details.

Weight: 4-6
Angler: Jim Junk
Date: May 25
Location: Banner Marsh
Lure: Split tail Senko type worm
Angler Comments: Spent a couple of hours at Banner this afternoon. Three bass total, two small ones and this 4-6. Bite was pretty slow, fishing flats with lots of submerged vegetation.
Top 5 Weight: 24-3 (5-5,5-3,5-2,4-6,4-3) culls a 4-2

Weight: 2-12
Angler: Landon Hannam
Date: May 30
Location: Lake Storey
Lure: Wacky rigged Senko
Angler Comments: This fish was double my biggest bass out of Lake Storey. The bass were very active on the banks and feeding off of blue gill. This bass was only sitting about 4 feet off the bank, and I put the Senko in front of him and he took it.
Top 5 Weight: 2-12 (2-12)

Thanks, guys, for the fish and good to hear from Landon again with his catch from one of my all-time favorite fishing holes. Here’s hoping that we’ve left those forty-degree highs behind and get to enjoy a bit of a spring before the summer heat kicks into gear. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – May 22, 2016

I had a decent day on some Bureau County, Illinois waters just before the decision was made to limit access to the site due to deteriorating interior roads. From what I can gather on the internet, it appears that the road work was finally completed last summer after roughly five years. Perhaps I will take a drive later this year, but for now we just head down Memory Lane with some stats and excerpts from the original fishing report.

Originally Posted 5-25-16

Between work, softball practices and games, soccer practices and games, Tae Kwon Do lessons, year-end school functions, birthday parties, graduation parties, a JDRF walk-a-thon, several field trips and a Heart concert with my daughter, Carly, it has been a crazy month since my last chance to make some casts. Why, in the first 21 days of May leading up to this fishing trip I counted 44 different items on the calendar. No wonder me and Julie are so tired. And, by the way, thanks to her for taking one for the team so I could get out and make another fishing report.

Date: May 22, 2016
Location: Mautino State Fish & Wildlife Area (3 lakes)
Time: 5:45am-1:15pm (6.5 hours fishing, the rest relocating)
Weather: Sunny/breezy
Air Temp: 57F-80F
Water Temp: 64F
Totals: 15 bass
Lures: Senko wacky rig (purple w/ emerald flake or green pumpkin black flake) – 14 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 3-9 (Senko)
Top 5 Weight (only 4 at 12” or better): 8-12 (3-9,2-12,1-8,0-15)

11:07am Top Bass 3-9 (19″) on Senko wacky rig

Notes & Nonsense

Mass Bass – This year I’ve gotten into the habit sending picture updates to Julie while I’m on the water kind of like the real Bassmasters do these days. She says she enjoys following along whether I’m outsmarting a few or vice versa. Well, on this outing I received a text regarding the wiseness of sending fishing pictures while the rest of the crew was attending Mass. It briefly had me worried about the source of the text, but I did verify that it was sent by Julie as opposed to coming from upstairs. And just to clarify, Julie asked that I point out that she was not checking updates until after Mass had finished.

11:17am – Top Bass Runner-Up 2-12 (18.5″) on a Senko wacky rig

One That Got Away – My first stop featured five bass all 10” or less and lake number two was a murky water bust, throwing me a shutout so I bailed after an hour. Ten minutes into my final stop I set the hook on a Senko wacky rig on something that did not move…initially. However, when it did there was one drag stripping run followed by a second line busting burst. I use ten-pound mono on a spinning rig for my wacky rigging and this is the first time I recall it coming to such an end, but it happens. I’m torn whether it was good or bad that I didn’t get a look at the fish. Fortunately, the 3-9 and 2-12 over the next forty minutes or so helped to soothe the pain. Those fish also helped to boost my Top 5 weight to 17-1 but left me wondering what might have been in terms of achieving my annual goal of a 20-pound limit. With my lowest bas at 1-13, the one that got away would have needed to weigh 4-12 to get me there. I’ll never know, and, of course, that fish can be as big as my imagination. In all honesty though, after thirty plus years of catching bass, I am positive that it would have made the mark with room to spare (what am I supposed to say, right?).

12:19pm – Top Bass #3 at 1-8 (15″) on a Senko wacky rig

Not sure what’s on the horizon for that June bass outing but sounds like there’s some panfish to be pursued with the kids. Julie replied to one of my on the water text updates that our oldest boy, Jayce, stated that he “wants to go next time, he is old enough.” I jokingly replied that he must be seven years old as that birthday rolls around this Saturday. Cool though, that he is interested and wants to hang out with his dad. However, Julie also reported that Jayce didn’t even realize that I wasn’t around all morning until they got to Mass, and he asked, “Hey, where’s Dad?” Geez, Julie steps down to the basement to do laundry and everybody around here freaks out wondering where Mom went. I get it, Moms rule.

Not sure if I will be able to get out this Memorial Day Weekend but we do have some outdoor stuff on the horizon in June that should make for some interesting blog fodder. In addition, we have at least one bass for a Monday Top 5 Update so stay tuned. Talk to you later. Troy

Strip Mine Report – May 23

It was good to get another shot at the strip mines with my brother, Brent, this past weekend. Weather was solid, the bite was solid, and a handful of the fish were solid. Read on for the scoop.

Date: May 23, 2021
Location: Knox County, IL public strip mines (7 lakes)
Time: 6:45am-11:25pm (4.00 hours fishing)
Weather: Overcast/breezy
Air Temp: 66-75F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 34 bass (Troy – 17, Brent – 17)
Lures: 5” Yamasenko wacky rig (various colors) – 23 bass, Spinnerbait (white) – 8 bass, Bass Pro Shops Speed Shad (small mouth magic) with Berkley 3/0 weighted swimbait hook – 2 bass, Zara Spook (black shore minnow) – 1 bass
Top 5 Weight: 9-13 (2-5,2-0,2-0,1-13,1-11)


Notes and Nonsense

Condition Pros and Cons – The weather was about as good as it gets in my book for some strip mine fishing. Plenty of cloud cover and a little chop on the water is a winner on these clear waters. Water conditions, however, were a little tough. Shallow weeds have taken over nearly all the spots we fish making for a challenge in getting some lures to the fish and getting hooked fish to the bank. You rarely have it all in fishing, so you just take what Mother Nature gives you and find out what the bass want from your arsenal. Overall, we did a solid job but there were extended stretches without a bite and probably a 70/30 split in favor of “non-keeper” (under 12”) bass.

Odd Bass #1 – Several bass that I landed had some odd characteristics, one more odd than the others. First up, is what I call a “notched” bass. I have caught several from this location, but I believe that all prior catches have come from one, specific lake. The fish above right was caught on a different body of water from the others. I am not sure what causes such a feature, but it does not seem to have any effect on the observable health and fight in these fish.


Odd Bass #2 – The next odd-looking fish had damage to one corner of its mouth and a reddish hue to the upper lip on the same side. I suspect that the injury may have been the result of having been hooked before with the reddish hue being some sort of residual effect. I truly am not sure of the cause of the appearance, just speculation on my part. However, I have observed bass exhibiting red upper lips in colder water but the characteristic in those instances was spread across both sides of the upper lip. As with all things fishing, I am open to any input from readers.

Odd Bass #3 – The final specimen was the strangest of the bunch and the large red growth on the upper lip was something I have never previously seen. Even with some brief internet searching as I composed this post, I am none the wiser. I will say it was kind of gross and left me thinking, “Do I really want to lip this one” even though the natural handle on a bass is the lower lip. I can also tell you that the bass was still on my mind as I unwrapped and ate my sandwich on the way home.


We did the dual GoPro thing again on this trip, but I continue to have trouble finding time to invest in editing the footage for my YouTube channel. Perhaps one of these days but I expect that the fishing trips and footage will keep piling up in the meantime. No problem, I fished for many, many years never dreaming that I would even have the means to make my own “fishing show.” Talk to you later. Troy

3 Generations Fishing Report – May 22

Prior to a family birthday party, me and the boys joined Papa at his spot to chase some panfish and we weren’t disappointed. Not all about the catch with this crowd as conveyed in today’s report.

Date: May 22, 2021
Location: Lake Storey
Time: 10:45am-12:00pm
Weather: Partly cloudy/breezy
Air Temp: 70F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: Roughly 40 bluegill, 2 golden shiners, 1 redear
Lures: Waxworms on a 1/16 oz. jighead hung from a slip bobber

Zac added a redear to his personal species list with his first catch of the morning

Trip Tune
“Who Can It Be Now” – Men at Work (1982)
My kids have a varied musical interest thanks to a little 70s and 80s brainwashing from yours truly. This tune is a favorite and ideal for a sing along on the ride to the fishing hole.

A golden shiner was a new species for me at Lake Storey although Dad has caught several in the last few years

The United States of Beef Jerky – We picked up breakfast on the way out of town consisting of spicy chips, Oreo bites, chocolate milk, Mountain Dew, unsweetened iced tea, and a couple bags of beef jerky (it was on sale). Zac grabbed a piece of jerky that he reckoned looked like North Dakota and it was on. A couple “states” in the video required some chewing while the rest were straight from the factory. Do we know how to have fun or what? Feel free to send me any additions that you may encounter in that next bag of beef.


Terms – I can’t recall the topic but somewhere along the ride my boys learned the saying, “Open a can of whoop@$$.” They found it rather amusing, and I asked Jayce to record it on the voice memos on my phone. He did so but wouldn’t use the “bad word” even though I told him it was fine. I also learned something new as Zac asked about a bug that had breezed by at one point. Jayce informed that it was a “three-horned monkey wasp.” As a guy with a biology degree and an entomological appreciation, I was impressed with his quick identification. Just wish we’d gotten a picture of this new species.

Croc Rescue– A highlight of the trip was watching one of Zac’s brand-new Crocs blow across the lake out of grasp and casting distance. Somehow, he managed to launch if off his foot and well beyond his reach. The wind rapidly pushed it past the depth of my knee boots and several casts failed to hook the floating footwear. Fortunately, the wind direction was perfect, and the croc wound up across the cove along a limited stretch of easily accessible bank. We all got a laugh and a “don’t tell Mom.” All’s well that ends well and Mom got wind of the story but just shook her head in what I interpreted as a “boys will be boys” statement.


Sponsor Quest – Unlike real bloggers and YouTubers, I have no sponsors. However, the boys talked me into supper, so Culver’s, if you are out there, this makes two stops in a row on the return home from a fishing trip. In addition, the Cubs broadcasts tout a product called “FunkAway.” Well, my boys are getting to the ages where it gets a little ripe in the cab of a truck after a full day outdoors. I suppose we might as well throw in a beef jerky sponsor along the way. Perhaps one day we will get a spot in a commercial with Sasquatch, a dream come true for this crew.

The boys usually ask on the ride what time we will get home and my 8:09pm guess was only off by 15 seconds as we reached the driveway at 8:08pm and waited for the display to change.

Sure, we caught some fish, too. But with Papa as our guide that was to be expected as there are just a few years of experience for that guy in the camping chair. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

A trio of submissions this week from a pair of brothers who have done the strip mine hike and cast thing more than a few times over the years.

Weight: 2-5
Angler: Brent Jackson
Date: May 23
Weather: Overcast/calm
Location: Knox County public strip pit
Lure: Senko wacky rig
Editor’s Note: Brent forgot to take a pic but this snip from the GoPro footage saved the day
Top 5 Weight: 14-11 (4-0,4-0,2-5,2-3,2-3) culls 2-2

Weight: 1-13  (16″)
Date: May 23
Weather: Overcast/breezy
Location: Knox County public strip pit
Lure: Bass Pro Shops Speed Shad (small mouth magic) with Berkley 3/0 weighted swimbait hook
Structure: Weed edge
Angler Comments: A rewarding catch in some tough, weedy conditions as I had already worked the weed edges and limited open water with a Zara Spook, a Senko and a frog without a hit. Fun to have the swimbait come through as I am gaining more confidence in the presentation.

Weight: 2-0 (16″)
Date: May 23
Weather: Overcast/breezy
Location: Knox County public strip pit
Lure: 5″ Yamasemko wacky rig
Structure: Tree/drop
Angler Comments: A decent fish but I initially thought it was considerably larger when it stopped dead on the hookset. Always exciting in those seconds after such a hookset as you wait to find out just what you’ve got. Not a trophy but I’ll take two-pounders all day long.
Top 5 Weight:10-6 (3-1,2-0,1-13,1-13,1-11) culls 1-10 and 1-10

An enjoyable morning chasing bass under some of my favorite strip mine fishing weather conditions. Water conditions, on the other hand, posed some challenges. Those aspects and more to be covered in a fishing report later this week. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – May 1991 and 2011

May 24, 1991 – Dad on a Snakeden hike 

Today’s flashback is actually drawn from a pair of visits to Snakeden Hollow with vastly different approaches to chasing some bass. First up is a walk-in trip with Dad back on May 24, 1991. At the time, Dad was in his late forties while I was in my mid-twenties. I invited him along on one of my strip mine adventures and we racked up more than a few miles and reeled in more than a few bass. At the time, Dad had also come out of retirement to play a season of softball with me and my brother, Brent, and we had a game that evening. That combo of activity prompted Dad to “retire” from any future strip mine hikes and he also hung up the cleats after the softball season.

Over the years, there have been many more trips to Snakeden with Dad, but they have been spent on Lake McMaster while casting from the luxury of a Bass Tracker. Twenty years after the walk-in trip was one such outing as detailed in the original blog post below.

Originally Posted 5-20-11

Following a somewhat self-inflicted hiatus, it was time to see if I had my sea legs back.
Dad and I hit Snakeden’s Lake McMaster yesterday for some overdue bass fishing. In fishing report terms, I would describe bass as “fair on soft plastics.” However, I have the liberty of getting a bit more long winded, so here we go.

Date: May 19, 2011
Location: Lake McMaster – Snakeden Hollow
Time: 9:50am-3:20pm
Weather: Sunny to partly cloudy/breezy
Air Temp: 55F-72F
Water Temp: not available (wiring problems)
Totals: 13 bass, 1 crappie (Dad – 10 bass, Troy – 3 bass, 1 crappie)
Lures: 5” Yamasenko (natural shad) wacky rig – 12 bass, Vicious Muskrat (green pumpkin) with ¼ oz bullet weight (brass) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 1-9 (Dad)
Weight (4 bass > 12”) – 5 lbs. 5 oz (1-9, 1-6, 1-6, 1-0)


9:40 am– Arriving at the lake we are caught off guard by ten other trailers in the parking lot and another boat launching in our wake. I can’t recall ever seeing that many boats on the water, but I hope it means that the bass are biting.

9:50 am – Strangely enough as I mentioned in a posting last Friday, the kiss of death is a bass on your first cast. I pull this stunt on a point just west of the ramp but lose the pound and a half fish at the boat. I’m hoping the quick release fends off bad luck as it doesn’t technically count as catch in my book. I’m wrong.

9:58 am– The 9.9 motor is being stubborn, so we loiter within spitting distance of the ramp for a while where Dad gets us on the board with a 1-0 on a Senko (pictured above).

10:42 am – Shortly after arriving at one of our best areas, Dad’s Senko comes through again.

11:05 am – I’m off the snide with a 1-6 on a Senko and breathing a sigh of relief that I won’t get shut out on such a beautiful day.

11:29 am – Dad picks up what will be Top Bass with a 1-9, once again on the Senko, the only lure he’ll need all day.

12:34 pm – Dad misses a short bass, but it comes back into view right near the boat prompting him to drop his Senko in front of its nose. We get an awesome bird’s eye view as the bass flares its gills to inhale the lure a second time and remains hooked.

1:22 pm – My second fish of the day gives me the species title as a fifteen-ounce crappie likes my Senko, a photo worthy accident for me.

2:22 pm – The One That Got Away on this trip belongs to Dad and likely would have tipped the scales in the two-and-a-half-pound range. Usually, these bass can be as large as you want but the gin clear water at this lake keeps you pretty honest if you’re not fishing alone. The clear water is also cool because I was able to give Dad play by play from my angle as I commented “Here comes a good one” followed by “He just took your bait.” While this one did get briefly hooked, I have sometimes been guilty of jumping the gun and pulling the lure away from the fish in anticipation of an impending strike.

2:26 pm – It only takes four and a half hours to land my second bass, a short fish on the Muskrat. It’s a textbook bite as the bass hits just after I’d bounced the bait over a log in about ten foot of water and is the lone fish caught on something other than the Senko.

3:01 pm – My final fish hits a Senko pitched into a hole in the moss over a spawning bed. The lure hit in the back of the hole and fell under the canopy in front with the bass in pursuit. It was impossible to tell if the fish had the bait or not, but I figured it was worth a hookset. The resultant splash and resistance showed that I made the right decision. The fish was released to resume its biological duty but not before getting a picture for the blog.

3:33 pm – We did make a few casts beyond 3:20pm as we waited our turn to trailer the boat. Dad made the time count as the point west of the ramp came through yet again and gave him a commanding ten to three margin of victory, but who’s keeping score anyway?

For some final comments we did see plenty of crappies in the shallows, I talked to some walleye anglers who saw a fish in the 27” range and muskies failed to make an appearance for us this time around. We also lost over half a dozen bass that just didn’t stay hooked for whatever reason. But fishing is always interesting as Dad and I threw the same Senko around most of the day and his outperformed mine ten to two. Perhaps it was his bait spray that he referred to as “lotion” at one point or maybe his plain hook was more appealing than my red hook. It was just all part of the fun during a great day to be on the water. If anyone out there reading was on Lake McMaster too, drop us a comment about how you fared. Don’t worry, I can take it as getting outfished is no disgrace even if it is by the guy in the back of the boat (especially if he’s your dad).

Dad lasted longer than me on the diamond as I gave it up before hitting my thirties. But I’m still going strong on the strip mine hikes as the mid-fifties approach. And as a duo, we’re still catching some fish from boat or bank. Talk to you later. Troy

Boys’ Fishing Report – May 16

Me and my boys were looking to make some casts, but we did not have enough time on a Sunday afternoon/evening to make the drive to our regular stomping grounds. Instead, it provided an opportunity to look around at some local Quad City fishing holes, which is something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time. We took a shot at a pair of destinations, spending about a half hour at each spot to see what we could learn. We did our searching with a Senko wacky rig and waxworms hung from a slip bobber. Read on for the stats, a classic Trip Tune and the lessons learned.

Date: May 16, 2021
Location: Prospect Park and Hennepin Canal
Time: 3:30pm-6:00pm (one hour of fishing, see below)
Weather: Overcast/breezy
Air Temp: 68F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 6 bluegill
Lures: Waxworms on a 1/16 oz. jighead hung from a slip bobber

Trip Tune
“Sink the Bismarck” – Johnny Horton (1960)
My boys could actually care less on this tune as they were goofing off on the ride, but you can sure bet that I was singing along. I dig some Johnny Horton as it takes me back to my childhood and some old 45 records. My folks had “Sink the Bismarck” and my cousin Ronnie’s house had “The Battle of New Orleans”, absolute classics. Of course, I later discovered “North to Alaska”, “When It’s Springtime in Alaska” and more, awesome cuts.

If you don’t learn something new from each fishing trip, you aren’t paying close enough attention. Here’s the list from our adventure.

Bait – We ran out of our old waxworms and the reliable Carbon Cliff baitshop was closed, prompting a search. The Shell station in Colona was a winner after the 7-Eleven came up empty although they did have a bait cooler with some dew worms.

Spoiled – Much of my time on the water is rather isolated and affords a measure of privacy when nature calls. To paraphrase Shakespeare, “All the world’s a bathroom” out there on the strip mines. The spots we fished on this outing, however, were crawling with people which posed a bit of an issue for the fifty-something boy on this trip. All’s well that ended well (barely) with a pit stop at home on the way to find more waxworms. However, the boys delighted in talking of flowing water, a big iced tea, and waterfalls during that leg of the journey. Good to know, that my boys will be boys.

Prospect Park – Little bluegills were the catch and I saw some bass in there that were as small as minnows at the local baitshop. First impression left much to be desired but perhaps the big ones were just smarter than us.

Hennepin Canal – We hit a spot in Colona that afforded a bit of space among several other anglers. It was our second choice as the first was quite crowded which did not surprise me in the least on a pleasant Sunday evening. The canal did produce a few decent bites and there are many more miles of water to explore on the historic corridor. A stretch to the east is on my radar and we are looking to explore in that direction later this spring.

Practice – There is only one way to get the hang of casting in close quarters and it’s called “practice.” One of the youngsters on this trip got in such practice. If you recognize any of the background scenery in some of the photos, there is a Senko for you up in a tree across the canal. I mean, way up in a tree. In addition, there were a few casts that I have no idea how the lure was rescued. That’s part of practice, too.

An entertaining afternoon/evening adventure with my boys that consisted more of just hanging out than actually fishing. All good, as it is always fun to break the kids up a bit to get some two on one time as a parent of four. I have a couple prospects on fishing before the end of May so here’s hoping that they pan out. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 5 Update

A good batch of bass comes our way courtesy of a couple doing some Illinois Capital City fishing.

Weight: 2-10
Angler: Patricia Kirkemo
Date: May 10
Weather: Partly cloudy evening, temperature 60s
Water Temperature: 60-65F
Location: Sangchris Lake State Park
Lure: Nightcrawler under a bobber
Angler Comments (provided by her spouse): Fish caught by casting a bobber and worm from boat toward shore. Fish was in water 3-4 feet deep.
Top 5 Weight: 2-10 (2-10)

Weight: 1-8
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: May 10
Weather: Air and water temps 60s
Location: Sangchris Lake State Park
Lure: Chompers
Angler Comments: Not many signs of feeding fish. The fish was caught casting to structure from boat.

Weight: 1-14
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: May 13
Weather: Air temperature 60s
Location: Farm pond, Sangamon County, IL
Lure: Wacky worm

Weight: 2-6
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: May 13
Weather: Air temperature 60s
Location: Farm pond, Sangamon County, IL
Lure: Wacky worm

Weight: 2-8
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: May 13
Weather: Air temperature 60s
Location: Farm pond, Sangamon County, IL
Lure: Wacky worm

Weight: 2-10
Angler: John Kirkemo
Date: May 13
Weather: Air temperature 60s
Location: Farm pond, Sangamon County, IL
Lure: Wacky worm
Angler Comments: These fish were caught during early evening in private water not visited by many fishermen. Feeding fish were evident. Fish were eager and large. Lost several that were probably as large or larger.
Top 5 Weight: 10-14 (2-10,2-8,2-6,1-14,1-8)

Thank you to the Kirkemos for their submissions as it looked like the Springfield area visit was fishing success. Here’s hoping for continued catching as the year progresses and I appreciate the contributions as the Top 5 needed a boost. Talk to you later. Troy

Friday Flashback – May 7-17, 1991


Thirty years ago, I was happily employed at my first real job at a place called National Seal Company in Galesburg, Illinois. The work schedule consisted of four twelve-hour days followed up by four days off. It was like having a vacation every week. Pretty outstanding and definitely my favorite schedule in all the years of earning a paycheck.

So, what does a twenty-something guy do with a batch of perpetual four-day “weekends”?

Well, as exemplified by today’s post, there was some fishing involved. In this case, I hooked up with a couple fishing partners who were still attending Knox College, Mark Junk and Joe Lang. I’d known Mark since high school while Joe was a friend made while attending Knox. Both were also sports teammates along the way. Mark and I were Silver Streaks hoopsters (his career considerably more impressive) and later played a year of hardball together for Hi-Lo Grocery. Joe was a fellow Siwash as he covered the catching duties while I manned the hot corner 90’ away.

“Geek” at Emstrom’s Pond

As with many teammates over the years, there were often nicknames thrown around more than given names. These guys were referred to as “Geek” and “Clubber” for Mark and Joe, respectively. In turn, I was usually “TJ.” I haven’t crossed paths with these fellows for quite some time, but I suspect we would greet each other in the nickname fashion all these years later.

“Clubber”, sunrise lunker at Snakeden and I believe we had stayed up all night goofing off and thought, “Hey, let’s go fishing!”

The shots from May 7 were at an old pond we called “Emstrom’s”, just off the Highway 34 exit ramp onto Main Street near the Galesburg Drive-In. May 10 and May 17 were at Snakeden Hollow during only its second year of public access. Looking at the backdrops in the photos it is also fun to see how the scenery has changed all these years later.

Good times, good friends, and some good fishing holes. Talk to you later. Troy

A Lonely Morel

Me and morel mushrooms rarely see eye to eye or come face to face. While I dig a walk through the timber under the guise of hunting fungus, I haven’t done so for quite a few years. With limited outdoor time, I find myself on the water rather than in the woods when I get a chance to get some fresh air. However, on May Day I was able to incorporate a few minutes of mushroom hunting as I pond hopped on some strip mine ground.

You see, several years ago, as I stood on the bank of a deep strip mine cut, I observed a pair of anglers making their way down the opposite side. They were not particularly quiet so I couldn’t help but overhear one fellow holler at his buddy, “Hey, there’s mushrooms over here.” Well, I filed that info and general location away in the event that I would have a chance to take a peek for myself one of these years. This was the year and sure enough there was fungus (note: plural would be fungi). The lone morel I managed to spot is pictured above and it was left to hopefully produce a few more next year in the way that mushrooms do their thing.

Were there more in the vicinity? Probably, but I sure didn’t see them. I marvel at the posts of folks with picnic tables full and hauls registered in pounds as opposed to individual specimens. But I just don’t have the touch and have long wondered how many morels have seen me as I aimlessly wandered and scanned the terrain oblivious to their presence. There’s always next year though and perhaps my “luck” will change. Talk to you later. Troy