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The early April weather took fishing back a few weeks for most people. The hardy ones are still out there fishing and are having some pretty good results.

I talked to some good friends who live up on the Chain of Lakes and their reports were pretty exciting. The walleye appeared to be in close to shore and were being caught from shore with minnows and slip bobber rigs, when the sun had been out for the day and warmed the water a little. The crappie were biting around the docks all over the Chain, but really good catches were found in Pistakee Bay and the channel between Lake Marie and Channel Lake.

The fishing reports from the Skokie Lagoons have been very encouraging for the year, with early catches of largemouth bass and walleyes from shore locations at the north end of the Lagoons – all good signs for a great year of fishing.

Something really special is happening in a few weeks. Last year the Illinois High School Association added bass fishing to the list of 35 authorized sports and activities, making Illinois the first state in the country to sanction bass-fishing as a high-school sport.

The first season began in October 2008 and culminates on May 8-9 on Carlyle Lake, with the first state fishing finals in the nation. To recognize this event, next month (May 2009) has been designated High School Bass Fishing Month.

Wouldn’t be great to have a team from ETHS in the state finals? I can dream, can’t l?

Another set of dates to mark on the calendar are June 6-9. These are the free fishing days in Illinois, and June 6 and 7 are free fishing days in Wisconsin. On these days anyone can fish without a license. The idea is to encourage families to get out there and try fishing without having to purchase a fishing license and it’s a great time of year to fish everything should be biting in most of our lakes and streams.

Why not start planning a fishing trip for that weekend right now? It’s never too soon to start looking for places to go, places to stay and to find those fishing hot spots.

Until next time, keep a tight line.