August 22, 2008

With a Little Help, Big Minnesota Muskie Search Successful

By Scott Richardson

TOWER, Minn. - Steve Pallo, the head of the fisheries division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, can give chapter and verse for some of the best spots for muskie on Illinois lakes.

But outside the state, he relies on a little help from friends. That was the case a couple of weeks ago when he and his family traveled to Lake Vermilion in the far northeast corner of Minnesota. At nearly 50,000 acres, Vermilion is the fifth-largest lake in Minnesota. A guy needs a hand to narrow the search for big fish.

"Several good friends have marked my map to help us out. That help has been invaluable, one of the many reasons to be part of the muskie community," he said. -

Pallo focused on a large weed bed in a bay where he slammed a 48- inch muskie about 10 p.m. His son, Chris, got a 44-inch fish an hour later. They also raised a 50-inch fish. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says the latest netting survey revealed 15 percent of the muskies were 50 inches or larger.

The trip also netted smaller muskies, walleyes up to 27 inches and smallmouth bass up to 17 inches. Pallo's wife landed a dandy 42- inch northern pike.

"There were lots of eagles and loons. Remind me why I came back. Oh, yeah, a paycheck," Pallo said.

No fore!

Remember last week's story on fishing ponds at Bloomington golf courses where 3-pound bass were the average and an 8-pounder was caught and released? Forget about it.

Bloomington parks officials e-mailed The Pantagraph to say fishing isn't allowed on the courses. Guess they haven't heard anglers outnumber duffers.

What's biting

Crappie - Good at Shabbona; fair at Clinton, Evergreen, Bloomington.

Saugeye - Fair at Evergreen, slow at Dawson.

Sauger - A few on crankbait on the Illinois River near Henry.

Walleye - Fair at Lake Bloomington, Dawson, Clinton, Shelbyville; good at Shabbona up to 26 inches.

Largemouth bass - Good at Clinton, Shelbyville, Shabbona; fair at Sangchris, Bloomington, Evergreen, Spring Lake, Weldon Springs.

Smallmouth bass - Slow at Powerton, LaSalle Lake. Good at Vermilion River.

Striped bass - Fair at Sangchris.

White bass - Very good on the Illinois River and Shelbyville; good at Clinton.

Catfish - Good at Sangchris, Clinton Lake, Shabbona; good at Evergreen, Shelbyville, Illinois River, Spring Lake, Weldon Springs, Dawson, Bloomington, Powerton.

Muskies - Slow.

Bluegills - Very good at Sangchris, Dawson, Shabbona. Fair to good elsewhere.

Got a fish story, a hot spot, big fish or lots of them? Something funny happen? Call Pantagraph outdoor editor Scott Richardson at (309) 820-3227 or e-mail [email protected]

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