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Dove on wire for August, 2015.Credit: Dale Bowman

Wild mysteries: Wonder of west winds & doves on wires

SHARE Wild mysteries: Wonder of west winds & doves on wires
SHARE Wild mysteries: Wonder of west winds & doves on wires

Doves on wires to yellow perch in cold water, the mysteries of the wild world hold.

On Monday morning, I found dozens of doves on the wires as I rambled miles with Lady, our family’s mutt.

There were plenty of photo ops for the annual preview for opening day of hunting in Illinois, which is next Tuesday.

The next morning, I could not find a single dove on a wire or even cooing.

As far as I know, nobody has been able to explain precisely what triggers the movements of doves.

A perfect example came last week when I checked in with Mike Wickens, the veteran site superintendent at Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area, traditionally a top dove spot. He said more doves were hanging around earlier in August.

Whether are not lots of doves are hanging around for opening day, field conditions overall on Illinois’ public sites were better than I expected with the rains in June and July.

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The impact of west winds on Lake Michigan are less of a mystery than the movement of doves.

We know that strong enough west winds bring an upwelling of cold water as warmer surface water is peeled off and pushed east. As result, fishing on Chicago’s lakefront usually takes off.

That started last week as west winds finally set up in what has been an odd, cold and wet summer.

Late last week, Stacey Greene was checking water temperatures in the minnow tanks at Park Bait and found 60 degrees. She thought something was wrong with the thermometer. Water temperatures had been holding in the mid-70s.

“Sixteen degrees, that was a big swing in the water temperatures,’’ she said.

Ted Boska found even more dramatic swing off Waukegan down to 49 degrees one day.

Such dramatic swings change fishing.

For shore fishermen at Montrose, it was welcome. The handful of regulars who had persisted in fishing at Montrose through a slow summer, suddenly found perch. Powerliners were even taking some limits of Chicago’s most favored fish.

Even with cooler water, conditions and fishing changes.

“There is more going back and forth with those winds,’’ Greene said. “I keep telling the guys, `If you don’t get a bite in half an hour, move to the other side.’ ‘’

It has been a shiner bite more than the traditional summer bite on soft shells.

In a true sign of change, even a few Chinook have been hooked (and at least one landed) at Montrose.

STRAY CAST: Finding out Chet Coppock contributed to a book with the late Doug Buffone is like finding a free-ranging Maine Coon house cat cavorting with a gray fox.

* * * *

SHOW & GO

BASS PRO’S FALL HUNTING CLASSIC:It continues through Sunday. Go to basspro.com

DEER FORUM:The Illinois Whitetail Alliance hosts the inaugural Illinois Whitetail Forum, 1-3 p.m. Saturday at the SCHEELS store in Springfield.


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