Warmouth: One of Illinois’ longest standing records and other thoughts

Jason Le, aka Jason Special, caught a warmouth big enough to stir thoughts of the oldest Illinois fish records.

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Jason Le, aka Jason Special, with a good warmouth caught earlier this month while ice fishing on the Chain O’Lakes. Provided photo

Jason Le, aka Jason Special, with a good warmouth caught earlier this month while ice fishing on the Chain O’Lakes.

Provided

Jason Le, aka Jason Special, thought he might have caught and released an Illinois-record warmouth Feb. 2 while ice fishing on the Chain O’Lakes.

‘‘Oh, I didn’t weigh it, lol,’’ he messaged on Instagram.

He had photos and a YouTube video. It looks light of the record, but I’m glad somebody even thought of a possible Illinois warmouth record, one of longest-standing records in the state. Wesley Mills caught the record warmouth (1 pound, 13 ounces) on May 22, 1971, from a farm pond in Cumberland County.

Buffalo is the oldest Illinois record. C.B. Merritt caught the 48-pounder in 1936 from the Mississippi River in Adams County. Only two other Illinois records are older than warmouth: yellow bullhead (5 pounds, 4 ounces), caught by Bill Snow in 1955 from the Fox River in Geneva, and sauger (5-12.5), caught by Bill Rolando on July 30, 1967, from the Mississippi River in Jo Daviess County.

I vividly remember catching my first warmouth on a crankbait during a bass tournament on the Chain about 20 years ago. When I asked, partner Art Frisell said, ‘‘Warmouth.’’

They will hit a variety of baits. As the feeding and habitats section in ifishillinois.org puts it: ‘‘Warmouths are sight feeders and feast on crayfish, large aquatic insect larvae, small fish and mollusks. They are a secretive fish and seek cover in rocky banks, stumps or weeds or near other large objects, where they can hide and wait for food.’’

STURGEON

I struggle to grasp the evolving story on caviar, sturgeon and Wisconsin DNR staff. Click here for the original story Associated Press story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Click here for the update from the Associated Press in the Huron Daily Tribune.

MULLADY

Kankakee Valley Park District will name its Bird Park Quarry launch for the late Kankakee River advocate Ed Mullady, according to the Daily Journal.

WILD THINGS

Our youngest spotted a coyote slowly walking a snowy field last week. Maybe I am just maudlin, but the starkness of the image haunts me.

STRAY CAST

In 2021, White Sox vs Cubs is like red foxes vs voles.

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