FROM THE MAGAZINE SHELF is an occasional feature of the FOUNTAINDALE LIBRARY REFERENCE BLOG. Postings will highlight titles that you might find of interest, but haven’t picked up to read and explore. In addition to the titles that are in the Magazines Area on the 2nd Floor of our library, postings will also include titles from RBdigital Magazines, formerly Zinio, the library’s digital magazine collection.

“Fishing is not about the fish. It’s about the time spent together catching them.”

I recently came across this quotation on Pinterest. It rang true with me and it made me think back on earlier times in my life when I was anticipating going out on a fishing trip and getting some new tackle or perhaps, just buying a single new lure. There are some images that just stay with you. One of those images, for me, was being in a sporting goods shop where I grew up in New Jersey. As a kid in upper grade school, I would occasionally accompany my older brother and my dad to this shop to buy a few lures. The shop seemed to have been in business since the dawn of time and they had a really good fishing tackle department. Behind the counter, where the staff worked, was a large wooden cabinet that had dozens of drawers. The cabinet resembled those that you might see in older hardware stores that held vast arrays of nuts and bolts and fasteners.  Each of the cabinet drawers in that department was filled with small individual boxes. A single fishing lure was nestled in each container. The “classics” were all there…the “Hula Popper”(pictured below)…the “Jitterbug”…and the “Dardevle”, to name just a few. That cabinet held enough lures to easily outfit several good-sized tackle boxes!  

As a youngster, and later, as a teen, there were usually one or two opportunities each year for me to go fishing with my brother and my dad. We would visit friends of our family who had a cottage on Greenwood Lake. The seven mile long lake bordered both New Jersey and New York states and was known for both boating and fishing. My mom liked going on these trips for the fresh air and catching up with our friends. But the fishing component of the trip…not so much.

I wouldn’t say we were avid fishermen. We were more like “occasional anglers” who enjoyed a day out on the lake. We rented a row boat from a local marina, and spent a few hours rowing around to spots we had fished in past years. We often concentrated on parts of the lake, not far from shore, that had some underwater tree stumps…good hiding places for perch, bass, and pickerel.

In between our fishing trips, at home, we would read magazines like Outdoor Life and New Jersey Outdoors. They were good sources of fishing information for our future trips.                                                                                                                                                                                 

Here, in “the Land of Lincoln,” one of the fishing magazines that you may not have looked at recently at our library is ILLINOIS GAME & FISH. Fourteen issues are published a year. There are two double issues each year …December / January and JuIy / August… and you’ll find copies of this year’s issues as well as last year’s in our library’s Newspapers and Magazines area on the 2nd Floor.

With the opening of trout season earlier this month, here in Illinois, and the arrival of some warmer weather, you may be thinking of venturing out to do some fishing. Illinois Game & Fish can be a helpful source of fishing gear reviews and information about species of Illinois fish. The March issue, pictured on the right, had three good articles on crappies, which are members of the sunfish family. In Michigan, these fish are known as “speckled bass” or “specks.” April, in Illinois, is usually the best month to fish for crappies, according to the magazine, and Rend Lake, in the southern part of our state,  near the town of Benton, is one of the best locations for fishing for this species.

If you are looking for new places in Illinois to do some fishing, Illinois Game & Fish also has recommendations for spots with good fishing throughout the state.

A snapshot view of a typical issue of Illinois Game & Fish usually includes:

  • FEATURES ” These are longer articles which vary with the season of the year. On average, there are about five or six of these per issue. The April 2019 issue included articles on Illinois Bass Fishing, Fishing for Walleyes In Adverse Conditions, and on Competition Fishing.
  • IN EVERY ISSUE” comprises a group of regularly appearing write ups, which are related to the time of the year they appear.

Here is a lineup of what is “IN EVERY ISSUE

IN THE FIELD” is a single page summary of timely news pieces related to Illinois fish and game topics, including regulations. The page also includes the ILLINOIS CALENDAR  of key dates to remember pertaining to hunting or fishing that month in our state.

GEAR” evaluates reels and rods. A panel of six veterans of the fishing industry, professional guides and editors, do the testing. Tackle is tested using a “comprehensive 10-criterion matrix” to evaluate each rod and reel. The GEAR write-ups usually run approximately 7-pages.

SPECIES” takes a look at a particular fish, so you can get to know about it and learn techniques to fish for that species.

MOON TIMES” – This monthly feature guides both hunters and anglers to the best days / times to hunt and fish. Animals and fish move and feed according to the location of the moon, not the sun, so this guide can really help make the difference between being successful or not, out in the field or on the water.

SKILLS” – These one or two page articles give anglers and hunters useful advice each month. Recent topics covered have been: “HOW (AND HOW NOT) TO ANCHOR IN CURRENT.” (May 2019) / “REACH OUT FOR SHALLOW CRAPPIE…Use long poles to catch more shallow crappie.” (April 2019) / WHY FISH MOVE…To be successful, you must understand where and why fish move. (March 2019.)

“PARTING LINES” – Each issue finishes with a single page piece by outdoor humor columnist Steven Paul Barlow.

Once you’ve done your research in Illinois Game & Fish and you are planning your next fishing trip, also spend some time to get well acquainted with the 2019 Illinois Fishing Information guide. According to Colleen Callahan, the Director of the Illinois Department of Natural resources, “This booklet provides a comprehensive look at Illinois fishing regulations and has plenty of information on places to fish. While many regulations apply statewide, the booklet includes details on site-specific regulations that are organized by the body of water or water area at which those regulations apply.”

Just about everything you need to know about fishing in Illinois is contained in this 80-page downloadable publication.

Hopefully, with the information you’ve learned from reading Illinois Game & Fish and from the 2019 Illinois Fishing Information booklet, your day’s catch will be in your cooler and on your dining table and not in a fish story about the ones that got away!

-Tom D.








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