Muskie fishing is off to a slow start this fall. Of 14 teams in the Illinois Muskie Tournament Trail fall opener at Lake Shelbyville on Sunday, only one team caught fish.

Tournament organizers said stormy weather and water temperatures in the low 70s were not enough to trigger strikes.

Andrew Veach and John Phillips landed three measurable muskie. Phillips caught two fish of 30.5 inches and 36 inches. Veach added another 36-inch muskie.

The next event is the two-day IMTT Fall Classic Oct. 2-3 at Lake Shelbyville.

Other events include the Greg Tichacek Memorial Tournament on Evergreen Lake Oct. 16; Shawnee Muskie Hunters Fall Brawl at Lake Kinkaid Oct. 23-24; the Fox River Valley Tournament at Chain of Lakes on Oct. 30 and the Illinois State IMTT Championships Nov. 6-7 on Lake Kinkaid.

Visit for more information.

Volunteers needed

Lake Shelbyville will host an event for the 17th annual National Public Lands Day on Saturday. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers could use help painting facilities, preparing flowerbeds for planting, trail maintenance, litter pickup and playground maintenance. Call 217-774-3313 to register. Tools, supplies and lunch will be provided. Volunteers will receive a one free night camping voucher for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-managed areas around Lake Shelbyville and a one-day pass valid for beaches and boat ramps.  

Tournament notes

-- Bryan Thrasher and Jeff Henson sponsored by Falcon Rods and Ranger Boats won the Angler’s Choice Tournament at Clinton Lake on Saturday with a five-fish limit weighing 18.61 pounds.

-- The Illinois Bass Federation 6-Man Team State Championship is Sept. 30-Oct. 3 at Shelbyville.

-- Gary Merkel and Jeff Marusek caught six sauger weighing 7.84 pounds to win the Walleyes Chicago Tournament on the Illinois River at Spring Valley on Sunday. Chris Stutz and Jeremy Sierens were second. Bruce Merkel and Wayne Merkel were third.

Ramp closed

Coon Creek Recreation Area Boat Ramp at Lake Shelbyville is closed for construction of a new high water boat ramp. Other ramps are open. Call the Lake Shelbyville information line at 217-774-2020 or visit the Lake Shelbyville website at

-- Scott Richardson is Pantagraph outdoor editor.  Contact him at

309-820-3227 or e-mail  Share stories and read past outdoor and fishing columns at

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