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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Illinois Bait Shop - Flyway Outdoors

Illinois Bait Shop - Flyway Outdoors

For awhile now we've been writing about bait shops across Illinois.  This series has been enjoyed by many of our readers because it focuses, not only on the small business of bait shops, but outdoor shops in general.  We came across Flyway Outdoors online and with incentive by a friend we decided to check them out.

Flyway Outdoors is an outdoor resale shop of sorts. We have all been there, you walk into a store to buy new decoys and are astounded by the price.  Maybe you can't afford it, or just refuse to pay that much, well Flyway Outdoors has your answer. 

"We sell gently used decoys" said Colton, owner of Flyway Outdoors.  "We have people from all the surrounding states that come and buy our decoys."  Its easy to see why.  As we looked around the shop there was an abundance of duck, GHG, Bigfoot and countless other species of waterfowl decoys for sale.

Open for less than a year in Hanna City, Illinois,  Flyway Outdoors doesn't just offer hunting decoys, they sell minnows, as well as other fishing & hunting accessories. Need to make those beat up decoys look like new? They have a flocking service that can help you with that.  If you would rather do it yourself they have the materials you'll need to help start your decoy project.

Flyway Outdoors is the perfect place to go if your on a budget, just starting off or have been waterfowl hunting for years.  They're always getting decoys in so, make sure to check them out often to make sure you're not missing anything.

If you can't make it to their shop check out their website: flywayoutdoors.org.  There you can shop and get things shipped directly to you. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

IDNR Announces Schedule of Waterfowl Blind Site Drawings

IDNR Announces Schedule of Waterfowl Blind Site Drawings

Drawings to be held for public hunting area waterfowl blind sites

From the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Press Office

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Waterfowl hunters are encouraged to mark their calendars for upcoming waterfowl hunting blind site random drawings to be held at several public hunting areas in Illinois this summer. 

Duck and goose hunters must register in person for waterfowl blind site drawings and must be present at the drawing – held at each location designated below immediately after the registration period – to claim their blind sites. Mail-in registrations are not accepted. Unless otherwise stated, blind allocations for these sites are good for one year. To participate in a drawing, applicants must present a 2015 or 2016 regular Illinois hunting license (no apprentice or youth license) and a 2015 or 2016 Illinois Migratory Waterfowl Stamp at the time they register, unless exempted by law. Applicants must be at least 16 years old by the date of the drawing.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Jim Edgar Panther Creek WIngshooting Clinic 2016

Jim Edgar Panther Creek Wingshooting Clinic 2016

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) working with a variety of volunteers, partners, sponsors and organizations offer wingshooting clinics at different sites throughout Illinois.  This past weekend there was a Youth/Women's Clinic at Jim Edgar Panther Creek.

2016 Jim Edgar Panther Creek Wingshooting Clinic 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Legislative Wrap Up

Legislative Wrap Up

That’s it ladies and gentleman, the Illinois General Assembly ended the 2016 legislative session without a budget. Which means for the second year in a row the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will be operating without appropriations. Legislative members will be called back throughout the summer to continue discussions.

However, that doesn’t mean that fishing and hunting season will be closed. But, we could see more state parks closing due to lack of operating funding. Like all states, Illinois receives millions of dollars a year from the federal government for certain programs so those programs are safe without a budget.

Below you will see just some of the hunting and fishing related bills that were up this session. Included is a brief description of each proposed bill along with the last action taken as of May 31st.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Top Fishing Destinations in Illinois: Rock River

Top Fishing Destinations in Illinois: Rock River

By: Jon Giacalone

The Rock River is a high-quality stream best known for catfish, walleye, crappie, smallmouth bass and the occasional northern pike that drains about 10,800 square miles of northern Illinois and southern

Within Illinois, the Rock River flows through a rural agricultural basin containing moderate-to- large communities, including Rockford, Dixon and Sterling/Rock Falls. Much of the shoreline is developed and very little is considered pristine. The river is aptly named. Much of the riverbed is comprised of glacial rock, ranging in size from gravel to small boulders. Navigation in unfamiliar stretches can be very hazardous. Shallow-draft jon boats with small outboard motors are proper fishing vessels. Some anglers use jet-drive lower units to help eliminate damage.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Make May Native Species Month

Make May Native Species Month

It seems like every year we hear about a new advancement in invasive species.  They take over our lakes, rivers, streams, prairies and forest while millions of dollars goes into trying to eradicate them and stop their advancements.    With May being Invasive Species Month you'll probably see more articles in your social media news feeds regarding this topic. 

When we first started Capitol Outdoors, we had a general understanding regarding invasive species.  We knew that Asian Carp, Emerald Ash Borer or Honeysuckle was destructive to the greater ecosystem.    We are continuing to learn about invasive species and conservation on daily basis.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Top Fishing Destinations in Illinois: Rend Lake

Top Fishing Destinations in Illinois: Rend Lake

Rend Lake is the second largest impoundment in Illinois, and one of the state's best for largemouth bass, crappie and white bass. Good numbers of channel and flathead catfish also provide great action. Encompassing a total of 18,900 acres, along with excellent lake facilities, Rend Lake is one of southern Illinois' premier multi-recreational destinations.

Rend Lake offers good fishing throughout most of the year, including during mild winters. Weeds and natural rock are very limited, but riprap, flooded trees and stumps provide abundant habitat. Generally, riprap is the dominant cover south of Highway 154, while the northern portion of the lake is laced with stumps and downed timber.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

IDNR Announces Closure of Ramsey Lake and

From the Illinois Department of Natural Resource Press Office:

IDNR Announces Closure of Ramsey Lake and Horseshoe Lake

Sites Closed Indefinitely Due to Electrical and Trash Service Interruptions

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced today that Ramsey Lake State Recreation Area near Ramsey and Horseshoe Lake State Park near Granite City will be closed indefinitely. Ramsey Lake is being closed due to termination of electrical service. Horseshoe Lake will close April 25 due to termination of trash and electrical service.

There is no estimate of when either site might reopen.Ramsey Lake site staff will report to Coffeen Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area. The phone number is (217) 537-3351. Horseshoe Lake staff will report to Frank Holten State Recreation Area. The phone number is (618) 874-7920.

Ramsey Lake campgrounds and picnic shelters were open at the time of the closure. IDNR will contact campers with reservations to work out other arrangements or refunds.

Camping at Horseshoe Lake was to begin May 1, but will not open on that date. IDNR will contact people with camping and shelter reservations to work out other arrangements or refunds.

The Department intends to reopen these parks as soon as services are restored. Horseshoe Lake

Monday, April 18, 2016

Time of Our Lives

Time of Our Lives

What a week of fishing for us here at Capitol Outdoors.  Like so many others we're blessed to live in an area with an abundance of lakes and great outdoor opportunity, but some trips are just better then others.  Take a look as we are having the Time of our Lives.   With a baby on the way things are only going to get better.

Above is the "Biggest Catch of my Life... Sorta of?  Which will have this angler telling tales for years and then few days later we were Kick'n Bass at Emiquon catching some nice fish and having a blast doing it.

That's what I love about the outdoors it's the ultimate guessing game.  You can go out and catch a dinky two inch bluegill or have the time of your life.  How about you, what is a moment you can remember where you had a great weekend or week of fishing. Comment below and share your story. 


Spring Turkey Hunting Report Summary

Gobble Gobble... The Illinois Department of Natural Resources released their Preliminary Spring Turkey Hunting Report. Numbers seem to be about the same as last year.  How has your season been?

North Zone: Turkey Hunters in the North Zone harvested 2,263 birds first season, compared to 2,343 during first season 2015.

South Zone: Turkey Hunters in the South Zone harvested 1,614 birds first season, and 1,272 birds second season. Last year’s totals were 1,526 and 1,333, respectively. Total harvest through 2 seasons was 2,886, compared to last year at 2,859.

Below is a county by county break down for North Zone first season and South Zone first and second season numbers.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

6 Tips to Catch more Crappie across Illinois

 Tips and Tactics - Catching Crappie in Illinois

Illinois is well known for their abundance of large crappie. You can find them in lakes such as, Shelbyville and Sangchris to name a few. There's nothing quite like catching crappie on a spring or fall morning. You can see some of our previous Illinois Crappie Fishing adventures in Illinois by checking out our You Tube Channel.

Crappie Fishing is a great way to teach beginners how to fish.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

HB 5962 and SB 2410 Youth Trapping License would Extend Limited Trapping Privileges

  (HB 5962 & SB 2410) Youth Trapping License would Extends limited trapping privileges

On February 11, 2016 Representative Avery Bourne (Republican, Litchfield, Illinois) introduced HB 5962.


Amends the Wildlife Code. Provides that a resident youth 18 and under may apply to the Department of Natural Resources for a Youth Trapping License, which extends limited trapping privileges. Provides that the Youth Trapping License shall be renewable and expire on the March 31 following the date of issuance. Provides that possession of a Youth Trapping License shall serve in lieu of a valid trapping license, but does not exempt the licensee from compliance with the requirements of the Code. Provides that a youth with a Youth Trapping License shall not trap or carry a hunting device, including, but not limited to, a firearm, bow and arrow, or crossbow unless the youth is accompanied by and under the close supervision of a parent, grandparent, or guardian who is 21 years of age or older and has a valid Illinois trapping license.

HB 5796 Fishing Limits for Landowners on Private Property Could be a thing of the Past

HB 5796 Fishing Limits for Landowners on Private Property Could be a Thing of the Past

On February 11, 2016 Representative Charles Meier (Republican, Highland, Illinois) introduced HB 5796.  


Amends the Fish and Aquatic Life Code. Provides that the limits on the number and size of fish a person may take in a day do not apply to a person fishing in waters wholly within his or her private property. Effective immediately.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

IDNR Releases Preliminary Results of Youth Turkey Season

IDNR Releases Preliminary Results of Youth Turkey Season

Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Paul Shelton released the following information of the preliminary results of the youth turkey season in both zones. South Zone harvest was 450 (354 last year), while North Zone harvest was 599 (547 last year).  Below is a county by county breakdown and the numbers from last year.

St. Clair611

Did you take youth out for turkey season this year?  Comment below and share your story if you did. 

Friday, April 1, 2016

IDNR Announces 2016 Schedule for Wingshooting Clinics

IDNR Announces 2016 Schedule for Wingshooting Clinics

On April 1, 2016 the Illinois Department of Natural Resources released a statement regarding their dates for the 2016 Wingshooting Clinics.  This is a great way to introduce youngsters, women and first time shooters to the thrill and fun of wingshooting.  In the press release, you'll find information regarding those who are eligible along with the different types of wingshooting classes that are being offered.

"Clinics are taught by instructors certified by the IDNR. Many clinic instructors also have a National Sporting Clays Association (NSCA) instructor certification."
Click the IDNR link to find out where and when these fun and informative clinics are going on -


IDNR Announces 2016 Schedule for Wingshooting Clinics

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), in cooperation with a number of partners and cosponsors, will conduct wingshooting clinics at sites throughout Illinois from spring through mid-November, intended to provide instruction and improve the shooting skills of beginners and experienced hunters. Most clinics are conducted on weekends at IDNR sites, cooperating gun clubs and shooting ranges, hunting preserves, and farms.

Youth/Women’s Wingshooting Clinics are designed to provide instruction on safely shooting a shotgun at a moving target with reasonable reliability. Girls and boys ages 10-15, young adults ages 16-18, and women of all ages are eligible to participate. Each clinic starts with a morning shotgun safety presentation, followed by a short small group hands-on shotgun orientation session with each group’s wingshooting instructor. After a lunch break, students spend the afternoon in the field shooting flying clay targets on presentations designed for beginning and novice shooters. Students learn to safely handle and shoot a shotgun, and they learn that being skilled at shooting clay targets is a lot of fun. Most youth/women’s clinics are provided at no cost to participants, or have a nominal registration fee. Shotguns, shotshells, and clay targets are provided.

Hunter Wingshooting Clinics are hands-on, and include extensive live fire at a variety of clay target presentations on sporting clays courses specifically designed for teaching typical hunting situations. From ducks and doves to pheasants, quail and rabbits, hunters will find clay target presentations that resemble their favorite and most troublesome shots. Hunter Wingshooting Clinics consist of two wingshooting sessions each day. A short briefing about shotgun safety and handling and on-range safety occurs during the first 15 minutes of each 4-hour shooting session. The clinics are designed primarily to improve the wingshooting skills of hunters, but are not limited to just hunters. The clinics are designed for shotgun shooters with reasonable experience. Young shooters ages 12 to 15 must be in at least the "Intermediate" skill level category to enroll in these clinics. Young shooters 12 to 15 must also be accompanied by and shooting with an adult who is participating in the hunter clinic. Shotgun shooters 16 and older with beginning to advanced wingshooting skills who want to improve their shotgun shooting skills are encouraged to attend. The fee to participate ranges from $30 or $35 per participant.

Clinics are taught by instructors certified by the IDNR. Many clinic instructors also have a National Sporting Clays Association (NSCA) instructor certification. The participant-to-instructor ratio is usually four-to-one. Participants are typically grouped with others of similar shooting ability.

The 2016 clinic schedule includes several special events. The IDNR Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) program offers shotgun shooting classes as part of an extensive outdoor skills program. (Registration for the BOW workshop in June is already full). During the National Hunting and Fishing Day activities at Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area in September, the opportunity to shoot clay targets is available under the supervision of IDNR Hunter Safety instructors. The Healing Outside of a Hospital (HOOAH) Program provides sporting clays shooting opportunities under the supervision of IDNR wingshooting instructors to active duty military personnel recovering from injuries, and to veterans with disabilities.

For the 2016 IDNR Wingshooting Clinics schedule and information on registering for clinics, check the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov. The wingshooting schedule is at this link: http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/programs/wingshooting/WingshootingDates.html