Showing posts with label Outdoor Venue. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Outdoor Venue. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Champions are Made in the Off Season

Any high school, college or professional athlete that plays a sport has heard these lines from their coach during the off season.  For softball and baseball players it's practicing your swing and football players, lifting weights and studying film.  Bass fishing is no different, put the work in now and see the success later.  As a pro, your off season probably consists of doing commercials for sponsors, seminars and research for the upcoming lake schedule.

Anglers listen at the Student Angler Bass Education Series

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Epic Way to Start a New Year

As temperatures drop, ice anglers get excited.  Walking on water isn't for everyone, however there are those that have the faith.  As colder weather approached hard water anglers start chatting on social media and other forums looking for safe ice.  In fact, we did a little of our own chatting providing viewers with a few updates at Jim Edgar Panther Creek and our excitement was growing as we saw the future weather forecast.

The New Year brought some frigid temperatures and many chose to stay in on New Year's Day, however, the weather didn't stop Capitol Outdoors and Matt Steele from hitting the ice.  We headed to Jim Edgar Panther Creek and in negative degree temperatures searched for some big crappie. However, it didn't quite go as expected.  Enjoy the video below: "Box of Chocolates, You Never Know What Your Going to Catch.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Farm Bill Forums Being Held for Sportsmen and Women

Keeping you informed from the Legislative Floors to the Great Outdoors means taking advantage of opportunities like this in order to better educate oneself.  Sportsmen and women have been invited to attend a forum on the Farm Bill.  Many of you may know how the Farm Bill plays an important role in conservation here in Illinois.   These forums are being held by the Theodore Reosevelt Conservation Partners and the Illinois Conservation Foundation which they've entitled "Illinois Sportsmen's Guide to the 2018 Farm Bill".

Friday, December 29, 2017

Making Memories- A Family Pheasant Hunt at Jim Edgar Panther Creek

The first hunt I ever went on was with my dad, brother and my first black lab, Bud.  It was a pheasant hunt I will never forget, Bud flushed his first bird and I was able to shoot it.  This was a huge moment for me, not just because I harvested my first pheasant, but because I trained my dog Bud all by myself.  Granted he was no grand champion, but he was my champion.

Three generations enjoying a pheasant hunt at Jim Edgar Panther Creek

This was such a memorable hunt to my dad that he wrote a story about it and sent it to Midwest Outdoors Magazine's Hunt Contest and won.  Today you'll find the prize knife and that story safe in my closet.  During that time and to this day, I've shared great moments and stories with both my dad and brother but as you grow older, life gets in the way and the idea of hunting and fishing together takes on a new meaning.  It's not just saying, let's go hunting, there's traveling involved and family obligations that seem to hinder us making more of these memories.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Bear the Cold for Eagle Days On Feb. 3, 2018

There's nothing quite like watching an eagle, thousands of snow geese and other waterfowl, through a lens at over 500 yards away.  Over the last few years we've had the opportunity to attend Eagle Days.  If you've got cabin fever, and let's be honest in February, it's cold, so who wouldn't want to get out of the house.  Well, you need to get in the car and head to Fulton Mason Eagle Day.  It's jammed packed and lots of fun for the entire family!  Read about our first Eagle Day
Observing some of nature's beautiful waterfowl at Emiquon on Eagle Days

Sunday, November 12, 2017

2017 Fishing Careers Workshop Offers Advice and Insight into Fishing Industry

The old question among anglers, 'how do I make a career in the fishing industry?'   This question drove fishing legend Al Lindner, his son Troy Lindner and ten other top notch fishing industry leaders to share their passion, successes and advice with a room full of eager participants at Cragun's Resort in Brainerd Minnesota.

Capitol Outdoors, Al Lindner,
Various high schoolers and established industry leaders from 14 states and Providence of Quebec, attended the 2017 Fishing Careers Workshop and then there's little ole' me.

Growing up in the 90's, In-Fisherman was the YouTube of today, anglers read and watched Al Lindner and others teach fishing tactics and how to's.  He wasn't just a TV personality, he was someone I looked up to.  What kid/adult wouldn't want his job?  Making videos about fishing, the dream job!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Lessons from My Rookie Year of Illinois Tournament Bass Fishing

Scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, posts are popping up already about tournament fishing for the 2018 Illinois Tournament Season.  It's hunting season and ice fishing is right around the corner and people are already talking tournaments in 2018.  That's cool though, I have too!  It inspired me to drop a few lines about my rookie year of fishing tournaments and what I learned along the way.

Jim Edgar Panther Creek
Mike Iaconelli would tell you "never give up"!  This is a picture from the Lincoln Bass Club's two day tournament out at Jim Edgar Panther Creek.  Two days  and we only weighed in one fish. Within the final hour of the tournament I reeled in my biggest tournament fish at 5 pounds 13 ounces.  Never overlook a small victory.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Monthly IDNR Newsbits November 2017

The Illinois DNR Newsbits is a monthly publication by the IDNR giving constituents of Illinois the '411'.   Issues and topics are geared toward all those that enjoy the outdoors from the hunter to the angler to the outdoor enthusiast and cover a wide array of topics and events. 

IDNR Newsbits for Nov. 2017

Ancient Tools and Crafts: Dickson Mounds Museum will host an afternoon of Native American storytelling accompanied by demonstrations of the creation and use of ancient tools and crafts on Sat., Nov. 4 from 1:00-4:00 p.m. Experimental Archaeologist Larry Kinsella and his wife, professional storyteller Marilyn Kinsella, have combined their talents to produce this informative, entertaining, hands-on program. Kids may enjoy activities such as cordage making, pottery, using hand micro-drills, flint knapping, and spear throwing. This Kid’s Day program is geared toward children ages 5 and up with an adult. Registration is not required. The show begins at 1:00 p.m. in the Museum’s auditorium. Tickets will be available on a first come, first served basis beginning at 12:00 p.m. in the Museum’s lobby. Space is limited. Admission is free; donations are appreciated. The Illinois State Museum-Dickson Mounds is located between Lewistown and Havana off Illinois Routes 78 and 97. The museum is open free to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. Tours and special programs are available for groups with reservations. For more information call 309-547-3721.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

IDNR Bringing Back Outdoor Illinois

Ever talk to an IDNR employee and feel like they could care less.  Maybe that's just people in general today.  Maybe, it has to do with the lack of money the agency has and they know the ideas won't go anywhere.  For awhile now the IDNR has been in the works of bringing back Outdoor Illinois.  They finally made their release announcing the comeback of this new online journal.

This is great news in the hunting, fishing and conservation world.  As outdoor enthusiasts this is a way for the IDNR to finally be able to release information on research studies, land and wildlife management and other updates. We look forward to seeing what information gets published and how this resource will improve the outdoors.

During our reporting and meeting people throughout the state over the years, we've heard people complain about how it's hard to find information and how there is a lack of a user friendly interface for the DNR website.  Illinois' has been lacking in transparency and upgrades. However, this is a great step to making the IDNR more user friendly and transparent.

Some of you might have received the email below:

Illinois Conservationist:
It is my pleasure to announce that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program and the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGGREC) to bring back Outdoor Illinois!  This time it is a wildlife-specific online journal that contains articles on Wildlife, People, Land, Research, and Recreation.  Please take a few moments to look through the site, and to visit our annual hunting forecasts (  Right now, we have posted deer/turkey/squirrel and furbearer forecasts.  Upland game and waterfowl forecasts will be coming soon! There are plenty of other short articles to look at as well while you're there.  If you have ideas for Outdoor Illinois: Wildlife Journal, or areas that you think we need to provide more information on, please e-mail me at and let me know.

To visit other websites regarding wildlife in Illinois, please visit our Living with Wildlife in Illinois ( and our White-tailed Deer: Illinois websites (


Mark Alessi
Division of Wildlife Resources
Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Monday, January 23, 2017

2017 Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever Banquets & Events

It's that time of year again and we're not talking about expo season.  It's banquet season, conservationists, hunters, anglers and those that enjoy the outdoors attend banquets to help support organizations across the state.

Organizations like Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever host a dinner and auction to raise money for conservation projects and so much more.  Below you'll see a list of events being hosted by Pheasants Forever.


January 28th 
*Champaign County Forest Preserve District Herbicide & Prescribed Burn Workshop 
Mahomet Lake of the Woods


Feb. 4th 
Decatur, Illinois

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Illinois Hunting, Fishing & Outdoor Expos 2017

Illinois Hunting, Fishing & Outdoor Expos 2017

Expo season is right around the corner and we will be attending many of the expos around the State of Illinois. 

If you know of an outdoor show in your area, let us know about it! Capitol Outdoors is available to speak at your event!

Let’s Go Fishing Show
Collinsville, Illinois
Jan. 6-8th 2017

-Chicago Muskie Expo
Chicago, Illinois
Jan. 6-8th 2017

Chicago Boat, RV & Outdoors Show
Chicago, Illinois
Jan. 11-15th 2017

All-Canada Show
St. Charles, Illinois
Jan. 12-15th 2017

Chicago Outdoor Sports Show
Rosemont, Illinois
Jan. 19-22nd 2017

-Chicagoland Gunshow
Rosemont, Illinois
Jan, 19-22nd 2017

-Illinois Fish & Feather Expo
Bloomington, Illinois
Jan. 27-29th 2017

-Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Expo
Schaumburg, Illinois
Jan. 26-29th  2017

-Tinley Park Fishing Big Show 
Tinley Park,Illinois
Feb. 11-12th 2017

-Rockford Boat, Vacation & Fishing Show
Rockford, Illinois
Feb. 17-19th 2017

-Central Illinois Outdoor Expo
Arthur, Illinois
February 10-11th 2017

The QCCA Expo Center Outdoor Show
Rock Island
, Illinois
Feb. 16-19th 2017

-Pheasant Fest (National)
Feb 17-19th 2017

-Indiana Deer, Turkey & Waterfowl Expo
Indiana State Fairgrounds
Feb. 23-26th 2017

-Elmwood All Outdoors Show
Elmwood High School
March 4-5th 2017

-Ducks Unlimited National Convention
May 31 - June 4th 2017
San Antonio, Texas

-Spring Valley Outdoors Expo
Spring Valley, IL

-Midwest Hunt Fest
Wichita, Kansas

-ICAST 2017
Orlando, Florida
July 11-14th 2017

-Illinois Deer & Turkey Expo
Peoria, Illinois
July 28 - 30th 2017

-Northern Illinois Hunting & Fishing Days 
Silver Springs State Park, Yorkville Illinois

-Southern Illinois Hunting & Fishing Days 
Carterville, Illinois

More shows and dates will be added as they become available. 

Email us if you would like something on this list. 

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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Raising an Outdoor Child in an Indoor World

Raising an Outdoor Child in an Indoor World

On average a child today only spends about 30 minutes outside and about 7 hours indoors in front of a screen. The relationship between society and nature is disappearing. Since the birth of our 6-month old daughter Autumn I have constantly thought about how we want to raise her and the kind of person that we want her to become.

Being a parent is an incredibly hard and overwhelming responsibility. Raising a child to be brave, confident, creative and independent among other things has its challenges. Being able to watch Autumn learn and grow with nature is something that I look forward to, watching her explore various trails, learning how the world works and seeing the amazement in her eyes as she watches a butterfly for the first time, or catches a fish by herself.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Duck Blind Drawing - A Family Affair

Duck Blind Drawing - A Family Affair

Ask my dad or brother and they both can tell you about my first duck.  Since the moment I got out of bed on opening day in 1998, I've been in love with waterfowl hunting.  Like so many other waterfowlers I enjoy every aspect of it.  From decoy preparations to the cold wet November mornings.

In order to go waterfowl hunting you have to have somewhere to go. Throughout Illinois there are Waterfowl Blind Drawings, where each blind is allocated a number and a drawing takes place for ownership of that blind for the season. My first waterfowl drawing was in 1999 at Wolf Lake in Cook County.  Hundreds of people were there, walking around sharing stories in hopes of winning a blind for the upcoming season.  At the time I wasn't old enough to participate but my dad and brother put their names in.  Even though we didn't win a blind that year we were still able to get out and enjoy this state park.    Wolf Lake was good to us, we harvested a lot of birds during our tenure hunting there.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Top Fishing Destinations in Illinois: Lake Shelbyville

Top Fishing Destinations in Illinois: Lake Shelbyville

At 11,000 acres, Lake Shelbyville is one of Illinois' premier fishing destinations, offering a variety of shore fishing access points and opportunities for camping. It's most recognized for its largemouth bass, crappie, white bass, muskie and walleye opportunities. Anglers should be aware of special length limits for walleye, largemouth bass, muskie and crappie. Consult visitor centers for the special creel restrictions, which are also posted at most public access sites. Boaters should watch for buoys placed near beaches, bridges, marinas and in some coves. The buoys indicate no boats, no wakes or other navigational information. In addition, green and red navigation buoys have been placed from the Highway 32 bridge to the "Bo" Wood Access to aid deep-draft sailboats.

Walleye and white bass make spring spawning runs up the Kaskaskia River, and have been documented 25 miles north to the Highway 36 bridge. It is believed a white bass run occurs up the West Okaw River, but the extent of the movement has not been studied.

Interestingly, biologists have stocked Shelbyville with walleye from many states to try to obtain genetic qualities suitable for this water. The effort has included river and lake strains from hatcheries in Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, South Dakota, Kansas, Kentucky and New York. Fingerling and fry stocking typically occurs annually. A rearing pond was constructed and another is planned to raise walleye to a larger size before stocking.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Eagle Day Festivities

Eagle Day Festivities 

For outdoor enthusiasts any opportunity to get out and enjoy nature, we take it.  Regardless if it's fishing, or hunting, we don't think twice.  This past weekend was Eagle Day at the Nature Conservancy's Emiquon and Raptor Awareness in Havana, Illinois.

With great weather and the opportunity, this is something that we normal don't take advantage off, and this year we did.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

More Access and Spring Turkey Hunting Opportunities Added to Illinois Recreational Access Program

More Access and Spring Turkey Hunting Opportunities Added to Illinois Recreational Access Program

Youth Hunters Should Apply by Feb. 26 for Youth Turkey Season;
First-time adult and young hunters apply by March 10 for Seasons 3 and 4

Public hunters are always saying we need more land.  Well,  the Illinois Recreational Access Program (IRAP) might just be the answer to some of the land questions.  Granted there are some stipulations to be enrolled in this program as a landowner, but this is a great example of public private partnerships.  

This program has just added first time adult turkey hunters.  With them adding turkey hunting and all sorts of other hunting and recreational opportunities IRAP could be an acronym we say a lot more in the future.  

Read below for the full press release from the Illinois Department of Natural Resouces

Friday, January 22, 2016

A League of Their Own - Archery Enthusiasts head Indoors

A League of Their Own - Archery Enthusiasts head Indoors

Archer Leagues in Illinois
Heather shooting at some targets down range.

On these cold winter days, there is only so much hunting shows and Youtube that you can watch and after scrolling through a social media platform for the 100th time, you start to get the itch to go outside or just leave the house.   Old man winter has a grip on Illinois, this is when boredom and "cabin fever" get the best of us.  Especially those deer hunters.  Why them?

Eagle Day Gives Bird's Eye View of American Icon; Live Demo of Birds of Prey

The Nature Conservancy sent a press release and asked Capitol Outdoors to share this opportunity with all of you.  While we have never partaken in this event, ere's nothing quite like watching a Bald Eagle sore through the sky.  


Eagle Day Gives Bird's Eye View of American Icon; Live Demo of Birds of Prey

Communities, conservation, research and animal groups plan day-long festivities

LEWISTOWN, Ill. -- Family-friendly Eagle Day events will be held at The Nature Conservancy's Emiquon Preserve and other locations on February 6, 2016. Admission is free at all of the events.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Outdoor Black Friday Ads 2015

Outdoor Black Friday Ads 2015

While many stand in line for deals others are in the blind for teal.  Who doesn't like a good deal.  Regardless if you're actually attending a Black Friday Sale Event or hunting we've gathered a few of our favorite outdoor stores with a link to their Black Friday Ads.  However we're usually in the blind hunting some ducks but nevertheless we always love turning through the pages looking for a good deal.  Is there a store that you know offers some great deals for those that enjoy the outdoors.  Comment below and let us in on the deals.

While you are shopping this Christmas Season remember to stop by small business outdoor stores.  You'll find great deals and outstanding people.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Outdoors is for everyone: Taking Adapting the Outdoors on a Waterfowl Hunt

The Outdoors is for everyone: Taking Adapting the Outdoors on a Waterfowl Hunt

This past week we had the pleasure of taking Nate Lamberson of Adapting the Outdoors on a waterfowl hunt at the Nature Conservancy's Emiquon.  It was a morning full of laughs, education, and good memories.