Outdoor Notes: Rock River opens bass tourney Sunday

Rock River Open: The 2005 Rock River Open Team Bass Tournament, put on by the Rockford Hawg Hunters BASS Chapter, is scheduled Sunday, April 24, out of the Atwood Forest Preserve launch site off Old River Road.

Entry fee is $75, which includes big-bass pot. First prize based on a 75-boat field will be $1,200. Typically, the payout accounts for about 90 percent of entry fees, said the organizers.

Entry forms still are available at The Curve Fishing and Marine in Loves Park and other area fishing and sports stores. More info: (815) 765-2056 or (815) 547-3920, or visit www.basshawg.com.

Check-in time will be 6 a.m. and launch will start at 7 a.m. Weigh-in will start at 3 p.m., awards presentation at about 4 p.m. There will be a 12-inch size limit on all bass, and all details will be gone over at the pre-launch meeting. Makeup date, if needed because of river conditions, will be May 14.

There also will be a raffle with the proceeds going to the St. Jude Children’s Foundation. The raffle will start right after weigh-in. Last year, more than $500 was donated to St. Jude by the club.

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Seed Day April 23: Winnebago County Pheasants Forever will hold its

annual Seed Day Saturday, April 23, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at a new location: 8983 Bridgeland Rd., about a mile north and west of Montague and Meridian roads.

Food plot mix will be available at a nominal cost to landowners. Two of three special mixes of Rooster Booster also will be available. This seed is specifically designed for Midwest winters. Corn, sorghum and sunflower also will be available while supplies last. Those seeking native prairie mixes will get a voucher. For more info, call (815) 399-4610.

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Habitat Subsidies: Pheasants Forever this spring has targeted landowners with 5 to 20 acres who may not be eligible for government set-aside programs but would like to both beautify their property as well as improve habitat.

Habitat helps all forms of wildlife, including song birds, upland game, deer, etc. Winnebago County Chapter PF says it is willing to do a cost share (with certain limitations) with a habitat team specialist to promote restoration, including wild flowers, prairie grasses and even tree planting.

The numbers still are being crunched, but estimates indicate 2-5 acres would cost a landowner around $100-$125 per acre (a 50 percent cost-savings to landowners, with PFWCIL picking up the other 50 percent) for a standard seed mix of wild flower and grasses, spraying and planting of bare ground.

Follow-up maintenance by PFWCIL’s habitat specialist team would be at

additional cost. The offer is first come, first served. For more information, call (815) 399-4610, or visit www.pfwcil.org.

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Byron Gets Boat Grant: The City of Byron got a $64,800 state DNR boat access grant to improve an existing two-lane boat ramp into the Rock River with the installation of additional dock sections that will accommodate launching and retrieval during low-water periods and to add a bituminous overlay to the existing parking area.

The city’s boat access area is adjacent to Mineral Street and Illinois 2 in Byron. It was one of eight grants approved for a total of $725,000. Funding is provided through revenue generated by boat and canoe registration fees and marine motor fuel taxes paid by boaters. Since the boat access grant program started in 1968, more than 400 local boat and canoe access projects have been funded, totaling $33.7 million.

Another grant of interest went to the Waukegan Port District in Lake County for $110,000 to improve the boat launch in Waukegan Harbor by installing four new floating docks. The new docks will replace four existing stationary docks that were installed 19 years ago. Since the time of their installation, the water level of Lake Michigan has dropped four feet, making them virtually unusable.

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Gun & Knife Show: The Northern Illinois Rifle and Pistol Club Gun & Knife Show will be June 4-5 at the Winnebago County Fairgrounds, Pecatonica. Hours will be 8 a.m.-5 p.m. June 4 and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. June 5.

Entry is $3, or free when purchasing $10 in raffle tickets. The raffle will be for firearms and other items. For more info, call (815) 964-6134 or go to www.nirpc.com.

NIRPC, which has 200 members, was formed more than 50 years ago. The club works with Boy Scouts as well as county and state organizations to assist them with their shooting programs.

Club membership is private and open to new members as openings become available. All members must belong to the National Rifle Association. Members enjoy informal plinking and target shooting with some special competition events. The shooting facilities are open to club members and invited guests on a daily basis.

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Water Web Site: The Illinois State Water Survey, a division of the Illinois DNR, offers a free Web site with user-friendly information on the impact of weather on agriculture. The Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) program site can be found at http://www.sws.uiuc.edu/warm/agdata.asp.

From the April 20-26, 2005 issue

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