This youngster is shown participating in one of the earlier bilingual hikes. | SPECIAL TO SUn-TIMES MEDIA
BIG ONE DIDN’T GET AWAY FROM LIBERTYVILLE MAN, BUT THE STATE-RECORD DID
Driving down the highway with a fish tail sticking out of a 50-gallon drum in his vehicle, Eric Lichamer of Libertyville carried more than just any old big fish.
Try a 72-pound grass carp. He caught it Sept. 15
from a small pond in Lake Zurich, but it won’t be an Illinois record because he couldn’t get it weighed on a big enough certified scale in time.
Oh, he tried.
The 29-year-old carpenter was fishing at a pond ‘‘smaller than a football field’’ by his aunt’s place when he noticed something big swimming around. So he chummed with bread and fished with a ball of dough.
‘‘I was by myself,’’ Lichamer said. ‘‘I had two rods. As soon as I hooked it, I threw the other one into the grass. When I finally had the fish in and went running up the shore, the hook from the other rod went in my hand.’’
He was using a medium-action G. Loomis bass rod with a spinning reel with a Spectra super line, Sufix 832. He uses the tough line because he often fishes without a leader for northern pike in the Des Plaines River. So he was prepared to handle a big fish.
Then the real fun began. Holding a 51.5--inch fish with a girth of 33 inches, Lichamer knew he had something special.
He filled a baby swimming pool, then ‘‘called close to 100 places’’ in an effort to find a place with a big enough certified scale. Finally, he took it to the Salmon Stop in Waukegan.
That’s when Lichamer drove down the highway with the fish tail sticking out of the 50-gallon drum. But his fish bottomed out the Salmon Stop’s scale at 62 pounds.
Lichamer (pictured here with the giant carp) knew it was heavier than that. He first had weighed it on his hand-held Rapala scale, but it bottomed at 60 pounds. So he weighed himself on a scale, then held the fish, and it weighed 72 pounds more.
One of the techniques with verifying record fish is to freeze it in wet towels.
‘‘I wish I could have frozen it, but I don’t have a freezer that big,’’ Lichamer said. ‘‘You pretty much need a walk-in freezer.’’
One phone call he made was to district fisheries biologist Frank Jakubicek. When he came to work Sept. 17, Jakubicek found Jones Meat Market in Woodstock could weigh a fish that big.
Unfortunately, the grass carp weighed only 681/2 pounds and was dead by then, so Lichamer didn’t take it in.
‘‘I know for the next time,’’ he said.
So the Illinois record for grass carp (69 pounds, 8 ounces), set in 2000, still stands.
Updated: November 7, 2012 6:03AM
A guided nature hike presented in Spanish and English will be held on Saturday, Oct. 13, at 9 a.m. at Ray Lake Forest Preserve.
The bilingual program is a combined effort of the Lake County Forest Preserve District, Friends of Ryerson Woods, Mano a Mano, and the North Shore Health Center of Highland Park.
The hike will last one hour and is free.
Ray Lake Forest Preserve is located on Gilmer Road, north of Route 176. It’s east of Wauconda, west of Mundelein and south of Round Lake Park.
“We have had an outpouring of support from the Latino community to participate in these hikes. We are thrilled to work with our partners to offer native Spanish speakers a way to connect with nature and learn about the region’s rich landscape,” said Sophia Twichell, executive director at Friends of Ryerson Woods.
Intended to introduce the region’s Spanish-speaking residents to the forest preserves, these hikes also offer a way for participants to explore nature, make friends and learn the mental/physical benefits of hiking in nature.
The hike is low impact and designed for all groups, especially families.
Participants are encouraged to wear closed shoes and comfortable clothing.
The fall trout-fishing season opens on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 37 ponds and lakes throughout the state.
And in preparation for that date, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will be stocking Banana Lake in the Lakewood Forest Preserve in Wauconda , and Sand Lake at Illinois Beach State Park in Zion with trout in order to enhance the fishing experience.
IDNR Director Marc Miller said that “fishing is a great family activity and the fall trout season is a great opportunity to take the kids fishing. Fall is a great time to spend time outdoors, and we want to encourage youth, families and experienced anglers to participate in the fall catchable trout season.”
More than 70,000 trout are stocked at the 37 locations.
The program is funded entirely by those who use the program through the sale of inland trout stamps.
Anglers are reminded that no trout may be taken from any of the stocked until trout season opens on Oct. 20 at 5 a.m.
To take trout legally beginning Oct. 20, anglers must have a fishing license and an inland trout stamp, unless they are under the age of 16, blind, or disabled, or are an Illinois resident on leave from active duty in the Armed Forces.
The daily catch limit for each angler is five trout.
Anglers are reminded to check the opening time of their favorite trout fishing location if they plan to go fishing on opening day.
For more information on trout season and other fishing opportunities, check Web site www.ifishillinois. org.