Outdoors: Late-season morel mushroom hunting just might surprise you

I know it’s kind of late for mushroom seasons, though I start looking on some of the hillsides near Marseilles this time of year. Even though it’s late for morels, you never know. In some areas the temperature remains cooler, which bring the fungi up later.

Some of the hills leading into Marseilles contain a lot of hardwood timber. In some of these areas, the fungi grow later. It is not imposable to find a fine meal of morels if you travel these roads very slowly, observing areas of dead hardwoods.

Even in June you may even find prairies, pheasants or oysters. All are very palatable and make a fine dish with steak or fish. Check areas with a lot of shade, as they start to produce well into June. It doesn’t make any difference in taste, as a morel is a morel.

I discovered this by accident one day while hunting asparagus. To say I was surprised would have been an understatement.

Last year I was worried about a class I was to give at Starved Rock State Park. It was always scheduled for late April when the early morels were starting to pop. The last few seasons were nothing to write home about. Seems like weather patterns just kept biting us in the behind. It’s kind of disgusting to see the large light tan coming up with the black ones.

Well, in desperate hunting I final was able to come up with enough for the seminar, and it went off without a hitch. Sometimes Mother Nature throws you a curve, and you’d better be ready for it. One year I even hunted mushroom by boat, as the water was too high for walking.

So don’t always look at the calendar, and don’t look or listen to gas station stories. A lot of folks want to be mushroom experts.

Fishing report

Cooling-lake action continues to be very good for bluegill and channel catfish. Call ahead to make sure the ramps are open (815-357-1608). If it’s too windy, the staff will not open the boat ramps. Cooling-lake baits are best using wax or red worm.

River fishing has picked up some near Ottawa. Live bait such as minnows or gizzard shad are best river baits. Don’t forget, light line catches more fish. We found that out on crappies at Shabbona Lake. Spinner baits have been very good for musky at Shabbona. Fish the no-motor zones early and late.

River fish should pick up soon.

Hope everyone had a nice Fourth of July!

• Fred Krause is a Shaw Media correspondent.

Fred Krause
Fred Krause

Fred Krause

Fred is an avid outdoorsman who has been writing about his passion for decades.