Eric Stark adds kayak fishing to the options for summer camps.


I caught up with Eric Stark coming back from postponed ice fishing at Giant Goose Ranch near downstate Canton.

Stark gets ideas and brings them to fruition. His latest is Chi-Yak Adventures, a kayak-fishing camp that has been added to summer camps at several park districts and forest preserves.

Stark founded DuPage Fishing Academy, summer fishing camps at Carol Stream Park District, in 2015.

‘‘Every other sport has a camp; bass fishing might as well, too,’’ Stark thought.

It worked.

Glenbard North does sports camps at the park district. Stark, a physical-education and health teacher at Stratford Middle School, has run Stratford’s fishing club for more than 15 years. Seven years ago, he founded the bass-fishing club/team at Glenbard North.

Kayak-fishing is one of the fastest-growing parts of fishing.

‘‘Seemed like the next logical step for shore fishing,’’ Stark said.

Stark dabbled in it the last couple of years at DuPage Fishing Academy, where he filled three individual days with kayak-fishing last year.

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Laney Stark, daughter of Eric, with a striper from a kayak.
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Then Stark and buddy Jeremy Bradley were brainstorming when Bradley came up with Chi-Yak Adventures and the idea took formal shape.

‘‘I’m sure at some point, if it blows up, he will want some residuals,’’ Stark said.

There’s a practical side to kids learning kayak-fishing. From Glenbard North, it’s a good drive to Busse, the Chain O’Lakes, Heidecke Lake, Braidwood Lake or the Fox River.

With kayak-fishing, Stark pointed out: ‘‘We can meet at Mallard [Lake] or Blackwell [Silver Lake] or an industrial pond that doesn’t kick us out.’’

For now, Stark is using six pedal-drive Perception Pilots.

‘‘They are all pedal-drives,’’ Stark said. ‘‘I wanted to keep the focus on fishing. You are getting at least twice the amount of casts with a pedal-drive.’’

Practical.

‘‘The nice thing about the kayaks [is], just being on the water is awesome; catching the fish is kind of incidental,’’ Stark said. ‘‘Being on the water is something different for kids. When you get a three-pound bass and it tows you around, that is a super-bonus.’’

Find Chi-Yak Adventures on Facebook.

Illinois hunting

Deer hunting ends Sunday, when bowhunting ends. So does the second late-winter antlerless and CWD season, which opens Friday.

Wild things

A Chicago Audubon Society Facebook post on the role of urban coyotes in protecting birds from feral cats led me to ‘‘10 Fascinating Facts About Urban Coyotes’’ on urbancoyoteinitiative.com. One conclusion: ‘‘Coyotes have a clear impact on how free-roaming cats use the urban landscape, but the exact scope of the ecological benefit still needs more study.’’

Stray cast

Apparently, all that camouflage in Green Bay camouflaged the officials from seeing where to place the ball on the final first down Sunday.

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Lined up kayaks used in the kayak fishing class.
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